July 21, 2010 archive

Boot ’em all out!


I’m coming home today, and I get on a bus downtown heading my way. In Vancouver a large percentage of the population is Asian.

I get on the bus, and besides me and the driver virtually everyone of the 30 or so people on the bus are Asian.

In the first double seat behind the driver, under the little window sticker that says these are priority seats for elderly and handicapped persons there is a little tiny sparrow of a Chinese lady probably about 85 years old or so sitting in the aisle seat with her grocery bags, so I sit down across the aisle from her.

The bus continues on and at the next stop a fat ugly lard assed white woman about 50 or so gets on the bus who looks, with the miserable scowl on her face, for all the world like a female version of Archie Bunker but not anywhere near as good looking.

She waddles over to the little Chinese lady across from me and motions for her to move over. There is silence on the bus. Chinese lady looks at her and turns sideways in the seat to let Archie in to the window seat.

Archie starts shouting “I’m not sitting in there – shove over or move! Move!

The Wall Street bailouts never stopped

  President Obama got up on the stage and gave the speech that we all wanted to hear.

 “I proposed a set of reforms to empower consumers and investors, to bring the shadowy deals that caused this crisis into the light of day, and to put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” Obama said to supporters. “Today, thanks to a lot of people in this room, those reforms will become the law of the land.”

 It sounds really good. The problem is that it has no relationship at all to reality.

  The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) released a report within hours of the president giving his speech, and its finding portrayed something very different.

 “Indeed, the current outstanding balance of overall Federal support for the nation’s financial system…has actually increased more than 23% over the past year, from approximately $3.0 trillion to $3.7 trillion — the equivalent of a fully deployed TARP program — largely without congressional action, even as the banking crisis has, by most measures, abated from its most acute phases.


DREAM Now Letters: Yahaira Carrillo

The “DREAM Now Series: Letters to Barack Obama” is a social media
campaign that launched Monday, July 19, to underscore the urgent need to
pass the DREAM Act. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien
Minors (DREAM) Act, S. 729, would help tens of thousands of young
people, American in all but paperwork, to earn legal status, provided
they graduate from U.S. high schools, have good moral character, and
complete either two years of college or military service.  With broader
comprehensive immigration reform stuck in partisan gridlock, the time is
now for the White House and Congress to step up and pass the DREAM Act!

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC  20500

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Yahaira Carrillo and I’m undocumented.  As I write this, over 20 undocumented youth are risking arrest and deportation to demand that Congress take action for the DREAM Act.  Just over two months ago, I, along with two others, became one of the first undocumented immigrants in U.S. history to do the same.  Like Mohammad Abdollahi, who wrote you a letter on Monday, I too am queer.  I risk being deported to a machista country, Mexico, where killings related to homophobia are rising.

Vásquez Rocks

I’m Ready for my Close-up, Mr. DeMille

On our last day in Hesperia, one of the things we decided to do was visit a lighthouse down in San Pedro.  By the time we left it was rush hour, so we took an alternate route home, in the forlorn hope of avoiding as much traffic as we could.

We ended up driving past Vásquez Rocks, so we stopped in for a brief visit.  I would have liked more time.

This area is a county park in Agua Dulce, between Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita Valley.  Vasquez Rocks is named for the last great California bandit, Tiburcio Vásquez.  The area was one of his hideouts.

In 1852, Vásquez was present at the slaying of Constable William Hardmount in a fight with Vásquez’s cousin at a fandango. Vásquez denied any involvement, but fearing arrest, he became an outlaw. Vásquez would later claim his crimes were the result of discrimination by the norteamericanos and insist that he was a defender of Mexican-American rights.

Iraq: Blood on Our Hands

Blood on Our Hands

By David Swanson
, July 21, 2010

The most massive and brutal crime committed on this planet during the past decade has been the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  And we’re seeking to wash the blood off our hands without so much as an “Out, damn spot!”  Nowadays “looking forward, not backward” is supposed to take care of everything, even as the crimes continue.  What that takes care of is the leading perpetrators who begin to sense that the coast is clear and creep out of their holes to declare, as did Karl Rove this week, that their biggest mistake was not more aggressively attacking those who pointed out their crimes.

If there’s anyone who knows where that path leads, it’s probably Benjamin Ferencz, who served as Chief Prosecutor for the Einsatzgruppen Trial at Nuremberg in 1947 and who has just published the forward to a new book by Nicolas Davies called “Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.” It’s a useful moment in which to be handed this masterful account of what we’ve done, not just because the liars have been ceded the floor, but also because the crime is ongoing and we will require the proper frame of mind as each deadline for withdrawal from Iraq is violated, and because the Washington Press Corpse has begun to notice the utter irresponsibility of the people we pay to tell us what is happening in the world (not to mention to spy on us, overthrow governments, kidnap, imprison, torture, and assassinate), and because we will not end the endless war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and other places unless there is accountability.

This is also the moment in which the International Criminal Court has done something Ferencz had long worked for, and determined that it will prosecute the crime of aggressive war.  Even if ithe ICC cannot go back now and prosecute the most serious such crime of recent years, it can prosecute numerous US war crimes committed during the past decade, and we can address the invasion and occupation of Iraq through courts and legislatures in such a manner as to make its repetition elsewhere more likely to result in criminal charges.

Open Gardenia


News at Noon

From Reuters

Obama to tout financial overhaul as good for economy

By Matt Spetalnick

July 21, 2010

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday will tout the broader economic benefits of new consumer financial protections when he signs into law the most sweeping financial regulatory overhaul since the Great Depression.

“These reforms represent the strongest consumer financial protections in history,” Obama will say, according to an advance excerpt of his speech released by the White House.

“These protections will be enforced by a new consumer watchdog with just one job: looking out for people – not big banks, not lenders, not investment houses – in the financial system. Now, that’s not just good for consumers, that’s good for the economy,” he will say.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Do not follow the ideas of others,

but learn to listen to the voice within yourself.

Your body and mind will become clear

and you will realize the unity of all things.

–Dogen Zenji

Phenomena XX: Belief


A Question of Relevance

I don’t worry about

whether or not

there exists

some omniscient


omnipotent being

who may or may not

be a creator

It’s a deal I made

back in the day

when I discovered folks

parsing people’s lives

as worthy

or not

If a god exists

why would it need


belief from me?

How arrogant

would I have to be

to assume

some god

cares about my life

enough to keep a ledger?

So I don’t.

That deal that I made

is that I will live my life

doing as much

as I can

that is right, fair and just

as far as I can tell

If a god exists

that is enough

If no god exists

it is still enough

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 20, 2008

Red/Green alliance

In his recent diary, Join the Green New Deal Coalition, Docudharma diarist daveschwab was very, very rude to me. So rude, in fact, that I am forced, more in sorrow than in anger, to respond with a diary of my own.

Dave’s diary asks us to join Green Change’s Green New Deal Coalition, endorsing and working to implement the following principles:

1) Cut military spending at least 70%;

2) Create millions of green union jobs through massive public investment in renewable energy, mass transit and conservation;

3) Set ambitious, science-based greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and enact a revenue-neutral carbon tax to meet them;

4) Establish single-payer “Medicare for all” health care;

5) Provide tuition-free public higher education;

6) Change trade agreements to improve labor, environmental, consumer, health and safety standards;

7) End counterproductive prohibition policies and legalize marijuana;

8) Enact tough limits on credit interest and lending rates, progressive tax reform and strict financial regulation;

9) Amend the U.S. Constitution to abolish corporate personhood; and

10) Pass sweeping electoral, campaign finance and anti-corruption reforms.

Late Night Karaoke

An Embarrassing Error

Please disregard this essay.  It began as an extended response to a question asked by another essayist whose essay I liked, and I accicdently published it when I meant only to save the draft.  I’m going to delete if I can find out how.

Not an auspicious first attempt, eh?  My apologies to all the readers of Docudharma.  I hope to publish the real thing in a few days.

Many thanks.

Julian Assange On Why The World Needs WikiLeaks

Crossposted from Antemedius

He may by now be one of the most well known whistleblowers of all time. He generates fear and anger in many powerful people, and publicly makes enemies of those who probably would have no compunctions about ordering his assassination.

He leaks and threatens to leak classified and secret information unreported to and withheld from the American public about US Government and military conduct and actions but known quite well to the victims of those actions in other countries that now has the Pentagon and the US Government “gunning” for him.

His bio at TED.com describes him this way:

You could say Australian-born Julian Assange has swapped his long-time interest in network security flaws for the far-more-suspect flaws of even bigger targets: governments and corporations. Since his early 20s, he has been using network technology to prod and probe the vulnerable edges of administrative systems, but though he was a computing hobbyist first (in 1991 he was the target of hacking charges after he accessed the computers of an Australian telecom), he’s now taken off his “white hat” and launched a career as one of the world’s most visible human-rights activists.

He calls himself “editor in chief.” He travels the globe as its spokesperson. Yet Assange’s part in WikiLeaks is clearly dicier than that: he’s become the face of a creature that, simply, many powerful organizations would rather see the world rid of. His Wikipedia entry says he is “constantly on the move,” and some speculate  that his role in publishing decrypted US military video has put him in personal danger. A controversial figure, pundits debate whether his work is reckless and does more harm than good. Amnesty International recognized him with an International Media Award in 2009.

Assange studied physics and mathematics at the University of Melbourne. He wrote Strobe, the first free and open-source port scanner, and contributed to the book Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier.

“WikiLeaks has had more scoops in three years than the Washington Post has had in 30.”

— Clay Shirky

Assange recently talked with TED’s Chris Anderson during TEDGlobal 2010 about how the WikiLeaks site operates, about what it has accomplished, and about what drives him.

The interview includes graphic clips of the US airstrike in Baghdad, taken from the “Collateral Murder” video WikiLeaks released earlier this year of the murder of two Reuters journalists and about a dozen Iraqi civilians in Baghdad by a rogue US Military command structure that runs all the way to the Commander in Chief’s office in the White House and an Apache Helicopter gunship crew who have yet to face any justice or sanction for their crimes.

TED.com, July 2010

Full transcript follows…

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