Friday, June 22, 2007

Nation of Scofflaws

In his Times-Standard column yesterday, David Cobb railed against national immigration sweeps that stormed into Fortuna last week, stranding children and removing bread winners from families who need them. “The reality is that the overwhelming majority of Americans are immigrants, or the direct descendants of immigrants,” he wrote.
Another weekly columnist, Leo Sears, wasted no time responding in today’s paper by poo-pooing the notion that the US is a nation of immigrants by insisting we are a “nation of laws.”
Sears is only partially right. We are a nation of selectively enforced laws, with the biggest lawbreakers often being those empowered to keep us in line. Just ask CIA Director Michael Hayden who announced yesterday that hundreds of pages detailing illegal CIA activity will be declassified. The documents will shed light on decades of domestic spying, kidnapping, and assassination attempts. Perhaps we should reverently stand to read these shameful pages -- placing hands over hearts -- while learning about government surveillance of journalists, infiltration of leftist groups, and covert experiments on civilians, including the use of drugs.
Not surprisingly, the CIA refers to these tactics as “the family jewels.” Apparently, it takes balls to be a sanctioned, well-paid criminal. Stephen Colbert would be proud.
Hayden says the documents “provide a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency.” However, a quick glance at news over the last few years shows these activities by the US government continue with vigor.
George W. Bush is widely reported to have called the Constitution “just a goddamn piece of paper.” His administration behaves as such, trampling long-celebrated rights provided by the founding fathers.
Ripping families apart and orphaning children in the name of a “nation of laws” is an abuse of power -- just like government-tapped phone lines or FBI agents posing as human beings in order to infiltrate peace organizations.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

“Thanks Polly and Larry”

Public comments were peppered with praise for council members Polly Endert and Larry Glass for their participation in an advisory committee that reached an agreement for lower bed count at the Christian-based recovery facility Teen Challenge.

Council member Chris Kerrigan advocated a maximum of 10 residents for the first year, rather than the negotiated limit of 24. But Glass said a 10-bed limit was the city's starting point in the negotiations. Teen Challenge originally sought a 50-bed facility.
Teen Challenge got the green light 3-1, Kerrigan dissenting.

Internet blamed for more lay-offs

The Mercury News is owned by MediaNews Group, which also owns the Times-Standard.

Humboldt County needs a slaughter house

As you may know, there’s a Senate Bill moving through the legislative process that would widen highway 101 at Richardson Grove to allow Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) trucks to haul live cattle South from Humboldt for slaughter. The widening might require the removal of old-growth redwoods.
While there have been some interesting ideas that would preclude cutting the trees, such as installing traffic lights at either end to allow nighttime one-way traffic to accommodate the trucks, there is perhaps a local solution -- a Humboldt County slaughter house.
Why ship cattle south when processing and packaging could happen here, creating jobs and high-quality local products? And for the motivated entrepreneur, money from the Headwaters Fund could be accessed to start the business. The Fund is currently accepting applications.
The slaughter house could also service Del Norte, though adjustments to the highway may still be required at Big Lagoon.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Driven Out

Crescent City’s newspaper The Daily Triplicate reports on a new book about Humboldt County history. Jean Pfaelzer is the author of Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans. Pfaelzer spoke Saturday at North Town Books in Arcata.

From the Triplicate:

Eureka's tale, she found, repeated itself in cities and towns along the West Coast from Seattle to Crescent City to San Diego and east into Wyoming, Nevada and Idaho.

"I realized I was sitting on a story of ethnic cleansing in the U.S.," Pfaelzer said. "It was systematic. It was deliberate. It was all over the place."


After being forced from their Eureka homes, Chinese people filed the first lawsuit in America for reparations. They organized a militia in Amador and a vegetable strike in Truckee in response to evacuation attempts. Chinese workers on the railroad line won the right to keep their own cooks who boiled water for tea and saved their health as diseases spread among whites.


Eureka's roundup in 1885 followed the death of a city councilman, caught in the crossfire of a shoot-out in Chinatown. A local crowd wanted to kill all of the city's Chinese residents and burn down Chinatown. Leaders settled on immediately driving them out by loading them onto boats for San Francisco.

When they arrived, the Chinese sued Eureka for racism.

"It is an instance of formidable resistence," Pfaelzer said of the action that also sought damages for their lost wages, fishing vessels, crops and horses. "They sue for being the objects of mob violence, the intangible hatred that has come down on them and forced them out of Eureka."


Pfaelzer wants the issue and her book to focus more attention on current immigration problems.

She pointed to communities in the U.S. that have forced out Latino residents, through rental laws and other means. She also noted the recent raids on immigrants in the Eureka area.

"It is happening again," Pfaelzer said.

She compared rules that called on the Chinese to carry photo IDs to possible future requirements for U.S. citizens to carry passports. Chinese residents at the time refused.


"Many communities are just now beginning to deal with what happened to the first Chinese Americans," Pfaelzer said.

Obligatory post on today’s news

Roger Rodoni revs for re-election by bringing pot to the table. Well, the discussion of legalized pot, anyway. But Roger risks revolting 2nd District voters because everyone knows a corner-store pack of Marlboro Spliffs would cause cannabis prices to bottom out.
Meanwhile on the opinion page, the Times-Standard­ gets misty over “compassion” used to round up immigrants in Fortuna and ship them over the border forthwith. While the T-S did a great job covering the surprise raids this week, today’s sugarcoating burns the swallow pipe. After reporting that children were left without one or both parents the editors now say they “hope” the reports aren’t true.
In other news, the Eureka Reporter published an authorless news item bemoaning California getting out-logged by our neighbors to the North. Oregon and Washington, we learn, are cutting more timber than our fair state. Maybe with enough lobbying we can have clear-cuts right up to the highway, just like Oregon! Gee, that would be swell, Wally.
But for some real “troubling questions” head to this opinion piece by a Willow Creek resident worried about the uncomfortable number of recent mountain lion sightings. The big cats have been helping themselves to domestic pets in “long-established” neighborhoods, prompting the writer to ponder hunting season on the predators. Perhaps the mountain lions are way ahead on this issue. After suffering decades of invasion in their long-established territory, the native felines appear to have concluded that thinning intruding populations is an appropriate action. Some among us would obviously agree.