Archive for August, 2009

Revelations of CIA Torture

Posted in Human Rights Abuses with tags , on August 26, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Is torture passe by now?  Do you think the average American even cares if we tortured people or not?  I don’t know.  But it is important to find out exactly what happened because there are plenty of people around the world that care.  Not to mention that torture is illegal and immoral.  The US should never use torture and we must hold those responsible if we have found that they did indeed use torture on anyone at any time.

Obama has said that he wants to “look forward.”  In other words, I don’t want to deal with the war crimes that my predecessor and his administration committed.  Fortunately, Eric Holder does not feel exactly the same way.  He appointed a special investigator, Assistant US Attorney John Durham, to investigate the allegations of torture under the Bush Administration.  Unfortunately, those that actually did the torturing will not be prosecuted because they were merely following orders.  But if that also means that only those at the top of the food chain will be prosecuted, then I am fine with that.  We’ll have to wait and see…

However, the CIA did release a heavily redacted document that outlines some of the torture techniques and it shows that Washington was in control the whole time.  So if anyone wants to argue that these were bad apples or they were acting against orders, then they should read the Inspector General for the CIA’s report.  It’s pretty long, but with all the lines that are blacked out, it shouldn’t take long to read.

Healthcare is a Right

Posted in Domestic with tags , on August 26, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Healthcare is, and should be considered, a right.  It should not be considered a privilege.

It is interesting how those that are attacking healthcare reform or the idea of universal healthcare have no problem with the government taking care of other things in their lives.  For instance, the military is government run.  So are the police and fire fighters.  We do not expect the government to stop doing these things.  If our house was on fire, we wouldn’t want to have to make sure that our fees were paid, we would just expect the fire department to show up and put out the fire.  If we get robbed, we want the police to find the culprits.  We are not expected to find them ourselves or have to hire a private investigator to do it for us.  There are certain things that the government handles, so that it is done efficiently and so that everyone has equal access to it.  Healthcare should be the same way.

Everyone should have access to healthcare regardless of how much money you have.  And the government should ensure that everyone does indeed have equal access.  Just as you shouldn’t have to worry about paying for the fire department to come to your house, you shouldn’t have to worry about paying for a doctor when you get sick.  Everyone will need a doctor at some point in their lives, and everyone should be able to see one.  We would all be better off if everyone had access.

RIP Edward Kennedy

Posted in Domestic with tags , , on August 26, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Love him or hate him, Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy was a force to be reckoned with in the Senate.  And because he was a staunch liberal who embraced that title, I for one, will miss him.

Memorials and biographies are all over the web, so I won’t put any links here.

Ted Kennedy was a champion of many worthwhile causes.  One of which was universal healthcare.  I think it more important than ever that we have universal, comprehensive health insurance.  I think that would be one of the best ways to honor Ted Kennedy.

Health Care Reform is Dead

Posted in Domestic with tags on August 18, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

If this health care reform effort doesn’t include a public option, then we might as well call it what it is: dead.  They can call it reform all they want (and believe me they will) but with out real reform then it is not reform at all.  And without a public option it won’t be real reform.

The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall St Journal have all run articles recently saying that Obama may let the public option die.  That, to me, would be the death of real health care reform.  Fortunately, some Democrats are saying that the public option is “a must.”  Hopefully they can convince others in the party that it is too.  Because if we don’t have a public option, I sure hope you like whatever health insurance you have.  And if you don’t have anything, maybe you should contact your Representatives and Senators and tell them that reform doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t help people like you.

Porous Borders

Posted in Domestic, Latin America, Poetry with tags , , , on August 12, 2009 by Mort the Sport

(A slightly different version of this poem was published in The Chaffey Review.)

Light sinks into the skin

of the ocean.

Under crumpled canvas in the back of a pickup

headed north over the 15 freeway’s washboard,

a kid, laboring for breath, rides the bumps in the road,

stomach acid slithering up his throat. A mystery

of heat and darkness. Cool jets of exhaust and morning air

lick at the tarp, causing the boy to cough.

Tonight is too far away.

Light through the water moves faster

than his thoughts, his tendency to equate space

with freedom, his devotion to Los Santos,

his memory of kidnappings, the burnt offerings

Tia Juanita made after her daughter died.

He hears the unfamiliar whine of American radio

streaming out of the windows of passing cars.

His mother is breathing into his ear.

The faint smell of the mint she found

in between the seat cushions in Ernesto’s pickup

before they met with the coyote. The smell

of wet switchgrass, gravely waving to the drivers,

the shoulder gently sloping like a pregnant belly,

swollen. The taste of honeywater in his mouth.

The dark circles under her eyes haunt his memory.

She’s passionate, even in sleep, in the face

of disconsolate attempts to move north.

But now they’re almost there.

But where is that?

Tia Inez will still be pulling a double shift when they get

to a cul-de-sac in La Puente. The bridge.

The front door of the apartment will be screened

by a heavy lacework of rusting iron, bursting with red,

like capillaries on a drunkard’s nose.

He will stare at the stucco facade.

A billboard will read: “You deserve a break today.”

The bright letters will mean nothing to him.

He will mouth the word for home.

The boy closes his eyes:

The waves sang in the distance,

the foam white like ghosts. His urine etched steaming worms

into the uneven ground. He stumbled over the litter

in the street – dominoes, teacups, broken glass.

On the beach, he gave his yellow rock to one of the beachcombers

so the man wouldn’t find the anemone hidden in the turbid water

of his bucket. Ernesto zigzagged through the streets,

his truck cutting turns like a scalpel. It idled

in front of their home. Words spilled out of their mouths

when the coyote stuck out his hand. He had no time

for questions and the money paid for travel, not answers.

Ernesto said his brother, Tonino, had a hook

instead of a hand, a piece of the price

of his northbound trip.

The boy’s mother kisses him

and then the cross hanging from her neck. The thumb

of sun has prodded her awake. Her swelling belly

ripples in the heat, a mirage, a miracle. A sheet

of sunlight cleft by hungry shadows.

As he and his mother arrive at the border,

he feels the same way he did on the ledge

overlooking the sea. There is nowhere else to go.

The rocks reach out of the water like spears,

but he pushes off anyway. He jumps headlong,

the sea foam spilling like clouds.

Somewhere beyond memory,

the sun-stained water gurgles,

salt glazing his lips.

A Personal Note

Posted in Chit chat with tags , on August 11, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

This has nothing to do with politics.  So if you are wondering what I think of the town halls full of people that are opposed to health care reform or Glenn Beck and the rest of the crazies, it will have to wait for another time.  But if you are wondering why things have been so slow around here, I am going to explain.

My father passed away in December of 2008, and my family for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into here, decided that this month would be the time that we would go to Minnesota to spread his ashes.  So that has taken my focus away from politics a little bit.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, I got laid off from my job.  I am currently unemployed and looking for work.  Yet another thing that tends to make you focus on something other than those idiots on Fox News.

Also (less importantly) Sport Morty (my brother), decided that he isn’t as much of a political junkie as he thought he was,  so he will probably only post things infrequently from here on out.

So until things stabalize a little bit in my personal life, I will probably write a bit less than I usually do.  I will be back, it is just a matter of when.  So keep checking back, and hopefully things will be back to normal soon.

I certainly hope so.  Having no money is really starting to suck.

The Root of All Evil

Posted in Domestic, WTF? with tags , , on August 5, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

This article on Slate caught my eye.  But as I read it, I thought less about what the article was talking about and more about the incredible sums of money that corporations and others spend on lobbying Congress.  If you thought it was bad, you are in for a real treat.  It is disgustingly horrible.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 3.3 billion was spent on lobbying in 2008 alone.  Yes, that’s billion with a B.  And yes, that is in one year.  And don’t forget, that is just lobbying.  That is not money spent on PACs, campaign contributions, or 527s.

How are we as lowly citizens without billions of dollars expected to compete with that?  We’re not.  And that is why no matter what reform we want, we need to get money out of politics first.  Talk about a losing political narrative.