Thursday, June 26, 2008


Take to the hills!

And that's just what we're going to do for a few days: head up into the Ochoco Mountains for some "quiet time." Last week-end we drove up into the Ochocos and found a nice place to camp; today we're going to take the van up and hang out. No Judge Judy, no People's Court, Larry King, not even Amy Goodman or Laura Flanders. Hopefull, birds, squirrels, peace, and quiet.

Let's see: Ralph Nader thinks Obama talks too white or something like that. The Texas Republicans think—well, no, they don't think. Never mind.

That's like saying the...well, fuck: we have arrived at the point of utter insanity. Oil, guns, wars, plasma screen TVs, traffic, cell phones, and it's all fucking stupid. I need a rest.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Monday meader

Sumer ist i-cummin in...It's here: the days are in the warm seventies and above, and the nights are pleasant. Yesterday we were up in the foothills of the Ochoco Mountains and the slopes were vivid with wildflowers. Hayfields in canyon bottoms were green and freshly mown. It was beautiful.

About time.

I've wallowed my way through Father's Day and my 70th birthday; neither event exactly inspired me. Father's Day I felt sad, as I have every Father's Day since my son died. It seems a reasonable response. Seventy years old is, well, another day. Birthdays aren't like sudden time-warps or earthquakes. Just another day like yesterday—except people are usually nicer to the person having a birthday. Presents are always nice, of course, and so's getting taken out to dinner. That's about it. There's no way to compare being seventy to being sixty-nine, really. That's good. Life is, after all, one schlep after another.

George Carlin died. That's too bad, I guess. He was an opponent of the status quo, the hypocritical, and the schlock. Sometimes he depressed me with his acidity and bleak view of life—at least of the official reality. But usually he was right on target. I'm grateful for all his insights. I think he was probably right about the futility of our political system and the hopes for political solutions. Things aren't getting better so much as we're getting more things. We're still gobbling up the world's resources, fouling our nests as fast as possible, and pretending the future is some magical space where Everything's OK.

Uh, folks, I don't think so...I think we're in big trouble. Certainly here in America we're in big trouble. We're rapidly achieving Most Hated Nation status. We get the goodies and the rest of the world gets AIDS, endless wars and Depleted Uranium, and the joy of being exploited by "the greatest country in the world," as Bill Clinton put it.

And, now, I think, I'll go to the library and hang out with some books for a while.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Mexico, Again

In my twenties and into my early thirties, I spent a lot of time in Mexico. In small towns around Jalisco and down on the coast in Nayarit. Things were way different, then.

Mexico’s war on drugs: Journey into a lawless land

With 1,400 dead this year alone, and gangs pinning up 'wanted' posters naming police they wish to see killed, Mexico's war on drugs is spiralling out of control. Richard Grant risked his life to travel through the mountains of the Sierra Madre – the most dangerous region of all – and witnessed the terrifying slide into anarchy

Wednesday, 4 June 2008


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    Sunday, June 01, 2008


    Does Anyone Give a Shit?

    After the scandals about prisoner torture broke, I wrote one of my senators, Ron Wyden, about investigating and prosecuting those responsible for it. Good ol' Ron wrote me back, assuring me he'd work diligently to find out exactly who ordered the torture and would make sure those reponsible would be held responsible.

    I wish I still had the letter.

    We sure have a good idea of who OKed—hell, ordered—the torture. Not just us, but most of the world knows who ordered it: the White House. Our country is run by war criminals. They have about 90% of the Republican party behind them, too. Defending things like "extraordinary rendition," waterboarding, anything short of actually torturing the prisoners to death...although that probably happened, too—well, accidentally, no doubt.

    I don't think anybody really gives a shit, though. I don't even believe they have any outrage left at the bullshit way we got into this war, either. Maybe it's scandal-fatigue. Or PTSD.


    Let's Hear It For A Free Market—Ooops, Not With Gunfirer!

    ...Anyhow, from the front in the other War, the War On Drugs, comes familar news: we ain't winning. For years and years, Mexico has provided kajillions of tons of drugs to the U.S., as well as, probably, Canada. The corruption goes clear to the top in Mexico.

    Yeah, I know it does here, too, but in a more legalistic way. I'm not saying that drug money does not penetrate our legislative and judicial branches of government. I'm saying that America's main form of corruption is about business—which means it isn't quite as bloody as drug money—except, say, in Iraq or Afghanistan...

    Back when the U.S. government cracked down on the sale of ingredients used to manufacture "meth," it was obvious the Mexican drug cartels would take up the slack. If I was super-paranoid instead of kinda-paranoid I might suggest that allowing Mexico to find another profitable drug to traffic was the way it was planned. Domestic meth production is way down, but there's no scarcity of the drug. Some statistics I've seen indicate that heroin use is up. Maybe that's Afghanistan developing a robust market economy...

    Mexicans believe drug gangs winning war with gov't

    Reuters US Online Report World News
    Jun 01, 2008 13:40 EST

    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A majority of Mexicans believe
    violent drug gangs are winning a war with President Felipe
    Calderon's government after one of the worst months on record
    for killings, Reforma newspaper reported on Sunday.

    According to a poll by the newspaper, 53 percent of
    Mexicans think that drug traffickers hold the upper hand
    against government forces which are trying to clamp down on
    cartels that ship drugs to the United States.

    Only 24 percent said they believed the government was
    winning the battle. The remaining 23 percent gave no opinion.

    May was one of the most violent months on record for drug
    killings, both between gangs and targeting federal forces.
    Calderon has sent thousands of troops onto the streets in a bid
    to stop cartels from operating.

    Close to 500 people were slain in May -- including a wave
    against police chiefs -- the highest number of killings since
    Calderon took office in December 2006, according to a tally
    kept by Milenio newspaper.

    Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora said last month that
    4,152 drug-related killings have been registered in Calderon's
    administration, 450 of them police, military or government

    Calderon, however, kept up his approval rating in the
    Reforma poll. Some 64 percent approved his work as president,
    up from 63 percent in March. A year ago his rating was 65

    The poll was carried out among 1,515 people nationwide on
    May 23-25 and had a margin or error of plus or minus 2.5
    percent, Reforma said.

    (Reporting by Chris Aspin; Editing by Eric Beech)

    Reuters US Online Report World News

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