Wednesday, July 14, 2010
During the 1960s in the U.S., sexual minorities were treated as mentally ill deviants who were to be incarcerated and subjected to shock treatments and torture. They either had to blend in or move to The Village or Haight-Ashbury to find any sense of family or community. Newsreel-type public service announcements, such as Boys Beware, helped form negative stereotypes that led to brutality against us.
Gay bars such as The Stonewall Inn were run by mafia, and police would frequently raid and make arrests for political purposes. By 1969, The Sexual Revolution had led to a relaxation of attitudes towards sex, and it is no surprise that in this climate sexual minorities were no longer content to be treated as second-class citizens.
Stonewall Uprising reminds me of the larger struggle for civil rights, and that this struggle is ongoing and global. In most of Africa, my brothers and sisters are dealing with many of the same forces that oppressed us in the U.S. decades earlier. And even here in present day U.S., there is DOMA and DADT. I am not about to take my rights for granted, and I hope that we will use whatever resources necessary to resist oppression and achieve justice and equality for all.
Monday, July 12, 2010
The bottom line: BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling operation may have triggered an irreversible, cascading geological Apocalypse that will culminate with the first mass extinction of life on Earth in many millions of years.
Things couldn't be much worse.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Sunday 11 July 2010
They wage preemptive war, occupy and bomb sovereign nations, utilize video-game technology and robotics to murder and then dehumanize hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children as collateral damage. We who advocate peace and justice say that such acts of war and occupation are illegal, immoral and a barbaric and paranoid response to contrived evil . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They chose to avoid military service themselves or had "other priorities" when their country called, yet cavalierly send our children, not theirs, to kill and to die in their war for oil and empire. We who advocate peace and justice say that if the threat is real and the peril imminent and grave, then our chickenhawk leaders and their privileged children should be the first to go. Only then will we follow . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They continue to use the fear of terrorism, prey upon the anxiety and distress of the American people post-9/11to "justify" continuing, even escalating, their wars and occupations, and to deny fundamental human liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. We who advocate peace and justice say that the exploitation of a vulnerable citizenry, and the disregard and abuse of basic human rights is un-American, uncivilized, and a clear violation of the very values they allege to be championing and defending . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They send our military into harm's way to kill and be killed in pursuit of goals that are ambiguous and ill-defined in an endless war and occupation they sell to the American people and to the world as a response to terrorism. We who advocate peace and justice say that our troops are not cannon fodder; that terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy or an ideology; that war, occupation, and the indiscriminate use of violence by the military promotes rather than abrogates the terrorist threat . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They fail to honor their commitment to our servicemen and somen, "stop loss" deployment after deployment with insufficient dwell time, and provide inadequate resources to meet the medical and readjustment needs of our returning wounded and veterans. We who advocate peace and justice say that providing effective care and treatment for those physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually wounded by war is a moral and legal obligation and should be our first priority. . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They torture prisoners at Abu Graib, Guantanamo Bay and "black site" secret prisons around the world, denying "detainees" even the most basic right of Habeas Corpus. We who advocate peace and justice say that such heinous practices as water boarding and unlawful restraint are immoral, violates the U.S. Constitution and international law, increases the risk that our troops will be ill-treated and tortured should they be captured, and that those who ordered, endorsed, sanctioned, or supported such methods of torture are hypocrites, deviants, and war criminals . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They refused to meet with and comfort the families of our soldiers wounded or killed in battle, denigrate their memory, sacrifice, and dignity by fabricating heroic fantasies of their death and suffering to increase recruitment and bolster support for their senseless war. We who advocate peace and justice say that exploiting the deaths of our soldiers and the grief and suffering of their families in order to mythologize war and lure other young men and women to slaughter is unconscionable and depraved . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They have and continue to award no-bid contracts to favored corporations for personal and political benefit. Contractors who kill without mercy or accountability, whose greed for profit influences decisions on foreign policy, promotes war, and prolongs quagmire. We who advocate peace and justice say that we must heed President Eisenhower's warning to beware of the military industrial complex, that such corporate cronyism, war profiteering, and political corruption, is criminal, fiscally unsound, and not in our national interest . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They sell America to foreign investors, waste billions of taxpayer dollars on an ever-increasing military budget to wage illegal war and occupation, and to furnish the weapons of genocide and oppression to dictators and rogue nations around the world. We who advocate peace and justice say that America must end its preoccupation with militarism and war, use its wealth and influence to protect life and property rather than to kill and to destroy, and become a sane and compassionate voice for peaceful coexistence in the world . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They continue to give tax breaks to the wealthy and tax incentives to the oil industry despite record profits. They bail out corrupt Wall Street bankers but remain apathetic to Main Street workers who lose their jobs and their homes. They "compromised" away meaningful healthcare reform and see fiscal responsibility as cutting social programs such as aid to education, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. We who advocate peace and justice say that benefiting the affluent at the expense of the poor and the middle class is inhumane, short-sighted, a violation of trust, and of basic human decency. . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
On "National Holidays" such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, they parade, stage air shows, weapons displays, and celebrate the technology of death and destruction to commercialize patriotism and to glorify war and the military experience. We who advocate peace and justice say that these national holidays are not for celebration, commercial marketing, or deceptive recruitment practices. Rather, they are for remembering and for grieving the loss of all who were sacrificed to the tragedy and insanity of war . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They refuse to "look back" and to investigate the crimes of those who violated the law and the trust of the American people by choosing war unnecessarily; crimes against humanity that cost billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of human lives. We who advocate peace and justice say that we are a nation of laws to which all are subject equally, that such crimes must be investigated and the guilty held accountable for their transgressions. Prosecute the war criminals! . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They sat idly by as the city of New Orleans and thousands of its inhabitants died; ignore global warming, choosing rhetoric rather than effective action while the gas and petroleum industry continues to profit from polluting the planet and destroying its fragile ecosystem. We who advocate peace and justice say that this indifference to human pain and suffering and failure to defend the planet and its diverse species against ecoterrorism is unconscionable, inexcusable, and ultimately suicidal . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They spout the meaningless rhetoric of shallow patriotism, arrogantly waving the flag of "freedom" or pasting it to the bumper of their gas-guzzling humvees, and think it belongs solely to those who unquestioningly beat the drums of war, from a safe distance of course, while their leaders sacrifice lives and treasure and violate the laws of god and of humankind in mistaken wars of choice and greed. We who advocate peace say that all war is anathema and unnecessary sacrilege, those leaders who dare unleash its horror upon humankind are criminals, and those who blindly follow are sheep who fail to understand the moral and legal obligations of their religion, of humanism, and of citizenship in a democracy . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
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Sunday, July 4, 2010
Jeanne Pascal, a former EPA lawyer who until recently was overseeing the review of BP's possible debarment, has said she initially supported taking such action, but held off after an official at the Defense Department warned her that the agency depended heavily on BP fuel for its operations in the Middle East. "My contact at DESC, another attorney, told me that BP was supplying approximately 80 percent of the fuel being used to move U.S. forces" in the region, Pascal said. She added that "BP was very 'fortunate' in that there is an exception when the U.S. is involved in a military action or a war.
No wonder the Coast Guard and BP have such cozy relations.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
I found this sign at a garage sale today in my neighborhood. I was looking for an air pump for my bicycle and had no intention buying anything else, even a subway sign. The garage sale was a moving sale, and the owners are moving to Vermont.
Remembering what it's like waiting for the G line or late nights waiting for the F, I decided the sign was meant to be. I've seen this sign in its proper context more times than I can remember. Now I have it out of that context.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Lately Republicans have been filibustering extension of unemployment benefits. They are far removed from the reality on Main Street. Krugman offers sobering perspective on how austerity will prolong the recession. I follow the news daily -- as I'm applying for jobs I listen in to CNN -- and I empathize with others struggling to find a job. Perhaps Republicans wish for mass suffering in hopes they'll win big in November. It's a cynical political strategy, to say the least.
Personally, it is easy to slip into depression. It's depressing to think about the number and severity of problems the country faces. It's depressing to think about the continuous flow of oil in The Gulf, and how much worse the environmental and economic disaster will be at the height of hurricane season. The jobs report today was bad. The stock market has dropped to last October levels. The state of our nation looks grim indeed.
I have a recommendation for Democratic leadership: Vote against further funding The Afghanistan War. It's an unpopular war, and you can easily argue that our national security is better served by creating jobs, repairing our infrastructure, preventing future BP spills, and investing in a green economy. Be vocal about representating the concerns of ordinary voters.
By vetoing war spending, an unwinnable war will end sooner than later. Republicans will probably shriek in protest, but they will no longer be able to argue for austerity cuts since Democrats can boast about the billions saved by ending an unwinnable war. Furthermore, the military could be redeployed domestically to inspect the safety of hundred of miles of oil pipeline, the safety of offshore rigs, the safety of infrastructure -- the electric grid, sewers, bridges, dams, and levees.
Everyday I witness ordinary people addressing problems with innovative solutions. Preaching austerity while wasting billions of dollars on war with Afghanistan is not only hypocritical but out of touch. Democratic leadership should take note of the national mood and refocus on domestic policy.