June 9, 2008 archive

Peace activists, common sense win a round

Common sense has prevailed, at least momentarily, in Madison, Wisconsin’s municipal court.

Trespassing charges were dropped today against three peace activists who had entered an Army recruiting station to discuss the Iraq war with recruiters.

The Army apparently decided to cut its public relations losses.  When the officer who was to testify on the Army’s behalf failed to show up (was AWOL, in other words), the judge dismissed the charges against the trio.

They were arrested on March 19, the fifth anniversary of the war.  Bonnie Block, David Nordstrom, and Joy First  went in to talk to recruiters while other activists outside the recruiting station were reading names of the war dead.  They were arrested and charged with trespassing, which carried a $424 fine.

They were to appear Monday before Judge Dan Koval in Madison Municipal Court on the charge, which carried a possible $424 fine.  

The activists said they were ready to argue that a recruiting station is a government office and therefore public property paid for by taxpayers.  As their press release put it:

The activists were engaging the recruiters in a dialogue that made the recruiters very uncomfortable, but the activists were not disruptive and they planned to argue that they had every right to be there.

Nordstrom noted, “In the 5 years of American occupation, about 1 million Iraqi men, women, and children have died. That’s a death rate of about 1 per 25 people. Much of the country’s infrastructure is destroyed. The occupation has spawned an armed resistance which has attracted foreign fighters from several countries.”

Block used the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to justify her actions, stating, “I am a dissenter and claim that right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 states: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.’ Even if that frontier is a military recruiter’s office.”

First said that they will return to the military recruiting station in the future, explaining, “As long as we have a war criminal in the White House, it is the responsibility of concerned citizens to speak out in resistance as our government breaks the law. We must continue to take action to try to do everything we can to stop the unbelievable carnage and suffering that is taking place in Iraq – that we feel deeply compelled to follow our conscience in this matter.”

The action was organized by Madison Pledge of Resistance, a member group of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.

Four at Four

  1. In Canada, the Globe and Mail reports 97 years later, apology at last.

    Marguerite Wabano, 104, is known as Granny Wabano to everyone in Moosonee, Ont. On Wednesday, she and five other residential school survivors will be seated on the floor of the House of Commons to hear Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologize on behalf of all Canadians.

    It will be a historic and personal moment for Ms. Wabano and tens of thousands other indigenous people who were taken from their families and sent to church-run boarding schools where they were forbidden to speak their own languages. Many were sexually and physically abused.

    Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said that if the opposition parties agree, the House of Commons will set aside all other business on Wednesday for the formal apology for Canada’s Indian residential schools policy, which will start at 3 p.m. Church and native leaders are urging Canadians across the country to stop in their tracks on Wednesday afternoon and turn on the nearest TV.

    Constrast with the news in the U.S. According to the LA Times, Oglala Sioux could regain Badlands national parkland.

    The southern half of this swath of grasslands and chiseled pink spires looks untouched from a distance. Closer up, the scars of history are easy to see.

    Unexploded bombs lie in ravines, a reminder of when the military confiscated the land from the Oglala Sioux tribe during World War II and turned it into an artillery range. Poachers who have stolen thousands of fossils over the years have left gouges in the landscape. On a plateau, a solitary makeshift hut sits ringed by empty Coke cans and shaving cream canisters. It is the only remnant of a three-year occupation by militant tribal activists who had demanded that the land be returned.

    Now the National Park Service is contemplating doing just that: giving the 133,000-acre southern half of Badlands National Park back to the tribe. The northern half, which has a paved road and a visitor center, would remain with the park system.

    The story also notes, “Many of the most renowned national parks — Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Canyon — were formed after the federal government forced tribes from the land.”

Four at Four continues with stories of torture and Guantánamo Bay, the military’s new super computer, and saving the Inca’s language.

Liberal Media Bias? Progressive insight the Not-So-Liberal Media missed…

We continue to hear from the strains of Right Wing Hate Radio programming to the musings in conservative rags such as the Washington Times that the media has a Liberal Bias to the stories they cover.  

The Neo-Con’s whine and cry and complain that the New York Times (to a conservative, synonymous with George Soros’ personal newspaper), CNN, The Washington Post, USA Today, BBC News, NPR, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on and on, are nothing more than the mouthpieces of the dangerous liberal movement in our country!  The Wingnut set decries these media outlets for only giving us one side, TEH LIBERAL SIDE, of any story.

According to the Konservative Kidz, only fair and balanced news outlets such as Fox News, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Times, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and on and on, are able to tell the REAL side of the story.

Today, we will begin a series of diaries that takes on this well worn right-wing-talking-point and see if there is really any truth to this meme, or is this just another Republican Bumper Sticker Slogan that is meant to enrage the 20%’ers that still Love ’em some George Bush and Pals?

Let’s see!

O FEMA, Where Art Thou?

Thanks to buhdydharma for telling me of this safe port!

FEMA, your name is not mud, because I would not disgrace the life-giving dirt of our nation with your trials and odyssey of incompetence. I no longer know your true name, for it is unspeakable here in the Crescent City, but where art thou?

Didn’t the blind leading the blind foretell your inactions today in Iowa? Didn’t the drowning of the oracles of Voudon not tell you of what sitting on idle hands can bring? Are you seeking treasure, a leader, or both, to come save those whose charge you are meant to keep?

I beg of you FEMA, where art thou?

Did not the baptism of the Big Easy prove that meetings about meetings on how to respond will lead to a baptism of the people by fire, even though water fills the wards? Surely you understand that the fields along the Mississippi are renewed by the river, while the people are not? It is not the Ganges, though you always make it one.

What ministral who sold his soul to the devil plys his trade in your ears and keeps you from your duties? Are the hounds of hell needed to force you to do your jobs?

FEMA, where art thou?

I dare say we have long lost our favor for your Soggy Bottom blues, and if you wish to play fiddle again while the Mississippi rages, I wish to box your tin ears. Have the sirens of Norquist lulled you to sleep so you cannot act, in his mad dream to drown the republic in a bathtub? What false prophet is keeping you from your appointed rounds?

FEMA, where art thou?

The people of the Mississippi are in constant sorrow at your inability to show up when the republic needs you most. How many valleys must be flooded to show how your hanging back cannot be pardoned?

Do not stand there like Lotus-Eaters, glassy eyed in disbelief of the destruction at hand. The rivers in the heartland are made of many turns, we need a tactician who will not fall asleep during these greatest perils.

FEMA, WHERE ART THOU?

Fear

From the time the second plane flew into The Tower on 9/11….America has been a nation gripped and ruled by fear. Fear that has been amplified, played on, exploited and GREATLY embellished by the Bush Administration. Not a rational, healthy fear, but a deep visceral mostly unreasoned fear. The type of fear that is a window into our national character, that has stripped away the veneer of America as the land of the free and the home of the brave, a beacon of human rights, a benevolent Superpower…..and exposed our dark underbelly. Exposed us not as a nation based on ideals, based on a Constitution….based on being the cowboy in the white hat. It has shown us to be a fearful, paranoid, and easily misled people. A people capable of making horrendous mistakes…and then trying to deny them, cover them up, to pretend that we are still the good guys. To preserve an almost delusionally positive American self-image ….that we have instead, while cowering in shamelessly exaggerated fear… allowed the worst of us to throw onto the trash heap.

This blatant campaign of fear, this campaign of Domestic Terror, has elevated and exposed the worst of us, the worst of our press, the worst of our politicians, the worst of our military, the worst of our corporatocracy, the worst of our xenophobia. It has shown a glaring light on nearly all that is wrong with America. From the grand scale of a willingness to invade a country based on lies and rumors just to ease our fears, to our willingness to torture merely to “send a message,” to a willingnesses to profit from the deaths of others….all the way down to revealing the gullibility and lack of critical thinking of the average American when confronted by fear….fear deliberately engineered to reach to the deepest part of the brain and the belly.

Photobucket

Select Vids From YouTube

Well, it was a long weekend, and looks to be a longer week coming up.  I had some free time and decided to find some favorites on YouTube and share them with you all.  Hope you like them, and………………ENJOY!!!

God is a DJ (has nothing to do with Pink!).

John Hartford is one of my favorites, and this is one of my favorite tunes by him… Steam Powered Areoplane – May not be the best vid, but still Happy, American Goodle Music

More below…

Gasoline: Widening The Gap Between Rich And Poor

cross posted at The Dream Antilles

Is lack of any US energy policy designed to drive the poorest Americans even deeper into poverty?  To drive them to the cities?  To drive them off their land?  To drive their wages lower? It sure looks like it, and that rising gas prices are the means to those ends.  

This morning’s NY Times, focusing on the Mississippi Delta, finally reveals the problem all of us suspected as soon as gas prices started to spike.  The bleak news:

Here in the Mississippi Delta, some farm workers are borrowing money from their bosses so they can fill their tanks and get to work. Some are switching jobs for shorter commutes.

People are giving up meat so they can buy fuel. Gasoline theft is rising. And drivers are running out of gas more often, leaving their cars by the side of the road until they can scrape together gas money.

The disparity between rural America and the rest of the country is a matter of simple home economics. Nationwide, Americans are now spending about 4 percent of their take-home income on gasoline. By contrast, in some counties in the Mississippi Delta, that figure has surpassed 13 percent.

As a result, gasoline expenses are rivaling what families spend on food and housing.

“This crisis really impacts those who are at the economic margins of society, mostly in the rural areas and particularly parts of the Southeast,” said Fred Rozell, retail pricing director at the Oil Price Information Service, a fuel analysis firm. “These are people who have to decide between food and transportation.”

Put simply, gas at $4 a gallon and more means that the poor, who go without on a good day, are forced to go without even more.  It’s not a pretty picture.  It means that paying for gas competes with the utilities, food, health care, clothing, school supplies, and every other household item.  

Pony Party, “breaking” :)

ha ha…

no, its not breaking news…it’s me.  i’m taking a (at least) 3-week hiatus from the a.m. pony.

there’s no definitive yet as to what, if anything, will replace it.  but please always remember that ‘Muse in the Morning” and “Docudharma Times” (or any alternate news thread) always function as open threads as well….

We dharminions dont appear to be morning people anyway…at least from my east coast perspective.  😉

Docudharma Times Monday June 9



We Always Know What We Knew




Monday’s Headlines:

Charter Schools’ Big Experiment  

New Orleans’s Post-Katrina Test May Offer Lessons for Ailing Systems

Army blasts unstable quake lake as flood threat rises

Thousands of cyclone dead ‘may never be identified’

Mugabe’s brutality to force election victory is revealed

Gun incident mars UN Congo visit

Spanish hauliers on fuel strike

Istanbul gentrifies a 1,000-year-old Roma neighborhood

‘Ottoman villas’ are going up, and the world’s largest Roma settlement is moving out – to suburban apartments.

Israel tries to play down minister’s warning of attack on Iran

Treaty tensions mount as Iraq tells the US it wants all troops back in barracks

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez to revoke spying law

Young Pakistani girls traded as settlement in tribal feud

By Saeed Shah | McClatchy Newspapers

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – It began with an errant dog,. It’s culminated with the forced betrothal of 15 little girls, some of them as young as three, as compensation in a case of tribal feuding in a remote part of Pakistan.

It’s thought that around 20 people have died in the bitter quarrel, and the marriage offer of the girls is meant to end the bloodletting.

Under a brutal custom, called Vani, the girls are being traded as settlement of a long-running dispute between two tribes. This case occurred on the border between the southern provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan, but the practice, known as Swara in some areas, isn’t uncommon in rural parts of Pakistan

USA

Rural U.S. Takes Worst Hit as Gas Tops $4 Average

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

Published: June 9, 2008


TCHULA, Miss. – Gasoline prices reached a national average of $4 a gallon for the first time over the weekend, adding more strain to motorists across the country.

But the pain is not being felt uniformly. Across broad swaths of the South, Southwest and the upper Great Plains, the combination of low incomes, high gas prices and heavy dependence on pickup trucks and vans is putting an even tighter squeeze on family budgets.

Here in the Mississippi Delta, some farm workers are borrowing money from their bosses so they can fill their tanks and get to work. Some are switching jobs for shorter commutes.

Pentagon ‘urged notes destroyed’

BBC

Guantanamo Bay interrogators were told to destroy handwritten notes in case they were called to testify on detainee treatment, a military lawyer alleges.

The lawyer, Lt-Cmdr William Kuebler, said the instructions were contained in a Pentagon operations manual.

He said this apparent destruction of evidence at the prison camp stopped him from challenging alleged confessions in the case of his client, Omar Khadr.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

State of the Onion III

Art Link

Flower

Flower

It started as

a piece of detail

in another work

a small

barely opened bud.

Then it bloomed.

Or is that

the story

of my life?

Sometimes

I forget.

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–November 3. 2005

Please join us on the inside to celebrate, venerate, regenerate and/or motivate our muses.  Currently mine is a little constipated when I would prefer it be syncopated.

A Fragment of a Fable (for Sunday Night)

Two friends on a summer evening:

“What if God had created the universe, and -”

“What?”

“- had created the entire universe, and being powerful was omnipotent over the entire universe? But this is the thing. The universe got too big for him.”

“How’s that?”

The Stars Hollow Gazette

HarlequinSo I’m going to disappear, except I’m not really, but I do have business that is going to take me away from my regular internet connections.

This has happened before though everyone has had the good grace not to notice it in part because I’ve acculturated you to expect nothing but negligence.

I assure the fans of my occasional and diffident nature my departure is merely intermittent and temporary.  During this time I shall be making random and haphazard appearances here and there.  This week is ramp up to Friday when the show goes into Out of Town tryouts. After that, Monday we go Off Broadway and Wednesday is the day the critics come for Opening Night at the Big Show.  We close Sunday and everyone goes on the road except the roadies (isn’t it ironic) and if history is any guide I’ll have the sets and lights packed up by Tuesday after, ready to send to the next stop on the tour.

I will lift heavy objects many times.  I will eat dust and walk in mud.

Occasionally in my lighthouse I will doze as the grand plan unfolds.  Gotta love it when that happens.

The more things change the more they stay the same.  See you around.

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