0806 am 'Get This' news
08/06/07 Get This
- ‘The Document’ is kept in a bombproof safe in Washington and it’s at the center of the strongest case yet against the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping spree. What happened is that the NSA illegally intercepted the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation’s telephone calls. Congress sent itself off to the beach with its bucket and shovel after caving in to the administration’s petulant demands to authorize another few months of the same domestic spying that The Document, Well, documents. But no one’s paying attention to The Document: It’s August and there’s Harry Potter to read at the beach…
- The nation’s infrastructure is crumbling and Grover Norquist hasn’t come up – yet – with any good ideas on how to hand it over entirely to the private sector. So until then we can expect to see money continue to pour into war and vehicles to pour off collapsed bridges into rivers.
- Case in Point: The State of Oregon chose the least skilled bidder to do the repair work on Highway 20. You know the one; Runs between Corvallis and Newport? Strewn with the wreckage of the final results of shoddy construction and shabby driving.
- The Activist Report high points: A Code Pink activist on trial for “improper use of a highway” was found guilty and sentenced to 2 hours of “Share the Road” school. (And the administration needs “Repair the Road” school before the road strikes back. Nature bats last, but the country’s highway system has a fast ball with your name on it….) In Seattle protestors marched on the decrepit VA hospital. The message? ‘Fund the Wounded, Not the war.’ And there are Remember Hiroshima variations on the theme all week, direct actions and demonstrations going on from Bangor, Maine to Livermore, California. There’s a world of opportunity out there for anyone moved by the movement.
- The Eastern Front: Look out, Gresham! Here come the hipsters and the immigrants. For the cost of renting an apartment in Portland these days, one could afford a Prius, dinner at the Heathman, bridgework….You name it. The urban poor are joining the rural poor out in East County. (Maybe Troutdale will finally get a decent ethnic restaurant…)
- Kevin Mannix wants YOU to decide whether criminals ought to receive longer prison sentences. (Good thinking, Kevin: Tough on crime plays well with voters and criminals will have more time to pick up valuable skills on the Inside.
- There aren’t enough English classes for immigrants seeking a solid foundation in the language of the land. (And while we’re at it, I say we need to teach English to indigenous Americans….)
- Five teenagers from Keiser, Oregon were caught stealing chemicals from their high school chemistry lab in order to blow up their high school. That’s the story out of the gate. We’ll have to see how long it takes the kids to beat the terrorism charges. We can start by asking the NSA if by any chance it had a wiretap on the children’s phones….)
- State biologists are going to use satellites to track mountain goats. (Don’t complain: The money could have gone to the construction of a military base in Iraq….)
- America’s own al-Qaeda publicist and all-round media go-to guy, Adam Gadahn has released his ‘Summer Blockbuster.’ (And just as Congress sets off for the beach to read Harry Potter and work on its tan…pity, that.) Yes, in his latest video, Gadahn warned America that US diplomatic missions and other interests were “legitimate targets” and that these and other “spy dens” could expect something along the lines of the bridge collapse in Minnesota.
- George Bush and Hamid Karzai got together for a little tete a tete – or puppet-to-puppet – talks at Camp David. Karzai, wondering why Bush hasn’t exactly ‘accomplished’ his avowed ‘mission’ to find Osama bin Laden.
- Congress collapsed with the stunning finality of a bridge between Minneapolis and St. Paul under Republican arm-twisting over the domestic spying bill. As it stands, the NSA can continue to intercept – without a court order – communications between people in the United States and people overseas (Or as it is phrased in the actual bill, “foreign targets” (So if a Palestinian gas station owner and his wife have a baby and they call The Old Country to tell the Fam about the blessed event, the eighty-year-old granny in Gaza City who picks up the phone, she would be a “foreign target”? (All this is assuming the phones work: The US has destroyed a significant portion of the infrastructure in so many Arab nations, a person practically has to walk to Tel Aviv to place a call….)
- The Pentagon got its budget approved, setting another record for warfare funding. This time it was $460 billion dollars that our elected representatives signed our names to.
- Current and former White House officials may not be protected from criminal contempt charges by a magical force field of executive privilege. (‘Contempt charges’? ‘Contempt charges’??? Someone should slap Congress in its entirety with some ‘contempt charges’ of their own for willfully disobeying the will of the people they represent, refusing to listen people with knowledge and experience and ignoring the financial disaster the nation is sailing blindly into. Mmmmmm….Now that’s contempt…)
- Life Really Is A Circle: The Feds went right out and took their warrantless wiretapping ride for a spin. They raided the home of a former Justice Department lawyer, Thomas Tamm. They are looking for the individual who leaked information about Bush’s domestic spying program in the first place…..
- The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight Dept: Once again, the Army Corps of Engineers is in the news. This time for dumping military ordnance on a beach in New Jersey that mistakenly believed it was getting a load of fresh sand.
- Snakes On A Plain of Darkness: Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas got together outside the West Bank town of Jericho to discuss exactly how American money Israel was willing to pay if Abbas handed over the Palestinian people’s fate….No! No, wait!…They talked about peace. They did. Peace…That’s what they talked about…
- Getting on the Sectarian Warfare Wagon: US commanders in Iraq are financing highly trained and well-equipped Sunnis militias.
- In Lebanon, an opposition candidate has defeated a government-backed rival in a local by-election in a town near Beirut. Supporters of the two sides had to be separated by tanks and hundreds of troops. The election was held to replace the two anti-Syrian MP’s who were assassinated recently (I did not say the word ‘Mossad. You must have misunderestimated that last remark…)
- Pakistan freed one of its own opposition leaders yesterday. Javed Hashimi is the former acting president of the Pakistan Muslim League. (I suppose the reasoning goes like this: With Hashimi in prison, the religious extremists can gather followers who disagree with Musharaff’s relatively secular policies. If they let Hashimi out, they can avoid demands that hundreds of the Muslim Leagues more radical elements be released. And once he’s out, he could always have a nasty “accident.” After all, Pakistan is a dangerous place….)
- This year’s monsoon is killing and displacing millions of people all across Asia. It’s the worst one on record in most places.
- China says Tibetans have to get a permit in order rot be reincarnated.