January 26, 2009 archive

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Standing in the Back

Remaining Behind


Let me give you a boost

a leg up as it were

as you try to scramble

over that wall

a shoulder to stand on

to crack that ceiling

a helping hand in breaking

through that barrier

I’m sure your life

will be so much better

over there, up there,

out there

while we wait here

trying to find

someone else

to help

There are no limits

to the barriers, ceilings, walls

that we humans encounter

and no end to those

which can be surmounted

if we work together

…no limits

except not mattering

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–July 18, 2008

One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor

After a long day of projecting confidence, after reassuring Americans that we can deal with all of these crises, once that’s been done, once you reach the sanctuary of the White House family quarters and you’re alone, Mr. President, are you frightened?

Barack Obama Pictures, Images and Photos

You’re an intelligent man, you see what’s happening so you must be frightened.

But I don’t think you’re frightened enough.  I know what hunts you.

In their hearts, millions of Americans walked beside you down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, but one cannot simply walk into Mordor and call it change we can believe in.  Bush and Cheney have burrowed their orcs into every agency of the federal government. Their uruk-hai still infest the Pentagon and the NSA.  They have 55 million Gollums, they still have more than 200 Wormtongues in Congress and five Nazgul on the Supreme Court. They want their Precious back, their Ring of Power, if they have to destroy what’s left of America to get it back, they will.    

No.  One does not just walk into Mordor.  There is evil there that does not sleep.  The great eye is ever watchful.  

Late Night Karaoke

Monday Morning Wake-Up

The Beatles – Revolution

Historical Empathy

A Stars Hollow Gazette

You know, some people don’t read.

It’s not that they can’t, it’s that they read for information only.  They don’t care about the plot and don’t identify with the characters.  Metaphors or a felicitous turn of phrase are wasted on them.

You can feel the same way about history.

I’ve always seen it as a ripping yarn that has the benefit of not stretching your imagination much because it’s all true.  As I’ve developed my understanding I’ve recognized that it as much written by real actors with a real axe to grind as anything else.

The past is not dead, it’s not even past said Faulkner.

Aristotle was not stupid.  Many of his ideas were wrong because of the limitations imposed by his environment, but some also because of his personal attitudes and positions.  Most of the ones that were right have been misinterpreted and abused.

If you just look at the facts and time lines and don’t understand the man you’re missing more than half the message.

What “60 Minutes” Didn’t Tell You About Wilmington, Ohio

Tonight, the TV newsmagazine “60 Minutes” did a story on the economic crisis facing Wilmington, Ohio, a town of 12,000 people nearly all of whom are being laid off by freight corporation DHL.  If you missed the heartrending segment, you can watch it here:

Here’s what Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes” didn’t tell you: there’s a promising local effort to help the people of Wilmington — and there are a few things you can do to help their plan become a reality without getting up from your computer.

“Prevent Hate Crimes, Destruction and Desecration On The Schaghticoke Reservation”

Prevent Hate Crimes, Destruction and Desecration On The Schaghticoke Reservation in Kent, CT

We, the undersigned, call upon the Connecticut State Governor Jodi Rell to investigate and order an immediate halt to the hate crimes, destruction, desecration of sacred lands and encroachment that started after Federal Recognition and allowed to occur on the Schaghticoke Reservation in Kent, CT from 2004, to date.

In further praise of unions.

My favorite diary since the election, This Miracle Brought To You by American Unions, written by Empywheel, illustrated beautifully how “the gain” of unions is so much greater than “the cost”.

My story, and this diary, is smaller in scope because its more personal and is about what unions really mean to those of us lucky, no BLESSED, enough to be in them.

Another victory: Obama EPA to Allow States to Cut Emissions

Yesterday we got the news that Obama’s EPA would block a coal plant. Just breaking from the NYTimes. On Monday among other things President Obama (!) will direct federal regulators to move swiftly to grant 14 states the right to set stricter emissions and efficiency standards then the feds. The Bush EPA rejected this request in December of 07. California and other states have sued over this and now Obama will be taking one more step to reverse yet another bad legacy left by the Bush Administration.

The California standards will reduce overall greenhouse gas emission from passenger cars 18 percent by 2020 and 27 percent by 2030. They will (I believe) go into effect later this year in California, Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Oregon, Maine, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vermont, Washington and Massachusetts. In addition Colorado, North Carolina, Florida, Minnesota Iowa and Utah are considering implementing the standards.  

Depose A Dharmanian! Special Ask Obama Edition

Docudharma is a small community of very smart (albeit funny looking) people. We may not have all the answers, but we certainly are witty and crafty enough to reply in an amusing fashion! So if you have a question, whether snarky, simple, political or philosophical, be it meta, meaty, maddening or impossible to answer,….what the hell? Post it here and see what happens! You have nothing to lose but your underwear! Heck, there is a chance it might even get answered, possibly even correctly!

Any questions?

The files don’t exist

After Barack Obama signed that long-awaited and much-anticipated executive order to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and conduct a thorough review of the case files for each and every detainee by a cabinet-level panel, a significant spanner was tossed in the works.

On many of the detainees, there are no case files.  Instead, information on many of the individual detainees is “scattered throughout the executive branch,”  so that ‘cabinet level panel’ will spend the first weeks of their task looking for information and relevant materials.  

Several former Bush administration officials agreed that the files are incomplete and that no single government entity was charged with pulling together all the facts and the range of options for each prisoner. They said that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were reluctant to share information, and that the Bush administration’s focus on detention and interrogation made preparation of viable prosecutions a far lower priority.

Put plainly – when you are reverse-engineering convictions you don’t put things in files that might end up running counter to your desired outcome.  

As a result of the incompetence of the previous administration, some truly dangerous people have been released, and truly innocent people have been held without charge or trial for years on end.  

A former Bush administration official, unwilling to allow his names to be used, insists that the Obama administration will come to the same conclusions.  

“All but about 60 who have been approved for release,” assuming countries can be found to accept them, “are either high-level al-Qaeda people responsible for 9/11 or bombings, or were high-level Taliban or al-Qaeda facilitators or money people,” said the former official who, like others, insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters about such matters. He acknowledged that he relied on Pentagon assurances that the files were comprehensive and in order rather than reading them himself.

Obama officials said they want to make their own judgments.

“The consensus among almost everyone is that the current system is not in our national interest and not sustainable,” another senior official said. But “it’s clear that we can’t clear up this issue overnight” partly because the files “are not comprehensive.”

Charles D. “Cully” Stimson, who served as deputy assistant defense secretary for detainee affairs in 2006-2007, said he had persistent problems in attempts to assemble all information on individual cases. Threats to recommend the release or transfer of a detainee were often required, he said, to persuade the CIA to “cough up a sentence or two.”

The disarray in assembling the case files is so severe that one former prosecutor at Guantanamo asked to be relieved of his duties, in the formal request he cited as a reason that evidence was “strewn throughout the prosecution offices in desk drawers, bookcases packed with vaguely-labeled plastic containers, or even simply piled on the tops of desks.”   He said he once accidentally found “crucial physical evidence” that “had been tossed in a locker located at Guantanamo and promptly forgotten.”

I read about this, and I feel personally betrayed.  My entire life has been spent in service to this country.  I was born into it, carried it on, and married into it, too.  We faced down an ideological adversary that violated human rights, ignored due process and locked people up for life after specious show-trials.  And less than twenty years later, we became something worse.  

Personally betrayed?  That is an understatement of what I feel right now. This is not my America.  I have spent the last eight years wanting my country back.  

Now I have it, and I don’t recognize it.  

Damn them all straight to hell for this.  Public hanging with a new rope is too good for these traitorous, limp-dick, torture-porn-loving perverted fucks.  

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