2003 - January thru June - Archives
To July - December 2003 archives
Saturday, June 28, 2003
The carpenters' strike continued all day Friday - at St. Joes Hospital and at several other large construction sites around Bellingham. Nada in the Herald, of course. All over Western Washington, sites are shut down. The strike is expected to continue Monday. The carpenters are striking to prevent losses in their health insurance program.
Friday, June 27
The carpenters' strike at St. Joes Hospital continues. They are also striking several other construction sites around Bellingham. The dispute is over the construction industry association reducing their health benefits over the past couple years. Actually, playing games with the health benefits. Nothing in the Herald since the original article a few days ago.
The state L&I is continuing to investigate St. Joes Hospital's release of toxic gas into the construction area for over a year. This morning, KGMI had a good report on the toxic gas release, a story NwCitizen broke on May 19. The Bellingham Herald has still not reported this. Nothing in that supposedly alternative weekly either. A tip of the hat to KGMI for reporting this.
Thur, June 26
For the record, the Herald today reported on yesterday's story below. Reasonably accurate, if they did leave out some important information.
Wed, June 25 Noon
Posted here because the Bellingham Herald has now ignored this for two days. Of very high importance to Bellingham - and with significant developments.
On Monday evening, the Bellingham City Council voted 4-2 to support the appeal of the Clean Water Alliance - CWA - against Whatcom County and the Sudden Valley Association in Snohomish County Superior Court. The city will file a motion to intervene, thus greatly aiding the CWA in their appeal.
Why? The County designated Sudden Valley as a future city without any required studies and in such a way as to seriously damage our city drinking water. Sudden Valley got state funds to help put in the $5 million sewer line and is going to town permitting more construction - right on the delicate watershed.
The CWA challenged the "future city" designation before the state Growth Management Hearings Board - and that board acted so outside the law that the CWA is appealing to the Snohomish Superior Court where it hopes to get a fair hearing. This is what the city is joining.
The Board had only one member- of the three - presiding at the hearing and he made a mockery of the proceedings, blatantly showing his contempt for the CWA. The Sudden Valley attorney, Phil Sharpe (ah yes, the city Public Facilities District chair - the ultimate government paid hack) went on before the board about fine housing in Sudden Valley and ignored the laws involved. The Board voted 1-1, which supported the county.
The effort to help the CWA was led by council member Gene Knutson, hardly a person the Building Industry Assoc. - BIA - would label as an environmental radical. Gene - and the other three council members - fully realize a stand must be taken now to protect water quality for Bellingham. They also did a bit of homework and learned how the one Hearings Board member - Les Eldrege - showed total disregard for the law and fairness.
What is most troubling in this entire affair, are the four supposed environmental county council members who support the Sudden Valley buildup - Dan McShane, Seth Fleetwood, Sharon Roy and Laurie Caskey-Schreiber. Dan is up for re-election this year.
So - you may agree or disagree with my opinion, but you can probably agree that the Herald should be telling you about all this. It is of vital interest and importance to Bellingham and Whatcom County. What I try to do at this website - this blog - is post information on important issues being ignored by the media.
If you want to support the Clean Water Alliance and their effort to protect our drinking water, then send them a check. The legal costs should be shared by all of us who will benefit - including developers who can sell new homes for more because of the good water. Send checks to:
Tue, June 24
There are a few outstanding news web sites that provide national and international news that is most important and not always available. One site is truthout and it depends on visitor donations to continue. No ads, no popups, no commercial sponsors. This site is one of my regular visits every day. The site is easy to scan and the articles are always of importance. They need contributions. Check out the site.
Today's photo at truthout shows a teenage girl grimacing in pain while police in California arrest her. Most folks do not know that the police are trained in how to cause incredible pain by holding a person's arm behind their back in a certain way - and that they do this on a routine basis. It is supposed to be for unruly persons and is called "pain compliance techniques", but is easy to use on those the police do not like. Today's photo at truthout shows this. I have spoken to people in Bellingham who have told how they offered no resistance to police handcuffs only to be hurt so badly they had pain for months in their arms and shoulders. It has happened with chief Randy Carroll standing by watching.
Fri, June 13 11:00 pm
St. Joes Hospital will probably be facing fines for venting toxic gas into the construction area of their new addition. Our Bellingham Herald has not reported a bit of this. Rumor has it that one or more contractors will also be fined. For our hospital to be so careless and sloppy as to vent cancer causing gasses into an area of workers is just appalling. Wonder if the Herald will bury the story when St. Joes is fined. Well, I'll link you to the story in the Seattle papers when it breaks.
And here is an issue involving our state government agencies.
We have learned the State Department of Natural Resources is very slow to release emails and memos in response to a public disclosure request sent weeks ago. Our state agencies are trying to do the "Landscaping" plan for Lake Whatcom between themselves - in violation of state law that requires public process.
Here is an internal Department of Fish and Wildlife email that NW Citizen has gotten a copy of. It was leaked. This is smoking gun evidence of state agencies working together to circumvent public comment by citizens and stone wall any issues that may be raised by the public. I am printing this now because the state has finally mailed the emails requested, but they have not arrived yet. When they do arrive, we will see if this one is included.
Jeff Koenings is Director of WDFW, Dept of Fish and Wildlife.
Here is the email.
From: Jeff Koenings
There is a valid point here! That is why I stressed to Doug that we will have policy oversite going on over the DEIS comments that willl be consistent with agreements already in place. I don't know if the tree or the ornaments as set fforth by DNR are in the right categories--but the point was close enough to make some sense.
So - citizens may raise valid issues at a public meeting, but the state agencies will support each other and quash anything another agency does not like. Keep the christmas tree decorated as the agencies first decorated it. Public input is made meaningless.
You should know the state Attorney General never looks into violations of state laws by state agencies. The AG only defends state agencies against charges they have violated the law. The Auditor has limited authority to look into violations, but they never do. It is pretty much up to citizens. The system does not work when there are no checks on state agencies.
Gentle reader, if you want evidence of how the AG and Auditor ignore abuses of state law by state agencies, try bringing this to the attention of anyone in state government. Try a state senator. Try anyone. And listen to that sucking sound. It is them putting distance between you and them.
Thur, June 5
Candidate listings were updated this morn. If you have info on candidates or possible candidates, send it in. The list to the right will be maintained to the election. We gripe about the actions of elected representatives - well here is where we all need to work for better elected officials. First step is helping all candidates get heard. Second step is to ask them hard questions. I'll do both here.
Wednesday, May 28
This site will be quiet for a week as I will be out of town. Upon return, my first interest will be updating the candidate listings in the right hand column. If you have info on a candidate - or a person considering running - then please Email it to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks.
Tuesday, May 20
The Bellingham city council passed the Public Facilities District (PFD) agreement last night. What was passed was 100% what the mayor, last September, told the PFD board to propose. They obeyed. The board obstructed any public involvement for eight months. Last night's hearing was for political appearance only - as was betrayed by an internal city email. The presenters, including Tony Larson and his excellent slide show, demolished the mayor's lies. But the council again obeyed the mayor. We will now spend $13 million on a hodge podge of startup projects that all will need $60 to $100 million in bonds or levies to be completed. The only good thing will be upgrading of the Mt Baker Theater which could be done with separate funds.
The city and the PFD board are wide open to lawsuits and a referendum. The illegal processes are so blatant - not following state laws on public meetings - and the recommended projects in violation of what state law allows - museum storage space and the partial funding of a new library - that we could see all PFD funds lost by our city. The blame will rest with the mayor's fat cat friends on the PFD board who started meeting in secret executive sessions almost before they had organized last year and the mayor who pushed through the process with his usual ability to openly lie and side step public process.
Sour grapes? No. The Mt Baker Theater deserves all our support. But the athletic complex deserves as much support. The mayor has allowed those stadiums to fall into disrepair. The Island View Park proposal also has great merit and is a natural for our city.
More than we can afford? No. User fees, Greenways funds and perhaps a modest bond issue could fund all three easily. Use of the PFD funds for the athletic complex - which needs $10 million - would allow us to spend lesser amounts on the other two.
But the PFD is more than we can afford. Most of the PFD total of $13 million will be spent to start up projects that will take millions to complete - another museum and two new theaters. The worst project is a parking garage for city and county employees - an illegal use of the PFD funds. For ten years every planning study has recommended a new parking garage downtown - never for city hall and the court house. One of the mayor's lies is saying studies and ten years of planning support this parking garage. The council gazes at him and votes as he tells them. After three hours of public hearing last night the council did not even discuss the concerns people spoke to. They asked staff a few short questions and voted to pass the PFD agreement.
Two basic political concepts were trashed last night. Public process and fiscal conservancy. It is time that we who have fought for years for true public process join with those who have fought for years for responsible public spending and elect a new mayor and a new city council.
Welcome back. I thank you for visiting Whiner Net - as it is called around Bellingham City Hall. Even the mayor has endorsed that name in our local government corridors. Seems they check the site often and don't like it. My my. Well, I do my best to post the news the Bellingham Herald ignores. Our local government employees don't know how lucky they are that there is so little real reporting in Bellingham.
Don Hansey, a long time politician in Whatcom County, is thinking of running against Terry Borneman for Bellingham City Council - 5th Ward. Not mayor Mark's favorite choice for the city council. If elected, Don would not fall under the intimidating control of Mark as Terry has.
What is St Joseph Hospital and the State Department of Labor and Industries hiding? Seems the hospital has vented lethal gasses directly into the construction areas since 2001 and exposed up to 200 workers - some for perhaps 13 months. The gas, ethylene oxide, causes cancer, attacks the brain and affects the central nervous system. On April 28 the workers were told there was no danger. On May 2 the vent pipe was extended to avoid the construction workers. This at a hospital. Yes, workers have come down with symptoms of health problems. This is one of those scenarios where in 20 years the workers will get cancer and be dying, the hospital will be off the hook and State L&I will have lost the records. Why this gas? It is used for cleaning surgical tools and was vented out the roof. Right where construction is going on. Herald report? Don't hold your breath.
Back to the lovely war in Iraq, the BBC reports the rescue of Jessica Lynch was staged for TV by American military forces. Yep, blanks in their weapons. Knowledge that the Iraqi forces had pulled out two days earlier - hell, they could have driven up to the hospital at high noon and picked her up. Actually it is worse than that. The Iraqi hospital staff had tried to drive Jessica to the American forces the day before but our trigger happy soldiers opened fire on the hospital car - with Jessica in it. The Iraqis returned to the hospital. Wasn't it strange those guys had TV cameras with them for this dangerous rescue? All bogus. Don't expect the New York Times to cover this accurately. Nor the Bellingham Herald.
There. How is that for a bit of whining. Gawd, pesky citizens expecting government to do its job. Guess they want to waste our tax money in peace. I'm reminded of the British trying to insult the American revolutionaries in the 1770s by labeling them Yankee Doodle Dandies. We turned it into a proud label. Ahh, but the name whiner.net is already taken. I'll stick with nwcitizen.
Oh - one last item. The mayor and his staff are bringing a tax break proposal to the council on June 9 for convicted felon Rick Westerop and his project on State Street. The guy the mayor said he had never done any favors for. The mayor is in bed with this guy who helped launder millions in drug money. Don't expect any Herald coverage. Just Whiner Net.
Thursday, May 15 9:10 am
Brett Bonner has announced he will run for Mayor of Bellingham. He has resigned his news job at a local radio station. At the end of his last broadcast this morning, the station ran his paid political ad. There will be a campaign kickoff reception this afternoon from 5 to 7 pm at the Mt. Baker Theatre Encore Room. All those wishing to support Brett are welcome. The Encore Room entrance is around the corner from the box office, behind the Pacific Cafe on Champion St.
Brett has, imho, an excellent chance of beating Mark Asmundson this fall. Brett is knowedgable of the issues, able to explain his views and has a very good head on his shoulders. Of the announced candidates, he has my endorsement.
His website will be BonnerForBellingham.com - but is not up yet. I will post all candidate website links under the flag on this page.
Wednesday, May 14
One rumor proved false. Scott Walker will not run for mayor. He had heard the rumor also.
Not rumor is the fact that Port Commissioner Ginny Benton and her husband declared bankruptcy in November 2001. Ginny is planning to run for a third term as Port Commissioner. Citizens and voters may feel that her personal financial management is relevant to her ability to manage tens of millions of our tax dollars. I would not be posting this except she has confirmed she is running for office again. She should not.
The particulars of the bankruptcy are not a story of bad luck and hard struggling. Indeed, almost $100,000 of their debt was credit cards. They had an income of over $6,000 per month. Their assets included a yacht and enough property that they might have avoided bankruptcy if they had wanted. It appears they did it for some tax purpose. They just decided to avoid working their way out of debt. She should not file for Port Commissioner.
I asked Ginny if she had any comment as I was going to post this and she said no. No comment. And a search of the Herald did not turn up any story. Yawn. Maybe only this blog is concerned about this. What Port Commissioners do is make decisions on revenue and expenditures - the Port's primary mission is economic activity. She has other problems, for example the conflict of interest she created by taking a high paying job with Port tenant STS. She should not run again.
Tuesday, May 13 -
The Bellingham City Council last night voted 5-2 to support the Clean Water Alliance legal action against Whatcom County's designation of Sudden Valley as an Urban Growth Area (UGA). Grant Deger and Bob Ryan voted against. The city attorney will file an Amicus brief in support of the citizens - mainly Tim Paxton, Lois Garlick and Sherilyn Wells - who have been working for years to prevent our city drinking water from being further polluted by excessive development of Sudden Valley.
This action by the city validates the good work these people have been doing. They have been been heavily criticized for being radical and too extreme. Even supposed clean water supporters - tree huggers without guts - have abandoned them. Some local environmental groups have ignored them and refused to support them - apparently thinking the issue too hot and would hurt their contributions from the fat cat liberals. This also is a slap at local environmental "hero" Dan McShane of the county council - it was he who pushed Sudden Valley as a UGA. His wife is a top honcho on the NW Ecosystem Alliance. You can start to put the pieces of the puzzle to together, can't you. Good work, citizens. Nothing in today's Herald.
Here is a link to the Public Facilities District website. There is no link to it from the Bellingham city website even though it is a subsite of cob.org - as if they were hiding it. Not much information here. Very vague. In the May 12 post below I could not find the site. Amazing - no link from the city site.
Web site to check out .
However, the above - posted May 12 - is factually correct but slightly unfair. Our best method for giving input is to send them a one or two page paper explaining our idea or use for the waterfront. I am told the web site will be more helpful in a week. They are trying.
Monday, May 12
The Bellingham City Council will finally hold its very first public hearing of the Public Facilities District (PFD) proposals next Monday, May 19, 7 pm at city hall. Really - the first hearing. They have tried very hard to avoid any real public input on how we should spend $15 million and start down the road towards spending $60 to $100 million rebuilding our whole civic complex. The city council has the power to approve this without a vote of citizens - and they have been determined to do it without any trouble making by pesky citizens.
So, now finally a hearing - thanks to a group of business persons who have been very persistent with the city. This may be just another council charade with the council voting at the close of the hearing to approve the PFD project - slam dunk. Four council members - a majority - are supposedly all for approving what mayor Mark wants. They are Louise, Barbara, John Watts and Terry. Also, expect the PFD committee to give a lengthy presentation which will drive many home with boredom before anyone has a chance to speak. Expect the PFD group to pack the meeting with their proponents. John Stark, Herald reporter, will somehow not hear those with the most critical comments. Public process, city of Bellingham style. I urge those concerned to attend and speak.
I would link to PFD information at city of Bellingham web site, but can find nada. You try - let me know if you find something. www.cob.org
For political junkies. Election news. Some of this may be false rumor. The month of May is a time for floating rumors to see what comes back.
Mayor - we hear Scott Walker, Port Commissioner, is considering. Brett Bonner is supposedly declaring later this week and will then be off the air at KGMI. Of course you know about Russ Weston, Foster Rose and Mark. All running. Tip Johnson is still thinking.
Port - Ginny Benton is running for her third term as one of three Port commissioners. Pete Zuanich Jr. is ready to declare. He works for the Port and will have name recognition courtesy of his father who served over 40 years. Travis Holland, owner of the Horshoe Cafe, is rumored to be considering.
Friday, May 9
The Bham Herald admits sitting on - covering up - for months the headline story today about developer Rick Westerop being a Canadian felon and being barred from entry into the US. This was one of the stories I was going to inform you about when I had more confirmation of the facts. I don't have the resources the Herald has.
The story leaves several questions unanswered. Where does Rick get all his development money now? Of the $18 million in drug money he was convicted of helping launder, how much of it was ever recovered? I have heard that millions are still not accounted for. How can a developer, who can put his hands on millions of dollars, not afford to defend himself? He says he plea bargained and now wishes he had defended himself. For all we know, the guy may have just been a sucker for easy money, and not a willing participant in laundering. So the question remains - where does he get his money now?
Our mayor Mark went to great pains to explain away the city's close dealings with Rick. The explanations don't wash. The city council and the mayor are in bed with Rick with sweet deals on downtown property. They have been hiding from us citizens that they are in business with a felon. This alone should be enough to replace Mark as mayor. The question is why the city - the mayor - was so quick to give Rick the fat contracts on downtown properties - without any competition. Gee, this can lead to more questions abut our mayor. It would take investigative reporting to learn more. Don't hold your breath.
The Herald appears to have finally run the story because the information was getting all over town. They could not keep the lid on it any longer. The Herald may not ever print another word of this. They do that - print one big story and never mention it again. Let it fade. They did it with the KAP scandal in 1991 - when Port of Bellingham staff and commissioners lost $4.2 million of our tax money to some Seattle flim flam guys. You don't know about that? The Herald likes to protect local government officials - until it is impossible. We have a lot of local government corruption.
I'm sitting on two more scandals of local public officials. The police department public relations officer will not take my phone calls and will not call me back. I have questions about some incidents involving our police chief that need verification. As a citizen, I have no leverage. Local governments regularly violate the public disclosure laws when I ask for information. So, I'm just asking if my information is true of false. Maybe this will remind the police to return my phone call. Maybe I will just run with the info if they do not.
The Herald went easy on Rick. Their story paints him as the victim of injustice. They let the city off easy. It is not investigative reporting - most of it is quotes explaining away the scandal. No hard questions to the mayor or Rick. The Herald is ready to paint Tip Johnson as an undesirable person but convicted felon Rick Westerup as a misunderstood and maligned guy.
Monday, May 5
I know, it is not local stuff, but too much fun to resist. Local coming - with a bang.
The Dixie Chicks played to their third sellout crowd last night. One person stood outside with a protest sign. One. A search of Google News shows no reports from Fox News or CNN - the two corporate media outfits that "reported" how much Americans were mad at the ladies. Why no protests? Maybe because there never was any backlash but it was all created by news media and radio stations owned by the same corporations. Remember - radio stations refused to play their songs.
Point? You cannot believe much of what Fox News tells you. Most right wing fanatics use Fox for their facts, which explains why a lot of them are so ill informed. Fox is simply a propaganda outfit for the extreme right. Fox is not a news outfit. Once you understand that then you can check with Fox for the right wing fantasy of how the world goes around and not be misled.
Sunday, May 4
It is so sad to see the how small and vindictive our government can be. Fox news isn't telling you about how the US military will not allow a Belgium plane to fly to Iraq with medical equipment and medicines. Why? Oh, come on. Because Belgium opposed us in the war. So we make the Iraqis suffer.
Thursday, May 1
Tis time to focus on local issues. Elections this fall could bring positive change to Whatcom County and Bellingham. In particular, we need a new Mayor and we need a new Port Commissioner. The challenge is not convincing the voters who to vote for - it is getting good qualified candidates. When you are faced with an incumbent you cannot stand and challengers who do not even know the issues then you feel like not even voting. And we then suffer through 4 more years.
Encourage qualified people to run for elective office. Promise them money and shoe leather. Liberal and Conservative are empty labels for our local offices. The local Democratic party is so divided as to be dysfunctional. The Republicans have bought into a national program that has no local relevance. We need intelligent, informed and courageous persons to run for office. I'll take integrity over agreement on issues every time. In over 40 years of political activism, it has been a lesson I've learned over and over.
I think we have a good chance to bump Mark Asmundson out of office and I hope all - conservative and liberal - will support whoever makes it through the Primary Election against him. We have been divided in the past and Mark has won. The vast majority of Bellingham citizens want a new mayor. Lets have a vigorous Primary Election and support the winning challenger.
I will post info on the Port of Bellingham race in a day or two. First I need to confirm some rumors. This is close to my heart, of course. We have such potential with our Port and we have squandered our money and planning for over 20 years on wasteful projects. Bellweather, the International Trade Building at the Airport - formerly the KAP building. And a confusing web of roads at Squalicum Harbor that replaced roads that worked just fine. And many many more.
Web sites to check out .
www.iraqwar.ru - This Russian site, which NwCitizen linked you to very early on, proved to be extremely accurate in their battle reporting - so accurate it was the cause of special pressure from the US government on Russia to stop it. Their reports showed Fox cable news to be blatant propaganda with little relation to fact.
Wednesday, April 30
The distortions continue. The American media are reporting the basics of the massacre of unarmed Iraqi civilians by our US Army two days ago. Finally. But they are using the lowest reported numbers - not the higher and more reliable numbers. And the reports give credence to the US military routine excuse that they were fired on first - while foreign reports deny any firing was seen.
Why believe foreign reports? Because it is now emerging they accurately reported events of the war between March 20 and April 12, while our American media were twisting events for propaganda and US war goal purposes.
There was another shooting today, wounding 16. Being wounded by an American military rifle is a life changing event - not to be trivialized.
Check the Russian Iraq War site for accurate reporting of what is happening in Iraq. We need the truth to be informed citizens. Not sugar coated and sanitized reports that always make us look like the good guys. We could be the good guys in Iraq - but our troops are trigger happy - as the British press will tell you.
Tuesday, April 29
Casualty reports were fabricated by the US military and the US news media cooperated in the big lie. As the war ended around mid April, they truth was revealed but you probably did not read it anywhere.. About April 9, the US wounded was listed as 125. About April 12 it was suddenly 399. By April 16, the total was admitted to be 524. Expect that to climb further when it no longer matters for war propaganda purposes. Now - these casualties were all sustained earlier in the war - before April 9.
The Russian web site, courtesy of the Ramzaj group, provided truthful news reporting of the war - something we Americans supposedly support. Bush sent C. Rice to Moscow to get the site stopped. Accurate reporting of the war was not desired as it did not support the war effort. It is now reporting accurate news of our occupation of Iraq - which our American media are not doing.
What is my point? Simply that we Americans support propaganda as much as any other country, such as Hitler's Germany, the old Soviet Union or today's China. When faced with facts and truths that do not fit our desires, we suppress it. We are almost as quick as any country to suppress the truth in the interest of national goals. Goals set by the Bush administration.
Do you want to learn what is really happening? Then visit foreign web sites. There is a list on the right column. Don't believe our American news media - print or TV. Do you realize how strongly the Iraqis want us out of their country? How strongly they are demonstrating? Not just a few isolated events. And we gun them down. Now. This week. Our media deny it, distort it or bury it.
Iraqi Freedom? You can fool yourself and feel good if you want by only paying attention to American media. Or you can read foreign media and learn that we are in Iraq only for our own reasons - not for the Iraqi people. Check out the links on the right column. Let me know of a good one that you find and I'll list it.
Wednesday, April 9 6:00 pm
What should we, who opposed the war, now think or feel? I can write for myself.
We have liberated Iraq. Now we should work to allow them to rule themselves. We should turn their country over to them quickly. We don't have to teach them anything. Civilization was literally invented in Iraq and has continued unbroken there for over 5,000 years - longer than in Egypt or China. Longer than anywhere. They invented bureaucracy, writing, accounting, art, architecture and much more. They are not a struggling third world country. They know what to do to run their country very efficiently. And they and their corporations should own the oil.
Our government is vindicated. Bush and Rumsfeld are heros. A stunning victory. Now they have an opportunity to show their goal is the liberation of Iraq - and not just the beginning of a series of conquests and a program to dominate the world or create a world empire.
Do I apologize? No reason to. Should peace demonstrators be humbled and shut up? No. This is a democracy and our right to speak goes on. I expect my right wing friends will try and humiliate those who opposed the war. That is their character.
The danger? That this victory will stir our country to want more victories - to think that we can knock off a half dozen other dictators around the world. Syria, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan and Libya. And the danger in that? War and violence spur more violence and war. What we sow can come home to us. We should not forget - we helped Saddam strengthen his power over the Iraqi people with huge military subsidies in the 1970s and all through the 1980s. I remind my conservative friends of such past follies. Saddam is a product of our past follies.
With this victory we should turn to strengthening the UN and work for a safer world. We have credibility and power - we should use it with discretion. We should use it to back up the UN. Instead I fear we will insult and humiliate France, Germany and other countries who did not support our war. I fear we could become what we supposedly are fighting - an evil empire that dictates to other countries what they must do or face our military.
We should now seriously fight to eliminate terrorism. We should work with all other countries and through the UN. Osama bin Laden is our enemy - not Syria or Iran. And we only need talk to North Korea to calm them down.
And I should now turn this blog back towards local issues.
Tuesday, April 8 10:00 pm
Seems our super accurate bombs missed that restaurant Saddam was supposed to be in. They hit the houses next to the restaurant, killing a lot of normal people. Just the collateral damage of war. American TV news media have not yet reported that the smart bombs missed completely. They will eventually - when the news is old and easily buried. You can read the British news report for yourself. I just checked the popular American news sites - none telling us the bombs missed. Yet they must know as the restaurant is reportedly popular with reporters.
Local news first today. Reliable rumor has it that local radio news guy, Brett Bonner, might run for mayor of Bellingham. If he does, then Mayor Mark is in deep trouble with his reelection bid. Brett knows the local issues, knows how to explain issues to people and is very intelligent. There is no question that Brett has much more integrity than Mark. If Brett makes it past the primary election, he will trounce Mark. No question. You read it here first.
Russ Weston and Foster Rose are running for mayor. Russ took an amazing 43% of the vote against Mark last time. Amazing because Russ refused to campaign on a basis of bringing leadership to the office, preferring that the mayor position be one of administering laws the council has passed. Amazing because his backing was from the extreme right of Bellingham, which is a small minority. A strong majority of citizens wanted to replace Mark. I think that is still true.
Foster Rose served on the city council about ten years ago. He will run a well funded campaign and will represent downtown interests. His backing will come from businesses that dislike Mark but do not want any substantial change in city hall.
Another rumored candidate is former council member Tip Johnson, but he has said he is more concerned about several hot Bellingham issues. Tip has the backing of the far left and the environmental coalition. If Tip does not run and instead backs one of the other candidates, his backing could be crucial in deposing mayor Mark.
As everyone reading this probably knows, council member Gene Knutson has decided to not run. It was well known that Gene had been considering the race for the past year. He is one of only two independent council members who are not hypnotized by Mark's rambling speeches.
Now we need a good candidate for Port Commissioner to replace Virginia Benton. The person needs to live west of the Guide or west of Broadway. Experience in Port affairs has never been a prerequisite. Business knowledge, intelligence and integrity would be nice. If you know of someone, encourage them. If they need a primer on Port affairs, I volunteer. Benton can be easily beaten. This position will have great influence on Bellingham's waterfront planning.
Finally this juicy tidbit. Bham council member John Watts will run for Louise's two year at large position, and Louise will run against Bob Ryan for his 1st Ward seat. Who is managing this? Rumor has it those accomplished puppeteers, Don and Joy Keenon. Time will tell.
The Russian Aeronautics web site was actually reposting battle reports from another Russian web site, www.iraqwar.ru - and that is the English language page the link goes to. The Russians who were reporting have left Baghdad over the weekend, according to their web site. I have posted a note from them. Thus we will miss the incredible reports from now on. However the web site still has perspectives and factual reporting that is missing from our American corporate media. I will keep both links posted here for your use.
Another excellent web site for war coverage is the British group Reuters. Far more objective and factual than our American web sites.
Fox news is the worst for web and TV, in the opinion of many. Late last night I watched their anchor repeatedly try to squirm out of the obvious fact that our American tanks had blasted the Al-Jazeera hotel room window, killing and wounding their reporters. Whether we did it on purpose or by accident is a question that may take years to be answered with assurance. Regardless, the Fox anchor Rita knew so little about military hardware that she kept referring to the "tank mortar", confusing what a battle tank uses and what the infantry use. To compound it, she kept saying they "could not raise the tank mortar high enough to shoot an upper story of a hotel". Amazing. This from an International cable TV news station. She was absolutely without a clue - and millions of Americans were believing her every word. This was not a one time slip of the tongue - she continued this way for over an hour until corrected on air by a military guy. Fox news is out to lunch. Even for war boosters.
So - if we citizens want to stay informed, we have to actually think and not just consume news. We have to seek other news sources than our corporate media. My political friends tell me that will not happen. I hope they are wrong. I will do what I can by posting links to other news web sites. I urge you to use them. This war may be about over, but our government will soon embark on the next adventure in the process of Empire building.
Sunday, April 6 2 pm
Huge battle for Baghdad airport raging right now - yet our American "news" media are not reporting it. Our forces have been driven back from half the airport. Tis midnight in Iraq. Check this Russian Aeronautics web site for current news - April 6a. How is Fox describing it? They now say we control "one runway" and are battling "pockets" of resistance. Hell, we have been driven half way out of the airport, according to the Russian reporters.
I'm splitting up the contents of this blog between local and national. Today, Local is down a bit.
Well, the war appears to be won. There could be surprises - and the occupation forces might have problems. History shows conquerors regretting their victories. Vietnam was 7 years with victory just another 50,000 troops away. But this is probably a true victory.
OK, war monger friends - promoters of Empire - what will you root and cheer next? An interesting question. Probably "liberation" of Syria. Or its desert. Will we "find" weapons there. The weapons we are not finding in Iraq. Will we find something and call it a WMP. The sad thing is those cheering on the war change their slogan every couple weeks. It will be nice if our goal is simply the liberation of the Iraqi people. Here is a review of the changing reason for war.
9/11 - Bush repeated the big lie often. Get revenge and stop terrorism. No matter that there was no connection. The terrorist camp we found was deep in Kurdish controlled Iraq, but the news media hardly tell you that. So, with the 9/11 excuse being torn apart....
Then it was WMB - weapons of mass destruction. Well, we've found none. The news media have hyped the finding of gas masks and anti-dotes. Talk about a non-sequitur. So, without any expectation of finding WMB...
Then it was Liberate an oppressed people. Regime change. Kill Saddam. Kill him and all will crumble. Liberate and Iraqis will welcome us. But that has not happened. So, now we will turn to...
____________ - fill in the blank. There will probably be a new theme within a week or two. It will prevent the Iraqi people from ruling themselves, it will keep our troops in Iraq on a long term basis, and it will point our military at Syria and Iran. It will give our American corporations the big oil concessions and "rebuilding" what we destroyed. But it will not be about liberating the Iraqis. There will be "problems" with turning over government to them "too soon".
Perhaps the new cheer will be "stabilize" the Middle East. We will be told our military is needed there to help the region - to bring more of the region to "democracy". Today we are still seeing the "Operation Freedom" banners on the TV. Soon we will watch talking heads ponder our white man's burden of how we cannot leave until we have stabilized some other countries and reduced future threats to our "security". That will go on for years - as we threaten other countries with invasion unless they do our bidding.
If you are older, then you remember how Hitler wrote exactly what he was going to do and how a big criticism of world leaders was they did not believe what was plain to read. And how the world suffered. Well, now a group of unelected theorists have been working for ten years writing how the USA should dominate the world and become an empire. They planned this Iraq war and advised Bush on this war. With only one exception they are all draft dodgers. (Rumsfeld) Our congress did not decide on this new course for our country.
The New American Century. These fellows appear to have little respect for democracy in that this policy was not decided upon by our US Congress. They wanted war with Iraq long before 9/11. They are Bush's and Rumsfeld's closest advisors. They lay it all out at their web site. And this is the plan that is being followed in the Middle East. To read some counter arguments, check Foreign Policy in Focus
Regarding a previous post. Since the Bellingham police did not arrest the protestors shutting down I-5, this should negate my accusation of a double standard. Good point - in this suggests tolerance by local police for extreme action by both sides. However, the reason I-5 protestors are not arrested is the goal is reopening the highway asap and moving them off is quicker than arrests. Further, jurisdiction is an issue - the Freeway is federal. So - the point is taken but the issue is not so clean.
Thur, April 3 9:05 am
War. The rescue of Jessica was a very slick operation. Now we learn that she fought as a true soldier before her capture. This highly technical operation is what we do so well. We applaud the rescuers and Jessica.
War. It is not so cheap for our side. Do you know we lost 5 tanks on Tuesday? And at least seven APCs (Armored Personell Carriers) Do you know that we are taking about 30 seriously wounded soldiers a day? Seriously enough to require air med evacuation. You can estimate twice that number for lessor wounds not needing evacuation. That puts our casualties at maybe 100 per day. When will we learn this from our American media - our "free" press? Try a year or two from now. "Fog of war" is the excuse. Bull. Propaganda for the war effort is what we get. The foreign press is reporting the numbers now. Try this Russian web site, or the International Herald Tribune.
The Bellingham Herald finally ran a distorted story today on the anti-Canadian flyers being put on their parked cars in our shopping malls. But the Herald wrote as if only one note was found on one car. The facts are many Canadian cars have been getting the messages.
A good article on how to spot distorted stories is posted by the Asia Times.
Another good site that focuses on facts and the truth is Orcinus.
News. To read the Bham Herald, to watch TV news, you get a story of an overwhelming victory by US forces, few US casualties, and a motivation to rescue a country just begging for us to free them. To read foreign reports you learn that our forces are being stopped outside every city, that we are having high casualties, and that the war is far from over. We also learn that our goal is not the freedom of Iraq but the conquest of Iraq and the domination of the Middle East. Like the Germans of WWII, we will get stories of victory until suddenly we learn of catastrophies. Are our missiles hitting civilian markets? Yes. But our American news media misled us. Only free foreign press are reporting the truth.
Will we win the war? Oh yes, probably. Are there good examples in the past similar to our situation that went bad? Yes. Try our American revolution. The British were the super power and had a vast majority of Americans on their side. They were outraged at our hiding behind trees and using unusual tactics to beat them. To the amazement of the world, we sent them packing. The war in Iraq is getting expensive in dead and wounded Americans. We are over extended. The Iraqis have not collapsed like Rumsfeld predicted. We are the subjects of a disinformation campaign for war purposes. We need to learn the truth and let our opinions be guided by facts, not blatant propaganda posing as news.
Wed, April 2 8:05 am
At the Bellis Faire parking lot, flyers are being put on windshields of cars with Canadian license plates that read: "We in America are disappointed in Canadians and your government. You are not welcome in America. Go back where you belong and stay there." Also happening in other parking lots on the north side of Bellingham. Nothing in the Bellingham Herald about this. Oh, it is news in Canada and Seattle. Just not with Herald editors. Now our socalled patriots are doing their best to wreck the local economy.
And then there is that story of the American soldiers killing 7 people in a car that "would not stop when warned". A big distortion by American corporate media. It was 10 people, all women and children, and the "warning shot" was followed immediately by machine gun fire at the passengers, leaving them no time to respond. The British soldiers are amazed how trigger happy we Americans are. Read the original story by the British reporter at the scene who watched the shooting - and compare with the Herald's false headline "Civilians in van ignore warnings; 7 killed". Or read two stories at Truthout, one of the links on the right of this page that provides you accurate news reports of the war - not the sugared and cleansed patriotic reporting of American media.
Bellingham police conveniently overlooked over 200 violations of Bellingham Code, BMC 10.24.120(1), that reads "The frequent, repetitive or continuous sounding of any horn or siren attached to a motor vehicle, except as a warning of danger or as specifically permitted or required by law." For almost an hour truckers completely blocked all downtown traffic on all streets and blasted away all conversations in stores as they did their macho demonstration last Saturday. Police smiled, waved and stopped all traffic for them. Ahh, but the city quickly prosecuted Ellen Murphy for handing out flyers about toxic depleted uranium at the military recruiting center. Double standard is routine practice in Bellingham.
Finally, much is being made in corporate media about that "terrorist camp" in northern Iraq that was found a couple days ago. What you are not told is the camp was inside the Kurdish controlled zone that the Iraqi army has not been near for 10 years. Yah, that Biara camp. It was setup and supplied by Iran, which was only a mile or two away. Iraq had nothing to do with it.
American corporate media deceive you and I by leaving out vital facts as well as distorting the stories. Why? All part of the war effort. Normal in all wars. To learn what is really happening you need to read foreign press reports. Check out the links on the right hand column.
New web sites - with link in right hand column.
Peace Events this week:
Ship of Fools: April 1 - Tuesday. Exhibit opening of the Ship of Fools - Artists reaction to War and Society - at the Blue Horse Gallery. 7:00pm - 9:30pm. 301 W. Holly.
Tue, April 1, 2003 12:35 pm
Of course, April Fool. But we can wish, can't we. I don't mean local ownership - we can wish for local news coverage.
The Bellingham Herald has been sold to a group of local investors in Bellingham. Gannett Corporation will hold a press conference this afternoon in Alexandria, Virginia - Gannett headquarters - to announce this. The reason is unsure, but this is the first sale of a Gannett daily ever. It is scheduled for 3 pm East Coast time, noon Bellingham time. I will post a followup at noon today.
This bodes very well for better local coverage of political issues. The local investors are motivated by a desire for better local news. It should be in tomorrow's Herald.
Mon, Mar 31 8:40 am
Freedom of the Press? Our right to learn from different points of view what is happening? That is typically thrown out the window in war time and Americans are fed the official 'rah rah we are winning and they are sneaky immoral bastards' line of news. No big surprise. What continues to baffle me is how supposedly educated citizens can go blind in time of war and believe what our American corporate media feeds them.
For over a week now, the Al-Jazeera web site has been blocked by what experts call a very impressive attack to deny Americans the ability to read their reporting. Is Al-Jazeera to be trusted over American media or will they just report the Arab viewpoint. Well, that is for us citizens to decide. Not for our government to decide. That is the whole point of a free press. But our war monger fellow citizens get steamed when any reports run contrary to the official Pentagon and Rumsfield party line. By searching the Internet web sites one can find snipets of Al-Jazeera news which is most interesting.
This web site will try to not predict a long war. Others are doing this. What is interesting is our news reports for a week now have each day said we are advancing on Baghdad. Yet if you look at a war map in the newspaper from over a week ago you will see we have not moved forward an inch. Still south of Karbala -where we were on Saturday, March 22. The foreign web sites have better reporting. For war support purposes we get rosy pictures. Our press did not tell you about the Iraqis who have fed our Marines who are without food and water up near Al Kut. Supply lines are in trouble.
The big question - what is the purpose of this war. Well, check out "Practice to Deceive" in the Washington monthly. The invasion of Iraq is the opening of an extended war against Islam by the US. We are reaching for Empire. And the defeat of Islamic governments. Next? Syria and Iran. Already Rumsfield is threatening them.
In the post Friday, I remarked how not reporting wounded American soldiers tends to "cheapen" the war. This apparently needs explanation. If our press makes the war seem to be without the full number of casualties then we think the war is easy and cheap - cheap in American soldiers injured. Those wounded deserve to be honored and counted. Casualty reports should include wounded as well as dead. Many wounded are crippled for life. To not even report their injuries while reporting dead is to insult their sacrifice.
The first need for citizens of a free country is to be informed. Else, your opinions and actions are based on false information. You need to search the Internet to learn what is happening. It can take time. And we need our government to allow a free press and not work to block our learning the truth. We are the judges of the truth - not our government. We may make mistakes but that is part of our right as citizens. This web site is about our right to know what is happening.
My opinions are secondary and are posted because this is my web site. It is called a 'blog'. We need more in Bellingham. Please inform me of any others and I'll link to them. I intend to list links dealing with the depleted uranium issue. From what I've been able to learn, the danger is real.
New web sites - with link in right hand column.
Fri, Mar 28 10:30 am
Truthful war coverage by American Corporate media? Hardly. We went two days without any casualty reports. Even now, they report "killed" American soldiers, but not the total wounded. A person with a life crippling wound is worthy of all our concern and attention. To not report wounded because they are not dead is to insult them and cheapen war. Casualties must be mounting.
It appears our military are now in panic mode. We are now being told the Gulf War One lasted 43 days and we should not expect a fast war now. False. It lasted 4 days - with 39 days of bombing first. This war had 10 years of bombing and is in the 10th day. The 7th cavalry, Custer's old outfit, is now isolated with no retreat path, insecure supply line and lack of heavy artillery. Just like Custer. Our military solution? Just bomb the hell out of the beautiful city of Baghdad. Shock and Awe. Civilian casualties? They don't count.
http://english.aljazeera.net is still being blocked by hackers - and probably our government. Reports say the FBI is "looking" into it. If FoxNews or CNN was being hacked, you can bet the FBI would have them back on line in a hour. Al-Jazeera has been down all week. The FBI doesn't want Al-Jazeera on line. Why? Because it is providing more truthful news of the war than is our American media. Many people still think we have truthful media. Our Corporate media provide war support news.
Meanwhile, protests against the war are growing all around the world. Very little reporting on that also. So - how do we know? A lot of time on the Internet. The protests are needed now more than ever - and they will be effective if continued. Will the American people turn against the war? Only if we start losing. That is what happened with Vietnam. How could we possibly lose? That was asked about Vietnam when I was in the service - and we figured we could not possibly lose against that little country. War was expected to be over in a few months.
Posting a web site like this draws the kooks out of the straw. A lot of folks want me to leave the country. They call themselves patriots. They like the war.
Also, while I do appreciate learning of new links to other good web sites, it would be nice if some of my war protesting friends would take the time to post web sites of their own instead of just emailing me and asking that I post their information. We need more web sites by others in Bellingham that post news and opinions.
Wed, Mar 26 9:15 am
Freedom of Speech. Our war monger fellow citizens keep yelling that we protestors are not killed for speaking out - like we would be in Iraq. True. They say our boys are fighting to defend our free speech. False. Our men and women are fighting for Halliburton and Exxon. And a usurper to our presidential office. They are dying for world empire and aggression. They have no choice - theirs is to follow orders, go where they are sent, and fight whomever they are told to fight. That is the job of the military. We do not criticize our military men and women. We support them and wish they would be used only for defense of our country. And we wish George Bush would quite cutting funding to the Veterans Administration so that veterans could be cared for - as we promised them. The new vets will need care.
Freedom of speech. Our country has other ways of shutting up people than shooting them. They lose their jobs. They get harassed by the police. They get shunned. They have to move on. They get no breaks. It works. They learn to shut up. Ever wonder why the well off do not usually protest? Because they know better. They don't want to screw up their career - whether a professor at Western, an accountant with the city school system, an office worker with a private firm in Bellingham, or a self employed person providing services to other businesses in Bellingham. I have people tell me almost every day how they support the protestors, or my web site, or the pit protestors - but that they cannot speak out lest it impact their family and job.
And - our war mongering friends - the ones who remind us that we are free to speak - also tell us to leave the country. Tell us we are traitors. They contradict themselves in almost the same sentences. Free speech? Excuse me, but I know a bit about how difficult that is. I don't recommend it to those who want a career.
Cameras spying on peaceful protestors? Sure. Tell their bosses. Single them out for police surveillance and harassment. Yes, it happens here - in the good ole USA - Washington State - Bellingham. Yes, our civic leaders know it happens and they either tolerate it or encourage it. Our mayor has expressed to me that he is surprised I'm still in Bellingham. He is not joking. He wants me gone.
http://english.aljazeera.net - the Arab web site is being prevented from reaching you and I. It is probably our government. They don't want you and I to learn other independent reports on what is happening in the war. By the way, contrary to our US media reports, Al-Jazeera reports there is no uprising in Basra. (found on google news) Freedom of press? We have a very hard time getting independent reports. Your war news is controlled. It is part of the war effort by our government.
Freedom of speech? I'm listening to a couple idiots on the radio right now who are trying to figure a way protestors are motivated by making a profit. It is a real stretch and it is really false. They, of course, are very aware of what their listeners want to hear - and they provide it. Advertisers are happy. They keep their jobs. And they incite hate for those who speak out against the war. That is their job. Any liar can call in with fictitious reports of what some war protestor has supposedly done and they report it as fact and whip up hatred. They don't respect free speech.
No, our military is not fighting for our rights. Iraq is no danger to the USA. Did you know that every country bordering Iraq is against this war? They are not threatened. This is a war for oil an world domination. It is an illegal war. We are committing war crimes. As our press whips up hatred for Iraqis, keep in mind that we are invading their country. They have every right to fight tooth and nail to resist our military aggression. We would do anything if a foreign army was fighting across our country towards Washington DC. Anything.
Fighting for our rights? As our military fights to conquer other countries, our government is eliminating the Bill of Rights. True patriots will speak out in this time of oppression. And they will accept the consequences.
Sun, Mar 23 8:30 am
This morning's Bellingham Herald has a front page story about this area's activism and protest marches going back to the Vietnam war. Well, I was there for some of those events and the Herald reporters are using biased sources. Try this info for size.
The Herald says the "freak" flag was first raised over Bellingham in the 1970s. Well, there is no freak flag, but April 1967 was the Jefferson Airplane concert at Carver Gym that was the turning point. The hip movement was well along when I arrived in September '67 as an Air Force veteran to go to Western on the GI Bill. The NorthWest Passage underground newspaper started in February 1969. All well before the 1970s - but the Herald doesn't worry too much about accuracy. The Herald of the day ignored or distorted local events that the editors did not like - just like today - so the old issues of the Herald provide poor research sources for today's reporters.
The article says one could "trip" through the "Tea and Spice Shop". They have the name wrong. Tony's Coffee and Teas opened in 1971. These reporters have a vague idea of places and events and just write up a quickie article that isn't too concerned with accuracy.
The real problems start with the article saying the May 6, 1970 protesters and blockage of I-5 was to protest the Kent State killings. The protest was primarily against the invasion of Cambodia and the widening of the Vietnam war - as well as the student killings. The article leaves out that the students were killed by National Guard troops. The Kent State students were protesting the Cambodian invasion. The Cambodian invasion was illegal aggression by the US - sound familiar?
The Herald quoted former police chief Burley but he didn't mention how the police back then would beat up the kids selling Northwest Passages on the corner of Cornwall and Holly - how they would take the papers away from them and trash them. No mention of detective Speedo Southas habit of driving unwanted people down to a gravel pit in Skagit county, kicking them out of the car and warning them not to return.
The Herald quotes the 1970 president of Western Washington University who belittles the serious nature of protesting aggressive wars by saying the students were just having fun. Well, on May 6, 1970, when the students were grouping up on campus, getting angry and looking for action to take, the assistant Dean of Students, Ray Romine, was the only administration person to talk with the students and work with student government leaders to divert the group into a march down Indian Street to downtown. There was almost violence that day. Ray, who is no longer alive, deserves huge credit and thanks for his work that day. He is ignored in the fairy tales of what happened that day. Stopping I-5 was a mild action when compared with what might have happened.
That president? Locked in his office with the Dean of Students - yep, that local hero Bill McDonald. Both were afraid of the students and cowered, locked away. I tried to see them and other student government leaders tried to see them as something needed to be done to prevent violence. As the founder of the Outdoor Learning Center, I was a moderate and not a radical. This experience was part of my learning about the realities of politics. How those who later claim credit were usually part of the problem and not the solution. And how the press reports a sweet version of events to make public persons look good - regardless of their actions.
Former police chief Burley claims credit for keeping one lane of I-5 open in 1970. Not true. In 1970, I-5 was closed down. You can apply your own skepticism to the rest of his statements.
There are more errors and omissions. The Herald stories are fairy tales of what might have been with distortions to support the status quo. They do it with current events also as the "pit" protest stories showed. If my conservative friends were to actually read the facts of local events they might not have such hatred and contempt for the young people who are forgoing having fun and being very serious about their protests.
Some day, those of us who were there need to get the facts put down for a realistic history of those years from about 1967 though the early '70s. And, gentle reader, you should bring a healthy skepticism to corporate media news reports, like those in the Bellingham Herald. They are very loose with the "facts" that we use to form our opinions. A good example is their current practice of allowing prosecuting attorneys to phone in their version of legal proceedings and the Herald then running the article as if a reporter had attended. The Angel Drayton case is an example.
Which reminds me - the Herald has not told you that the city prosecuting attorney, Jeff Lustick, is gone. I heard very reliably that it was not pleasant, but city hall is trying to keep the facts secret. The Herald is cooperating by not reporting it at all.
Thur, Mar 20 8:40 am
Many Bellingham businesses are closing today, including over 14 attorneys, in honor of the innocents losing their lives in Iraq. As our country embarks on a war of aggression, many are looking for ways to express their horror at what our country is doing.
No report in the Herald on this today - just pages of photos of weapons and articles on how they are used. It looks like reprints of Pentagon handouts and probably is. Makes for easy "reporting". If you want to learn what the Herald will not tell you about this war then you need to use the Internet. I will continue to post links that I find and am open to reader suggestions.
Tomorrow, I will begin posting a series of reports on local news - news that has been out there for days, weeks and months and has been ignored by the Herald and other local news media. If anyone knows of any other local web site with local news, let me know. What I post here can be called a 'blog' and mine is one of the very oldest blogs on the Internet, having started in 1995. A blog is one person's continuous posting of information and opinion on a subject. The Herald makes it easy for me to post unique local news as they cover up so much local information.
Wed, Mar 19 Noon
"Oh what a glorious war." An old expression from the days of the British Empire a hundred years ago. Quick, clean and we win. Some other expressions from previous wars of aggression come to mind. "Lebensraum" - room for living - was the word the Nazi used for their expansion into Russia - as we think we need more American corporate presence in the Middle East, the Germans thought they needed more farmland in someone else's country. "Pax Romana" was the word during the Roman Empire - the Roman Peace - but it was slavery for those conquered. And the exploitation of their land by rich Roman Senators - the mega corporations of their day. Napoleon "Liberated" Italy, Germany and Spain - and tried to liberate Russia. Some at first welcomed him and then suffered under his tyranny. And that expression of all the European colonial powers, "The white man's burden" fits with our feeling that the USA alone knows what to do and has the responsibility to wage a "preemptive" war.
One word applies to all these - hubris, which is over the top arrogance. All the above empires fell in ungracious ways. We are right in the mainstream of history. When a country thinks it can go for empire, it goes for it. And justifies its actions by telling itself that it has a responsibility to bring a better life to these poor peoples and "free" them from their own tryants.
The war is well under way. The western Iraqi desert is the key to the war and will be fought for first. Very little on TV news about it now as the reporters focus on the north and south - just as the Pentagon wants them to. Expect us to set up air bases in western Iraq. There, my 2 cents of war reporting. On the record.
How is this for madness. Supreme Court Justice Scalia is today accepting an award for his "support of free speech". He has told the group he will only accept if all broadcast media are barred from covering the event. The group has agreed. Scalia also said yesterday that in time of war, civil rights can be ratcheted down. He also said we normally have enjoyed far more civil liberties than the Constitution guarantees, so there is plenty of room for suspensions. This is the guy the insiders are betting will be nominated to be Chief Justice this summer.
Mon, Mar 17 10:15 pm
Well, we are all just passengers on the train. If Bush and his enthusiastic supporters are correct, then it will be a short war and we will bring "freedom" to the Middle East. All of us who urged caution or spoke out against attacking Iraq will be treated as weak and soft - afraid to defend freedom and other peoples. The USA will be admired for doing what needed doing by a world that was afraid to do the right thing. The short war will be ours and, as Bush said, we will prevail. If Bush and his team have the wisdom to carry this out and anticipate the potential pitfalls, then more power to them.
Here are some tests as we go along. Will they allow unbiased reporting? Or will they hide things and expell reporters who file critical reports. Will they blame others for problems that arise - or will they take responsibility themselves. Will this war just be against Iraq or will Iran be next. Will our civil liberties be further curbed in the interest of National Security? Will it be to free Iraq or will it be for empire. We shall see.
Over 600 people, and possibly 1,000, stood silently last night with candles on the steps below the museum. Stood as witnesses for peace and against war. Ours was one of hundreds of vigils around the world at 7 pm local time. It was hard to count in the dark, despite candles. It was huge.
The above photo by Tip Johnson shows only a portion of the crowd as he was standing in front of another hundred and more hundreds are to his right, out of the photo. All stood silent for most of an hour starting at 7 pm. At times a cold drizzle with the temperature in the low 40s swept across the crowd. No one moved. Young and very old. Silent. Against the insanity of war with Iraq.
Of course the Bellingham Herald reported nothing this morning. Ahh, but when about 40 folks gathered last Wednesday to encourage war, the Herald ran a front page story with a photo of the only few students and suggested the rally was a young peoples rally. The photographer had to carefully compose his photo to show only students - distorted reporting. The Herald reported an exaggerated 75 people and made a big deal of it. Such is corporate media reporting across the USA.
One clarification for the war mongers. You folks who keep writing me. We are for seeking out Osama bin Laden and waging war on the terrorists. Iraq has nothing to do with international terrorism. Bush keeps mentioning 9/11 as part of the reason for attacking Iraq but there is no connection - and he has never given one. How can you be so obtuse? We support our troops. We support the war on terrorism. But we are against attacking a country that has not attacked another country.
Sun, Mar 16, 2003 Noon
Is war a day or two away? Or will we look back on today being the last day of bluster by Bush and Blair? Do we have an agent in Baghdad today trying to cut a deal with Saddam so the USA can back off without losing face. Or will our 82nd Airborne division be lifted into the western Iraqi desert on Tuesday night to take over the airbases there?
In August 1939, Hitler was convinced other nations would do nothing if he attacked Poland. First he concocted false documents to show aggressive actions by Poland and then he attacked with the fastest Blitzkrieg in world history. His generals were not excited about this war. Hitler did not listen to them. He assured them a quick war would go without any problems and be a done deal before the world could react. Of course, his attack on Poland started World War Two.
In March 2003, Bush is convinced other nations cannot stop his attacking Iraq if he wants. He belittles the UN in speeches. We are now learning the documents Bush cited in his speech about an Iraqi nuclear program were forged. He plans 3,000 rocket attacks in the first day of war - the most powerful start of a war in world history. Many prominent generals are warning that war is folly. Bush is only listening to his close group of new-conservative advisors. He has assured everyone of a quick war and a peaceful future. Well - the final sentence is yet to be written.
Will we open pandora's box? Will many more millions of people around the world join in supporting terrorists or anything that can stop US aggression? Will our armchair war mongers here in the US blame every setback on traitors at home - just as the Nazi and Hitler blamed the German people right up to the destruction of Berlin by the Russians? Bush went AWOL when in the National Guard during the Vietnam war. Actually, he was a deserter. He was a drunk and goof off when others his age were being killed in Vietnam. Cheney was a draft dodger. These guys do not have good track records. Have they shown wisdom with their past actions?
We say Iraq is a danger to neighboring countries, yet these countries are against the war and most won't even let us attack from their countries. Bush has no explanation for this. CNN, MSNBC and Fox news are all promoting war and continuing to speculate what Iraq might - could - may do with their "weapons of mass destruction". All guessing - no reality. Meanwhile we prepare to use "depleted" uranium weapons which spread radioactive dust for hundreds of miles. Who is the war criminal? We are.
This week, the contract was signed for building the pipeline from Turkmenistan (far more repressive of its citizens than Iraq), through Afghanistan (Bush gave a BBQ for Taliban leaders at his Texas ranch a couple years ago trying to get them to allow the pipeline - they said no) and to a seaport in Pakistan (very repressive regime but our ally of convenience). The big oil companies have been wanting this pipeline to prevent the gas from going through Russia, which would benefit Russian companies, not American ones. Now we want the Iraqi oil. And we want to dominate the Middle East.
This morning, CNN is full of reports of war coming this week. I get hate mail now calling me a traitor and telling me to leave the USA. Millions around the world are demonstrating for peace every day. The Pope is trying to stop the war. Religious leaders everywhere are speaking against it. The world will erupt in anti-war action if we attack. We can only blame ourselves for the consequences.
Remember we all grew up with the question of why did not the German people stop Hitler? Remember we have always blamed the German people for not standing up to him? Well, now the question is posed to us citizens of the USA. How can we stop the few neoconservatives who have staged a coup and taken over our government? Our congress is frozen with inaction. Our own Rick Larsen is avoiding any statement for or against war. Can democracy work or is it too weak in the face of determined tyrants with money, a plan for world domination and the will to risk all? That is where we are this sunny Sunday in spring 2003.
Fri, Mar 14 11:00 pm
US War Veterans speak out against war with Iraq. A crowded County Council chambar listeded to several Vietnam and Gulf War veterans explain how stupid war actually is.
There was also a presentation on depleted uranium - a weapon that vaporizes into fine radioactive dust and spreads with the wind. The US military uses it in bullets. It has caused thousands of babies to be born with deformities - no eyes, no brains, etc. It has affected US veterans as well as Iraqis.
Western Washington University has a tempest in a teapot brewing. Blair Anderson, an officer in the Campus Republican Club, has been threatening legal action against faculty and students displaying anti-war signs in windows. He says state law forbids using "state resources" for political purposes. He has written the state Attorney General and WWU President Morse.
What is sad is the deer-in-headlights reaction by the WWU administration. They are allowing Blair to intimidate students and faculty by not responding that state law does not void the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The student newspaper reported that students are turning the signs away from the windows. This is like saying you use state resources if you stand in Red Square. Absurd.
I had a spirited exchange of emails with Blair. I may post some of his blather. He misquoted state law as he attempted to say which law applied. When his distortion was cited to him he retreated to personal insults. Blair by himself is only humorous. However, when the Western community allows itself to be intimidated by such a fascist then we have a sad problem. And that is what has happened.
Where is the administration of Western? President Karen Morse has been known to be absolutely frozen with indecision on any issues that might reflect negatively on Western. This information to me directly from those who work near her. As such, we have the present situation of no action by the administration. Sad.
Oh - the Campus Republicans have a web site on the Western Internet system. Yep - state resources. They promote candidates on their web site. Western administrators I talked with were perplexed what to do. Amazing. Of course their web site should stay - they are a campus student club. But the irony is there. Deny those you disagree with their basic rights.
Local Veterans Speak on War
Friday, March 14 - 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Veterans of the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars will share their firsthand experiences of war and its multiple impacts on humans and the environment. They will also address their struggle to get help from the Veterans Administration. A short film about the illnesses of Gulf War veterans will open this free, public forum.
Following the veterans panel will be an expose of the health effects of depleted uranium weapons by Leuren Moret of San Francisco. Moret is a scientist formerly with the Lawrence-Livermore Laboratory in California and a world-renowned expert in low-level radiation and its effects on soldiers and civilians.
Among the veterans who will speak are Dana Briggs, Bill Distler, James Gillies, Frank Kelly, Brandi Mitchell, and Indira Rai-Choudhury (Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and other conflict veterans). Following the program, questions will be taken from the audience. The panelists hope that telling their personal stories at this public event will help educate, unite and bridge divisions in the community over a possible war with Iraq.
Sun, Mar 9
US Rep Rick Larsen is fence sitting
Sat, Mar 8
At his "press" conference, Bush looked and acted as if he were on Valium. There is evidence of this on Internet new sites. Reporters whom he called on for questions had already submitted their questions to the White House staff. Therefore, Bush knew all questions ahead of time. He called on reporters from a list on the lectern. He did not call on the two most important reporters in the room - the senior white house reporter and the Washington Post reporter. They were considered uncooperative. It was a staged show - not a press conference.
Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 - but Bush used 9/11 throughout his presentation as justification for attacking Iraq. Repeat a lie and people will believe it. My war mongering friends keep citing this - even the supposedly educated ones. When called on it they say Saddam might next time. This is sad reasoning.
To those opposing the war. We will be judged very well by history. The conservative Republicans were against stopping Hitler because he was doing business with the USA. (They are not reminding us of that.) It was liberals who urged we stop the dictator. Now the right wingers want war because Saddam will not do business with us. It has nothing to do with stopping an agrressor.
Preemptive war is aggression. There is no such thing as preemptive war. He who attacks first is the aggressor. Virtually every war in history was pushed on the people as necessary to stop aggression. Hitler attacked Poland in a preemptive war and started WWII. We are the aggressors against Iraq. The USA is committing a war crime by waging aggressive war. This was cited as a war crime at Nuemburg against Germany.
To those who back war as necessary to stop a very evil man. There are many leaders in the world worse than Saddam. I have yet to hear a rational response to this argument. I always hear a rant against liberals. Saddam's neighbors do not favor war - because they are not being attacked by him.
Preemptive war does not deter aggression. It indeed causes terrorist attacks. It fosters uncertainty, fear and paranoia. If a country or people may be attacked preemptively, then there is no reason for them to behave on international levels. Saddam has not attacked any neighbor in 12 years - since the Gulf War. Saddam did not help 9/11 terrorists. Our attacking Saddam plays right into the hands of Osama bin Laden. He is the one who will be smiling as we invade Iraq. He will have an easier time recruiting terrorists to his cause.
Bush and his advisors have destroyed our flourishing economy, have caused the rest of the world to fear and hate us, have alienated our closest allies in Europe and are now taking us headong into a major war of aggression. They are just plain mad. Bonkers. Insane. Don't think for a minute that there will be a clean way out of this. Our right wing friends think there will be a clean end - they are absolutely positive of that.
Clean end? Can anyone point to a single war of aggression that ended cleanly? History shows that if we start war then they will end it. In August 1940, the whole world was convinced that Hitler could not be stopped. The German military was preeminent and so the German people thought. Today...
Tue, Mar 4
Don't kid yourself. The war has started. The Pentagon openly admits our planes are now destroying Iraqi military installations that pose a threat to our troops - not just anti-aircraft installations in the no fly zones. We are bombing outside the no fly zones.
We have troops all over the western Iraqi desert. Now. And in the Kurdish areas up north. Now. Scouting. The war has begun. We are escalating by degrees - boiling a frog. Every day a new tidbit on the news about our activity.
It will be interesting to see how our war mongering friends - our fellow citizens - to see how they blame us peace lovers for the catastrophe they are leading us into. Like they blame the press for losing Vietnam. Things will go wrong. They will not take responsibility for their own blind actions.
This web site supports the war on terror. Fully supports it. Al Queda must be fought and destroyed. The #2 guy was arrested yesterday - in Pakistan. So - should we war on Pakistan? Bush is using a couple Al Queda guys in Iraq as one reason for war. The guy is Kuwaiti. Should we bomb that country? Why not? The war on terror has nothing to do with Iraq. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
North Korea is playing with nuclear war. But we don't want a war with North Korea. No oil there. If we would just talk with them then they would calm down. How stupid is our present government.
Chaos is coming. Top State Department officials are resigning daily. They are horrified. The whole world is stunned. And my pro-war friends just keep saying that we must destroy Saddam and invade Iraq. They all think it will be quick, clean, successful and without strings. They show their ignorance of the world. The Gulf War was not clean. It caused the rise of Osama bin Laden and the Al Queda. You cannot start a war and end it. You start it - someone else ends it.
Fri, Feb 28
I love it. Why should we attack Iraq? Because Saddam is so cruel to his own people. This is the reason of the week from our leaders.
Is there logic here? No. We should destroy Iraq and leave millions of people without any infrastructure - no electricity, no water, no roads, no markets, no phones, no radio and TV - because their leader has been cruel to them. As they said in Vietnam - we had to destroy them to save them.
If we want to attack countries with cruel leaders, there are several far worse than Iraq. Saudi Arabia is in the running. So are North Korea and Indonesia. And China.
But the two worst countries in the world are two allies or ours whom we are cutting billion dollar deals with. Pakistan and Turkmenistan - bordering on Afghanistan.
Turkmenistan is horrible to its own people and we are cutting oil and gas deals with them , and planning to pipe through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea and the oil tankers owned by American companies.
Pakistan exports nuclear technology to North Korea and other counties. It is probably harboring Osama bin Laden right now. It is a cruel dictatorship. We are in an alliance of convenience with them.
If we want to go looking for countries with cruel leaders, there are many that qualify. Is that our new foreign policy? That policy just invites terrorist attacks.
By the way, even Bush has never said that Iraq was involved in any way with 9/11. Yet he and others have implied this, misleading 42% of Americans to think we should attack Iraq bacause of Saddam's role in 9/11. He had no role. There is no connection.
Wed, Feb 25
Our power mad leaders are about to plunge us into war. They are so arrogant they are planning the humanitarian help for Iraq after the war. We destroy and then we act like the nice guy. Insanity.
What is sad is all America could be against this war and it will still go forward. Today Bush put even tougher demands on Iraq - he is determined to have his war.
I wonder who our jingoist talking heads on CNN and Fox TV will blame when the war comes home to us. Maybe we will need the humanitarian help from other countries. We rush in like fools. Hubris reigns. We will reap the whirl wind.
Thur, Feb 20
Depleted Uranium. Barbara Rofkar has a guest column in today's Bellingham Herald. She explains why Ellen Murphy was justified handing out leaflets at the recruiting center. Some pretty sad statistics and numbers associated with this weapon of mass destruction that our country uses on other countries.
I commented on this use of radioactive ammunition below on Feb 15 - and will post more info soon. A dirty secret of our government. Read her article.
Sat, Feb 15, 2003
Today, millions are demonstrating against war all over the world. They demonstrate against the USA.
I add my voice and this web site in opposing war. Strongly opposing. There is no close call. We don't need more 'evidence'. The threat of war is not 'necessary'. This is not a "stop a Hitler" situation. We are not the good guys here. We are not acting to protect others. Sadam is not in cahoots with Al Queda or Osama bin Laden. Iraq is not a threat to the USA.
I devour news from many sources. Have since watching the McCarthy hearings on TV 50 years ago. I served in the Air Force during the Cold War in the 60s. I applied for transfer to Viet Nam, but they kept me where I was - helping with weather briefings for spy planes flying over Russia. I believe in a strong military and I support our service men and women. During the Viet Nam war I supported our military, arguing the civilian leadership was wrongly using the military. This has proved correct since then. You won't dig up any photo of me marching against the Viet Nam war because I never did. Don't you dare challenge my patriotism unless your record exceeds mine.
But you can see me holding 'No Iraq War' signs now. Powell lied in his speech to the UN. He drew conclusions from his photos that were disproved by international reporters on the scene - news our US corporate media did not tell us about. The British report he cited was admitted to be bogus by the British government after it was exposed. That was his best shot at instigating war - and it was a bogus presentation.
The countries around Iraq are not advocating war - and they are the only ones that could possibly be threatened. We are not the lone cowboy ready to face the bad guy at high noon while others cower. We are the Hitler finding reasons to attack other countries while all the other countries of the world look on appalled. The Germans in the 1930s were confused why others did not like them. Do we want to reap the whirlwind before we understand?
How many of our service men were casualties of the Gulf War in 1991? Do you know? 200? 300? No. It is over 10,000 and growing by over 100 a month. Official Veterans Administration numbers - but don't expect corporate media to tell you this. Depleted Uranium is a misnomer. It is radioactive - explodes into deadly dust - is inhaled by our troops and civilians - and kills. We have spread a deadly radioactive dust over Iraq and Kuwait. We have sacrificed our own service men and women to an extremely effective weapon - uranium bullets that destroy armored vehicles in a spectacular fashion. And then kill our own people. Even being in the same tank with these shells causes sickness and death. Support of our service men and women means opposing war.
You know - Powell bears the responsibility for totally screwing up the ending of the Gulf War in 1991. We supplied Sadam with weapons. We told him we did not care if he attacked his neighbors. We then chased him out of Kuwait and Powell advised we stop short of destroying the Iraqi Republican Army - to the anguish of our military generals on the ground who only needed two more days to complete the job. Now Sadam is still in power - and we enabled him. We should quit screwing it up.
Terrorism and Iraq are two different concerns. Terrorism will be with us so long as we are the bully in the world. Our government assassinats foreign leaders, aids oppressive dictators, sells arms to dictators and then acts innocent when people become anti-American. Hello. Saudia Arabia is one of the most anti-democratic and oppressive regimes in the world. I could list a dozen more that we support. Iraq is not unique in its oppresive practices. But Iraq has oil and was not letting us share in the profits.
9/11? Al Queda. Not Iraq. We are legitimate in waging war on terrorism. This column is against war on Iraq. War on terrorism is a separate issue and is only touched on here.
Anthrax? It came from the USA - from our own secret government labs - produced against our own international treaties. We are the ones making illegal biological weapons of mass destruction. Our government is confused between trying to find the source and covering up the fact that we produced it. We are the source of our own anthrax terrorist attacks. Destroying Iraq or the al Queda will not stop this. Read the reports. They are linked from this web site.
War against Iraq? Madness. My war monger friends feel good saying lets go kick ass. But they then look for liberals to blame for an economy in the dump. If we blindly lash out at others then they will attack us - any way they can. You know, today's 'terrorism' is tomorrows conventional warfare. The British were horrified at our terrorism during the Revolutionary War when we hid behind trees and shot the redcoats marching on the road. Uncivilized. Barbaric. We better get used to terrorism as a means of war and address the cause - exploitation of others.
War against Iraq? Lunacy. It will lead to the destruction of our country. Bush and his gang are seeking a world empire. They risk all on a gamble. They hope a quick clean victory will prove American arms prowness and face the world with a feat accomplished despite doom sayers, such as myself. But they will be opening pandora's box. We will be into a new war - and our freedoms will be doomed as our country goes on a full war footing. In 1941, all the world thought nothing could stop Germany from world domination. In 1945 Germany reaped the whirlwind. As did Japan. We also could. You better believe it.
No war. Not only because we will suffer but because it is wrong. We Americans want to set an example for the world - not force the world to do things our way. We want to work with others - not bully them into doing things our way. We must have a decent respect for the opinions of others - not have a temper tantrum when they don't go along with us. Sadam is not a threat to us - he may be a threat to the profits of oil companies.
Our national interests need to be redefined. - John Servais
Thur, Feb 6
The war mongers try so hard. And lie so blatantly. In his speech to the UN on Tuesday, Colin Powell praised the British report on Iraqi violations that was released on Monday. If the American corporate media will tell you, it is now proven that the report was plagiarized from papers written by others outside the British government and not from British intelligence agencies. A student report last September, a book article in 1997 - these are what were used for this report cited by Powell as further proof of Iraqi treachery since October and reasons why we should go to war. The original authors were not told. It was a cut and paste job. You or I could have written that report from sources on the Internet.
Did Colin Powell know this? Probably not. Point is he just reads what is given him. He doesn't do any of the research. State Department 'experts' put the praise in his speech. And US government 'experts' wrote his speech for him. He delivered it with conviction and passion. Good show. Well done. Bush approval ratings went up. How much more of what Powell said was just a hodge podge of excerpts? We don't know - and we should be very skeptical.
Regarding the post below on Feb 5. Is it news if the Bellingham Herald doesn't report it? It is if someone reports it. The Herald routinely covers up news that is embarrassing to local government agencies. I attended a meeting with the EPA officials yesterday. Along with reporters from two other newspapers. The Herald will report this when they realize they can no longer ignore it.
Wed, Feb 5
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in Bellingham assessing eleven abandoned coal mines for possible threats to public health. Environmental investigators have presented evidence and expressed concerns that toxic wastes have been secretly stashed in some of the mines. There is also the concern of methane and other gasses that may leak from old mines.
Much of Bellingham is over a spider web of coal mines. There is concern that GP and other industrial firms used the mines for dumping toxic wastes over the past 40 years. Some of these mines are located in the Lake Whatcom watershed and there is fear that leaching of toxic chemicals through the ground and into the lake is poisoning our city water supply. How mercury got into Lake Whatcom remains a mystery with the city, county and state agencies all saying they have no idea how the mercury got there.
After years of receiving evidence and complaints, the EPA has now formed task force that will investigate over the next nine months. It is headed by Joanne LaBaw out of the Seattle office. They will seek records and reports from the Whatcom County Health Department, the State DOE, and other local government agencies. Today the EPA team met with city and county agencies to outline their investigation.
I will follow this issue and post more. There will also be an EPA web site in a couple days with more info and I will link to that. If anyone has personal knowledge of toxic dumping in old mines, either let the EPA know or, if you want to remain anonymous, let me know and I'll pass it on. My email address is at the bottom of this page.
Mon, Feb 3
So, several questions not yet asked of NASA.
¥ Why was the Columbia even up there doing science experiments? Isn't that what the space station for? Me thinks there was a political reason for this flight, not a scientific reason.
¥ It was the heaviest shuttle to ever attempt a return to earth. Six tons heavier than any of the previous 100+ shuttle flights. Up to 16 tons heavier than most shuttles. No one has asked about the extra weight. Now, try loading your car with too many people and see how it take corners and brakes. Way different.
¥ Was the shuttle going faster than other shuttles at that particular altitude and location over Texas? Since it was heavier, perhaps it was going faster at that altitude. If so, then it would have gotten hotter. No one has asked.
Could the shuttle have survived reentry with those damaged tiles if its weight had been normal? Probably a mute question. But the answers to the three questions above are available and require no investigation. Someone needs to ask NASA. If any reader is connected with news media and can get answers to these questions, it would be appreciated.
Sat, Feb 1, 2003
Who am I to comment? First I run this web site in order to comment on issues. Second, I've a decent track record. Comments posted the morning of 9/11 have proven correct over time. They appeared obvious to me then. We have demonized our Islamic kin, we have lashed out blindly, we have instituted a national program to track normal citizens and we now realize our national intelligence agencies totally failed us.
I worked on and off for years with a fellow who had been one of the top NASA consultants years earlier. He told me stories of incredible stupidity by NASA that resulted in the Apollo 13 near disaster. I love the space program and have researched for years how it is run. Unfortunately NASA seems to learn from disasters, and to not use common sense. Example. When asked how they determined what level of safety to use, NASA said they used statistics for an airline passenger flying round trip from New York to Los Angeles. That is not using common sense. There is no connection. A non sequitur.
We belong in space - we humans are explorers by our very evolution. But NASA is no place for bureaucrats who make decisions based on political pressure. NASA has great engineers, but we have seen past disasters where the critical decisions were made by administrators who overruled the engineers.
Richard Feynman was a scientist on the Challenger shuttle accident commission in 1986. He figured out the cause of that disaster despite the political efforts to keep the commission from turning in anything but a fake report. His work was almost successfully suppressed. He did manage to get his opinion included in the final report as Appendix F. The story of how he even got Appendix F included is relevant to what will probably now take place as NASA 'investigates' the cause of the Columbia disaster.
Finally, much on TV news this morning is made of the Israeli astronaut. But not much about Kalpana Chawla. She is a native of India. Her country and relatives in India are also grieving. But the news is only about grieving in Israel. We continue to be racist against the eastern world.
Tue, Jan 28
There will be an open discussion on the question of whether the Bellingham City Council should adopt a resolution against war with Iraq. An overflow crowd of citizens pressed the council last night to adopt one. A majority rejected the request, but a majority voted to allow a discussion on another night.
This Thursday, Jan 30, 6:30 pm, at the Municipal Court building, 2014 C Street. It is unknown which council members might show up to listen.
Mon, Jan 27
We have received a report of police and State Troopers disrupting legal and peaceful overpass demonstrators in the Shoreline area on Saturday. Is this the beginning of repression of this effective process for communicating and showing strength of numbers? Or an isolated screwup by a few police? More as we learn.
The Overpass Protests page has the state law that applies to protests from overpasses. It is a legal activity and police cannot remove or arrest you. Next Saturday it would be prudent for many protestors to have digital cameras and video cameras to document any harrasment from police. Send them here and we will post them. Don't expect the corporate media to cover this.
I have a sticky feeling about late this week. War fever has gripped our leaders and news media. With countries around Iraq refusing to allow our troops to buildup on their turfs, we might jump early into the Syrian Desert of western Iraq and set up a base. Just a feeling.
Tue, Jan 21
The Overpass Protests page has been updated this morning. Can you believe 22 people were on the Sunset exit overpass last Saturday noon holding 'No Iraq War' signs. The protests continue to grow.
Sunday's Bham Herald reported only 30,000 people in Washington DC anti war rally on Saturday. DC police estimated over 100,000 and other reliable reports said over 200,000. Organizers said 500,000. The Herald is part of the Gannett Corporate Media group that is under reporting the facts of anti war protests.
Mon, Jan 20
Overpass protestors in Whatcom County increased about 50% in numbers this past Saturday, according to reliable reports. Seattle media showed them on the overpasses down there and in Olympia. The virtue of the demonstration is it delivers a peace message to thousands within a two hour time slot each Saturday. It also allows interaction with drivers, via honks and waves - something a march down a city street with police milling about does not allow.
The message is two fold. One - peace is an alternative to war. Duh. But you don't get that alternative watching Herr Wolf Blitzer Goebbles on CNN. War is the only answer there. Two - the number of people opposed to the war is not just a handfull. Driving down the freeway and seeing many people on every overpass does the psychological job of telling people that it is acceptable to be for peace and still be an American. To be for peace is patriotic. To be for peace is legitimate. And it says the peace movement is growing.
I expect a more full report on last Saturday to be posted tomorrow or Wednesday. Check the Overpass Protest page.
Pollution of Lake Whatcom and the questions of how all the mercury got into our Whatcom County environment may get some big attention in February. Last December 13 I wrote that our cancer rates were high and suggested it was due to mercury and toxic pollutions in our county. I thought the EPA was about to act. Now I get word again that the EPA will be visiting this question.
The situation is this. For years - decades actually - the county Health Department has covered up the health problems in our county. For these same decades, the WA Department of Ecology, DOE, has covered up the toxic dumping by Georgia Pacific and other local polluters. This dumping has caused Whatcom County to become a disease ridden area with some cancer rates (and United States Cancer Statistics ) much higher than the rest of the state and nation. The Y Road dump is one example of toxic seepage. It percolates ground water into Lake Whatcom. So, what was dumped there? DOE knows nothing. DOE reports have been 'lost'. There are many little toxic dumps all over the county.
Our city and county councils have turned a blind eye to this for decades. Even the supposed environmentalists and progressives on the councils have been silent. Each of them has the soap box needed to speak out on this and they have all refused to go near this. We citizens can speak out but we can also be ignored by the Bellingham Herald and government agencies. Now the EPA may turn all this around. Stay tuned. I just hope my info is correct. We need help.
Finally, we have a charming WWU vs City of Bellingham story. Who is in charge anyway? Western's Parking dictator, Jim Shaw, saw that some students had found a free parking strip on 21st street near the new Services building. He promptly had the curb painted green and put up no parking signs. No matter that this is a city street and not under his jurisdiction. No matter that a loading zone was not needed nor used. The city Public Works got wind of this and they pulled out the no parking signs. There then ensued an argument, with the city backing down. The no parking zone is back. Jim Shaw, who runs a fiefdom of a dozen campus cops, draws a $90,000 a year salary, compared with our Sheriff who draws about $83,000. This story simply illustrates how Western tells the city what it wants and the city dances. And how nicely Western is wasting our tax dollars on fat salaries for small minded bureaucrats who cause problems.
Mon, Jan 13
The I-5 Peace Vigils on Saturdays are growing. What started as a dozen Whatcom County folks in December is now spreading down to Oregon and perhaps hundreds of participants. Here is a photo of the Slater Road overpass just north of Bellingham taken by Paul deArmond.
From 11am to 1pm every Saturday, they hold up signs printed "No Iraq War". Honest reports say that over 50% of the drivers respond positively with a honk or wave. Those very few in favor of war tend to give the finger - a limited visual vocabulary. Over 70 people stood vigil on Whatcom County overpasses last Saturday.
Want to join? Just go to any overpass at 11am next Saturday. The folks there will have extra signs. They will welcome you.
Sat, Jan 11, 2003
He has commuted the death sentences of all 162 inmates on death row in Illinois. This is a historic act. He has courage beyond all our experiences with elected officials today.
There is a saying that only Nixon could go to China. What is meant is that if a Democratic Party president tried to recognize China then the conservatives would howl and scream treason. But Nixon, the commie hater, could do it.
Now we have a Republican Governor of one of our most populous states arguing against the death penalty. A Democrat would be accused of being a bleeding heart and a softie on crime. We will see the right wing talking heads on TV try to first ignore his speech and then squirm all over trying to find fault with this speech.
The "machinery of death" is outdated. Put a convicted murderer in a 6 foot by 12 foot cell and let them live out their life in loneliness. So said the Governor.
Watch, gentle reader. I think this speech will initiate a reform movement in the USA to abolish the death penalty. You come to this web site for my take on events - well there you have it. Before the spin meisters get it. A Republican Governor has acted with courage - something all Democratic Governors have not had the courage to do.
Mon, Jan 6
The Interstate highway overpass "No Iraq War" protests are catching on. More people are appearing each Saturday on overpasses, holding the anti war signs. It started in Bellingham in December, spread down to Seattle and is now spreading towards Oregon. We hear that it is starting in Florida and other states. Each Saturday, from 11 am to 1 pm, at any Interstate overpass.
Participants report that people in most passing cars give some sort of supportive signal - thumbs up, wave, honk - with the rest doing nothing and the very occasional person giving the finger. (It seems the Bush war supporters normal way to indicate disagreement in a democracy.)
The protests against the inevitable war continue to grow. A NwCitizen supporter created the 'overpass' page. We'll let you know of new information.
Thur, Jan 2
Have you seen the folks on freeway overpasses holding the "No Iraq War" signs? You can participate in these vigils. Just go to any overpass on this Saturday between 11 am and 1 pm. Join the others there. You can get a sign at the Peace Center in the Leopold Building on Cornwall Ave, downtown Bellingham. If you don't have a sign you can still stand with them in support. .
Wed, Jan 1, 2003
Happy New Year. May we somehow avoid war this year. All agree that we are on the brink of war. While this web site is mainly concerned with local government abuses, it will oppose the war, a national issue. Gawd, we are going to look back on this from future years and wonder why we went crazy for war.
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