Wednesday, November 28, 2007

C is for Capitalism

I just heard that Phelps Dodge, the land-plundering copper company responsible for such scenic wonders as Morenci and Bisbee, is going to turn Safford, Arizona into one of "the most environmentally-advanced copper mines in the world." (Isn't that an oxymoron? Or maybe they mean something different when they say "advanced?")

Look, we all need Copper, Cows, Cotton, Climate and Citrus, and since Safford doesn't start with a "C" like all of Arizona's other crown jewels, it'll just have to go. Can't say I'll miss the old town of Safford exactly (or at all), but the Gila River is bound to suffer some from the environmental advancements. That is, whatever parts of the river haven't already been destroyed by cows, cotton, citrus, and climate change.

- Lozen

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cry me a river

You know, with the sad state of the rapidly warming world for wildlife and wild places, not to mention the quagmire in the Middle East, it's a wonder that Arizona ranchers still get so much airtime. Here's the latest eulogy for Arizona's rangeland, told from the perspective of those who "cull."
"We're used to roller coasters in this business," Parsons said. "The problem is, I got 90 cents a pound in 1980 and my truck cost $12,000. Now I get 90 cents and my truck costs $40,000."
Gee whiz! You'll forgive me for being astounded. We're supposed to feel sorry for these guys in their new $40,000 trucks?

My sympathies lie with the land itself. Livestock operations in Arizona are just reckless, and all the economic propping and civic boosterism in the world isn't going to make them any less harmful to the arid West.

(How'd ya like that? I didn't even mention the despicable results of the latest BS border-related poll from the Tucson Citizen!)

- Lozen

Monday, November 19, 2007

Prime candidates

Who votes for these people?
“I absolutely believe that a fence is necessary to protect [us] from the invasion that’s occurring,” Tancredo said. “It’s really three layers of defense,” he added, describing a 15-feet-high metal fence, curved at its top, with wire, then a patrol road, and then another fence (similar to what is described in the EIS). Tancredo said the fence would have to be “sensored” — to detect ruptures, ladders, and even whether someone is trying to dig under it.

“I’d go the length of the (U.S.-Mexico) border, and then I’d start on the northern border and go as far as possible,” he said.

Tancredo says the terrain and duty involved in border enforcement is perfect for training troops that will eventually head to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Ah, Tom. You're messing with the jaguar and the ocelot here in the south and the griz and the wolf up there near Canada. Please, go home to Colorado and just try to stop benefiting from undocumented labor. Betcha can't. Furthermore, how about we stop training people to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and start thinking about an end to that mess?

And besides, does anyone really want to live in a country surrounded by the type of infrastructure that is possible only in Tancredo's misplaced fantasies? Really, Tommy, if you're just dying to be bound up like this, find yourself a dominatrix and lighten up on our open spaces, OK?

- Lozen

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Never the same river

Me again, posting about the San Pedro River and the horrors wrought by Homeland Security on this huge patch of heaven...

Here is the view from the banks of the mighty San Pedro as on November 14th. The wall is within a 1/4 mile of the water now, and the scraping, gaping maw of the construction equipment drowns out the sound of the hawks circling above the sacaton grasslands.

It didn't, however, silence the silence of an owl swooping along the river between the cottonwood trees. She watched us with the eyes of a very wise being. Wiser than the fools who think this wall will work.

- Lozen

Monday, November 12, 2007

A plea for unbroken skulls

Our hopes for a successful binational re-integration have been dashed. OK, so they were very slight hopes to begin with, but still... Not just dashed, but beaten around the head and pelleted and pepper-sprayed. Yep, 100 Border Patrol agents decided to go ape-shit on 30 protesters when they tried to set up a bi-national kissing booth at the Port of Entry.

It's a bummer, and not just for the three being held in detention for "assaulting federal agents." You have to register to read the story in The Imperial Valley Press but here's an excerpt:
After five days of relatively peaceful protest the No Borders Camp protesters began defacing and destroying government property, the CBP said in a press release.

The No Borders Camp protesters allegedly converged on the international boundary fence from both sides of the border and reportedly attempted to breach the international boundary by cutting a hole in the fence one block east of the Calexico Port of Entry.

As agents positioned themselves between the marchers and the breach, several protesters physically assaulted the agents, the CBP said.
That's not really what it looks like in the video, but we weren't actually there. No, really.

And we weren't here either. No Borders! Earth First!

- Lozen

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Paean to Unbroken Landscapes

The No Borders Camp in Calexico this week has had some small success, i.e. they have not yet been arrested and removed from the militarized zone of the border. We're not sure what else they've accomplished, and their resistance to corporate media may be biting them in the ass... Indymedia is the only place the story is popping up and those readers are choirboys for the movement already. So, hey, if you are reading this, spread the word for them, OK?

Most of the demands of the activists are humanitarian in nature, and we won't re-post them here. (Check the webpage.) But, one bit on the Bay Area Indymedia site caught our attention, since it recognized that the ugly steel wall is not the only fucked up thing about our beautiful western deserts:
Land in proximity to the border wall also reflects the mentality of separation and demarcation. North of the wall, canals manipulate not only rivers, but dry land as well. Salinated farm land lies vacated. Dirt roads separate a canal system that robs Mexico of the Colorado River. Just as the appropriation of the Colorado River affects the ecosystem of this desert, the border wall fragments habitat for plants, animals, and people. An arbitrary boundary hinders the freedom of movement of families and workers, breeding animal populations, and even seed dispersal.
And then, here's the paean part you've been waiting for, the part that made us gulp back our weeping:
Among all of these scars on the landscape, some natural movements persist. After today's action at the I.C.E. detention center in El Centro, we saw a flock of birds migrating south. They cross the border with same demands of freedom that fills this camp. Singing passionately and with intense unity, the flock thwarted the border, as do we.
We're the birds of the borderlands, those of us who dream of releasing these spaces from the prison of industrial demand.

- Lozen

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lamenting the San Pedro River

OK, so we've gone from desperate pleas to tales of regret, but you can't say we haven't been paying attention to the travesty of the border wall on the last unbroken river in Arizona. Here's the Cliff notes version of the mess:
Not everybody is happy with fence stretched across the frontier.
And here's the punch-line version:
“I always tell people you can tell this is a federal project. It cost way too much, it is ugly, and it doesn’t work,” said [a resident].
We love it!

And, lastly, the Center for Biological Diversity has finally weighed in on the issue. Not that we missed them exactly, since all the actual work was done by other conservation groups. (We're already sporting our new backpack.) But, regardless, the OpEd is thoughtful and well-written, and the unpleasantness in the comments section is undeserved. (Really, mean-spiritedness should be reserved for blogs, don't you think?)


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Real ID(iocy)

Once again, we're over here tipping hats to Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club, the unlikely heroes of the border wall drama. Screwed to the proverbial (and actual) wall by the Real ID act, they've now taken their courage to a constitutional challenge, the only way to fight the insane waivers and the evil Michael Chertoff. In the best case scenario, the court would revoke the Real ID Act; in the worst case, the Bush Empire would then revoke the Constitution.

And for the folks camping on the public land down near Calexico this week, our hearts are with you. We join you in opposing the destructive and ridiculous border wall, capitalism, and all things racist, sexist, and boring. Send us a postcard from Guantanamo, OK? (kidding!)

- Lozen