Paul Haeder, Author

writing, interviews, editing, blogging

Demonstrators, who were joined by Democratic presidential candidate and Washington governor Jay Inslee, march to McDonald’s corporate headquarters to demand $15-per-hour wages for fast food workers on May 23, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Inslee is one of mo

. . . for bad food, for enormous single use garbage (both packaging and the “food”), for the company’s perverse economies of scale (for the stock holders but not for the local businesses), for the idiocy of the automation, for being located in low income neighborhoods where there are no green grocers, for the poor treatment of workers, for the low and shitty pay, for the corporate pigs stealing wages, stealing profits and for their lack of humanity.

But in Israel, where apartheid is going strong, where the theft of Palestinians’ land is laughed at, and where their history books are scrubbed and filled with lies, these mercenaries, or former “soldiers” (murderers of doctors, people in wheelchairs, teens, and old men and women), want the Jewish owner of McDonald’s a la hummus to be boycotted because this businessman has the terminity to say he will not place his death food franchise in illegal settlements (sic):

Israeli Jew Omri Padan, the owner of the Israeli MacDonald’s franchise.

Padan has for years refused to open branches in Jewish settlements in the Palestinian West Bank: he rejects the presence of these so-called “Jewish communities,” which are considered by international law and most of the world to be illegal. In 2013, Padan’s franchise refused to open a restaurant in Ariel, an illegal settlement of 20,000, sparking anger and accusations of discrimination.

The irony of a MacDonald’s boycott in Tel Aviv
Signs outside a McDonald’s in Tel Aviv protest the refusal of the local franchise to open in Judea and Samaria.. (photo credit: MAARIV)

Oh, this country — “Israel” will be paying for the high crimes and misdemeanors and slow-steady drip drip genocide against the real residents of this homeland for real battlers. Trump and Schumer and their pets:

New pro-Israel orgs try to save the Jewish State’s sagging reputation

Not only is boycott of Israel and “Israeli-controlled areas” – the illegally occupied West Bank and Gaza –against Israeli law; the Israel lobby is pushing for legislation in the US and in Europe that would criminalize the use of boycotts against Israel.

But while pro-Palestinian justice boycotts are being systematically outlawed around the world, pro-Israel boycotts such as the one against MacDonald’s are in full swing.

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs issued in 2018 a “blacklist,” which declares a boycott-type ban on 20 international organizations, denying them entry to the Jewish state.

In the days of apartheid in South Africa, Israel was an ally of that country, benefiting from arms sales and secret collaboration in nuclear weapon development. Israel refused to answer the call of a worldwide boycott, a movement that eventually brought an end to the racist regime.

The pattern suggests that Israel considers boycott permissible only when it works in Israel’s favor.

By Kathryn Shihadah, staff writer for If Americans Knew. She blogs at Palestine Home

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and chlorpyrifos, atrazine* continue to cream the brains of fetuses and young kids because America is all about gender neutral pronouns but no life-saving actions

Charlie Hill, Oneida-Mohawk-Cree: “A Redneck told me to go back where I came from, so I put a tipi in his backyard.”

What exactly is the size and shape and breadth of that infamous straw that broke the camel’s back? One thousand more African-American youth murdered by cops this year in US of A? One million more people this year leaving homelands because of climate change? One billion more people making less than $2 a day? Flotilla of icebergs floating down the Baja coast? Epstein-Trump-Clinton-Woody Allen on tape raping boys and girls?

Yet, well, how many toxins, how many chemicals, how much sewage in freshwater and how many oil spills on beaches, and how much radioactivity, and how many EMF’s will it take for that camel’s back to crack? Oh, those great white men and women telling you how many cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting, DNA-morphing, chronic illness-producing poisons should be allowed on the corn flakes and potato chips! Read on:

*Health harms

Human exposure to atrazine is linked to a number of serious health effects. A potent endocrine disrupter, atrazine interferes with hormonal activity of animals and humans at extremely low doses.

Endocrine Disruption: The science on atrazine’s effects on the hormone system continues to grow. It alters the levels of key hormones in rats and can delay puberty. In male frogs, exposure to atrazine causes a kind of “chemical castration,” causing them to develop female sex characteristics. Researchers hypothesize that atrazine signals the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, demasculinizing the frogs.

Reproductive Effects: Because atrazine disrupts hormones, it’s not surprising that epidemiological studies find associations between exposure to the herbicide and reproductive effects including increased risk of miscarriage, reduced male fertility, low birth weight, increased chance of any birth defect, and higher incidence of abdominal defects;

Cancer: Evidence for the carcinogenic potential of atrazine is growing — exposure has been linked to elevated risk of breast and prostate cancer. The recent President’s Cancel Panel Report notes that atrazine has possible carcinogenic properties. In response to concerns, U.S. EPA is currently re-evaluating atrazine’s carcinogenic potential.

[or…]

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Scientist Dr. Emily Marquez, who spoke at the DARTIC hearing in Sacramento, said this:

The committee made the right decision in light of the scientific evidence. Chlorpyrifos is neurotoxic and the Prop 65 listing affirms what scientists, doctors and communities have been saying for years – children’s developing brains are incredibly vulnerable to low amounts of the chemical during critical windows of development. State regulators should follow today’s decision by finally taking this chemical off the market.

15 years later . . .
It’s not new news that chlorpyrifos harms brains, particularly children’s developing brains. Research showing this was the impetus behind banning the chemical from home use more than 15 years ago. But progress on getting this chemical out of agricultural fields, and off of food crops, has been slow thanks in large part to the focused attention of its manufacturer, Dow Chemical.

On the national stage, Dow’s influence was made clear earlier this year when, after closed door meetings with the company’s CEO, newly appointed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made the surprising announcement that he wasn’t going ban the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops — as the agency had previously announced it would do based on its own scientific analysis.

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I was on the radio yesterday, SOS Spokane, with KYRS-FM, my old radio station when I had an hour show, Tipping Points: Voices from the Edge, a weekly public affairs show where I had all sorts of guest on, a veritable list of greats (a few so-so’s) both local and national. Winona LaDuke, Bill McKibbeon, David Suzuki, Naomi Wolf, Naomi Klein, Amy Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, and so many more whose names are not household names, but amazing authors and scientists and literary types — James Howard Kunstler, Novella Carpenter, Richard Heinberg, Richard Wrangham, Tim Flannery, so-so many more!

It was a look back (and forward) on my 10 years in Spokane organizing, writing columns, doing special reports for magazines and newspapers, teaching college, and more-more, including another graduate degree (urban planning), helping raise a child, literary and non-literary publishing, and environmental organizing. A fellow named Paul Potocky hosts it, and  it was both fun and frustrating to be back on the air.

Big issues, like, how do we fix our education system, how to fix the mush and propaganda of Media, how to deal with cities like Spokane spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on paid shills/people rallying the rest of the country to move to the town (how many other big and small communities do the same?), how to get lefties off their asses and to quit griping over other lefties’ nuanced beliefs, climate change, etc.

Here’s my beef — Paul is an old lefty, and he’s retired, and he is in a community within a community — left-leaners but people who will never ever criticize the powers that be or the town itself. In the end, the new black is green or social services or legal aid, or what have you. People in the left-leaning arena are not willing to go full blast on criticizing America, the white supremacist threads of heavy gauge wire binding the minds of the left-leaners. They are not there to put stops on growth, to really look deeply at the embedded capitalists in the colleges that are part of Spokane, and the rah-rah small town folk but mean as cuss people who love a good Trump sexist, racist, wacko Christian joke. Spokane wants growth, Spokane wants a fulfillment (sic — a devil’s den) center from head Devil, Jeff “Amazon-Monopoly-and-Slaver” Bezos, and Spokane wants more roads, no public transportation. Spokane has a drug, depression, drop-out, decaying neighborhoods, dragging intellect problem, and the city wants to forget about the dispossessed, the near-homeless, and aging, chronically ill peeps.

When you go to a county or city meeting, the people that are the movers and shakers are developers, builders, and a few in various city-county departments. The town, like many towns, is non-responsive to we the people, but rather, we the money bags.

The very idea of “fixing things” means getting rid of things, stopping this digitalization of everything, this new disruptive and demeaning economies of scale, economies of hate, economies of monopolizing pigs who run the show. Paul and I quibbled over the media, or really, the Press. I posit that we need small rags back, more neighborhood and community broadsheets and newsletters and monthlies and weeklies — grassroots — on the streets. We need more readers. He thinks that since the cat is out of the bag, that there is no going back to a newspaper-newsprint hard copy time.

I disagree, and now is the time to teach young people how to resurrect mimeographs and typesetting, cold or hot. Time to have groups go after all levels of bad government and worse than bad business and those chamber of commerce felons.

Imagine, ten thousand or more people hitting the streets of a town like Spokane. Snap-snap-snap of maleficence, and more and more prying into the problems facing its citizens, with no salvation or solutions coming from the top, the ones who love those trendy Portlandesque bars and food emporiums and bad ass cafes.

There is no rabid, frothing, scabies-infested cat out of the bag we can’t stuff back in and gas back into euthanasia heaven.

We could say that, well, now that the cat is out of the bag in PK12 education — the common “killing” core/standardized testing brought to us by Gates-Pearson-Eli Brand — there’s no turning back. Or, now that we are completely surveilled and our lives dictated by a few chosen people vis-a-vis there schemes of anti-democratic info-biometric-history-DNA collecting, there’s no putting that black plague infected cat back in the bag. Same with all the toxins being foisted on us all, daily, and all the illegal wars not-in-our-name; all the illegal financial-real estate-insurance fraud, those distemper filled cats are out of the bag, so why attempt to change those systems of penury and structural violence? Universities that are colonized by the Koch Brothers and Fortune 1000 Companies of Fraud, well, those leukemia-finished cats are also out of the bag, so also give up?

Nope — Zapata: I would rather die on my feet than to live on my knees.

In fact, the foundation to any revolution and radical (root) change in this un-Democracy is more robust discourse, discussion, and coverage — by local entities, by local various forms of media!

This chipping away at America, or putting in better wires and cloud servers just to say new is new and better is in the mind’s eye, just allows the oppressors to do their dirty deeds quicker, more pervasively, and with a Nazi’s efficiency and Eichmann cold heart and Goebbels collective double- and triple-tap to the human brain and eco-landscape to completely confuse the population.

My thesis is to have these conversations many many more times, daily, and with more radically truthful concepts, with gusto, no holds barred, and to ram the facts down their throats — both sides of the manure pit called US Politics-Law Making-Legislative Governing.

Every single hour, now, I receive emails and texts from friends who are becoming more and more fatigued — as in Stockholm syndrome or abusive-battered spouse syndrome —  with not just the deplorable stories and vapidity of the press reporting (stenographing) on the people running the country, running the corporations, or those in the throw-a-trillion-dollars-at-their-talentless celebrity culture, or those rally goers with their chronic illnesses and vicious Christian ideology of hate thy neighbor, BUT absolutely drained  with the entire project that they believe was a possibly decent American way of life in some mythical golden period of prosperity (for the rich, the white), as in post-WWII? That magical time when all things were in place —  all the bells and whistles, all the  “Kum ba yah” (African spiritual song of slaves, meaning, come by here), and two cars in every driveway and smart, adorable, handsome/beautiful offspring with prominent college degrees and a trajectory that might be the envy of a Chelsea or Ivanka.

Truly, the amount of information that floods our corpuscles and demands dendrites and synapses to fire simultaneously while also filtering out the reality that this country has ALWAYS been warped and bad hombre-like puts most average people into a tailspin: spiritual, guilt-laden, fearful, hypocritical and circling the wagons kind of multivariate predicament.

Not acknowledging the U.S. as a white supremacist settler-state translates into a fundamental error.

I am sorry, but there are more white nationalists in the U.S. than folks want to admit. Not acknowledging the U.S. as a white supremacist settler-state translates into a fundamental error. AOC along with other liberals and most of the Eurocentric left are not calling for a break in the history of the U.S. state. They are not calling for authentic de-colonization. By not doing so, they are embracing the perspective of the invader.

Really, what is this “America” that the squad loves and claim to be a part of? AOC’s family is from the colony of Puerto Rico. Tlaib’s America is probably the most Islamophobic country on the planet. Omar’s native land of Somalia became one of the first of the so-called “failed states,” those states where U.S. and Western imperialism plunders and then pretends that the state failed as a result of its internal weaknesses. Pressley, as an African American, is part of a captive population subjected to 243 years of enslavement, 100 years of post-slavery apartheid, and 54 years of benign neglect.

These are the practices and policies of a state and society committed to upholding white colonial/capitalist power. The squad must understand that if one’s people are part of the working class and nationally oppressed, you don’t beg to become part of that de-humanizing and degrading machine. You don’t call for integration or for the recognition of your rights, which is not going to happen. No! You fight and struggle for your inherent dignity, understanding that human rights are not going to be granted by the oppressor.They have to be won through ferocious struggle.

Ajamu Baraka, national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace

More people in the USA, according to the “pollsters” like Gallup, say they want to leave than even under Obama or Bush, and their number one choice? Again, so American of them, so elitist and exceptionally ignorant of them, but it makes sense these Yankee Doodle Dandy defectors hands down see the white land to the north, Canada, somehow is in their sights as the number one choice from where to skedaddle. As if Oh Canada is this gilded, vaunted place of harmony, endless socialized this and that, and non-bigoted, pro-woman, highly respectful people! Just read the pages of Dissident Voice by putting “Canada” into the search box and you will get a virtual house of horrors/whores list of the not-so-good, bad and ugly of that land of my mother’s birth!

But, truly, so many friends have known the CIA-WTO-Skulls&Bones-MilitaryIndustrialComplex-Fortune500 fix has been in for decades; some, however, go back to this “union’s” roots and realize that the foundation of this country (forget that there were hundreds of First Nations here) —  invaded by undocumented Puritans, illegal aliens the lot of them: thieves, slave- traders, rum-runners, suckah-born-every-minute  — is/was/continues to be based on land theft, raping women, enslaving women, children, men, robbing granny blind, flimflamming, scamming and bilking, polluting, lying, marketing, stealing the public coffers.

Even with this knowledge — sort of like knowing a vote for the Democrats is the same as a vote for the Republicans — one is not so steeled from succumbing to a type of despair and fatigue and paralysis even if you knew the jig was up two centuries ago. The younger ones are skeptical and so jaded — cynical — they have little push toward any sort of reckoning for the kings of this rape-thy-neighbor culture. They put noses down and push through this rotting capitalist culture, hoping that something really bad happens collectively, regionally and nationally (heat waves, tornado’s, hurricanes, earthquakes, plagues, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, viral outbreaks, war, invasions) to wipe the slate clean, so to speak. Cynics, man, cynics. Then, the older people are shaking fists at Trump, forgetting to mind their P’s and Q’s, forgetting recent and old history. Trump is Obama is Bush is Clinton is Reagan is Carter is Ford is Nixon is Kennedy . . . . and so on. Trump a racist? Open racist, for sure, in the same bad hombre company —  Jackson, Fillmore, Buchanan, A. Johnson, Wilson, Nixon. We have to really watch those politicians and presidents who are never openly racist or misogynistic — like Willy Clinton and Joey Biden!

Oh those good old days in the 20th Century:

Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List by William Blum

Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government)

China 1949 to early 1960s
Albania 1949-53
East Germany 1950s
Iran 1953 *
Guatemala 1954 *
Costa Rica mid-1950s
Syria 1956-7
Egypt 1957
Indonesia 1957-8
British Guiana 1953-64 *
Iraq 1963 *
North Vietnam 1945-73
Cambodia 1955-70 *
Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *
Ecuador 1960-63 *
Congo 1960 *
France 1965
Brazil 1962-64 *
Dominican Republic 1963 *
Cuba 1959 to present
Bolivia 1964 *
Indonesia 1965 *
Ghana 1966 *
Chile 1964-73 *
Greece 1967 *
Costa Rica 1970-71
Bolivia 1971 *
Australia 1973-75 *
Angola 1975, 1980s
Zaire 1975
Portugal 1974-76 *
Jamaica 1976-80 *
Seychelles 1979-81
Chad 1981-82 *
Grenada 1983 *
South Yemen 1982-84
Suriname 1982-84
Fiji 1987 *
Libya 1980s
Nicaragua 1981-90 *
Panama 1989 *
Bulgaria 1990 *
Albania 1991 *
Iraq 1991
Afghanistan 1980s *
Somalia 1993
Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *
Ecuador 2000 *
Afghanistan 2001 *
Venezuela 2002 *
Iraq 2003 *
Haiti 2004 *
Somalia 2007 to present
Honduras 2009 *
Libya 2011 *
Syria 2012
Ukraine 2014 *

Q: Why will there never be a coup d’état in Washington?

A: Because there’s no American embassy there.

So, yeah, these are rough times, but what point in history do we see the good times rolling for the majority of people on planet earth? How were those wars waged from time immemorial? All-volunteer and well-treated armies of the Roman Empire, Alexander’s? How were those cities and pyramids built? Union jobs? How were those lands acquired, plots laid out, cattle drives perpetrated? Who got to “have” Canada or “have” Australia? Who’s Hawaii is it?

I know, I know, it’s tough actually living in and fighting within and struggling inside because of everything this society stands for when it comes to all those self-delusions. I know, one out of four Americans say they will never retire . . . just work themselves to the grave or hospital gurney or care facility (streets). I know, there are a million jobs — professions — that are not worthy of the print their descriptions are printed upon, yet we continue to let the chosen few determine the futures of young and old with their a suckah (mark, fool, patsy, money-train, fall-guy/gal) is born every nano-second schemes.

The world burns, the crops desiccate, the water dries up, the diseases are spreading, the neo-natal units are busting at the seams, infrastructure’s collapsing,  minimum wage blocked ($7 and change man, in 2019 — yep, we are a failed and failing and falling down nation), housing and rentals costs sky-rocketing, debt increasing, mental duress and illness burgeoning, the few gaining more and more by stealing from the many, more toxins and nuclear particles streaming into our daily lives, and yet, we now no longer can have printed on sewer and stormwater plates — manhole. It’s a they-hole, or them-hole, maybe a shit-hole cover.

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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Berkeley, California, has adopted an ordinance to replace some terms with gender-neutral words in the city code.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Wednesday that “she” and “he” will be replaced by “they.” The words “manpower” and “manhole” will become “workforce” and “maintenance hole.”

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed the measure to replace more than two dozen commonly used terms. There will be no more “craftsmen” in city code, only “craftspeople” or “artisans.”

Berkeley has a long history of leading on politically and socially liberal issues.

The sponsor of the ordinance is councilman Rigel Robinson, a 23-year-old recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He says his time in college expanded his awareness of gender issues.

Robinson says critics suggested the council spend time on more important matters.

We talk about these prescient and emblematic moments in this essay forum I deploy to stave off my own insanity and the likelihood of going postal. You know, one vote here by the prostitutes of politics, or one headline or story there crafted by the presstitutes, or this or that “scientific” claim/report promulgated by this or that biostute (biologist bought, paid for and wrapped up by The Industry). It is more than just a Mad Mad Mad World, where I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore people running around.

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’

Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. (shouting) You’ve got to say: ‘I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!’

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’

I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!…You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first, get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’

— Peter Finch in the 1976 movie, Network, playing newscaster, Howard Beale!

I am staving off that Howard Beale moment by putting into perspective everyone’s insanity and my own slippage here. That spillage is my own frustration trying to help guide others who are seeking justice, balance, perspective and answers to “how the hell did we get to this place” and “why have I failed my children and my children’s children’s children’s futures. Indeed, even making a few shekels out here on the coast for a column I pitched (and I got) Deep Dive with Paul Haeder, I get to interview people I want to get to know and learn about; some of them are powerhouses, these individuals who in a lifetime make people who have become so cynical and rotten in their lack of push forward and against the powers that be really pause.

Carol Van Strum, captured here — A real-life Toxic Avenger

Carol Van Strum

Early in her book, A Bitter Fog:

A Bitter Fog

“Where the road skirted the riverbank, overhanging shore and water, they directed their hoses into the water, inadvertently spraying the four children fishing down below. The truck moved on, leaving the children gasping in a wet mist that clung to their skin and clothing. With smarting skin, tearing eyes, burning mouths, throats and noses, they stumbled home. By nightfall, all four were sick.”

Fighting against Dow, against the Forest Service, against the Timber Companies, against the OSU biologists, against the media/Press, against the powers that be, and against ignorance. Monsanto and 2,4,5-D, that fine ingredient as one baseline poison that made  Agent Orange another gift that keeps on giving. She lost four children in a fire in their cabin, and Carol was not afraid to point to the FBI, the thugs of the herbicide companies, or the timber companies. And she keeps going, man.

Vietnamese Girl Writes With Foot
Project 1 C
Spraying Agent Orange Ranch Hand
Vietnamese Before Billboard

Carol Van Strum in my interview: All the legal wranglings have reinforced my chronic intolerance of lies. Ditto the never-ending battle against poisons — that is an industry that could not exist without lying about its products; therefore, it should not exist.

One person can’t save the world, or even see the other side of it. When I was four years old, I set out to see the world — thinking it was a special place like the World’s Fair with carousels and Ferris wheels. After the cops found me asleep in a pile of leaves by the street, my mom asked why I had run away. I told her I didn’t run, I walked, because I wanted to see the world, and she laughed and said, ‘It’s been right here all the time — the world begins at home.’ Lessons you never forget. I can’t save the world but I’ll fight tooth and nail to save this little corner of it.

So, my fine people, friends, aging folk who are going to more and more memorials, or visiting the cancer wards and Alzheimer’s facilities; those people who can’t understand this America, the one We Have Always Had America, I love you for the work you attempt.

I know people like me stir the pot and wack the hornets’ nest. I understand that in a world of spitting, cursing, lying, shooting, imprisoning, raping, stealing, a guy like me opening yet more floodgates on how much we are cooked climate-wise, civil liberties-wise, sanity-wise might be too too much. For that, I hope I do not push anyone over anyone’s edge point. You can do that all on your own, or not!

We can’t go back to some mythical time, but we can put all those polluting, infecting, scratching and biting cats back in the bag, man.  The market knows best, and below,k Chomsky’s quote,  just replace “fossil fuel extraction” with any of the following — coal, mining, medical malpractice, banking, computer engineering, chemical making, big pharma, real estate, stock market, artificial intelligence, big ag, big anything, big retail, big guns, big nukes, big energy, big marketing, big ed, big prisons, big fat planned and perceived obsolescence manufacturing-marketing-retailing-delivering (think Amazon).

The logic of the capitalist market rules — what Joseph Stiglitz 25 years ago called the “religion” that markets know best. The same reasoning extends beyond, for example to the major banks that are pouring funds into fossil fuel extraction, including the most dangerous, like Canadian tar sands, surely in full awareness of the consequences.

CEOs face a choice: They can seek to maximize profit and market share, and (consciously) labor to undermine the prospects for life on earth; or they can refuse to do so, and be removed and replaced by someone who will. The problems are not just individual; they are institutional, hence much deeper and harder to overcome.

There is no need to review record of interventions, subversion and violence, particularly since World War II, which established the U.S. in a position of global dominance with no historical precedent. The record includes the worst crime of the postwar period, the assault on Indochina, and the worst crime of this millennium, the invasion of Iraq.

Like most terms of political discourse, “imperialism” is a contested notion. Whatever term we want to use, the U.S. is alone in having hundreds of military bases and troops operating over much of the world. It is also unique in its willingness and ability to impose brutal sanctions designed to punish the people of states designated as enemies. And its market power and dominance of the international financial system provide these sanctions with extraterritorial reach, compelling even powerful states to join in, however unwillingly.

Noam Chomsky: “Worship of Markets” Is Threatening Human Civilization

A real-life Toxic Avenger

Carol Van Strum

If the Bill of Rights contains no guarantee that a citizen shall be secure against lethal poisons distributed whether by private individuals or by public officials, it is surely only because our forefathers, despite their considerable wisdom and foresight, could conceive of no such problem. — Rachel Carson, author of “Silent Spring”

One might think running across a 78-year-old woman living in a cabin on 20 acres near Five Rivers is not unusual. Add to the biography: this activist’s menagerie of a Patagonia parrot; Archie the cockatiel; Patience, a blue-footed Amazon; two Sicilian donkeys, one of which is named Oakie; 25 chickens; two crippled pigeons; her double-barrel shotgun; and a large vegetable garden . . . and you get Carol Van Strum.

I’m talking with Carol in Debra Fant’s Waldport dining room while she puts away two dozen free range eggs Carol sold her and while I am leafing through Carol’s two penned books that she’s giving me — “my interrogator,” as she jokingly calls me.

At a glance from a typical visitor to our coast, Carol’s appearance (and life) might seem to embody “just one of those quirky (kooky) California transplants who is all into that back-to-the-land philosophy, living out in the boonies to get away from civilization, progress.”

This statement is both true and false as applied to Carol Van Strum.

One book written by Carol is a fictional novel, “The Oreo File,” concerning protagonist Molly Matthissen, who has been arrested for murdering an FBI agent. The thriller is set in the Pacific Northwest, and there are penguins involved (climate refugees) and small-town justice played out.

However, the real meat and potatoes of this profile is Carol’s other book, a nonfiction gem: “A Bitter Fog: Herbicides and Human Rights,” written in 1983 (updated in 2014), which follows the case of Carol, her husband, four children, neighbors and residents of Lincoln County and their battle with the state of Oregon, chemical companies, the EPA and the Forest Service.

The stories Carol unfolds are dynamic as they cascade through many labyrinths. She has been in the Siuslaw Forest for 45 years, but her origins start in 1940, the start of World War II. Her roots were first set down in Port Chester, Westchester, New York, with a father who went to Cornell and a mother who supported the whims and avocations of their five daughters.

“My mom grew up as ‘Shanty Irish.’ She never went to college. When women at cocktail parties from Smith, Radcliff and Bernard colleges asked her where she went to college, my mom said, ‘Barnum and Bailey university.’” Carol laughs loudly like a native of County Cork, Ireland.

Her mother trusted her daughters so much that she loaned the family car the summer of 1957 and let three of the girls embark on a road trip across the USA. “We went everywhere. We went camping. Oh, we did our hell raising, but our parents had absolute trust in us.”

Imagine a life well lived, and then jump to 1974 when she, her then husband Steve, their three sons and daughter, and a menagerie of animals moved from the Mendocino area of California to a homestead in Lincoln County — Five Rivers, specifically.

Her presence here, precipitated by what happened in 1975, has literally changed the narrative around the toxic herbicides timber companies, tree farms and road crews spray both by air and land.

Early in “A Bitter Fog:

Where the road skirted the riverbank, overhanging shore and water, they directed their hoses into the water, inadvertently spraying the four children fishing down below. The truck moved on, leaving the children gasping in a wet mist that clung to their skin and clothing. With smarting skin, tearing eyes, burning mouths, throats and noses, they stumbled home. By nightfall, all four were sick.

A Bitter Fog

Carol is clear and unyielding when she recalls the beginning of an uphill battle to fight the Forest Service spraying chemicals akin to the Agent Orange infamously used during the Vietnam conflict.

The garden plants died, “their leaves twisting and wilting in grotesque configurations.” Weeks following the herbicide spraying, chicks, geese and ducklings were born deformed. Some were hatched with misshapen wings, clubfeet, crossed beaks. Their family dog developed oozing sores, and his hind legs became paralyzed.

Readers might have a tough time imagining living through that first spraying of 2, 4-D and 2, 4, 5-T on their own children with noses bleeding and guts hemorrhaging. However, the mettle and inspirational fortitude of locals who have lived here for decades embody the power of democratic principles at both a local and global level.

The very idea of individuals and communities having a right to security from poisons and pollutants is being played out daily in this county and state, as well as worldwide. What Carol Van Strum, her neighbors and the citizens of the Oregon Central Coast and Coast Range have had to battle is the very foundation of existence — the right of informed consent.

Reality is Fighting for Survival Every Step of the Way in USA Capitalism Gone Toxic!

I am confronting Carol with the proposition that we have always been Guinea pigs — that no real scientific studies have been done (or can be realistically accomplished) to ferret out the harms any individual chemical/toxin can do to us as humans because so many other Post-Industrial Revolution chemicals are working synergistically in our industrialized bodies.

Carol agrees, and what unfolds is hour upon hour of recalling the vagaries of life during and before Lincoln County — starting college, a marriage and family in California after growing up in New York State. She says she picked the University of California-Berkley “because that was the only university that had a five-dollar application fee . . . I didn’t have the money for all the other schools’ fees.”

That was in the early 1960s. Soon, the FBI is surveilling their house because she is involved in an underground railroad for returning Vietnam vets who want to go AWOL in Canada and because she is writing articles for a newsletter under the auspices of the Port Chicago Vigil. This anti-war group — started August 7, 1966 by peace activists — gathered at the main gate of the Naval Weapons Station in an attempt to block trucks carrying napalm bombs for shipment to US pilots flying incineration missions over Vietnam.

Carol has all sorts of asides to flavor her narrative — she lived at 2608 Derby Street in Berkeleywhile the W.E.B. Du Bois Society was located at 2806 Darby. The FBI got the address wrong, and instead of staking out the members of the politically active Du Bois Society, they watched Carol and her family.

Here, history intersects with Carol Van Strum — Du Bois (1869-1963) was an African-American writer, teacher, sociologist and activist whose work transformed the way that the lives of black citizens were seen in American society. Du Bois was an early champion of using data to solve social issues for the black community, and his writing — including his groundbreaking “The Souls of Black Folk” — became essential reading in African-American studies.

She tells me how she wrestled an alligator at the Steinhart Aquarium to assist a veterinarian with the sick reptile. She talks about Twiggy the Toucan, who she rescued as an emaciated dying bird but was brought back to life with Carol’s recipe of “rich pound cake and blueberries mashed up.” Even the vet at the aquarium asked her secret when one of the zoo’s toucans was suffering.

She co-owned Cody’s Bookstore in Berkeley. They had moved a few times in California in attempt “to get away from city life,” but finally they answered a for-sale ad in the San Francisco Chronicle for a 160-acre homestead in Oregon. Steve, Carol and the four children had never been out here on the Oregon Coastal Range, but the family bought the forested farm sight unseen.

“It was part of the original Homestead Act. There at the spring in concrete I found his name, Elihu Buck, crudely written with a finger. It had the first telephone line in the valley. The old posts were still there.”

This is an idyllic life until the four children are sprayed. Then the court battles, the scientific investigations (and backtracking and cover-ups) of the real effects of these herbicides. We are talking about neighbors throughout the area, up to a mile away from each other, collectively having multiple miscarriages, children born with genetic defects, adults suffering cancers and other ailments.

The dedication in her non-fiction book is emblematic of the struggle Carol has undergone: “For my children, Daphne, Alexey, Jarvis and Benjamin Van Strum.”

I asked her what gives her hope. “The death of our children left me with what they loved — this farm, this dirt, these trees, this river, these birds, fish, newts, deer, and fishers — to protect and hold dear. These became my anchor to windward, keeping me from just drifting away with every wind that blows.”

Even that tragic story isn’t simple — there is evidence the four children, old enough to babysit each other, perished in a house while Carol was next door at a neighbor’s house. The fire marshal indicated it was suspicious, potentially the result of arson. Carol has her suspects.

“All the legal wranglings have reinforced my chronic intolerance of lies. Ditto the never-ending battle against poisons — that is an industry that could not exist without lying about its products; therefore, it should not exist.”

Carol’s life on many levels, including her work to prevent chemicals entering into our watershed, as well as her personal physical and spiritual peaks and valleys, could be made into a movie. I asked Carol what she gathers from these trials and tribulations.

“One person can’t save the world, or even see the other side of it,” she said. “When I was four years old, I set out to see the world — thinking it was a special place like the World’s Fair with carousels and Ferris wheels. After the cops found me asleep in a pile of leaves by the street, my mom asked why I had run away. I told her I didn’t run, I walked, because I wanted to see the world, and she laughed and said, ‘It’s been right here all the time — the world begins at home.’ Lessons you never forget. I can’t save the world but I’ll fight tooth and nail to save this little corner of it.”

Readers of my column might be surprised at the level of inquiry and seriousness of some of the stories I write, especially in a magazine dedicated to people enjoying our coast’s amenities and landscape. However, it does take a village to raise a family, and it also takes individuals and groups in a community to make it safe for everyone.

Carol might be impugned as being a “character,” but residents and tourists alike must respect that we in small rural and coast communities make up the fabric of how the place ticks and where the history is both created and memorialized.

Finally, finishing off where this essay stared — the following words from President James Madison make a fine book mark for Carol Van Strum’s life:

A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. — James Madison, 1822, cited by William Douglas in EPA v. Mink, 1974

End Note — find original story here!

Various citizen groups and environmental coalitions are working to have soil, water and human and animal blood tested for dioxins and other chemicals that are components of the herbicides and pesticides used to kill noxious plants and animal life.

(FERNS) Forest Activity Electronic Reporting and Notification System through the Oregon Department of Forestry is a registry/tracking system for industry to notify of spraying and citizens to get informed of the who, what, when, where and why of the spraying. More information about these life and death issues can be found at Lincoln County Community Rights, Pesticide Action Network North America, Beyond Pesticides, Oregon Wild and Mid-Coast Watersheds Council.

It Goes Without Saying — Those in Power are without Melanin

“the worst
thing that ever happened
to
the world
was
the white man coming across gun powder.
–– the end of the world | the beginning of white supremacy”

― Nayyirah Waheed, Salt

It would take a million blogs just to get through the millions of millionaires (36,000,000) and the billionaires (2,700) who are fleshy faced and melanin challenged. Amazing, though, the lefties and the righties go on and on about “people of color” and those “Hispanics” and “Africans” and “Middle Eastern” that make up 99 percent of the fodder used for journalism and “journalism” (in quote marks), and for all the if-it-bleeds-it-leads stories broadcast on nightly news and plastered in headlines, wherever there still are newspapers.

Black Americans, and black men in particular, are overrepresented as perpetrators of crime in U.S. news media. This is especially true when looking at the incidence of violent crime. For example, one study of late-night news outlets in New York City in 2014 found that the media reported on murder, theft, and assault cases in which black people were suspects at a rate that far outpaced their actual arrest rates for these crimes. The news media also vilifies black people by presenting black crime suspects as more threatening than their white counterparts. It does this in several ways, such as by showing the mug shots of black suspects more frequently than those of white suspects; depicting black suspects in police custody more often; and paying greater attention to cases where the victim is a stranger.

[or. . . .]

NBC reported recently that at a meeting last year with the Congressional Black Caucus a member told President Donald Trump that his planned welfare cuts would hurt her constituents, “not all of whom were black”. Mr Trump is reported to have replied: “Really? Then what are they?” If the president had not realized that most welfare recipients are white, he is not alone. And the media are partly to blame, for black Americans are overwhelmingly over-represented in media portrayals of poverty.

Do we dare talk about the power of the ever-shrinking humanity of the white race, the power of this race to bring death and destruction to almost every single system in the universe — from space, to the heavens; from food, to travel; from education, to judiciaries; from diplomacy, to Hollywood; from literature, to media; from engineering, to the sciences; from the land, air sea, rivers.

So, this evangelical insanity runs the country, really, no matter how hard a radical, socialist, Marxist, communitarian, democracy fighter like me huff and huff hoping there might be a crack in the myopic and colonized minds of “Americans.”

The rallygoers, he said, told him that Trump’s era “is spiritually driven.” When I asked whether he meant by this that Trump’s supporters believe God’s hand is on Trump, this moment and at the election—that Donald Trump is God’s man, in effect—he told me, “Yes—a number of people said they believe there is no other way to explain his victories. Starting with the election and continuing with the conclusion of the Mueller report. Many said God has chosen him and is protecting him.”

Ralph Reed and Trump

You know, I am on the Oregon Coast, where timber companies are clear cutting and their side-job is spraying vats and vats worth of 2-4-D, atrazine and a mixture of other Agent Orange chemicals, such as glysophate. These are programs run by white people, and the heads of those bureaucracies and chemical and timber companies, they too are melanin-challenged. Decision after decision, life and death, determined hands down by 99.99 percent melanin-challenged people.

America and Transnational Business is the Round-Up Ready Death Squad, all mostly sowed within and then turned reapers by and for the white race. From fracking to  coal trains; from the bottled arsenic water at Whole Foods to the no-stick cancer pans of mother and father’s kitchens; from war tools of all those white companies and countries*, to self-driving vehicles; from facial recognition tools, to Oxi epidemic; from the psychology of torture, to the torture of PK12 education. Need we list more? All promulgated and carried out by the legions of melanin-challenged folk.

*Note, of the top 10 arms exporters — Italy, Netherlands, Israel, UK, Spain, USA, Germany, France, Russia — China ranks 5, and we have to wonder why China is in the arms business?

Top ten arms exporting countries
United States is the world’s biggest exporter of weapon systems.

Each step into the madness we have to take, well, designed by the mad men, the propagandists, the movers and shakers who are born charlatans and thieves and natural born killers, again, armies of melanin-challenged people sooting up the world, and in many cases, teaching/dictating, with the carrot and stick, melanin-rich despots and graduates of the Milton Friedman School of Economic Torture.

This is the way of the white man, Jew, Christian, what have you!

And both varieties, eat each other, Jew or Christian:

Image result for Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Israeli Sephardic leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in his weekly Saturday night sermon said that non-Jews exist to serve Jews.

“Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the People of Israel,” he said during a public discussion of what kind of work non-Jews are allowed to perform on Shabbat.

“Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat,” he said to some laughter.

Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas Party and the former chief Sephardi rabbi of Israel, also said that the lives of non-Jews are protected in order to prevent financial loss to Jews.

[or . . . .]

Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will.

If you tell a lie long enough, it becomes the truth.

The essence of propaganda consists in winning people over to an idea so sincerely, so vitally, that in the end they succumb to it utterly and can never escape from it.

— Joseph Goebbels, November 26th, 1937

This is it, the epitome of the white clans and klans and kibbutz’s. As she said, the white race is a cancer on humanity (Susan Sontag). Dare we say more?

Think hard about the power of those white people in charge of Facebook, Google, Raytheon, X-Y-Z drug/energy/law/medical/ education/chemical/ agriculture/lobbying/IT/AI/banking/ insurance/media/entertainment/ architectural/STEM  enterprise in the world. Think of the graft, the lies, the bilking, the externalities of pain-pollution-penury-politicking-policing foisted onto us, the majority, and onto the world, a majority of which is made up of P.O.C.’s — people of color.

You’ve got these Holly-Dirt pigs and media midgets and all those DAs and DHS honchos (and you name the bureaucracy or agency, you’ll see the melanin-challenged brigades), and it’s mostly always whites running the show, and the victims are their own race, and P.O.C.’s.

Below, just a few faces that are destroying the world as we know it — but again, a million mug shots of the heads and administrators of those Fortune 1000 Companies and those denizens capturing the Stock Exchange still would not do justice to the thesis — “the white race is a cancer upon the world,” as Susan Sontag stated..

Yet, the conversation by Trumpies is the white race is threatened; or by all the social commentators, who are mostly white, who say  P.O.C.’s are in need of levying, arresting, managing, policing, financing, tolling, taxing, fining, controlling, flailing, shorting, jailing, trolling, doctoring, deploying, corralling, and, well, you get the picture. The Great White Man’s Burden!

Every single moment on the WWW we have to hear this dichotomy of the whites and the white leaders and white controllers having some say about or suggestions for series of actions against P.O.C.

Again, whites do not fear subjugating their own race to the same oppression and culling they do against P.O.C.’s. The sucker born every minute and a mark made every nanosecond is the white man’s world, spread like a virus around and around the world!

Again, a nutshell and a photo are worth a thousand allusions and descriptive words:

The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, Monday, June 24, 2019, after they drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas. (AP Photo/Julia Le Duc)

[or . . . .]

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These Nonprofits and Businesses Are Making Millions From Detaining Immigrant Children — Dozens of nonprofit shelter groups and several for-profit companies have made enormous amounts of money from detaining and transporting migrant kids

Sludge review of contract data as of June 30 has found that the federal government has spent nearly $3.8 billion on ongoing grants and on contracts initiated since Donald Trump became president related to “unaccompanied alien children” (UACs), or undocumented immigrant kids who crossed into the U.S. alone or were separated from adults—family or otherwise—after entering the country.

The majority of the grants for UACs came from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which houses the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the division that manages the UAC program. Much of the grant money went to nonprofit shelter organizations, while some contracts from HHS and from the DHS’s Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) paid for-profit businesses for transportation, health care, tent construction, and other services.

There are a million moments in the media or which are captured in the Zeitgeist or in countless research vessels demonstrating the above sort of lack of humanity and corruption of the white race upon the human race and all other races of animals and plants.

Here, You Tube employee calling the cops on a Black man who this idiot white guy deemed a Bad Guy Wanting to Sneak into Condos. This white guy’s son is bawling asking old white daddy to stop it.

The Master Race, The Chosen People, The Pure of Bloods? This continuing embarrassing collective of CEOs or people with too much money just never ends, never ends.

White supremacy has taught him that all people of color are threats irrespective of their behavior. Capitalism has taught him that, at all costs, his property can and must be protected. Patriarchy has taught him that his masculinity has to be proved by the willingness to conquer fear through aggression; that it would be unmanly to ask questions before taking action. Mass media then brings us the news of this in a newspeak manner that sounds almost jocular and celebratory, as though no tragedy has happened, as though the sacrifice of a young life was necessary to uphold property values and white patriarchal honor. Viewers are encouraged feel sympathy for the white male home owner who made a mistake. The fact that this mistake led to the violent death of an innocent young man does not register; the narrative is worded in a manner that encourages viewers to identify with the one who made the mistake by doing what we are led to feel we might all do to “protect our property at all costs from any sense of perceived threat. ” This is what the worship of death looks like.”

― Bell Hooks, All About Love: New Visions

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President Trump speaks to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson as Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May passes during a working dinner meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on May 25, 2017.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler testifies during a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, April 2, 2019, in Washington, D.C.
Joe Biden squints into an apparent source of light while speaking into a microphone
Sen. Bernie Sanders is introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a rally at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston on March 31, 2017.
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Image result for epstein and trump

From backdrafts to blowholes

Former fire chief turned naturalist is whale defender

Gray Whale Spy Hopping at Sea Wall Depoe Bay

190705_oct_Gray Whale Spy Hopping at Sea Wall Depoe Bay 2017.jpg

I spent 30 years dealing with people on the worst day of their lives, and now I get to be with people on the best day of their lives . . . visiting the Oregon Coast to relax, recreate and learn about our marine life. It’s the best job ever. – Era Horton, 30-year firefighter

The probability of a visitor to our stretch of the Pacific running into Era Horton at one of the ocean side parks is pretty high. For more than five years, he has made weekly trips from his home in Salem to all of the marine reserve waysides, parks and whale watching locations like Boiler Bay and Depoe Bay to marvel at the mighty family of cetacean.

It has been a passion of his setting up his books, maps, marine mammal stuff and displays at one of the many viewpoints along our coast. He is an encyclopedia of whale, porpoise and dolphin facts.

Like a migrating Gray whale, 70-year-old Era has followed a path of trials and tribulations, as well as successes, to have reached the Central Coast of Oregon and revel in its natural wonders.

“The best thing I like about this job is that I have met people from 35 countries and every state in the country,” he said. “I impart a lot of information about our marine and bird life, but I also get to learn about where some of them come from.”

While the reader will get under Era Horton’s narrative skin soon enough, and learn of his whale and dolphin certifications and his own photography capturing such iconic mammals like Gray, humpback and killer whales, we first need a broader palette of his life.

Era and his wife, Toni, might see themselves as Oregonians, but Era’s roots go to the deep South – Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana.

His love of biology, the natural world and animals, he says, unfolded like a Huck Finn-Tom Sawyer chapter as he was catching alligators, snapping turtles and rafting down the Red River in Central Louisiana by age 10. Barely in 3rd grade, Era and his buddies had much leeway to explore the semi-tropical ecosystems that make this state one of the more ecologically-diverse ones.

His father (and later a stepfather) was a military vet. One year, his family moved to three states because of his father’s air force duties — Salina, Kansas; Mountain Home, Idaho; and Great Falls, Montana. He spent a year in El Paso, Texas. However, Vanden, California, is where he went to high school, eventually meeting his sweetheart who became his wife.

In 1962, when Era was 12 years old, his biological father’s refueling tanker exploded 29,000 feet in the air near Bermuda. Three days after the accident, none of the crew’s remains were recovered.

Era tells me his life as a youth wasn’t riveting, but he did have an early dream of being a firefighter.

“I remember telling a sophomore English class that what I wanted to be when I grew up was a fireman,” he said. “I remember kids snickering when I said that.”

Before realizing the dream of firefighting and this iteration of his life in Oregon, the 19-year-old Era ends up enlisting in the marines, ready to be shipped out to Vietnam with his company. Ironically, getting beaned hard by a baseball before being inducted into the military, Era found himself facing a medical discharge six months into the corps.

“I had planned the next four years of my life for the marines.” That included the infantry as an aviation tactical electronic weapons specialist.

Instead, he ended in odd jobs in Fairfield, California – stocking store shelves, making pizzas, pumping gas. “Once a marine, always a marine” was one lingering motto.

He went to airline school, in Chicago, learning how to become a ticket and ground agent.

“I hated Chicago,” he said. “It was in the summer, too. It didn’t take me much time to figure out I was a West Coast guy. Being near an ocean – I knew I needed to be living by the ocean.”

While the typical dream of a young boy in the 1950s was becoming a baseball player, cop or going into the military, after the corps he starting a science degree at a Vajello Junior College.

“It was around that time I read Jacques Cousteau’s book “Silent World,” he said. “That started my interest in marine life.”

He never missed an episode of the ABC series “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau,” narrated by Rod Serling.

That dream of being a fire-fighter sputtered out in 1970, when he took the test for the Fairfield Fire Department.

“You had to be at least five foot eight, a hundred and fifty-five pounds and 21 years old,” he said. “I wasn’t heavy enough.”

He was 10 pounds shy. One of his buddies on the department asked him why he hadn’t drunk a sink-full of water to make the weight and then throw it up to get past the agility part.

Presciently, it was a four-year-old Era who was rescued from an apartment fire by a firefighter on an aerial ladder. “I can still smell the odor of his coat to this day.” That was in 1953 at his aunt’s in Memphis.

From backdrafts to blowholes, part II

Whales are humanity’s canary in the coal mine, … As ocean pollution levels increase, marine mammals like whales will be among the first to go. – whale expert Roger Payne

190705_oct_IMGP1656.jpg

Era Horton can talk on and on about the behavioral habits of dolphins, whales, porpoises and pinnipeds. He laughs when explaining what the humpback whale’s bubble nets are, and he’s beaming showing the class of naturalist students in Newport the photographs he has taken of baleen whales lunge feeding.

Era balances good with the bad.

“There are many concerns we should have about the state of our oceans. For me, it’s the microplastics ending up in the shellfish, the food that these animals eat.”

He and his wife, Toni, have grandchildren, and Era tells me he is “concerned about the whole direction the world is going. How much more can the Earth take?” It’s a rhetorical question. He thinks the carrying capacities of the Gray whale and other mammals have peaked. Food webs are depleting and moving away, largely caused by climate change.

We discuss the recent scientific concern about the high number of Gray whales (all dead or dying) washing up on shores — from California, up through our coastline northward to Alaska. Many are emaciated, sick, smaller than normal, while others are riddled with plastic in their guts.

His mantra is “reuse and recycle,” but we broach the concept of refusing to buy or use, too – no more conspicuous consumption.

“It takes small steps to get things done, for sure,” he said. “But I am really concerned about the plastics in the oceans.”

We know that net and line entanglements is a big issue as well, one that garners more media attention. Last year, estimates put the number at 333,000 whales, dolphins and other marine mammals caught and killed in fishing gear.

Killer Whales, Killer Talks

We’re at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, as part of the American Cetacean Society’s efforts to provide outreach for World Orca Day as part of World Orca Awareness Month. I harken back a few months, during a training in Newport where I was one of 20 students getting our “flukes” as Certified Whale Watch Naturalists. I take copious notes, many of the sheets of paper filled up when Era shares the podium.

“Orcas are apex predators and are the largest of the dolphin family and can weigh over 20,000 pounds and grow to nearly 32 feet in length. Other than humans, they are the most widely distributed mammal on the planet ranging from the Arctic to the Antarctic.”

He continues, “They are highly social and live in pods of up to 40 members and hunt in packs. Females stay within their pods for life.”

The variety of ecotypes for the killer whale species is enlightening and complex, but Era and his cohort, Joy Primrose, help the students see the big picture — Pacific Orcas are grouped into three ecotypes: residents, transients, offshores.

Ironically, Orcas like other apex marine predators are struggling because of two types of pollution – PCBs, dioxins and noise pollution. Plus, their food sources also are dwindling.

Here is Era Horton, firefighter of 30 years, telling me that he has “a 125 percent greater chance of developing eight specific cancers” from chemicals similar in nature to the polychlorinated biphenyls killing marine mammals.

The chemical composition of the firefighting gear and spray-on flame retardants Era has used and the chemicals released during fires he has fought have had their effects studied within the firefighting community.

How did his firefighting career begin, I ask him? He and his wife ended up in Fairfield, Toni working for Bank of America, Era working as a technician for a veterinarian. He spent three years testing to get onto many fire departments, but luckily that Fairfield test he failed in 1970 turned into a passing grade in 1981.

“I was 31 years old and had never been so happy in my life,” he said. “I was doing what I always wanted to do.”

He logged nine years with Fairfield fire department, and moved across the Bay to the Rodeo-Hercules department as chief of operations and training. Then, in 1993, California was hit with a major fiscal crisis, and 16 fire stations closed and 150 firefighters were let go. His last day as an acting captain in California was Dec. 31, 1993. On Jan 1, 1994, Era landed the assistant chief position in La Pine, Oregon. He also worked as the fire chief of Sun River.

As department administrator, however, he still went out on calls and drove engines.

He was in La Pine for 13 years, and in 2006 he retired, and ending up in Colorado Springs where his wife’s parents lived. “Within a month we knew it was a mistake.” He was a security supervisor at a mall; usher at a Triple-A ballpark; worked as a conductor for the Pikes Peak Railroad. He drove his body hard on the off season for the railroad, tearing down engines in a cold shop. He tried stocking shelves at a Walmart, but ended up taking a job in 2009 with the Fire Fighting Academy in Salem as a driver program coordinator. It was then when he also started whale watching with a passion.

So here is the black sheep of his family — because he was the only one to have left the South — living his dream of firefighter, and after hitting 65, he began to take on the passion of whales seriously.

As we fast-forward six decades from his birth, Era takes Whale Watch Spoken Here naturalist training with his wife. He also becomes a certified naturalist with the American Cetacean Society. He has presented whale talks for a senior studies programs in Portland and did one recently as part of Cannon Beach’s Twelve Days for the Ocean.

He tells me he is a born trainer/teacher. “Once you set up tables or start talking to somebody about whales, a crowd gathers,” he said. “People are interested in the marine life especially gray whales, that populate our coast.”

From then on, the stories exponentially grow, until Era states: “I tell people that 63 million square miles of ocean is the most fragile environment on Earth. It doesn’t take much to tip it over.”

As a book end, Era says he has almost perished six times fighting fires in various locations. As a highlight to the retired chief’s life, he says his son Cliff won the state of Oregon’s highest award for firefights — Medal of Honor.

“Usually, a firefighter gets awarded that dying in the line of duty,” he said. “Cliff pulled out an injured lady in a blaze . . . I’m really proud of him. The woman is doing fine.”

His son — logger for 20 years — is alive and well working for South Lane County Fire & Rescue. Era’s proud of his lawyer son in California and daughter who is a jail deputy in Oregon.

For many of us, Era is a hero, promoting plastic straw bans and teaching hundreds of Central Coast visitors about stewardship of the Earth and oceans right here in Lincoln County.

Paul Haeder is a writer living and working in Lincoln County. He has two books coming out, one a short story collection, “Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam,” and a non-fiction book, “No More Messing Around: The Good, Bad and Ugly of America’s Education System.”

Here, imagine any of the candidates for 2020 in the Demon Party having this man’s intellect, licks, history. Forget about the Big Daddy in the Sky flat-earth society Republi-Rats .

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Howie Hawkins 2020

Howie Hawkins — Watch it. Compared to this orange thing: Trump on his Fourth of Me Celebration: “Airports the Continental Army took over.”

Man, dinosaurs and Adam and Eve living side by side.

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Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden takes photos with supporters at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa, on July 4, 2019. Photo by Brenna Norman/Reuters
Biden says it would be ‘great’ to have a female vice president
“If you have a piece of crack-cocaine no bigger than a quarter, we passed a law thru leadership of Sen. Thurmond and myself that says you go to jail for 5 years.” — Joe Bidden

Sen. Kamala Harris said Wednesday that busing students should be considered by school districts trying to desegregate their locations — not the federal mandate she appeared to support in pointedly criticizing rival Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden last week.

The Intercept has just published a piece by Lee Fang on the 2003 contest between Kamala and Kayo, headlined “IN HER FIRST RACE, KAMALA HARRIS CAMPAIGNED AS TOUGH ON CRIME — AND UNSEATED THE COUNTRY’S MOST PROGRESSIVE PROSECUTOR.”

Quite the trio here: Miriam Adelson, Gabbard and Orthodox Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, holding his book The Israel Warrior. (Not exactly Peter, Paul and Mary.)

 At one point in her adult life, Gabbard viewed both  Palestinians  and  homosexuals as sub-human. No wonder she was so excited to lead a Military Police unit in Iraq, five years after the sadism at Abu Ghraib had been exposed.

CBP leadership was told in 2016 about offensive posts to secret Facebook group, including images of Border Patrol agents simulating sex acts, taking selfies while shitting and one of an agent smiling while holding what appeared to be a human skull.
This is the depraved meme the ICE and Border Patrol agents posted of AOC on their private site.

Nick Estes: “Watching AOC get shouted down outside a literal concentration camp to hide the crimes of this country sums up the challenge of Indigenous history—a cacophony and perpetuation of erasure atop a literal, ongoing crime scene.”

I worked with Kshama a while back, when Occupy Seattle mattered:

This is typical of American Corporations in Politics and Us:

The Chamber of Commerce’s mammoth corporate PAC has unleashed its first wave of spending for the 2019 Seattle City Council elections, and campaign finance disclosures confirm exactly what we’ve been warning: the PAC has already spent over $100,000 against Kshama Sawant, spending more on District 3’s race than on any other in the city.

Let’s follow the money. The CASE PAC’s war chest of over $850,000 consists of:

💰💰💰 $250,000 from Amazon, the world’s biggest retail corporation, with $200,000 of that coming in this Spring. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the entire world, with over $100 billion and growing, while Seattle has the highest rate of homelessness of any city in the country. Bezos has already given a live demonstration of how far he’s prepared to go to stop the fight for affordable housing in Seattle with his bullying tactics to force through last year’s Amazon Tax repeal. Kshama Sawant was one of only two votes to stand up against him.

💰💰 $155,000 from Vulcan, the huge for-profit luxury housing development firm, with $80,000 coming just last week. Vulcan has repeatedly flexed its weight against progressive movements. They were another of the big donors who pressured City Council to repeal the progressive Amazon Tax, which could have funded thousands of affordable homes. Vulcan is deeply afraid of our movement for rent control.

💰$30,000 from Comcast, which has fought hard to maintain their virtual monopoly on internet in Seattle with their overpriced and slow services, even using illegal schemes to scam millions in profits. Comcast is afraid of our call for Municipal Broadband in Seattle and wants to pull the plug on our movement.

💰30,000 from Puget Sound Energy (PSE) corporation, which has opposed even modest initiatives to curb fossil fuel emissions at the state level and is currently constructing a controversial liquid natural gas (fracking) export terminal in Tacoma on ancestral lands for the Puyallup tribe. PSE doesn’t like the sound of a Green New Deal for working people and wants to stop Kshama Sawant, the socialist who makes things happen, from being re-elected.

This year, Comcast, PSE, Vulcan, and Amazon are all hellbent on driving out the socialist who is organizing for municipal broadband, a Green New Deal, a tax on Amazon and big business to fund a massive expansion of affordable housing, and universal rent control. These big business bullies have deep pockets, and they are used to getting their way. It’s clear that they are deeply threatened by Kshama Sawant, one of the most effective fighters for working people to ever to sit in City Hall.

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Former fire chief turned naturalist is whale defender

This is the latest piece in Oregon Coast Today. But, alas, respect those people who do not see this day, July 4th, much more than a day of idiocy! Ron Jacobs:

Tanks driving up Pennsylvania Avenue is not the definition of freedom. Overpriced death planes doing tricks in the sky above the Reflecting Pool is not justice for all. Donald Trump talking trash on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is not the Gettysburg Address. However, it is this nation’s bottom line, its ugly truth. Its history of genocide and greed, war and lynching, slavery and racism. The trumpists have exposed what really makes this country unique—its unadulterated greed, its arrogant lies and brutal treatment of those in the way of its greedy pursuit of gold. The trumpists have also exposed the myth of a liberal opposition—an opposition defined by Pelosis, Clintons and Schumers who know their interests lie with the trumpists and their legions of hate much more than with their pledges to justice for all.

America, go fuck yourself with your fireworks.