Uncategorized

For his sins ...

Submitted: Jun 19, 2007

Mark Arax, a fine writer of Armenian descent from Fresno, tried to tell Los Angeles about the truth about the Armenian genocide. The announcement of his departure from the Los Angeles Times, his article unpublished, comes as Israel plans its invasion of the Gaza Strip to wipe out Hamas, the democratically elected Palestinian government. Hollywood and AIPAC notwithstanding, we welcome him back to the Valley and we hope he will write a similar article on the genocide against the Assyrians, so many of their descendants residing in Turlock.

The Valley is an unusual place, full of dark immigrant tales. Is there any coherent history of the Azores, for another example? What is the real history of Mexican states like Jalisco, Michoacan and Guanajuato, in their relationships to the Valley, for another example? We could go on. We could talk about African-Americans from the deep South who came to the Valley to work in these fields. We could talk about the Dust Bowlers, and the many, many other people who came here to work, to save, to build, to flourish and raise their families. We could talk about the people still coming today to work and save and build in this place.

We honor writers like Arax, who try to tell the painful, difficult truths of the Valley. That his most truthful articles were not published by the LA Times is unimportant. It is a newspaper that cannot tell the truth about the Mideast, water or development -- regardless who owns it on any given Thursday.

Bill Hatch
-------------

6-19-07
Reporter Arax leaves L.A. Times...Diana Marcum
http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/63185.html

Fresno journalist Mark Arax has left the Los Angeles Times, ending a public dispute about the paper's decision not to publish a story he wrote about the Armenian genocide. According to Arax's attorney, Warren Paboojian, Arax and the Times reached a settlement to forestall a lawsuit alleging defamation and discrimination. In his 14 years writing about the San Joaquin Valley for the Times, Arax told the stories of migrant farmworker children who became track stars, black sharecroppers who came to the San Joaquin Valley during the Dust Bowl and abuses inside a Corcoran prison. "I tried to cover the Valley as a foreign beat, write about it as some other world for the paper's readers, because the Valley is another world: It's geographically exiled and a third world in its own right with great poverty and pockets of concentrated wealth," Arax said Monday. Jim Tucker, who taught journalism at Fresno State for 39 years, said Arax's departure from the Times is a blow for the San Joaquin Valley. "He was a voice about things that happened here -- a voice that reached a national audience,"..."Because of his closeness to this place, he wrote stories no one else could see or write. Now, strangely enough, his departure is precipitated by having such a closeness to a story."

The Great War for Civilization, Robert Fisk, Chapter 10, The First Holoacaust:

The hill of Margada is steep and littered iwth volcanic stones, a place of piercing bright light and shodows high above the eastern Syrian desert. It is cold on the summit and the winter rains have cut fissures into themud between the rocks, brown canyons of earth that creep down to the base of the hill. Far below, the waters of the Habur slink between grey, treeless banks, twisting through dark sand dunes, a river of black secrets. You do not need to know what happened at Margada to find something evil in this place. Like the forest of eastern Poland, the hill of Margada is a place of eradicated momory, although the local Syrian police constable, a man of bright cheeks and generous moustache, has heard that something t errible happened here long before he was born...Eveyr few inches of mud would reveal a femur, a skull, a set of teeth, fibula and sockets, squeezed together, as tightly packed as they had been on the day they died in the terror of 1915, roped togeheter to drown in their thousands.

Exposed to the air, the bones became soft and claylike and flaked away in our hands, the last mortal remains of an entire race of people disappearing as swiflty as their Turkish oppressors would have wished us to forget them. As many of 50,000 Armenians were murdered in this little killing field, and it took a minute or two before Ellsen and I fully comprehended that we were standing in a mass grave. For Margada and the Syrian desert around it -- like thousands of villages in what was Turkish Armenia--are the Auschwitz of the Armenian people, the place of the world's first, forgotten, Holocaust.

| »

SWAT comments on South Merced Specific Plan DEIR

Submitted: Jun 11, 2007

Merced SWAT
The Merced Stop Wal-Mart Action Team

Attn: Bill King
City of Merced Planning Division
678 W. 18th St.
Merced, CA 95340

The Merced Stop Wal-Mart Action Team (SWAT) is writing to comment on South Merced Specific Plan Draft EIR. We are a grassroots organization of over 2,000 Merced teachers, health professionals, business owners, parents, students, community leaders and residents working to protect the quality of life in Merced. Many of our leadership live in or near South Merced, and would be directly affected by this Plan.

Over the past year, SWAT has conducted research into air quality issues and its effect on community health. What we have found has concerned us and has raised our awareness to the impact that planning decisions can have on air quality in our community.

It is with this heightened attention and concern for proper air quality control measures that we submit the following comments on the South Merced EIR:

1) AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT STANDARDS
We would suggest that the South Merced Specific Plan include more mitigation and air pollution reduction measures that go above and beyond the basic requirements set forth by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD). Merced is the 6th most ozone polluted area in the United States according to the American Lung Association’s 2007 “State of the Air” report. We should be setting the bar for air pollution reduction efforts, not meeting the minimum requirements set out by one of the State’s least effective air districts. On April 30, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District approved an 8-hour ozone state implementation plan that moves the Valley into “extreme non-attainment,” putting us on par with Los Angeles as having the worst air quality in the U.S. and delays clean air attainment in the Valley until 2024. As our air quality public health crisis worsens, it is incumbent on local elected representatives to make responsible land use decisions that protect the health of vulnerable populations, especially children, the elderly, and low-income residents with little or no access to health insurance.

We request that you include some analysis of the potential impact of using stricter air quality standards such as those set forward by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which has been very effective at moving communities towards cleaner air planning.

Additionally, the SJVAPCD has entered into a number of agreements with developers in the Bakersfield area in the South Valley, where concentrations of ozone and PM pollutants are even higher. These agreements would mitigate emissions to zero, meaning that through a combination of onsite measures and offsite pollution reduction projects, emissions associated with each development are effectively offset.

We are concerned that the proximity of new industrial development and construction projects to schools and residential areas as proposed in the South Merced Specific Plan will lead to increased respiratory illness, absenteeism from school and work, and a deterioration of family and social life. Through proactive leadership beginning at these earliest stages of planning, we can craft a vision of South Merced that creates jobs and fosters community without sacrificing the health of our children.

2) LAND USE AND SENSITIVE RECEPTORS
An ongoing concern of ours is the proximity of “sensitive receptors” as defined on page IV-A-12 of the Draft EIR to high pollution sources, both mobile and static. The South Merced will include residential areas and schools (both considered sensitive receptors) along with industrial and commercial uses. Since the Specific Plan document will be used to guide healthy planning decisions, we request that the EIR include additional information about safe and recommended distances that should be maintained between various types and sizes of land uses (including major roads) and sensitive receptors.

Additionally, we applaud SP Policies T-1.1 and T-1.2 (pg IV-A-15) for their attempt to develop alternative routes for heavy-duty vehicles to reduce localized concentrations of criteria pollutants (particularly diesel) around sensitive receptors. We hope, however, that the additional information and recommendations requested above can help decision makers approve healthier projects and adequately balance SP Policy CE-1.1 that aims to reduce the distance residents need to travel for retail and employment opportunities. In some circumstances these two policies may be at odds and require additional guidance from these planning documents.

Additionally, we find it confusing that the South Merced Specific Plan has been drafted concurrent to the Citywide General Plan Update process and without apparent coordination.

Thank you for your attention to these issues.

Sincerely,

The Merced Stop Wal-Mart Action Team

| »

Surely, this can't be right

Submitted: May 11, 2007

This document, signed by George Bush, president of the United States in 1990, appears to be out of date. Nevertheless, a web search for "federal employees code of ethics" recycled it. We were intrigued to note that, prior to the end of history, Rapture Time and the little tyrant, federal employees were not apparently required or permitted to cave to pressure brought by members of Congress on behalf of special interests, particularly in this region, finance, insurance and real estate special interests anymore than they were required or permitted to cave to special interests directly. In fact, it would not seem to have been, back in historical times, an excuse for failure to enforce regulations and for corporate favoritism. What an antiquated code. It mentions the Constitution. Imagine.

Executive Order 12674 of April 12, 1989
(as modified by E.O. 12731)

"PRINCIPLES OF ETHICAL CONDUCT FOR
GOVERNMENT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES"

"By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the
Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in
order to establish fair and exacting standards of ethical conduct
for all executive branch employees, it is hereby ordered as follows:

"Part I Principles of Ethical Conduct

"Section 101. Principles of Ethical Conduct. To ensure that
every citizen can have complete confidence in the integrity of the
Federal Government, each Federal employee shall respect and adhere to
the fundamental principles of ethical service as implemented in
regulations promulgated under sections 201 and 301 of this order:

"(a) Public service is a public trust. requiring employees to
place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles
above private gain.

"(b) Employees shall not hold financial interests that conflict
with the conscientious performance of duty.

"(c) Employees shall not engage in financial transactions using
nonpublic Government information or allow the improper use of such
information to futher any private interest.

"(d) An employee shall not, except pursuant to such reasonable
exceptions as are provided by regulation, solicit or accept any gift
or other item of monetary value from any person or entity seeking
official action from. doing business with, or conducting activities
regulated by the employee's agency, or whose interests may be
substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the
employee's duties.

"(e) Employees shall put forth honest effort in the performance of
their duties.

"(f) Employees shall make no unauthorized commitments or promises
of any kind purporting to bind the Government.

"(g) Employees shall not use public office for private gain.

"(h) Employees shall act impartially and not give preferential
treatment to any private organization or individual.

"(i) Employees shall protect and conserve Federal property and
shall not use it for other than authorized activities.

"(j) Employees shall not engage in outside employment or
activities, including seeking or negotiating for employment, that
confiict with official Government duties and responsibIlities.

"(k) Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption
to appropriate authorities.

"(l) Employees shall satisfy In good faith their obligations as
citizens, including all just financial obligations, especially
those such as Federal, State, or local taxes-that are imposed by law.

"(m) Employees shall adhere to all laws and regulations that
provide equal opportunity for all Arnericaas reger:lless of race,
color, religion, sex, national origin. age, or handicap.

"(n) Employees shall endeavnor to avoid any actions creating the
appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards
promulgated pursuant to this order.

"Sec. 102. Limitations on Outside Earned Income.

"(a) No employee who is appointed by the President to a full-time
noncar reer position in the executive branch (including full-time
noncareer employees in the White House Office, the Office of Policy
Development, and the Office of Cabinet Affairs), shall receive any
earned income for any outside employment or activity performed during
that Presidential appointment.

"(b) The prohibition set forth in subsection (a) shall not apply
to any full-time noncareer employees employed pursuant to 3 U.S.C.
105 and 3 U.S.C. 107(a) at salaries below the minimum rate of basic
pay then paid for GS-9 of the General Schedule. Any outside
employment must comply with relevant agency standards of conduct,
including any requirements for approval of outside employment.
"Part II Office of Government Ethics Authority

"Sec. 201. The Office of Government Ethics. The Office of
Government Ethics shall be responsible for administering this order
by:

"(a) Promulgating, in consultation with the Attorney General and
the Office of Personnel Management, regulations that establish a
single, comprehensive, and clear set of executive-branch standards
of conduct that shall be objective, reasonable, and enforceable.

"(b) Developing, disseminating, and periodically updating an
ethics manual for employees of the executive branch describing the
applicable statutes, rules, decisions, and policies.

"(c) Promulgating, with the concurrence of the Attorney General,
regulations interpreting the provisions of the post-employment
statute, section 207 of title 18, United States Code; the general
conflict-of-interest statute, section 208 of title 18, United States
Code; and the statute prohibiting supplementation of salaries,
section 209 of title 18, United States Code.

"(d) Promulgating, in consultation with the Attorney General and
the Office of Personnel Management, regulations establishing a system
of non-public (confidential) financial disclosure by executive branch
employees to complement the system of public disclosure under the
Ethics in Government Act of 1978. Such regulations shall include
criteria to guide agencies in determining which employees shall submit
these reports.

"(e) Ensuring that any implementing regulations issued by agencies
under this order are consistent with and promulgated in accordance
with this order.

"Sec. 202. Executive Office of the President. In that the
agencies within the Executive Office of the President (EOP) currently
exercise functions that are not distinct and separate from each other
within the meaning and for the purposes of section 207(e) of title 18,
United States Code, those agencies shall be treated as one agency
under section 207(c) of title 18, United States Code.

"Part III Agency Responsibilities

"Sec. 301. Agency Responsibilities. Each agency head is
directed to:

"(a) Supplement, as necessary and appropriate the comprehensive
executive branch-wide regulations of the Office of Government
Ethics, with regulations of special applicability to the particular
functions and activities of that agency. Any supplementary agency
regulations shall be prepared as addenda to the branch-wide
regulations and promulgated jointly with the Office of Government
Ethics, at the agency's expense, for inclusion in Title 5 of the Code
of Federal Regulations.

"(b) Ensure the review by all employees of this order and
regulations promulgated pursuant to the order.

"(c) Coordinate with the Office of Government Ethics in developing
annual agency ethics training plans. Such training shall include
mandatory annual briefings on ethics and standards of conduct for all
employees appointed by the President, all employees in the Executive
Office of the President, all officials required to file public or
nonpublic financial disclosure reports, all employees who are
contracting officers and procurement officials, and any other
employees designated by the agency head.

"(d) Where practicable, consult formally or informally with the
Office of Government Ethics prior to granting any exemption under
section 208 of title 18, United States Code, and provide the Director
of the Office of Government Ethics a copy of any exemption granted.

"(e) Ensure that the rank, responsibilities, authority, staffing,
and resources of the Designated Agency Ethics Official are sufficient
to ensure the effectiveness of the agency ethics program. Support
should include the provision of a separate budget line item for ethics
activities, where practicable.

"Part IV Delegations of Authority

"Sec. 4O1. Delegations to Agency Heads. Except in the case of
the head of an agency, the authority of the President under sections
203(d), 205(e), and 208(b) of title l8, United States Code, to grant
exemptions or approvals to individuals is delegated to the head of the
agency in which an individual requiring an exemption or approval is
employed or to which the individual (or the committee, commission
board, or similar group employing the individual) is attached for
purposes of administration.

"Sec. 402. Delegations to the Counsel to the President.

"(a) Except as provided in section 401, the authority of the Presi-
dent under sections 205(d), 205(e), end 208(b) of title 18, United States
Code, to grant exemptions or approvals for Presidential appointees to
committees, commissions, boards, or similar groups establIshed by the
President is delegated to the Counsel to the President.

"(b) The authority of the President under sections 208(d), 205(e), and
208(b) of title 18, United States Code, to grant exemptions or approvals
for individuals appointed pursuant to 3 U.S.C. 105 and 3 U.S.C. 107(a),
is delegated to the Counsel to the President.

"Sec. 4O3. Delegation Reguarding Civil Service. The Office of
Personnel Management and the Office of Government Ethics, as appropriate,
are delegated the authority vested in the President by 5 U.S.C. 7301 to
establish general regulations for the implementation of this Executive
order.

Part V General Provisions

"Sec. 501. Revocations. The following Executive orders are hereby
revoked:

"(a) Executive Order No. 11222 of May 8, 1965.

"(b) Executive Order No. 12565 of September 25, 1986.

"Sec. 502. Savings Provision.

"(a) All actions already taken by the President or by his
delegates concerning matters affected by this order and in force
when this order is issued, including any regulations issued under
Executive Order 11222, Executive Order 12565, or statutory
authority, shall, except as they are irreconcilable with the
provisions of this order or terminate by operation of law or by
Presidential action, remain in effect until properly amended,
modified, or revoked pursuant to the authority conferred by this order
or any regulations promulgated under this order. Notwithstanding
anything in section 102 of this order, employees may carry out
preexisting contractual obligations entered into before April 12, 1989.

"(b) Financial reports filed in confidence (pursuant to the
authority of Executive Order No. 11222, 5 C.F.R. part 735, and
individual agency regulations) shall continue to be held in
confidence.

"Sec 503. Definitions. For purposes of this order, the term:

"(a) Contracting officers and procurement officials' means all
such officers end officials as defined in the Office of Federal
Procurement Policy Act Amendments of 1988.

"(b)Employee' means any officer or employee of an agency,
including a special Government employee.

"(c) `Agency' means any executive agency as defined in 5 U.S.C.
105, including any executive department as defined in 5 U.S.C. 101,
Government corporation as defined in 5 U.S.C. 103, or an independent
establishment in the executive branch as defined in 5 U.S.C. 104
(other then the General Accounting Office), and the United States
Postal Service end Postal Rate Commission.

"(d) `Head of en agency' means, in the case of as agency headed by
more then one person, the chair or comparable member of such agency.

"(e) `Special Government employee' means a special Government em-
ployee as defined in 18 U.S.C. 202(a).

"Sec. 504. Judicial Review. This order is intended only to
improve the internal management of the executive brench end is not
intended to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural,
enforceable at law by a party against the United States, its agencies,
its officers, or any person.".

GEORGE BUSH

THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 17, 1990.

| »

Propaganda of the higher learning

Submitted: May 06, 2007

The worst cultural and economic damage UC Merced has done to the north San Joaquin Valley is reflected in this article, by Barbara Ehrenreich, about an incident at MIT. The enormous amount of UC propaganda for this land boondoggle --from UC, politicians, finance, insurance and real estate special interests -- endlessly dinned into the minds of our communities, has accelerated the destruction of one of the best Valley traditions: honest, hard-working people working their way up on a farm, in a company or local government without educational credentials. People's employment possibilities are being maimed by lack of a college degree for jobs that don't need a college education to do them.

The great promise of "universal higher education" corresponded with a prolonged attack on American workers in the early 1970s including mergers and acquisitions, downsizing, plant closings and off-shoring -- deliberate, conscious policies committed by American government, corporations and investment interests to role back gains made by American workers since World War II. Today's American labor policy, if one can speak of it with a straight face, is corrupt, exploitive, and reactionary, an open corporate declaration of class war against labor. Universal higher education has become a sad, savage arena of competition for a shrinking lot of workplaces subject to sudden disappearance. It has also become a place of cultivation of class pretention. Beneath the level of the university credentialed community, chaos is growing. Above it, the whispering of money moving here and there.

Whenever I hear the blather about "making the working force more competitive," it reminds me of a electrical engineer in management telling me how he would always hire an engineer from Bombay over one from UC Berkeley because the Indian would be a better engineer. Both came with high debt. He would not admit that the import was willing to work cheaper.

Bill Hatch
--------------

04.30.2007
Huffington Post
The Higher Education Scam
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Barbara Ehrenreich

Can you be fired for doing a great job, year after year, and in fact becoming nationally known for your insight and performance? Yes, as in the case of Marilee Jones, who was the dean of admissions at MIT until her dismissal last week, when it was discovered that she had lied about her academic credentials 28 years ago.

She had claimed three degrees, although she had none. If she had done a miserable job as dean, MIT might have been more forgiving, but her very success has to be threatening to an institution of higher learning: What good are educational credentials anyway?

Jones is hardly the only academic fraud. The outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas estimates that 10-30 percent of resumes include distortions if not outright lies. In the last couple of weeks, for example, "Dr. Denis Waitley Ph.D." -- as he is redundantly listed in the bestselling self-help book The Secret, where he appears as a spiritual teacher -- has confessed to not having his claimed master's degree, and the multi-level vitamin marketing firm he worked for admits that it can't confirm the Ph.D. either.

All right, lying is a grievous sin, as everyone outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue knows. And we wouldn't want a lot of fake MIT engineering graduates designing our bridges. But there are ways in which the higher education industry is becoming a racket: Buy our product or be condemned to life of penury, and our product can easily cost well over $100,000.

The pundits keep chanting that we need a more highly skilled workforce, by which they mean more college graduates, although the connection between college and skills is not always crystal clear. Jones, for example, was performing a complex job requiring considerable judgment, experience and sensitivity without the benefit of any college degree. And how about all those business majors -- business being the most popular undergraduate major in America? It seems to me that a two-year course in math and writing skills should be more than sufficient to prepare someone for a career in banking, marketing, or management. Most of what you need to know you're going to learn on the job anyway.

But in the last three decades the percentage of jobs requiring at least some college has doubled, which means that employers are going along with the college racket. A resume without a college degree is never going to get past the computer programs that screen applications. Why? Certainly it's not because most corporate employers possess a deep affinity for the life of the mind. In fact in his book Executive Blues G. J. Meyers warned of the "academic stench" that can sink a career: That master's degree in English? Better not mention it.

My theory is that employers prefer college grads because they see a college degree chiefly as mark of one's ability to obey and conform. Whatever else you learn in college, you learn to sit still for long periods while appearing to be awake. And whatever else you do in a white collar job, most of the time you'll be sitting and feigning attention. Sitting still for hours on end -- whether in library carrels or office cubicles -- does not come naturally to humans. It must be learned -- although no college has yet been honest enough to offer a degree in seat-warming.

Or maybe what attracts employers to college grads is the scent of desperation. Unless your parents are rich and doting, you will walk away from commencement with a debt averaging $20,000 and no health insurance. Employers can safely bet that you will not be a trouble-maker, a whistle-blower or any other form of non-"team-player." You will do anything. You will grovel.

College can be the most amazingly enlightening experience of a lifetime. I loved almost every minute of it, from St. Augustine to organic chemistry, from Chaucer to electricity and magnetism. But we need a distinguished blue ribbon commission to investigate its role as a toll booth on the road to employment, and the obvious person to head up this commission is Marilee Jones.

May 5 / 6, 2007
A Political Cast of Hacks, Bums, Liars and Non-Stop Self-Aggrandizers
The American Moral Meltdown Accelerates
By LAWRENCE R. VELVEL
Counterpunch.com

...Moral meltdown also has been displayed at one of our great academic institutions, MIT, though here there definitely were sad aspects to it, aspects that speak poorly for America. MIT had to fire the head of its admissions staff, Merilee Jones, because, nearly thirty years ago, she lied on her resume in order to get a job at the university -- a job for which she did not need a college degree. She falsely said she had degrees she most certainly did not have. At first it was reported that she had then said she had three such degrees. Later it was reported that she had only claimed two, but later added a third, apparently in connection with seeking a higher job at MIT. At first it was not reported that, but later it was reported that, in fact, when she applied for her first job at MIT, she had a degree from a small college in Albany, NY named Saint Rose. At the time, Saint Rose was little known, to put it mildly. Today it is a better known school of 5,000 which graduates a large proportion of New York state's teachers.

During her decades at MIT, Jones apparently had performed very well in a number of jobs -- including ones for which a college degree was required by MIT, which did not, however, check her credentials since she already was a high performing employee. Being highly regarded, she rose to the top of her professional field. For some unknown reason, though, a few weeks ago someone who knew the truth dropped a dime on her -- ah, the pleasures of making enemies for one reason or another. MIT investigated and fired her despite her years of excellent service.

MIT did what it should have done when it fired her -- we simply will continue to have a morally lousy country if people can lie their ways into jobs, get away with it, and later plead that the original lie should be ignored because of one reason or another, e.g., because of years of excellent service. Culprits must be punished -- this is the only way we will ever put a stop to misconduct, and it is for that reason that war criminals like Kissinger and McNamara should be put in the dock now, even thirty and forty years after their horrid misconduct and despite their age. (It has been done to German Nazis you know, and the same principle should apply to our homegrown Nazis or, in one case, at least home schooled Nazi.) It is for the same reason that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wofowitz and a few others of our highest ranking Iraq war criminals should also be put in the dock. As I say, MIT was right to fire the woman for lying on her resume.

There is also a sadder side to the story, however. It is not primarily that she performed so well for so many years yet had to come to no good professional end, although that is a part of it. But the even sadder part is that the American mania for a college degree -- and for a degree from a prestigious elite school, not a no name school however fine its quality -- is so pronounced that Jones felt it desirable or necessary to invent false degrees when applying for her first job at MIT, and to hide the degree she did have, and felt as she did even though a degree was not a requisite for the job. This is symptomatic of the credentials mania that has infested American society, and that is now often more important than competence, even previously demonstrated competence. This mania, particularly because it substitutes credentials for competence, stifles good people lacking the credential, and makes a joke of the claim of social mobility that has always been so much a part of purported America. It is itself a form of moral meltdown...

| »

FBI raids Placer congressman's Washington residence

Submitted: Apr 18, 2007

More evidence of chaos in the financial, insurance and real estate financial cabal (FIRE) is news, however late, the the Virginia home of Rep. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin, was raided last Friday by the FBI. Investigators were looking for evidence of the congressman and his wife's connections with Jack Abramoff. They didn't have to look too far. According to The Hill, Kevin Ring, Doolittle's former chief of staff, left his office to work for Abramoff, who subsequently hired Doolittle's wife, Julie's consulting firm. Ring later moved to another lobbying firm, from which he resigned suddenly last Friday.

FIRE has evidently, at least momentarily, lost the juice to protect one of its very own, Doolittle, the greatest friend the Roseville-based regional and national developers ever had. He was also a great friend of Indian casinos and worked effectively to locate one in his district, between Roseville and Lincoln.

Yet, Doolittle, hopefully dragged down irretrievably into scandal and possibly prison, will always be known for his ardent support of a dam for the American River canyon east of Auburn. Perhaps that plan, which so far has not been a part of current demands for more reservoirs in Northern California, will die with his wretched political career. Another casualty to be hoped for is the powerful, developer-funded Republican Party of Placer County, that has so fervently pushed real estate development from the winter pastures of western Placer to the shores of Lake Tahoe, effectively co-opting an entire generation of environmental protectionists that got off to a good start defeating the Auburn Dam 30 years ago.

In October, President Bush campaigned in California for Doolittle and another Abramoff friend, former Rep. Richard Pombo, Buffalo Slayer-Tracy, now a lobbyist with Oregon-based Pac/West Communications. The firm has also hired Pombo staffer, Steve Ding, to open a Sacramento office to continue the fight on behalf of special interests against environmental law and regulation. Former Rep. Pete McCloskey, a Republican who ran against Pombo in the primary, tied Pombo to Abramoff in a series of well researched articles that continued through the general election campaign, resulting in Pleasanton Democrat, Jerry McNerney's victory. McCloskey announced last weekend that he switched registration and is now a Democrat.

After the successful defeat of Pombo, led by state and national environmental groups, and after the successful defeat of the latest of Pombo's 13 attempts to gut the Endangered Species Act, another Pombo staffer, Todd Wilkens, newly appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, incorporated much of the last bill into proposals now floating around the Department of Interior to once again gut the ESA. The principal "bipartisan" co-author of Pombo's Last Try was Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Shrimp Slayer-Merced, the nether half of the Pomboza with the "D - for -Democrat" on his rally sweater.

AS UC Merced hangs by the environmental petard partly of cardoza's making and foreclosure rates skyrocket in the aftermath of the speculative housing boom stimulated in his district by the campus, Cardoza tries to remake himself as a good Democrat, even contributing money to McNerney's reelection campaign. This is something he did not do in the high-flying days of the Pomboza.

Let us hope that the net the FBI is dragging is wide enough to catch little fish like Cardoza as well as the larger species. The people of his district need a representative of their interests rather than the interests of international financial speculation, national developers, UC research in weapons of mass destruction, and the largest landowners (disguised as "agriculture"). The frenzy of greed this region has endured has filled the communal mind with the well known substance. However, neither does this congressional district need a cipher with a "D" after its name totally controlled by San Francisco and Baltimore.

Attempts to obtain a copy of the search warrant at the U.S. District Courthouse in Alexandria this week were unsuccessful. Of the 126 search warrants logged there since the beginning of February, 90 (or 71 percent) are “under seal.” -- The Hill, April 19, 2007

Bill Hatch
----

Note:

4-19-07
The Hill
FBI raids Doolittle home
By Mike Soraghan and Susan Crabtree
http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/fbi-raids-doolittle-home-2007-04-18.html

The FBI searched the Oakton, Va., home of Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) Friday in its ongoing investigation into the congressman and his wife’s ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff...

| »

Wisdom

Submitted: Mar 07, 2007

“My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a plane. His son will ride a camel.”
- Anonymous Saudi Sheik – 1982

March 7, 2007
CommonDreams.org
Ghawar Is Dead! The Wide-Spread Use of Advanced Extraction Techniques are Killing the Mother of All Oil Fields, by Matthew S. Miller

| »

The old ways are the only ways

Submitted: Feb 22, 2007

The theme of the "old regime" is much discussed on the blogs this week. For the best article on the subject, we refer you to the Tomdispatch.com, Feb. 22, 2007, Was 2006 a Turning-Point Election? On the Road to 2008, by Steve Fraser:

Why Does the Ancien Régime Die?

Rare as they are, one might ask why turning-point elections happen at all. Marking as they do the emergence of a new political order, they are, it seems, brought on by a general crisis in the old order, an impasse or breakdown so severe it can no longer be addressed by the conventional wisdom of the political status quo. The secession of the southern states in 1860 was, of course, such a crisis. So was the Great Depression. So, too, was the convergence of imperial defeat in Vietnam, the overthrow of the racial order of the ancien régime, and the de-industrialization of the American heartland. Secession, depression, defeat, these have been the "big bangs" ushering in new political universes.

System-wide crises prove fatal, first of all, because they exhaust the repertoire of political solutions available (or imaginable) to the ruling circles of the old order. Elites become increasingly defensive and inflexible, so much so that their actions aggravate rather than alleviate the crisis at hand. In the early years of the Great Depression, for example, Andrew Mellon, President Herbert Hoover's Secretary of the Treasury, suggested that the way out of the cataclysm was to "liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate." In doing so, he was falling back on the orthodoxy of his robber-baron ancestors and exposing not only the callousness of the old regime, but its incapacity to do anything constructive about the national calamity.

In the general spread of this atrophy, it should come as no surprise that Valley water politics would figure in it. Below, two articles discuss 1) the federal Bureau of Reclamation plan to privatize the San Luis Reservoir by giving it to Westlands Water District and partners; and 2) a plan to link that giveaway to restoring natural flows to the San Joaquin River devised by Rep. Devin Nunes of Visalia.

Members of the Friant Water Users Authority in Nunes' district reached a settlement last year on an 18-year-old lawsuit with environmentalists to restore the water they had been taking from the San Joaquin River, which had caused it to run dry for 50 miles, only to be filled farther downstream by agricultural wastewater. Nunes' opposition to this settlement has been intemperate -- but we are talking about water, so perhaps we should say, adamant, instead.

In any event, the Ancien Regime of Valley Water is relying on bedrock principle in its latest proposals for westside drainage (which poisoned Kesterson Wildlife Refuge), the Friant settlement and restoration of flows to the San Joaquin River: Steal the water!

Badlands editorial staff
--------

The PCL Insider: News From The Capitol
Feb. 22, 2007
www.pcl.org

LOVE IS SOMETHING IF YOU GIVE IT AWAY - BUREAU OF RECLAMATION OFFERS VALENTINE'S DAY GIFT TO 600 SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY AGRIBUSINESSES

The Federal Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) announced last week that it had developed a new proposal to resolve the toxic water fiasco it created nearly fifty years ago when it began pumping water to agribusinesses in the western San Joaquin Valley.

The solution: (Drum roll please...)

Hand over federal assets and clean-up oversight to wealthy corporations!

(We thought you'd appreciate their logic).

Under USBR's proposal, ownership of the federally-owned San Luis Reservoir and accompanying water delivery facilities would be transferred to the Westlands Water District. Ownership of this Central Valley Project reservoir would mean increased water rights to Northern California rivers.

USBR would also agree to pardon Westlands for the remaining $490 million debt the District still owes for the construction of their water delivery system – money that has already been spent using taxpayer dollars.

Westlands, nominally a public agency, is the public face of 600 agribusinesses that use federally supplied water to irrigate 600,000 acres of farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties.

Decades of intensive irrigation on these lands has flushed naturally-occurring toxic chemicals into nearby waterways and deformed large populations of migrating waterfowl. The federal government agreed to provide a solution to this chemical conundrum when it began providing water in the early 1960s, but they have yet to do so.

In return for the sweetheart deal now being proposed, Westlands Water District would relinquish 40,000 acre-feet of their annual water supply from San Luis Reservoir and absolve USBR of their responsibility to resolve the contamination problem. The latest cost estimate to physically engineer a solution is estimated at $2.6 billion. In other words, this forty-year-old environmental disaster would be under the supervision of the corporations, who are entirely reliant on the tainted fields for disposing of their subsidized runoff.

So, again, who benefits from this deal?

Representative Jim Costa (D-Fresno), whose district includes Westlands, believes that taxpayers will be the big winners if the lovers' pact proceeds. "It's not like the Bureau of Reclamation can just walk away from (its obligation to resolve the contamination issue). It's a far better deal for the taxpayers," Costa said in an article in the Contra Costa Times.

Seems almost too good to be true.

Here's what you're not hearing in the USBR proposal: If the federal government remained primarily liable for the clean-up of the contaminated lands, Westlands agribusinesses would still have to repay USBR to fix the toxics problem. So, the agribusinesses wouldn't really assume any new obligations. They would, however, receive ownership of one of the most important water facilities in the federal Central Valley Project, a mammoth public works project ostensibly owned by all U.S. citizens.

This isn't the first time Westlands' reputation has been tarnished for putting profit over ethics.

Last month, after announcing the purchase of 3,000 acres of land along the McCloud River that would be flooded under a USBR proposal to raise Shasta Dam, Westlands General Manager Tom Birmingham acknowledged that their "purpose in buying the property was only to ensure there would be no additional impediments if the Bureau of Reclamation concludes it's feasible to raise the dam."

Birmingham failed to mention that Westlands would be a primary benefactor from a taller Shasta Dam and that taking more water from Lake Shasta through the California Delta to Westlands Water District threatens the ecological health of the largest estuary in the Western Hemisphere. As owners of the San Luis Reservoir, Westlands would have right to more of that water secured by a taller Shasta Dam. San Luis is the main storage facility for Shasta Lake water after it flows southward from the Delta.

"This would be the first time that corporate agribusiness water contractors had water rights to North Delta water. It would certainly be an unprecedented turning point in California water history," points out PCL's Water Program Manager, Mindy McIntyre.

The Bureau of Reclamation is floating the concept paper of this proposal on Capitol Hill over the coming weeks. McIntyre and the rest of the PCL team will be keeping an eagle eye on this Valentine's Day deal. We'll keep you posted!

Fresno Bee
Feb. 21, 2007
Nunes sees one solution to two Valley water problems...Mark Grossi and Michael Doyle

http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/30985.html
The San Joaquin River connects two of California's major water problems now floating in isolation. On Tuesday, a San Joaquin Valley lawmaker suggested merging the two problems into one regional fix. One problem is restoring the river. The other concerns irrigation drainage in a region where the river once flowed. Separate lawsuits have lingered for years. Separate solutions finally are proposed for both. Perhaps, some say, it now makes sense to unify rather than isolate. But others aren't so sure. "There is not much evidence in the history of California water to support the idea that adding two hard issues together makes it easier to solve either one of them," attorney Tom Jensen cautioned Tuesday. "To the contrary." Nunes proposes linking this to the San Joaquin, by applying to river restoration the 100,000 acre-feet of water being given up for the drainage solution. He calls it win-win. Nunes disputes current congressional proposals to restore the San Joaquin River, and his latest offering may quickly fall flat for lack of allies. Most other Valley lawmakers, including Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and George Radanovich, R-Mariposa, support the specific river plan he resists. Moreover, environmentalists who likewise support the river restoration plan are skeptical of a drainage solution transferring the water projects. Others fear losing their best chance at securing a San Joaquin River bill. All of which means that even if Nunes' solution fails, the next question becomes whether he succeeds in provoking discussion about another unified solution.

| »

An unsettling weekend

Submitted: Feb 12, 2007

I was struck by a sense of danger this weekend. I haven't had this sense as strongly for decades. In me, this feeling belongs to the period of the Vietnam War when, suddenly a certain combination of news stories would bring me back from work and daily life to consciousness of deepening crisis.

We who went through that war in our various ways (mine was very protected compared to many others' experiences) cannot help seeing analogies with this war, although we seem to agree widely that history never repeats itself exactly, no matter how similar personal alarm bells from within may sound. There are strong similarities between wars in which imperial powers with vastly superior armament invade foreign nations whose people must defend their lands. This sort of war seems to end up in prolonged, bloody battles with high casualties in the rubble of city streets.

Yet, American politics moves blithely on, as if it were the most important thing. Our latest new voice is Barak Obama, who announced his candidacy for president last weekend, stressing that he "listens" to the people. Those of us old enough to remember the Vietnam War also remember American political party conventions where politicians were forced to listen to the people inside and even outside the convention hall, even if all they heard outside were cries of pain, protest and anger as the people were being beaten and arrested by police. We think Chicagoan Obama is listening to Chicago Mayor Richard Daly, Jr., son of Hizzoner Richard Daly, who unleashed his police force on anti-war demonstrators at the Democratic Party convention in 1968, not long after the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. We think Obama is also listening closely to Daly's brother, Bill Daly, chief lobbyist in the campaign to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement. To the extent that Obama is listening to the people as opposed to the party elite, what he is likely to hear?

· Echoes of the same sort of propaganda broadcast through corporate media that deceived the people about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

· Confusion, fear and doubt from the people who do not to believe the Bush propaganda about Iran, but do not know what to believe at a moment in which catastrophic decisions are being made in the name of the listeners.

· Or simply, the pitches of economic special interests benefitting from the present crisis?

"Elect me, I stand for your confusion, fear, doubt, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the world’s largest and most diverse derivatives exchange"?

To look at this bright, eloquent young man from this distance, with this much skepticism, is to admit one is a member of a generation -- largely but not entirely unconcious -- who lived through previous imperial wars, among them Central America.

In Iraq, the famously publicized "surge" is forcing American troops into the high command's original, announced nightmare, an urban, block-by-block street war in Baghdad. Presumably, the cynical Bush administration figures it can now take the higher casualty rate because America has become numb to the war. Or else, coupled with a full-on propaganda campaign, the regime will use it to enrage the American public into supporting war against Iran.

The insurgents have also been knocking down helicopters in increasing numbers, indicating new, better weaponry. As Tom Englehart put it,

Let's not forget that the beginning of the end of the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s came when CIA-supplied Stinger missiles began to take down Russian helicopters in significant numbers.

Early reports about how the "surge" on Baghdad will be conducted indicate more American air power will be used, causing Fallujah-level destruction to many neighborhoods. The Bush regime has reached the point where it will destroy Baghdad to save it.

The Vietnam village that engendered that unforgettable phrase, was destroyed and perhaps the US will manage to destroy Baghdad, or at least large portions of it in the coming surge. One of the driving forces in this war is the defense industry, a collection of arms manufacturers who are not in business to minimize their profits and have most excellent lobbyists to persuade the federal government to spend more for their products to kill people and destroy cities. It is beginning to appear that limits of this expenditure might possibly come, not from domestic political resistance to the war, any checks by the government or limitation or greed among defense contractors, but from foreign sources.

The domestic anti-war movement seems weak and fractured at this time and unable to put enough pressure on the Democratic Party in control of Congress to even slow down the escalation, much less stop it. John Ward, an excellent reporter of domestic political dissent, covered the Jan. 29 anti-war protest in Washington. He noted the absence of Ralph Nader, Jason Raimundo, libertarian editor of the great Antiwar.com, and Republican anti-war speakers. Apparently, it was an all-liberal Democrat event. Progressives who think they will wrest control of the Democratic Party from pro-war and empire lobbyists, including the Israeli lobby, are wandering in delusion. The anti-war movement in America this time seemed to bargain away power before they had enough to sell for a decent price. As one US Army Vietnam veteran commented to me recently, “Who would ever have thought the American people would have gone to the ballot box to oppose the war.” Yet, that is what Americans did and the Democrats are now selling them out just as dissidents – most steadily Nader – have been saying they would.

The docile protests against the Iraq War lead an American of middle age to wonder: when do the cracks begin to open, how deep will they be? What sort of fearful future are we headed toward, without benefit of strong political dissent and habeas corpus? What should we do, now? What public strategy and tactics would lead toward peace? Collaboration with the Democratic Party does not top my list.

On the international front, Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted the US policy last weekend:

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin yesterday warned that the United States' increased use of military force is creating a new arms race, with smaller nations turning toward developing nuclear weapons.

Speaking at a conference of the world's top security officials, including Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, Putin said nations "are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations".

He told the audience of 250 officials, including more than 40 defence and foreign ministers: "The US has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is very dangerous, nobody feels secure any more because nobody can hide behind international law.

"This is nourishing an arms race, with the desire of countries to get nuclear weapons," he added, without singling out one nation.

Although criticized by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-CN, for being "provocative," it seems that Putin had every right to speak as he did, both as president of a nation as experienced as the US was in both nuclear arms races and non-proliferation agreements, and because Russia is not now invading foreign nations. I don't regard Lieberman as a great patriot. I believe he is a reliable spokesman for the neocons and the rightwing contingent in power in Israel. Neither of these interests reflect broad-based American public opinion, Israeli public opinion, or the opinion of American supporters of Israel.

However, aside from the utter immorality of the US invasion of Iraq, we have discovered something that the least acquaintance with history would suggest: Arabs and Afghanis are very good at war in defense of their territory. They hate our guts. I don't think it takes a PhD in international relations to figure that out or some rudimentary reasons for it. If we weren't often awed to silence by the horrendous tragedy of this war, we could see through the hubris and madness of this to its nemesis. In fact, at this moment, Egyptians, Iranians and Syrians might be able to explain to the Bush regime what is happening and could happen . But the Bush regime listens only to the rightwing rulers of Israel and its American clones, the neoconservatives. It took eight centuries to produce a world leader as powerful and stupid as George W. Bush, to start a new crusade. Now, more American troops have died than died in 9/11 and many times more Iraqis and Afghanis. Bush is not conducting foreign policy; he is having a temper tantrum with the most powerful military in the world as his baby rattle.

In the constant barrage of propaganda targeted at the US population, the new demon is Iran. Patrick Cockburn, who has reported from Iraq since long before the war, comments:

The answer to this question is probably that the anti-Iranian tilt of the Bush administration has more to do with American than Iraqi politics. A fresh demon is being presented to the US voter. Iran is portrayed as the hidden hand behind US failure in both Iraq and in Lebanon. The US media, gullible over WMD, is showing itself equally gullible over this exaggerated Iranian threat.

The Bush administration has always shown itself more interested in holding power in Washington than in Baghdad. Whatever its failures on the battlefield, the Republicans were able to retain the presidency and both Houses of Congress in 2004. Confrontation with Iran, diverting attention from the fiasco in Iraq, may be their best chance of holding the White House in 2008.

The Achilles Heel of this glorious war to bring freedom and democracy to the Islamic masses could be economic. Economic columnist for Asia Times, Chan Akya, reflects on China's changing investment policies, involving $1 trillion. His argument is that investment in US Treasury bills, the strategy recommended by the IMF for developing countries, does not produce the income necessary to buy the commodities China needs to continue to grow. Therefore, China must buy oil and mineral resources in commodity markets and through direct purchase around the world. Akya draws a drastic conclusion for both the US and Iran from this:

As for the Islamic powers of the Middle East, they will sell oil to China if only to spite Europe and the US. In doing so, they will also invite more unwanted attention from the US, which is reeling from its lost campaign in Iraq. The main scenario of the US trying to consolidate its hold over the Middle East continues, and argues for getting more desperate in the light of China's growing self-sufficiency in commodities. Thus, to preserve its role, the US has no option but to attack Iran. [4] The consequences will be horrifying for both parties, and push both combatants toward an inexorable decline.

About time,too.

Some of the more forceful domestic anti-war voices come from dissenting Republicans. Former Assistant US Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts' criticism of the Bush regime continues to evolve rapidly along the lines of Kevin Phillips' and Chalmers Johnson's recent historical theses of tragic American decline due to the stupidity of Bush the Lesser’s regime.

But Roberts, a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institute, is not content to describe the inexorable forces. He has a program for how the world can save itself and us from Bush:

The US is totally dependent upon foreigners to finance its budget and trade deficits. By financing these deficits, foreign governments are complicit in the Bush Regime's military aggressions and war crimes. The Bush Regime's two largest lenders are China and Japan. It is ironic that Japan, the only nation to experience nuclear attack by the US, is banker to the Bush Regime as it prepares a possible nuclear attack on Iran.

If the rest of the world would simply stop purchasing US Treasuries, and instead dump their surplus dollars into the foreign exchange market, the Bush Regime would be overwhelmed with economic crisis and unable to wage war. The arrogant hubris associated with the "sole superpower" myth would burst like the bubble it is.

The collapse of the dollar would also end the US government's ability to subvert other countries by purchasing their leaders to do America's will.

The demise of the US dollar is only a question of time. It would save the world from war and devastation if the dollar is brought to its demise before the Bush Regime launches its planned attack on Iran.

A possible consequence that does not seem to be intended by Roberts' program is that by plunging the US into a great depression, perhaps bringing down the entire world economy along with it, a slowdown of global warming might occur.

Political dissent, rather than alliances with gravediggers like the major American political parties, is a hopeful solution. Massive, unified, inclusive popular, non-violent dissent is a powerful weapon for bringing down tyrants, but only if it is used and refuses to be manipulated for political ambitions. In fact, the future of any American's political ambition may at this moment depend on it being used to preserve the political system in which those ambitions play.

Bill Hatch
----------

Notes:

Tomgram: Schwartz on Surging into Catastrophe in Iraq, Feb. 11, 2007,
http://www.Tomdispatch.com

Putin attacks America over nuclear arms race
David Rising (AP), Feb. 10, 2007
http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=223662007

Nader and Libertarians Not Welcome
A Splintered Antiwar Movement
By JOHN WALSH, Feb. 12, 2007
Counterpunch
http://www.counterpunch.com/walsh02122007.html

Scapegoating Iran
It's No Use Blaming Iran for a Lost War
Patrick Cockburn, Feb. 12, 2007
http://www.counterpunch.com/

Sun Tzu's art of investing
By Chan Akya, Feb. 10, 2007
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/IB10Cb04.html

Dump the Dollar!
How the World Can Stop Bush
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, Feb. 12, 2007
http://www.counterpunch.com/roberts02122007.html

| »

Gathering the data for success

Submitted: Feb 10, 2007

Once there was a town where apples were grown in great abundance. Yuppies moved in years ago and now there are few orchards left in the area, but the story related here took place back when agriculture in that part of California seemed quite viable and farmers could plan for a future.

A fellow in his late 30s returned to his hometown after wandering the world. He took over management of a family orchard. Although, from his background, he knew more about apple farming than most people reading this story, he didn’t know it all. One thing he did not know was where to buy the best rootstock for a particular variety of apple tree, the most profitable in the area.

To find out the best place to buy the most profitable rootstock, he decided to ask the old apple growers. First, he selected a grower who had the reputation for growing the best apples in the region, and he asked him what the best nursery was. The grower told him. Next, he asked the richest grower in the region the same question. This grower told the fellow he would think about it and get back to him.

The next time the richest grower and the best grower found themselves together before dawn drinking coffee and eating pancakes, they started talking about the young grower. Interest in the subject of a new grower in the region lay somewhere between shooting deer out of season and whose tractor driver was in jail that morning. But if you have breakfast in the same restaurant with same company since the end of World War II, novelty has its place in the conversation.

“He asked me what the best nursery was,” the richest grower said.

“He asked me the same question,” the best grower said.

“What the Hell?” they said to each other. “What did you tell him?”

“I told him the best place,” the best grower said.

At that point another grower, chimed in, “He asked me the same question.”

“What did you tell him?” the best and richest growers asked.

“Why should I tell you?” the other grower said. “I will say I didn’t tell him the best place.”

“Why not?” they asked.

“I never liked his grandfather,” the other grower said.

“Yeah, but he’s going to get crap from that nursery,” the best grower said.

“I hope so,” the neither the best nor richest, grower said.

“But, why’s he asking everybody where to get the best rootstock?” asked the richest grower. “Any one of us could have told him there’s only one good nursery for that variety.”

“Don’t ask me. Must be part of Modern Business Management Practices,” the other grower said. “’Check with your local growers. Sometimes the peasants have valuable experience that, if scientifically cultivated, can produce great wealth and prosperity?’ Something like that?”

“Well, what are we going to do about this guy?” the best grower asked. “He asks me, he asks you and you and who knows how many other people. That ain’t right. If you’re going to help a guy, that’s a personal deal. It’s nobody else’s business. Hell, I never would have said anything about it if you hadn’t. I was embarrassed about it when he asked me, to be honest with you. He's not my son, is he?"

So, the growers assembled their valuable peasant experience and figured out a line to feed the young modern agricultural manager about getting just the right trees that would guarantee that his new block of the profitable variety would be unprofitable.

This unprofitability came to pass in due time and the young scientific manager came to the feed and seed store and asked the growers what happened. Employing peasant cunning, they asked him what phase the moon was in when he’d planted the trees. He consulted old calendars in the public library until he returned with the right answer.

“Ah,” the best, the richest, and neither the best nor richest grower replied unanimously, “wrong phase.”

“But, you never told me about the moon!” the young grower exclaimed.

“Did he ask you about the moon?” the growers asked each other, shaking their heads.

“You never asked us about the moon,” they agreed.

“But you should have told me!” the young grower said.

“Who should have told you?” the best grower said. “Me? Him? Him?”

“What difference does it make?” the young grower asked. “Somebody. Anybody.”

The richest grower asked the best grower, “Are you Somebody? Am I Anybody?”

“Naw,” said the neither the richest or best grower, “you’re nobody but a couple of apple growers.”

After the young grower retreated from the seed and feed store, the richest grower asked the best grower what phase of the moon he used.

“The one my father told me to use,” the best grower said.

“What one is that?” asked the neither best nor richest grower.

| »

Hope for justice: US v. Bush et al, by Elizabeth de la Vega

Submitted: Dec 29, 2006

A former federal prosecutor, Elizabeth de la Vega, has just published a book called United States v. George W. Bush et al. The book is a formal indictment for fraud. Below is a flyer for the book.

De la Vega's columns on TomDispatch.com concerning the Scooter Libby prosecution cut through the political flak about the case and explained the points and the prosecutor's direction. However, these excellent articles gave us no hint of what lay ahead, a book-length federal indictment for fraud against the George W. Bush administration.

This is already an American classic, although only released weeks ago. In a crowd of great books written during this disastrous administration, the Badlands Journal editorial board believes this one will be read a century from now because de la Vega reminds us that the essence of patriotism is the hope for justice.
-------------------------

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
www.SevenStories.com
contact: Ruth Weiner at ruth@sevenstories.com or at 212-226-8760.

Elizabeth de la Vega, formerly a federal prosecutor in Minneapolis and San Jose, California, does what she knows best
in the face of gross criminal activity: she convenes a grand jury

Advance Praise for U.S. v. Bush, et al.:

"Any American patriot who would like to see a grand jury challenge this Administration's blitzkrieg against our constitution will relish Elizabeth de la Vega's book United States v. George W. Bush et al....Ms. de la Vega invites us into the courtroom to consider the indictment of our modern day Machiavellis and the fraud they've perpetrated."
—Edward Asner

“De la Vega has accomplished an amazing feat with this singularly triumphant presentation of the intersection between political fantasy and legal reality. Reading the delightfully logical and clearheaded United States v. George W. Bush, et al. is both incredibly sobering, and yet strangely hopeful. Real American patriots can only wish the United States godspeed in this case, and this brief is destined to be well studied by principals in all three branches of American government, as well as by those who serve as the Fourth Estate.”
—Karen Kwiatkowski
Retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel

“It is much more powerful than the 9/11 report. A tour de force.”
—Chalmers Johnson
Author of Blowback and The Sorrows of Empire

ELIZABETH DE LA VEGA, a federal prosecutor for over twenty years, is a Massachusetts native who attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. A long-term resident of the Twin Cities, she clerked for the late U.S. District Court Judge Robert Renner in St. Paul and then worked for eleven years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis, handling a wide variety of criminal cases, including the Northwest Pilots’ Case, the first federal prosecution of commercial pilots for flying under the influence. She now lives in Northern California where she was a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force and branch chief in San Jose, CA. Since her retirement in 2004, Ms. de la Vega has been a regular contributor to Tomdispatch.com. Her articles have also appeared in The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Salon.com, and Mother Jones. A frequent guest on talk shows, she has recently appeared on Thom Hartmann, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now and on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report!

Hear Stephen Colbert talk about U.S. v. Bush et. al.! :
http://www.comedycentral.com/motherload/index.jhtml?ml_video=79236

See Ms. de la Vega on “The Colbert Report.”
http://www.comedycentral.com/motherload/?lnk=v&ml_video=79252

To read excerpts of U.S. v. Bush et.al. see http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=142875

| »


To manage site Login