Saturday, April 05, 2008

Killing the Migratory Birds of the Americas

American Songbirds Are Being Wiped Out by Banned Pesticides
by Leonard Doyle
The number of migratory songbirds returning to North America has gone into sharp decline due to the unregulated use of highly toxic pesticides and other chemicals across Latin America.

Ornithologists blame the demand for out-of-season fruit and vegetables and other crops in North America and Europe for the destruction of tens of millions of passerine birds. By some counts, half of the songbirds that warbled across America’s skies only 40 years ago have gone, wiped out by pesticides or loss of habitat.

Forty-six years ago, the naturalist Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, a study of the ravages caused to wildlife, especially birds, by DDT. The chemical’s use on American farms almost eradicated entire species, including the peregrine falcon and bald eagle.

The pesticide was banned and bird numbers recovered, but new and highly toxic pesticides banned by the US and European Union are being widely used in Latin America.

Because of changed consumer habits in Europe and the US, export-led agriculture has transformed the wintering grounds of birds into intensive farming operations producing grapes, melons and bananas as well as rice for export.

Ornithologists say another silent spring is dawning across the US as birds are being poisoned by toxic chemicals or killed as pests in their winter refuges across South and Central America as well as the Caribbean. They say that many species of songbird will never recover, and others may even become endangered or extinct if controls are not put in place or consumer habits changed.

More problems await those birds which make it home. Millions of acres of wilderness the birds use as nesting grounds have been ploughed under in the drive to grow corn for ethanol, for bio-fuel.

Some 150 species of songbirds undertake extraordinary migrations up to 12,000 miles every year as they move from the south to nesting grounds in the US and Canada every spring. Ornithologists say that almost all these species are at risk of poisoning.

The migratory songbirds in most trouble include the wood thrush, the Kentucky warbler, the eastern kingbird and the bobolink, celebrated by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson as “the rowdy of the meadows”.

Bridget Stutchbury, an ornithologist and professor at York University in Toronto, said: “With spring we take it for granted that the sound of the songbirds will fill the air with their cheerful sounds. But each year, as we continue to demand out-of-season fruits and vegetables, fewer and fewer songbirds will return.”

The bobolink songbird has experienced such a steep decline, it has almost fallen off the charts. The birds migrate in flocks from Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay to the east coast of the US, feeding on grain and rice, prompting farmers to regard them as a pest. Bobolink numbers have plummeted almost 50 per cent in the past four decades, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey.

Rosalind Renfrew, a biologist who studied bobolinks as they were feeding in rice paddies in Bolivia, found about half of the birds had been exposed to toxic chemicals banned in Europe and the US. Some 40 to 50 species, which include the barn swallow, the wood thrush the dickcissel as well as migratory birds of prey, are starting to disappear.

It is only recently that the decline has been definitively linked to the use of toxic pesticides in the Caribbean and across Latin America. “Everyone who has looked for pesticide poisoning in birds has found it,” Professor Stutchbury said. “When we count birds during our summers we are finding significant population declines in about three dozen species of songbirds.”

She wrote in the comment pages of The New York Times: “They are the modern-day canaries in the coal mine.” She said: “The imported fruits and vegetables found in our shopping carts in winter and early spring are grown with types and amounts of pesticides that would often be illegal in the United States.”

Growers are using high doses of pesticides, which the World Health Organisation calls class I toxins. These are also toxic to humans and are either restricted or banned in the US and EU. But controls in Latin American countries are easily flouted.

“I believe that if we don’t make drastic changes quite literally many birds which are common now are going to become rare,” said Professor Stutchbury.

Testing by individual EU countries and the US Food and Drug Administration reveals that fruits and vegetables imported from Latin America are three and sometimes four times as likely to violate basic standards for pesticide residues.

© 2008 The Independent

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
April 2, 2008


Yesterday, the Metro Toronto police announced almost 300 arrests in a sweep of one of this city's poorest neighbourhoods. The arrests took place in the area bounded by Gerrard St. E., Queen St. E., Church St. and Parliament St. Developed through the 51 Division "Community Police Liaison Committee", the sweep involved undercover officers in a 6 week operation, code named "Project Roundup" and "Project Revival".

The priorities of cops, city officials, and the gentrifying forces of this neighbourhood are clear. The downtown East End is being remade and 'revived' through crackdowns on the poor people who call it home. It is our friends, our neighbours, the people who use the rapidly disappearing services in the East End, who are being swept into jail through operations like this one.

According to Det. Sgt. Howie Page of 51 Division, "When the community came to 51 Division ... it was a project aimed at improving the quality of life of people in this area." And we must ask: Which community? Whose quality of life? We must also ask: When demands are made for affordable housing, detox or harm reduction programs, shelter beds, and better welfare rates, the basic right for people to live in dignity and safety, what kind of response do we get?

The City officials who pay and oversee this police force are the same ones who, over the past year, allowed three large rooming houses in the neighborhood to be shut down, and five major shelters to be closed. $2 million dollars worth of CCTV cameras have been installed in the downtown core, two of them outside the biggest men’s shelters in the east end. Homeless people are being targeted, fined thousands of dollars in Provincial Offense tickets for minor infractions like encumbering the
sidewalk, or camping in a park without a permit. Poor and homeless people are being dispossessed, displaced, and destroyed.

We condemn this latest, blatant attack on the people of the downtown East End. We condemn the police for sweeping the streets, criminalizing people who are fighting to survive. We need housing, shelter, food and income to address the issues in the neighborhood, not more police harassment and intimidation.

For more information contact OCAP at 416-925-6939

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Canada’s latest political prisoners
By Justin Podur

Global Research, April 1, 2008
The Bullet. Socialist Project E-Bulletin

On March 18, 2008, the Ontario Superior Court’s Judge Patrick Smith sentenced Chief Donny Morris and six other council members from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (or KI) First Nation, a community of about 1200 people in northern Ontario, Canada, to six months in jail for ‘contempt of court.’ They defied a court order to stay away from a part of their lands, slated for mining by the Platinex Corporation. They were also fined an exorbitant sum, but the judge applied the jail terms because he knew that they could not pay – they were already bankrupt because of the $500,000 in court fees they had paid trying to defend themselves from Platinex before the court, over the past several years. Platinex had sued KI, at first for $10 billion (before reducing it to $10 million).

In his sentence, Judge Smith cited as a precedent the jailing of Ardoch Algonquin Nation leader, Bob Lovelace, who had been sentenced to his own six months on February 15 for trying to stop uranium mining by the mining company Frontenac Ventures on their lands, about 100km from Canada’s capital, Ottawa (for a map of the area and some discussion of the legal aspects see the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation’s website at: and specifically Lovelace was also ordered to pay $25,000. Paula Sherman, the Nation’s chief, was ordered to pay $15,000 and the community an additional $10,000, plus $2000 a day for non-compliance. The judge in this case, J. Cunningham, said that he found the sentencing an “unpleasant task.”

The jailing of these leaders offers a window into a whole host of Canada’s irrationalities and cruelties – the callous dispossession of the indigenous, the search for quick profits to be torn out of the ground and turned into money whatever the consequences, the energy system based on unsustainable premises, the heartlessness in defence of an indefensible system.

The story in Canada is an old one, described eloquently in a 25-year old book that could have been written yesterday by Robert Davis and Mark Zannis (1983) called “The Genocide Machine in Canada.” Indigenous nations are deprived of their landbases and surrounded by settlers, extractive industries, or developments. They lose their means of survival when their lands are taken or when their lands are poisoned. They are dependent on small payments from the government. When they resist further encroachments on their lands, these sources of income are threatened. If that doesn’t scare them, there’s always violence and jail terms.

To understand the significance of the jailings, it is necessary to take a moment to explain Canada’s laws on indigenous rights and public land use.

Legal trickery
KI falls under “Treaty 9,” which was signed in 1929. The legal dispute is that Platinex claims it has a right to explore and exploit under Ontario’s mining laws and tried to do so in 2005-6. Do the rights of mining companies to profit, based on provincial jurisdiction, trump agreements between the federal government and indigenous nations in an effort to protect the nations' means of survival? These means, to be clear, are good hunting, gathering, and fishing lands on Big Trout Lake in some good natural forest that will be destroyed by mining operations. KI argued that the drilling would do irreparable harm. Platinex argued that they were losing money. The Ontario court went with Platinex.

Ontario’s Mining Act is 135 years old and based on a wild-west model. It allows anyone to stake a claim anywhere on Crown land. This means that public land can be exploited for profit by private interests. The legal issue is whether this law supercedes all others – as well as any ethical or common sense that anyone might apply to the situation. KI and others have claimed that the Mining Act is unconstitutional, bypassing as it does the ‘duty to consult’. The court claimed that if these leaders weren’t jailed, there would be a loss of respect for the law, the creation of two regimes of justice. But there are two regimes of justice already. Those who illegally take or pollute indigenous territories are not punished with jail terms, the way Bob Lovelace and these other leaders have been. The Shabot Obaajiwan’s spokesperson Earl Badour put it succinctly in a press relese of March 18. ”The government accuses First Nations of breaking Canadian laws when they defend their lands, but Canada itself is selective about which of its own laws it will abide by,” said Badour. “If the law doesn't serve their purposes they conveniently ignore it." The Shabot Obaajiwan is suing the mining companies and the government based on the ‘duty to consult’ in Supreme Court rulings and the constitution. The duty to consult means that indigenous communities must be meaningfully consulted on resource exploration on their lands. This of course clashes with Ontario’s Mining Act, which is based on corporations grabbing whatever they can. The concern for the rule of law that was Judge Smith’s justification for the draconian sentences is a concern for the Mining Act above the constitution and Supreme Court decisions. Higher laws have been circumvented through for the sake of profit.

Other legal trickery included the company getting a court order and an injunction rather than filing trespass charges against the indigenous – the trespass charge would have opened up all the legal questions about whose land it was.

Mining Politics
The company trying to get the uranium at the expense of the Ardoch Algonquin community, Frontenac Ventures, is shrouded in mystery. Mining researcher Jamie Kneen told IPS’s Chris Arsenault that "aside from the president and their lawyer, no one knows who they are or where they get their money." Frontenac’s president George White refused to answer media calls.

The lawyer for Frontenac, Neil Smitheman, is also representing Platinex. Indeed, when the provincial court in 2006 ruled that Platinex had to stop its operations while consultations were held with KI, Smitheman said “There are numerous mining companies and exploration companies that could be in a similar situation if there’s a failure to have proper consultation on lands that could be subject to a claim by first nations people.” Apparently the court came to the same conclusion, deciding in 2007 that Platinex could in fact drill on KI’s territories.

For a sense of what KI’s territories face if uranium mining does take place, there is precedent. Canada’s most famous uranium mine was the Elliot Lake mine, also in northern Ontario, that left 130 million tons of tailings and destroyed the Serpent Lake ecosystem while helping the nuclear weapons buildup of the 1950s and 1960s (see Mining Watch’s page on Elliot Lake).

There are no non-toxic industrial mining methods (and certainly if there are they haven’t been discovered by Canadian mining companies), so people could be forgiven for asking whether it would be so bad to leave the stuff in the ground. Uranium after all is a material that is radioactive and poisonous and which, once used, is hazardous for thousands of years. In the words of Doreen Davis, another Algonquin leader who was sentenced to jail, "Uranium mining has no record other than environmental destruction and negative health issues". Uranium is a part of Ontario’s current energy mix. Nuclear power is being presented as a solution to climate change and the oil running out. But nuclear power, like ethanol, is a false solution. Ethanol offers a way to take huge amounts of agricultural land out of circulation so that societies can feed cars and starve people. Uranium offers a way to trade the dangers of climate change in for the dangers of radioactive poisoning and potential nuclear catastrophe. But in both cases, the rising prices are making it economically viable to further dispossess and destroy communities – in Latin America for ethanol, and in Canada for uranium.

Paul McKay, a friend and neighbour of Lovelace’s, made some other points about the mining in an op-ed in the Kingston Whig-Standard: “As even the mine promoter's lawyer has admitted in court hearings, there is a vanishingly small chance a uranium mine will ever get built at the headwaters of the Mississippi River northwest of Sharbot Lake. Compared to other deposits in Saskatchewan, Australia, South Africa and Asia, the ore is laughably low-grade, and the cost to mine fatally high.” So, too, McKay argues, recalling the Elliot Lake mines, would the pollution risk of trying to extract this low-grade uranium from these deposits.

The point of these jailings, McKay argues, is a two-fold political message. One, to the mining companies – the mineral wealth of the north is open to access and the government will clear any indigenous resistance out of the way. These include giants like the De Beers diamond company, which is operating in the north around the James Bay. Two, to the indigenous – that any resistance against the latest bonanza of extraction and destruction will be met with criminalization and brutal penalties. McKay also suggests that these mining companies might be looking, not for platinum or uranium, but for a government payoff “if the Ontario government effectively pays it to go away. If this occurs, then it will be Ontario taxpayers who end up being mined for millions. not uranium or platinum deposits.”

This, too, has a recent Ontario precedent – the Douglas Creek Estates on Six Nations Territory (I wrote about this for ZNet in 2006). In that case as well, the Ontario government is attempting the tactic of paying a massive amount of taxpayers’ money to a corporation to “go away.” In addition to benefiting speculators, it has the added propaganda benefit of making indigenous claims seem prohibitively expensive and “impractical” (the practicalities of endlessly expanding suburban subdivisions and toxic uranium and platinum mines having been accepted as a given).

Governmental games and the indigenous response
When indigenous people from affected communities lit a symbolic, sacred fire in support of the jailed in Thunder Bay, a town of 100,000 people about 600km from the KI First Nation, in support of the jailed, city police and fire marshals extinguished it – itself an ugly and symbolic gesture.

As in other cases (see my article on Shawn Brant for example), the government’s actions are narrowing options down to make resistance the only option for indigenous communities. A March 20 press release from First Nations of Sachigo Lake, Bearskin Lake, Muskrat Dam, Kasabonika, Wunnimun, Wapekeka, Kingfisher and Wawakapewin called for sustained opposition to the court’s decision and the mining companies stance. A group of Chiefs from the western Canadian province of British Columbia suggested the AFN (Assembly of First Nations) tear up its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), signed on March 4, 2008. “The community members have been jailed for protecting their Title and Rights to their territories and any continued relationship with the mining industry will be indelibly stained by these shocking events… Given the ugly, thuggish approach demonstrated thus far by the Courts and by the mining industry, it is of the utmost importance to show our support of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation and refuse to have any relationship with the mining industry.” The Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) suspended mining-related negotiations with the Ontario government the day after the KI leaders were sentenced. "It was a real insult to all first nations," Alvin Fiddler, Deputy Grand Chief of NAN, told reporters on March 19. AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine visited some of the jailed leaders in Thunder Bay on March 22 and called the jailings an obstacle to peace. Canada’s Anglican primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, wrote a letter to Ontario’s premier saying the jailing arises “out of the continual imposition of the power and values of colonizers.”

The Grand Chief of NAN, Stan Beardy, was quoted in the Kingston Whig-Standard arguing that other political considerations were at work. "The McGuinty government got labelled weak in dealing with Caledonia, and now they say, 'We're not weak and we'll show you by throwing these Indians in jail…’ What is happening here is we've been criminalized for practising our way of living. The government wants to make an example of us. What's being done is, once more, we're being moved out of the way, our valuable resources are being exploited and everybody is benefiting except us."

The federal government has been silent, and by its silence, leaving the issue to the province, has sent a message that indigenous issues are not national issues at all. Given the views of the Harper regime on indigenous rights, however – prominent Harper adviser, the University of Calgary’s Thomas Flanagan, has argued in his book “First Nations? Second Thoughts,” that “European civilization was several thousand years more advanced than the aboriginal cultures of North America” and that “the European colonization of North America was inevitable, and, if we accept the philosophical analysis of John Locke and Emer de Vattel, justifiable” – it is probably better that the Harper people not be involved. As for the provincial government, they are using familiar tactics. While the Superior Court imposes draconian sentences, the provincial government’s Aboriginal Affairs minister Michael Bryant offers a ‘compromise’ – in which the leaders don’t go to jail, pay only some of the fines, and allow the mining to continue. In other words, surrender. And despite having tried very hard to prevent jail sentences, Bryant says, he’s not willing to give up (presumably on trying to get the indigenous to give up).

But the government and the mining companies are asking too much. As they do in other parts of the world, mining transnationals try to isolate the communities that are affected. They want the indigenous to consent to the destruction of the small amount of land that has been left to them, in order that some companies can make money extracting toxic metals. If consent is not forthcoming, government officials will use force. But to use force, they’ll still have to convince Canadians that it’s worth destroying other people’s lands and livelihoods for uranium, platinum, diamonds, or money. They are betting on Canadians being ignorant, or indecent.

Justin Podur is a Toronto-based writer and activist. He can be reached at More articles by Justin are available on his blog

Please take a moment today to send a letter
to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
The Maquila Solidarity Network has a long-standing relationship with the leadership of KI First Nation, who have lent support to MSN's campaigns over the years. Although this urgent action alert is not specifically related to labour or women's rights in the apparel and footwear industries, we hope our network will lend their support to the leadership and citizens of the KI First Nation as they confront corporations and governments that have failed to respect their rights.

On March 17, 2008, an Ontario Superior Court judge sentenced six Aboriginal protesters to six months of jail for peacefully defying a court order that would allow Platinex, a mining exploration company, to drill for minerals on their traditional lands in Northern Ontario, Canada. The Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation fears that mining activity will jeopardize hunting and burial grounds and argues that the Ontario government awarded the mining permits without consulting and accommodating their people, a violation of aboriginal rights and Canadian law.

The individuals jailed include the Chief and four Councilors of the (KI) First Nation. One of them, a woman, is separately incarcerated at the Thunder Bay District jail.

KI First Nation continues to recognize its Chief and Councilors as leaders in exile and as prisoners of conscience. It has also declared that a 2001 community declared moratorium on exploration and development will continue to be enforced in KI traditional territory, pending resolution of a treaty land entitlement claim and fulfillment of the Government of Ontario's legal obligation to consult and accommodate.

For more information and to monitor developments, check out: and

Take action NOW!
Write today to the Premier of Ontario, demanding the release of the jailed First Nation Chief and Councilors and a halt to mining exploration in KI First Nation lands. Please cc Lynda Yanz at MSN so that we can pass on copies of your letters to KI First Nation leaders: You'll find a sample letter at the end of this e-mail.
You can also write letters of support to the jailed leaders. Here are the names and addresses where you can send individual letters of solidarity and encouragement. Chief Donny Morris, Deputy Chief Jack McKay, Councillor Samuel McKay, Councillor Darryl Sainnawap, Bruce Sakakeep, Lands & Environment Director:
C/O Thunder Bay Correctional Centre, Highway 61 South, PO Box 1900, Thunder Bay ON, P7C 4Y4

Head Councillor Cecilia Begg, is being held separately at Thunder Bay District Jail:
Cecilia Begg, C/O Thunder Bay District Jail, 285 McDougall St S, Thunder Bay, ON P7A 2K6
Sample Letter to Dalton McGuinty, Premer of Ontario

E-mail to:


Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto ON
M7A 1A1

Dear Premier McGuinty;

I am writing regarding the incarceration of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI)
First Nation Chief Donny Morris, Council members Samuel McKay, Jack McKay,
Darryl Sainnawap Cecilia Begg, and community member Bruce Sakakeep.

They have recently been convicted of civil contempt charges and jailed for
6 months for peacefully opposing mineral exploration on their traditional

I understand that Ontario continues to grant exploration permits to mining
companies without fulfilling its legal obligation to consult with and
accommodate Aboriginal peoples. It is disgraceful that these six people
are serving time for upholding their community's rights while Ontario
continues to flout the law.

I ask that the Province change its antiquated Mining Act to ensure real
consultation and accommodation of aboriginal rights before granting mineral
leases. I also ask that the Ontario Government take action to release the
six KI First Nation prisoners of conscience currently being punished for
protecting their lands and community.


[Your signature]

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Cost of Freedom" Tour/Days 16-17

"Some humans ain't human. Some people ain't kind. If you open up their hearts, here's what you'll find. A few frozen pizzas, some ice cubes with hair, some broken popsicles, you don't want to go there."

— John Prine

Snowing, rainy, sunshine, icy ... snowing, rainy, sunshine, icy .... snowing, rain ...

BEAVERS CANTINA, Corvallis, Oregon — The forecast for central Oregon today was "light rain, followed by hard rain, with a stint of scattered precipitation, to be followed by a period of general gloom."

This morning I left Bend, headed north on Highway 97, trying to go around the Cascades and not have to go over the summit like I did yesterday and hit the heavy snow. But 97 turned to a total white-out, so I turned around. A few miles later there is a pickup on its top. It wasn't there a few minutes ago. I found my way to I-85, Portland, Salem and down to the land of Oregon State University.

Go Beavs.

Yesterday I read at The Book Barn in Bend, owned by Linda Torres. She came to Bend from southern California in 1972. Bend was cool then.

"I hate it now," she says.

It has grown, one of the fastest growing cities in the country for a while, says my host for the day, Ray Duray. Ray is a one-man peace & justice coalition and 9/11 Truth campaign.

After my talk we go along with the "Save The Badlands" group on one part of it's three-bar pub crawl around the downtown.

I hitchhiked from Bend to Nebraska in 1978, I think it was. Roger and Bob and I came out here after Wayne State College let out for the summer. We worked in a mushroom plant in Salem. We hoped to get jobs in the woods, but didn't. I eventually got lonely for Sarah Sister Golden Hair, and I had a job lined up with the state roads department, so I rode my thumb home.

I see hitchhikers along the road quite often. So far I haven't picked anyone up. I tell myself I don't have room, too much stuff crammed into every corner. The hitchhikers are the hobos of our time. Back in California I thought about the Oakies and the "Grapes of Wrath." I try to write that book every time I start a new novel. I think the Oakies of today are from Oaxaca.

Back in Chico I had a short talk with Marylyn about the movie "Zeitgeist." Marylyn says it doesn't matter if the date Dec. 25 and resurrection, and a bunch of other stuff have been copied in several religions, doesn't mean it's not real, that there's not a God.

I just wonder if when we sit in church with our rosaries we aren't a bunch of pygmies dancing around a campfire in the middle of the woods at night.


Everyone is so full of shit
Born and raised by hypocrites
We are the kids of war and peace
From Anaheim to the middle east
We are the stories and disciples
Of the Jesus of suburbia
Land of make believe
That don't believe in me

— Green Day, Jesus of Suburbia

I came down out of the mountains and saw the Columbia River. That is why there are so many liberals out here. I can see why someone from Nebraska or Iowa wouldn't care that much about nuclear war or the end of the world. If it's ... say January 17, at about 3:30 in the afternoon, you're like, awright, whatever.

But if you were out here you would want to save this shit..


"It would be so much easier if this were a dictatorship."

— George W. Bush

If I were king for a day, I would be busy. I would put loggers and hunters in county jail. I would let the druggies go and rich people would take their place.

Yesterday in Bend the discussion came, as it does sometimes, to the question of, if Bush & Co. did 9/11 themselves, how do they live with themselves. Some people think it's because these folks are psychopathic, without a conscience. Maybe, but I'm still not sure.

Linn County Oregon is the "Grass Seed Capital of the World," so this is where America really takes root.

About a block from me, on Fourth Street, between Monroe and Jefferson Avenues, in front of the county courthouse, the longest running protest against the war is now taking place.

People have been standing out there at 5 p.m. every-effing-day for six years. That's a lot. I could be there, but there's a college basketball game on the TV here in this bar, and I have really been out of touch for the past weeks.

I'm not really Joe Protester, to tell you the truth. This book "Cost of Freedom" celebrates the many people who do the stuff like stand on street corners every day for six years, and I am glad to be a part of that, but I haven't really done that much.

I have gone to work and written my books.

Go Beavs.


— Mike


Letters from Readers


This is getting to be too much spam, please take me off your list. I need to keep this email cleared for important message related to actual organizing opportunities.

Good luck,
— Chris

You need a pee bottle for pete’s sake. Just like the truckers do.

— DW

Dude ... you're getting to see all kinds of groovy places.

I dig on Bigfoot. Have since I was in about sixth grade.

In the mid-'70s I saw movie that featured that Patterson film footage that was shown in the Ritz Theatre in Denison. I believe it was called "Mysterious Monstors."

The movie also included the Loch Ness Monster and the Yeti. My sister and I went.

I remember staring out the window each night at the corn field behind our house, halfway hoping to see a Bigfoot, and halfway hoping I didn't. The movie was sort of scary.

This may have been the same year I saw Jaws in the same theatre. I must have been only eight or nine years old. But they let me in. I left in the middle with hands over my eyes.

— David Namanny

Please take me off this list.

— Jeanne


.Enjoy reading you.

Eureka is always cold always raining,that is exactly what you found.

Eureka!..You found it!

On the subject of nuclear missile will love this.

I have a very good friend in Uzbekistan, he is dean of the university of Sanmarkand. I met him in Iowa City. Really cool guy, tap dances, plays saxophone.

But during the cold war he was in the Soviet army and his job was to calibrate all of the Russian missiles on American targets. Cool huh? pal, Kamol.

One day we were driving to Pella Days, and he was looking at the Iowa map, and laughed.

For all of the crap we were fed about Soviet surveillance systems?

They used FREE maps from the Triple A to aim the missiles back at us!

Drive good.

— Tim Tafco

Hey Mike ...

Well, it was good to have you! Too short, though. I
keep thinking of other things to say. Like ... re: Bobby Kennedy ...I
saw a very well-done documentary (BBC?)
about Bobby which highlighted his "conversion" from
what he was as Attorney General to what he became
when campaigning for the presidency. Seems he was
pretty hard-nosed as AG, but when he started his
campaign and found himself in direct contact with
the poor, his heart really softened.

Also about faith in God ...
It's always difficult for me to put this in words, but I have
a sense of the fact that from the very earliest times,
human beings have KNOWN that a Mystery beyond our
ken has not only posited a creation, but has somehow
penetrated the boundary between Thing and NO-Thing
and become one with this creation. And from the earliest
times, we finite human beings have tried and tried
to explain this to ourselves and others by means of
stories. Some do a better job than others. And always
we know it's impossible for our puny little minds to understand because
it would have to be a puny little God (and, therefore, no God at all) if
our little minds could comprehend this Mystery.

— Marylyn

Dear Mike-

Recieved a letter this am from Tom Wodetski via email telling that only two people showed at your appearance at Cheshire Books.
I couldn't make it because of another commitment, but would have loved to have been there. I've been busy trying to put together a benefit for a small shelter for children in Baghdad and working on the details; ie.- posters, tickets, PR, on my computer.

This is an unusual area in that we have a long-time, blue collar working class contingent, "resistant to change" and people who moved here in the late 60's-early 70's "back to the landers" and now the recently retired, rich folks who used to come up for vacation, who've driven the price of property sky-high.
So- it's a mix. Mostly Democrats though. A few sprinklings of Greens, Libertarians, and Whatevers--and GOP.

I have been standing against the Illegal Invasion of Iraq since before it happened, here on the coast. The mood has certainly changed towards us in the last two years toward the positive. Friends and I have organized a few rallys, marches and I stand with Women in Black every First Friday. I have worked to educate young folks about the Draft for many years. And--I'm on The Single-payer Healthcare Board for this Chapter for SB840 in CA. I am 61 and getting tired...I'm only sorry that I can't do more or be at every event possible. I am sorry I had to miss yours. Don't blame Fort Bragg tho--blame the diseases:
apathy, greed and fear.

My best to you on you sojourn,

In Peace,

? Nancy Milano


Good, just got back from a hike around Topanga Canyon with the family. Warm and sunny in the canyon, but socked in with luscious fog here in Santa Monica. For some reason, dense marine layer coastal fog, the kind that drips from the eaves, has become a rarity. This isn't so mushy, but it's nice. I used to live in the Mission in SF, so I enjoyed picturing you having a drink at a rooftop bar. It was less trendy in those days, but unless it's all been bulldozed, I'm sure it still retains funk. As is so often the case, I'm listening to Sun Ra. Hope alls well.

— Rex

Mike, I've heard you comment so often about the stress of needing to pee in traffic, and as a voluminous cross-country coffee and beer drinker, I do understand the crises you've experienced.


Get yourself a pecan .... (heh, down in some parts of Oklahoma, the pronounce it pee-can). I don't travel anyplace without a pecan in my old truck. When the bladder gets full, I pull over even in heavy traffic, pull out the pecan and use it. At the earliest opportunity, I take the opportunity to empty it. Sometimes even at the spot where I used it. Just open the door a bit and dump it on the assfault.

— Larry Hicks


I've been getting your travel notes via email from a friend.

How may I get on your email list to receive these wonderful missives?

I've shared them with various political people on my email list and most are thoroughly enjoying your take on life, the world, the road.

BTW, I work for the actor/ activist Ed Asner and he's been enjoying too.

— Patty Egan
Personal Assistant to
Ed Asner


We want to accept your article but it needs a bit more work, as described below.

You submitted an article titled:
Wealth is a Very Dangerous Thing To Hold in One's Hand

— Op Ed News Administrator

P.S. You need to remove "shit," and substitute something else. While foul language may be appropriate to impart strong emotion, it is just gratuitous as you have used it here. The same may be said with your described urinary tract urgency.

Your Original Submission is attached to this email

Please do NOT reply to this email; no one will see it.

Dear Mike,

I enjoyed your book very much. Thanks for your daily dose of e-sanity in a world gone mad.

Stay cool,


* * * * * * * * *
— David Mathison

On March 19, I dragged my friend Kim, a special ed. teacher, to a war protest held in Memorial Park in Omaha, NE, and organized by Earlier, Friends for Peace, held a rally in the same location. It was cold and damp and got dark quickly. The speeches were too long and the wind got stronger as each speech got longer. We held placards protesting the war and flashlights or glow sticks. Kim and I shared a blanket I’d brought as the rain began to fall. When the wind rushed up the hillside like an attack of shrieking, suicidal banshees, we caved and headed for the car. We were followed by the remainder of the protesters and a few lightweight lawn chairs! Where was the press to cover the protest? Where was the follow-up reporting in the next day’s newspapers? No one cares because the media is keeping it out of the news. And who owns the media?

— Kathleen J.

Hey Mike-
You’re in the best part of the state now. Someday I will move back there, not sure I should have left.. But I did.
I’d be glad to unblock Namanny, if I knew what that was, or how to do it. He emailed me and replied a couple of weeks ago. I’ll email him again.
I doubt you’ll find anyone that remembers me, it was almost 20 years ago.
Jesus – that’s a long time – who’d a thunk?
Take care, stay out of trouble and try to avoid the body casts

— Lundquist

Well, Holy Easter Crap, Auto-Crusader!

Careful of all those nerves you're touchin' Out There!
And just remember, when Zinn was in MN a few years back, here's what he said:
You try and you try and you try and you try; and you try and you try and you try and you try; and nothing happens.
Then, one day, it does.
It's all about process, putting in place an alternative vibe, sending an alternative message, as we keep heading toward a better way of being, while hoping we don't blow ourselves up, or completely wreck the planet, first.

— Leigh

Dear Mike,

We're still aglow from the other night with yr powerful presenation & encourage us to try to harmonize.

— David & Judy Ray

Mike, thanks SO MUCH for the copy of IOWA TERROR -- it's even better than I remember it from the file.
I very much like the presentation -- the cover slightly reminds me of a coloring book, which I like, and
the illustrations extend that feeling. And though the sans serif font is not supposed to work for longer documents, it seems to do well here, maybe especially because the paragraphs are short. Just excellent all around.

— Phil Hey

Gadhafi Takes it to the Arab Summit

'Your Turn Is Next,'
Gadhafi warns Arab leaders after US toppling of Saddam

By The Associated Press

29/03/08 "AP" -- - DAMASCUS, Syria: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi poured contempt on fellow Arab leaders at a summit Saturday and warned that they might be overthrown like former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Gadhafi's rambling, off-the-cuff speech to the opening of the Arab summit both bewildered and brought reluctant smiles to the faces of the other leaders.

The maverick Libyan's litany of insults at Arabs and his undiplomatic railing at the disarray of Arab regimes have become almost a tradition at the annual gathering.

Dressed in lush purple and pink robes with a traditional Libyan cloak and cap, Gadhafi blasted Arab countries for doing nothing while the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew Saddam.

"How can we accept that a foreign power comes to topple an Arab leader while we stand watching?" he said. He said Saddam had once been an ally of Washington, "but they sold him out."

"Your turn is next," Gadhafi told the leaders, some of whom looked stunned while others broke into laughter at his frankness. "Destruction will be yours."

In recent years, Gadhafi has dramatically repaired ties with the United States — once his top enemy — by giving up his country's weapons of mass destruction programs and paying compensation for the 1988 Pan Am bombing. Libya is hoping for a landmark visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, though one is still not set, and has stepped up economic ties to the West.

Still, that hasn't stopped Gadhafi from denouncing U.S. domination of the world and criticizing other Arab countries for their closeness to Washington.

In his speech, Gadhafi slammed Arab disunity and inaction on the region's multiple crises.

"Where is the Arabs' dignity, their future, their very existence? Everything has disappeared," he said. "Our blood and our language may be one, but there is nothing that can unite us"

"If they (Arabs) will not reorganize themselves, they will turn into protectorates. They will be marginalized and turn into garbage dumps," he said.

Gadhafi also mocked a plan by the Arab League to start Arab cooperation on a joint nuclear program. "How can do we that? We hate each other, we wish ill of each other and our intelligence services conspire against each other. We are our own enemy."

Gadhafi repeated his frequently made proposal that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be settled by creating one democratic state where the two peoples live together, to be called Isratine.

He threw a compliment-cum-backhanded insult at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, praising him as the "hero of Oslo," referring to the 1993 Oslo peace accords that created the Palestinian Authority, now headed by Abbas, but are derided by many Arabs for failing to bring a final peace.

Abbas scowled at the comment.

Gadhafi has angered other Arab leaders with his sharp remarks at past summits.

Last year, he boycotted the summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but gave a televised speech saying "Liza" — referring to Rice — had dictated the gathering's agenda.

In 2005, he told the summit in Algeria that Palestinians and Israelis are "stupid." A year earlier, he sat smoking cigars on the conference floor of the Tunisia summit to show his contempt for the other leaders.

During a 2003 gathering, he traded insults with Saudi King Abdullah in the conference hall.