May 25, 2009 archive

Governor Rell Vows To Preserve State Killing

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

What a disgrace.  On Friday, the Connecticut legislature passed a bill abolishing the death penalty.  I asked readers of my essay to call or email Governor Rell to ask her please to sign the bill.  There was, I pointed out, a strong chance that the Republican Governor, a long time death penalty supporter, would veto the bill.

Today’s Hartford Courant says that Governor Rell vows to veto the measure when it gets to her desk.  It might take a few weeks to get there:

Just hours after the state Senate gave final legislative approval Friday to a historic measure abolishing the death penalty in Connecticut, Gov. M. Jodi Rell came out with an expected announcement:

She said she was going to veto the measure as soon as it hits her desk.

“I appreciate the passionate beliefs of people on both sides of the death penalty debate. I fully understand the concerns and deeply held convictions of those who would like to see the death penalty abolished in Connecticut,” she said in a statement.

“However, I also fully understand the anguish and outrage of the families of victims who believe, as I do, that there are certain crimes so heinous – so fundamentally revolting to our humanity – that the death penalty is warranted.”

What nonsense.  The families of victims are far from unanimous that the death penalty is warranted.  In fact, as the Courant pointed out in its photo caption, Friday “[f]amilies of victims of murder [spoke] at a press conference in support of a bill passed by the legislature Thursday that would abolish the death penalty. Pictured are Gail Canzano, at podium, Elizabeth Brancato of Torrington, State Representative Gary Holder-Winfield of New Haven, Rev. Walter Everett , Cindy Siclari of Monroe and Anne Stone of Farmington.”  So the Governor’s invocation of wishes of the families of victims rings hollow.

We can all easily understand how appealing revenge on killers might be, but the overwhelming majority of civilized societies in the world have now abandoned that barbarian argument.  Rell chooses, however, to dress up the old canard in victims’ rights clothing.  The fact is that she’s not doing anything for victims’ families by permitting the state to kill killers.  And she’s certainly not doing anything for the rest of us, in whose names these state killings will be carried out.  State killing doesn’t deter killing, and it doesn’t bring “closure” to the families of victims.

Governor Rell’s vowing the veto because she allegedly “believes” in the death penalty.  And when Republicans enact policies just because they believe in them– surely the memory of George W. Bush has not been forgotten– you know that irrationality has prevailed.

You might want to tell Governor Rell that the death penalty is a bad idea, that we can live without it, and that she’s making a mistake if she vetoes this bill.

Please telephone Governor Rell (860.566.4840) or email her (Governor.Rell@ct.gov) and let he know that it’s time for Connecticut to step into the 21st Century.  It’s time for her to sign the death penalty abolition bill.

The Greatest Generation’s Troubled Homecoming

I had a first hand view, though very young than, and like the rest of the extended family didn’t realize it, of what War does to those that serve in them, and you then have to extend that to those that live in where they occur.

I won’t go into the details but to say it was an Uncle who was one of my favorites, he was a gifted craftsman but a troubled soul. He was full of life trying to live it that way, than he suddenly snapped! He died alone in the little home he built, more the size of a shed it was supposedly to become, by the lake, shortly before I left Panama and went to ‘Nam. There were a couple of other uncles who showed the results of serving in WWII in other ways as well, and like the book and articles, it was just said “They cam back different then how they left.”. While in ‘Nam I started to understand what he might possibly had been going through, understanding what the rest of the extended family, and his friends, didn’t. And probably still do, as I’m the only one of the recent branch of the family, especially my large immediate family, till a couple of younger distant cousins kids served in Gulf War I, that has served in a combat/occupation theater.

Old Man….Who You Gonna Kill Next?

Old man what the hell you gonna kill next

Old timer who you gonna kill next

Hey bartender over here

Two more shots

And two more beers

Sir turn up the TV sound

The war has started on the ground

Just love those laser guided bombs

-Roger Waters (The Bravery of Being out of Range)



Today, Memorial Day we honor our war dead. Some could care less, it’s just another excuse for barbecue, beers, baseball and NASCAR. Little can they be bothered by any concept that men at one time were burned, butchered, gassed, shot, blown into so much bloody fucking hamburger so that they would be free to be mean-spirited, fat, drunk and stupid lemmings. Their silly, meaningless understanding of history is an affront to those who served with honor and paid with all so that they could be goddamned ugly, crude and indolent Americans. With the fascist police state now fully implemented and Lord Obama talking nonsense about “preventative detention” all of those war deaths, even the ones dressed up in the monstrous nonsense of the GOOD WAR have all been in vain and for nothing. The grandchildren of the men who were cut down by German artillery, mines and machine guns as they took Omaha Beach have become that which their ancestors fought against, a nation of Good Germans, willing accomplices who are no better than those who lived downwind of Auschwitz and never once questioned the smell.

Utopia 8: CSA


“In nature’s economy the currency is not money, it is life.”  

“You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you”  

Vandana Shiva

Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports President Obama sends an additional wreath to mark Memorial Day. In addition to placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, Obama “sent a second wreath to a memorial honoring African-Americans who fought in the Civil War.”

    “Last week, a group of university professors petitioned the White House to end a longstanding practice of sending a wreath to a monument to Confederate soldiers on the cemetery grounds. Mr. Obama continued that tradition but started another, the White House said, by sending a second wreath across the Potomac River to the historically black neighborhood in Washington where the African-American Civil War Memorial commemorates more than 200,000 blacks who fought for the North in the Civil War.”

  2. The Washington Post reports Threats to U.S. judges and prosecutors are soaring.

    Threats against the nation’s judges and prosecutors have sharply increased, prompting hundreds to get 24-hour protection from armed U.S. marshals. Many federal judges are altering their routes to work, installing security systems at home, shielding their addresses by paying bills at the courthouse or refraining from registering to vote. Some even pack weapons on the bench…

    The threats and other harassing communications against federal court personnel have more than doubled in the past six years, from 592 to 1,278, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. Worried federal officials blame disgruntled defendants whose anger is fueled by the Internet; terrorism and gang cases that bring more violent offenders into federal court; frustration at the economic crisis; and the rise of the “sovereign citizen” movement — a loose collection of tax protesters, white supremacists and others who don’t respect federal authority.

Four at Four continues with an update from Pakistan and tracking toxins in eaglets.

On meeting my first real conspiracy theorist

[NOTE: UPDATE: CT edscan has been banned was issued a Sternly Worded Warning from dKos. Could the words of such an unpopular an essayist as me have been any more prescient?]

During the election campaign, I met my fair share of people spouting the emailed Republican talking points. I could discern them, not because anyone I knew personally was idiot enough to send them to me, but because I learned of them through various internet sites. My friends, neighbors and family – politically in sync or not – also knew better than to forward such tripe to my inbox, thus, none did.

Last night, at the most unlikely of places imaginable (at least for me), I met my first flesh-and-blood CT.

The conversation started innocently enough with dog talk at the local dog park followed by discussion of the economy and the bailout. Then, the worm turned to politics. Not just any politics – Texas-style politics.  

MiniMeta: How Blogs Work

A lot of folks have happily and most welcomededily  (coin, ChaChing!) showed up here seeking an alternative blog… to another very popular blog. That blog is popular and attractive, despite any flaws it may have, for one main reason.

Action!!!

That blog puts out.

It puts out lots of stuff to do, to participate in, to be stimulated by. Whether you find that stimulus to be a negative (I can’t believe that shit!) or a positive (Wow, that is some good shit!) stimulus….it cannot be denied that it is stimulative.

And it is stimulative for a very simple reason. Lot’s of people go there. They go there to get stimulus, and in the process of participating in the stimulation, provide stimulus for others. Who are then stimulated to participate, which provides more and greater….well you get the picture.

So what is the key? Participation. We all like to be stimulated and there is nothing at all wrong with that. But we tend to overlook the fact that WE are the stimulus we are looking for.

To the point.

The more YOU participate here, the more others will be stimulated….and thus participate here….and thus stimulate you. The less YOU participate, the less stimulating Docudharma will be to others, and so they will participate less.

It is one of those algorithm thingees or whatever you call it.

There is only one way to create a stimulating alternative to that other site, if that is what you want. By making this (or some other) site more stimulating….by participating in it.

In closing, I shall quote the great Sage Smokey, of the Bear Tribe…..

So that we won’t need a Memorial Day for the US economy

… or perhaps that should be, so we no longer need a memorial day for the US economy.

In It need not be a calamity, I wrote:

But … well, we know this. We have known since the 1970’s that we would become increasingly dependent under the Old Energy Economy. We have known since the 1970’s that our four centuries of energy self-sufficiency since European Settlement of the eastern seaboard of North America would be coming to an end unless we made substantial changes.

And then our ruling elites collectively decided to pretend that social division of national product is a more fundamental question than the ability to continue producing it, and we descended into the last thirty years of the wealthy focusing in grabbing a bigger share of the pie, while assuming that the baking of the pie would magically take care of itself.

Crossposted from Burning the Midnight Oil for a Brawny Recovery and The Economic Populist

Steve and Kerry — Two names on the Vietnam Wall

vietnam reflections Pictures, Images and Photos

This is my very first attempt at anything other than a comment on any site, so please bear that in mind if you choose to read this…

Two names of young men from my Upper Midwest hometown are chiseled into the Vietnam Wall.  I was privileged to know both of them.  

Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, And The Context Of Obama’s AfPak “Solution”

Crossposted from Antemedius

Yesterday we saw investigative historian and journalist Gareth Porter  talk with Paul Jay of the Real News Network about the war in Afghanistan and Obama’s recent appointment of Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal to replace General McKiernan as the US commander in Afghanistan.

Porter says the McChrystal appointment won’t fulfill Obama’s supposed intention of investing in a civilian surge that will “win over the population,” through “services and political programs” because during his five year service in the Joint Special Operations Command and recently as the Director of the Joint Staff, McChrystal “has only been involved in targeted killings.”

We also learned that Obama’s surge may be only a prelude to a ground invasion of Pakistan as part of ongoing imperial resource wars.

Today in part two of the interview we learn that Porter has also interviewed Graham Fuller, the CIA Station Chief in Kabul during US support for the Afghan Jihadi movement against the Soviet Union, and says that Fuller “now believes very strongly the United States has to get out. That there is no way the United States is going to be able to win, [because the US] has no understanding of the forces it has unleashed in Afghanistan.”



Real News Network – May 25, 2009

No way to “win” in Afghanistan

Porter: The United States doesn’t understand the forces it unleashed in Afghanistan


I think that Porter is right as far as the majority of people in the US and the world not understanding the forces unleashed in Afghanistan by the US invasion and occupation, but I also feel Porter hasn’t gone far enough in explaining the context of what is happening in Afghanistan and with Obama’s surge, and I want to highly recommend to readers a thorough reading of another recent and very detailed in depth piece from Tom Englehart and from Pepe Escobar that places the AfPak situation in the much wider geopolitical context of a desperate US attempt at world energy and resource domination: Tomgram: Pepe Escobar, Pipelineistan Goes Af-Pak.

Memorializing Peace

Sound track:

Nearly every soldier who has ever fought has fought for one thing.

Peace.

Young men, soldiers, are attracted to honor, to glory, to adventure, to duty, to ‘manhood.’ But when the fighting starts and the horror is upon them and their comrades are dying …every soldier finds out what s/he is truly fighting for.

Peace.

The end to this war, to their war, if not the end to all wars. But the Old Men want war, they have never ceased wanting to send the young men and now women off to to war, off to die. As they age they forget, or simply stop caring about life, the life ahead of the young person that they are willing to kill….for their own, safely removed, Very Important Reasons.

The Old Men, I am sure, even justify their own Very Important War as being necessary to prevent the Next War. The War to End All Wars has been fought innumerable times. Every War is, somehow, The War to End All Wars. If We can just kill enough of Them….

The latest wars are the product of these same Old Men. The war in Iraq is by far the best example in modern times of not just an old, withered, coward, too afraid to fight himself, but willing to kill on a massive scale for some….to him and those around him….Very Important Reason. It is also the latest of the worst kind of war, The Crusade. It is also the Supreme War Crime.

“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

The Nuremberg Tribunal

It not only contains “the accumulated evil of the whole” of war, it contains the accumulated evil of the whole of humanity. The willingness to kill Them, because they are somehow different, somehow lesser than Us. It contains the worst thought of humanity, the thought that leads to Holy Crusades, the thought that leads to Dachau and Rawanda and the Killing Fields it contains the thought that They are less than Us, and that so then, we are justified in killing them.

It not just contains, but insists that, some of our Brothers and Sisters deserve to be killed. Not for what they have done…..but for who they are.

The Holy Crusade, and make no mistake, this was a Holy Crusade, was waged because the Muslims, Them, The Others, wanted to kill Us, for wanting to kill Them, for wanting to kill Us, for wanting to kill Them, for wanting to kill Us…….in an unbroken string. In a string that the Old Men see as unbreakable, because as young men, the Old Men of their generation saw it as unbreakable and thus sent their young brothers off to fight and die for it, and those deaths and the deaths that THEY, Them, The Other, suffered prove that the string of deaths must continue…..because They want to kill Us, for killing Them…

Us, and Them

And after all were only ordinary men.

Me, and you.

God only knows its not what we would choose to do.

Forward he cried from the rear

And the front rank died.

And the general sat and the lines on the map

Moved from side to side.

War is a choice.

War is an easy choice, for the Old Men who sit and watch the lines on the map.

Humans make a great show. We make a great show of patting ourselves on the back for what rational and logical….apes….we are, now. WE only kill Them for a Reason. But we are not rational and logical. Rationality is not what drives the Human Race. Emotion is what drives the Human Race.

War is not, is never, a rational or logical choice.

Peace is a choice. So far in human history, it is a theoretical choice. We have never actually chosen Peace, on a meaningful scale. Peace is a choice. A dynamic choice. It is not something that ‘happens.’ In this highly paradoxical human world where we speak rationally….but act emotionally…..

Peace must be fought for.

Though of course it is NEVER possible to Kill for peace.

Peace is an action…..not something that happens between wars.

Peace is a choice.

It is when we begin, finally, to make that choice that we will become rational beings. It is when we say no to the fear inside of us, no to killing our Brothers and Sisters……when we say no to the Old Men of War and their fears and ambitions, that we will become fully human.

Until that day, all we can do is memorialize, all we can do is to remember that there is another way, a way unchosen. All we can do is to lay a wreathe for the way of Peace, the idea of Peace. An idea that dies every time we go to war. And hope and pray and work for the day that we stop remembering it, and begin to live it.

.

A Day For Those Who Fight To End The Fighting

I wrote this last year for Huffington Post and it’s important now as it was last year. I hope you all find some meaning in this post.

                                 

DUMMERSTON, VT– Memorial Day weekend has come and gone. All weekend, I saw veterans honored on television, the newspapers, parades, etc. I saw more than my share of yellow ribbons, American flags, 21-gun salutes and more. But something was missing, something I wish would be covered every Memorial Day: voices of dissent, especially from those who served our country.

Don’t get me wrong. I support the troops. I support them just as much as those who support war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I also support veterans in past conflicts. For many of them, Memorial Day means everything. But there are other veterans that never get heard. They are silenced, ignored and misunderstood because they have something vastly different to share. I’m talking about those veterans who served their country, survived the horrors of war and heal their wounds through advocacy efforts.

It pains me that veterans organizations advocating for peace are always overlooked on Memorial Day. For many of these organizations, getting into a Memorial Day parade can be a controversial ordeal. In Bremerton, Washington, Veterans for Peace were told to stay away from this year’s festivities. Why? Why should we honor one kind of veteran and not another? Why is it controversial to honor veterans who want their service be remembered differently? It seems that every Memorial Day, we miss another opportunity to honor veterans’ in a different and meaningful context. It’s time we open our minds to the complexity of the meaning of past military service. It’s well past time we honor those who fought and who speak out against war.

War is traumatic and many veterans who speak out against their actions (or their government’s policies) want their experiences to be validated, understood, and accepted. Anti-war veterans organizations must be honored to the same degree many of us honor Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion or Disabled American Veterans, ever Memorial Day. All veterans must be honored, even those who speak out against war.

I honor those who want to be remembered for their service. I honor those who lost their lives fighting for what they believed in but I also honor those who experienced the other side of war and want to make our country and our communities less-violent places. This Memorial Day I also honor the Veterans for Peace, Courage to Resist, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Veterans Against the Iraq War. I’m sure there are many more. The members of all of these organizations served America and they love their country. It’s well past time we honor them on Memorial Day.  

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