Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"A Time to Break Silence"

"Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

...Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

...Now there is little left to build on -- save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets. The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these? Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These too are our brothers.

...I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.

...Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:

"Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.

The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. "

-MLK JR, April 4, 1967. He was murdered 1 year later.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Iraq Veterans March for Peace After 5 Years

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Dark and Ugly Side of Republican Promises....

So today let's start out the new year by remembering fondly one of moonbat's success stories of the last: Moonbat takes on Idiot Private Security Force. As readers of the comments section know, moonbat forced the idiots to "alter" their "rules" to allow women to remove their high heels and thus avoid being screened by slobering 30 year old men. Why are we revisiting this happy episode? Our idiot private security force is back in the news: Video tape of sleeping security guards shakes nuclear industry. Armed guards sleeping on the job. What I love the most is that they are armed, even at the Museum where they screen people entering and exiting, they are armed. But TSA airport screeners are not armed. Even though it's considered appropriate for worse-trained and poorer performing guards of a museum in D.C. to be armed, let's not have armed guards in airports where terrorists might actually attack. In fact, as anyone who works there knows, even the presence of armed police officers is on the decline. But I digress from drooling over this latest outbreak of idiocy.

So Wackenhut's excuse is that they are being pressured to cut costs to the point where they can afford salaries for guards that only attract people who sleep on the job... after being forced to work regularly beyond the 60 work hour limit for nuclear facilities. Somehow though, I doubt any of this has included pay reductions for upper management. This interesting and obviously a private security firm plant blog post finds that in response to growing dissatisfaction with private security, in order to keep their contracts they were going to move away from a cost-plus business model. No for those of you who have been following moonbat's blogs on private security in Iraq, and Blackwater in particular, know that cost-plus is just a fancy word for "fleecing the taxpayer for tropical beach houses." Meanwhile, let's dig a little into the muck and find out more about Wackenhut's "security guards."

Wackenhut exists to kill you if you stop at a truck stop to have sex with your girlfriend. They are also trained to harrass veterans buying diet coke at another truck stop, but if you are a prostitute you are perfectly acceptible. And they area also suing SEIU claiming that union organizing is racketeering. And this is where you taxpayer dollars are going!!

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Friday, December 07, 2007

7 Facts About the Dangerous Moonbat

So today Omelas got tagged with a little chain-blog-comment. Well, it's the internet. You know it had to happen. Fitness for the Occasion. I'll drop the rules of the game next, but first I'll explain how I'm hijacking it. Part of what's happened to the word "liberal" is that we liberals don't define the story of why liberals choose to be so. Instead, the conservatives define it on a range of misguided, to thievery, to debauchery, always lacking of any fundamental values. If someone asked you what political goals you pursed, you could rattle off: reproductive rights, public education, free press, fair wages, human rights, environmental conservation. Almost a year ago, I was involved in a conversation with several liberal and conservative friends of mine, when we tried to work out definitions of the motivations of both political philosophies. What did the words "big government" mean? What is government for? What did we believe citizens were responsible for and capable of doing? When you strip out actual legislative differences, are we so distant from each other? Some conservatives love to just say, "we are fulfilling the plan of God." Here's how your moonbat defines "liberal:"

"I believe as a liberal that we can build a society and establish a government that encourages the best in people while hedging against the worst. I believe that just as we inherited from the common past, we become obligated to invest in the common future. I believe that just as we strive to be good people, we strive as a people to be a good nation. I believe that we as humans have the basic right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the guarantee of this is the proper pursuit of the governments formed by the people. I believe in a commitment towards society will produce the foundation and security upon which individual citizens may then build a good life."

So I'm sharing seven facts about the measure of me as a liberal:

1. I used to hate Starbucks. When conservatives started hating Starbucks and equating it with being yucky liberals to drink there, my eyes were suddenly opened to the virtues of Starbucks. I now love Starbucks.

2. I honestly think if you don't recycle you aren't good enough to be a liberal.

3. Conservatives are onto something when they try to ban books that introduce atheism, people having sex outside of marriage, and liberal values, or talk about other cultures. They are right, exposure will diminish their arguments that their opinions are best. However, I feel no pity for them and they will never win the battle of ideas. I am all for using book donations anywhere to increase the number of liberals. I remember reading all those Morgan the Unicorn stories. I no longer believe in unicorns, but I still believe there is no better good than kindness.

4. A man in a uniform turns me on. Oh, soldier boy!!

5. I remember the day I could no longer squash bugs and spiders. I was the only child my mother had who was unafraid. Even my brother was afraid. My sister brought me into the basement to squash a spider on the door going out into the backyard. He face was red with disgust. The huge wolf spider crouched down when I approached it. But it sat there, awaiting it's impending doom, trapped in the hope that the door would open instead and it could go back outside. Not human hope. I don't think they have human emotions. But spider hope, it's own version of faith in how the universe works and would deliver it from this strange exile. We looked at each other for a long time, and I opened the door instead.

6. I measure my life largely against my sister. When we all went to my mother's relatives in Massachusetts for Thanksgiving, I was sulking because I was sure she'd be in a skirt, and therefor she would be the better daughter. When my mother pointed out that she had not arrived with a skirt, I was still not satisfied. All of it is a deep cover for the fact that she has children and I do not. There are books and books of photographs of her babies all over the place, and I will never give anything to my family that produces as much delight as those babies. I want to have a baby. Psychologists aren't kidding when they talk about sibling rivalry.

7. I was raped seven years ago at a college party. Not the kind, at least, with a danger of pregnancy. I'd had a lot of coconut rum and went to crash on the bed of a friend. I woke up to find her boyfriend rutting top of me. She woke up to find me kicking him. She rolled over and started punching me in the head. I pretended to fall unconscious and she stopped. Her boyfriend remarked that he guessed that I didn't like what he was doing. She replied it was still not acceptable for me to kick him. They fell asleep. I crept out. The next day he told everyone I was a good time. She pretended like I didn't exist. I never told anyone the truth. And I'm a feminist. I couldn't trust people enough to go to class, to even go to the mess hall and eat. I flunked out. I drive new friends away before they can plot against me. Even to this day I experience vivid memory flashes from that night every time I go into a stranger's home.

I believe what we experience in our lives makes us moral actors. Who knows how many of the things that happen to us slowly build up to make us the liberal that we are today. None of what I have shared can be neatly dissected into little explanations of how they cause me to be a liberal. But in them is something important. Hospitality, kindness to people in pain, understanding the universe, and even a love of babies. Some injustice, yes. And some things odd or out of place. But human. And liberal.

Blogs I've tagged: Ketchup is a Vegetable and Stealth Badger.
They get the love because they are my only semi-regular comment-girlies.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

A Lady Who Doesn't Need Diamonds or Pearls

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Blackwater Sniper Fells Three Iraqi Security Guards

So today we find this delicious little scandal concerning our favorite mercenaries:

BAGHDAD -- Last Feb. 7, a sniper employed by Blackwater USA, the private security company, opened fire from the roof of the Iraqi Justice Ministry. The bullet tore through the head of a 23-year-old guard for the state-funded Iraqi Media Network, who was standing on a balcony across an open traffic circle. Another guard rushed to his colleague's side and was fatally shot in the neck. A third guard was found dead more than an hour later on the same balcony.

Eight people who responded to the shootings -- including media network and Justice Ministry guards and an Iraqi army commander -- and five network officials in the compound said none of the slain guards had fired on the Justice Ministry, where a U.S. diplomat was in a meeting. An Iraqi police report described the shootings as "an act of terrorism" and said Blackwater "caused the incident." The media network concluded that the guards were killed "without any provocation."

The U.S. government reached a different conclusion. Based on information from the Blackwater guards, who said they were fired upon, the State Department determined that the security team's actions "fell within approved rules governing the use of force," according to an official from the department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Neither U.S. Embassy officials nor Blackwater representatives interviewed witnesses or returned to the network, less than a quarter-mile from Baghdad's Green Zone, to investigate.

The incident shows how American officials responsible for overseeing the security company conducted only a cursory investigation when Blackwater guards opened fire. The shooting occurred more than seven months before the Sept. 16 incident in which Blackwater guards killed 17 civilians at another Baghdad traffic circle.

The Feb. 7 shootings convulsed the Iraqi Media Network, one of the prominent symbols of the new Iraq, in anger and recrimination.

U.S. officials and the security company, now known as Blackwater Worldwide, offered no compensation or apology to the victims' families, according to relatives of the guards and officials of the network, whose programming reaches 22 million Iraqis.

"It's really surprising that Blackwater is still out there killing people," Mohammed Jasim, the Iraqi Media Network's deputy director, said in an interview. "This company came to Iraq and was supposed to provide security. They didn't learn from their mistakes. They continued and continued. They continued killing."

Basically, State's justification was that Blackwater said they were fired upon, so that was the truth, and no investigation or evidence was required at all. Blackwater ducked charges in the Iraqi court because of Bremer's 2004 law granting them blanket immunity. And this wasn't just Blackwater shooting at civilian vehicles. The snipers fired from one government compound into another government compound, and they knew it too. The guards were guarding the state-owned and US-funded television station al-Iraqiya. Blackwater was told this by the Justice Department. And then, as the Iraqi guards, clearly in military camoflague and standing on guard towers with the Iraqi flag, in broad daylight no less, directed people away from parking at the TV station because they were worried about car bombs, Blackwater's mercenaries gunned them down in cold blood. And got away with murder.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fans Show Love for the Writers' Strike

So today we are going to spread around the brownie points in honor of the growing blogger support for the writers' guild strike. Also some love for those blogging to show their non-guild writer's support for the fight against studio greed. One blogger comments that a division between studios and the better writers may find those writers using the internet to sell direct to the fans and cut out the studios themselves. Interesting concept. Elsewhere, it's plain to people that the advent of webisodes aren't an advertisement for a show but just allow networks not to pay writers. And here's one blogger's letter in support of the strike to the AMPTP. Brownie points even for the hot Republican chicks who quote Ann Coulter.

The strike goes to the heart of respecting work again in this country. What the guild has been seeking in negotiations is "exceedingly reasonable" to Republicans who read up on the issue, and it's great to see there's some hope labor issues can be seen as nonpartisan. Even though the actors of the Office have shut down their show in support of the WGA by calling out sick, it's great to see the overwhelming support of their fans. We even have a mega-site now for all fans to show their love, so check it out!!

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