Monday, September 24, 2007

Justice in Jena -- It is truly the tragedy of this land that the issues of race still assault our national consciousness. How can it be that some four hundred years after the first slave ship deposited its human cargo, after the dehumanization of slavery itself, after a civil war to end it which took over one half million lives, the malignancy of this issue still burns brightly?

Who said what to whom in Jena may never be known with absolute surety. What is known is that a black young man needed to ask permission to sit under a simple tree. White youths decided they thought it would be funny to throw some nooses around that tree just in case the young black men who sat under the understood whites only tree did not know what their place REALLY was.

Those nooses hanging around that tree and the white boys who put them there began it all. Those nooses meant something and those boys knew it. Now the jack boots of neo-Nazi and Klan sympathizers defile that land as the mayor thanks them for their support and the tree no longer lives. There must be metaphor in that. Those boys who hung those nooses deserved a much stiffer penalty but received very little. It is de ja vu all over again and justice in Jena and in this nation is still is looking for a home.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I sent this to PBS after viewing an exceptional Bill Moyers Journal about Rachael Carson, one of the first environmentalists who made environmentalism a household word with the publication of her 1964 best seller Silent Spring. It was a wonderful broadcast. If you want to know more about it go to the PBS web site or look to see when PBS will rebroadcast the show.

Yet again Bill Moyers presents a riveting documentary about Rachael Carson a gentle woman who, in her gentleness in the 1960's, hit mankind over the head with a wondrous truth illuminated in her book Silent Spring. Man is slowly, through his technological and chemical genius, destroying the most genius creation of all -- earth itself. Man through his unbridled conspicuous consumption and desire to eliminate his perceived enemies is upsetting the evolutionary balance of nature through the endless toxins, pesticides and insecticides he produces.

I am a child of the 50's and live in the same home on the same street at 58 years old that I did at 9 years old. I have seen things and people come and go. I have seen at 9 years old a dump located close to my house which spewed and belched its poison for decades. It was silenced not that long ago and has recently given way to the most modern recycling center. I have Rachel Carson, I think, in part, to thank for that.

Many of the people who occupied my street when I was young have died. Too many, I think, (including my own father) of cancer. I wonder in my uneasy sleep at night if, perhaps, that smoke which coughed so many years ago was the unobtrusive murderer of them all and will ultimately work its biological dark magic and be responsible for my death too. Time, I suppose, will tell. Thank you, Bill Moyers, for bringing this phenomenal woman and her contribution to life again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Greenspan or Gates: I do not see why the analysis of whether we went to war in Iraq, as Greenspan said, for oil or, as the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says, because of WMD, has to be an either or scenario. We went to war in Iraq for both and for many other reasons as well. There is no question that the Middle East holds special import for US policy. It is a region like none other for the obvious oil reasons. Combine that fact with the reality of 9/11, the Bush penchant for war and one had a special brew ready to ignite. The US probably invaded due to a plethora of reasons some of which were buttressed by the occurrence of 9/11, some of which were based on fear, some because of neocons philosophic fantasy and some because of the strategic oil importance of that region. Many on team Bush wanted the footprint of the US there to the ensure oil lines keep flowing, profits keep generating and to guard against any real or fancifully perceived terror threats. Some others, too, had pipe dreams of a democratically metamorphosed Middle East.

Were those reasons rationally correct to risk blood and treasure? Senator John Warner perceptively asked is the war in Iraq keeping us safe? I believe the Iraq invasion was a grievous error. Not only are we not safer but we are more at risk. There are Al Qaeda in Iraq where there never were before the invasion. We know, Hussein had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 nor did Iraq have anything to do with the emergence of new Al Qaeda terror cells before Gulf II. We have opened up a potpourri of insurgent groups, terrorists and unsavory characters who would and will do us harm when the opportunity to do so arises. We also have let loose a hornets' nest of many thousands of angry Arabs all over the world lying in wait for the possibility of avenging the west's occupation on their perceived holy land.

The oil would have kept flowing as it always had after the first Gulf war without an invasion of Iraq again. We could have fought the real terrorists, caught Bin Laden, and kept watch on the Hussein modus operandi at the same time which we had been doing for many years before the Gulf War II. The IAEA could have continued to monitor their nuclear capacity. The terrorist threat would have been containable. If we did not invade, we see in hindsight, we would have saved 4000 American lives, avoided the physical destruction of so many more lives, saved billions maybe trillions of dollars, and we would have rescued the lives of thousands of killed, maimed and displaced Iraqis. If only team Bush were honest before the war ensued. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Tears: It is said the president cries a lot? Think of how many of the fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives, friends, children cry for those whom they have lost because of his vile decision, misplaced anger, fraud and deceitfulness to invade a country which did not attack us. Think of all the tears and if he sheds a thousand and one more it will never be enough for the millions shed for those who have died and bodies he has ruined. He has sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind — tragic, disastrous, an unbelievable fiasco of unparalleled naivete and stupidity was unleashed by him. However many tears he sheds it will never be enough to account for the masses of bodies and uprooted human beings destroyed because of him. It can never be enough. Never. I shake my head and I am sad. I am sad for our soldiers, I am sad for their families, and I am sad for our country yet again, one more time sadness upon sadness never to be forgotten and etched in the stone of historical hubris forever.