Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Now for a digression from political fare, it is a delight to have discovered Russell Baker's "Growing Up," his memoir which I highly recommend. "Growing Up" is literature in the best possible sense of the word. There is no pretention to fact, only the sensual adoration of the living, breathing word, and watching that word transform into a continuum of self and other that exists only to recreate itself.

Underlying his love for language, Baker acknowledges that, in the final analysis, it's all fiction. What is that great line from Jean Cocteau? "Les choses que je conte sont les mesonges vrais;" the tales that I tell are truthful lies."

Am currently discussing the convergence of fact and fiction in Baker's memoir as part of a freshman college English class I'm teaching. The students are asked to consider if it's ever possible to be completely "factual" about oneself, or anything in one's life, except of course for the date of one's birth. Being alive is about constantly reinventing oneself, and celebrating the ability to be among the only upright animals with the capacity to do so.

"Only the imagination is real," William Carlos Williams once wrote; "Je est un autre," "I is another," said Jean-Arthur Rimbaud. We objectify ourselves, and it is only through the process of that objectivization that we discover what resides within us. "Give a man a mask, and he will tell you the truth," says Antonin Artaud.

"Tell me who you are, and I will tell you how much you escape;" oh, and, I said that.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Jimi Hendrix!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Katrina of Public Health

Some alarming, awe-inspiring, news today out of Washington, D.C., and no, it's not Trent Lott's resignation. The results of a study, the first of its kind, of HIV cases in the nation's capital are out, and they show that AIDS has reached "epidemic" proportions in D.C. (WaPo)

In the five year test period in question, ending in 2006, while African-Americans comprise roughly 60% of the city's population, they account for more than 80% of the more than 3,000 HIV cases that have been identified. 90% of women residents who tested positive for the disease are African-American. And, nearly 40% of reported cases were among heterosexuals showing, in the words of a District administrator, that "HIV is everybody's disease" in D.C.

The presence of an epidemic of this magnitude so close to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue can't help but make one wonder if federal policy, or non-policy is at the nucleus of this health catastrophe. Yet, where is the public outrage that a campaign of misinformation, disinformation, or information/education blocade should claim the same demographic casualties as that of Hurricane Katrina.

D.C.'s AIDS rate is the highest of any city in the U.S., and twice that of New York. Ostensibly, many of the 50 million uninsured Americans who live in our nation's capital are unable to get tested, or treated because they have no access to health care, but there are other numbers with respect to the African-American community that are almost as startling.

While blacks comprise only 12% of the population, nearly half of those on death row are African-American. Incarceration rates for blacks and latinos, in this country, are more than six times greater than for whites. One third of whites 25 or older have a college degree while only about 17% of blacks have graduated from college.

Many fault District health officials for not disseminating enough information, and creating a climate which is user-friendly for AIDS awareness, but the seeds of this campaign of devout ignorance may be found in the earliest days of this administration's tenure. As president-elect, George W. Bush told The New York Times "the jury is still out" on evolution. His attitude towards condom distribution, sex education, and HIV prevention shows that, for George Bush, the jury is out on science, too.

Moreover, on this administration's watch, more than $100 million in grants have been allocated for abstinence-only education programs. The president pressured the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to eliminate, from its Web site, anything that might promote the efficacy of using condoms to prevent STDs, and AIDS.

Roughly 90% of the $15 billion set aside for fighting HIV globally has been made available to domestic groups for use in their ongoing worldwide campaign to promote abstinence, and to discourage the use of condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Is it any wonder then that the spread of HIV/AIDS of this magnitude among the largest minority population of any American city should strike this close to home for a president who, as his response to Hurricane Katrina has plainly demonstrated, is one of devout indifference.

In a city the size of D.C. that has nearly 20,000 of its residents infected by this deadly disease, somebody's got to pony up to how it came to pass that such a vast number, many of whom are over 40, manage to find themselves stricken with HIV or AIDS. And, while many prefer to blame District health officials for lagging public awareness of the AIDS crisis in Washington, there is no doubt that this administration's stalwart fundamentalist anti-science, anti-environment, and anti-reality ethos are principally responsible.

When there is such a large number of those who test positive who are minority, and an equally high percentage of incarcerated people of color, a good place to start might be inaugurating a program of condom distribution in D.C. prisons, if only to protect the larger population. By not making safe sex available to the inmate population, the Bush administration is, in effect, affirming their policy of “selective survival,” which was witnessed in the footage of those who had the wherewithal to escape Hurricane Katrina by taking to the highway making it out of New Orleans while the rest were left to perish.

But, those who have built their legacy on the politics of denial are condemned to the legacy they’ve created for themselves.

The platform of "compassionate conservatism" on which this president ran is no more to be found in these statistics than in the waving hands of those drowning as a result of a monstrous hurricane in New Orleans. Once again, it becomes crystal clear that survival, too, is a matter of privilege.

The jury is no longer out on this White House, and its contagion of ideology which has claimed the lives of thousands on the battlefield, and many more at home.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Gimme Shelter?"

There is no place like home, or so they say. Just ask Luis Posada Carriles, and more than a thousand people from 85 countries, many of whom have been accused of torture, rape, and genocide, and are now taking refuge in the United States to avoid prosecution, according to the Department of Homeland Security. (McClatchy)

Recently declassified documents, obtained by the National Security Archive, show that Posada Carilles, a Cuban exile and former CIA operative, was a key figure in the bombing of a Cuban commercial airline flight in October, 1976. Yet, Posada, called the Osama bin Laden of the Western Hemisphere," spent only 6 months in an immigration detention center, is now a free man in Miami, Florida while American citizen, Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber," is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of attempting to blow up a commercial airliner, in flight, with a plastic explosive in his shoe.

Mind you,this is not to suggest, for a moment, that Reid doesn't deserve life in prison, but only to ask this simple question: are all terrorists created equally, or are some terrorists more equal than others? Is torture a form of terrorism and, if so, how can we justify granting sanctuary to those who have been indicted in their own countries on charges of war crimes?

While a recent refugee to South Florida, Posada, joins the likes of two Salvoradoran generals who have been living in Florida for nearly twenty years; former Salvodoran minister of defense, Jose Guillermo Garcia, and Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, past director of the Salvadoran National Guard. Both officers were the target of a lawsuit in federal court in West Palm Beach by an administrator of a free clinic in Washington who as a young doctor, a quarter of a century ago, cared for the poor in his native El Salvador during that country's civil war. Juan Ramogoza Arca asserts that he was seized by the Salvadoran military and, for nearly a month, subjected to such egregious, and insidious practices as electric shocks, sodomy, waterboarding, as well as being covered by a hood containing calcium oxide. You will recall that the accused generals were part of a military supported, and financed, by the United States government.

What vexes Romagoza and two other plaintiffs who are seeking damages against the generals is that both torturers and their victims have found safe haven from justice in Florida, Bush country. What enrages Senator Richard Durbin is that the U.S. has now become the dumping ground of choice for those who have committed the most heinous crimes, principally because we lack the laws necessary to prosecute them.

Ostensibly, the Neo-Con platform of law and order has failed to deliver the kind of legislation that would hold anyone who emigrates to this country, as a means of fleeing justice from their own, accountable for murder, war crimes, and human trafficking. Ironically, it is a Democratic congressman who seeks to correct this flagrant oversight on the part of the Bush regime which has, for the past half dozen years, engaged in the quixotic pseudo-quest to hunt down "terrorists," and those who pose a threat to "national security" while providing shelter for those accused of rape, as well as others, like Luis Posada Carriles, who have done nothing less than bring down a Cuban passenger flight.

Arguably, the larger question is--why is it that Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was detained and subjected to dubious "enhanced alternative" interrogation techniques for years, held for years without being charged, then convicted of plotting to kill terrorists overseas and supporting terrorists while Luis Posada Carriles who has been implicated in "top secret CIA and FBI intelligence reports" (NSA) as being the key figure in orchestrating the bombing of a civilian airliner, thirty years ago, which claimed the lives of all all its passengers and crew, is not being held, or prosecuted? This is merely further proof of this administration's policy of selective prosecution.

Notably, former attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, declined the opportunity to label Posada a "terrorist," and give him all the advantages that comes with such designation, i.e., indefinite incarceration without charge, no access to evidence against one, and access to attorney only after one has confessed. Likewise, last spring, immigration fraud charges against Posada were dismissed. My, my....can it be that Luis Posada Carriles, a man who was involved in the downing of a commercial Cuban airliner long before the USA Patriot Act was a glimmer in John Ashcroft's eyes, is being treated to star treatment because he once worked for the CIA? Posada Carriles, who has been in this country for two and a half years, has only spent six months in detention despite having been called among "the most prolific purveyors of political violence in recent history."

Is it a mere coincidence that Posada, and the Salvadoran generals accused of war crimes and atrocities, are now living the good life in Florida, a state under the umbrella of another Bush? And, more importantly, why is the Bush administration not only allowing Posada to go free, but granting him safe haven, and what does this tell us about bin Laden and his possible ongoing relationship with the CIA.

Make no mistake, the so-called war on terror is not about ideology, but expediency. If massve amounts of oil were to be found in Karachi, or nearby, President Musharraf would be hiding from American troops fearing that they would do to him they did to Saddam Hussein.

When speaking to the Federalist Society, on Friday, Republican presidential candidate, and former New York governor during 9/11, Rudy Giuliani, like George H.W. Bush before him, sought to court the conservatives of his party by promising to appoint more right-wing judges who will affirm the right to bear arms, and turn back the clock on Roe v. Wade. Giuliani said "It's this country that's going to save civilization from Islamic terrorism." That's good to know because, for the past several years, a president of his party has made the same claim while giving shelter to those who will someday be seen as the forefathers of terrorism.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chivalry is Alive and Well and Living in Las Vegas

Both Democratic presidential contenders Barack Obama and John Edwards were treated to boos and jeers, last night, when attempting to corner the first woman candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, on the issue of health care, and special interests, but it was Clinton herself who said "if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Too bad someone didn't tell that to the president before his now infamous meeting with then Prime Minister Tony Blair, on Downing Street, where the two commanders-in-chef cooked the books with respect to fraudulent evidence that took us to war in Iraq. Hillary Clinton also added that she's comfortable in the kitchen;that's what concerns me; that's what John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich worry about, too.

While I'm being facetious when I say that the audience was being chivalrous in its defense of Hillary, make no mistake----the spectators' omnipotent, and egregious disapproval for Clinton's challengers' attempts at hardball effectively muted the substance of their charges. Ironically, too, those who watched last night's debate, whether they were in Vegas or in New Orleans, and those who will choose the next Democratic Party nominee, are the ones who needed most to hear what John Edwards had to say about the politics of privilege, big business, and obdurate devotion to corporate profit.

Those who most need to hear what both Edwards and Kucinich have to say about class struggle in America, about unions, about NAFTA, about economic disenfranchisement were coming to the defense of the one candidate who has yet to take a decisive stand against outsourcing jobs, and who has conspicuously aligned herself with the other boys when it comes to defending Roe v. Wade on the basis of a "right to privacy," rather than on the basis of a woman's right to choose. Oh, yes, and man or woman, choice is the issue now as it will be for generations.

While Barack Obama has routinely paid lip service to indigence and hunger in America, only John Edwards has taken on that subject squarely, and only Edwards and Kucinich dare to expose America's dirty little secret of poverty, privilege, and those who gain most by preserving the status quo. There's talk of changes to tax laws, but the underlying issue, that it is those who are most disadvantaged among us who will be first on the front lines of war, is swept under the rug by both frontrunners of this campaign.

Edwards and Kucinich are the only candidates taking strident aim at extraordinary rendition, torture, electronic surveillance, and the USA Patriot Act; this is flat out unacceptable. What does Edwards get for his persistent attack on the lords of the manor, and his dogged insistence upon openness in government? He gets accused of being a pit bull. Why? Can it be because Edwards is the only one with the courage to come out and say what we all dread to hear, that the process is corrupt, and rigged.

The days of the iron hand in the velvet glove are over. The gloves are off, and whether they're ready or not, all candidates for elected office must be prepared to get down and dirty, as well as come clean about where their allegiances lie. We can no more afford eight more years of sacrificing our sons and daughters on the altars of oil profits than we can eight more years of attempts to cover up who gets sacrificed, and why.

Moreover, when the subject of "illegal immigration" comes up, no candidate, not even Governor Bill Richardson, mentions the existence of sweatshops where undocumented immigrants work for well below minimum wage, and live in crowded, rat infested housing in states where migrant farm workers continue to suffer.

That we are this close to Iowa, and less than a year away from one of the most important presidential elections this country has ever faced, and not one clear, unambiguous, endorseable Democratic candidate has emerged is almost as scary as the all but inevitable air strikes against Iran, and behind the scenes efforts to displace another American-backed dictator, this time in Pakistan rather than Iraq.

And, while she talks of bringing Ahmadinejad "to the table" to talk, front runner Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the Senate resolution that named the Iranian Revolutionary National Guard a "terrorist" group. Likewise, while she insists that "national security" ought to be any president's primary concern, the leading Democratic contender fails to publicly connect the dots, and show how violation of the Consitution, and the First and Fourth Amendments, poses a graver risk to our national security than bin Laden, or Al Qaeda ever could.

Like it or not, the process of voting, in America, has become a lot like ordering from a Chinese restaurant: one from Column A, one from Column B. If things keep going at this rate, instead of using ballots, in 2050, people will be voting with take-out menus.

Whether it be a Republican, or Democratic Party debate, one thing is clear: the days of chivalry and civility are over. A political party must not only come up with a candidate, but a platform, and whether the nominee is a smooth talker, or is custom made for a photo-op, those who go to the polls must wipe the sleep out of their eyes, and vote with their heads not their prayer beads.

Any platform that tips backwards in an effort to remain centrist is one that is doomed to fail. Any candidate who is unwilling to risk it all, and put everything on the line to be a vehicle for the delivery of truth, not illusions, is one who ought to be running for ringmaster not president of the United States.

Giving t'anks...

Let's hope that, next year at around this time, we will be giving thanks instead of tanks...

Monday, November 12, 2007

You Can Leave Your Hat On

Last week, the president placed a call to Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf. Let's hope it was a collect call as our tax dollars have already totalled close to $11 billion since 9/11. much of that money going to better arm those we claim to be fighting. President Bush reportedly told President Musharraf "You can't be the president and the head of the military at the same time." Well, that's not entirely what he meant, of course; he meant that one can't be army chief and head of a country, but when one usurps his position as commander-in-chief, what difference does it make if he's wearing a uniform or not?

Moreover, if Mr. Bush feels that strongly about what he perceives to be a conflict of interest, why doesn't he step down as commander-in-chief, leave Iraq to Iraqis, and Iran to Iranians instead of pursuing a foreign policy that amounts to selective destruction. (AP)

The voluptuaries of power always say that power is about seduction, and seduction requires knowing what to hide. Arguably, few have mastered the fine art of obfuscation better than our 43rd president. But, even more than concern about conmingling military power with executive power, Mr. Bush's "frank discussion" with the Pakistani leader makes crystal clear his wishes: "The United States wants you to have the elections as scheduled and take your uniform off." In a phone call that lasted only 20 minutes, the president asked Musharraf to take his uniform off at least twice.

Not that I'm a big fan of the Pakistani leader, but how dare a president of any country tell a leader of another sovereign state how to dress! If, as it's said, clothes make the man, does it follow that uniforms make the dictator? If we were to put Musharraf in an Armani suit, would it make the current Stalin-lite arrests of thousands of dissidents, many of whom are practicing attorneys, suspension of his country's constitution, and declaration of a state of emergency, or martial law, any more acceptable?

All this talk of taking off uniforms is agitprop, and amounts to nothing more than a distraction from the fact that we're supporting a government which is holding its own people hostage while, at the same time, claiming to be our ally in a so-called war on terror. Just as robbing a bank doesn't have to involve holding a gun to a teller's head, one can embezzle money, hijacking a country doesn't come with a dress code. While this is a bloodless coup, it is the second one, in less than a decade, and while Musharraf agreed to hold elections, as scheduled, in January, he will not set a timeline for the suspension of martial law.

This pattern of doublespeak isn't altogether new, now is it? The campaign for "law and order," which is at the nucleus of Pakistan's current state of emergency, is nothing more than a subterfuge for suspension of civil liberties in order to guarantee eelection. The law and order theme is a familiar one, too. We have seen what a campaign for "law and order" has done for this country; we have more rancor and official lawlessness now than at any other time in our history, as exemplified by practices that amount to torture applied to those we detain under the pretext of ridding the world of terrorists, and the routine subversion of our privacy rights in an effort to criminalize communication among ordinary Americans. Military courts, in Pakistan, may now try those civilians who disagree with its policies on charges "ranging from treason to inciting public unrest." How long before we do the same thing here?

It's absurd that anyone can believe General Musharraf when he says there will be "absolutely fair and transparent elections" in his country which is now under martial law. Clearly, the Bush administration misses Saddam so much, they've created another Saddam to take his place. How curious, too, that we've just signed a nuclear enrichment deal with India in light of the fact that India and Pakistan are mortal foes.

It's also curious to see the word "transparent" used by Musharraf; the same word has been applied by our president to his government, but where in hell is the transparency to be found from an administration that blocks the testimony, before Congress, of a Marine Corps lawyer who insists that his prosecution of a terrorist was derailed because of the egregious interrogation tactics that were employed? Some in the Pentagon may forget that confessions acquired by torture are inadmissible in court.

Where is transparency in government to be found when Pentagon general counsel, William Haynes II, forbids a subordinate to testify before Congress? (WaPo) When key sections of military reports are redacted? When the White House can withhold millions of emails on the pretext of executive privilege? When the president coerces two of his aides to defy congressional subpoenas, and refuse to testify before a House committee investigating the spurious firing of nine attorneys-general?

How can this president call on a dictator, thousands of miles away, and insist that he follow democratic rule while, at the same time, two prominent members of Congress, Rep. John Conyers and Rep.Jerrold Nadler, have had to write to incoming Attorney General Mukasay, before his official swearing in, no less, to request the release of three Justice Department "secret" legal opinions justifying the use of "painful physical and psychological tactics" on those we detain, and interrogate. These congressmen are right when they suggest that the withholding of legal opinions, from Congress, is almost as troubling as the procedure itself.

And, what of recent revelations by Rep. Henry Waxman that, despite his protestations to the contrary, there is now strong evidence that convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff had "hundreds of lobbying contqacts with White House officials" which flies in the face of the president's claim that he doesn't know Abramoff. Is this what this president has in mind by "transparency" in government? If so, it is clearly the same kind of transparency asserted by General Musharraf.

One has only to look at Bush's choice for Deputy Secretary of State, John Negroponte, to see what a farce "compassionate conservatism" is.. Yes, this is the same Negroponte who describes Pakistan as a key ally in the war on terror, and Musharraf as invaluable to our efforts, and told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that "No country has done more in terms of inflicting damage and punishment on the Taliban and Al Qaeda since 9/ll." Yes, very impressive, as is the fact that Musharraf released 25 pro-Taliban fighters right after he suspended his country's constitution (NYT), after his own admission, years ago, "There is no doubt Afghan militants are supported from Pakistan soil."

Not only do recently declassified documents obtained by the National Security Archive reveal that the Taliban "was directly funded, armed, and advised by Islamabad itself," but much of the $11 billion we sent to the Pakistani general, after his coup, ended up in the hands of the Taliban and other "terrorist" groups, the same groups that Musharraf claims to be defending his country against by declaring martial law.

Yes, this is the same John Negroponte who as U.S. ambassador to Honduras, nearly a quarter of century ago, helped to boost military aid to that country tenfold to realize his objective of making Honduras a fortress against the revolutionary Sandinistas in neighboring Nicaragua, and who ignored the claims of his predecessor, Jack Binns, of numerous human rights abuses by the Honduran military Negroponte stubbornly denied having knowledge of any Honduran military wrongdoing, and even back then demonstrated a penchant for a "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" mentality.

According to one former Honduran congressman, Mr. Negroponte's attitude was "one of tolerance and silence. They needed Honduras to loan its territory more than they were concerned about innocent people being killed." (Wiki) How reassuring to see that our deputy secretary of state hasn't changed a bit; his response to the crisis in Pakistan is not unlike his response to what happened in Honduras; ethics are sacrificed at the altar of political, and economic expediency.

But, the larger question is - hasn't Washington had enough of this reptilian hubris? Isn't it time for glasnost? All this presidential preoccupation with the leader of Pakistan removing his uniform doesn't, in any sense, obscure the need for him to take off his mask, quit hiding behind executive privilege and, more imortantly, quit thinking he can run his government from underground.

Nobody gets to break the law, then make it law, not even in this country. As the song goes, "Even the president of the United States sometimes has to stand naked."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Norman Mailer's Lesson for Me

The below comes courtesy of New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston...

"Norman Mailer's Lesson for Me

In The Executioner's Song, Norman Mailer wrote six pages about me, calling me the finest of crime reporters and praising as the best one posed, a question I asked Larry Schiller to put to Gary Gilmore.

But Mailer got many of the facts, the kind journalists worry so much about, wrong. In one scene he has me riding in a taxi with Schiller. Actually, we were in a rented Oldsmobile and I was driving. In the Playboy adaptation he has me going to the Oregon trailer of Gilmore's mother. I never did, but I used to hang that except (from the Sept. 1980 issue) on the back of my bedroom door:

"When Dave Johnston fails you have a woman not ready to talk."

For all the specific detail errors for which a news reporter would be properly excoriated (and the book is laced with them), Mailer told truths far better than any of the many reporters, myself included, who covered the story.

By: David Cay Johnston

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


President George W. Bush tells Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf today:
"You can't be president and the head of the military at the same time."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Channeling John ...

"She's not a girl who misses much
Do do do do do do- oh yeah!
She's well acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand
Like a lizard on a window pane
The man in the crowd with the multicoloured mirrors
On his hobnail boots
Lying with his eyes while his hands are busy
Working overtime
A soap impression of his wife which he ate
And donated to the National Trust
I need a fix 'cause I'm going down
Down to the bits that I left uptown
I need a fix cause I'm going down
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Happiness is a warm gun
Happiness is a warm gun, momma
When I hold you in my arms
And I feel my finger on your trigger
I know nobody can do me no harm
Because happiness is a warm gun, momma
Happiness is a warm gun-Yes it is.
Happiness is a warm, yes it is...Gun!
Well don't ya know that happiness is a warm gun, momma?"

"Happiness is a Warm Gun" by John Lennon

I remember the day John Lennon was gunned down in front of the Dakota, all those years ago, and if he could speak today, he'd say connect the dots from the South Bronx to Baghdad, violence begets violence; hate begets hate; groups like the NRA are the symptom, not the disease. The disease is power, greed, and vengeance.

Nothing has changed in the 27 years , next month, since Lennon was slain that wicked cold day in New York, and he'd be the first to say so. No one, in either political party, will stand up to the gun lobby, and tell it like it is. Guns are more rampant, drive-by shootings have replaced bowling in our inner cities and there is more random street crime than ever

Whether it be in the field of battle, or the neighborhood schoolyard, the lust for violence must end; we need warm hearts not guns.

Oh, yes, and this, too, from John Lennon...

"All we are saying is give peace a chance."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Clarification on my NRA Piece

Since Atlantic Free Press ran my piece, "Another Poster Child for the NRA," nearly one month ago, I have been besieged with hate emails. Most of these are a result of the fact that someone evidently tagged a sentence on to the piece, as well as a disgusting graphic. Gun control has never been one of my issues, and it's not going to become one now. I merely wrote a piece expressing outrage at the proliferation of violence, and the abuse of handguns, assault rifles, and other firearms overall in society, as well as in that one isolated incident in a small town in Wisconsin.

So, by way of clarification, and for the absolute last time:

Please note: I never described members of the NRA, nor would I describe members of any group, as 'gun toting sickos.' I never used the word 'sicko' until now, nor am I responsible for the image that went with the original article. I have nothing but respect for law enforcement, hence my disappointment that there are some, even among police and clergy, who are corrupt, and do dastardly things. I was merely suggesting that anyone who wants peace, regardless of their uniform, join with others who wish to contain the ABUSE of firearms, and assault weapons.

There is so much that begs to be changed, in this society, why waste your valuable time and energy harassing a writer whose greatest crime is her naivete where human nature, and the viscera of the American gun culture, are concerned. You may keep your guns, with my pleasure, I can think of no better solution to the problem of overpopulation.

Friday, November 02, 2007

No Wiggle Room.

There's no wiggle room when it comes to methods of interrogation, such as waterboarding, that raise palpable, and unavoidable questions about whether this government will find it in its power to nuance torture such that it becomes what this president has called "enhanced alternate" methods by which to extract information with coercion, and in violation of Geneva and international law. The days of letting glorified yes men, and evaders-in-chief slip through the cracks with a wink and a nod are over. Even if we deny accountability, and culpability, the rest of the world will hold us responsible, if not in our lifetimes than for generations to come.

Kudos to the senator from Massachusetts, Senator Kennedy, for actively, and eloquently opposing Michael Mukasey's nomination for Attorney General. That Senators Feinstein and Schumer have said they will vote in support of Mukasey is a frightening statement about the kind of America our grandchildren will have to look forward to whether Democrats or Republicans win election, and hold office. No one who supports an ethos that consists of "the ends justifies the means," and the exercise of force over dialogue, deserves to sit in the Oval Office.

If a former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, could get as much mileage as she did out of the phrase "Just Say No to Drugs," it's time for those who represent all Americans, in Congress, to stand up, once and for all, and "Just Say No to Torture." As Voltaire once said, "Common sense is not so common." Stop the madness; stop it now.