Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pink Floyd University: Voter Caging

Where to begin? So much infamy, so little time. So much truth in Art, and so many approaches. It's probably most wise to begin by quoting the Masters:

Did you exchange a walk-on part in the War
for a Lead role in a cage?"
Kris Kobach, Chairman of the Kansas GOP hopes you did as I learned from billw at Kobach had the unbridled temerity to send an email bragging about the fact that

To date, the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years!” […]
My worn out Outragemeter instantly popped into explodotron mode as I read through the article at C&L which I highly encourage you to do. Fortunately, there enough examples from the Pink Floyd cannon that capture some sentiments about Kobach nicely, among them:

House proud town mouse,
Ha ha, charade you are
You're nearly a treat,
But you're really a cry
You radiate cold shafts of broken glass
Yes, those lines are all from "Pigs." (And I didn't use the most profane one either.) This sort of behavior is beyond swinish. It's not only illegal, it's positively un-democratic and anti-American, literally ANTI-AMERICAN as this endeavor seeks to rob other Americans of their Constitutional rights, not to mention the only opportunity we have in this representative system of ours to have ANY voice whatsoever.

It seems as if the lyrics to "Wish You Were Here" are no longer rhetorical, politically. Read/watch the following, substituting "Principled Leaders" for "you."

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have you found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

If you find you have 15 minutes to watch about how exactly voter caging works, you can see Greg Palast explain it here.

There are 3 things you can do about this.

1- Make YOURSELF bulletproof. Make sure you are accurately registered with your Secretary of State so that YOU cannot be caged. You do not want to leave your polling place next year having cast a "provisional" ballot.

2- Make others aaware, and encourage them to become bulletproof themselves.

3- Contact your congresscritter and tell them that Kobach's behavior is un-American, illegal and demand an FEC inquiry into violations of this consent decree. See, the Republicans have been caught doing this before.

UPDATE: dday has been posting at Digby's blog, and has some more on this issue

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lawless Thugs

...Paid With YOUR Tax Dollars

Perhaps you've heard the horrifying story of Jamie Leigh Jones. Here's an excerpt from ABC news:
A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.

Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job.

"Don't plan on working back in Iraq. There won't be a position here, and there won't be a position in Houston," Jones says she was told.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, Jones says she was held in the shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, who would not let her leave.
According to her lawsuit, Jones was raped by "several attackers who first drugged her, then repeatedly raped and injured her, both physically and emotionally." Jones told that an examination by Army doctors showed she had been raped "both vaginally and anally," but that the rape kit disappeared after it was handed over to KBR security officers.
Outrageous as that first appeared, some new details emerge in this video from Countdown:
"Barbarian Invaders"

(h/t Fernando @ Rancho La Luna)

There is so much to be outraged about here, it's hard to know where to begin. First, how did this story escape the attention of the Corporate Owned Media (COM) FOR TWO YEARS?!? After all, it involves a young attractive white girl in distress in a foreign land. Doesn't that make it a top story? But wait, such stories only take precedent when they serve to bury a bigger story embarrassing to the government. This story only embarrasses the government further.

Seder's remarks should cause embarrassment to the COM as well. "In fact, that's the story of the entire occupation and invasion of Iraq. Complete lack of informed consent from the American public." And it is the COM who have assiduously avoided informing the public.

The main focus is and should be the question of jurisdiction. In trying to pursue justice, Mrs. Jones has found herself in a legal limbo created quite deliberately to shield KBR and its employees.
Legal experts say Jones' alleged assailants will likely never face a judge and jury, due to an enormous loophole that has effectively left contractors in Iraq beyond the reach of United States law.

"It's very troubling," said Dean John Hutson of the Franklin Pierce Law Center. "The way the law presently stands, I would say that they don't have, at least in the criminal system, the opportunity for justice.
That enormous loophole is of course the infamous (or it would be infamous if only more Americans knew it even existed - thanks again COM) Rule 17, put in place by Paul Bremer, neocon extraordinaire.
(From Smirking Chimp):

On June 27 2004, the day before the United States was to grant sovereignty to a new Iraqi government and disband the coalition provisional authority, Paul Bremer, the US proconsul, issued a stunning new order. One of the final acts of the CPA, Order 17, declared that foreign contractors within Iraq, including private military firms, would not be subject to any Iraqi laws - "all International Consultants shall be immune from Iraqi legal process," it read. "Congratulations to the new Iraq!" Bremer said moments before flying out. His memoir, My Year in Iraq, neglects to mention Order 17.
Order 17's grant of immunity to contractors guaranteed that more than half of the foreign presence on the ground - for US-paid contractors outnumber US military personnel - would operate for all intents and purposes beyond the law. Order 17 also undercut the authority of the US military, frustrating command and control of the battlefield and upsetting sensitive counterinsurgency strategies. Order 17 meant that the monopoly of violence was fractured and outsourced to those not subject to the law. By unilateral fiat Order 17 uniquely created a red zone of impunity covering the entire country.

A radical break with US policy, such an order had never been promulgated before. Order 17 should not be confused with a status of force agreement negotiated with sovereign nations such as South Korea. Those agreements are subject to complex bargaining and mutual assurance. Nor are contractors subject to the uniform code of military justice because, after all, they are not in the US military. Nor has the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000 been brought to bear on contractors in Iraq.
A brave and savvy undergraduate questioned pResident Bush about this very same red zone of impunity on April 10, 2006. His response tells the tale.

"I don't mean to be dodging the question."

"..although it'd be kinda convenient in this case.

I can't believe he actually said that! In public! That and the nervous tics, smirking and giggling indicate that he knows EXACTLY what jurisdiction applies to his hired thugs - none whatsoever, by design. Notice that the unidentified questioner has already queried SecDef Rumsfeld about this and gotten a similar runaround.

This is of course of a piece with the Bush vision of law and order - the laws simply don't apply to them or their enablers, because they run the DoJ as if it was a wholly owned proprietary interest, not a function of the people's government.

If that hasn't got you fuming fit to blow your stack, Jon Swift (a self-described 'reasonable conservative') blogs about the response from less reasonable neo-conservatives - "Jamie Leigh Jones Undermines the War Effort." Seriously, this is one of those occasions where I've wished I believed that there was an especially hot corner of hell for people like this to spend eternity. The players referred to are "Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report, Curt at Flopping Aces and former humor blogger Ace of Spades." (Standard warning: Don't Click on Wingnuts. (DCOW)
Ace, quoting his doppelganger the Church Lady, says Jones' story is "too convenient." Curt, who supports actor Fred Thompson for President, says it sounds "too movie like." Shackleford, no doubt wrinkling his brow and rubbing his beard thoughtfully as the wheels spin in his brain, if he has one (a beard, that is), writes, "It's perfect. Too perfect.
Update: Bob Owens, a.k.a. Confederate Yankee, the blogosphere's Miss Marple, is on the case. If anyone can find a link between Jones and the terrorists, he can."
With thinking like that governing the reight wing, one must ask; how the hell are they doing such a good job of tearing down democracy in America? The uncomfortable answer must be that people on the left are doing such a piss poor job of opposing them. There seems to be an assumption that, "this is America. The problem will correct itself."

Well, let me remind you - Richard Nixon went unpunished. The Iran/Contra traitors were mostly pardoned by Bush Sr., and some of them now have successful careers on right-wing talk radio for cryin' out loud. Many of those involved in Iran/Contra went on to serve in the current government, despite their criminal records. The system has failed monumentally to self-correct in the past.

Your options are limited. You can resolve to actively do everything in your power to stop this lawlessness (even if that means a loss of income or lowering of lifestyle expectations), or you can prepare to spend the rest of your days weeping over the demise of democracy. Your choice.
Addendum: Also from the Jon Swift post, an indication that this is far from being an isolated case.
Although there was a rape kit that confirmed she was sexually assaulted, it was lost and found again and the doctor who performed it doesn't remember doing it. "I have no idea which rape victim you are," the doctor told Jones, "because so many young contractor girls were raped after drinking with the guys…. I performed so many rape kits in the six months that I was stationed there that there would be no way to recall whom (sic) yours was."
Geez, Louise! Am I the only one who thinks that, I don't know, maybe something ought to be done about this?!?
"With every new revelation, I think, 'Is this it?
Will this finally shake people out of their complacency?' "
-- RevPhat --

I certainly hope so.

Read More at The Jamie Leigh Foundation

Cross-posted at Les Enragé and Ice Station Tango.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

CIA Interrogator Tells ABC He Supervised 'Necessary' Torture of Abu Zubaydah

TPM informs that there's a breaking story at ABC.

In the first public comment by any CIA officer involved in handling high-value al Qaeda targets, John Kiriakou, now retired, said the technique broke Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds.
Spencer Ackerman astutely notes:
... First, Kiriakou's televised confession undermines CIA Director Michael Hayden's stated rationale for the destruction of interrogation videos. Hayden has said the tapes were destroyed to protect the identities of interrogators from al-Qaeda reprisal. Clearly Kiriakou doesn't feel that his life is in danger.

Second, Kiriakou also doesn't think that the torture was right, even if he says it had some intelligence value. It can't possibly be an easy thing for him to admit, and he has conflicting feelings about what he did.
Methinks that we are witnessing the beginning of the crack in the walls of the nuthouse administration. Witnesses on the record re: torture, revised NIE, what else is going to happen this week?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Abuse of Executive Power Revealed

This morning in the Senate, Sheldon Whitehouse gave an extraordinary speech. In it, he detailed out his findings on previously secret Office of Legal Council (OLC) opinions, which the Administration goes to in order to support it's programs, in this case about FISA.
Here's a few things which "dismayed" him:
1. An executive order cannot limit a President. There is no constitutional requirement for a President to issue a new executive order whenever he wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order. Rather than violate an executive order, the President has instead modified or waived it.
2. The President, exercising his constitutional authority under Article II, can determine whether an action is a lawful exercise of the President’s authority under Article II.
3. The Department of Justice is bound by the President’s legal determinations.

Think Progress has the video. And emptywheel has some more.
Whitehouse, near the end of the piece, shoots entirely straight. In a nutshell, these three Bush administration legal propositions boil down to this:

1. “I don’t have to follow my own rules, and I don’t have to tell you when I’m breaking them.”

2. “I get to determine what my own powers are.”

3. “The Department of Justice doesn’t tell me what the law is, I tell the Department of Justice what the law is.”

When the Congress of the United States is willing to roll over for an unprincipled President, this is where you end up. We should not even be having this discussion. But here we are. I implore my colleagues: reject these feverish legal theories. I understand political loyalty, trust me, I do. But let us also be loyal to this great institution we serve in the legislative branch of our government. Let us also be loyal to the Constitution we took an oath to defend, from enemies foreign and domestic. And let us be loyal to the American people who live each day under our Constitution’s principles and protections.

Indeed, let them be loyal to the Constitution which they took an oath to defend.
UPDATE: The Courage Campaign is ratcheting up the pressure on DiFi to do the right thing about FISA too. H/T to Crooks and Liars who have the videos.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Pink Floyd University: DOH

I am an utter MORON and I wouldn't blame anyone for never reading one of my posts again. Here's the thing:

I am quizzing about, looking to create another Pink Floyd University post. Shouldn't be too hard, right?


Anyhoo, I decided to look through the top Pink Floyd videos viewed in youtube. And the one at the top of the list just frikking slayed me it was so damn obvious.

I've been pussyfooting around, frankly, when it comes to how strong and viable Pink Floyd's politics are. I am not speaking for them. I am just speaking for what the band's output makes ME realize and want to articulate. What is particularly resonant in my opinion right now:

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone home? (0:22 elapsed)

Come on, now.
I hear youre feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain,
Get you on your feet again.

I need some information first. (0:43 elapsed)
Just the basic facts:
Can you show me where it hurts?

In my opinion, the first 22 seconds says most of it; ABDICATION OF RESPONSIBILITY by the adults (read Congress)

The next 21 seconds are the game plan. Extend your arm, and recieve. Only it happens not via a pinprick, but by the pixel, and the masses have been conquered by the minute.

So, GOODBYE 1st and 4th Amendments! We loved ya while we had ya, but we never really knew ya.

I never really got this so plain and simple at a gut level before. That people don't really know or care. They're not involved. They're comfortably numb. I always thought...nevermind.

Pffftt. You know I can't leave a post without hope.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Freaky In More Ways Than One

John Ashcroft gave a speech about security last night at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

What is amazing to me, is that he indicated he was willing to be waterboarded in response to a question from the audience

What is further freaky to me, is that is mentioned in the Rocky Mountain News, but not in the Boulder Daily Camera.

That just flat freaks me out. Boulder is infamous for it's left leaning, and is fondly (sometimes) referred to as"The Independant Republic of Boulder; 26 Square Miles Surrounded By Reality." We're talking serious granola-town here, with a big dollop of patchouli if you get my drift.

The Daily Camera article has somewhat of a scolding tone about some hecklers, but mentions NOTHING that Ashcroft said regarding:

  • Guantanemo is a good place for prisoners
  • He indicated willingness to be waterboarded
  • Ashcroft received $20,000

You have to read the Rocky or find this out at ThinkProgress

Just what in the hell is going on if The Boulder Daily Camera is becoming part of the Village Wurlitzer?

It's just all so freaky. I'm now wondering if he's willing to be tasered too...

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Read This Again

Time to haul this back out. Things have changed since when I first wrote this post.
Mike Johanns has resigned as Secretary of Agriculture, as he thinks he can be the next Senator from Nebraska since Chuck Hagel is retiring. He's no Chuck Hagel let me say.
And without his less-than-firm-grasp on the Bill, there are now more pigs at the trough.

OpenLeft has brought to me the term "cornarchists" which I think sums it up pretty nicely.

The whole problem is going nowhere fast.
Anyway, like I said back in July. Take a look around.

Take a look around your neighborhood.

If you live anywhere urban or rural, chances are you see some hungry people on a daily basis. You may not know it right then and there, but sometime during your week you will have run across someone who themselves or their family is participating in the Food Stamp program, or is receiving aid from a Food Bank participating agency.

In my videos, I am just showing the slow and invisible problem in the heartland, and that problem is fairly large in rural farm areas. Larger than you'd think. When a disaster strikes, like Hurricane Katrina, the poor suffer even more. America's Second Harvest is STILL providing aid in overdrive to the Gulf region. 65.2 Million Meals to date.

Remember, all of this relief is private; not government funded in the least. So why am I harping on it? The Farm Bill will dictate how the private efforts go. And it's heating up. Next week, it's back in the House Committee on Agriculture. The Senate will talk about it too, and it's fortunate that Patrick Leahy (VT) is the chair on the sub committee for nutrition and food assistance.

Call and write these people. The food stamp program needs to be increased in eligibility requirements and overall spending, not decreased in any fashion.

Justice comes from the bottom, up.

Do you find it as odd as I do, that none of this is apparently newsworthy?

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

FISA Fightback!

Let's join Firedoglake, DailyKos and Chris Dodd in opposing FISA and Basket Warrants!
Here's a cool piece of technology:

When you click on the chart, you'll go to the Dodd site. When you click on any of the Senators "CALL THEM NOW" links, there's a place to put in your phone number and be connected! Very cool


Monday, October 29, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just So We're Clear

"Fascism Anyone?", by Dr. Laurence Britt compared the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and identified 14 characteristics common to those fascist regimes.

So you don't have to look at the link, here's the couple snips I personally find most relevant today. (Don't get me wrong, they're all relevant. Let's just have a snip here though.)

2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
Have I whetted your appetite for the rest of the points? LIke I said they're all totally relevant. So watch:

All that being said, there's a cure and hope. They both live within us. Whatever cures you, helps cure this mess in the country. Whatever hope you have, it's the same hope the country has. Because really it's one and the same; your, my, the countries destinies depend completely on what we DO and right now.

Take the actions you can before the primaries. Vote your principle in the primaries. Do not be persuaded by arguments of practicality and pragmatism. Be persuaded only by your heart and your gut. Aside from that do what you love and as much as you can. Because that's what's going to cure this mess. Tons of self actualized people on the right damn track.

If you want to stay comfortably practical, only on the side of "Well that other thing?[fill in the blank, Impeachment, Kucinich, de-Funding the Illegal Occupation] Ain't gonna happen."

Then Welcome To The Machine.

**Extra points for Pink Floyd University Curriculum are accrued by your comments.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Today Was World Food Day

Yep - I am posting way late on this, but today was World Food Day

I have said this before and I'll say it some more:

... Since 1985, the real price of fresh fruits and vegetables has increased nearly 40 percent, while the real price of sweets, fats and oils, and soft drinks has dropped. With these price signals, is it any wonder people are not eating enough produce and too many calorie-dense foods? We have made consuming junk food an economically smart choice, particularly for people with limited income.

Having said that, why the HELL is Yum! Brands pretending like it is NOT a huge part of this problem, and in an unbelievable bit of two-facedness sponsoring a "Feed The World" for Hunger Awareness Week in-store promo? Because it's a Fortune 500 Corporation who is lobbying in a goose step fashion with ADM and Cargill:

US Agribusiness: Swallowing Up Lands and Livelihoods

Visit the websites of corporations like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, who together control 65 percent of the global grain trade, and you will read that their mission is to “feed a growing world.” The reality is starkly different. Big Farming is part of a larger corporate economic model that prioritizes profit-making over all else, even the basic right to food. Around the world, agribusiness bankrupts and displaces small farmers, and directs farmers to grow export crops instead of staple foods.

Well, I believe ADM and Cargill as much as I believe Chevron or any oil company's website. Thank god we don't use Google AdSense on this blog.

We just use our common sense.

Tonight, I guess I am just saying, let's be glad we have some dinner. And BOYCOTT YUM! BRANDS MCDONALDS AND THE REST of those Fast/Bad Food Fascists!

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Let's un-fiasco ENDA

Un-Fiascoing the Transgendered Issue: Questioning Conventional and Practical Wisdom


Something has been bugging me. Why did Congress dump gender identity from ENDA this year if they knew they didn't have the votes to pass veto muster? I mean, they must have known that it was never going to become law come hell or high water.

And if you were planning on eventually dropping transgendered people from the bill from the git-go, then why add them in the first place, when you know darn well that there's going to be no insider hell to pay when you drop them? The entire thing doesn't make sense.

Or does it?

I have a theory about all of this. It's a theory about revolutions.

When revolutions are built on principle, the revolution lasts, endures, overcomes, and becomes part of the normal way of things. When revolutions are built upon expediency, like a land grab for oil, or territory, they’re very short-lived, relatively. You might end up with Colonies for a couple generations, but you never end up with great nations. Those rebounding from the expedience of other Dominators find themselves at a disadvantage, both in Time and in Rights. For instance out of many situations today, just ask; Africa? Darfur anyone?

Anyway, that brings us back to transgender rights, since being people, rights are inextricably bound with individual humanity.


Once upon a time we were called "the gay community." Then there’s a lot of palaver. Actually there was a lot of palaver BEFORE that. Label after Label was applied to ALL kinds of people for SO LONG. The labels began to appear to fall off.

Truth is the labls were yanked off. People HATED that. Their precious labels, ripped and torn, where it was possible to neatly sort out anything that was a problem for anyone. That period was called the 1960’s. Strangely, 40 years later, there are new label machines, very busy, wanting to apply labels. THIS IS WHERE ANY RIGHTS GO: DO NOT APPLY THIS STICKER ANYWHERE ELSE.

The moral of the story: Anyone who says that transgendered people have always accepted the gay community is totally right. After all, we’re all in it together, since it is All of Us Who Are So Different From Them.

I would argue that the gay community never collectively and overwhelmingly decided to exclude the T in LGB (or GLB). It happened because a few groups and blogs like HRC and A-Blog decided that they and a handful of vocal activists and pragmatic leaders pretty much shamed everyone else into doing it. Now, according to HRC it looks like that the T can be added. I'm just saying that I think the T was deleted because there was a groundswell of demand in the beltway community that we delete T from LGB. I think it happened through pressure, organizational fiat, shame, and osmosis.

And that is how we got into the mess we're in today.


I think that the transgender community was deleted from ENDA the same way the “Bridge To Nowhere” got added to law. By force, and attrition, rather than by popular demand.

I remember being at the bar with a bunch of gay friends about 6 or 7 days ago. There was discussion on the table amongst us 40+ year old mens and it was about violence we had encountered and the same for those we all knew of the transgender community. The details of the discussion now elude me, but I remember there being a lively debate about just how and when transexuals became separate from our common struggle, and vice versa - the consensus was that nobody knew how it happened, and nobody was quite sure that they agreed with their exclusion. Now zoom forward to today. We've seen the resignation of the only transgendered board member of HRC, that gender identity is being dropped from ENDA in order to save the bill. We've also heard from a number of vocal activists. But when I speak to friends and colleagues privately, just plain old gay friends around the country, the message I hear is far different from what I'm hearing from the groups. I'm clearly hearing three things.

1. I feel empathy for transgendered people, and support their struggle for civil rights.
2. I want ENDA to pass this year even if included transgendered people polarize the community
3. I don't understand when transgendered people were not part of the gay community?

And then, well I guess there's always #4: Please don't tell anyone I told you this.

What I'm hearing is a message far different from what you hear from Solomonese at the HRC (at least a little bit before I posted this...) and a loud blog claiming to speak for the enlightened masses. I think that a lot of gay people never truly accepted the transgender ditch-em that was thrust upon them. They simply sat back and shut up about their questions and concerns and doubts out of a sense of shame that it was somehow impolite to even question what the Dems and Barney Frank were doing, and fear that if they did ask questions they'd be marked as stupid. And now, that paper-thin political revolution is coming home to roost.

I have no insider information leading me to this conclusion, but, I think that gender identity was finally excluded from ENDA out of shame and fear. Neither the Congress nor the lead gay groups or loud blog wanted to be seen as anti-progressive, even though some of them clearly knew that deleting trans was a death-blow to their credibility. But they did it anyway. Their calculus wasn't about including a vital, core member of the gay community (otherwise trans would never get dropped). And their calculus was that we could win even with trans excluded (because in today's America, that's apparently true, and they embrace expediency). The calculus was one of fear and shame: I.e., If we don't delete trans from the bill, we're going to get beaten up and labeled stupid vs. principled.


People are simply not afraid to ask any questions about this issue, and those conflicts are coming home to roost. I know I was not afraid to write about this issue, and still am not. I did not have to think long and hard about even weighing in on this issue. Did I really want to have to deal with people screaming? I've got friends gone public themselves. I stand proudly with them.

There is a climate of fear and confusion and doubt about the transgender issue in the D.C/Beltway community. They don’t want to talk about it. And when those in the center of power, or claiming to be, don't talk about your small concerns, when they're afraid, reluctant or downright hostile to talk about them; when it's not considered practical for you to vote your conscience; one day those small concerns turn into big problems and the revolution comes tumbling down; if you let such people speak for you.

Meanwhile, ENDA or not, I WILL SURVIVE!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Whaddaya Know?

Who knew? Today, September 28 is International Right to Know Day, and the beginning of International Right to know WEEK. Here's the skinny, from the Office of the Canadian Information Commissioner:

Around the world, September 28th is celebrated as International Right to Know Day. This began in Sofia, Bulgaria at an international meeting of access to information advocates who proposed that September 28th be dedicated to the promotion of freedom of information worldwide.

The goal is to raise citizens’ awareness level about their right of access to information under the control of government institutions. These celebrations are aimed towards the citizenry, a non specialized clientele.

“…to collaborate in promotion of the individual right of access to information and open, transparent governance. The group of FOI Advocates also proposed that 28 September be nominated as international “Right to Know Day” in order to symbolize the global movement for promotion of the right to information. The aim of having a Right to Know Day is to raise awareness of the right to information. It is a day on which freedom of information activists from around the world can use further to promote this fundamental human right and to campaign for open, democratic societies in which there is full citizen empowerment and participation in government.” (
The RTK week is celebrated in Canada to promote the right to information as a fundamental human right and to campaign for citizen participation in open, democratic societies.
Sounds like something bloggers should be getting behind, especially those of us on the left who have been complaining about;
  1. the Bush administration, the most secretive government in America's entire history,
  2. the Mainstream Media (MSM, aka the Corporate Owned Media (COM)) spewing administration talking points 24/7, distracting us with celebrity trivia, and downplaying the real stories when possible,
  3. the decline of the education system, due to everything from government idiocy like NLCB to local schoolboards being taken over by those who want your kids as well as theirs to be taught 'intelligent design' instead of how to think intelligently.
The scope of the issue as I see it goes well beyond just the Freedom of Information Act - it also encompasses such things as rules governing the ownership and use of media outlets and the right to know what multinational corporations - some of them more powerful than the majority of governments - are doing that affect you, your community, and your planet. "The Business and Human Rights Program is working with coalition partners such as Friends of the Earth to increase pressure on the US Government to disclose corporate behavior around human rights and environmental issues through the introduction of International Right to Know (IRTK) legislation in Congress." (Amnesty International)

Another way of looking at it is as the flip side of the first amendment right of free speech - the right to hear the truth is just as important. Too many people are caught in the trap of believing the gross propaganda spewed daily by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, etc., etc., etc... because that's what the multinational corporations that own the media want them to hear. The fine citizens of Greater Left Blogsylvania provide some balance, but reach too few people without the billions of dollars available to the major networks and cable channels. Even that voice is in jeopardy of being silenced with the fall of the principle of internet neutrality.

I think the truth-based community should grab hold of this idea and give it a big boost. Maybe a blogswarm or something, we have a whole WEEK to put together some good posts. Here are the ten principles on the right to know, from the justice initiative organization. Let's get started.

Whaddaya think?

Cross-posted from Les Enragé

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Learning To Fly

There's a ton of bad news out there. But there's some great news. It doesn't play well, because it's not neccessarily easy, sexy, or otherwise well taken. The news is this:

You Can Fly. Yup. And so can your congresscritter. There's only one ingredient required; bravery! Look at what my beloved Thomas Jefferson wrote to a professor in Edinburgh in 1824.

"[The] mind [of suffering man] has been opening and advancing, a sentiment of his wrongs has been spreading, and it will end in the ultimate establishment of his rights. To effect this nothing is wanting but a general concurrence of will, and some fortunate accident will produce that." --Thomas Jefferson to Dugald Stewart (Professor in Edinburgh Scotland), 1824
TJ wrote this 48 years AFTER the Declaration of Independance. The irony here is that a mere 2 years before his death, this genius patriot still understood the value of this; that he was still Learning To Fly. Still, after the establishment of the Republic, his genius just KNEW we had to keep on keeping on, as we must still do today, as is so nakedly witnessed to us, day after day.

I find Jefferson's letter to Dugald Stewart devoid of depression. I find it full of hope and exhortation. As I find these lyrics of Pink Floyd:

A soul in tension, that's learning to fly
Condition grounded, but determined to try
Here's the whole set of lyrics;
Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
A fatal attraction is holding me fast
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladen, empty and turned to stone

A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss
Can't keep my mind from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

Regardless of today's shitty conditions, I am DETERMINED TO FLY. Because I believe we can. Fascists be damned. Pink Floyd still informs me of all I need to know about politics I do believe. And it is this:

You don't fly without risk. Take a stand, a fly. Or just sit down and shut up.

Cross posted at The Unruly Mob

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Pink Floy University, Part IV (stolen guest post, by Professor S.B. True)

Post-Graduate School
- Roger Water's Amused to Death -

Doctor Doctor what is wrong with me?
This supermarket life is getting long
What is the heart life of a colour TV?
What is the shelf life of a teenage queen?
We watched the tragedy unfold
We did as we were told
We bought and sold
It was the greatest show on earth
But then it was over
We ohhed and aahed
We drove our racing cars
We ate our last few jars of caviar
And somewhere out there in the stars
A keen-eyed look-out
Spied a flickering light
Our last hurrah

And when they found our shadows
Grouped around the TV sets
They ran down every lead
They repeated every test
They checked out all the data on their lists
And then the alien anthropologists
Admitted they were still perplexed
But on eliminating every other reason
For our sad demise
They logged the only explanation left
This species has amused itself to death
No tears to cry no feelings left
This species has amused itself to death
( Complete lyrics in comments )

Assignment: Which would you rather have - Peace, Freedom and Justice, or an XBox 360 and an iPhone? Essays to be handed in and on my desk no later than the end of the world.
- Prof. S.B. True, guest lecturer.

Bonus Video: Wishing Well, by Paul Rodgers (of FREE) with Queen.

" 'Cause I know what you're wishing for
- love and a peaceful world."

Update 09/25/2007: Cross Posted (meaning I stole it from SBT and put up over at the Unconventional Conventionist site. You can't pass up a great guest professor...)
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It Only Takes One Vote

Digby is just a fantastic blogger. To cut right through the crap and get to the results, there's hardly a keener eye and navigator of the DC political nastiness .
Thus, let her inform you as to the mechanics of this current mess. I simply cannot do better. What I care to focus on is the actual "math" of leadership.
One = A Leader.
Amazingly, the astute Digby does not tell us the magic formula to do away with this nasty, silent filibuster business. It's the magic of "one."

This stupidity of the "innocent bystander" theory, where "we don't have enough votes, whah" is not supported by the actual Constitution. No sir. When the President (of the Senate) asks for "Unanimous Consent" all it takes is ONE SENATOR to say 2 magic words:

"I object."
This works in the House of Representatives too. Observe Steny Hoyer, RAILING that the opposing Republican has objected to Unanimous Consent:

At that point, there is NO unanimous consent, and up or down (simple majority) votes ensue, either to continue debate, close debate and/or move to the measure. Digby does do well in pointing out that this is all protectionary measures to keep the Republicans and ChimpCo in the cool, to not have to veto or do an actual FILIBUSTER about WHY they want, oh, Torture, Illegal Surveillance, and un-Constitutional measures of any kind.


Let's draft just one brave soul out of any of the Senate. I appeal to Republicans, especially Chuck Hagel - R of Nebraska. Since you're not running again Chuck, howzabout you do a classic Reagan thing, and Just Say No - I Object.

The Country will bless you for it.

Otherwise, we need to do an emergency spinal transplant on ANY OTHER SENATE DEMOCRAT.

In case anybody needs a reminder, the Declaration of Independence begins the love of the Constitution of the United States. Here it is, read to us by a teenage kid.

Live long and prosper kid; you're a Patriot.

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It's a Nice thing nothing happened...

Exercise Vigilant Shield ’08 slated for October

Click to download the VS-08 Fact Sheet

August 30, 2007

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command along with U.S. Pacific Command, the Department of Homeland Security as well as local, state and other federal responders will exercise their response abilities against a variety of potential threats during Exercise Vigilant Shield ‘08, a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-designated, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM)-sponsored, and U.S. Joint Forces Command-supported Department of Defense exercise for homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities missions.

VS-08 will be conducted concurrent with Top Officials 4 (TOPOFF 4), the nation’s premier exercise of terrorism preparedness sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, and several other linked exercises as part of the National Level Exercise 1-08. These linked exercises will take place October 15-20 and are being conducted throughout the United States and in conjunction with several partner nations including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as the Territory of Guam.

VS-08 and National Level Exercise 1-08 will provide local, state, tribal, interagency, Department of Defense, and non-governmental organizations and agencies involved in homeland security and homeland defense the opportunity to participate in a full range of exercise scenarios that will better prepare participants to prevent and respond to national crises. The participating organizations will conduct a multi-layered, civilian-led response to a national crisis.

USNORTHCOM’s primary exercise venues for VS-08 include locations in Oregon, Arizona and a cooperative venue with USPACOM in the Territory of Guam. NORAD’s aerospace detection and defense events will take place across all the exercise venues, to exercise the ability to mobilize resources for aerospace defense, aerospace control, maritime warning, and coordination of air operations in a disaster area.

What I find most troublesome [this means put on your tinfoil hat] is that this press release from NorthComm was the same day that 6 nukes went missing. And, you guessed it, from NorthComm's control .

What it USED to say, was that NorthComm had ordered the standown, so that procedures could be "reviewed." Hmm Mmmmm. Let's just fast forward to the present, no matter how uncomfortable it is.

I find THIS, and then, of course Al The Spook, a GREAT commenter at FDL, and blogger of his own right, has the story.

What's not going together for me, is that it's either 5 or 6 nukes, AND they're ALL accounted for. Just saying. It's. Not. Going. Alltogether. Nicely.

You got a problem with that? I do.

Every day, to me, it seems like we're goin going to wake up to this:

Cheers to Unruly Acts!

Two Absolutely FINE acts of unruliness I just can't pass up.
ARTICLE #1 - Who can pass up Kathy Griffin's Send up of Ann Coulter?

I was so glad to run across that. She said what I really wanted to say, but I could only come up with this; remember when this little incident happened?

Article #2 - And LO! The People of Oz were inspired. The worlds largest Moon attempt on GW at the APEC summit!

You just gotta love being unruly. Feels good, doesn't it?


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Remembering Pavarotti

I just loved that guy.

He had "presence." I don't care that other people would call him a "no show," "eccentric" or "temperamental." Duh. He was an ARTIST, hello?

He was great at what he did. He really was.

In the opera world, to "turn a phrase" with an orchestra is really what the Artist is supposed to do, and Pavarotti did that.

Quite a creature. Not a "Hero of Liberty" I would usually like to display on a post, but a theme I have been struggling for a niche to voice:

An Artist Is A Politician - Has A Voice - Must Travel.

The artist first thinks s/he must pander. This is not true. Craving bread, the artist caves.

Not what you thought, eh? Observe, from the Opera "Turandot":

Dilegua Notte!
Tramontate stelle,
Tramontate stelle,
All'alba vincero, Vincero !

Banish the Night!
Fade ye stars,
Fade ye stars,
When the Dawn breaks, I shall win! I Shall Win!

The very last phrases of "None Shall Sleep/Nessun Dorma"

If you substitute Pavoratti's love object, Turandot, for Liberty, I think you get my drift.

May you rest well, Luciano. You did a GREAT job.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Suffer the Children

... unto me. Jesus said it. Beethoven MEANT IT, in the means of simplicity. Holy Cow, this kid is great! A Patriot and Artist, and he doesn't know it yet. There is an awesome and simple beauty about that. So watch this, and these following video posts in order.

In an age where we have inherited the likes of this;

What I am saying is this, and it's ME saying it:

Support Art. You're supporting life and real shit at that point. Support the Dems? Let's do that later, after a little more soul examination. You totally know what I mean.

I'm going to jump on SBT's SPP posts later

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays....

To the chase. My sister Jennifer died last year, this time last weekend.

I so miss her.

A couple things here:

  • I was with Jen till her end. Literally. The last damn minutes, seconds of her life, I was there
  • We played music the entire time she was conscious/unconscious. Where I was on duty and at the time she passed, it was Karen Carpenter, whether you like it or not

Enough. There is one last thing of this that I do believe everyone would want, were they in the same circumstance. "Take my hand, my darling."

And Jen, I may not take your hand, but I will take your soul to my heart. You nut job. I miss you,

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Connect the Dots, and Run Like Hell

This has been a tough news week, and it's not even over yet.

Today, I learned that White House office that handles freedom of information requests is free no longer.

"...According to the Washington Post, "The Bush administration argued in court papers this week that the White House Office of Administration is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act as part of its effort to fend off a civil lawsuit seeking the release of internal documents about a large number of e-mails missing from White House servers."
Having locked up FOIA, The Chimp clowned around at this photo op, and bravo to Christy Hardin Smith for how she took him to task for his inaccurate historical context.

Juan Cole who is entirely reliable, and this AP article do not bode well either. WTF? We go to liberate Iraq, and a non democratic form of government is the answer?
While we're at it, let's just walk away from the Utah Miners. Time is money after all.

These unrelated stories, when looked at through the lens of Thomas Jefferson's thoughts become crystal clear and undeniably intertwined:
"In America, no other distinction between man and man had ever been known but that of persons in office exercising powers by authority of the laws, and private individuals. Among these last, the poorest laborer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionaire, and generally on a more favored one whenever their rights seem to jar." --Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786
The rights we so cherish are being eroded at a much faster pace. Eroded is not even the right word. How about TRAMPLED UPON? Makes you just want to Run Like Hell

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What happened in Quebec, and ANIMALS

This is a supplement post to SadButTrue's post below.


I'll get back to them but "Sheep" first.

(Note the time cues are if you double click and look at the Youtube to verify the words)

Here are the first words/parts of "Sheep"

Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
You better watch out,
There may be dogs about
I've looked over Jordan*, and I have seen
Things are not what they seem.

What do you get for pretending the danger's not real?
Meek and obedient you follow the leaders
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise! A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is no bad dream.

This takes the listener through 3:48

*"...Jordan? ...Things are not what they seem..."? AIPAC, the "Lord Voldemort" of PACs as I have heard it at other sites. And you already know "this is no bad dream." Next, the musical development is fantastic, but the words begin again at 6:28 - and echo the 23rd Psalm.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by.
With bright knives He releaseth my soul.
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places.
He converteth me to lamb cutlets,For lo,
He hath great power, and great hunger.
When cometh the day we lowly ones,
Through quiet reflection, and great dedication
Master the art of karate,
Lo, we shall rise up,And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water.

This ain't the 23rd Psalm by any account. What I'm getting at is: did we NOT see fascism rising in power? I say We Did.
What we must do is call a pig, a pig.

Really, most of the lyrics apply. What I want to call your attention to are these words in the 3rd verse:

Hey you, Whitehouse Ha, ha, charade you are
You house proud town mouse Ha, ha, charade you are
You're trying to keep our feelings off the street!
You're nearly a real treat
All tight lips and cold feet...'re nearly a treat
But you're really a cry

Bottom line; are you a LAUGH or a CRY?

Dave Coles is neither a laugh or a cry. That brave man stood right there, in the lines between tyranny and violence to make the point. Liberty lives in his heart. So does truth. Let us act the same, and ensure that Liberty lives in our hearts. Grim as the mission might feel, peeling masks, challenging police, the joy in the result is where we will find our revel. Done so intelligently as Dave Coles, we shall NEVER find ourselves on the "Animals" plane.

Yet, should we find ourselves at that converged violence spot, remember what Coles did. Be the line, and hold for peace.

Bravo Dave Coles!

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Giant Sucking Sound in Washington - Turd Blossom Flushing

John Stewarts take:

And some words from Bill Moyers:

"...Karl Rove figured out a long time ago that the way to take an intellectually incurious draft-averse naughty playboy in a flight jacket with chewing tobacco in his back pocket and make him governor of Texas, was to sell him as God’s anointed in a state where preachers and televangelists outnumber even oil derricks and jack rabbits. Using church pews as precincts Rove turned religion into a weapon of political combat -- a battering ram, aimed at the devil’s minions, especially at gay people.

It’s so easy, as Karl knew, to scapegoat people you outnumber, and if God is love, as rumor has it, Rove knew that, in politics, you better bet on fear and loathing. Never mind that in stroking the basest bigotry of true believers you coarsen both politics and religion. At the same time he was recruiting an army of the lord for the born-again Bush, Rove was also shaking down corporations for campaign cash. Crony capitalism became a biblical injunction.

Greed and God won four elections in a row - twice in the lone star state and twice again in the nation at large. But the result has been to leave Texas under the thumb of big money with huge holes ripped in its social contract, and the U.S. government in shambles - paralyzed, polarized, and mired in war, debt and corruption."

Stewart and Moyers really get right to it. Stewart demanding that Rove ask for forgiveness, and Moyers with "..war, debt and corruption." After much ado, I now get to it.

Adios, mofo. You are no boy wonder, genius, brain, nor do you bear any resemblence to any blossom, turd or not.

The amount of work you have created for us to fix this Country, so dear to me and others, is beyond belief. It's not just monetary, which is a tragedy on its own. Restoring civil discourse in the country and returning it away from this fragile splintering state which YOU devised for it will take untold and heroic efforts to repair.

The worst thing you have done is to write the playbook to keep everyday ordinary electorate polarized so that you and people like you may turn this country into a personal treasury to plunder, and you have not minded one whit that it has cost so much American blood, much less Iraqi blood.

History will indeed judge you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pink Floyd Political Science University – Part 2

“Did we tell you the name of the game, boy? We call it riding the gravy train.”

This particular Pink Floyd song, from 32 years ago (ouch – I remember buying the album) is a famous indictment of the recording industry. And when you stop to think about it, the recording industry is a lot like how our government is today. While the Patriot Act deprives us of privacy and other freedoms, how different is
Sony and it’s root-kitting? Not much. Spying is spying, after all.

Where I want to draw particular emphasis is the riding of the gravy train. This is exactly what the politicians want. An Easy Ride. They consistently prove this by offering platitudes, and mealy mouthed nothingness in terms of positions on real issues. This is my acid test for the difference between a politician and a leader:

If there’s a plan about making a plan, it’s a politician you smell. If it’s a bold stake on a position, with only a nod to cost, be it moral or monetary, that’s a leader. I call this the FDR test. You might find that unsettling, and fine. Leaders are constantly unsettled and that’s the mental reference. Hang on here, Pink Floyd is coming back into this mix, but;

We must be fair, and you must recall; the Department Of Dirty Tricks is a moniker coined during World War II about the fine brained folks at
Bletchley Park in Britain. The Polish stole the Enigma coding device the Nazis were using and handed it over to Bletchley folks. (We may thank Sir Collin Gubbins for this effort, and the mighty Polish underground, fighting a mad retreat in the face of the Blitzkrieg.) They then used Enigma information to their advantage, without a moral guidance, only a tactical or strategic effect. This lead to more than one bombing disaster on friendlies revealed only years later.

Was that right or wrong?

In that case I say it was right. There was such limited use of secrecy, and then the “sunshining” of it relatively immediately after the fact. These are not the purposes, methods or procedures of today’s misadministration. The only thing these folks are doing is UNDOING the Constitution and the system of checks and balances of power. So there’s your second acid test.

The “why” of it? Money. To quote the Floyd:

“Money, get back.
I'm all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack.
Money, it's a hit.
Don't give me that do goody good bullshit.
I'm in the high-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet.”

Do ya REALLY need a Lear Jet? And exactly HOW MANY MILLIONS must you have? After you get, oh, I dunno, 4 or 5, ISN'T THAT ENOUGH!

Evidently, Hell No.

So come in, and have a cigar. We got a deal and a bunch of money to make. Politics is GREAT!

Next in the series, Pink Floyd deals with the political war pigs directly from a bygone time, and also makes mention of the sheeple. But hey, at the end of the series I do totally lighten up. I ride a Bike and remember friends.

We become and are the America we deserve. Step up!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pink Floyd Political Science University – Part 1

It dawned on me the other day; if a modern pop song/message can survive 3 going on 4 decades, in some cases, it must have a certain human elemental truth about it beyond mere entertainment. There are not a lot of these 30, 40, 50 year old gems lying around in current consciousness. But there are still some Diamonds. Pink Floyd notably among them.

So I came to think of this as “Everything I’ve learned about modern politics I have learned from Pink Floyd.” This is part one of a series. There will be at least three of these entries, maybe more. As I continue to match up Pink Floyd songs with current issues, the potential list just keeps growing. While the entries vis-à-vis the song topics are not in Pink Floyd chronological order, the method by which the band looks at politics and justice is very well laid out, and that’s the order I’ll tackle the topics in.

Modern domestic politics after WWII begins with the Politics of Division; "Us and Them."


Us, and them
And after all we're only ordinary men.
Me, and you.
God only knows it's 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.

Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who.
Up and down.
But in the end it's only round and round.

Haven't you heard it's a battle of words
The poster bearer cried.
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There's room for you inside.

Down and out
It can't be helped but there's a lot of it about.
With, without.
And who'll deny it's what the fighting's all about?

Out of the way, it's a busy day
I've got things on my mind.
For the want of the price of tea and a slice
The old man died…

Take a good listen and a good look at the lyrics. Each A and B section goes together. The A sections are nominally the musings of an ordinary person, and they develop in the song. First - “Hey, we’re only ordinary, and look at the shit going on.” Second – “The message I get is incoherent.” Third – “Nonetheless, I can tell what’s going on. It’s really about have and have not.”

The B sections. Here is the voice of the “Power”, and this voice develops along and against the lines of the sane person. First – “Go and die when I tell you to.” Second – “Do what I say, or else.” Third is most interesting since it’s the end phrase for the whole piece, and becomes a blend of the Us and Them sentiment. It is both the Sane and the alleged “Power” – first is the fully throated message from having detoured the life and values of the sane person “Out of My Way!” yet the sane voice returns with the result; for the war of the haves and have-nots, it is the have-not who is paying with his life. This snip from the American Political Science Review in it's conclusion about the influence of political science theory offerings of theirs from 1906-2006 says it:

James Fearon and David Laitin (2003), for example, argued in the Review that the material factors that favor insurgency are better predictors of civil and ethnic conflict than measures of ethnic or religious diversity, an argument that has great relevance for U.S. military tactics and strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Power voice is always countering against the normal, ordinary person voice. This is both the observation and the recipe to create an Us and Them frame of reference for the Politician to get what he/she really wants. Money and Power.

More on that behavior when we
Have a Cigar and talk about Money.

Monday, August 6, 2007

FISA Disaster - Heart vs. Intellect

I know how this ends… I hope.

But we all see where it’s at right now. Today’s FISA business in Congress has me boiling with rage for lost Liberty. You? But hang on here. Let’s move this to the emotional frame rather than the reading of words. Frankly, that’s where I believe these blog arguments need to go; to the emotional and visceral elements in a person’s soul versus the reading and links so welcomingly and dutifully provided by all who blog. The heart is what counts here, for that’s where Liberty lives. My attempt ensues:

There is nobody better to illustrate feelings musically than Beethoven, the deaf guy who couldn’t hear the following pieces of this post. You don’t have to know, like, love him. I bet it still will move you. He made one and only one Opera; Fidelio. Guess what? It’s about Love and Liberty. Forget the story, except for two small bits:

1 – it’s a State prison that a guy goes to, because of dastardly people, who also plot his death to keep their own hides and
2 – it’s his wife that get’s him out, and exposes the whole deal.

There you go. Love and Liberty. They go together. To unabashedly try to move your heart, here’s where I start.

Today’s cave in on the FISA bill feels like the first 2 minutes of this: “Gott! Welch Dunkel hier!” or “God! It’s So Dark Here.” Alone. Shackled in a dungeon. No such thing as Habeus Corpus. You might be interested to know however, that he (Florestan) starts singing of hope by about 2:15 into this. (If you’ve a strong opera stomach watch the whole 7 minutes.)

BUT WAIT! Revphat made a most excellent reminder that (to paraphrase) Dr. King did not have a complaint; he had a DREAM. And here is how my dream for this FISA and other rights abuse madness ends: (observe in the first 2 seconds of this video, the shackles are thrown OFF and the joy only continues to swell!) You do not have to be opera friendly to get this video in the least. 3:47 and it’s the finale.

Look again! What has happened? Between Love, Dedication, Liberty, those forces have joined together to produce this fabulous result. The common folk are all represented here because they are now free too, concomitant with what has happened with their brother and their sister.

At the end of the last acknowledged fight against fascism, Conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler said it best:

[Salzburg, 1948] No, it is the music, it is Beethoven himself. It is this 'nostalgia of liberty' he feels, or better, makes us feel; this is what moves us to tears. His Fidelio has more of the Mass than of the Opera to it; the sentiments it expresses come from the sphere of the sacred, and preach a 'religion of humanity' which we never found so beautiful or necessary as we do today, after all we have lived through. Herein lies the singular power of this unique opera.... Independent of any historical consideration ... the flaming message of Fidelio touches deeply.
We realize that for we Europeans, as for all men, this music will always represent an appeal to our conscience."

Look, I’m like everybody else. For the instant, a keyboard warrior. But the smell of the challenge to these times, emotionally put, makes me feel differently. You? I don’t know what exactly else to do this very minute, but to feel hugely, heartwise and strongly cannot be bad. One Day More. Alors! Off with their pants!
Oh and BTW, the President of the United States at the time of the first performances of this piece? Thomas Jefferson. Not a coincidence.