Friday, December 23, 2005

"Peace is the favor you do that you're not required to"

I'm blogging. I'm at Mike's for the holiday weekend. Mike and Nina picked me up at the airport and quickly got me in a better mood. I've had bad flights but this one truly was a nightmare.
That was from the woman on my right who apparently used an entire bottle of perfume before getting on the flight to the man on my left who played the very old, very tired line of "Don't I know you?" and continued to strike out with a plethora of old lines throughout the flight.

There seemed to be some confusion over my repeated statement of "I'm not interested." Apparently that can also be read as, "I'm playing coy. Please continue to annoy me." It got so bad that the flight attendent took pity on me and moved me to another section. (For which I've already written a note of praise to the airline that I'll attempt to mail tomorrow. I would do that at any time but this is an especially hard time for flight attendents and for people in food service so if someone takes the time to go out of their way to assist you, please consider dropping a note of thanks so that they stand a chance of recognition for going above and beyond their job standards. Do it as soon as you can because, if you're like me, you may end up putting it off until "later" and then never getting around to it.)

The McKinnons have a very warm and welcoming home. Let me note again my thanks for their opening up their holiday to include me.

Report: NYPD Planted Undercover Agents At Protests, Rallies, Vigil (Democracy Now!):
The New York Times says it has obtained videotapes that show the New York Police Department conducting surveillance by planting undercover officers at anti-war protests, bike rallies, and even a street vigil for a dead cyclist. The officers held protest signs, held flowers with mourners, rode their bicycles and videotaped the people present.
In one case, the faked arrest of an undercover officer at a demonstration outside the Republican National Convention led to a serious confrontation between riot police and bystanders that led to the arrest of two people. The bystanders had shouted "Let him go!" The Times says the tapes show at least 10 undercover operatives taking part in seven public gatherings since the Republican Convention in August 2004.

I'm noting the above item and only one tonight due to the late hour.

How does that happen? The tone gets set from the top. The Bully Boy created an environment hostile to civil liberties. The public was the enemy. That didn't start with encouraging government agencies to treat information requests in a manner that wouldn't have flown in the Clinton years.

The news is not that shocking in light of the Bully Boy's own attacks on civil liberties and spying which may be the worst thing of all. We may be so used to the outrage that it is now the norm.
This is how torture and all of the other things Bully Boy's inflicted upon the nation in our names harms us as a people. It's obvious how it harms our image in the eyes of the world. It's obvious how it harms our own troops should they be captured in a future war. But what it does to the people in this country is lower all of our standards.

We build up a tolerance for the outrage and after awhile it may take something even more shocking to arouse our sensibilities and sense of outrage. If your next door neighbor moves in and blasts music around the clock so loud that the windows shake, you may be irritated and outraged. But if the music continues to blast at annoying level but not so loud that your windows shake, you may see it as an improvement. We do develop tolerances.

That's why it is very important to speak out when you can. If you don't speak out on this, you may stay silent on the next thing and the thing after. What's done in our name, is done in our name. Bully Boy doesn't represent the nation's feelings or attitudes by acting upon them; however, as a figure head, he can set the tone.

If torture and spying on Americans doesn't rouse you to find your voice, nothing may. The country stands for something and what it stands for today is so far from what we always hope our nation will represent.

Be sure to read C.I.'s "NYT: 'New York Police Covertly Join In at Protest Rallies' aka Jim Dwyer tries to cover what didn't interest the paper in real time" which puts into perspective both the New York Times' previous lack of interest and the fact that Democracy Now! actually covered the events that the Times is only now aware of.

Tonight/this morning's peace quote is mine. I am tired so the wording isn't all it should be. But I really did appreciate the flight attendent's help this evening.

"Peace Quote:"
Peace is the favor you do that you're not required to.