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2005 - January thru December

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Wed, Dec 28, 2005

Juan Cole continues to provide the best available analysis of our Iraq involvement - at least that I have found. While his stance is not supportive of the Bush imperial goals, those in support of the war would not be too offended by reading it. Juan receives credit from major news media on a routine basis, being interviewed or referred to often.

His post of yesterday lists 10 myths about Iraq in 2005 - among which is the myth that; "The guerrillas are winning the war against US forces." Of course, some others will not sit well with war supporters.

When our TV news channels totally fail to understand what they are reporting each day, then we should rely on those on the Internet who are credible. As an example, last night, CBS news analysed the huge street demonstrations in Iraq as being the equivalent of our smoky back room political meetings. Such a shallow and erroneous perspective is of no use to us citizens. How we as individuals judge Iraq will influence how we each vote next November. We are served by trying to understand and not by self deceit.

Tue, Nov 29

Has the ACLU sold out? From an AP article today.

"Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats."

-- and later in the article...

"Howard Simon, executive director of ACLU of Florida, said the Miami initiative appears aimed at ensuring that people's rights are not violated."

Reminds one of those movies of WWII with Gestapo agents demanding IDs from persons on the streets. We are moving to a police state. And the ACLU seems to be caving.

Fri, Nov 25

Draft Dodger Dick Cheney wants to continue sending young Americans to death in Iraq. And being maimed - and being mentally unstable the rest of their lives. Dick didn't want to go to Viet Nam to fight to establish Democracy in Asia. But he leads the hot talking bunch of draft dodging war mongers in Washington DC.

What is amazing is our conservative pro-war friends cannot believe a thing good about Bill Clinton because he lied about a sexual relationship. Well, Bill Clinton also avoided Viet Nam and the draft, but then he spent eight years as president and the number of American kids killed in war with him as President was less than the number killed in one day with Bush and Cheney running things. Clinton has been against war his entire life. Cheney is a fraud.

Sat, Nov 19

I watched the US House of Representatives on C-Span last night - live. A sad display. They have now all gone home for a 2 week vacation - even before they have finished taking away the safety nets for our society in order to finance new weapons for destroying more of Iraq and their society.

Last night the war mongers showed the world how bankrupt their own policies are. They proposed a resolution for an immediate pull out of our military from Iraq - exactly the opposite of what they want to do. Why? To squash a proposal for a resolution by moderates that the US at least put in place some plan for how we will exit. The war mongers haven't any rational proposal they can propose - and so they are freaking out as the wheels come off their programs. They pushed those for an end of the war into an irrational corner - and cowed them into retreat. For now.

Rep. Murtha, a Marine and respected military expert, has come to oppose further war. The Republicans turned on him like mad dogs. Till now, he has been one of their honored champions. But the war mongers are like a wolf pack. Dare to disagree and they tear that person apart. They are a frenzied lot. We will see an increase in their panic and lashing out blindly at all who threaten their programs.

Sun, Nov 13

From the year 2000 when Bush took office, till recently, the Bush Administration has slammed the Clinton administration for not being concerned about Iraq and Saddam. Now that the lies of Bush are being exposed, the Bush Administration is saying Clinton was also concerned and believing the same false intelligence. Tilt. Not true. Another lie.

Funny how when they think they are right then Clinton was wrong. And when they are shown to be wrong then, like little kids, they say Clinton was wrong too. Maybe they will change the story again next month.

Sat, Nov 12

GW Bush says we critics of his war are rewriting history. He says no one knew the intelligence was false in the spring of 2003 and going to war had broad support. Well, this common citizen in the far Pacific Northwest knew the reasons were bogus and lies - and I repeatedly posted that on this website. If I knew, then everyone else could know because I have no edge on anyone.

Feb 15, 2003 - over a month before the "shock and awe" invasion - this website pointed out Colin Powell's speech at the UN was bogus. How could I know? From reading foreign posts and news websites besides the NY Times and other Americana mainstream news media. From not buying into war mongering. Go read the posts from throughout the spring of 2003. Rewriting history? Those posts were made with information available to all - before the invasion.

Fri, Nov 11

A GOP memo is calculating that another terrorist attack on US soil will benefit GW and the Republicans. These are the guys who celebrate the deaths of American kids in war. So, is the party of Lincoln and Goldwater now becoming like a third world dictatorship that will welcome anything that keeps them in power?

Tue, Nov 8

Winter is descending on Pakistan and the earthquake victims will continue dying by the thousands over the next few weeks. Why? Because the relief agencies - including our American Red Cross - are treating this disaster with a big yawn. Notice you have not seen any pleading TV commercials? No telethons. The quake happened one month ago today - Oct 8.

88,000 people have already died - many more than from the tsunami in the vacation resorts of SE Asia and the hurricane in New Orleans.

Over 3 million are homeless and winter weather in the Himalaya mountains is roaring into the valleys of Kashmir. But there is no oil there and so the US cares not. Our government is not extending a hand where it would gain us friends in central Asia. No oil. No tourists. No seaports. No "strategic" significance. No help.

You, gentle reader, and myself cannot do much about this. This column sometimes seeks only to point out double standards and blind holes in our cherished beliefs that our American society and customs are superior to all previous cultures in the world. We are no better and no worse than other societies we refuse to learn about - but that we treat with disdain.

Sat, Nov 5

Mark Wilson is running for US Senator - as a Democrat and against Maria Cantwell. His website is www.votemark.org and it will be posted in the column to the right in a few days. If Mark is to have a real chance then he needs supporters now - to get his campaign going strong and show there is a chance. Yes, politics feeds on itself.

So - party line Ds will lecture us that if Mark somehow beats Maria in the primary that he will have no chance against Republican Mike McGavick, the anointed one from the right. In truth, he may have a better chance than Maria as Washington state is pretty liberal.

Mark, a veteran, wants us out of Iraq. Maria is decidedly on the fence, playing both sides.

Tue, Oct 25

2,000 US military persons have been killed on the battlefields of Iraq since the March 2003 bombing and invasion. What is more horrifying is over 15,000 have been wounded. And tens of thousands have been traumatized for life - persons the rest of us will have to care for the rest of their lives - persons who will not ever be able to just enjoy life.

Insane leaders say we must send hundreds of thousands more to the battlefields for 10 more years in order to "honor" those already killed. This is the thought process of a cave man - of an barbarian war lord - of a person who has never seen the horror of war. A person who went AWOL and was a drunkard for many years and who failed at several businesses. This is GW Bush and his neocon advisors.

Our US Representative Rick Larsen continues to meekly oppose the war. The Democrats in Congress are afraid to speak out against it. They are looking at polls and trying to judge what is safe to say. We who can see how stupid this war is can only continue to speak out. And remember which of our elected representatives and leaders were too stupid or too scared to speak out with us. We should find new persons to elect.

Tue, Oct 19

Fluoridation. Got your attention? Time magazine has an article this week about our Bellingham fight over whether or not to put fluoride in our drinking water. It is worth reading.

I think putting this medicine in our drinking water is almost criminal. Outside corporate money is pouring into Bellingham to push this issue. Some do gooder local doctors and dentists are pushing this with no idea of how they violate their oath to "do no harm". Even if a little fluoride is beneficial to teeth, too much causes a serious disease in teeth - and too much is not much for kids who routinely drink tap water during the day.

Vote no on this. Even if you personally think it will do good, you have no right to force others to take your drug of choice. The most absurd scene for me is to watch wealthy folks say it will be good for poor children. This from people who pay more attention to their tennis dates and whether they should buy a new car than whether or not some poor kid has an education.

Sunday, Sep 18

"It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces -- the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice." - George W - speaking in New Orleans Thursday evening.

bottom of the 7th paragraph from the end..

One way a bureaucratic agency gets more power is to purposely allow a situation to get very bad and then propose legislation giving more power to the agency. GW is, in the opinion of many of us, going for tyranny. The slow response was deliberate and calculated. The bastards are using the disaster to simply gain more power for themselves.

Not much reported is Bush suspended wage controls for disaster area - allowing Halliburton to pay very low wages to those folks for work to rebuild. His friends now benefit from disaster - and the locals make less per hour than they did before Katrina. Conservatives applaud this.

Sat, Sep 3

Most agree - even W. Bush - that FEMA has botched the aid effort for New Orleans. Now we learn that Mike Brown, the director of FEMA, was fired in 2001 from his last private sector job of overseeing horse shows. He then got a job with FEMA through his old college roommate - and rose to the head of FEMA. He had no emergency relief experience.

Read it yourself in the Boston Herald online.

Where does the buck stop? How many more directors and top management folks appointed by GW are as incompetent. Brown was a good GOP activist. We can easily see what is happening in New Orleans - but we cannot see what is happening in Iraq except for what the military tells the news media.

We have only the foreign web sites to help us get an understanding of how badly we are screwing up in Iraq. Those Americans who think we cannot possibly be doing badly in Iraq should pay attention to New Orleans. And let us remember that up till yesterday, Bush and Brown and all our Federal officials were saying all was going well and as planned. Were they deceiving us or did they not know themselves? Neither answer is very assuring.

I beg my Iraq war supporting friends to take a second look at that war. It is a tragedy for the USA, for Iraq and for the future of world stability.

Thur, Sep 1

Latest right wing banal humor circulating on the Internet. This from the guys who say "my country, right or wrong". This from the folks who actually think they have a rational reason for us to be invading a little country on the other side of the world. Look at your watch. Whatever time it is right now, subtract or add 12 hours - and you have the time in Iraq. Meanwhile, the W. Bush administration is still a deer staring into head lights over Katrina. The numb nuts still cannot realize that wishful thinking does not work.

Check it out. A short movie clip of Bob Hope from the 1930s.

Fri, Aug 19

A new Bellingham progressive web site - Vote PC - has just been put up by Ryan Ferris. It has a very good mission. To bring some intelligence and law to our local governments in Whatcom County. That includes the Port of Bellingham. I'm posting a link in the right side column.

Wed, Aug 17

Sat, Aug 20, post
Below I suggest no local elected officials attended the vigil. I am pleased to report that city council member Terry Borneman attended. Others saw him and told me. Anyone else?

10 pm post
Several hundred citizens assembled on the Fairhaven Village Green this evening to stand with Cindy Sheehan who is standing in Texas.

Above, Dan Weekly, the fellow behind the vigil, speaks to the crowd. This photo doesn't show the full crowd of perhaps 400 people who came out on an August night. Heads up when autumn arrives and we assemble to protest the war. Dan rented the Green from the Bellingham Parks and then registered the vigil with MoveOn.org, where 285 people registered to attend. This was one of over 1,600 vigils across the USA this evening.

We looked in vain for any elected officials. Sharon Crozier, running for the Bellingham City Council, was the only candidate present. Where are our local "leaders"? Our US Representative Rick Larsen is again sitting on the fence - as he did at the beginning of the war. We read that the Democrats are holding back, waiting to see what happens. Seems the leaders of this country are the citizens. We will show them the way. Again.

I thank Dan Weekly for just plain making this happen. As expected, some arrived at 7:30, some at 8 and some after. Everyone made this a very good vigil. Several minutes of silence marked the focal point of the evening. We can expect more of these. I will post info at the top of this page as far in advance as possible.

Tis time for us all to stop this war and bring our boys and girls home. Before more of them are killed, maimed or mentally destroyed. We can aid Iraq in rebuilding at less cost. No other country is going to attack them. They invented civilization and can take care of themselves. They don't need us.

4 pm post
Liberals can't organize a vigil. I doubt most can organize a birthday party. I'm liberal and proud of it. I agree with my fellow liberals on political principles - but am appalled at their clumsy but good intentioned efforts to organize anything.

The vigil this evening will actually start at 8 pm, not 7:30 pm as stated on the MoveOn website - nor at 8:30 pm as the local organizers informed many. Emails are flying around the county this afternoon trying to clarify all this. Why? Gawd, I can't answer that. I've watched for years as one event after another is scrambled because of time or who is invited or who is supposed to speak or even dates.

A conservative event starts on time and does what it advertises. The snacks are good and there is always literature. Organizers approach newcomers and welcome them.

Oh well. People will gather this evening on the Village Green. We will probably see a huge crowd. It will all work out OK. One difference between liberals and conservatives is liberals go with the flow and conservatives get irritated if things don't proceed per plan. Hmmm - so maybe I'm a closet.... No.

Watching CNN with Anderson Cooper as he interviews war hawks who explain Cindy Sheehan's viewpoint. He does not interview any from the staunch left who are well informed. Normal twisting news control by CNN to discredit what the people of this country want. Only Aaron Brown remains credible on CNN.

10 am post
As of this morning,
over 200 people have signed up at MoveOn.org website for this evenings vigil at the Fairhaven Village Green. We can expect many who did not sign up - making for a respectable vigil.

Signing up also sends a message with the number of others across our country that we share the feelings and questions of Cindy Sheehan. Why should any more of our kids be blown to bits in Iraq? What is the "noble cause"?

No speakers this evening - I am told at least. Bring a candle if you have one. It will be cloudy but not raining - and pleasantly warm. See you there.

Tue, August 16

A vigil to support Cindy Sheehan is being held tomorrow evening on the Fairhaven Village Green. Cindy is the mother of the soldier killed in Iraq. She is camped outside the gates to George Bush's ranch in Texas. He has ignored her for two weeks - with three weeks left in his vacation.

You can sign up at the Moveon.org website. Or not sign up and just attend. I signed up to proudly show my name as opposed to the criminal Iraqi war.

Wednesday, August 17 - 7:30 pm
Fairhaven Village Green - the south side of Bellingham.

Lets pack the Village Green. Lets support Cindy. And protest the war.

Sun, July 10

You gotta love this shit. Israeli Intelligence knew of the London bombings an hour before they went off. And so did Scotland Yard. Hell, Israeli National News posted it on their website. Make of it what you will. Sigh, it seems all too obvious.

The British government is trying to force a very onerous ID card system on the English people. Apparently this bombing is convincing many Brits that the ID card may be a good idea.

Thur, July 7

So much for progress against terrorism. Multiple blasts on the London transportation system are evidence of that. Maybe just killing civilians by the thousands - as we have done in Iraq - and destroying their cities is not the way to reduce recruits to Al Qaida. Maybe destabilizing governments - or just destroying them - is not the way to a stable world of nations.

We have squandered ourselves in Iraq. Osama hoped we would blindly lash out and we did. Instead of focusing on terrorism, Bush used our fear as a lever to go for conquering the heart of oil producing Iraq.

We should develop stable relations with nations. We should encourage fair treatment and tolerance of all. We should set an example of this. But that would require us to give up our dominant economic position in the world. And we will not do that. And so we risk all on empire or disaster. History has only examples of disaster for those nations and countries that have attempted empire. Bush and his neocons think we can do it. If only we Americans hold steady to his vision of constant war.

This latest attack should mean that we refocus on terrorism and back out of the dead end war in Iraq. Our war there strengthens the growth of terrorism. We are playing according to Osama's plan book. We get angry and lash out - shooting and bombing innocents everywhere. We marginalize those in the US who believe in Islam or are even Middle Eastern. And we wonder why Al Quaeda continues to thrive.

A few smart bombs on a Syrian border town will not hurt Al Queda. Nor reduce the threat of terrorism. Nor make the world safer.

Mon, July 4

Happy Fourth. In his speech today, Bush is comparing his criminal war in Iraq to our fight for Independence two hundred years ago. Well, here is a more accurate comparison.

The British from 1775 through 1781 were incensed that so many Americans were terrorists who hid behind trees and fired on the British soldiers - instead of wearing red, easy-to-aim-at uniforms and marching in straight lines - as the British did. We cheated in our fight for independence. The British newspapers considered us cowards and vermin. Indeed, perhaps only 25% of Americans wanted independence, the rest either not caring or wanting to stay British. King George knew this and felt he was sending troops to protect the loyal English subjects.

Tories - Americans who stayed loyal to the governments that the British had established in each colony - were treated horribly by the cowardly American rebels. Tory property was burned, cattle were stolen and tens of thousands of Tories fled to Canada for personal safety.

Hmmm - in Iraq today, the cowardly insurgents are blowing up US troops with unconventional roadside bombs and suicide bombers. And the Iraqis who dare to work with the Americans are being targeted by the rebels - er, insurgents and terrorists. Same as we targeted the Tories.

British troops were 3,000 miles from home with their multi-national force consisting of German and English soldiers. Our troops are 10,000 miles from home with the paid for and coerced multi-national force. It looked like the Americans would surely lose the war as General Howe scored victory after victory. It took over six years for the Americans to convince the British that the war was futile. A lot of Tories died and a lot of British soldiers died. It took the Vietnamese approximately 10 years to convince us to get out. The Iraqis have only been fighting us for two years.

History has much to teach us if we care to learn. Don't over extend your military. Don't go to war with no clear goal. Don't start a war if you cannot finish it. Don't lie to your people about the war if they might later learn the truth. Don't abuse the people of an occupied country. Don't set vague goals that you have no chance of achieving. And on and on. Bush and the neocons who planned this war thought they could ignore history. And they are not learning how wrong they were and are.

Sat, July 2

The link to No Forced Fluoride in Bellingham is posted to the right. The pro-fluoride initiative backers - financed by Seattle powers with well laundered money passed along to hide the sources - has succeeded in paying for enough signatures in Bellingham. Expect a clear sailing through city hall and to the ballot in November. The city lawyers and council like this initiative and will see no evil. Unlike the Motor Boats Off initiative of last summer - where city staff, under the strict supervision of Mayor Mark - found one fictional problem after another and kept the initiative off the ballot.

Money speaks. Fluoride is a costly by product of other industrial processes. It has little market - except as a tooth treatment. While individual homes can use it for their teeth if they choose, much more money is to be made from selling to municipal water treatment plants.

The buying and selling of signatures is a dirty business. When Tim Eyeman does it, our liberal do gooder elites scream foul. The same folks see nothing wrong with doing it for their own crusades. In the end we cannot legislate money out of politics. But we can vote it down by paying attention to where it is the dictating force. Fluoridation is such an issue. Money whose source has not been explained is flowing into this forced fluoride campaign like toxic water flowing from GP. Shame on the local doctors lending their names to this dirty politics.

Thur, June 30

A modest correction to yesterday's post below. Contrary to paragraph 3, prior to 9/11 the international terrorists could also find sanctuary in Yemen, Canada and the USA. These are in addition to Afghanistan. Thanks to a regular reader for pointing this out.

Yesterday, British PM Blair admitted that the Downing Street memos are authentic. There are more documents that show the Bush administration secretly started the bombing of Iraq months earlier in 2002.

Wed, June 29

Lets see if we can state this in a way conservatives and war hawks can understand. Because 9/11 is being used as a false excuse for the war in Iraq and because Bush had no post war plan for Iraq, we now have created chaos that we cannot end. Naturally the terrorist forces have moved into Iraq to further humiliate us.

Bush has given the terrorists a huge benefit over the past three years. Far from acting wisely to defeat international terrorism, his rash war has furthered the terrorists' agenda. Bush has turned most of the world from liking us to fearing us. And the terrorists are exploiting that.

The terrorists could only find safe sanctuary in Taliban Afghanistan before 9/11. Now they find safe sanctuary also in Iraq. And most other Middle East countries have populations that are now more likely to support, hide, join and finance terrorists than they were three years ago. Bush has helped Bin Laden.

This may not have been Bush's intention nor his vision of how all this would work out. But that is what we have now. Why? Because we have destroyed a viable country where we did not like the government. And the rest of the world has watched in horror. That country - that government - had done nothing to us, had nothing to do with 9/11, and did not harbor the terrorists. Bush knew this. We all knew this. (See Mar 4, 2003 on this website.) Bush lied to us and went to war. (He mentioned 9/11 five times even last night in justifying the war.) Now we have chaos. And it will get worse.

Meanwhile, as I posted back three months ago, China grows stronger. Bush weakens our military, fights a useless war, threatens several countries with war all at once - Iran, Syria, N. Korea - reverses 8 years of debt reduction and buries us in huge international debt. China will be able to work its will on us within a few years.

This website is one voice of one citizen of this great country. I speak out as a citizen. I encourage others to also. Tis a crisis much worse than Vietnam ever was. Bush's speech last night was a confirming moment that he is leading us down the path of perdition. In their minds, Bush and his associates have marginalized us anti-war liberals as traitors and unpatriotic. Conservatives need to realize this. They need to rethink their positions and look at where we are going.

Wed, Jun 22

We found the nerve endings. The fluoride proponents don't like the word "medicine" as used in the June 16 post below. Of course fluoride in water is just that - medicine. Medicine that is supposedly harmless for the majority of drinkers of public water and beneficial for a minority.

Sloppy logic is used to get around issues. Chlorine in water is needed to kill germs and keep our water basically safe. It is not in the water for any other purpose. If we did not need the chlorine - or is some less dangerous chemical worked - then we would not put it in our water. But the fluoride proponents try and equate fluoride as no different from chlorine. The purpose is different - one is for safety and the other is for medicinal purposes - but they talk around this and refuse to answer yes or no on the question. Amazing. They really think they know what is best for the us. And avoid the basic issues. And claim honesty. Such arrogance.

Whenever I post something, a certain number of people write or tell me something like "I've read your site for years with respect. But you have really disappointed me with this post and I no longer respect you." Sigh. They cannot disagree - they have to insult. With the fluoride post, this has doubled.

If a web page somewhere posts information in favor of fluoridation and makes sense - or even keeps its logic intact - then I'll post a link to it. It has to be succinct, clear, well written and to the point. Lets see if such a web page even exists.

Thur, Jun 16

The fluoride proponents don't have a clue. They don't get it. When I open my water tap, I want clean water to come out, not medicine.

These well meaning folks think they know what I need - and what others need. They want to save us from ourselves. Poor kids have bad teeth, so lets put medicine in the water. How goofy. They should work for dental care for poor kids.

A little cyanide in the water would probably reduce domestic violence in our community. How about Vitamin C to supplement the lack of fresh fruit in school lunch programs. How about chocolate syrup in our water. Some might like that. How about Ritalin. Or Valium. A lot of things that might - in some people's minds - fix some malady of our society. So put it in the water that everyone has to drink.

Bottled water is delivered to our Whatcom County Court House every week. Those government employees don't drink our water. Their clean bottled water is paid for by we taxpayers. You can bet there is no fluoride in those bottles of water. Nor any chemicals. How nice. And just why is not the tap water good enough for them? What is in our tap water that our local government bureaucrats don't want to drink?

The question is not what studies show what fluoride does or doesn't do. The question is how can we get clean pure water from our taps in our homes. Chlorine is needed in small amounts to keep the water safe and free of germs. OK. And other treatments may be needed for safety. But nothing else should go into our water. And we should keep our Lake Whatcom clean enough so that we don't have to load up the water with too much chlorine and other chemicals. .

Water. We want pure clean water. It is as simple as that. It really is

Sun, June 12

Chuckanut Ridge is a controversy now - and it is deja vu of 1996. On October '96, NwCitizen broke new information and posted three reports that helped to stop the development. It also recommended that Greenways buy up the area - or some of it. Greenways could have done this and put in place some covenants to prevent any wrong development in the future of the area.

9 years later we are facing the same problem again. Developers plan several 10 story apartment buildings for the 100 acre woods.

Read the 1996 postings. Judge for yourself if we have squandered 9 years with inaction. Some of the people leading the objections to the current development have done nothing about it for 9 years.

I have left local issues alone on NwCitizen since helping to start the Whatcom Independent weekly newspaper in 2003. This post is an exception and is done because the 1996 postings are relevant to our concerns today. The Indy is reporting on this issue during this summer. Pick it up and see what we have to tell you.

Sun, Jun 5

How small are our military leaders? Very. How childish and petty? Very. How uncaring in supporting our soldiers? Very. How incompetent and wasting of lives and money while not paying attention to the basics of war? Very.

David Hackworth died and the Pentagon snubbed his funeral. They snubbed the most decorated, the most accomplished officer and the youngest full colonel of Vietnam. Why? Because he told the truth about our US military and about wars. Because he cared about soldiers and tried to avoid useless deaths. Because our military leaders - our generals and admirals - are a bunch of incompetent bureaucrats who are skilled only at covering their own asses.

A true American hero died. We should honor him. Instead the Bush administration pretends he didn't exist. The emptiness of Bush and his generals and their lack of respect for soldiers is again shown. They dishonor our country. They show how small, petty and unpatriotic they really are.

Mon, May 30

The folks trying to buy the 100 acre Fairhaven Highlands proposed development and turn it into a city park now have their own website - One Hundred Acre Wood.

New - local website that addresses the issue of voting machines and fair election counts.
No Leaky Buckets - posted by Marian Beddill of Bellingham

Sat, May 21

The media conference was a surprising success. Surprising because so many attended and were very focused on learning more about independent media. Over 20 people attended all the sessions I checked out. The closing speech by Bert Sacks had an overflow room - over 70 people by my estimate.

The blog panel had five excellent speakers from Seattle who really knew their craft. It was an honor to moderate. As promised to the attendees, links to the panelists' blogs ar posted - see the top right under the flag. Whether you attended or not, I encourage you to check them out.

Wed, May 18

There is an interesting media conference this Saturday, May 21, in Bellingham, that is oriented towards independent and grassroots efforts. This includes blogs, public TV and radio, small newspapers, etc. Full schedule and info is posted at http://whatcompjc.org/mediaconf/ While this event has a fairly liberal bent, independent media should be of interest to conservatives as well. I have been invited to moderate the afternoon blogging panel and look forward to a good presentation with the six other political blog editors on the panel.

Sun, May 15

Well, when my sainted aunt writes asking if I'm feeling OK because nothing has been posted here, then it is time to pay attention to this blog. With over 300 people a day checking for posts, I could be more respectful of your interest and post more. There is no lack of issues - only personal time.

I remember a few years back a local newspaper editor referred to NwCit as a "blog" in an insulting tone. At the time the term was new and I was not sure what it meant, but I knew that he was way behind on understanding communications. Now blogs are an accepted medium. I respected newspapers then and still do. There is a comfort to working one's way through a good newspaper.

This "blog" is now approaching its 10th anniversary. It started years before the name was coined. It just seemed obvious to me that a website was perfect for posting news. Particularly for issues the daily newspaper ignored. In 1991, my actions in shaking up the Port of Bellingham on the KAP scandals was successful despite the Herald ignoring the issue because the Seattle PI broke the stories. The Herald then decided to make me a non-person. The Herald honors active citizens that way. Thus, I started this website to get local issues out.

Now I'm publisher of the Whatcom Independent weekly newspaper. I started working with several people in 2000 to bring a weekly newspaper to our community. Not an Arts and Entertainment or counter culture paper, but a paper that reported local news that we citizens need to know about in order to function as citizens. We started publishing in November, 2003, and my business partners asked me to be publisher in January 2004. I have put my efforts into helping that paper succeed.

So, since starting the paper, I have tended to avoid local issues on NwCitizen, preferring to help the Indy bring out those stories. My activist role must change and I am trying to adapt. I started as an activist in 1978 as an advisor to the first freeholders and in helping pass the Home Rule Charter for our county. This is not the place for a personal chronology - you can read the one posted for years. My point is, I'm not sure what role NwCitizen can play for you, gentle readers. Over the next few months I will be experimenting with some ideas I have. So do check back.

The KAP scandal? The Herald ran one page of articles in 1991 explaining the scandal without mentioning my name. It was a scandal that cost Whatcom County taxpayers over $4 million dollars. The Herald never has printed a word of it since. The Port changed the name of the KAP building to the International Trade Building. It was empty for most of 14 years - costing us taxpayers another million or so dollars. The Feds, via Homeland Security, have just rented the place and saved the Port's butt. Oh - and none of the Port Commissioners were reelected. Scott Walker beat the incumbent in Nov '91 - the first time a sitting Port Commissioner had been defeated in 60 years. The other two commissioners decided not to run again. And I started this blog.

Thur, May 5

Our county auditor has decided to buy vote counting machines with secret software. Here is a link to information on a lawsuit in Everett dealing with these same machines. Sequoia machines are being challenged by some Everett folks. We in Whatcom County might look into this a bit more. Before we commit to these same machines.

Mon, April 25

Apparently my name is on Larsen's black list. He has replied to some others on his vote for the bankruptcy bill - but only, as he writes, because they support him. He explains that only 25 people emailed his office before the vote with concerns. This explains how I have heard he operates - he pays attention to public relations, not principles. He feels he is accountable only to those who contribute or support him - not all citizens in the 2nd District. This is his practice.

Larsen tells a select few that he found some good and some bad in the bill and not many constituents opposed to it. Of course, what is bad is how it will crush those who must file for bankruptcy. The bill will prevent their getting back on their feet. Larsen is one of a handful of Democrats who voted for this cherished Bush administration bill. The big banks love it. Larsen pushes the myth that the 'savings' will be passed to consumers.

Larsen has announced he now has a quarter million dollars towards his next reelection. Such are his priorities. Local progressives and liberals should not support him. If we want change, then we first need to houseclean. Larsen feels no need to be accountable for his actions to citizens - and this is worse than how he votes.

Mon, April 18

Still no answer from Rick Larsen's staff. No answer to direct questions has been the process for the past couple years. His office probably responds the same day to questions from lobbyists, PR firms and big money contributors. But constituents? Seems not. Probably too many of us. Rick has a large staff - with 15 or more in DC alone - so it is just a matter of priorities. Plus he has staff at his Everett and Bellingham offices - all paid for by us. Hey Rick - call home. Why did you vote for Bush's bills to eliminate all estate taxes on the very rich and hurt the poor with tough bankruptcy laws?

Thur, April 14

Rick Larsen is voting with the conservative Republicans these days. Rick was one of the key few Democrats who voted FOR the harsh new bankruptcy law - and for the elimination of all estate taxes which benefits the very very rich. Rick is our US Congress Representative - and supposedly a Democrat.

I have asked Rick for an explanation - but don't expect any plain English answer. Rick is voting in the Bush and extreme conservative Republican agenda. These two bills go contrary to all progressive, liberal and Democratic principles. Rick is catering to some wealthy donors.

Sun, Mar 20

Two years since the invasion of Iraq. Shock and awe was the strategy of the Bush government. Maybe we are in shock now as our kids continue to be killed and maimed. 1,500 dead and thousands with blown off limbs. We may soon be in awe of the Shiite leaders who will take our military victory and turn it to their own agenda.

China, meanwhile, is creating itself into a power while we are looking at the Mideast. I've read little about the probably future implications of the incredible events centering around China. My thinking basically on what follows, so here goes.

China now owns almost a trillion dollars in US Treasury bonds. They are helping to finance our deficit. Happily. A couple weeks ago, they dispelled fears they might start selling them as our dollar continues to drop in value. And I say - of course they will not sell them. Holding them gives them leverage with us. After assuring us they will hold, they authorized war to regain control of Taiwan. We have defended Taiwan since 1948 when the Nationalists fled there. Our navy has sailed between Taiwan and China as a guard against invasion by China.

Now, China can ignore our navy. Maybe not this month, but soon. And of course China will not challenge our navy. Bush will pull our navy back. China can tell him to. We need China to continue buying bonds to finance the war in Iraq and the lost revenue from the tax cuts. If China starts to sell, then the dollar will drop lower, and other countries will sell in order to recoup their money.

To just sell would throw the world into chaos and China will not do that. Instead, it will continue to buy our bonds and we will continue to owe China more and more. China wants value in other ways - and we will be forced to give it - just as we forced military bases from weak third world countries during the Cold War. China will want things. And we will give. Over the next five and ten years this will become painfully clear.

What do they want first? They have it. Unlimited export of clothing to the USA. Do you remember how to boil a frog? Put it in cold water and slowly increase the heat. The frog never notices. So will China now put the slow heat to us. They are patient - and we will not notice. While we wage useless war in Iraq and spend ourselves into poverty, others are smart.

Check this one post on SFBayView.com for a similar perspective.

Sun, Mar 13

Sinn Fein is a sham. Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein are fronts for the IRA - the Irish Republican Army and its brutal methods of torture and killing of innocent Irish. As a person who has had faith in Adams and Sinn Fein for many years, I now have to say that they fooled me. Adams should be tossed out of Parliament and tried for conspiracy and murder. And Sinn Fein has done to itself what the Protestant army could never do - brought itself down. Oh, and the Protestant army is no better.

This website is the voice on one citizen in the Northwest of the US. Nothing more. I was raised Irish Catholic and have studied Ireland's history and walked across the Isle. This website speaks when I feel strongly and when I feels it can help the public process. Sinn Fein could not continue to exist without American support - monetarily and political. Since over 300 people a day still visit this website, I am speaking out.

For all of us who love Ireland, we must now sadly speak out against the continued outrage of murder and violence that Sinn Fein has now been proven to support. 70 witnesses to a murder - and not one dares to speak because the IRA will punish them - and Sinn Fein defends the IRA. Gerry Adams has blood on his hands. And Sinn Fein has lost my support.

Gerry Adams - get out of the USA.

Sun, Feb 13

Shame on Brazil. The government will arrest some poor guys and execute them for the murder of Sister Stang. The government will say they are shocked, just shocked. But the government of Brazil is relieved that Stang is finally out of the way. Now they can continue stealing the land from the native people and clear cutting the Amazon jungle. The quick profits are spread throughout the elites.

If we citizens of the world want these selective executions to stop - or at least be less common - then we need to speak out when they happen. We need to write the Brazilian embassy. We need to tell our congressional representatives. Well, we don't need to. And if we just shrug, then the killings will become more common and countries learn there is no down side to knocking off dissidents.

Sat, Feb 12

Maria Cantwell has voted to restrict class action law suits - siding with the Bush administration to remove legal rights from working people. My Democratic friends seem to be silent on her voting record. She voted for the Iraq war and she voted for the Patriot Act. Hmm - she is acting like a good Republican.

On Social Security, Maria appears to support keeping our old age insurance just that - insurance. Lets hope so. Bush is trying hard to dismantle Social Security - end it. Many Democrats, including our Rick Larsen, are waffling. They are called the Fainthearted Faction by national columnist Josh Marshall.

Maria comes up for re-election in Nov 2006. If she votes Republican on Social Security, we may as well elect a real one. If she stands up to Bush and Karl Rove on SS, then she will be worth our re-electing her. We can only hope she will vigorously fight for our Social Security insurance.

Sun, Jan 30

With the Bush government in high celebration of the Iraqi election, and all the TV news reporting from the Green Zone that all is going great - even though they only know what the US Army tells them - it seem a good day to post what I have not heard yet. And that is this reminds me of the "Mission Accomplished" celebration on the aircraft carrier at the "end" of the war back in May 2003. So today they celebrate the beginning of "democracy" in the Middle East.

Juan Cole has a column today that any thinking American would benefit from reading. He reminds us of the history of democracy in Iraq and how Bush was opposed to an election by all Iraqis and that it was Ali Sistani - the Shiite cleric - who forced Bush to allow a democratic election. He points out that Iran had a much more fair, open and civil democratic election in 1997 - a country we are preparing to bomb and invade. Bush tried hard to force a dictator in the Iraqis in the person of Chalabi.

We will not see our American news media break down the election results to show how few voted in the zones controlled by US troops and how many more voted where we are not in control. The civil war that will result from this - and the assassination of newly elected people - will be explained away. Juan Cole reports that some Sunni Iraqis did not know their names were put on election lists - and they are now quite mad. Democracy? How mad. The beginnings of democracy? No. The beginning or our US government excuse for pulling our of a quagmire like Vietnam that is going nowhere. Retreat with honor. Wonder if we will have dramatic video of the last helicopter out of Baghdad.

There is a saying that good intentions often do great harm. Now we have Bush saying our intentions are good. As we set the country aflame in civil war and as we destroy cities and kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians. Yes, the Spanish just wanted to spread Christianity to the Indians - the gold was just a pleasant secondary interest. And yes, the British just felt the white man's burden to spread civilization to India - and the plunder of wealth was just a secondary interest.

Read Juan Cole. We can humor ourselves with corporate propaganda and feel good or we can actually want to know what is happening in the world. The contrast from what he says and what all the TV news channels are saying is seemingly about two different events.

What if we gave $10 for every American. That would be $3 billion. Family of three? Give $30. Urge others to. Even those of us hand to mouth can give $10 to help. Single? Check with a rest home, foster care organization or some organization and ask if you can donate for one or more persons. Have the organization get their permission to make it real and to let them know that $10 was donated for them.

Support unicef's tsunami relief efforts

Or the American Red Cross efforts - but lets all give a little

Thur, Jan 6

Lets not criticize George Bush for being slow to respond to the tsunami disaster. Unless you will also hammer UN Secretary Kofi Annan for spending three more days at the Jackson Hole ski resort after the tsunami.

Lets give. Lets help the kids. Lets help all those people. By all of us giving, we will show our representatives and government that we want them to also keep the government's effort focused on helping. I've read reports of some not wanting to help muslims, or that maybe if we give it will help our image in the world. Such remarks indicate a warped and degraded sense of humanity. We should give because they need help and because we can.

When this is over, I'll bet that our military people who are participating in this aid effort will be telling us it was the best experience of their careers. Using the military for aid relief is the highest and best use for them.

Mon, Jan 3

These photos below may not be of the Tsunami. An email says they are of the Qiantang Tidal Bore in China - a real tidal wave generated by the tides. Maybe this day the wave was a bit more than expected. If you know more, please let me know.

Regardless, the unicef link is moved to the top of the page and the Red Cross link is added. Beware of relief hoax sites. Give to the main agencies only.

Sat, Jan 1, 2005

Where? Indonesia is my guess. They were sent to me. If you know any more about the location, please let me know. The bottom photo is a close up of the second photo's far right side, just behind the grey van.

Jan 5 - the photos of what were thought to be the tsunami, turned out to be of the Hangzhou tidal bore on the east coast of China. We have taken the photos off this page as they are initially misleading, but have kept them on their own page for reader interest. Hangzhou tidal bore photos.