Previously posted elsewhere.
It’s been pointed out to me that I haven’t written a diary in a long while advocating for reform of the criminal justice system. The reasons for that are many. I don’t believe we will see meaningful reform of prisons or the Criminal Justice system until we first reform government and society. If our politicians are overwhelmingly corrupt, and they are, and if you can’t get people to care about bombing innocent people for no good reason or torturing people who may or may not have done anything wrong, and apparently you can’t, what are the chances of getting them to care about the systematic mistreatment of ‘criminals’? I have considerable experience in this matter and I can tell you the chances are slim. I guess I am guilty of feeling a certain amount of despair over the issue. Nevertheless, it is worth a try, and it is fair to say that I am remiss in not having done more to advocate for reform of what is a horrendously screwed up system.
This diary is all about the Beatles. It is not particularly political or topical, though some politics do sneak in. I offer it here mainly as a diversion.
I work on diaries like this when I need something calming, something to stave off however briefly the unyielding onslaught of relentlessly bad news – something to ease my woe and soothe my worried mind. Reminiscing can sometimes do that for me, and what more pleasant subject to reminisce about than music? Sweeter still, to my taste, the Beatles. Not to dismiss all the other greats, I love them all, but the Beatles were special in my life.
Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
John Lennon – Across the Universe
The disparity in wealth in this country is obscene, and the failure to restrain the mindless and monumental greed that led to it has been our downfall.
The income of the 400 wealthiest Americans swelled in 2006, soaring nearly 23 percent from the previous year, to an average of $263 million, according to data released Thursday by the Internal Revenue Service. Since 1996, this group has nearly doubled its share of all income earned in the United States.
The top 400 paid just more than $18 billion in federal income taxes in 2006, or an average of $45 million, on a record $105 billion in total income – the lowest effective tax rate in the 15 years since the agency began releasing such data.
This diary grew out of a comment in The Dream Before the Awakening. The comment was:
Do we really need more hippies?
You can shut out the world for the sake of achieving inner peace or whatever. It’s crazy to pretend, though, that if you get others to join you, the fundamental problems facing our future will go away.
I want to ask people to get engineering degrees, to become doctors, to learn the law, to learn about climate science – and to use this information to do good. Iin this world we need more Jane Goodalls and Barack Obamas, not George Harrisons.
Re-banning torture is fine – but it’s hardly enough.
Torture is one of those words that is just too easy to say. The facility with which it slides off the tongue belies its terrible gravity.
The act of torture is cruelty personified. It is easily among the most horrific deeds of which we are capable. What could be worse? Murder and genocide I suppose…but little else.
This diary is in the way of a community alert. Over the fold is the body of an email being sent out by Don Siegelman about Specter’s hold on the Holder confirmation. Let’s sound off on this. These creeps are trying to subvert justice.
The confirmation of President Obama’s choice for U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, is being held up by Senator Arlen Specter and others.
Note: This diary relies heavily on three brilliant videos from the TED conferences. They’re a little longer than your average music video but they present what I consider to be some very important ideas as well as being very interesting and entertaining. I urge you to watch them all in their entirety. I think you’ll be pleased that you did. Gracias.
Our entire improbable existence is the outcome of a long chain of bizarre circumstances, happenstances, accidents and experiments. Human society has never been anything more than a jackleg improvised house of cards – the rise and fall of civilizations themselves something of a mirage in motion, houses of smoke and mirrors, patchwork quilts comprised of dreams, hallucinations, insight and insanity, traditions and superstitions. We’ve been making it up as we went all along. Human society is an organism unto itself and subject with any certainty only to natural laws. It is understood poorly at best and nothing at all about it has ever been guaranteed. As Lithium Cola says, “what made you think any of this was ever going to work out anyway?”
On the eve of a new and historic Presidency, one I have yearned for and supported, I find myself increasingly unable to savor our victory. We are still at war, still killing innocent people for bogus reasons, and there is every reason to believe that we are not about to stop our militaristic bullying of our neighbors on this planet. Otherwise we would not be escalating that idiotic and immoral war in Afghanistan – or opening a billion dollar embassy bigger then the Vatican in Baghdad, along with fourteen ‘enduring’ bases across the country. There are too many indications that not nearly enough has changed. We are still firmly entrenched in the idiotic war business, people are still being tortured, there is too much money still being stolen and too many lies are still being told.
I have supported Barack Obama, but every time he appoints a rightwinger or a centrist (who are nothing more than rightwingers with apologies IMO) I lose a little hope.
I quote my friend TocqueDeville in DrSteveB’s earlier diary, Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General – worse than I thought:
I see it as a continuation of the same battle (20+ / 0-)
I’ve been having for the last 20 plus years.
If this pans out then it will be just another failed Obama appointment, along with a couple of good ones – maybe.
All of his appointments combined demonstrate what the late professor Carroll Quigley, of Harvard Princeton and Georgetown described about how the American political system is rigged so that we can have a great big election and real power never really changes hands. [emphasis my own ~ OPOL]
The real power never really changes hands.