Torture and Terror, Un-American Activities

I was sitting at the kitchen table going through my morning emails, reading the blogs I keep up with and generally doing what I do during the quiet of a Saturday morn when after checking out Fragments I started running Fred’s link list. Basically, I was looking for some new voices on what was happening in the world.

The voice that resonated this morning is from Chris Clarke of Creek Running North. His essay from yesterday about the latest fiasco our “elected” representatives have gotten into was entitled “I am an enemy combatant”. Chris is just one of the multitude of voices beginning to rise up out here in the real world, and he has a very eloquent way of putting the common outrage being felt by at least half of this country’s citizens.

For all its manifold faults, for all its history steeped in racism and genocide, for all its wars of empire and Know-Nothing heritage, this country was manifestly founded on the notion that a just government bases its authority in the consent of the governed. Now the Bush administration has declared that the interests of this country are coincident with, and limited to, the short-term interests of the administration and its corporate backers, and the most basic, most essential Constitutional rights of the citizenry be damned, not by the odious exceptionalism of privilege that marred this country’s history, but across the board. All of us are three-fifths of a person now, granted the privilege of full protection only if we do nothing that requires protection, unless we are unlucky enough to be falsely accused. And I withdraw my consent.

It is a slippery slope that this administration and this congress have started us down. At some point the slide is going to get out of control. Who will have their hand on the button when this slide careens into the chasm at the bottom? We all know what the button controls, the biggest stockpile of wmd’s this old world has ever seen. And a petulant, spoiled child seems to have the button…Does that thought make you feel safe and comforted?

One of the commenters on Chris’s site, Alice, had this to say about his post…

The past few days, I’ve been pondering the quotation “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just”, even as I worry whether a God that I don’t believe in will care if I don’t observe Yom Kippur. Your post impelled me to google the quotation, which tells me (a) that it’s from Thomas Jefferson’s denunciation of slavery in 1785; and (b) that a lot of other folks are also pondering this, in the context of this latest assault on the principles underlying the founding of our country.

Of all of the fool things George W has done since he moved into the real world of international bull-in-the-china-shop, “I am the Decider” self indulgence, setting himself up to lead this country into a dictatorship has got to be the ultimate. And all because he needed that gold-plated “Get out of Jail Free” card. Can’t depend on the Republican congress coming back to keep all of the investigations shut down. Can’t take a chance the Democrats may take over the House and actually, you know, start doing the oversite that the Constitution mandates Congress do. Hell, if the democracy should actually spring up in America, you never know what might happen, George W and Dick may find themselves extradited to the Netherlands to face a jury of their peers…right?

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…Torture is Torture, America does not make it a policy to torture. As Chris said, we do not have a perfect record, but as a rule we try. Now the rule will be that you can, and we have all seen were that can get you. Does anyone in Washington remember Abu Ghraib? When you make it a policy to allow torture, torture happens. When you give the President the right to imprison people, does anyone want to bet it won’t happen?

As this debate played out in the halls of Congress, I had faith that somehow this Congress would find it’s (pardon the loss of a better word) balls to stand up to the Dick and George Show and remember what it was they swore an oath to protect. Sure, I’ve heard all of the arguments about this only applies to non-citizens, but so what. I am already being lumped in with the terrorists because I don’t feel that George W and crew have kept me safe without destroying the very things that make us American.

How long will it be before my rights of citizenship depend upon my kowtowing to the ruling party?

Crossposted at Blues From the Red Side of Life

Friday Morning Muse

As I sit at my computer reading the mornings emails here are a few of the things that stand out:

From the Washington Post:
E.J Dionne had this to say about the Clinton interview on Fox –

“Sober, moderate opinion will say what sober, moderate opinion always says about an episode of this sort: Tut tut, Clinton looked unpresidential, we should worry about the future, not the past, blah, blah, blah.

But sober, moderate opinion was largely silent as the right wing slashed and distorted Clinton’s record on terrorism. It largely stood by as the Bush administration tried to intimidate its own critics into silence. As a result, the day-to-day political conversation was tilted toward a distorted view of the past. All the sins of omission and commission were piled onto Clinton while Bush was cast as the nation’s angelic avenger. And as conservatives understand, our view of the past greatly influences what we do in the present.

A genuinely sober and moderate view would recognize that it’s time the scales of history were righted. Propagandistic accounts need to be challenged, systematically and consistently. The debate needed a very hard shove. Clinton delivered it.”

Then Michael Kinsley has this closing –

A commander in chief who must face life-or-death questions such as these deserves a bit of sympathy. I would sympathize more with Bush if his answers weren’t so preening and struggle-free. It is wonderful to be so morally pure that you won’t allow a single embryo to be destroyed in the quest for medical cures that could save lives by the thousands. You are way beyond Gandhi, sweeping the path ahead to avoid stepping on an insect: Insects have more human characteristics than a six-cell embryo.

And regarding Iraq you are quite the man, aren’t you, “making the tough decisions.” A regular Harry Truman, consigning thousands to death in order to bring democracy and freedom and peace to millions. But Truman actually produced democracy and freedom and peace, whereas you want credit for your hopes. That’s not how it works. If you want to be the hard-ass, you get judged by results. And you can’t be Gandhi and Truman at the same time.

from this mornings “A Writer’s Almanac“:

Miguel de Cervantes said, “Too much sanity may be madness, and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.”

From the folks at Photo Friday: “This week’s Challenge: ‘Anger’.” I guess I’ll be pondering how to capture that emotion for a while today…

Martha Stewart (don’t ask) brings us Halloween Crafts.

And last in this mornings in-basket is: Eknath Easwaran’s Thought for the Day

September 28

God is not external to anyone, but is present with all things, though they are ignorant that he is so.
– Plotinus

I have heard people claim that mysticism denies the physical world. A good mystic would answer, “We are not belittling Sir Isaac Newton. We don’t deny the Pythagorean theorem. All we are saying is that we have discovered another dimension to life, another realm – changeless, eternal, beyond cause and effect – on which the entire physical universe rests.”

Because our lives are oriented outward, we may doubt the existence of the Self within. I have been telling people about this Self almost daily for more than thirty years, but occasionally I still am asked, “Are you talking about something outside us?” Compared with this Self – whom we call Krishna or Christ, Allah or Adonai or the Divine Mother – my own body is “outside.” Compared with the Self, my own life is not more dear.

Yesterday I spent some time with photoshop to “enhance” a photo from last week, let me know what you think…


This is the un-shoped version…


My wife is of the thought that using photoshop to “enhance” an image is untruthfull. I tried to tell her that the enhanced version is really closer to what stopped me for the image than the straight shot…oh well, about the only thing we ever agree about is dis-agreeing. And to think we’ve been together for 2 1/2 decades already…

Used Cars

Used car lots in this neck of the woods leave a lot to be desired! 

Nothing a little paint and elbow grease wouldn’t help…don’t ya think?
Ya’ll have a great day…

Finding a Clear Path

A few weeks back Colleen over at Loose Leaf Notes quoted some of Jim Minick’s “Finding a Clear Path” published by the West Virginia University Press. Her recommendation sent me online and a week later my copy of the book arrived. I have to say I am thoroughly impressed. Jim Minick has a way of writing that makes you think he is talking to you alone. With every chapter you want to continue the conversation and add your own experiences. This is another of those books that you don’t sit down and read in a couple of settings, you have to enjoy this one a chapter at a time. So far I have only made it a little over a third of the way through, but each and every page is enjoyable by itself.

As a bit of serendipity, the chapter I came to tonight spoke of Great Horned Owls. Ya gotta wonder about these kinds of coincidences…

In this same vein, I came across a quote from “the rural life” by Verlyn Klinkenborg on someone’s blog (pardon my lack of brain cells). It caused me to chase down the excerpt on Amazon which really wetted my appetite, which caused me to buy the book when I found it on Daedus Books for a pittance and since I was already placing an order I added it in. This author is a wordsmith. He can put together a sentence, then tie it to others in a paragraph, add additional paragraphs to complete an essay that leaves me breathless with envy. Just speaking about binders twine in the way he does, you can almost feel the coarseness as it cuts into your palm as you throw that bale of hay from the loft. Again, this is another of those books you take your time reading. I am up to May and looking forward to the summer.

When you add in Fred First’s “Slow Road Home”, it begins to look like my reading habits have really changed. Blame it on the blogs, I guess.

An evening visit

Last evening before bed I decided to walk out and enjoy some of this nice fall weather before it grinds to a halt. I wondered out to the center of the field behind the house and heard an uncommon sound for this neighborhood, the hoot of an owl. Just for the fun of it I decided to answer. And thus started a conversation that lasted for over an hour and was joined by at least one other owl. With the occasional flash of a lightning bug (firefly to those of you in the mountains) to place accent on the comment of one of us or the other, we talked of kings and things of world wide importance. I must admit, I found I could agree with just about everything my guest had to say. But then, how do you argue with “hoo, hoohoo, hoo, hoo” or “hoohoo-hoohoo—hoohoo-hoohoo”?

As the night was very dark with just a sliver of a moon low on the western horizon, I cannot identify my visitors. From the size as they ghosted overhead, I expect they were either Great Horned or Barred Owls. They would sit at the top of a tree and talk back at me for a while then fly across me to a tree on the other side and continue the conversation. Most likely they were a mated pair, and like most married couples just being sociable by not leaving me out of the conversation.

When I came back to the house and informed my wife of my conversation, well, let’s just say she wasn’t thrilled to hear I had a visit with an owl or two. I guess you could say their are some old wives out there whose tails still have credence even after all these years of civilizing influences. Go figure…Any-hoo, I hope my new friends come and visit again I would love to drab a photo as they float overhead.

Late note: After listening to the call recordings on the sites above it would appear that my visitors were Great Horned Owls.

NC Mountain Fix

I am having a really busy week at work so I’m not doing as much reading and posting as I would like. The mail today also brought a time consuming bit of always appreciated reading pleasure, the October issue of “Our State, North Carolina”. Between “Our State” and “Blue Ridge Magazine” I manage to get a semi regular fix of mountain scenery.

Reading the Editors Page brought back the passing of Hugh Morton this June 1st. I think it was my very first solitary trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway and the crossing of the Linn Cove Viaduct for the first time that set my love of Grandfather Mountain. To this day I get that same thrill every time I round that bend and see the mountain.

Anyway, I want to get on with my reading, so I am going to stick another shot from Sunday here and leave you all for the evening…

Photo of The Day


Windmill in Brazoria Wildlife Refuge
Brazoria County, Texas

A Drive In The (Almost) Wilderness

One of the places I visit on a semi-regular basis is the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge. It’s located about 40 minutes from the house along Bastrop Bayou. Today I ran down to see if the rain from last night had done any good at filling the dried up lakes. With the left over cold front providing cover, the views were stupindous.


For some reason this trip I did not see a single ‘gator. Two or three weeks ago when I ran down gators were everwhere. About the only thing stirring besides the wind were some birds.




I’ll try to make another run after the fall migration rolls in and get some more shots…

Lunch time musing

I was setting here going thru my blogroll and trying to figure out how I ended up getting involved with all of these folks. I remember originally doing a Google search on “Blue Ridge Mountains” and ending up at Marie’s Blue Ridge Blog. Her photos kept me coming back for a good while before I expanded my blog list (a bit of history is in order I guess, I have had a website for about 10 years now and I’ve been reading blogs since the early years of Scripting News and Radio. I was reading Ev and Megnut before Google got involved in blogs, so I am not totally in the dark about these things called blogs).
Anyway, on with the thread, once I had been reading (mostly enjoying the photos) Marie for a while I started perusing her links. That led to Fred First and Goose Creek in Fragments From Floyd and the whole Floyd County Blog Gang (Loose Leaf Notes, Blue Ridge Muse, and Ripples) which became a community I enjoyed visiting. Thanks to Fred , Colleen, Doug and David for letting me stop by to visit.
It was thru this core that my Blogroll has expanded. When I am online with time to kill, I will start running through some sites link list to see if they have anyone I haven’t read who says something that resonates with me. My blog’s links (now a real Blogroll because they really do make it easy to keep your links up without a lot of programming) do not follow any type of pattern. I tend to read widely and be attracted to sites that are very diverse, so you never know what you might run into on my Blogroll.
What started this thought perking today was that while I was reading Cedar Press Hill, there was Fred. When reading comments on Fred’s site, there was Judith Polakoff. It seems like I run into Pablo from Roundrock Journal all over the place.
And round and round it goes.

Morning Drive III

This just goes to show you how you never know what you might miss. I passed this scene, caught sight of it out of the corner of my eye as I passed over a small bridge, drove on and decided to turn around and go back. Thanks Fred, I think the advice took…And this is the shot I am proudest of. Posted by Picasa