Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Peace begins when the hungry are fed

Mike's interviewing Wally tonight at Mikey Likes It! so be sure to check later this evening or tomorrow for that. We did go over the two items but he'll be focusing on the interview so I'll attempt to run them down here. Remember also that Thursdays I won't be posting. That'll run through December.

Baltimore Tunnel Threat Turns Out to Be Hoax (Democracy Now!)
For the second time in as many weeks, the credibility of an intelligence threat that led to a terror scare in a major metropolitan city in the United States is being questioned. Two major car tunnels were closed in Baltimore Tuesday following information gleaned from an informant in FBI custody. But intelligence officials now say the informant's warning appears to have been an attempt to exact revenge on a Maryland resident he named as one of eight suspects for being involved with his girlfriend. All eight suspects were Egyptian-born Maryland residents. Last week, a terror scare led to a heightened alert and increased security presence on New York City's subways. Officials later conceded the intelligence that led to the threat warning was a hoax.

I'm not surprised that it was a hoax yesterday. I was on the phone with C.I. last night and we both had Mike Malloy in the background. He was talking about how Baltimore was a hoax that didn't scare the nation, the same way NYC was before. (Mike Malloy is radio show host and a really great one. I used to listen to his old show but honestly hadn't listened to his Air America Show which can't be called "new" because he started it around July 2004. It's a good show and a good resource so seek it out if you haven't already. C.I. is the reason I started listening again, so let me pass it on to you since it was shared with me.)

We're growing immune to the terror "alerts." In some ways, that's good. We're living in a world now that the rest of the world has been dealing with for some time. So we should be going about our lives and adjusting to this as a feature of our lives. Where it's bad is that the administration has manipulated the terror warnings so much (including Boston in July 2004) that we no longer take them seriously. It's a good thing to be able to go about your day if you are factoring in what may or may not be a threat. Paralysis will not help you or anyone else. But it's not good to for the administration to manufacture phoney warnings.

Are we adjusting to new realities or are we adjusting to the fact that we're repeatedly lied to?

Chertoff Pledges Crackdown on Undocumented Immigrants (Democracy Now!)
Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff is promising to immediately deport all undocumented immigrants caught in the United States. Chertoff vowed to end the so-called "catch and release" policy that has reportedly allowed 10,000 undocumented immigrants to remain in the country. Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Chertoff said : "If they think that they can come across the border and get released, they're going to keep coming... Return every single illegal entrant - no exceptions." Chertoff made the announcement shortly before President Bush signed the $32 billion homeland security bill. The Associated Press reports the bill includes a large increase in border patrol funding but less money for local emergency first responders and a freeze in transit security funding.

Michael Chertoff should never have been confirmed. Weak, spineless Democrats refused to fight the confirmation seriously. In fact, take out Chertoff's name and leave that space blank:

____ should never have been confirmed. Weak, spineless Democrats refused to fight this confirmation seriously.

Now you have an instant analysis to use at parties if someone should ask you what you think of the new ambassador, the new judge, the new whatever. Until Democrats find their spine, just write the slogan down, keep it in your purse, and pull it out at parties whenever anyone asks you what you think of a recent confirmation.

Michael Chertoff is doing what Republicans usually do. He's taking a problem and reducing it to an individual. As though people come here as individuals, without families. As though people come here just to get a job. Many people, especially coming through Mexico, have been fleeing for various reasons. Historically, our actions in Latin America being what they are, one could argue we have an obligation beyond basic humanity to take in those fleeing since we are often the ones who either created the abusive regimes or kept them propped up.

And the problem is always the individual, never the corporation employing them or locking them in a store overnight to clean it.

It's not that simple. Democrats used to realize that. That's why LBJ's administration pushed The Great Society and FDR's created the safety nets so important to us today via The New Deal.
Some Democrats still realize that. Let me alter that, some elected Democrats still realize that. Non-elected Democrats tends to believe it and endorse it, it's the politicians that want to "triangulate." We are not a gathering of individuals with no connections to one another, we are a society (though Iron Mags Thatcher would disagree).

If we want to increase as a society, we will work to address problems. Chertoff wants to tell you it's all about this person or that person coming across the border to get a job -- "take it away" from an American? It's not that simple.

But Bully Boys need black and white even when their right and wrong view is flat out wrong.

"From Chaos to Conscience to Peace" (Monica Benderman, CounterPunch)
On July 27, 2005, Sgt. Kevin Benderman was found guilty of Missing Movement and sentenced to 15 months confinement, loss of pay and dishonorable discharge. In actuality, Sgt. Benderman's crime was daring to tell the truth, and daring to challenge the very philosophy of the military machine in which he had volunteered to serve, by filing for Conscientious Objection for no longer wanting to participate in war, and for speaking out to end violence as a means of resolving our differences.
Conscientious Objection is not just objecting to war. It is objecting to chaos, to everything about life that keeps it from a peaceful path. War is chaos, but chaos is also war.
Each person is going to have to one day face the process of becoming conscientious objectors in their lives before we can achieve peace. You will not all face the combat zone of war to do this. You may face a war of your own, far from the battlefields that our soldiers now face in Iraq.
As Sgt. Benderman made every attempt to live by his beliefs, his command did everything possible to dissuade him. They went to great lengths to keep him from speaking his truth, and from talking about what he had come to believe about war versus peace.
What was it they were afraid of? Why were they so anxious to regain control of this soldier? Did his declaration of conscience make them think? When he spoke of what he saw, when he spoke of how it made him feel, did they look in the mirror and see the same questions in themselves? Was it their own conscience that made them afraid?
Sgt. Benderman didn't run. He stood his ground and faced down every wanton act of corruption it took from his commanding officers, as they scrambled to create a story that they could all keep track of, and put Sgt. Benderman in jail. He had done nothing wrong, except dare to point out actions that his principles would no longer allow him to be part of. Like little children who cover their ears and hum to avoid hearing that playtime is over, the command was desperate to find a way to imprison the truth to avoid having to look it in the eye.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
Peace begins when the hungry are fed.