Sunday, July 30, 2006

Taking it Eegee in the eegeehood

I am running out of titles and puns! But never fear, neither rain, or sleet nor punnilessness will prevent the Sunday tour from going on! Well, most times.

Anyway, it's that time again and I just know everyone is ready and has on all their Sunday best, so here goes!

I notice people have been wondering what Bud is looking for, in the post right below this one. Well, duh! I know the answer to that! Being the super-duper detective beagle basset hound (who knew!?) that he is, he's looking for the new hoodians who've shown up in comments! Bud tracked them down, sniffed them out, and didn't let them out of his sight... one person even says I'm being followed by a Moonflower, Moonflower...", which I doubt Bud has ever been called! When I tell you that you otherwise know this person as Iowa Victory Gardener, it'll come as no shock that he has... well... Gardening Surprises! (covers Olivia's eyes)... Lots of lovely flowers but, sadly, no bugs!

Also, look it's spiderleaf! She says she doesn't spend all that much time posting on her site, but I know all about being a Bad Blogger and I don't think that should disqualify anyone! What she does write is great stuff.

James (who I somehow forgot last weekend! gasp!) is apparently on the road again and quoting Gandhi. He also welcomes us to history as farce, courtesy of the 21st century. Also a short book review of what looks like a Very Interesting Book!

[UPDATE!] Ductape has important updates and thoughts on what is going on in Lebanon, including the recent Qana massacre.

Train them up in the hate they should show and when they are older... Duke highlights a frightening story of children being taught (by the Boy Scouts!) to be human hunters. The more things change, sigh. Also, immigrants are not to blame for the heathcare crisis.

catnip tells us that all of a sudden, Condi is worried about her reputation. Can't imagine why... also, Lebanon updates. No Sunday Food for Thought yet, though!

Whew, I think it's time for Family Man! You say there's nothing good on TV anymore? Well, um... it's true! Also pictures! And don't look a gift brother in the weed eater.

[UPDATE AGAIN!] boran has put his Saturday Painting Palooza on his site! And it looks like wild horses dragged him there! So now we can follow the progression, yay! Also, speaking of horses... horses heads in pools... ugh.

Oh dear, about Olivia... I don't know what to say! She's gone buggy, she's gone to the birds and now.... well, just go look! Sometimes it IS easy being green, it seems. Also, this little guy needs a Time Out! If that doesn't look just like a kid with its mouth wide open, yelling... And don't forget the bouquet!

Lot's happening at dove's... supersoling gives a little background on why civilians indeed are targeted in wars and dove tells us about the Grocer's Daughter - first in a series. More ongoing conversations there as well, scroll down!

katiebird is talking about successful losers! We all know some of them, although maybe not quite the sort she means ;) . Plus, she has the skinny on bagels and the expanding portion sizes of food! And lots more, including being committed daily. Go read!

I'm guessing an eye in a sailboat... what do you think? I bet deano knows, but he's not telling!

All done! (I think... if I've forgotten anyone, let me know!)

Oh! And this might be a job for the super-duper detective basset hound... domo has confessed to keeping Manny hostage for the weekend! We must rescue him! Come on, Bud!

... Bud? um... Bud? (Looks like Bud is being held hostage too... oh well!)

P.S. Bud has informed me that I Don't Know Dogs! Or flowers, or um... lots of other stuff, sigh. Anyway though, wouldn't a dog by any other name still be as cute?

P.S.S I messed up something or other when changing Bud from a beagle to a basset hound, but I think I got it all put back! Well, as far as I can remember it, lol.

Use this as an Open Thread

Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday Bud Blogging

Immigration News Roundup

Someone give me the red pill, I don't want to know about the matrix anymore. Sometimes it hurts too much.
Rescuers called off the search Thursday for four illegal immigrants believed to have died when they were swept down a flooded tunnel connecting the twin cities of Nogales.

The search lasted more than seven hours.

Rescuers followed the wash about 10 miles north of the border, but could not locate the four and called off the search about 1 p.m., officials said.

"If they are there, they are not alive," Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said. "It's possible the bodies got stuck in the mud and could surface again during another storm. We've found people like that before." - linkage
Ramon Sanchez, a former immigration official is going to get the dishonor of being made a national example. It reminds me of the way dissenters were strung up in the city square during the times of the old west as a warning to others that they better not mess with the status quo.
A former immigration officer was sentenced to 120 days of home confinement for harboring an illegal immigrant, his wife.

Ramon M. Sanchez Jr., a 42-year-old former detention officer with the Department of Homeland Security in Tucson, pleaded guilty Oct. 28 to harboring Flor Lilianan Velasco-Barrera and her 10-year-old son, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Sanchez had been charged with nine counts related to illegally transporting and harboring an illegal immigrant. - linkage (emphasis mine)
And from the crazy whackjob that brought the atrocity Prop 200 to the state of Arizona, yet another hydra-head to kill.
Phoenix officials have approved the ballot language for a proposed initiative that asks voters whether they want city officials, including police officers, to enforce federal immigration laws.


Would "require all officials, agencies, and personnel of the city of Phoenix, including the Phoenix Police Department, to cooperate with and assist federal immigration authorities in enforcing immigration laws within the boundaries of the city." - linkage
Nevada joins the list of states assisting with the militarization of la frontera.
About 130 members of the Nevada Army and Air National Guard leave Saturday for duty along the Arizona-Mexico border as part of Operation Jump Start, designed to keep illegal immigrants from crossing into the United States.


Bush said the mission will free up thousands of officers now on other duties to actively patrol the border. Guardsmen are building fences and conducting routine surveillance. - linkage (emphasis mine)
So much for the line they fed the media that the Guard would only be doing repair work on the Great Wall™ and access roads. "Routine surveillance" mi nalga, I guess that's why they need firearms.

You may now return to your daily schedule of outrage courtesy of Cowboy Diplomacy.

Crossposted at BooMan Tribune

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Stop the Next War Now"

So much for diplomacy.
President Bush declined Thursday to criticize Israel's tactics in its continuing offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon, and gave a sharp condemnation of Iran's role in the bloody fighting.

"Hezbollah attacked Israel. I know Hezbollah is connected to Iran," Bush said tersely at the end of Oval Office meetings with Romanian President Traian Basescu. "Now is the time for the world to confront this danger," Bush said.

[head asplosion]

Finally Some Good News

I can't tell you how much we needed this
Heavy rainfall, between 1.5 inches and 2 inches, fell over large areas near the Catalina and Rincon mountains overnight as well as along portions of Interstate 10. Heavy stream flows can be expected around the Catalina and Rincon Mountains, including Cañada del Oro, Sabino Creek, Tanque Verde Creek, Rincon Creek, Pantano Wash and Cienega Creek.

Heavy rains also were recorded in a large area stretching from Sierra Vista to Bisbee to Douglas. - linkage
It's the type of rain that saturates the parched tierra. When I stepped outside this morning I could smell the scent of the creosote that permeates the desert air when the skies open up and bring the gift of water.
If you live in Arizona you know all too well the sweet musky scent of desert rain. But you might not know that it isn’t the rain you smell at all. The leaves of the creosote bush, one of the commonest desert shrubs in Arizona, give off a thick sweet odor during periods of high humidity or rain. The smell so often associated with rain is actually the creosote thirsting for a drink.
Here's hoping that the renewal of life that comes with the monsoon season rain has the same effect on the human beings who inhabit this earth. We desperately need some positive empowerment, at least I do.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Idle Thoughts

The way we look at the world is determined by what motivates us.

For as long as I can remember, I've always held teachers in high esteem. I was fortunate to have a decent slate of educators throughout my years and found myself fully aware of the impact they were making in my life. And I let them know it. It has created lasting bonds with many of them and I try to keep in touch as the years pass.

I've always said something to my friends that goes alittle something like this: "There are three types of people in the world. The first will go into a situation and make it better. The second will go into a situation and make it worse. The third will go and decide that the status quo is acceptable and disappear into the crowd."

As an imperfect human being, I do an intricate charro dance between the three, but my heart resides in the first type. My communication/leadership style is based on consensus-building and lots of listening. It's also built on awareness that personality plays a huge roll in productivity. The way one interacts/engages with an introvert is very different than when they are working with an extrovert. (I'm a Myers-Briggs ENFJ, in case you were wondering, borderline INFJ)

I'm rambling on and on about this for a couple of reasons. The first was the Mercury Retrograde thread at Village Blue, which explained some of the astronomical hijinks currently in place, and the second was because I've been observing the various blog threads on the current violence erupting in Lebanon and realized that people were offering tons of opinions with very little communication occurring.

How do we break out of that? Is it just a reality that we have to deal with given the fact that we are operating based on the written word of another, or is there a better way? ...just some stuff I've been pondering as the clouds continue to rumble around my head.

Well, and of course, there's always this
An 11-year-old girl crossing the desert with her 17-year-old sister died Saturday, probably of heat exposure, officials said Tuesday.

Officials also found three dead bodies over the weekend believed to be illegal entrants.

Olivia Luna Nogueda and her older sister, Marisol, left their hometown of Acapulco, Guerrero, to cross the border Friday with a group of about 20 people, said Alejandro Ramos, a spokesman for the Mexican Consulate in Tucson.

The girls were hoping to reunite with their parents who were already in the country, working in Atlanta.
If you're into battling trolls, check out the comment section of that article. Absolutely disgusting.

[UPDATE] More idle thoughts: I really wish the "big blogs" in blogtopia (y!sctp!) would spend at least half the energy they do attacking Joe Lieberman on the Republicans that are facing strong challenges. I'm not a fan of Joe, but where's the crossblog effort to get rid of rabid freaks like Jon Kyl? Just sayin'...

Crossposted at the ePluribus Media™ Community site

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cocooned in a morning fog

A cushion of tiny pink and white petals that had been cast off from the fruit trees during the night greeted my first venture outside this morning. California "snow".

I stood in the soft, feathery puddle and peered, not all that hopefully, up at the sky, seeing what I'd come to expect lately... yet more clouds. I've gotten pretty good at telling which ones are full of rain that is just waiting for a signal to fall and drench us yet again, and which are just hovering there as a menacing reminder of what could be.

Feeling a little like I should be writing for the Farmer's Almanac, or one of those people who live in places that have weather, I judged that we would have a day of reprieve from the rain. For the morning, anyway. It was going to be a cloudy day, but fairly clear and dry, in my now expert estimation.

The courtyard of my building was clear so it wasn't until I got nearer to the street and couldn't see the other side that I realized that I'd made a slight miscalculation. While the dreary rain was gone for a time, we'd exchanged it for a nice, thick fog.

And that was just what I needed. Really.

Do you think in pictures and sounds? I do, quite often. Mornings are my time and I find myself taking my cue for the day from what I hear and see in them. Clear, sunny mornings are like tinkling wind chimes. Rainy mornings - drums and cymbals and tap dances. And foggy mornings... a cocoon. As an introvert, I am right at home in the last.

Walking in thick fog is different from other weather because you can -almost - make the real world disappear and create your own. You know the same buildings are there that were there yesterday but, until you get close enough for them to take on form, you can imagine them to be ... well, whatever you want. A pillow, a cloud, a Stonehenge-like structure on a foggy moor, a castle or the seashore. Whatever strikes your fancy at the moment.

What I find most alluring about walking in fog, however, is that while oftentimes everything around me is covered in a heavy, impenetrable mist, the space I am in is clear. I move forward with the haze opening up before me, and closing again behind me - surrounded, enveloped, but not consumed. I look as far ahead as I can and feel as if I am heading towards a deliciously mysterious unknown, but by the time I get there the familiar, solid shapes are right where they are supposed to be.

Once in a while things take over your whole world, and you are completely immersed in being and feeling and interacting, and that's okay. Sometimes. At other times everything seems to just step lightly around you, leaving your world untouched.

That's how it was this particular morning.

I find it distressingly easy to get fanciful when cocooned like this. Harsh edges and sounds are gone, and what I can see and hear is softened, once removed. The rumble of the cars on the pavement, the shouts of the children on their way to school are all still there... but muted. I hear a hum and look down the street, seeing nothing except a slight lightening of the air. Soon headlights appear, growing larger and brighter as they approach, the car an explosion of sound and metal for a few moments as it enters my bubble of clearness before it whooshes on past and I am left watching its tail-lights slowly fade back into the mist.

Across the four lanes, on the opposite walkway, I can make out vague movements, becoming occasionally defined as a person fading in and out through denser or lighter mists, never quite taking on substance or recognition before they are enclosed and are once again outside my view. I see an arm moving back and forth - someone waving at me... who are they and am I who they think I am? Does it matter, on a day like this? I wave back at the blurry figure.

On my side of the street others pass right through my cocoon but don't stay. I hear their footsteps long before their bodies begin to take on substance... usually an almost disembodied head first, then gradually the rest until they eventually enter fully formed into my unclouded area, passing close enough for an exchange of smiles and greetings before they walk past and disappear again into their own cocoons.

When I get to the overpass of the still unfinished freeway, I look down at the beginning and I can see only a very short distance before it too disappears into the fog. It's not until my return trip that I have a different perspective and notice a long, squiggly crack that meanders into the nothingness on the as yet untried highway. I can't tell how bad it is - maybe it stops just beyond where I can see, and will be easily repaired. Nicks and dings and puttied over cracks don't ruin an object for me. I frequently find greater beauty in something that has once been broken and has been restored to continue on doing what it's meant to do than in something that radiates continuous perfection. Still, this crack in the highway obviously is a structural problem that doesn't bode well for the long term. I hope they fix it soon.

Over on the other side, where I can usually see the end of the highway before it curves around, there is nothing. A completely blank shroud of mist, giving no indication that there is even a continuation of anything there. This would be a bit disconcerting except that I know that this is perfectly normal behavior for a cocoon. A suspension of time and place and cares, for a short while.

Cocoons, after all, don't eliminate confusion, or grief, or wars, or politics or anything else that is going on in your world. They just hold them at bay for a time, allowing you to rest a moment in the clarity of your little protected space, which gradually expands as the sun returns to burn away the layers of fog.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monsoon Open Thread

Posting is going to be light this week,
I need to sort through some clouds in my head

The Dictator in Action/Inaction

Newsweek provides an extensive look into George Bush's trip to Russia for the G8 Summit that was overshadowed by the escalation of violence in the Middle East. Here are some portions that caught my interest, giving a further glimpse into how bad things really are under his dictatorship.
After five years of terrorism and bloodshed, crisis has become a way of life for George W. Bush. Back home, he usually has the luxury of managing events in private, with his aides close at hand and world leaders a phone call away. This time it's just the opposite: Bush must respond to the violence in the full glare of a global summit, where the leaders like to take each other's measure in front of the cameras. Over the next several days, Bush huddles with presidents and prime ministers, showing how far he has traveled since 9/11—and also how little he has changed. Bush thinks the new war vindicates his early vision of the region's struggle: of good versus evil, civilization versus terrorism, freedom versus Islamic fascism. He still believes that when it comes to war and terror, leaders need to decide whose side they are on.
Tell that to the family members of the civilians who are massacred in the process. A population that has seen absolutely zero compassion from the U.S. Government's Pulpit of War. They are relegated to collateral damage in a disgusting gamble of power.
Bush has a full day ahead with Putin, but first his aides have a long list of subjects to cover with him. In a prebriefing session they try to cram him with talking points on a vast array of issues. Bush, who hates to get bogged down in the weeds, has heard enough. "How long do you want this list to be?" he snaps. At least he doesn't need to make small talk; last night's dinner has dispensed with that. "It makes it easier to sit down and get right to the subject," Bush says. "You don't have to break ice and establish rapport."
The article describes the many ways that George flubs a few media appearances "not hitting all the bases", it also mentions that the notecards he is given are usually ignored, with the dictator flipping them over and making his own notes. Perhaps a movie will be made in his honor someday: "A Dangerous Mind"
The other world leaders arrive that evening, and the official summit begins with a lavish feast. The dinner is something out of a Fellini epic, staged at the magnificent Peterhof Palace, built by Peter the Great. The scene is a uniquely Russian mix of historical grandeur, political power and touristy kitsch. The Russians offer a seven-course meal including caviar and beef stroganoff (maybe Chirac has a point), served by waiters wearing powdered wigs. Outside, a bear dressed in a green tutu with pink polka dots performs tricks. Inside, Chancellor Merkel starts to tell the story of a rare wild bear that was recently shot and killed in Germany. This prompts Japan's Junichiro Koizumi to reel off every bearlike word in his English vocabulary. "Teddy bear," he says for no apparent reason. "We must bear criticism. Unbearable." The leaders all start giggling.
Yes, you read that correctly: "a bear dressed in a green tutu with pink polka dots performs tricks" - no wonder the world is screwed! The aristocrats are too busy engaging in frivolous fluff while the world explodes around them. This world is grossly lacking leadership, and they sure aren't going to get it from the nuclear superpower, the U.S., because George needs a shower.
That afternoon the leaders are promised they will see the final text of their statement on the Middle East, which calls on Hizbullah to end its rocket attacks and then urges Israel to end its military strikes. But the document fails to arrive at the promised hour of 4, and it's still not there at 5 o'clock. Bush has had it. "I'm going home," he says to the room full of presidents and prime ministers. "I'm going to get a shower. I'm just about meeting'd out." Some of the leaders suggest they should all work out their differences together. But Bush can no longer keep up appearances. "I thought that was a lousy idea and so did others," Bush says later. "It would lose focus and everybody would then have an opinion."
God forbid everyone have an opportunity to further voice their opinions. That type of talk is reserved for a democratic world. As I wrote last week, What a Complete and Utter Embarrasment. I would also add Dangerous to the litany of adjectives. There are others, but I will keep this post as clean as possible under the dire circumstances we all find ourselves regardless of the borders that divide humanity.

Monday Morning Musings

The world didn't blow up over the weekend, but it might as well have; the wars in the Middle East continue with Israel's bombardment of Lebanon continuing unabated and the situation on the ground in Iraq worsens with the death toll rising everyday.

The concept of non-violent resistance has been discussed recently here at this blog as well as others as another path that can be taken to get the global community out of the deadly game of pickle it finds itself. Talking is one thing, bringing it about in real-life is quite another.

This article in the Arizona Daily Star gives me hope that people are getting fed up with killing on a widespread level. While the rally happened in the context of a faith gathering, I believe the notion of peace is something that is, can and should be extended to anyone and everyone, regardless if they are members of a religious tradition.
About 85 Tucsonans gathered Sunday to pray for and remember victims of violence in the Middle East, especially those lost to the growing conflict between Israel and Lebanon.

It was a show of unity between Jews, Muslims and anyone else who wanted to share their frustration or sadness about what's happening on the other side of the world, said Rabbi Shafir Lobb, who leads Congregation Ner Tamid and also is one of three directors of the International Center for Peace.


Dina Afek, an Israeli citizen who has family and friends in Israel, urged the group to continue talking to people with different beliefs.

"Praying will not bring back the dead and the wounded," she said.

Afek, who has participated in the local Jewish-Muslim Peace Walk, which sponsored the event, said it is easiest to talk together in peacetime. During times of war, mistrust and polarizing opinions emerge and friendly disagreements become matters of life and death.

"As Muslims and Jews, we are against all violence," she said. "The only way to solve this conflict has to be through negotiation and diplomacy."

What concrete actions can we take in our lives to help build a peaceful movement from the ground upwards within our circles of influence that is rooted in a full-rejection of the "eye for an eye" worldview?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

If it's Sunday this must be...

Time to see what everyone has been up to! You've probably already met the press, now meet the rest! Ahem.

Well, just for today I'm going be in awe of katiebird's goal of walking NINE MILES today! Go katie! Also, she's having an annniversary of sorts and thinking of new ways to be committed daily! Congrats, katie, you did it! Also using the Hacker's diet and other tools.

deano... art crit. Well, this morning I surfed on over there in a sort of 'pre-check' thing and first thing I came across was a painting that tricked me! I tell how and why my yet to be born career as an art critic has been doomed, in the comments. Also, scroll down, other neat stuff there.

Don't miss Ductape Fatwa's running commentary and updating of the tragedy in Lebanon. Sadly, there is something new to add every day.

You know those twirly things that they give out at birthday parties and fairs? You blow on them and they whirl around.... well, Olivia's got some! Only she calls them something else. Also in pink!

(I just also want to mention that blogger is really, really strange... but I think this is posted on the right site now... if you see this post wandering around the internet somewhere, please send it home! Thanks. sigh)

[UPDATE!] Family Man is speechless! But he uses thousands of words (some with ears!) to tell us so. Also, I'll never look at a sparkling ring the same again.

catnip has running updates of the Lebanon tragedy as well. And she calls foul (on) the words of a progressive blogger. Plus, the Sunday Food for Thought!

You ever get the feeling that the entire right wing outrage factory is a huge money scam? Duke shows us how the Minute Men seem to have forgotten for a minute where they've stashed a million or so dollars. Also, polls look at Hispanic voters.

[UPDATE AGAIN!] Boran gives us a cooking lesson (gumbo, yum!) and a genetically modified food lesson all in one!

Over at dove's the conversations war and peace, speech and responsibility and identity and coalitions and stuff. For now, anyway... who knows where they are headed?

El Ranchero helps keep us updated on events and legislation related to border and immigration issues. Check in from time to time!

Here at Manny's, don't miss the congressional pony show, and photo ops that ignore the humanity beyond the scenery. Well, and Bud. Can't ignore Bud.

All done? I think!

(Use this as an Open Thread)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Congressional Pony Show Aquí en Arizona

I usually take the weekends off from posting, but this picture and related article was enough to send me over the edge.
GOP House Speaker Hastert led a "bipartisan" delegation to the borderlands this weekend to see for themselves what life is like down here. Their ridiculous circus act is nothing more than a political ploy that does nothing to address immigration reform in a comprehensive way. Check this out, if I had written it as fiction, I still couldn't have made elected officials of the United States of America look more ridiculous and incompetent.
In Nogales, the lawmakers spent most of the evening resting before taking a border tour later in the evening.

During the night tour, which lasted about 20 minutes, the delegation visited the Border Patrol's Nogales station.

Agents then took the group about a mile west of Nogales to a site where the Border Patrol had put up vehicle barriers about a month ago.

In the darkness, Hastert and Kolbe scanned the border for a few minutes using night-vision goggles. The tour, scheduled to last an hour and include three locations, was cut short because the lawmakers were tired.

Hastert said it was good to come to the border and "get a dose of reality."

linkage (emphasis mine)

What you got, Speaker Hastert, was a one-sided, 20-minute glimpse of what life is like down here in the desert. Summer heat that is on the rise and setting records, you freakishly disconnected piece of coyote dung. God forbid you take into account the desperation that must be behind a human being's decision to cross the desert to seek some stability for their family. No, you would rather shake your sabre and blame the victim of economic policies. Policies that you voted for, you hypocritical gasbag.

Derechos Humanos had this to say in a Press Release regarding today's window-dressing.
The announcement of a Congressional delegation to visit the U.S.-México border has outraged Arizona communities, who see the action as a one-sided view of a critical issue. Delegates will be discussing border security and the use of taxpayer border enforcement money, yet will not have the opportunity to hear from actual community members who live in affected areas.

“In a time when it is vital that we deepen the national dialogue about these issues that directly affect us, these stealth hearings are usurping the debate, giving the impression that there is meaningful analysis, when in reality they are biased, staged events,” says Isabel Garcia of Derechos Humanos.

True community forums and hearings would be announced with plenty of time to assure that all impacted communities have the opportunity to be heard. Neglecting to do this raises serious questions as to the true motivation behind these hearings. Along with the other “dog-and-pony” hearings, this visit is an insult to those who have serious concerns about border militarization and infrastructure, and continues a dangerous pattern of not addressing accountability issues with concerned communities.
It should also be noted that Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ7), who oversees much of the area toured today by Hastert's band of elitism, was not invited to join their delegation. I'm sure it's because he's an unabashed liberal who understands that human dignity is more important than barbed wire.

Crossposted at AZNetroots

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Bud Blogging

Bud would like to welcome anyone new to the site
(the cheesecake is for everyone to share)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Report from Border Action Network Event

I just got home from the Border Action Network's Fundraising/Campaign Update event. I took four pages of notes and will try to decipher the thoughts expressed with this post. Let me begin by saying that I'm glad to be plugged into a group of people that share my values and are willing to address the hard questions that affect our region/nation.

Tonight's event was held at the Southside Presbyterian Church in the heart of Tucson, it was an outdoor event with roughly 100 participants and featured a catered meal of chilaquillas, frijoles y arroz. There was also music provided by Francisco Robles and a comapañero whose name I missed. They played ranchera music and some activist songs that comprise the heart, the corazón, of events like this. There were translation services provided to the monolingual participants since the presentations were given in both Spanish and English.

The evening began with the meal followed by an address by Jennifer Allen, Executive Director of the Border Action Network of Southern Arizona. She explained that their work's foundation is to insist that the voices of people that are most affected by border policy have a voice in the discussion. We are the ones who live with the consequences of the actions of local, state and national policy, which is why the work is so important. Futhermore, they are organizing to increase the capacity of outreach and mobilization of the people. She cited three specific objectives: skills, space and support.

The keynote for the event was then introduced. Fernando Garcia, Director of the Border Network for Human Rights, addressed the group on the work being done in their region spanning the border regions of Texas and New Mexico. His outline followed three main topics:
  • the situation along la frontera
  • the situation nationally, specifically within the political realm
  • the role of BNHR and immigrants in the community
La Frontera
Sr. Garcia describes the situation as a dramatic crisis - a human rights crisis - that has seen thousands of immigrant deaths in the desert - almost 4000 in the past ten years alone. He made mention that these are our tios y primos, nuestra familia who are dying in search of a better life. There are also countless human rights violations occuring - beatings, illegal detentions, and racial harrasment due to a situation that has gotten out of hand. There is now a growing war along the border with the deployment of National Guard troops along the line in addition to the militarized agency already in place - Border Patrol. Things are getting worse, and Fernando asked the rhetorical question: What can we do to change the reality in our communities?

National Policy
Things have escalated recently, first with the passage of House Resolution 4437 [.pdf link] and continuing with the human rights marches across the country by the immigrant community and their supporters. The bill basically said that the current policies in place were acceptable but also took further steps to militarize the border by changing the rules that govern local police forces - allowing them to make arrests based on immigration status - something historically reserved for federal law enforcement agencies. HR4437 also calls for the construction of more walls along the border, triple-layered walls being the preferred example. Finally, it would criminalize undocumented immigrants, making it a felony to be here with an invalid immigration status. Going further, it criminalizes the actions of anyone deemed a direct supporter of illegal immigrants. Fernando quipped that if the resolution had been passed in an identical form in the Senate yesterday and signed by George Bush, that our gathering tonight would've been filled with felons.

The national debate has characterized undocumented immigrants as lazy, non-contributors to society, drug dealers, etc. - an unacceptable and demeaning labeling of a population that indeed contributes a lot to the United States. The solutions are to either deport everybody, which is unacceptable, or recognize their hard work and accept them into a society that they are an integral part.

Fernando does not believe that legislation will get passed in Congress anytime soon. The majority party is supportive of the anti-immigrant community and it is probably a good thing that they are refusing to move (barring an international incident).

Roles of immigrants and BNHR
There is a fundamental understanding that immigrants deserve a bigger role in the discussion currently raging in this country. They are providing a movement to give immigrants the ability to empower themselves and organize. The framework of the past saw most outreach to the immigrant community through legal channels, providing assistance in the legal process. Many times they were viewed as victims, pobrecitos. This was not a positive way to interact with a community that we care about because it didn't give them the ability to change their own reality. In order to do this we need to organize, educate and build the infrastructure for a movement.

The BNHR began training Human Rights Promoters (Promotores de Derechos Humanos) to begin the discussion that would define the reality they face and to build a movement with the immigrants at the heart of the operation. So far, the BNHR has trained over 200 Promotores, these have become the leaders of the work being done in their own communities.

The Promotores undergo training in these specific areas:
They are leading the distribution efforts of information to other immigrants regarding their fundamental rights as human beings. As more Promotores are trained, they are forming Human Rights Community-Based Committees in their neighborhoods. People are gathering in homes to come together to address the issues specific to their area and solutions to fix them.

Fernando mentioned that this is different than the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s because it will be all-encompassing of Human Rights - health care, education, workers' rights, which move beyond the legalization/citizenship realm that often characterizes the work that BNHR and other groups engage. They are working to build a better society for everyone.

The primary goal is to provide a path to integration within a society that is not racist but based on human rights - to live in dignity with equality. They are building this movement from scratch, using methodologies they have created on their own. He closed with a call to the community for moral and financial support and thanked everyone for attending.

At that point, Jennifer Allen of the Border Action Network (BAN) returned to the mic and gave a short history of their work in Southern Arizona. BAN started in 1999 as an all-volunteer group and in 2001 hired its first staff members. They have focused their work in the Nogales and Douglas areas by knocking on doors and simply talking to people about their reality.

BAN members found that many people felt isolated, targetted and there was alot of fear. The conversations they began allowed the people to step out of their fear so that they could transform their communities through grassroots work. The focus began with local policies but have recently expanded to the national level as immigration issues returned to the debate in D.C.

The goal is to make the policies in our communities stronger and more responsive to the needs of the people. There are approximately 350 families active now in the Border Action Network and they are growing wildly in the current climate. The discussions engaged have been about fundamental values, education on the rights of the people and ways to defend them but also to brainstorm of new rights that would fit within a society based on Human Rights.

Following the model of the BNHR, the Border Action Network of Southern Arizona has trained the first class of Human Rights Promotores. Seven of them were introduced and given time to speak from their hearts on what they've learned and where they feel the work needs to continue. Their graduation will be held on Saturday, August 5th. After the completion of the program, they will be given three month workplans for their specific communities that will help to promote all rights - civil, constitutional and of course basic human rights.

The evening ended with a call for financial support (it was a fundraiser) and they were able to exceed their goal of $500 for the evening. I spoke to one of their organizers after the event and asked him how their summer fundraising campaign is going. They are almost at their goal of $75,000 but still have a ways to go. If you are able, please consider supporting the work of these human rights advocates. They are doing society a great service by empowering people who are in our midst. As a proud liberal, it was a jolt of energy to hear speakers and like-minded activists speak about fundamental needs in a global society. You can donate via their secure website at this link.

To close, I scribbled these words down on my notepad before the event began. There's not much of a rhythm but pretty much depict what's in my heart tonight.
The lines you draw to divide humanity
will never divide the human soul.

Dignidad, justicia y equalidad are what we seek.

Build your walls, send your troops
our people's spirits will not see defeat.

¡Sí, Se Puede!
Crossposted at BooMan Tribune and My Left Wing (probably others later)

Immigration News Roundup

Sorry for the late posting, it has been an insane day.

A follow up to yesterday's post, three more human beings were found in the desert west of Phoenix. Contrary to the demonization done by the enforcement-only harpies, they are in fact human beings. With families. I have little respect for those who spit out "build the wall and kick them out" without taking that fact into consideration.
Three more undocumented immigrants were found Wednesday as sheriff's deputies wrapped up a rescue operation in the desert about 50 miles west of Phoenix.

The three, like some of the nearly 90 others who were rounded up Tuesday, were taken to hospitals for treatment of dehydration and heat-related illnesses, said Sgt. Jim Kempher, a sheriff's spokesman. - linkage
The militarization of the region continues with almost half of the 6000 expected National Guard troops to be stationed here in Arizona. Looks like the human funnel will be shifted elsewhere to more remote regions. Look for a spike in deaths throughout the Las Cruces/Deming, New Mexico areas.

Sheriff Joe and his vigilante posse are in a spat with federal immigration officials.
An ICE spokesman said only federal agents with ICE, the Border Patrol and other U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials are legally empowered to determine who is a citizen and who is in the country legally, which they do through specific interviews and checks.

"An officer must base the determination of status upon either an interview of the subject or through fingerprint comparison with existing records," ICE Special Agent in Charge Roberto Medina said in a July 6 letter to Arpaio. "Furthermore, only federal officers can place detainers pursuant to the (Immigration and Nationality Act)."

State and county law enforcement can't make such determinations about "alienage."
Finally, don't forget that tonight there will be a fundraising dinner for the Border Action Network to help promote an all-encompassing campaign for Human Rights. I'll see you there.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mexican Nationals from Guatemala?

I'm looking for the transcript, but on KUAT-FM today (Tucson's NPR affiliate), I heard the local commentator mention the latest humanitarian crisis involving human smuggling across la frontera.
An air and ground search resumed today in the desert about 50 miles west of Phoenix for possible illegal immigrants who may be stranded.

As many as 100 migrants were found in the area yesterday, many suffering from dehydration and exhaustion from triple-digit heat.

Investigators believe the stretch of desert roughly halfway between Tonopah and Wickenburg was used as a stash area until immigrant smugglers could arrange transportation for the migrants.

Many of the rescued immigrants were from Guatemala.

Seven immigrants and three sheriff's deputies involved in the search were taken to hospitals.

The search for more immigrants was prompted by those rescued yesterday who told deputies that others were still in the area.
The KUAT speaker began the news blurb describing the immigrants as "Mexican nationals", at the tail end of the broadcast then decided to make mention that the majority of people found were from Guatemala.

So which is it? Guatemala or Mexico? Might sound like a trivial detail, but there's enough mis-information already out there and public hostility between the U.S. and our sister country to the south is raging, to provide an understatement.

The Arizona Republic gives a few more details on the situation west of the Phoenix metro area.
There have been reports that bodies can be found beside a tree, but none has yet to be found, Chagolla said.

At least seven immigrants and three sheriff's deputies were taken to hospitals for treatment because of ailments from the triple-digit heat, Arpaio said.

Officers used a helicopter, police dogs and all-terrain vehicles to augment patrols in the search.

Sheriff's Sgt. Jim Kempher said early Wednesday that deputies were pulled out of the desert when it got dark Tuesday. However, they left bottles of water in various spots and posted some deputies in the area until the search could resume Wednesday morning, Kempher said.

Authorities gave water to the immigrants, who were being turned over to federal immigration authorities.

The search area is west of the Hassayampa River and along Wickenburg Road, more than 20 miles north of Interstate 10, authorities said.

Lt. Chuck Siemens, who was in charge of the search operation, said some of the immigrants said they hadn't had water since Sunday and were desperate. "They were bombarding us for water. We passed out water bottles and it was a frenzy," he said.
There is a well-organized network of human smuggling going on everyday throughout the border region. What occurs is a money-exchange south of the border with the coyotes (smugglers) for safe passage and depending on the situation they are either dropped off at locations as mentioned above or "safe houses", many times under lock and key. If you've seen the movie The Gatekeeper, you will get a taste of the slave-like conditions these migrants often endure.

This lifestyle is not solely a Latino-based type of servitude. The Asian immigrant community has their own flavor of labor exchange to gain "freedom" here in the United States. Many are forced to work in the restaurants that most of us frequent when we're hungry for a good buffet.

Buen provecho...

skippy mentions us during a bloggasm

...interview, that is.

one of the reasons skippy the bush kangaroo has my highest respect is because they are all about fostering community in blogtopia (yes! they coined that phrase!). they're not afraid to scan the web for different perspectives, highlighting voices that may get missed at one of the bigger community blogs, willing to cross-pollinate traffic with links. i'm humbled that this site got a mention during their interview with thanks skippy!

simon owens: is it becoming harder and harder for new political blogs to emerge and find readers? do you think your blog would have been as successful if you’d started it much later?

skippy the bush kangaroo: good question. maybe not. but on the other hand, there have been some amazing success stories in the past year, of blogs hitherto unknown, suddenly gaining huge readership. my friend jane hamsher’s firedoglake is now considered one of the major players in liberal blogtopia (yes! i coined that phrase!), and her blog has only been around for a little over a year and a half, maybe two years at this point. also, glenn greenwald, who just started blogging a few months ago, is a must read for most people now. maryscott o’connor’s my left wing is a success story, and she’s gotten a lot of main stream media coverage. i’d also point to man eegee, and down with tyranny, as blogs which are relatively new but have made a big impact, both with quality of work and with readership, in a short time. - linkage to full interview

yes! i changed all the capitals in this post to lower-case!

Pew Hispanic Survey Results

Lefty Latino, another Arizona-based blogger, gives the shakedown on the numbers

A recent national survey from the Pew Hispanic Survey, surveyed 2,000 Latinos across the country to ask them their opinion on the recent immigration debate. The survey found some interesting information.

Some of the points were:
-Latinos are feeling more discrimated against since the immigration debate started early this year
-Latinos are feeling more politically energized
-Latinos are feeling more unified toward a comprehensive immigration resolution
-Latinos feel that Republican Party are to blame for the negative consequences that the immigration debate has caused against Latinos.

Go read the rest of the post for more information from the survey report.

As I said in a comment at LL's site, I hope it's true that there is renewed political energy. The Latino population has historically voted in shameful percentages compared to other demographic groups, but the recent empowerment through grassroots groups and events are the best way to turn that around.

The draconian immigration bills flirted through the Hill are a direct affront to families. When you take a direct hit to the corazon like that, it's no wonder the streets were filled in the Spring. Now the key to blowing back their hateful measures is to make sure we show up in high numbers at the ballot box in the fall.

The We Are America Alliance is working to make that political dream a reality with Voter Registration Toolkits and Workshop Outlines to educate the people. I firmly believe the country will be better off with a more engaged populace. It's common sense.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What a Complete and Utter Embarrassment

That's the best way I could describe George Bush's behavior this past week.

First, he started his diplomatic speechifying with words that could potentially make a violent situation in the Middle East more violent - Shooting out blame to other regional countries via verbal bullets
Israel's war planes began striking Lebanon after Hezbollah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others Wednesday in a cross-border raid into Israel. Since Wednesday, Hezbollah has fired hundreds of rockets at northern Israel.

``The best way to stop the violence is for Hezbollah to lay down its arms and to stop attacking,'' Bush said. ``And therefore, I call on Syria to exert influence over Hezbollah.''

The fighting came at a time of tensions between Iran and Syria and the West. Foreign policy experts suggest that Iran and Syria believe the violence will strengthen their positions in their conflicts with the West and show they hold the key to a settlement of the Arab-Israeli issue.

Although I shouldn't be too surprised that he salivates at the opportunity to raise the tension around the interactions between Iran and the world, there's no reason his stupidity and lack of communication should usher in military escalation. He's done enough damage.

Did I mention he has horrendous table manners?

Not only that, the fool in President's clothing doesn't have the mental capability to check whether or not his blathering rants are being picked up by nearby microphones. Here's the video courtesy of Crooks and Liars.
Bush: What they need to do is get Syria to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit, and it’s over…
I'm not an angel when it comes to colorful language, but this is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES at a gathering of the world's top eight wealthiest/most powerful nations talking like an idiot through a mouthful of buttered bread. It is not a venue where the words "Yo Blair!" should ever be uttered by one of the heads of state. Call me a prude, but there are times for frivolity and this is not one of them.

Ah, but if you think your cringing has come to it's end, fear not, Junior also felt it was an appropriate time to give the female chancellor of Germany a massage. Idealist Pragmatist reviews the cultural no-no's involved with George's little stunt.

Doesn't he make you proud?

[eyebrow raised in disgust]

Crossposted from The Left End of the Dial

Border Action Fundraiser this Thursday

Announcement and Invitation for those of you in the area:
Bringing Human Rights Home:
Communities building a human rights movement in the U.S.

A fundraising dinner for Border Action Network with keynote speaker Fernando Garcia, Executive Director, Border Network for Human Rights in Texas and New Mexico. Music by Francisco Robles. Dinner donated by Papagayo Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Thursday, July 20th -- 6:30 to 8:30pm
Southside Presbyterian Church
317 W. 23rd Street at S. 10th Avenue - Tucson
For more information contact Border Action Network at (520) 623-4944 or
The Border Action Network is hosting human rights schools throughout the region to "ensure the voices of immigrants and border residents are heard from our backyards to Washington, D.C." This is important work and I will gladly support them in any way.

I'm interested in hearing how the speaker will outline ideas to help foster intrastate advocacy work, it's time for our regional voices to be given a louder microphone.

Nat'l Rags Profile Immigrant Impact

First, the LATimes profiles Hazelton, PA
Standing outside City Hall in the gathering dark, Norman Tarantino felt, for once, that he was lucky to live in Hazleton.

Most of his friends had moved away, over the years, convinced that the old coal city's best days were behind it. But as of Thursday night, Tarantino said, Hazleton once again has something to be proud of: It is the most hostile environment in America for illegal immigrants.
That article is dripping with stories of racial unrest. I get alot of heat for throwing the R card around when discussing immigration, but until I see national guard troops deployed and minutemen vigilantes building razor wired walls along the border with Canada, I stand by position.

Next, the Washington Post takes its readership to Dalton, GA in what is described as a "U.S. Border Town, 1,200 Miles From the Border"
The mass migration of Latinos to this corner of northwest Georgia known as the carpet capital of the world has changed the character of everything from factory floors to schools to superstores. On this night, Wal-Mart's ubiquitous TV monitors alternately promoted arroz and rice, aparatos and electronics.


And then there was the longest economic expansion in American history. As buildings rose and homes kept getting bigger, Americans carpeted almost a billion more square yards of floor in 2004 than in 1994, a 50 percent increase. With more than three-quarters of America's carpets made in and around Dalton, a shrinking workforce and 10,000 jobs to fill in a decade, the region was in the grip of a labor vacuum.

And immigration adores a vacuum. Today 40 percent of Dalton, 61 percent of its public school students and half of this region's carpet factory workers are Latino.

I encourage you to take the time to read both articles to get a pulse on where the corporate media stands on the issue. What strikes me is the highlighting of the divisions between the immigrant/Latino communities and their counterparts wherever they happen to find themselves.

Perhaps its different down here, since the roots of the area are more mestizo than anything else, but there is an integration of culture that is a stark contrast to the profiles offered in those two reads.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Blueberry Cheesecake Open Thread

The perfect antidote to a Monday that certainly felt like one

Breaking Free from the Cycle of War

This past weekend I caught a small-venue concert with the group Sunday Afternoon. It was totally by chance that I found myself there, but I'm glad that I was able to hear their music. They're a semi-acoustic rock band that knows how to light up a stage. I bought their latest CD, Something Always Leads You Home and was thrilled to see their lyrics printed in the disc jacket.

Here is an excerpt of the words of Track 8 - Free

Well it don't bother me,
if you roll your eyes-throw your hands
into the air.
I never notice,
Did they turn away, run and hide
So many wounded hours you spend
all alone.
How the colors of sky radiate in your
eye but you never ask why.

I am waiting on the other side,
Won't you let it go and take a ride?
To a place where we all can be,
in the midst of it all we all want
to be free.
Did you ever just want to be the
one to feel free?

Now on with the story,
I was talking about everything that's
holding you down.
Don't downplay the glory,
we all scream and shout in this crazy
one-horse town.
Let's blaze us a new path,
won't you follow me slowly into the sun.
See I won't let you crash,
can you feel it inside everyone?

As with most things, context matters. Given the discussions of the past week on war and peace, I found the lyrics easily resonating with the call for an upheaval of the way we view the world.

The cycle of war is circular. One side offends the other for whatever reason. Bombs and bullets rain like acid and the tit-for-tat continues until someone with integrity steps in from the outside to show both sides that there is a better way. If a cease-fire is attained it is only as strong as the fundamental changes in the mindset of the opposing forces.

If there is a shallow acceptance of the ideals for Peace, then the situation is only one suicide bomb or soldier capture (or blog flamewar) away from total chaos. Justified chaos in the mind of the aggressor. It reminds me of the reality that many people in the U.S. are only one paycheck or one health crisis away from total poverty (I resemble this remark). It can be quite taxing to lay awake at night wondering if the income will be enough to meet all the bills, which includes the need for food.

Do I just lay there and agonize? or do I rethink my behavior on a fundamental level, challenging myself to change things that are within my power? Make lunch instead of buying it everyday, pass on the urge to buy more junk, or perhaps just as simple as putting away a portion of the bi-weekly checkbook for a rainy day fund. Personal accountability - something the leaders of the United States need to be reacquainted with soonest.

Back to matters of war. It is easy to characterize ruminations of Peace and non-violence as divorced from reality or weak, as we've seen repeatedly thrown at us from the neocons, but that is because they are viewing my, and others', worldview on their terms - as forms of rebuttal and confrontation - other manifestations of war - to their worldview. What they fail to realize is that the path we are seeking to blaze together is based on a more fundamental, inner-power that will ultimately lead to that stability and freedom that they love to blast us with using their various propaganda organs.

Squeezing blood from a stone is possible with matters of life and death, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It only takes a healthy imagination and some real leadership based on integrity. We've seen it before. In the past it has won the independence of India, voting and civil rights of women and African Americans in the United States, as well as worker protections and the fundamental right to organize among the agricultural fieldworkers of this country.

Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez didn't change the course of history by making their countries' people feel good about themselves. They were the prophets of their time, calling out the injustices and hypocrisy of an entire society and the need to reform at the deepest levels. They were faced with a multitude of backlash for their views, but the real power in their words were not that they were a rebuttal, a tit-for-tat solution to the ills of society, but rather a call for total transformation.

We need more of those types of truth-tellers today.

Crossposted at Human Beams

"Fighting with Ideas" South of La Frontera

A follow up to last week's post. Hope has been kindled anew.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through the Mexican capital on Sunday to demand a manual recount in the disputed presidential election, led by a leftist candidate who says fraud cost him the presidency.

As a precaution, the Roman Catholic Church canceled Mass at the city’s downtown cathedral as supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador began to overwhelm the central plaza to the sound of firecrackers and bands. Police officials in the pro-Lopez Obrador city government estimated the crowd at 900,000. - linkage
This section of the AP article caught my attention, it stems from comments of everyday citizens on the reasons they have taken to the streets.
“In 1988 we were ready to take up sticks and stones,” she said. “Today we are prepared to fight with ideas.”


School teacher Ezequiel Torres, 53, said Lopez Obrador “represents hope.”
Fighting with ideas. It is a noble cause, one that causes society to rethink the entire paradigm we live within. I find it highly ironic that Mass was canceled due to the gathering of humanity. Don't underestimate the influence the Church still has in Latin America. As a practicing Catholic, I've always viewed the Mass as the same thing that occured in that city square this weekend - a gathering of humanity. I guess the people have decided to give Liberation Theology some new life despite the direct attempts to stifle/reject it by the Vatican.

Sometimes Enough really is Enough. And somewhere, perched on a cloud not far away from the memory of the people, Oscar Romero's spirit smiles at the actions of his Mexican brothers and sisters.

[UPDATE] Arcturus points us to John Ross, over at Democracy Now, who is reporting over 1.1 million citizens hitting the streets this weekend to demand an electoral process based on integrity. You can listen to the segment via the linkage.

Also, catnip emailed me an article from with this picture

The article includes details of a Monday morning call from AMLO for widespread demonstrations of dissent.
A campaign of civil resistance by leftists to force a recount in Mexico's disputed election will start this week, their leader and presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday.

Lopez Obrador announced at a huge demonstration on Sunday that his followers will take up civil resistance but he has refused to give details of what actions they will carry out, other than to say they will be peaceful.

¡Vaya! :-)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday "pat, pat, pat" Tour!

It's that time again, where we wander the breadth and depth of Eegeedom, seeking out pearls of wisdom here, a laugh there and something to think about everywhere.

It's been a rough week... in the news, on the blogs, and in many ways, but there is some good news!

XicanoPwr is back home, and his grandmother has rallied and is like the phoenix, rising from the ashes! He also makes some very good points about healthcare in this country for those who are voiceless.

katiebird is also talking about healthcare, as well as ladders and mini meals! And, she's looking for feedback on being as strong as she needs to be. I, in my impartial and disinterested way (cough) think it's pretty cool! Let her know what you think.

Duke once again breaks it all down for us, this time about Republican schizophrenia. Okay, okay...not all of it... schizophrenia on the immigration issue. Also, somewhere I think I read he had a fairly recent birthday? If so, Happy Late Birthday, Duke! Or early, as the case may be.

[UPDATE!] James is gone again, but he's left us weekend reading on a big word! Lots of stuff there... scroll down.

Ductape has some somber words and pictures that defy description, defy excuse.

The second art piece in a row that I can tell what it is! deano is back (but busy) with more to see!

In which Family Man puts a can of pineapple on his porch and declares... "I am the goat!" Also, Family Mom code talking.

Aha! skippy thinks they get to choose which stories are highlighted on the tour. Little does he (they?) know, but just because someone writes a wonderful eulogy for Red Buttons, doesn't mean we'll point to it. So there.

[UPDATE AGAIN!] Okay guys, this is the thing... Olivia has gone to the birds! Also, poppies every which way, including up. Well, every which way except that way, so don't even think it!

dove has a couple of ongoing conversations that have people's heads spinning (but no pea soup, I promise!). And one where words just don't seem enough.

Our own Manny also has (what should be) an ongoing conversation, right here, on the political will for peace. Once we find (or create) that, the rest will fall into place. Pretty much.

[UPDATE THE LAST! i think] Boran is preparing for an invasion! But not by ordering pizza.

And I have to tell you about catnip. It's like this... she... she... well, she doesn't have a Sunday Food for Thought! There, I got it out. Whew! But... she does have running updates on the tragedy in the Middle East, and lots of news besides. Scroll down, lots of stuff!

[UPDATE SORTA IN THE MIDDLE BUT NOT REALLY!] catnip has done a very thought provoking Food for Thought!

ILJ has a podcast interview with Brooklyn's Progressive Conscience that sounds interesting, along with information about a much watched congressional disctrict race going on there.

All Done! (maybe)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Call Louise (Saturday Thinking out Loud thread)

I'll get to the political stuff, I promise. Just not today. I'll take keyboard in hand and slice and dice right wing tropes and memes into confetti. I'll chatter on about Social Security, Iraq, Iran - will we or wont we?, sex, lies and Gannongate, and the crooks and liars of the right. Just not today. They'll all still be there tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that. Isn't there some saying, "and the freaks will be with you always"?

The good, now... well, sometimes they die young.

When my brother died a few years ago I found a to-do list in his wallet, on a tiny piece of paper. The first or second item on the list, written in darker ink and larger than the other items, so that it drew the eye was: Call Louise. I don't know why, and I don't remember doing it, but I must have put the list in my purse or pocket, because I somehow wound up taking it home with me.

I've moved a couple of times since then, but that little list always goes with me. I don't keep it in any special place, or anything. I'll be tidying up the house and see a small scrap of paper on the floor, or on top of the dresser, or in my purse or... well, just about anyplace. Naturally, I pick it up and while it may sometimes be a receipt, or a just a stray piece of nothing, sometimes it's the to-do list. I'll open it, read it, and then set it back down on the table, or in a drawer. I don't know why I don't just throw it out. I would say that it's because it's in his own writing, and I want to keep that, but I have other things he's written out by hand, entire stories even.

I guess it doesn't really matter anymore why I keep the list. I don't know who Louise is, although I hope he did call her and didn't wait. But now, the list has become my little talisman... and Louise? We'll, she's become everyone that is close to me, and everything I need to get done. I only find the list every few months or so, and when I do and see 'call Louise" I make sure to set aside a time to to give my old mom a little extra attention, and to call my other brothers, my daughter and other family and friends.

The good old Fabric of Life is full of those little tendrils that weave in and out of your existence, some leaving little impression, others becoming a treasured part. And sometimes one breaks off and floats away, leaving a huge hole in the fabric, before you are ready for it to go. If you ever are.

I don't know how to end this. I guess I'll just say... when it's time to call Louise, don't put it off. Everything else will still be there tomorrow.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday Bud Blogging

Attack dog or allergy attack?

Treating "the Illegals" Like Livestock

Oftentimes the words I speak are harsh and cynical, and I sincerely wish that in the future [some of] the things I say would never see the light of day. For example, last week in passing I wrote the following:
Then again, the Minutemen are thugs who probably denote equality to the terms "Mexican livestock" and "Mexicans".
Hardy har. Those extremist vigilantes, look how far out into wackoland they are! Surely a member of the United States Congress wouldn't agree.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) went on the House floor on Tuesday to discuss a fence that he “designed” for the southern boarder. (King constructed a model of the fence as he was speaking.) King’s design features a wire electrified “with the kind of current that would not kill somebody.” King noted that “we do this with livestock all the time.” Watch it:

ThinkProgress has the transcript in addition to the video link posted above.

Someone make the idiocy stop. Please. I've had enough. Haven't you?

If you have, start supporting the Border Action Network or We Are America Alliance who are railing against this widespread extremism. Attend a meeting, send donations, DO SOMETHING, to help end the demise of human rights along la frontera.

If you're more inclined to use the political process, here's the webpage for Joyce Schulte (D) who is opposing madman minuteman congressman Steve King in November. His viewes are dangerous and outrageous. I'm sick of him and his ilk.


[UPDATE] Duke1676 in the comments lists other reprehensible actions by Republican Rep. Steve King. Also, Prog Dem shares the link to their homepage

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Political Will for Peace

It has been a long time since there was widespread political will in the United States for the things that many liberals hold dear - equality, diplomacy, fiscal responsibility, etc. For those of you who are into facts and documentation, look no further than the elections that have been held recently in this country at all levels, as well as the waffling that has been done by Democratic candidates and politicians.

The Democrats were trounced in the 2002 and 2004 elections because they refused to take an unabashed position on matters of war, specifically the War on Terror™, which the Republicans have repeatedly conflated to include Iraq no matter how much the lefty community might disagree. Sure there were other factors on the domestic front, but those two elections were more dependent upon foreign policy in my opinion.

George Bush is not a leader. He never has been. A leader is someone who will take into consideration the diversity of opinions that exist among the people he or she leads. That has never been the modus operandi of this particular government. He surrounds himself by advisors and audiences that agree with his positions, allowing him to shore up the self-sufficiency he needs to keep doing what he chooses. That is not leadership, it's dictatorship.

Bush's air of confidence is unnerving to those of us citizens who abhor his actions and worldview. But what are we supposed to do when leaders who are supposedly on our side flinch with timidity and open themselves up for ridicule and descriptions of weakness? Kerry got labeled a flip-flopper because he acted like one. I grew to like Senator Kerry, still do, but that is because I was able to do more indepth research on the differences between his positions and George Bush's maniacal reign. I have to say, there were fewer differences on policy than I would like, especially as it regards war and the U.S.'s involvement in the world.

For the uninformed, in my opinion lazy, voter; they had a choice between a steely resolved person (Bush) verses another candidate who spent more time talking through an answer than actually answering it with conviction (Kerry). That's why we are dealing with a second term presidency at this moment.

And throughout all of that fluff, where were the steely resolved candidates for peace? I'll tell you where they were, they had been banished to the radical and marginalized minority of the left by our own party, let alone the electorate. People like Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley-Braun and Al Sharpton who no matter how much their positions resonated with a liberal/diplomatic worldview during the Democratic primary debates, they were never seen as viable candidates. Why? Lack of political will and a vile mixture of sexism and racism thrown in for good measure. Those exist in bi- and non-partisan forms.

So here we are today, watching as the situation in the Middle East explodes in the metaphorical and physical sense of the word. Liberal Catnip has been all over this story, I encourage you to start at the top and continue reading as she documents the media response to the flagrant warmongering by Israel as well as the continually abhorrent actions of the Bush Administration.

Hypocrisy and continued support for the forces of war.

The only path that will lead us down is a guarantee of more death and instability. The wheels are already loose on the global wagon and I fear we are coming to a point where they are going to start flying off and true chaos will emerge. A very dark vision to have, but also one that squares with what I see on the t.v. screen, in the newspapers and on NPR.

It is becoming increasingly apparent to me that society is going to have to hit rock bottom before we, all or a majority of us, come to realize that there is a cancer in the U.S. that infects the way we interact globally. Boston Joe, a diarist at BooMan Tribune, speaks for me on this when he responds to a friend's question whether he has forgotten what happened on September 11, 2001.
But to begin to fight our way back to that path of peace and justice, I think we individually may have to do exceptional things. We may have to risk friendships in order to tell the truth as we see it. To beat back what is a nationalistic furor. There are reasons why we lost people on 9/11. And from my own observation of the attitudes of my fellow Americans, I do not believe that most have even begun to examine those reasons in any depth.


We are being easily led. In an ongoing war. And perhaps into new wars. And to continuing occupations. And to covert actions to secure our rights to BigMacs and SUVs. I submit to you that it is our own nationalism and militarism that is leading us to a day when our children may well see the mushroom clouds of this administration's imagination.

No. I have not forgotten.

linkage - a fantastic and hard-hitting piece

As I've been saying recently, the status quo is not something I support. We need a major paradigm shift to occur in order to see a stable situation based on diplomacy and the pursuit of the common good. Since it is not being led by the political realm, look for my involvement to be more with grassroots groups and coalitions who are working to grow an electorate that views human rights and peace to be a more acceptable status quo for the future.

I am not ashamed of my liberal views. It is time where none of us who hold them should be. The propaganda will no longer work among a populace who holds those ideals in the deepest part of their psyche. Plant the seeds now and who knows, perhaps we'll see some blooms in the coming years that are worthy of remembrance. Blooms that are not fertilized by the blood of others.

Crossposted at Human Beams

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Report: Human Rights on the Border

elRanchero has posted a link to the newly-released report that outlines the conditions surrounding la frontera.
The Border Network for Human Rights has submitted a comprehensive border report last week to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (which is meeting this month in Geneva). This report summarizes the years of human rights documentation done by the Border Network and allies.
Here's the link to the full post. I will comment more this evening after I've finished reading it and have some time to think about its implications.

Feel free to use this as an Open Thread.

Regarding Anti-Americanism

Yes, I'm going to go there.

For the past, oh I don't know, five'ish years the neocon wing of the United States has ramped up it's media fire expending energy on how unpatriotic and anti-American the citizens of this land were who didn't support every single thing that George Bush and his War Council decreed.

Whether it was the invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq, or the suspension of the Geneva Conventions for detainees which led to widespread torture at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and the rest of the sinister web of secret prisons operated in the name of "freedom" (btw, that decision was publicly reversed today, thank GOD for tiny steps in the way of justice), or the fact that we have a fundamental problem with warrantless wiretapping of citizens, or racial profiling when it comes to airport screening or even just ordering pizza; so much vitriol has been flung at us that we're being "soft on terror" and un-"American."

It has been a deliberate campaign to divide the country enough to spray the liberal message of diplomacy and non-violence with such a foul stench that who would ever in their right mind choose to follow such a group of traitors? [sarcasm alert] That's how elections are won based on the blood of others.

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State.

Citing calls by progressive groups to respond carefully to the attacks, Mr. Rove said to the applause of several hundred audience members, "I don't know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt when I watched the twin towers crumble to the ground, a side of the Pentagon destroyed, and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble."


When the conversation is framed in such a way, it's no wonder that there is disillusionment on the left. We don't control the propaganda, we don't control any branch of the government, we can't seem to get our candidates or elected officials to "speak for me!!!", the deck is stacked against us. But. And this is probably the But that gets me most in trouble: We are not off the hook for the current reality that faces us.

I have been arguing over the past several days in threads here, here, and here for a position that deeply pains me to have to take. One that is totally at odds with current policies of my government and the electorate. The position that we as the United States have absolutely, unequivocably, less-than-zero chance in hell no matter how hard I try to bend my brain to conceive it, any fundamental right to intervene in another nation's affairs without said country's full consent or support of an international consensus. None.

I am a student of peace and nonviolence. Period. I don't pretend nor delude myself into thinking that this is a widespread headspace for people to be in. Nor do I think I'm being delusional when I say that I think there needs to be more people like me in the world. If we as a liberal community are going to advocate for Peace, then why should we stop at a convenient place to say, "okay, that's enough Peace, we need to reserve some wiggle room in case there is a time in our future where we will need to not be Peaceful" ??? As I wrote to a fellow Accidental Activist yesterday:
sit, my friend, the world has enough people willing to do violence, it is the non-violent pacifist group that could use some nurturing and growth. Each time we've flexed our muscles as a group, the progressive/liberal agenda has made the most progress and human rights given a well-needed shot in the arm. We hold up people like MLK, gandhi, Cesar Chavez, and dare-I-suggest Cindy Sheehan in high esteem around here everyday. Speaking from what I've read of the first three, the non-violence they suscribe to has no limitations. I strive for that, I may never reach that level of certitude, but I'm willing to go down the rabbit hole to find out what's on the other side. I suspect it's Peace.
There have been some rather viscious reactions to my statement of principles. And this is coming from people who are within the realm of lefty-hood. But here's the skinny, I am unapologetic that I will refuse to mount that slippery slope that ultimately leads to extremism as displayed by the comments I linked above that came from Karl Rove and the podium of the top level of my government.

I don't think the people who hurled those insults in my direction over the past couple of days are anywhere near that point of extremism, in fact I know they're not, but I do know that they are on an opposite side of a slippery hill, and at the bottom of theirs leads to the world of Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. I am not willing to go there. Everyone has their part to play in this complicated world that surrounds us. I have never been a soldier nor a fighter, it is not in my nature. I can accept that there are people in my midst who will be inclined to be the soldier or fighter, but it doesn't mean I have to like it or agree with it. And I would appreciate it if they allowed me the same freedom to hold my point of view of unyielding nonviolence without resorting to telling me to go throw myself in the middle of a civil war zone in order to call them in the morning.

With all of that said, I am not anti-"American", I am anti-status quo. Which I think all, or at least most, of the readership of lefty blogtopia (y!sctp) can say united with confidence. Just because we may have a different reading on the history of the United States does not mean that any of us have higher or lower moral ground than the other. It is a difference of opinion. It has been painful to have labels flung in my face, especially when there are friendships involved, but how else are we supposed to tackle the problems of our world if we are not willing to accept that there will be disagreement?

The conversation that has been raging is just a shadow of the same one that is being waged on a macro level within the U.S. There are bitterly divided factions of citizens and politicians that refuse to stop their bickering and bumper-sticker mentality to sit at a table and have an honest discussion about where our country has been and where it is headed. It's no wonder, it is a terrible thing to have to face one's demons with enough strength left afterwards to banish them forever and work towards a mutual common good. If we can't even do that on a blog within the liberal/progressive community, how do we expect it to happen among the electorate? Here's hoping that the dialog will continue regardless of where people find themselves on this full moon Tuesday night. I know that I am willing to listen still and hope that others will do the same.

[UPDATE] I just reread this post and realize that my voice of compassion that also exists within me is lacking. Just because I hold this non-violent/pacifistic view does not mean that I don't see where the other points of view are coming from. I have a best friend who has done a couple of tours in Iraq. I don't have any siblings and will go so far as to say that this airman is like a brother to me. It may not be the exact same thing as having a brother, but nonetheless, the bond I feel with him is akin to what I could conceive as being brotherhood.

The last time I had a really good cry. The kind of gut wrenching, heart-trembling sobs that comes when one is hit with some of the hardest emotions was on Thanksgiving night last fall. It was because he was getting ready to leave on his next tour and did not want to leave. His marriage was in question, his two toddler-aged children were thrown into the mix, and he was caught between a rock and hard place that I could never conceive as someone who has never felt inclined to be a member of the military.

All I can say is that I am capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time, tackling my personal code of nonviolent ethics with reasoning towards a military culture that I view in my world, my country and my personal life. We are more complex than we are able to show through the mere written word and with that realization I have hope that the labels or characterizations we throw around at individuals we meet in the online realm are seen as exactly as they are: only shadows of the complex, real person behind the screen and keyboard.