Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's been awhile, but I'm feeling the need to get back into the habit of writing. It's such a worthwhile use of my time, even if not the most productive, per se. Helps me stay centered & really focused on the things that matter most in life.

I'll just say that I had a really nice afternoon. I spent it wandering up in the hills above Oakland & Berkeley. Took the dogs with me and we did some hiking (they loved it), drove all over up near the ridge, found Tilden Regional Park, which is pretty expansive & incredible, and got a lot of fresh air.

I've been in a bit of a funk- trying to negotiate the beginning of the rest of my life. A lot of question marks have been where I wish there were more definites. I think getting my head into a more focused centered state, which I've been attempting to do, is helping a lot. More calm within.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

[VIDEO] Timely Dialogue about Anti-War Movement...

I came across this RT conversation about the past, present, & future of the Anti-War movement, and it is incredibly insightful.  I hope you will take a few minutes to watch it & take heed.  I am new to the anti-war movement, and I have definitely turned off by the ideology & rhetoric of some.

If this 'movement' is going to become a movement, it's got to be a popular movement.  As long as we keep marginalizing ourselves by latching on to every fringe issue rather than digging in to the opposition to WAR, we're going to be the lonely group of idealists.  We need to concentrate on appealing to everybody.  Conservatives, libertarians, liberals, communists, etc. always declare a general opposition to war but when we try to join together, the ifs, ands, or buts of the situation cloud the picture.

http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2011/05/08/the-future-of-the-antiwar-movement/

I think this is a very serious conversation that needs to be had amongst ourselves (Across all the various organizations) & reconciled before we can effectively move forward.  10 years into these wars, something is not working.  Resigning ourselves to a state of futility at the lack of a draft or some other catalyzing force is not going to help.  We have to adapt to the situation at hand and look beyond the vaunted & ineffective methods from the Vietnam era.  The media has done a superb job at de-legitimatizing & stereotyping anti-war activists.  We need to work around these obstacles in a unifying way.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

...And Now for the Truth: Norway Attacks Expose U.S. Media’s Double Standard on "Terrorism"

Glenn Greenwald: Norway Attacks Expose U.S. Media’s Double Standard on "Terrorism"

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/7/26/glenn_greenwald_norway_attacks_expose_us

Saturday, June 18, 2011

'Vietnam Revisited'

Great episode exploring the legacy of the US war in Viet Nam.


Vietnam Revisited: A CBS5 Special Report from Vietnam Reporting Project on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Birth of an anti-war activist.

Was conversing with some other vets online, and this is what came out:

I don't regret my service, it has allowed me to see the military for what it is. The good is the people in the military. The bad is the people & institutions behind the military. I was a pawn. We all were.

I've come full circle and now I find myself vehemently opposing war. I do it not for my own vengeance, but for people like my kid brother who keeps getting deployed, as well as for the best people I've ever known who also keep getting deployed. I do it for the people of the countries our men & women are deployed to. I am an advocate for veterans. I work all the time for veterans' issues. I departed the military wanting nothing to do with it ever again. Then I increasingly saw what was happening to our military & military veterans.

I've become an activist. When I joined nine years ago I wouldn't in a million years expect to be where I am now.

I signed up the week before 9/11. I joined the military, completed 2 years of schools, and was pursuing an officer commission. I planned to remain for a long long time. 

My change of heart is due to my hunger for knowledge & my reading habit. I know now that much of the US' actions veiled with flag-waving patriotism are machinations of empire. I am an anti-war activist because I value my country, countrymen, & family. I am now atheist but I was brought up in a Christian household and the ethical values still remain. I took an oath to support & defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign & domestic. I abhor the disgusting balance of power & money that is running our country into the ground.

I'm active with Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War. I know the history of the FBI and the things they have done to anti-war activists. But I can't live honestly with myself unless I speak for my beliefs.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

WikiLeaks and the Media

From Glen Greenwald (Salon.com):

"I participated yesterday in a panel on WikiLeaks and the media at the National Conference for Media Reform in Boston. The entire panel discussion, moderated by Amy Goodman, can be viewed below; my presentation -- focusing on the reaction of the establishment press to WikiLeaks and the reasons why the controversy is so important -- begins at the 54:45 mark, and there is an interesting Q-and-A session that follows. Now that I'm home, regular posting will resume tomorrow or Monday."


Watch live streaming video from freespeechtv at livestream.com

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Congressman Peter King, Islam Witch Trial video from C-SPAN.

"The Extent of Radicalization" Among American Muslims

'The Hill' article rightly admonishes 'Muslim Trials'.


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Pete King's hearings ignore extremism in a different hue

By Karen Finney 03/10/11 01:19 PM ET
It’s ironic that today on one end of Pennsylvania Avenue we have a White House summit on bullying, which, as my MSNBC colleague Jonathan Capehart points out, is focused on addressing the problem in its full scope, tools that are available to students, teachers, administrators and parents, and fostering understanding about how this happens and identifying effective solutions. Yet on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, there is a bully who also happens to be a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, abusing his power and the platform it provides to promote racism, bigotry and hate, rather than understanding the full scope of the problem and identifying solutions. 
 
Recent discussions about Rep. Pete King’s (R-N.Y.) hearings have felt a lot like the week leading up to the Rev. Terry Jones’s threat to burn a Quran. Like King, Jones cited concerns regarding 9/11 and the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, as examples of why we should be afraid, grafting the actions of a few onto a whole group of people. Following King’s logic, we should assume that all Baptists are extremists like Terry Jones, or that anti-abortion extremists who use violence and murder as part of their cause are representative of everyone who might in the least bit oppose abortion. 
 
Concerns about the increase in extremism and radicalization in America are absolutely legitimate. Data does show an increase in domestic terrorism. The responsible thing for our leaders to do is to examine the whole picture in terms of causes and solutions. Singling out one group, demonizing and ignoring other relevant factors, is not only irresponsible, it leaves other extremist groups to keep doing what they are doing without consequence. On its website, the FBI says this about post-9/11 domestic terrorism:
 
“Nothing before or since has come close to the terror attacks of 9/11 in terms of lives lost, scope and impact. And we know that al Qaeda-led and -inspired operatives still seek to strike our homeland — including with weapons of mass destruction. Which is why globally fueled terrorism continues to occupy much of our time and attention these days. And yet, as we were reminded by shootings in Kansas, Arkansas and the nation’s capital over just 11 days this spring, the threat of domestic terror — Americans attacking Americans based on U.S.-based extremist ideologies — is alive and well. Today’s domestic terror threats run the gamut, from hate-filled white supremacists … to highly destructive eco-terrorists … to violence-prone anti-government extremists … to radical separatist groups.”
 
So if the real goal of these hearings really were to examine domestic terror threats, you would expect these other groups to be included in the discussion and hearings. Ignoring the full picture, and King’s determination to home in on one group, only makes it clear that the real objective here is to stoke fear, perhaps for a cheap headline or fundraising. Using fear to scapegoat and divide Americans is an old tactic in the GOP playbook — we’ve seen it in action against illegal immigrants and gay people most recently. But a rejection of bigotry crosses party lines, just as the disgust toward King crosses party lines, regions, religions and geography. 
 
In an op-ed published in Newsday in December 2010, King made a number of unsubstantiated claims, including that “Federal and local law enforcement officials throughout the country told me they received little or — in most cases — no cooperation from Muslim leaders and imams.”
 
Yet not one member of law enforcement, from local police to the FBI, was willing to testify in support of that claim. Not one. What we have heard from law enforcement is that time and again, the American Muslim community has played an invaluable role in our anti-terrorism efforts. And while authorities say the threats posed by homegrown Islamic extremism are growing, the FBI has reported that roughly two-thirds of terrorism in the United States was conducted by non-Islamic American extremists from 1980 to 2001; and from 2002 to 2005, it went up to 95 percent.
 
Two-thirds of terrorism in the United States from non-Islamic American extremists is a lot to ignore. So again, we have to ask: Why aren’t any representatives from these groups appearing before King today? There certainly are plenty to choose from. As the Southern Poverty Law Center pointed out in a report released just last week, for the first time since 1980, when the SCLC started tracking, the number of hate groups in America is over 1,000, representing a staggering increase from the estimated 602 groups in 2000. One such group, known as the Sovereign Citizens, two members of which were responsible for the deaths of two police officers in West Memphis, Ark., is now estimated to have 300,000 members nationwide. Two of the most notorious groups are on both the FBI and SCLC list:
 
•    The Ku Klux Klan — Klan groups in the U.S. increased significantly in 2008, from 155 chapters to 186. It is broken down into smaller sub units, with the Brotherhood of Klans Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (BOK) one of the fastest-growing, with 17 new chapters added in 2008.
 
•    Neo-Nazis — There are around 300 different groups, including the two largest — the American National Socialist Workers Party and the National Socialist Movement. Other white supremacist groups include: the Hammerskin Nation Volksfront, Blood & Honour American Division, Atlantic City Skins and the American Front. 
 
Why is King avoiding the threat these groups pose to American citizens and law enforcement? Is it because their skin is a different hue?
 
Let’s be honest with ourselves. King’s hearing exemplifies the ugly truth, that since 9/11 there’s been a level of acceptance of racism aimed at Arab Muslims, men in particular, in America. We have been vulnerable to our post-9/11 fears and collective ignorance about the people and religion, and to those who promote fear of “otherness,” that seems particularly potent against men with dark skin. This continues even now, despite the images we’ve seen over the past weeks of Arabs — Muslim and Christian — working together in a non-violent struggle for freedom in Tunisia, Egypt and across the region.
 
It’s the same kind of fearmongering that lies at the heart of what Mike Huckabee meant when he essentially equated being an American with having participated in Little League and Boy Scouts. "This is not a kid who grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and playing Little League baseball in a small town." Otherness. It's also what GOP leaders like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour are speaking to when they use the old code phrase “states' rights” or say that some Americans feel like they “just don’t recognize our country anymore.” Otherness. 
 
America is changing. There are many who were more comfortable or miss the old ways, now questioning where they fit in and afraid of the changes they see around them — a black president, gay couples proudly walking hand in hand, marriages where the woman makes more money than her husband, who stays home with the kids, a woman who chooses to have a child on her own, or people trying to follow in the footsteps of the Irish, Italians, Polish, Russians, etc., and emigrate to America.
 
What they refuse to accept or understand is that like it or not, from our inception, the definition of the American experience and what it is to be an American has been evolving and expanding to include people of all shapes, sizes, colors, abilities and faiths who love America and pledge allegiance to our flag. In other words, we can all fit the definition.

"Precious Knowledge" Trailer

For everybody, but especially my Latino brothers & sisters. An in-depth look at the good things going on in a Tucson high school, and the xenophobic efforts of white politicians to shut down ethnic studies.

Precious Knowledge Trailer from Ari Palos on Vimeo.