On September 11, 2015…

On September 11, 2015…

Next Tuesday will be the 14th anniversary of the piece I wrote below. It used to appear on my web site, but I’ve since redesigned the site and removed the section. Still, the piece should be available somewhere, so I am reproducing it here.

Back then, I predicted there would be terrible consequences to our actions if we didn’t choose wisely, and I was right. We are, whether we admit it or not, in a state of continual panic and fear, thanks to the actions of our own government.

We send our bombs and people to other shores in the hopes that somehow, these actions will make the world a safer place. We fight against ISIL, we turn away refugees, we track our own actions in libraries, on the Internet, over the phone, as we drive. Cameras are everywhere.

We are constantly reminded to be vigilant, wary, concerned when people who don’t look like us interact with us. And we are armed to the teeth, in the fear that something will happen on our own turf, that will be as bad as we’ve made it for people elsewhere.

We asked for this.

It is our fault.

We elected officials who put the Patriot Act in place, and proclaim that our flag is better than any other flag, and yet we can’t feed our people. We drive on roads that are damaged by years of neglect, and celebrate those who take lives because our country has pointed fingers and said we must do unto others BEFORE they do unto us.

It is right and proper to remember the lives lost when the towers fell. It is right to remember those who served and helped the survivors. And it is proper to mourn those changes in our society.

But to me, the phrase “Never Forget” means so much more than four airplanes and their hijackers, and those in the buildings and surrounding areas who went to work or got on the planes with the expectation that they would return home again at the end of the day or the end of the trip.

“Never Forget” also means we should remember that our country was and should still be a refuge for people who had no other place to go, who sought peace from prosecution. It should be a home for all, a haven for anyone seeking a better life. And it should be a place where we all have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of our labors, in peace and prosperity.

Citizens United, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, Right to Work: These are all symbols of oppression, put in place by the Grand Old Party. These Republican oppressors, waving the flag and carrying the Christian Bible, many of whom cater to neo-Fascist organizations disguised as conservative think tanks, want us to maintain a constant state of war because THEY profit from it. And as long as we remain too distracted by fear, they can get away with murder.

Somalia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Syria, Iraq…it doesn’t matter where they were born. They all want the same things our parents and grandparents want: Somewhere safe to raise a family and to make a place in this world for themselves. We do every immigrant, every refugee a disservice every time we return these people to the hell from which they came.

The very definition of Refugee comes from an organization built on the ashes of World War II:

The 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees has adopted the following term “refugee” to apply to any person who (in Article 1.A.2):[1]

“owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”[1]

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugee)

And these same so-called Patriots would love nothing better than to see the US pull out of the United Nations because they disagree with the policies and protections set forth there. They want us to go to war with Iran. These hypocrites could have stopped North Korea before the acquisition of nuclear weapons, but they didn’t care enough, because there isn’t enough profit in dismantling North Korea’s arsenal.

With Iran, it’s different. They are protecting their oil interests and are throwing our country away for the sake of their own greed. They have hoodwinked hard-working Americans into thinking they give a rat’s ass about their base. Even with proof of the contempt these billionaires hold for their base, they STILL manage to hold onto their positions in Congress and will do whatever they can to win the Presidency in 2016.

You have a choice. You can choose to remember this day, fourteen years ago, as a rallying cry against people who want to destroy our country and look across the ocean to other continents as the source, or you can remember who put these people in business in the first place and hold THEM accountable in the coming election. 2016 is everything.

Iran-Contra Affair: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra_affair

The Shah of Iran: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Reza_Pahlavi

Iran-Iraq War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Iraq_War

Saddam Hussein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein

The Syrian Civil War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Civil_War

September 11, 2001

Saturday, September 15, 2001

On a day that started with excitement about my own little world, the world was witness to an unbelievable tragedy.

It started so simply for me: A phone call from a mother to tell a father about his daughter’s new teeth, and to have a morning chat with him about trivialities.

How it will end is anyone’s guess. There are so many variables, so many possibilities, so vast a sense of loss, anger and shock about the events of the 11th of September, that it is impossible to predict how the landscape of the world will look even a month from now.

On September 10th, this was not the case.

On September 11th, at 8am EDT, this was not the case.

Right up to the point where the first commercial airplane impacted the first World Trade Center building, this was not the case.

We Americans have been comfortable in our ability to simply flit from place to place. There have been vague feelings of concern for the increasingly deadly military actions of other countries, but at such an incomprehensible distance that they were simply not of personal concern to most of us. We have been able to focus on things that now seem trivial and small in comparison.

Seeing the World Trade Center district in the aftermath of this most amazingly evil of atrocities, it’s hard not to think of Beirut, of Bosnia, or even of London 50 years ago.

But not Manhattan.

Not New York.

Not here.

We are now faced with a task which I am not sure is possible to accomplish, at a cost I don’t know if we are prepared to pay.

Until now, the realities of the last World War belonged to the old folks. Those who preceded the “Baby Boomer” generation who are fading fast from age or disease. There are not many people left who can remember what this world was like during the last World War. Not so many who remember Korea, for that matter.

The newer wars, Vietnam and Desert Storm, were different. With all the odds against us, we could never have won in Vietnam. Desert Storm taught us that the next World War must be different. In the wake of the responses to this ongoing tragedy, by all accounts, this war could be different from anything we have ever seen, and could ever imagine, even in the most cynical eye of Science Fiction authors. And yet, it could resemble these actions in so many awful ways. It could even resemble the Crusades, if we are not careful.

There are those who do not understand why we have not already leveled Kabul. There are those who believe that to be a Muslim means that you are automatically a terrorist. There are those who feel that this act is justified because our country condones and backs the actions of the Israelis, and that to be Jewish means that you automatically support Israel’s actions against the Palestinians.

These people are all guilty of oversimplification.

To be sure, those responsible have it coming. I don’t dispute that one bit.

But we have bombed Iraq almost continually since Desert Storm began, and yet Saddam Hussein remains in power.

We bombed Afghanistan after the last action linked directly to Osama bin Laden, and yet he continues to be the source of great pain and suffering.

The President of the United States said, “This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.” I fear that he may be wrong.

If we move without first being absolutely sure of our targets, we will disrupt the alliances we seem to have forged against the perpetrators of this horrible act. It does us no good to anger the people who have united with us, simply to slake the thirst of those who want blood now. Striking out blindly at targets that are not accurate, and doing no harm to the ones who deserve it most, makes us look foolish and incompetent. This we cannot afford to do.

And while I say that I do not want to explain to my daughter why her father did not come home, I do not want the deeds of September 11th to go unpunished. I cannot in good conscience tell my husband that he must stay here. If he is called, as I am certain he will be, I must support him in any way I can.

But I say now, I will only feel good about making that sacrifice if the result is certain, appropriate and final.

So, I ask the President, the Congress, and the world to be sure that their actions are the right ones. Be careful about what you are doing, because what you could unleash may be much worse than what has already been done, as incomprehensible as that might be right now.

And, when you have decided, move swiftly, so that we can be sure that we do not miss the targets, and so our loved ones can come home.

Je suis Charlie…

Je suis Charlie…

Hi. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Yes, yes, I know. Busy, distracted. My, how time flies.

Truth is that I’ve been tied up in knots between a new job I started in August and keeping my head above water with classes in the fall. And, truthfully, it was feeling just a bit like I was shouting into the wilderness in here. So? I withdrew to FB and kept most of my ranting there.

Since then, we’ve had a sweep of the House and Senate, and now the GOP is unleashing every bit of stored up agenda against the American People for the sake of American Business and I’m counting the days until the Presidential Election to see if they take the third branch as well, or if we finally wake up in this country and do something about our so-called leaders.

It’s funny, though. Here I sit, cozy in a house full of books and movies, connected at whim to the Internet where I can write whatever I like, so long as I’m not telling lies, and nobody will come to my place and shoot me for writing these things.

Right?

Isn’t that what every journalist believes? Isn’t that the truth we all understand – that we are entitled to say what we want and to speak the truth, so long as we aren’t hurting anyone else?

Yeah.

Tell that to the ten journalists and two cops who died in Paris yesterday. Or to the journalists in the past year who’ve been beheaded. Or to those who were shot in South America. Or, in fact, anywhere else in the world, just for speaking out. Ever.

There are no links to other sources in this post. There’s no reason to link elsewhere. You want facts? You can Google them yourself and find what Google wants you to find, and present it as truth. Wikipedia? Ditto. I know. I do it all the time. And (truthfully) I’m righteously sanctimonious when I do it, too. Because I’m right and you’re wrong. Or I’m right and you’re merely uninformed.

I think it’s completely ironic that in the Islamic State’s desire to silence its critics, it has chosen the one industry that will say what it pleases, dig in its heels and cry out for more truth, even in the face of guns, bombs or knives.

In taking on journalism, they have created a hydra all their own. We ARE all Charlie.

Every Blogger. Every Twitter user. Every FB and LJ and WordPress and Pinterest user. Every last one of us who puts a finger to a keyboard – we are all capable of crying out TRUTH. In a radical version of a religion that supposedly values martyrdom, what on earth were they thinking when they took on journalism and free speech? Did they somehow think they would silence the voices simply by killing the cartoonists?

I haven’t been posting because life overwhelmed me for a bit. I may not post again for a while because next week classes start all over again, and I’ll be busy. But that hasn’t stopped me from thinking and observing, even as I have to turn the input devices off so I can concentrate on my work.

Tune in and pay attention. That’s all I’ve ever asked. Look around at what they’re saying to you.

Is it truth? How do you know?

And when you figure it out, say something about it. BE Charlie.

Keeping it to yourself doesn’t help anyone else.

See you soon.

On the 15th of April…

On the 15th of April…

I have had thoughts over the last week or so on my next post here, but my brain has been overtaken by residual grief wrapped up in losing my dad 3 years ago today.

All the highly personal whining I could do about missing him pales, sadly, in comparison to today’s events in Boston.

I don’t have a lot to say (yet) on the subject. Earlier, I posted this on Facebook:

Aside from the marginally humorous Eff-You PSA messages in replacement for DJ chatter, Jack FM has one thing to go in favor of it. I had zero idea of what was going down in Boston until I checked my feed while selling records at CD Depot. I’ve finally gone back the requisite 5 hours and change to see the chain of events.

I refuse to discuss or analyze anything until I hear something concrete regarding motive and responsible parties. There simply isn’t enough information to gather anything other than that it’s likely a group effort. WHO that group is/was and WHY they did it should not receive speculation.

And a comment: In other areas of the world, bombs go off every single day. As horrified as we are when it happens here, we should remember that we’re lucky (some might even say blessed) it doesn’t happen more often.

I think I’ve heard from everyone I might have known there today. Regardless, my heart goes out to the victims, their families and friends, and to the thousands who were not hurt physically but were there and will remember this day forever, with pain, in Boston and elsewhere.

And I hope for peace, everywhere, soon.

No matter what happens now, the truth – people injured, maimed, killed;  many of them, children – should serve as a reminder of how fragile life really is, more than anything else, and how much we often take for granted waking up each day.

It’s easy to descend into self-indulgent speculation, but such philosophical navel-gazing accomplishes nothing except to anger the falsely accused and give you a sense of false control over a situation for which there is no sane or reasoned explanation.

I hope this is not the start of something terrible. It’s all I can hope for at the moment, until we know more about what happened and why.

And there’s an end in itself. We wait.

In the meantime, take care of yourself and those you love, and in a week or so, when the fury and immediacy have died away, go to the Red Cross and give blood.

Insanely busy the last couple of days…

Insanely busy the last couple of days…

Ok, so before I get started on the last couple of days, this I gotta share (thanks to RN, who finally forced me to get my own YouTube account).

Obviously not safe for work; not at all safe for kids either.

Freedom [better quality]

If you’re wondering why I’m not crowing more about the takeover of the House and Senate, the supremacy of the Democratic Party, or the end of the Evil Empire, understand that I’m just exhausted.

There’s a fine rant about the disgusting timeliness of The Crucible somewhere around here, and I might get there sometime soon, but not in the next couple of days. Besides, I think I need to think some more about what I want to say.

You may be surprised to discover that I’m really hoping people don’t screw this up. In the back of my head I’m hearing “be careful what you ask for” and it’s getting louder all the time.

This is going to sound crass, so please forgive me in advance…

This is going to sound crass, so please forgive me in advance…

…and please understand that I think *any* life wasted is a crime….

But why is it that we’re suddenly so very shocked at the bombs that have gone off today? After all, there were decades when bombs went off in London, which got barely a notice on our own local news. But then, that was the IRA, and it was England’s problem. Nothing to do with us.

Now that we’re in the “War on Terrorism” the press is having a field day.

This isn’t meant to belittle the people who lost loved ones, or the people who simply lost their lives, or those who were maimed. My outrage against our current system has nothing to do with them.

Why don’t we just give up now and rebuild the coliseums here. We can go get our own lions and toss the bad people to them. Or maybe we should make them transparent shark tanks. Think Emperor Bush would enjoy that?
For pity’s sake – the more the press responds to these actions, and the more comments they generate by analyzing the activities to death, the more the evil individuals who perpetrated the events get what they want – an inordinate amount of attention for their cause.

That goes for everyone – fair and balanced or not.

I feel a major rant coming soon. Too busy to do it justice, so I’ll just hold on a little longer.

The members and networks of the press (all of them) have catered to rumor-mongering and spin doctoring from all fronts for decades if not centuries. I object. To all of it.

And for your information, Bush’s administration was not voted for by me, and last time I checked I was entitled by the First Amendment to my personal opinion of his behavior, actions, and abilities. I have stopped short of accusing him publicly of the things which I firmly believe he has done to this country in the name of the “War on Terror.”

This is the only country in recent memory to have avoided large-scale conflict from other sources, largely because our borders are protected by two huge oceans and two friendly countries. That isn’t to say we haven’t suffered internally (see Oklahoma City or Gettysburg).

Before you start up the mimeograph machine and issuing manifestos on how evil the United States is, why don’t you sit down and take a hard look at your own exaggerated and misdirected hatred and thank God that Al Qaeda didn’t draw a big skull and crossbones over your public transportation system.

It isn’t the United States that’s evil. The United States is made up of billions of individuals who are just trying to survive in an increasingly hostile local environment. And before you suggest that Al-Qaeda hasn’t targeted us, think back a few years. And recall that recent data has proved Iraq had nothing to do with that attack.

It’s my personal opinion that we’re headed for another attack of our own, on a similar scale, and that they’re just waiting to time it right.

You’re free to prove otherwise.

Ok, so are you now saying here that Saint George W. is in the right of all this? Even in the face of all the things we’ve heard that he’s done to make his own personal war with Saddam come to fruition?

And you accuse me of losing my grip on reality?

Buddy, if that’s your idea of reality, I much prefer mine.

In the interest of being sure of my quotes, I just did a little research on the web. Found this fascinating site: http://www.religioustolerance.org/

That a set of stories may be blamed for so much of what has been done by humans over the centuries, based on the literal interpretations of the contents of that book (which was written based on hearsay), simply boggles my mind. It often amazes me that we have lasted this long upon the earth.

I don’t often agree with the literal Christian translations of the Ten Commandments, but at their heart, they are a common-sense method for guiding human behaviour.

I just wish to GOD that some of the Christians who beat that same book would sit down and read it from COVER TO COVER once in a while, and not simply point to it as the excuse for all the atrocities in the world.

Same goes for the Talmud, the Qur’an, and any other written text that gives people the rights to slaughter other people. Period.

Comments:

I put on my Tinfoil Hat this morning…..

Quoth the poster:
And today the actions of a few people kept Global Warming, possible aid to Africa and Bush’s utter support for Texas war profiteering (FOURTEEN BILLION DOLLARS OF OUR TAX MONEY SO FAR!) out of people’s consciousnesses and out of the news. Really good timing for W. What a lucky little man he is. And the big Dick too. Just amazing that the Valerie Plame revelations were timed to coincide with the news-ignoring July 4th weekend. What lucky funny little men they are.

The “Orbital Mind Control Lasers” alarm went off…
Not only was the whole Plame/Rove/Novaks thing shoveled out with the Friday news dump, London goes *foom* to ENSURE that those stories will not be spoken of again in the near future.

How conVEEEENNiant!

I guess the old saw is right, this administration will not fall unless Bush is caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy,

It’s been said that Republicans and the Right Wing Apologists love this country like a 3 year old: “But Mommy is good. Mommy could NEVER do wrong!” (not during the Vietnam war, not during our torture of civilians, treason, or war profiteering). The other half of us love this country like grown ups – we realize that it supported slavery, bigotry, intolerance and epic criminal hubris, but are working to make it constantly better through the service and vigilance that are every good citizen’s responsibility.

You are SO very quick to condemn your “friends” while never for a moment offering any real alternatives no matter how directly you are asked for them. You sound ever more fundamentalist yourself, and in that you seem to be just another blowhard who has no principles himself that might be examined (by himself or anyone else).

You seem to feel that the use of the magic words “liberal rant” instantly exempts you from having to think about what the writer is saying. And if you simply endeavor to crack wise and chastise them for having some perspective and a beating heart that loves this country, then they’ll give you the attention you apparently crave. Hell, it works for Rush (the aptly named addict), and for W. Simply don’t address problems, and blame others for your own piss-poor choices. And then claim victory. Again and again.

Or perhaps for you there ARE no alternatives. Maybe the namby-pamby days of peace and prosperity under a hated Bill Clinton were something to be borne, not loved. To quote Black Adder: “Baldrick, for you the Renaissance was something that happened only to other people, is that it?”

Until you decide to put your money where your mouth is and offer us a whole lot of reasons to respect your “Emperor”, then the reasons we list must be taken far more seriously than your faux Miss Manners apoligism. The bottom line seems to be that you simply can’t handle the truth and have such disdain for your “friends” that you must treat them condescendingly.

_______________________________________________________

As I wrote to regyt earlier:
So long as Britain and the US remain dead-set on killing, maiming and torturing a lot of people (including their own), then other “terrorists” will keep on keeping on. Every time the news heightens the level of unreasoning fear, then the fascist bastards on each side get to revel in their unchecked power. In short, the bad guys win every time.

And today the actions of a few people kept Global Warming, possible aid to Africa and Bush’s utter support for Texas war profiteering (FOURTEEN BILLION DOLLARS OF OUR TAX MONEY SO FAR!) out of people’s consciousnesses and out of the news. Really good timing for W. What a lucky little man he is. And the big Dick too. Just amazing that the Valerie Plame revelations were timed to coincide with the news-ignoring July 4th weekend. What lucky funny little men they are.

A good thing they weren’t having some sex though… cause THAT will get you impeached.

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