22 January 2008

I Should Like to Understand

I Should Like to UnderstandI should like to understand how it happens that so many men, so many villages, so many cities, so many nations sometimes suffer under a single tyrant who has no other power than the power they give him; who is able to harm them only to the extent to which they have the willingness to bear with him, who could do them absolutely no injury unless they preferred to put up with him rather than contradict him. - Étienne de la Boetie

Celebrate the Life and Work of Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK had a vision for a better world. His vision is no less relevant in today's America than it was in 1967. Today I will be celebrating the life and the courageous work of this civic and spiritual leader, Martin Luther King Jr..
"I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
~ Martin Luther King Jr., From "Beyond Vietnam," an address delivered to the Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam, at Riverside Church, 4 April 1967 in New York City.

20 January 2008

Another World is Possible

I met my friend, Elisa Davinca, on Flickr, the Yahoo! photo sharing site. She is an awesome advocate for another world - a peaceful world. link to her flickr photos

I want to share a couple of videos that she shared with me:

Naomi Wolf Spoke about her new book, The End of America, at the University of Washington. It is a plea to a young patriot... The time for resistance is now!

CBS Frontline program, "Cheney's Law." torture, David Addington and the Department of Justice as they relate to the Bush Administration and Vice President Cheney

19 January 2008

Impeachment Video

[for more information about impeachment in WA State, please see Washington for Impeachment]

Kayla, a citizen activist and freelance videographer, talked with a few sign-holders (including me) before last Thursday's hearing about a bill that would request investigations into impeachable offenses committed by certain members of the Bush Administration. Here's the video:

I think I was nervous for some reason. I hope it went over okay.

18 January 2008

Kucinich Speaks on Exclusion from Debate

SJM 8016: Requesting Investigations into Impeachable Offenses

[for more information about impeachment in WA State, please see Washington for Impeachment]

Impeach Bush!The Washington State Senate Committee on Governmental Operations and Elections had a hearing on a bill that would call on the US Congress to investigate Bush Administration Officials for impeachable offenses. more information: SJM 8016

For video and audio of the January 17, 2008 hearing, point your browser to www.tvw.org and enter "8016" into the search field.

Here are some more photos from yesterday:

Torture Violates American Values

Committee Hearing Room Audience

Committee Members

Committee Hearing Room

16 January 2008

Washington State Impeachment Hearing SJM 8016 2007 - 2008

[for more information about impeachment in WA State, please see Washington for Impeachment]

Senator Eric Oemig has introduced a memorial bill that calls on the US Congress to initiate investigation into alleged impeachable offenses committed by President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Tomorrow there will be a hearing on the Memorial in the Washington State Senate Committee on Government Operations & Elections. This is from the Washington State Legislature:
go to original [link to official information about SJM 8016]
Requesting an impeachment investigation into actions by President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Here's video of Rep. Wexler discussing impeachment on the floor of the House:

Tomorrow's (Thursday, January 17th, 2008) hearing will be in the Cherberg Building (Capitol Campus, Olympia, Washington) at 3:30 PM.

14 January 2008

Saudi Blogger Arrested

go to original

...Fouad al-Farhan is Saudi Arabia’s most popular blogger and last month he was arrested. His case has been taken up by over 200 Saudi bloggers. The Independent newspaper in the UK believes attempts by the Saudi authorities to intimidate their online critics is in fact had the reverse effect, and says ‘it will be fascinating to see where this online insurrection ends’. ...

and from the Independent:
go to original

Blogger who dared to expose Saudi corruption is arrested
By Claire Soares
Published: 03 January 2008
Fouad al-Farhan knew they were coming for him. A few days before Saudi security forces swooped on his offices, he sent a letter to friends telling them he was a wanted man. "They will pick me up any time in the next two weeks," he predicted.

His crime? Writing one of the most widely read blogs in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Farhan, 32, who describes his online mission as "searching for freedom, dignity, justice, equality, public participation and other lost Islamic values", had already broken ground by refusing to hide behind a pen-name as he vented his spleen about the rampant corruption blighting political life. Now he has clocked up another first – the first blogger to be arrested in the kingdom.

The blogger was picked up on 10 December from the offices of his computer company in Jeddah, but it was not until this week that the interior ministry finally confirmed his arrest.


Mr Farhan said he had been asked to issue an apology. "I'm not sure if I'm ready to do that," he said. "An apology for what? Apologising because I said the government is [a] liar when it accused those guys of supporting terrorism?" [emphasis mine]

It is interesting to note that the President of the USA, Mr. George W. Bush just made (January 2008) a $20 billion weapons deal with the Government of Saudi Arabia...

Dear President Bush, is this what you mean by promoting Democracy? It seems that the freedom to which you aspire is just the freedom to amass weapons. I am discouraged by your example.

Support Our Troops?

It's frustrating to hear people say how they support our troops, while at the same time supporting the Bush Administration, President Bush et al., and the 'wars' in Iraq, Afghanistan and 'against terror.'

Prominent members from within the Bush Administration, and associated interests, have led this nation into aggressive military conflicts. The 'wars' are based on lies. The 'wars' are exacerbating anti-American sentiment. Our troops are being sacrificed, not to defend our freedom or to provide for our security, but instead to protect the interests of, and to support the expansion of, Western Corporations and Corporatist Governments (e.g. the US Gov't under Bush and to be fair, Clinton before him.)

From Mr. Fish:

13 January 2008

Some new Photos

Capitol Theatre Free Wall
The Free Wall is behind the Capitol Theatre in downtown Olympia, WA. The Capitol Theatre is operated by the OFS (Olympia Film Society). OFS has made this wall, which is the rear of the theatre building (and in an alleyway) available to local graffitos to use at their own discretion. It's a pretty cool. It's pretty active, and it certainly was this past Friday night, there were about 5 different painters when I walked by.

No Blood for Oil
If I ever decide to bust out some spraying on the oly capitol theatre free wall, then you better believe that I am going to write "NO BLOOD FOR OIL!"

Olympic Mountains
Finally, here's a more tranquil perspective to start out your week. The Olympic mountains are in the distance, they rise up from behind the shoreline of Budd Inlet.

10 January 2008

Bush Psychology of Failure - Avoidance

Briggs and Briggs have a new estimation of the psychological underpinnings of our President, George Bush. In their most recent published analysis, the father and son duo ponder various symptoms and figure upon the extent of potential diagnoses. According to the prominent psychologists Briggs and Briggs, Bush has done great harm and is likely to do more - unless he is confronted directly by Congress, a Congress in need of a newfound will to assert its oversight authority. Here's a sample:
... the effect of Bush's psychodynamics on the presidency have created a situation where his personality is as genuinely dangerous to the nation as if he were delusional.

Psychologically, Bush's one non-negotiable position is that he must never have to face his failures because once he found Jesus as his personal savior, he put all his failures (and failings) behind him. But now, after seven years as president, his failure is everywhere. Unlike presidents Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson and even Richard Nixon, Bush seems incapable of coping with his defeats by taking some redeeming direction. In the next year, we believe his behavior will continue to be guided by his need for massive avoidance of his feelings of inadequacy, particularly with regard to Iraq. Success in other areas means little to him and he gives them scant concern for his "legacy." He has identified himself as "a war president." The war is linked to his vague sense of divine mission, his internal aggression, his never-ending competition with his father.
read more

08 January 2008


Chalmers Johnson writes about Charlie Wilson's war in Afghanistan as portrayed in George Crile's book, and Tom Hanks's new movie:
go to original
...he never once mentions that the 'tens of thousands of fanatical Muslim fundamentalists' the CIA armed are the same people who in 1996 killed nineteen American airmen at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, blew a hole in the side of the U.S.S. Cole in Aden Harbor in 2000, and on September 11, 2001, flew hijacked airliners into New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon."

[edit: here's more from Kenneth Turan of the LA Times:]
go to original
By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 21, 2007
"CHARLIE Wilson's War" is an anachronism, the wrong movie at the wrong time. Not only does it tell its tale in a style that feels dated and artificial, the story itself focuses on events that history has overtaken. The moving finger has written and moved on, and not even the combined star power of Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, writer Aaron Sorkin and director Mike Nichols can do anything about it.

Based on the bestselling book by George Crile, "Charlie Wilson's War" does tell a most unusual 1980s true story. It relates how Wilson, a pleasure-loving congressman from Texas (Hanks), joined forces with a wealthy and reactionary socialite (Roberts) and a grumpy CIA operative (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to use billions of dollars in U.S. and Saudi aid to arm Afghan mujahedin, or "freedom fighters," and oust the invading Soviet Union.


Though "Charlie Wilson's War" makes a few attempts near the conclusion to reference the chaos that is to come, they are too little and too late. Harder to deal with is the fact that, because Muslims around the world, as Crile notes, thought the victory in Afghanistan was the work of Allah, "we set in motion the spirit of jihad and the belief in our surrogate soldiers that, having brought down one superpower, they could just as easily take on another." The rest, as they say, is history.

Amazing Interplanetary Image

Jupiter and Io, photograph from the New Horizons space probe:

[edit: A blue volcanic plume and red glowing lava are visible on Io. click to see large]

05 January 2008

Kucinich Wrongly Excluded from Presidential Debate

The exclusion of Kucinich from the Presidential Debate is a disservice to the American People.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Kucinich for President campaign late today filed an emergency complaint with the Federal Communications Commission claiming that the ABC television network “is violating its obligation to operate in the public interest” by excluding Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich from tomorrow night’s scheduled debate in Manchester, NH.

Further, the complaint charges, the televised event “is not a true presidential primary debate without including all credible candidates, but instead is effectively an endorsement of the candidates selected by ABC.” The filing also notes that ABC “is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walt Disney, Co., whose executives have contributed heavily to other Democratic presidential primary candidates, including Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, former Senator John Edwards, and Governor Bill Richardson.”
[ ... read more]

02 January 2008

The Year in Pictures

I posted the year in political pictures. But I also took a lot of pictures that weren't overtly political. Here are some of those, chronicled month by month.

Evergreen Creek
Evergreen Creek - January

Trees and Shadows
Trees and Shadows - February

Sense of Scale
Sense of Scale - March

Trees and Blue Sky
Trees and Blue Sky - April

Buzzing around
Bee Approaching Flower - May

Yosemite Valley View
Yosemite Valley View - June

Mt. Rainier
Mount Rainier - July

Rose - August

Ukelele - September

Mushroom Season
Mushroom Season - October

Maple Leaf
Maple Leaf - November

Power Lines
Power Lines - November bonus photo

Moss - December

01 January 2008

Recommended Reading: Zarafa

Zarafa by Michael Alinn; I give it two thumbs up and a hearty recommendation as an enjoyable and provocative read. An interesting and compelling historical narrative, Allin weaves the tale of a Giraffe sent from Africa to France in the early nineteenth century. Crossing the paths of important historical events and figures of the day, the book follows the Giraffe, dubbed "Zarafa", on a many thousands miles journey from Sudan to Paris. There's more from Wikipedia:
Zarafa (?1824-12 January 1845) was a giraffe in a menagerie in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris for 18 years in the early 1800s. She was one of the first three giraffes to be seen in Europe for over three centuries, since the Medici giraffe was sent to Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence in 1486. In her lifetime, the giraffe seems not have been given a name, but was referred to as "the giraffe". Nowadays she is known by the name Zarafa (Arabic for "charming" or "lovely one"), a name given to her by the writer Michael Alinn in his book Zarafa.


Legalities of the 'War on Terror'

This is a must see article: go to original
The Hidden Power
The legal mind behind the White House’s war on terror.
by Jane Mayer
July 3, 2006

On December 18th, Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State, joined other prominent Washington figures at FedEx Field, the Redskins’ stadium, in a skybox belonging to the team’s owner. During the game, between the Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, Powell spoke of a recent report in the Times which revealed that President Bush, in his pursuit of terrorists, had secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on American citizens without first obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as required by federal law. This requirement, which was instituted by Congress in 1978, after the Watergate scandal, was designed to protect civil liberties and curb abuses of executive power, such as Nixon’s secret monitoring of political opponents and the F.B.I.’s eavesdropping on Martin Luther King, Jr. Nixon had claimed that as President he had the “inherent authority” to spy on people his Administration deemed enemies, such as the anti-Vietnam War activist Daniel Ellsberg. Both Nixon and the institution of the Presidency had paid a high price for this assumption. But, according to the Times, since 2002 the legal checks that Congress constructed to insure that no President would repeat Nixon’s actions had been secretly ignored...