Monday, August 27, 2007

Patriot Act Co-author Favored as Gonzales Replacement

Alberto Gonzales publicly announced his resignation as Attorney General of the U.S. publicly today after having turned in his resignation in to Bush on Friday.

This is no victory for America. This is a shuffle of a sniveling little suck-up and power-hungry elitist to a duplicitous situational ethicist. Even his old school legal buddies abandoned Alberto months ago.

Those of you who read Build Peace regularly or have even read it a few times know that I am an old fashioned girl who believes in old fashioned politics at least as they are presented if not how they actually existed--The Great McGinty is one of my favorite films of all time- watch it for a refresher course on how politicians are created and the power of a single act -- Simplification is dangerous in that "flip-sides" are far too simple of descriptive tools to ever be accurate... but the old

Republicans = Big Business
Democrats = Little Guys

dichotomy holds great appeal for me. That is how it was supposed to be in the world in which I was raised. Business versus the little guy. Nice and simple. But now what we have is:

Republican Party = Gigantic Business
Democratic Party = Enormous Business
Current Administration = Fascistic Corporatism

Gonzales was brazenly arrogant in his disregard for the essence of the law and ideology that shaped a pretty damn good country that had continued to expand individual rights while maintaining respect for education and moral training that supports the notion of responsibility in an individually empowered society.

Chertoff was an architect for the Patriot Act. He co-authored that tool used for the atrocious and vile perversion of American Justice. The P.A. is the document that undercuts the great original documents upon which the idea that was our noble America was based.

Gonzales ruthlessly applied the Act, but a greater though less overtly arrogant evil in Michael Chaertoff is set to step into the Attorney General's office. The bureaucrats who actually build a corrupt administration wield tremendous, underestimated power. Joe Demsey might have been talking about Chertoff and company when reviewing Zackary Shore's book. "By creating a climate of distrust, uncertainty, and fear, his regime inadvertently denied itself the benefit of receiving important foreign policy information. Instead of performing their jobs, the first priority for career officers quickly became protecting their own livelihoods (and lives)."

Chertoff knows on which side his bread is buttered, and most assuredly works for his masters, and spews out what is advantageous to him at any given stage in his career. He played both sides after being brought in as a US Attorney in 1990 by Bush the 1st, then he was the sole US Attorney kept on by Clinton in '93, but as the tide turned toward Republican control, his balance shifted to a more partisan stance with his appointment as special prosecutor for Whitewater as he chose to align with the single ascending master of the emergent species of Republican ideology. He currently serves no other master than Bushite Corporatism.

As author of the Patriot Act Chertoff should be considered more dangerous to have in the Attorney General's slot than Gonzales.

A simple rule to follow is do not use an auto-mechanic who has named his or her business "Quality Mechanics," or buy your veggies from the "Fresh Market," or have your taxes done by "Value Accountants" -- adjectives tend to only be put in names when the good or service marketed under the name lacks or falls short in that area. The name doesn't require the adjective if the quality is present in the product or service. This axiom has never been better illustrated than in the case of the Patriot Act.

Another basic element of the Chertoff make-up seems to be his hesitation to act within clear bounds of authority and responsibility before checking with higher ups. Remember Katrina? Well it was Chertoff who effed-up royally and did not take the necessary steps to allow FEMA to begin to act (even under Brownie's "heckuva job" type leadership) until days into the disaster.

Someone stop these people! House? Congress? Last year didn't we as voters tell you loud and clear that we want all this ineptitude and all the duplicitous machinations stopped? I think so. If you are reading this it is your responsibility to make them listen to you and act to stop the Bushite's in their tracks. Now!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bayh is a, he's a Demo.... what is he?

Probably not one of my last posts about Indiana even though I'm on the road back home to Tucson. I feel more comfortable blogging about it when I'm not there. The place scares me. Conservative doesn't even begin to describe the climate there. Anyway... the supposedly Democratic Senator Evan Bayh finally (after years of Hoosier peace activists efforts ) met with group of individuals drawn from a coalition of constituencies representing the peace movement in Indiana as well as long standing pacifist constituencies.

You can read about the security paranoia in the Gary Post Tribune or at Network for Peace where Sue E. corrects the errors in the Trib article.

Bayh is more conservative than many of his buddies on the supposedly opposite side of the isle. I hope people understand this when re-election time rolls around.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Torture, Texas and Totalitarianism

I won't be going through Texas on my drive back home to Tucson this week. I encourage everyone who reads this to also boycott the state.

On Tuesday, August 7, in a six-to-three decision, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Kenneth Foster’s final writ of habeas corpus, giving the legal green light for his execution. Foster, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on August 30, is now at the mercy of the merciless Board of Pardons and Paroles. ...Foster’s supporters, who are spearheading a letter-writing campaign to the board and governor, are relying on one particularly salient detail to move their minds, if not their hearts: Foster didn’t kill anyone.

A man from Texas (Kennibunkport is in Texas, right? Sorry, couldn't resist.) sits at the helm of the U.S. administration that authorizes, promotes, and seems to take great satisfaction in torture. More evidence to this effect comes forward every day. A UK resident's family tells the most recent tale of ongoing torture at Guantanamo. The Bush record for sending more people to death as governor than

What the BLEEP is wrong with this country when outrage is more intense against Don Imus than for executing people even when we know that death sentences handed out in our "justice" system are hugely skewed toward executing people when the victim is white.

The rather simplistic summary statement I make based on both the advocacy of torture and execution by persons in power who are from this state -- people from Texas The State of Texas love to kill people.

You can write the Governor of Texas and let him know your feelings on the abuse an already scarred system in order to kill a man who killed no one. (He was involved in a crime in which there was a death. He can and probably should have received a murder conviction, that stands quite apart from being executed/murdered by the state. After looking at the case, you can write to:

Texas Gov Rick Perry
Citizen’s Assistance Hotline: (800) 843-5789
[for Texas callers]
Office of the Governor Main Switchboard: (512) 463-2000
Fax: (512) 463-1849

Mailing Address
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Our government is rapidly descending into a totalitarian one. YOU have to act to stop it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Tide is Turning

Reuters is mainstream, no? Well, they sent out a story that Common Dreams picked up today about the perfectly ripe and ready to be plucked activist spirit fruiting in the U.S.

It's true. I was in Ft. Wayne today and needed to do some personal errands and in the course of human events I ran into a woman I will call C.J. who seemed truly happy to find out about the healthy existence of grassroots progressive activism spearheaded by women.

The country is receptive. I met C.J. at her place of work and she was willing to talk about peace and liberalism in public in one of the most conservative areas of the conservative midwest. This is great news for the country.

Through women banding together, we will restore the best elements of our proud heritage.

I'm so glad I talked about my activism -- we all need to do this. The vast majority of Americans are just waiting for someone to tell them it is ok to act on the feelings they have.

It is ok to act on the feelings you have. Follow your heart.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Intentionality and Activism

At times I find the irony of my situation, a woman who doesn't believe in the inherent worth of politics, in which I spend so much time writing about the whole mess to be a bit sardonic.

I am a dedicated believer that you have to go around obstacles. Trying to plow right through items or processes blocking your intended path, or become one with them so that you can just move them do not make sense to me. But I've also lived in the southwestern U.S. long enough to know that if you go around barricades you might just get swept away by a fast current or a flash flood's wall of water.

In anthropological graduate school there was a distinct disdain shown by mentors and professors for anyone foolish enough to flirt with the idea that any one person can impact a cultural system in a predictable fashion. Individuals have influence, sure, but intentionality and emergence are problematic concepts or so say some of the most informed discussants in fields that discuss such things over coffee and for fun as well as to make their bread and butter.

That's right, I'm talking post-modernist thought. (Run away, run away!) No really, it is okay. I'm talking thought not application. Premature application is almost as devastating as premature .... well, you know. Sorry. Couldn't resist and just had to see if you were paying attention. (And no I wasn't one of those undergrads who salted term papers with sentences like, "check here if you read this.") The banality of unnecesary use of complex tools for analysis of simple procedures is evident when you watch a group of young persons listening to literary "theorists" applying post-modernist thought to specific written works or performances. The truly profound can turn to mush when used by someone who really doesn't have a handle on the complexity of systems and the narrowness of any interpretation.

Any way let me talk about this via some examples.
  • When you are inside you can't observe from the outside.
  • All singular entites have a viewpoint from which they collect information and from which they act.
  • You will choose a different path when you are walking with a group in contrast to when you are walking alone.
  • Sometimes unintended consequences are small, sometimes large, but they always are.
For years I stayed away from any attempt to influence anything, taking this "knowledge" about systems to the extreme, but then I realized I would still have influence as "to not make a decision is to make a decision." I finally reached the point where I HAD to act. It was a selfish act. I didn't want the guilt or bad karma of "knowing without acting." . I don't know exactly how I reached and recognized that point, but I knew it when I was there. It was in D.C. while I was participating in a CODEPINK march around the end of February or beginning of March 2003. For me the appeal was about the organizational structure that was networked and self-organizing rather than imposed, rigid and bound to breakdown. This was the first time I had encountered a group of people working for change who were doing so in a way that accepted and encouraged the worth of networks rather than hierarchy, emergence and its unpredictable nature over status quo predictability, as well as the noncompartmentalization of the groups actions that allowed and promoted integration over disintergration.

In the grassy area south of the White House and north of the Mall an effigy of Bush was pulled down by a web created when women encircled the effigy and, while hanging onto one end of the thread, threw balls of yarn over the Bush effigy to the woman on the opposite side of the circle. A web was woven in this process and it then pulled down the Bush effigy.

The metaphor was beautiful and illustrative whether I believed in, acknowledged or even knew about Wiccan aspects of the action. There was also direct action and with it the consequent arrests. Women had banded together and taken back control over symbols associated with them,
this allowed the budding network of women to sprout and grow it's own frame (and trunk) rather than attempt to layer change over existing structure.

Ignoring is bliss. We don't have to pound through barracades, or go through channels to have them removed. We can go around them, tunnel under them, or even remove them spoonful or splinter at a time.

I'm wondering whether now is the time to start going around our Government in a new way? I'm not sure what that means. We have to grow it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

41 Dems Vote For Wiretapping

Grijalva and Giffords were both on the right side of this vote.

The 41 Dems from all over the U.S. who voted for this are selling out the American people. For example, why did Harry Mitchell (AZ LD 5) vote with the Republicans to continue giving Bush the expansive power to do whatever the hell he wants in the arena of invading our privacy.?

Women, framing, blogging and more.

I've so many things to blog about, and I've still so little time to blog. But only one more week and I will be on the road back in the general direction of Tucson.

Yesterday I ran a bunch of errands. Dropped stuff at Goodwill. Met a progressive friend at a great little lunch restaurant (and breakfast on Saturday) in the one time burg of Dunfee, IN. It is just north of the train tracks north of State Road 14 on the County Line Road between Whitley and Allen County. It is in the back of an antique and country crafts store that has a sub-specialization in equestrian items. The building obviously was a general store -- long rectangular and narrow clapboard, now weathered gray with occasional specks of the original color clinging to the wood.

A perfect setting to begin my good-byes.

I've been in the mid-west, bible belt, rust belt, old union land for 6 months now, and this will be my last week here. I can't say that I will miss the fear driven conformity that underlies so much of everyday life here.

There is a lot made of the supposedly close-knit communities in the small towns of this region. They are held up as supposedly wholesome iconic communities worthy of emulation.

Bull. Bull. Bull. When I walk down the street here, strangers don't smile as they do in large cities. I see looks of intolerance flashed as soon as someone "different" walks by. For heaven's sake, Wal-Mart is the new town square. Plastic junk from China surrounds our center of social information exchange. Far too many of the churches unite groups in their damnation of others who don't believe as they do rather than in the love of all people as the person they name themselves after professed.

There are drawbacks and perks within every sort of living. Both the small town and the international urban metropolis have positive and negative elements, but the success of both are built via social networks. i think it is actually harder to build a supportive community based on distinction when surrounded by a small community rather than a large one. It isn't about anonymity as must as it is about respect.

Community -- that is the core of peace building. The recognition of community across time exists. Community across vast spaces exist. We must build community across socially constructed class to stop the acceleration of artificially enhanced divisive difference.

I'm thinking of starting a "tour" to show any interested women how to connect and communicate via currently available communication technologies.

Is it soincidence that as I was writing this that I flipped through TV channels to find Bill Moyers interviewing Barbara Ehrenrich and found out about her book:

Dancing in the Streets: the History of Collective Joy

Here is the table of contents of the work:

I've always been rather outspoken when it comes to lambasting the "Big Frog in a Small Pond" phenomenon. But now rather than fixate on the big frogs, I'm shifting to simply attempting to have all the women look around at the pond and decide what they want to do with it.

Attendance at BlogHer '07 in Chicago helped this goal solidify into something concrete enough I can begin to meander toward it.