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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Sunday, July 31, 2005


Something I found while surfing the internet...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

If they take you in the morning

Jean Charles de Menezes
7 January 1978 - 22 July 2005

Killed in London by plain clothes police who wrongly claimed he was a suicide bomber

The death of democray is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.
Robert M. Hutchins

Prayer of St. Francis

St. Francis Church - Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Pretender - Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne (1976)

I'm going to rent myself a house
In the shade of the freeway
I'm going to pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I'll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I'll get up and do it again
Say it again

I want to know what became of the changes
We waited for love to bring
Were they only the fitful dreams
Of some greater awakening
I've been aware of the time going by
They say in the end it's the wink of an eye
And when the morning light comes streaming in
You'll get up and do it again

Caught between the longing for love
And the struggle for the legal tender
Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
And the junk man pounds his fender
Where the veterans dream of the fight
Fast asleep at the traffic light
And the children solemnly wait
For the ice cream vendor
Out into the cool of the evening
Strolls the Pretender
He knows that all his hopes and dreams
Begin and end there

Ah the laughter of the lovers
As they run through the night
Leaving nothing for the others
But to choose off and fight
And tear at the world with all their might
While the ships bearing their dreams
Sail out of sight

I'm going to find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we'll fill in the missing colors
In each other's paint-by-number dreams
And then we'll put out dark glasses on
And we'll make love until our strength is gone
And when the morning light comes streaming in
We'll get up and do it again
Get it up again

I'm going to be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender
Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
To the heart and the soul of the spender
And believe in whatever may lie
In those things that money can buy
Thought true love could have been a contender
Are you there?
Say a prayer for the Pretender
Who started out so young and strong
Only to surrender


Sojourner Truth

I have been giving a great amount thought recently to the notion that I may be simply, 'pissing in the wind' with this blog. While I receive a fairly decent number of hits on my counter, I rarely receive comments. With the rare exception of a few dedicated bloggers, hardly anyone comments. That's not a problem because I am writing mostly for me - it makes me feel better.

I have wondered whether my comments are too caustic or perhaps considered abrasive. They might be too boring - I'm not fishing for compliments here folks - by some but I am not yet ready to change my message in order to win over a loyal readership. Instead, I have reflected on a black woman that lived nearly 130 years ago during America's transition from slavery to freedom during the Civil War era.

The woman's name was Sojourner Truth. This name was adopted by her after she started protesting for the abolition of slavery. For those of you interested in more detail about her life, Wikipedia has a very concise and detailed account of who she was - You can click here for the link.

I recall during one of my history courses at the University of New Mexico (where I received one of my baccalaureate degrees in History), the story about how Sojourner Truth escaped to Canada and returned to New York when slavery was abolished there - in the North. She stumped throughout the North – north of the Mason-Dixon Line that us - where President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves. She was regularly heckled as she made her speeches on street corners and public squares. Once, a man asked her just what did she think she was going to accomplish being a black woman calling for abolition of slavery. Her response was something so simple yet so profound. I think of it all the time when it seems like my words are small in comparison to the problems and issuesthat I speak out against.

Sojourner Truth responded, ‘Sir, even a little flea can make an ‘ol dog scratch hisself.”

Whenever I get to thinking that I might be wasting my time, I think about Sojourner Truth. What a powerful name. What a powerful thought coming from an uneducated, poor slave woman. She has taught me that we change the world little by little and moreover, it is each of our individual responsibilities to do what we can regardless of how unpopular it might be.
Right is right and wrong is wrong. We all know the difference so it is our duty as World Citizens to leave this planet in better shape than it was given to us. We owe it to our children regardless of their race, class, economic status or lifestyle. Every child on this planet is our child and we should never hurt out children and they deserve better.

She ranks up there with Martin Luther King, Ceasar Chavez, Mohadmas Ghandi and Nelson Mandela for me. Brave, courageous, committed and dedicated to their cause. What a different world we would live in if people like Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, George Bush or Osama Bin Laden emulated such people's paths of righteousness and Humanity.

Speak Out, Speak Up and Speak Often

Thursday, July 28, 2005

God Does Not Take Sides

I am an American citizen, raised Roman Catholic and I am absolutely sickened to see how people manipulate holy scriptures in order to justify their own ends. I hate it when Muslims do it and I hate it when Christians or Jews or any other religious ideologues do it because the result is always the same – someone gains and some one loses.

Here’s a newsflash

God does not take sides because the Supreme Being is way too big for any single religion. If anyone ever tells you that God is on their side – s/he is a liar. You can count on that.

Lest we forget, it was religious tolerance in Spain that allowed the Catholic Kings to unseat the Moors after seven hundred years of occupation. The expulsion of the Moors by Isabel and Ferdinand came about precisely because Islam makes provisions for religious tolerance.

More people have been killed in the name of God on this planet than for any other single reason. God has been used and misused by people pursuing personal agendas that suit their own needs to the exclusion of others. Today is no different. Extremists exist throughout the planet and Islam has no monopoly on Jihad.

Religious insensitivity and lack of tolerance being waged against Islam these days is at an all time high. Their response is to react with extreme violence - now the argument has become one of the chicken and egg variety. I really don't care who started it - it needs to stop. The only way it will stop is when people once again forego violence for empathy. Terrorism and suicide bombings are the tools of a weaker foe who cannot possibly take on a more powerful one. It is a powerful coercive tactic because it strikes fear in the hearts of everyone - it reveals a very uncomfortable vulnerability. 'If the mountain will not come to Muhammad - then Muhammad must come to the mountain ' an apropos saying at this juncture in history - chilling as it has become prophetic.

Unfortunately, the response for the West is to rely on terror tactics in which object lessons are being taught at the expense of Third-World citizens and people of color - vis a vis the brutal, cold-blooded murder of a Brazilian in a London Subway. Rationalizing the murder of an innocent citizen that the government is ostensibly set up to protect is the ultimate irony of all. It is a perfect example of religion gone awry.

I only pray that 'my' God, 'their' God and everyone else's God will expose every selfish agenda. May the one that cannot be named deprive those who invoke his name for selfishness and self-righteousness. May those using his name in vain to commit such despicable acts be held accountable for their sins against Humanity.When it comes to bullies, I don’t give a flip who they are. They need to be confronted. They need to be stopped. In this case, as Malcolm X once said about violence visiting upon the sixties owing to civil rights unrest, 'The chickens are coming home to roost.' Failed Western policies - more specifically those of the US have led to the strife in the Mid-east - anyone who does not know this is a fool who needs to open a history book. America has consistently disrespected and manipulated less strong countries for the past 150 years - from Banana Republics to Iraq and now we are reaping the horrors of such selfishness. The West has been no better and countless historical events support my claim. We simply can no longer dismiss people from other countries as inferior or weak or even stupid. They are schooling us in the art of respect. They are no longer taking it lying down.

I say we better give these people their due or continue to suffer the consequences. If we want respect we have to give it. If we want religious tolerance then we need to drop our own Jihadist tendencies. In the eyes of Middle Easterners, America is no longer the policeman of the world - America is the bully.

Eye to eye, a Palestinian poem

Eye to eye, a Palestinian poem
By Gihad Ali

Look into my eyes
And tell me what you see.
You don't see a damn thing,
Because you can't possibly relate to me.

Blinded by our differences
My life makes no sense to you.
I'm the persecuted Palestinian.
You're the Red, White and Blue.

Each day you wake in tranquility,
No fears to cross your eyes.
Each day I wake in gratitude,
Thanking God He let me rise.

You worry about your education
And the bills you have to pay.
I worry about my vulnerable life
And if I'll survive another day.

Your biggest fear is getting that ticket
As you cruise your Cadillac.
My fear is the tank that left
Will turn around to come back.

Do you realise
The tax you pay
Fuels the trauma
Of my every living day?

Bulldozers and tanks,
Gases and guns,
Bombs that fall outside my door,
Are due to US funds.

Do you know the truth
Of where your money goes?
Media deceiving you?
The truth that no one knows.

You blame me for rejecting
Zionist ways.
Terrorised in my own land
And I'm the terrorist?
You think you know all about terrorism
But you don't know it the way I do,
So let me define the term for you,
And teach you what you thought you knew.

I've known terror for quite some time,
Fifty-five years and more.
It's the fruitless garden uprooted in my yard.
It's the bulldozer outside my door.

Terrorism breathes the air I breathe.
It's the checkpoint on my way to school.
It's the curfew that jails me in my home,
And the penalties of breaking the curfew rule.

Terrorism is the robbery of my land,
And the torture of my mother,
The imprisonment of my father,
The bullet in my baby brother.

So, don't tell me you know about
The things I feel and see.
I'm terrorised in my own land
And the blame is put on me.

But I will not rest, I shall never settle
For the injustice my people endure.
Palestine is our land and there we'll remain
Until the day our homeland is secure.

If that day shall never come,
Never will we see a day of peace.
I will not be thrown from my own home,
Nor will my fight for justice cease.

And if I'm killed, it will be in Falasteen.
It's written on my every breath.
So in your own patriotic words,
Give me liberty or give me death.

From Green Left Weekly, October 13, 2004.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Where Terror Breeds

I rarely watch TV anymore. Personally, I am addicted to the internet; I regularly read around 40 blogs daily - some are news-related - others are relevant to me because of the bloggers themselves. In addition to the blogs, I also read from roughly fifteen different news sources from all over the world. It may seem like all I do is sit in front of my computer all day but that isn't necessarily so - I have developed a routine that allows me to review my various favorite sites in the morning before I start my day. One particularly good resource is - they send articles daily which cover various issues with a spin that some might dismiss as 'liberal.' That could not be further from the truth. The following article is an interesting perspective on the dynamics of insurgency as is taking place in London where the most recent spate of violent attacks have taken place recently. This article, written by two journalists from the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) provides insight that the general public has not been afforded exposure to. The CSM is but one of the many news organizations I subscribe to and it provides in-depth coverage of issues that probe deeper than most of the Mainstream Media is willing to do. You are free to review this article and reach your own conclusions. The AlterNet article also provides an opportunity to the general public for dialogue so I have also included the two comments attached to the article. You may notice the varieties of responses are not necessarily what one might refer to as 'liberally' biased. That is the beauty of the internet, we come from all walks of life and we all have differing opinions. This article serves to demonstrate that such opinions also require that we be informed. Thanks to the internet, we no longer have to rely on a single source for our information.

Where Terror Breeds

By John Thorne and James Brandon, Christian Science Monitor. Posted July 26, 2005.

A new breed of British radicals is inspiring impressionable urban Muslims to consider killing their fellow Britons.

Outside a small, red-brick mosque, a young Muslim in sneakers and a white robe is lecturing a cluster of young men gathered on the sidewalk.

"The London bombings ... were about striking terror into the heart of the enemy," he thunders, just one week after the 7/7 attacks that killed 56 people and wounded hundreds more.

Muslims around the world are being slaughtered, he tells them. "All we ask them is: 'Remove your troops from Muslim lands and we will stop all of this.' " The men nod in agreement. One glances into the baby stroller he's pushing. Car after car races past.

The preacher, who calls himself Abu Osama ("Father of Osama"), is one of a new breed of British radicals thriving at the margins of London's Muslim community.

Young, independent, and streetwise, they are preaching in urban slang outside the confines of Britain's mosques. They are helping teens and 20-somethings beat drugs and alcohol. And they are inspiring a new pool of impressionable young Muslims to consider killing their fellow Britons.

These radical bands constitute a small fraction of London's 1 million Muslims. But their freewheeling ideology - hardened in the jihadi echo chambers of cliques like Abu Osama's - is creating a new subculture within Britain's Islamic community. So far, the growing influence of these informal, maverick groups has gone largely undetected - and unchecked.

As older, camera-courting, foreign-born extremists like Omar Bakri and Abu Hamza al-Masri recede from relevance, their younger counterparts are striking out quietly and independently with a new brand of do-it-yourself radicalism.

"On the ground level, people like Bakri don't communicate with the youth," says Nadim Shehadi, an analyst at Chatham House, a think tank in London. The fragmentation of British radical groups and their dispersal underground, he adds, is the "worst of all possible options."

"When the Muslim Council of Britain [MCB] said 'We must be vigilant,' this pushed [radical groups] underground," says Abdul-Rehman Malik, contributing editor at the Muslim magazine Q-News, based London. As radicals fled to minor mosques and homes, Britain's security services, and even mainstream Muslims, lost track of them.

Did the 7/7 bombers come from Bakri's circle? "Probably not -- it's something far more insidious," says Mr. Malik. "It's beyond the Omar Bakris; it's a low rumble."

Yearning for jihad

Abu Osama, just 30, was born and raised here in East London, amid peeling paint and dingy kebab shops. "I know English. I know Britain. But if I live here, I must speak for Muslims elsewhere," he says, stressing that he belongs first to the ummah, or global Islamic community.

Abu Osama's faith deepened early. Watching his Pakistani immigrant father struggle to support his family of seven, he sought strength in Islam.

"I began praying and studying when I was 16, and since then I've been like this," he says, pointing to his long, curling beard.

Abu Osama first spoke publicly eight years ago; he has since won ardent followers.

Last fall, addressing a meeting of scores of British radicals, he sighed: "At the moment in Britain there is no jihad." Faces fell around the hall.

"Yet!" he exclaimed suddenly, to approving murmurs. The jihad would soon come, Abu Osama predicted, and he urged his listeners to embrace its arrival.

On 7/7, the jihad came. The suicide bombers were aged 18 to 30 - the same age as Abu Osama's cohorts. By portraying militancy as the ultimate expression of piety, Abu Osama and preachers like him are leading young Muslims down the path toward violence.

"Some of the people tell you Islam is a religion of peace because they think that then you'll want to convert," says Dublin-born convert Khalid Kelly, who soaks up Abu Osama's sidewalk sermon. "But you cannot possibly say Islam is a religion of peace; jihad is not an internal struggle."

Armed struggle was the last thing on Mr. Kelly's mind until his conversion several years ago. "I was your average Irish drunkard, partying and so on," he says. Arrested in Saudi Arabia, where he worked as a nurse, for brewing his own alcohol, Kelly found Islam in prison - an increasingly common arena for Muslim conversion and radicalization.

After his return to Britain in 2002, Kelly quickly became a disciple of Bakri, a radical Syrian-born cleric based in Britain, who is most widely known for celebrating 9/11, and more recently, blaming 7/7 on British foreign policy. Through Bakri's circle, which is now largely underground, Kelly met Abu Osama. Now, they gravitate toward obscure mosques that nurture homegrown extremists.

"The imam here" - Kelly nods at the mosque - "said, 'Pray for the victory of the mujahideen in all the world.' He's talking about Osama bin Laden, but he can't say that."

Hard-line mosques are an intoxicating arena for disillusioned young Muslims, Britain's fastest-growing, poorest, and worst-educated minority.

"The pull to Islam in general is not bad," says Malik. "It gives [young people] a sense of identity and spirituality that is important to their lives."

However, the perceived persecution of Muslims worldwide can imbue their faith with a politics of resentment; they see the world divided into two opposing groups: Muslims and others. "The world begins to appear black and white," Malik says.

"When it comes to politics, sometimes I just feel angry," spits Farouq (not his real name), 21, as he scans East London shop-windows for Help Wanted signs. Women in chadors sweep past, steering their baby carriages through discarded fish'n'chips wrappers and cigarette ends.

Farouq has never heard of Abu Osama. "I don't have time to pray any more. But I'd like to get back into it," he muses. "I know definitely [Islam] will help me."

Concerned that radical groups might capitalize on this kind of discontent, mainstream Muslim leaders have deliberately shunned those who advocated violence.

Some say the effort to weed out extremists is a sign of progress. Others say it has backfired, throwing together vulnerable young Muslims and hard-liners.

This week, British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with Muslim leaders to discuss ways to confront this "evil ideology." As Mr. Blair pushed legislation to deport radical clerics, the group announced plans for a task force and clerics pledged greater cooperation with security officials. But analysts say mainstream clerics may struggle to reach young Muslims already committed to radical ideology.

Kelly, evidently, had little use for the summit: "You're either a servant of Tony Blair, or Islam."

Last fall, Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the MCB, told The Christian Science Monitor that the extent of radicals in Britain was being hyped up by the media. "The reality on the ground is that there is almost nothing there," he said. "Islamic terrorism: much of it is a media myth."

Then came the slaughter of 7/7. From cafe-studded central London, mainstream Muslim organizations declared that such suicide attacks were un-Islamic.

But over in East London, Abu Osama's group argues that attacks on civilians by Palestinian, Kashmiri, and Iraqi militants are seen as legitimate by the majority of the world's Muslims.

"How dare anyone come on television and say suicide bombings are not part of our belief?" scoffs Irish convert Kelly. "These [moderates] are the lunatic fringe!"

Radical Muslims like Kelly consider themselves an embattled vanguard of the "true" Islam.

"We are persecuted for telling the truth, just like Jesus," says Kelly. "They're demonizing us. There's always police. They tell us it's for our own protection, but it's obvious they're here to spy on us," he adds.

"All we want to talk about is how beautiful Islam is," says an Iraqi immigrant, who, like others standing here, mingles lyrical spirituality with a blunt advocacy of violence. "Zarqawi is showing the way," he says, referring to the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of the radical faction of foreign fighters in Iraq.

Like many, his dedication to Islam arose from a messy flirtation with a Western lifestyle, including drinking and taking drugs. "When reality hits you, you come back to Islam," he says. "If you read the Koran, you see that Allah gave us the right to terrorize the enemy."

His disillusionment with Britain became complete when he was sacked from his IT job "for telling a kafir [unbeliever, or non-Muslim] woman to cover up." Ironically, only Abu Osama dons religious garb. The others wear jeans and shirts. Kelly would look at home in an Irish pub.

Torn between two worlds

They aren't the only British Muslims torn between two worlds. Every year, many young British Muslims visit the Middle East to explore their roots and often to study Arabic and Islam in a traditional environment. Most return to the West, their curiosity satisfied, to continue their lives. A few, by accident or design, return deeply transformed.

Several of the 7/7 suspects, too, are believed to have traveled to Pakistan, where investigators believe they may have hardened their faith. Officials are also exploring whether the four suspects made contact with an Al Qaeda aide linked to Mr. Masri, the radical cleric.

British-born radicals "would have felt a secret excitement of having become the spearhead of a mission that would make them renowned in martyrology," says Magnus Ranstorp, director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St. Andrews University, Scotland.

But despite this bleak outlook, even such conservative Middle Eastern countries as Saudi Arabia and Yemen have successfully defused the anger of Islamic militants through an intensive program of religious dialogue and youth outreach.

At the East London mosque, Abu Osama's street preaching has evolved into a theological debate: Should one defend Islam worldwide by fighting in Britain? For these men, it's not just a philosophical exercise. Their conclusions could tip the balance of security across the country.

"Islam is not just a religion. It is a way of life," insists a young and zealous black American convert initially drawn to Islam by admiration for Malcolm X. "It's specific in the Koran that jihad is about fighting."

"If you're in Iraq," Kelly affirms, "it means physical fighting."

The Iraqi breaks in. "Every day I think of going there. But Allah has to choose me. I pray to Allah that I can go there one day and help them." The others pause, digesting his words.

"We are torn between these two worlds: a love for life, and a love for death," he continues. "I have four children. I can't leave them. My children will be led astray if I leave them."

He may not have to, Kelly suggests: "We can fight wherever, in Iraq, London, Paris, or Berlin. There is no such thing as innocents. The idea of the Islamic state is terror against anyone who doesn't support Islamic ideology."

Abu Osama nods. "If four men can take explosives and rock the whole of Britain, imagine what more could do."

Glossary of Islamic terms

Shahid: An Islamic martyr. Often used to label Muslim victims of wars, terror attacks, and assassinations.

Halal/Haram: Permitted/forbidden according to Koranic law. Observant Muslims forego cigarettes, alcohol, and nonmarital sex. Most Muslims also avoid pork.

Dar al-Islam/Dar al-Harb: "House of Islam," where Koranic law prevails; and the "House of War," meaning everywhere else.

Kafir: Unbeliever, non-Muslim, one who refuses to submit to Islam.

Jihad: The term means "struggle in the path of God." Muslims debate whether jihad means a purely personal struggle within oneself for right thoughts and deeds, violent struggle in the name of Islam, something in between, or both.

Takfir: Literally "rejection," but in radical circles refers to the branding of other Muslims as unbelievers to discredit them.

Dawah: Islamic call or propagation. Inviting another to Islam; missionary work.

Ummah: The worldwide spiritual community of all Muslims.

Jahiliyyah: Ignorance of Islam; "barbarism." Some radicals use this term to describe Western society.

Fatwa: An Islamic scholar's legal opinion about whether something is permissible. Usually on mundane topics, but radicals have issues death-sentence fatwas against opponents.


Watch what they do, not what they say.

Posted by: Sojourner on Jul 26, 2005 1:11 AM [Report this comment]
I did not realize until I read it that Eric Hoffer's characterization of the true believer, in his book by that title (The True Believer : Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements) explained why conflict becomes violent. Hoffer uses the label of 'true believer' as an ironic if not condemnatory phrase. That works because 'true belief' is used by the organizers of mass movements to defend their cause. As in the article above, the violence or threat of violence is more than a plea to rectify injuries done. It is service to a higher calling, paying a debt to a god, becoming a hero-martyr, fulfilling human destiny. In other words, it is being holier-than-thou. The damage we, humans, have done to one another in the name of righteousness is vast. All mass violence has a good excuse for itself. While individuals may act sadistically for only the enjoyment of so acting, mass movements rely on a claim to moral superiority. And that's why the terrorist can seem to look good. His act is, so he says, only 'in response' to a crime committed against him, so he has a justified grievance. Differentiating the genuine victim from the self-defined victim can be confusing. Assassins believe in what they do, and their belief can seem persuasive. It is only when we look at the consequences of their belief, the horrors they commit, that their words then can be seen to be an irrational rationalization. Except for war, the end does not ever justify the means, if the means causes the innocent to be injured or to die. That is like the golden rule in that all the major religions of the world agree that taking an innocent life is treachery. A universal human command protects the innocent. 'By their fruits will you know them,' said one great teacher. The rest is all rhetoric.
Posted by: georgesdelatour on Jul 26, 2005 3:00 AM [Report this comment]
A few rather rambling comments: 1. We need to reintroduce a rather old-fashoned sounding word into this: treason. If you're a UK citizen, and you urge people to kill other UK citizens for the sake of an external power such as al Queda, you are committing treason. You are in the same category of enemy as Lord Haw-Haw. It's that simple. 2. Some of the people quoted in the article make statements equivalent to formal renunciation of their citizenship. In every country the world over the fundamental basis of citizenship is allegiance. Renunciation of allegiance is effectively renunciation of citizenship. So many people from all over the world want to become UK citizens, and here we have men who are unwilling UK citizens. We should take these men at their word and relieve them of what they do not want. 3. I believe the US government paid a lot of money to Japanese Americans because, during World War Two, it had wrongly assumed that they might hold an allegiance to Japan overruling their allegiance to the USA; in fact they were loyal citizens of their adopted country. Even the dropping of Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki - massively more violent acts than anything the US has so far done in Iraq - did not provoke them to commit revenge terrorist attacks in America.

Monday, July 25, 2005

High Hopes

High Hopes
Frank Sinatra
Writers: Cahn/Van Heusen

Next time your found, with your chin on the ground
There a lot to be learned, so look around

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant

But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes

So any time your gettin’ low
’stead of lettin’ go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant

When troubles call, and your back’s to the wall
There a lot to be learned, that wall could fall

Once there was a silly old ram
Thought he’d punch a hole in a dam
No one could make that ram, scram
He kept buttin’ that dam

’cause he had high hopes, he had high hopes
He had high apple pie, in the sky hopes

So any time your feelin’ bad
’stead of feelin’ sad
Just remember that ram
Oops there goes a billion kilowatt dam

All problems just a toy balloon
They’ll be bursted soon
They’re just bound to go pop!
Oops there goes another problem kerplop

exactly 5 months 'til Christmas ....

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Recipie for Disaster: They Killed an Innocent Man

Reports are now flooding in from all varieties of news agencies that the plain clothes police officers in London shot and killed an innocent man at point-blank range. The murdered man was a 27 year-old electrician, Charles de Menezes.

While the British authorities initially insisted the dead man had direct ties with the suicide bombers, it has now turned out that the only crime committed by the Brazilian was the level of melanin in his skin. In Britain these days, it is unhealthy to appear as though you are from a third world country.

Terrorism has taken its desired effect. It has struck fear in the hearts of an entire country and despite assurances from the Mayor of London that they would not be manipulated by terrorists, this slaying of a man who was lying down after he tripped is evidence enough that the entire country is on edge.

How incredibly sad it is that an act as devastating as suicide bombing can have such a chilling effect on the public; to the bombers, their cause is worth dying for. To the authorities their cause is worth killing for.

Sir Isaac Newton was a 17th century scientist that postulated a set of 'Laws' to describe what he observed regarding bodies in motion. Another concept introduced by Galileo was that of inertia.

Newton’s First Law of Motion: An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Newton’s Third law of Motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

While both concepts are very real and demonstrable as scientific phenomena, they accurately reflect what is happening regarding terrorism; the terrorists have initiated an action aimed at disrupting daily life in Britain – this most recent killing of an innocent man is evidence that they have succeeded.

Further exploration of the concept of inertia is that bodies have a tendency to remain in the same motion or even, lack of motion that they were originally in. The inertia I refer to now is the tendency of society to continue un-interrupted unless some action initiates a change. Here are the facts as they have been reported;

1] The original terrorists were young, male and second-generation citizens whose families emigrated from Muslim countries.

2] These descendants lived in communities of London that concentrate other citizens with similar backgrounds.

3] Most disturbing is the reality that each of the men dealt with the effects of racism in Britain – the result was they felt alienated from their country of birth.

4] They saw and heard direct accounts of suffering by people who share their religious beliefs, language and physical characteristics at the hands of a coalition formulated by Britain and the hated United States.

5] They saw a far superior enemy in Britain and the US which could never be challenged on the battlefield but they did realize they could cause more damage by creating psychological stress on the public at large.

Disaffection and disenfranchisement led these young men to take drastic measures in acting out against heir fellow citizens because they simply could not see themselves as assimilated members of their society. They did not feel welcome in Britain so they re-aligned their loyalties to the people whom they see to be suffering in Iraq. They directed their violence toward the inertia that has left them legal aliens in their country.

The suicide bombers' action addressed the inertia of racism and segregation in Britain. The equal and opposite reaction - apparently logical but still flawed has led the British Authorities to kill an innocent man in their aggressive reaction to the violence perpetrated by suicide bombers. Newton's Second Law, while aimed at physical phenomena, seems to very aptly describe the psychology of terrorism and bigotry.

The inertia perceived by Muslim descendants who suffer the effects of second-class citizenship in their own country has caused them to take drastic action in order draw attention not only to their plight but that of the people whom they feel most similar to – the citizenry of Iraq.

By no means am I claiming that what the deluded bombers are doing is right or even just. My aim is to understand what has happened in order to determine if there is a way to avoid any further acts of sabotage and destruction. There is a reason behind everything people do - we simply need to understand their motivations. Such motivations are like ingredients that have caused this most recent recipe for disaster. Knowledge of the ingredients that have led to such destructiveness and devastation gives us the power to understand how it came about. Moreover, such knowledge arguably arms us with the ability to work out a way of determining what not to do so that terrorists are not encouraged to kill themselves and their victims as a means of drawing attention to their cause. Such dramatic attention serves the purpose of not only victimizing the people directly affected by injury and death but by the psychological impact on everyone as it demonstrates to every citizen that they too are vulnerable to random acts of violence.

The violence taking place in Britain just like the violence taking place in Iraq and the terrorism that took place in America on 9/11 are all similar in that they point to desperate actions of people who feel there is no other way to address their problems. They feel a lack of empowerment and thus react violently against the governments who they hold responsible by attacking those government's otherwise innocent citizens. The collateral damage is aimed at effecting changes. Unfortunately they seem only to reinforce long-held prejudices against the people who most desperately want the change.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Homeland Security: A Mexican Hero becomes a US Citizen

Marine becomes US Citizen

"U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Angel Gomez holds up his left arm during a ceremony as David Still, of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services gives the oath at the Veterans Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., as his parents Paulino and Antonia Gomez stand behind. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services gave Gomez his U.S. citizenship after he was injured in an explosion outside of Baghdad, Iraq, in April. Gomez sustained head wounds and was unable to hold up his right arm during the ceremony." - from

I suppose being paralyzed on the right side of his body means he won't be getting stopped by those wanabe chickenhawks who call themselves, 'Minuteman' Border Patrollers - No Mainstream Media coverage of events like this.

The Abs and the Ab-nots - Price of Vanity III

As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency.
Caroline Kennedy
This picture, taken in 1998, revealed open disregard for the poor in Sudan. The person walking away with a ration of maize snatched it from the malnourished kid who also happend to suffer from polio. The boy had just received the ration at a distribution center. The food was rightfully his but the man who took it was more powerful and exercised his 'right' to steal from the poor. No one stopped or even questioned the thief because they saw nothing wrong with it; privilege took precedence over basic decency and Human Rights.

But before we get too carried away with being appalled at the cold-hearted wealthy and powerful Africans, think about this:

Tummy Tucks versus Tucks and Tummies...

The largest population of poor people in the United States are not black, or white or red or yellow or brown - they are under the age of eighteen years old - they number between between 13 million and 27 million.

Tonight, those children will not be tucked into bed and they will not have enough food to fill their tummys - no tummy, no tuck.

Despite the poor's right to basic neccessities including food and shelter, folks with money are not inclined to share their wealth. They walk away, vainly choosing to spend their extra cash on elective surgeries instead. So, in America - as in Africa - privilege also takes precedence over basic decency and Human Rights.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Platform for The National Council of La Raza Unida

Below is the platform of the Chicano Organization, The National Council of La Raza Unida:

Partido Nactional La Raza Unida


  • Complete recognition of sovereignty for native nations and all colonized nations;
  • Land grant restoration and restitution where appropriate.


  • Reduce hourly work week;
  • Living wage for all workers, including farmworkers, restaurant employees, homemakers and undocumented laborers;
  • Job Security - people who lose their jobs due to "downsizing," the peace dividend, or because a machine or computer replaced them receive full wages for 6 months from that company;
  • High quality workplace democracy needs to exists to end oppression in the workplace.


  • Companies that pollute pay for the cleanup;
  • Treat all life forms with respect by developing plans for protected or endangered species and ensuring sufficient open space for nature preserves;
  • Increase accessible public transportation;
  • Support renewable energy sources and low pollution resources;
  • Transform the free market economy to one that serves people and nature.


  • Provide healthy family preservation and development services holistically in partnerships between community and government;
  • Assist in the development of community cooperatives for child care and other family supports.


  • The quality of all public schools need to be high enough to eliminate the need for vouchers;
  • Culturally relevant education needs to be a component of every school;
  • Tuition free higher education;
  • End the militarization of schools.


  • Universal health care, including mental health, non-Western treatments, substance abuse treatment, and family planning;
  • Control Media/Entertainment violence;
  • Develop programs that heal youth and adults of the effects of violence and poverty.


  • Invest in prevention, intervention and rehabilitation instead of prisons;
  • Affordable and accessible quality housing for all.

Human Rights:

  • Support United Nations proposal on the rights of women, children, workers, colonized nationalities, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, etc.;
  • End the brutality, harassment, and abuse by policing agencies of the government.


  • Fair taxes for all -- end corporate welfare;
  • Drastically reduce the amount of taxes used to fund military purposes.


  • End the militarization of society including the borders.

Electoral Reform:

  • Free TV and radio time for all candidates during election periods;
  • Include candidates from all parties in debates;
  • Lower the amounts that may be privately spent on any given campaign;
  • Restore the voting rights for all once their jail/prison sentences are finished.


  • We see no human being as "illegal." Those who have arrived to the U.S. with heritage indigenous to the Americas, and specifically those crossing the southern border, are migrants on their own continent;
  • We work for the rights of all peoples from this position.

La Raza Unida:

  • Will continue to work for and be open to all Raza (people of indigenous heritage), working and poor people.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

On Children

My niece's daughter, Olivia - born 5 July 2005 - Congratulations Steve and Evelyn. Alayna has a beautiful little sister. She looks just like my big sister.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Price of Vanity II - A Delgado and a Perky C-cup

Bargain Rates! click here
Liposuction: $1999.00

Breast Augmentation: $2999.00
Abdominoplasty - "Tummy Tuck:" $5999.00
Get the best elective surgery money can buy!!!!!

I wonder if this niño delgado (Spanish for 'skinny child' lol! How precious) looks as good as he feels?

They can make you a 'perky C-cup' but they cannot turn 36 years into 26 or 41 years into 40. Elimination of a jiggly butt does nothing for the 30,000 children that will die today from starvation - but, if it makes you happy, go put your life in jeopardy and turn every head on the planet - you deserve it.

Here are some thoughts to ponder as you drift into unconsciousness in anticipation of that flat belly with a half-inch thick, hip-to-hip 14 inch scar.
Final 9/11 Death toll: 2986 - more than ten times that many children are dying every day.
US GI Death toll to date: 1756 - more than 15 times that many children are starving to death every day.
2000 Census of Los Lunas, New Mexico:
10,034 - 3 times that many children are starving to death every day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Price of Vanity - 30,000 Children Die Every Day

Ethopian Child in it's last moments of suffering

According to UNICEF, 30,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”
Child in Darfur

That is about 210,000 children each week, or just under 11 million children under five years of age, each year.

Sudanese Child

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Do Not Worry

View of Sandia Mountains from Placitas, a community just north of Albuquerque - taken this past weekend

Long before our son, Matthew was born, I knew what his name would be. I used to walk home from school on a road named, 'Matthew' in Albuquerque's North Valley. The year Matthew was born was also the year I sustained the needle-stick from the patient with HIV.

I recall one morning being incredibly depressed. I couldn't get out of bed. I could not imagine what life would be like dying of such a terrible disease. I thought how, because of my life insurance, I was worth more dead than alive. I was thinking how I could die and have it appear like an accident.
I was contemplating suicide. I felt like all hope was lost so I asked God to help me. I remember asking, 'If you really exist. I need help today because I am not going to make it.'

After I made that 'prayer,' I rolled out of bed - on the opposite side of where I usually get up. I don't know why but as I did, my foot came to rest on an old leather-bound Bible that my mother had given to me a week before I left for college. I reached down, picked it up and opened it. Quite randomly, I opened it to the Book of Matthew. It seemed like it could be a sign. I read the following quote from Jesus;

Do Not Worry

Therefore, I tell you, don't be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food, and the body more than clothing? See the birds of the sky, that they don't sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you of much more value than they?

"Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don't toil, neither do they spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won't he much more clothe you, you of little faith?

"Therefore don't be anxious, saying, 'What will we eat?', 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be clothed?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient.
Matthew 6:25-34

The name Matthew is Hebrew and means, 'gift from God.'

En El Mismo Tren

En El Mismo Tren

by Marco Antonio Solis

album: Razon de Sobra

Que tristeza hay en los ojos de esa chica
What sadness in those eyes of that woman
casi el llanto nunca puede contener
she can barely contain
a flood of tears
mil preguntas en el aire y no se explica
A thousand questions hang in the air without explanation
como esto le tenia que suceder.
As though this just had to be.

Ayúdame señor se dice en su interior que
'Help me sir,' speaks silently from within
nunca el rencor mi pecho guarde, le entrego
without invoking my heart’s grudging nature, she gave
todo su ser a un cobarde que se ha ido pues no supo responder.
all her being to a coward who left her -

well, I did'nt know how to respond
Dile como quisiera alguna vez brindarle otra illusion
Tell her – how I wish one time to offer her another illusion
decirle que hay en mi comprensión para su corazón.
to tell her that I understand what's in her heart.
Dile pues cada que la veo llorar me parte a mi también
Tell her – because whenever I see her cry it tears me apart as well as well
yo siempre la eh de amar pues en su caminar voy en el mismo tren.
I ought to love her because in her travel, I also am on the same train.

(Hablado - spoken)

Como quisiera entrar en aquel pequeño que corre a sus brazos
How I wish I could enter that child who runs into her arms
y que sienta así mi calor, como quisiera de 3 pincelazos
so she could feel my warmth, how I wish that with three brush strokes
pintar su mundo de otro color que me encuentre su Mirada
I could paint her world another color that meets me in her eyes
y descubra lo que siento
and she could realize what I feel
y que sienta que no hay nada que se pierda en el intento.
so she feels that there is nothing to be lost in the attempt.

Ayúdame señor se dice en su interior que
'Help me sir' her soul speaks out
nunca el rencor mi pecho guarde, le entrego
without invoking my heart’s grudging nature, she gave
todo su ser a un cobarde que se ha ido pues no supo responder.
all her being to a coward who left her – well, I did'nt know how to respond

Dile como quisiera alguna vez brindarle otra illusion
Tell her – how I wish one time to offer her another illusion
decirle que hay en mi comprensión para su corazón.
to tell her that I understand what's in her heart.
Dile pues cada que la veo llorar me parte a mi también
Tell her – because every time I see her cry
it tears me apart as well as well
yo siempre la eh de amar pues en su caminar voy en el mismo tren.
I ought to love her because in her travel, I also am on the same train.

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