Blogging Cascadia – our new news site

I have been working on a new news feed for literature, arts, environment, and progressive politics in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been frustrated with the difficulty of finding good blog and news sources by northwest bloggers. Cascadia, for those who don’t know, refers to the Cascadia bio-region, which includes everything from the Siskiyous to southern British Columbia. There is a lot of good stuff coming from here, and my goal is to produce some consolidated feeds.

We’ve also included some feeds from Indian Country that aren’t necessarily tied to the northwest. You can subscribe to feeds by category, so if you’re only interested in arts and literature, you can limit your feed to bloggers who write about these subjects.

We haven’t gone public yet, but you can check us out at Blogging Cascadia.

Cheney Impeachment goes to Judiciary Committee

Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced his Cheney impeachment resolutions on the floor of the House today. The Democratic Party leadership failed to have the bill tabled, and it was sent to the House Judiciary Committee after another procedural motion to quash it also failed.

The Judiciary Committee is headed by Rep. John Conyers, who has been ambiguous about impeachment. For a list of other committee members go the committee website.

Kucinich said he is also preparing an impeachment bill against President George W. Bush.

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer was the only Oregon Congressperson to vote for tabling the bill. Even Walden voted against it. Blumenauer needs to have his butt kicked by his constituents!

Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced his Cheney impeachment resolutions on the floor of the House today. The Democratic Party leadership failed to have the bill tabled, and it was sent to the House Judiciary Committee after another procedural motion to quash it also failed.

The Judiciary Committee is headed by Rep. John Conyers, who has been ambiguous about impeachment. For a list of other committee members go the committee website.

Kucinich said he is also preparing an impeachment bill against President George W. Bush.

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer was the only Oregon Congressperson to vote for tabling the bill. Even Walden voted against it. Blumenauer needs to have his butt kicked by his constituents!

Stacy Leeds on bill to pull Cherokee Nation federal funds

Stacy Leeds blog:

A bill was introduced in Congress today to pull our federal funds, close our casinos, and terminate our federal recognition. It’s truly a sad day for the Cherokee Nation. The rash decisions and inconsistent legal arguments of our current administration bring us to this point.

Will the bill pass? Doubtful.

Does the introduction of the bill matter? Without a doubt.

Following is the text of Stacy Leeds’ statement:

A bill was introduced in Congress today to pull our federal funds, close our casinos, and terminate our federal recognition. It’s truly a sad day for the Cherokee Nation. The rash decisions and inconsistent legal arguments of our current administration bring us to this point.

Will the bill pass? Doubtful.

Does the introduction of the bill matter? Without a doubt.

In addition to this proposed legislation, a federal court case is pending and there is on-going review by the BIA regarding the legality of the March 3rd Special Election. Now all three branches of the United States government are fully engaged in the fall out of our decision to expel a class of tribal citizens.

Why is this happening? The Cherokee people, although certainly possessing the right to redefine citizenship, were not told the whole story by the current administration. The Cherokee people were not fully advised of the legal and political consequences of the special election. Instead, the decision was rushed and public debate and deliberations were suppressed.

Why was the federal bill not introduced earlier? Principal Chief Chad Smith has been in negotiations to delay the introduction of this bill so that it would not be introduced the week before the election. He didn’t want to allow the Cherokee people the opportunity to know the seriousness of our present situation. Instead, he attempted to negotiate some undisclosed deal to keep this out of the media.

My concern is two fold: (1) The Principal Chief does not have the authority to strike a secret “deal” with the Freedmen without discussing it with the Tribal Council; and (2) exactly what were the details of Chief Smith’s “offer” to the Freedmen?

The introduction of the bill was delayed for a week based on the Principal Chief’s promises. What exactly did he promise? How much would his promise cost the Cherokee people?

I will alway support the Cherokee people’s right to make decisions, good or bad. What must end, if we are to be a healthy nation, are the half-truths and secret dealings of our present leadership.
A positive change is just around the corner . . . . vote Saturday June 23rd.

Stacy Leeds blog

Stacy Leeds and the race for Cherokee Principal Chief

The primary issue of her election campaign to lead the Cherokee Nation, says Stacy Leeds, candidate for Principal Chief, is economic mismanagement. Of the $300 million dollars netted by Cherokee Nation Industries last year, according to Leeds, only 30 percent of the $78 million profit (less than $24 million) goes to support programs of the nation. That is less than 10% of what the CNI calls “after pay-out gross,” the only figure publicly released. This begs the question, How much is payed out to contractors and others before you arrive at the $300 million figure? No one knows, because the tribal administration will not release those figures.

The primary issue of her election campaign to lead the Cherokee Nation, says Stacy Leeds, candidate for Principal Chief, is economic mismanagement. Of the $300 million dollars netted by Cherokee Nation Industries last year, according to Leeds, only 30 percent of the $78 million profit (less than $24 million) goes to support programs of the nation. That is less than 10% of what the CNI calls “after pay-out gross,” the only figure publicly released. This begs the question, How much is payed out to contractors and others before you arrive at the $300 million figure? No one knows, because the tribal administration will not release those figures.

Mismanagement of CNI, says Leeds, could be “an Enron in the making” for the Cherokee people.

I met Stacy Leeds Tuesday evening at the Beaver Creek Cooperative Telephone Company offices in rural Oregon City, along with a half-dozen other members of the local Cherokee community. Stacy is a very warm, unassuming woman, who doesn’t seem to have an ounce of political slickness, and yet she gives the impression of being a very capable leader. For me, this was her biggest attraction, as I’ve been very wary of the corporate patina I see reflected on the Smith-Grayson crowd.

Leeds is a former justice of the Cherokee Supreme Court, the only woman to ever hold that post. She is a tenured professor of law and has held many positions dealing with tribal law, making her an expert in the complex legal issues between the Cherokee Nation and the U.S. government.

Leeds called the recent vote to expel the Freedmen from the tribe, “the elephant in the room no one is talking about.” The federal government, through the B.I.A., has threatened to cut off federal funds to the tribe. If they do that, she says, the tribe will become insolvent in a matter of weeks, unable to pay tribal employees. When the Seminole Tribe similarly voted to remove their Freedmen from the roles, the Feds cut the tribe off immediately, and it took three years of legal wrangling and kowtowing to get federal funds reinstated. With the Cherokee Nation there are additional threats from a seriously angry Congressional Black Caucus, and from the U.S. courts over the ongoing legality issues of the Cherokee constitution.

I asked Stacy if there wasn’t also a moral issue with the Freedmen: since they are the descendants of the slaves of wealthy Cherokees, doesn’t the tribe have an obligation to recognize them? She agreed, saying that she had voted against the expulsion, and she felt that the Cherokee people had been misled on the issue.

Would the tribe have voted so overwhelmingly to expel the Freedmen if they had understood the moral issues and the economic consequences of doing so? I think probably not.

In addition to her mismanagement charge against the Chad Smith administration, she pointed out that Smith has constantly vetoed such legislation as increasing the minimum wage, health-care benefits for poor Cherokees, and modest bonuses for tribal employees. Six years ago the Tribal Housing Authority was winning awards for its programs, and now, she says, there is no housing program for Cherokee families at all.

She and Deputy Chief candidate Raymond Vann would concentrate their energies on helping out Cherokees in need, putting competent management in charge of Cherokee enterprises, and diversifying the economy of the tribe, which is too dependent on Casino revenue.

It was a pleasure to find a candidate with many admirable qualities. I found in Stacy Leeds a very intelligent leader with the interest of the Cherokee people at her core. A true progressive who I believe will stand up to the corporatization of the Cherokee Nation.

I am very glad I attended this meeting for another reason. I have been feeling isolated as a Cherokee far away from tribal life. To my surprise, I learned that there are several dozen registered tribal voters in the Portland metro area, and many more enrolled citizens as yet not registered to vote. It is very encouraging to me to know that I am not alone.

You can check out more about Stacy Leeds and Raymond Vann at the campaign website: www.stacyleeds.com.

Some other resources:

Putting to a Vote the Question ‘Who Is Cherokee?’

Cherokee Freedmen Protest Cherokee Election

Push Polling in P-town

Well, the push pollers are at it again. Patty Jo became a recipient of the latest sleaze survey last night, and she was so pissed off, she hung up before finding out who the target was.

The caller asked her about her voting choices in a number of recent ballot measures, all of them right wing initiatives, including the “Takings” initiative and the anti-gay marriage measure.

Then came the tip-off question: “If you found out the following statements about a candidate were true, would you be more likely or less likely to vote for that candidate?”

This means the most vicious kinds of lies are about to follow. Whether or not you believe them is beside the point, because the purpose is to plant them in your mind as possibly true.

This is the point where Patty hung up.

I almost wish she hadn’t. This is the worst kind of campaign abuse, and if I knew which candidate was behind it, they certainly would never get my vote. Ever. Under any circumstances.