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Have you seen "The Truman Show" starring Jim Carrey? Carrey plays Truman, who is the unknowing star of a reality television show transmitted throughout the world. Truman is happily living his perfect life in a perfect suburb with a perfect wife until he begins to catch some clues that something just isn't right. The film is about his process of discovering his entire life, and all of his physical surroundings, are fabricated. The island he lives on is the world's largest television set, viewable from space. Everyone is in on it; Truman is monumentally deceived. His wife, mother, best friend, co-workers and thousands of townspeople are nothing but actors.
When Truman realizes what's going on, he breaks out of his home and hops into a sailboat to get away. After surviving a brutal storm induced by the show's creator, the water is calm and his boat abruptly hits the side of the dome that looks like the sky. Truman is stunned and slowly he touches the wall. As he touches it, he lets out a sigh of relief. Finally, he knows and feels reality! He is angry and beats the wall with his fists; then he collapses and cries.
While researching the subjects of this article, I felt like Truman as he touched that wall. For years I reported on HIV/AIDS for the Seattle Gay News with energy and empathy. I have done a lot of what I consider to be promotional writing to bring attention to countless AIDS events and fundraisers. I edited a minimum of five obituaries per week of young gay men who were said to die of AIDS. I never once questioned, nor did I hear anybody else question, the science behind the discovery of HIV and its connection to AIDS - it was all steadfastly assumed. "HIV/AIDS facts and figures" were fed to us at the gay press by AIDS organizations that were on the front lines of the bloody battle. They were articulate and repetitive about the sexual transmission of HIV. To question the science behind the new retrovirus HIV and its causation to AIDS would be like questioning if the sky was really blue. Or maybe our reality had been constructed, like Truman's.
Last week we learned that the US Central Intelligence Agency directed the US Embassy in Cyprus to instruct the Criminal Investigation Division of the police in Cyprus to investigate an IMCista who is politically active both in the US and in Cyprus. Petros Evdokas has been living in Portland, Oregon, USA recently and is one of the volunteers and journalists for Cyprus Indymedia
The intelligence investigation is based on an article he wrote for Cyprus Indymedia documenting some of the manipulations by US intelligence operations using the United Nations to influence the recent referendum in Cyprus on the "Annan Plan" (the UN's plan to reunite the island in an apartheid-style arrangement). The article has just been republished by IndyMedia due to renewed interest by newspapers and other political organizations. [ read the article ]
We're trying to publicise this and let people know what's going on. The investigators questioned the author's parents and wanted them to state in writing whether he constitutes a "threat to US interests". The implications of this episode go beyond mere harassment of an activist's and journalist's family. This case illustrates the US policy of interference in even the most minute internal affairs of other countries and it shows the degree to which the local authorities jump when the US says to.
I was walking home late this afternoon near 39th and hawthorne and saw a middle aged woman lying in the bushes. Got closer and determined that she was native american and drunk smelling of booze and a large beer can by her head. I could see she was breathing and a sensible person would have walked away at this point. But I was concerned about the heat and the fact that she didn't wake up immediately when I came near her space and so I decided I'd wake her up and or see about medical attention, at the least water, if required.
She finnally woke up. I said are you OK, she didnt answer immediately - I said are you sick, she said, yes, sick of life, I want to die, and mentioned something about being assaulted yesterday. She said "who are you" I said "I'm Fred, I was just concerned becuase you were not responsive." She then asked if I had any change and I said no. She got up and we both said something to the tune of I just dont know what to do.
And I felt bad for waking her up- but what the hell are you supposed to do? Is it OK to let people just die in the bushes or on the street? I'm certianly not going to call 911 unless it's a true emergency. I'd probably never under any circumstances call the hooper detox place as far as I know theres more dignity in the bushes or gutter.. but maybe I'm wrong on that. Anyways this is becoming more and more common as social services are evaporating. (Thanks Mr. President) Is there a good phone number (left) to call? How about one specifically for the native american folks?
[ Some Responses ]
In the small Texas town of Canyon Lake, a sea of Bush ideologues, there is a stong voice of reason: Doug Kirk, the much attacked publisher of the Canyon Lake Weekly. Recently, a letter to the editor from Frances Shannon went too far. Way too far.
"It is people like you who cry anti-war slogans, criticize our commander-in-chief for liberating Iraq and Afghanistan from barbarian rule that I was referring to as wimps," she wrote. Besides Doug, she also included in the "wimps with no backbone that do not deserve to be called Americans" category, "wives, mothers, and others that complain."
This rated more than a simple letter to the editor response.
For your information, Frances Shannon, when you were at home baking cookies, I and thousands of other "wimps with no backbone" were crawling around in Vietnam. While some at home were being "patriotic" and proudly waving the American flag with self-righteousness and vociferously supporting that un-mitigated disaster, as is being done today with Iraq, I and thousands of other Americans were getting shot to hell and back, as is happening in Iraq today.
Thirty-five years later, after all the pontificating about "never again" has faded from memory, that same flag of false and misguided patriotism once again "proudly" waves over America. It seems that never again is here again (if it ever went away). [ read more ]
On 2425 NE Alberta resides the well-known Anarchist Circus House, which has become part of the artistic and ethnic diversity of the neighborhood. This house has showcased music gigs, offered juggling and mime performances, fire dancing and graffiti art showings on its property; especially during the last Thursday art walks. This house is also notable in its displays of high-perched funky bicycles along the front part of the property, and the house's numerous children are often seen to be playing with the other neighborhood children, and this includes, chatting with the local patrons of the old neighborhood café on the corner of 24th: The Star E Rose. In fact, the Anarchist Clown House has greatly contributed to the pleasantness of the NE Alberta neighborhood.
I walked by a vacant lot of overgrown weeds today with a camper parked on it today. A woman in her 40's came out of the camper, followed by a young boy about 12 years old. They were talking, but when I walked by, and the boy saw me, I saw shame all of a sudden come over his face...
Summer is in full swing and there is a lot going on -- a couple of highlights....
Contact Cascadia RiSiNG! EcoDefense to offer/request a ride to most events!
It took me quite a while in this world to see the subtle differences between charity and actual sharing and giving. Charity involves one entity keeping all the wealth and power, and giving metered allowances to those they control. Sharing involves equal access to resources and equal access to power. Giving involves relinquishment of control of property to another. Charity is controlling and paternalistic, while Sharing and Giving involve empowerment. Charity is a very different species than Sharing and Giving. This subtle difference is played out in so many ways it is astounding, from our "charity" in Iraq, where we want total control yet try to play ourselves off as merciful, selfless, "givers," to Christian soup kitchens that hold food from they hungry until the hungry proclaim allegiance to a mythic white god from the Middle East. People need to ask themselves whether a situation involves actual sharing or giving, or whether it is manipulative "charity," at every turn in the road.
PORTLAND, OR, July 14, 2004 —The Forest Service has withdrawn its decision to log 2 controversial logging projects on Mt. Hood National Forest, affecting 648 acres of native and old growth forest. The withdrawal applies to the 88-acre Imp timber sale in the Clackamas District and the highly controversial 550-acre Juncrock timber sale in the Barlow District. Over 500 people sent letters of protest to the Forest Service asking for the cancellation of the sales. Bark and the Oregon Natural Resources Council appealed the projects.
Took the bus out to BFE Lk O yesterday, Tuesday, July 13th 2004, to raise awareness about local company Sumitomo's patronage of Huntington Life Sciences, the nasty animal testing lab that keeps getting infusions of money and power like pus to an abscess.
Saturday July 24th @ 7pm
At The Cascadia Rising Infoshop (1540 SE Clinton)
Wildroots, the Cascadia Rising Infoshop, and the Cascadia RiSiNG! Collective present: Beyond civilization, a slideshow and discussion about realizing our wildest dreams.
The State of Oregon must immediately record the marriages of the more than 3,000 same-sex couples married in Oregon, according to an Oregon Court of Appeals decision today.
The Court denied the State of Oregon's request for a stay of the portion of the circuit court decision that required the state to register those marriages.
The court had previously granted the state a temporary stay while it considered the merits of the State's request for a stay pending appeal. The temporary stay is no longer in effect.
great news! we've just learned from Tre himself that the adjudicator has deemed him admissible to Canada! this means that tre can now take the next step and apply for refugee status. Bail funds are urgently needed!!
El Alto, July 12, 2004. - El Alto, the rebellious town of highlands, the town that overthrew ex- president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, has raisen against the referendum made in accordance with the transnational companies and decreed a three day strike to prevent next Sunday's meeting and to demand the nationalization of gas and petroleum.
This is happening while at the same time, all the legal dispositions of the Electoral Court, the neoliberal govrenment of Carlos Mesa and the Constitutional Court, which has declared an obligatory attendance and has given sanctions, fines and jail for those who are against the referendum, the powerful Federation of Joint Neighborhood Groups (Fejuve) has ordered a boycott in this capital of almost 800 thousand inhabitants, in common agreement with the Central Bolivian Workers Union (COB).
(In Spanish)EL ALTO SE ALZA CONTRA EL REFERÉNDUM DE LAS PETROLERAS
El Alto, julio 12, 2004.- El Alto, el pueblo rebelde de las alturas, el pueblo que derrocó al ex presidente Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, se alzó en contra del referéndum hecho a medida de las transnacionales y decretó un paro de tres días para impedir la consulta del próximo domingo y exigir la nacionalización del gas y el petróleo..
Pasando por encima de todas las disposiciones legales de la Corte Electoral, del gobierno del neoliberal de Carlos Mesa y del Tribunal Constitucional, que han declarado obligatoria la asistencia y han definido sanciones, multas y cárcel para quienes se opongan al referéndum, la poderosa Federación de Juntas Vecinales (Fejuve) decretó el boicot en esta capital de casi 800 mil habitantes, en común acuerdo con la Central Obrera Boliviana (COB).
This weekend the tribes of the Klamath River with environmentalist and fishermen are going to Scottish Power in Scotland, and to an anti-Endangered Species Act congressional meeting in Klamath Falls to try to save the Klamath Salmon. Protests are to occur in Scotland because decisions over the dams being made be Scottish Power and the FERC will decide the fate of the Klamath Salmon, yet the public has been ignored and fish passage and dam removal are not being addressed. In Klamath Falls on Saturday moring there is a republican congressional meeting to address why the Endangered Species Act is no good for the Klamath River. Tribes will be leading a morning protest, as both the tribes and the rest of the public are not invited to address the hearing, only farm intrests.
Me and a buddy rode our bikes down to Share-It Square today for this workshop. We were first of all damn impressed with the intersection project there that City Repair has done through the Village Building Convergence. The intersection is painted and there's all manner of benches, structures and street furniture around it, all whimsical and useful and constructed using sustainable building techniques like cob. If you want to see how groovy neighborhoods can be in the middle of the city, when the residents get together and work on something, go check out Share-It square, at the corner of SE 9th & Sharrit (just south of Tacoma in Sellwood).
The workshop itself was quite interesting. It was led by a community activist and anthropologist who spent time in the Dominican Republic, where much tobacco is grown. He has studied not just the plant and how to grow it, but also its history and place in societies. We learned a lot. And of course sampled some fine homegrown leaf from his own crop!
Tuesday July 13, 4:00 p.m.This Tuesday we will be protesting the Sumitomo Corporation, which is a customer of Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). HLS is an international contract animal testing laboratory, and is known to be one of the cruelest and sloppiest in existence. 500 animals of all kinds--primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, mice, and others--are killed each day inside the walls of HLS. Five undercover investigations have revealed numerous violations of Good Laboratory Practice laws, and atrocities such as HLS employees dissecting a conscious monkey into death, and punching beagle puppies (as if solitary, lifelong confinement in a cage in a laboratory, being subject to numerous painful procedures isn't enough).
The Sumitomo Corporation has a long history of sponsoring violent and unnecessary research at Huntingdon Life Sciences. Sumitomo has been exposed paying HLS to poison and kill for its pesticide products. In addition, they have not only dealt with HLS over the last 15 years, they also ship primates from Mauritius to suffer and die in labs (including HLS) all over the world. We are asking that Sumitomo (including its subsidiaries Pressa Agri and Sunland Hay Exports) sever its ties and agree to no longer contract with HLS. This protest is working towards that end, and is part of a larger international campaign protesting customers, suppliers, investors, and others doing business with HLS.
5335 SW Meadows, #366
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
Signs will be available. If you can't make the protest, you may want to give Sumitomo a call, send them a fax, or stop by any other time to encourage them to dump HLS. [ Read More ] [ For more information about the campaign to shut down HLS, visit: Inside HLS | Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) - America | Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty - Global ]
Though I wasn't feeling well, I went with a group to hike the Tincup Trail, which passed through burned roadless areas and went to the edge of the Wilderness. These forests are representative of the periphery of the Biscuit Burn in general, where many back-burns were set to control the fire. These back burns were deliberately intense, intended to remove fuels which could be consumed by the spreading fire. The Forest Service and other Federal agencies that fought the blaze didn't keep or won't share information about how much area was back-burned. Considering that about 20% of the total burn area was rated as "intense", it would be good to know just how much of that (half?) was from back-burns.
Over the last few weeks, the Forest Service has been working hard to promulgate the idea that only 4% of the forests burned by fire are going to be logged. The fire is widely reported to have "devastated" 500,000 acres of forest in and around the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, and now they are saying that they will just log 19,400 acres of the burned areas. Except that a vast quantity of that area is off-limits to logging. The 250,000 acre Wilderness, for example. The roadless rule should protect another 180,000 of Wilderness-quality roadless area. And another large chunk is assigned to the Late Successional Reserves, native or cut-over land which is supposed to be protected as future old-growth. The remaining Matrix land, which was designated for potential logging, is the only land they can legally cut on. Lawsuits are in the works to protect the roadless and LSR forests, while the Matrix is expected to receive an Emergency Status Determination, much like many recent salvage sales in Eastern Oregon. This haste comes only after the Forest Service was dragged its feet on planning the salvage for most of a year and a half (as pointed out in this letter Representative DeFazio sent to the Forest Service). With the Big Greens bowing out of additional lawsuits, and the Government giving it both barrels, only citizen involvement can do anything for the 50 million board feet set to be extracted from Matrix lands.
Related Articles: [ Background on the Biscuit Burn | Overview of the Fire Salvage Scam | Active logging at White Bird and Jigsaw Timber Sales in the Umpqua | AUDIO AND VIDEO FILES: Defending Mt. Hood, the Tongass, and the Siskiyous ]
Congress just issued a report blaming the war on faulty intelligence. Said one senator, "If we had known, we never would have authorized this war."
How about that.
About a year and a half ago, I stood with many of you in the north park blocks on a cold, gray morning, preparing to march without a permit. Shivering, we stood together, shoulder to shoulder with thousands -- no, millions -- of people throughout the Earth. In every city in the world, people rose up against the war we were all being dragged into against our will. In Lisbon, Rome, New York, Mexico City, and everywhere in between, the people were screaming to be heard. A million people marched in London that day.
Here in Portland, as in every other city, we declared ourselves against the war. Before the march, people began climbing up onto a park bench to address each other. One by one, we stood up there, no notes in hand, no prepared speeches, no megaphones. With only our voices, we spoke from our hearts. And we listened to each other, even if the world's leaders and the corporate media seemed to be turning a deaf ear.
The thing I remember most about that morning was a woman who stood up with a child at her side. She reminded us that we stood in solidarity with all the frightened children in Iraq who would soon have bombs raining down upon them. And she told the crowd that she had come to the march that day because she wanted the world to know, and she wanted our children to know, "We were here. And We Said No."
Sometimes the reactions of our government and the nation at large remind me of the delay in radio broadcasting. I think that the flawed intelligence was certainly obvious to many BEFORE the preemptive attack on Iraq . . . and we said so!
The only problem was, nobody in charge was willing to listen. So to suddenly express surprise and complain about being "fooled" by faulty intelligence seems extremely fraudulent and naive to me. It was a case of this administration "hearing" only what it wanted to hear and pushing for a vote before there was proper time to discuss the alternatives and examine the "evidence."
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