Sunday, June 26, 2005

Freedom

Sure, there are corporate sponsors and the Sheriff actually included a prison bus in his part of the parade, but gay pride is still at its heart about freedom. People being who they are and having a great time. Doing things and acting in ways that would likely be unacceptable in most public places, but so what if people are offended, no one gets hurt.

Unfortunately, I didn't do much for gay pride, although it is by far the biggest party
San Francisco throws. I was petitioning at Rainbow Grocery (cooperative grocery in SF) the other day and the sign on the door said "We will be closed Sunday for Gay Pride, but we will be open July 4th."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Being A Tourist

My mother is in San Francisco, and I've been touring the city from the perspective of a tourist. I even went on a bus tour of the city. It has actually been helpful. I have a much better feel for the city than I've ever had. Previously I was most familiar with the Mission and was aware of adjacent neighborhoods (Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, Castro, Soma). I also was familiar with the Sunnyside neighborhood because I lived their for 7 months, but no one else really knows where that is.

We checked out the Golden Gate Bridge, we rode a cable car, walked in Chinatown, went to Alcatraz, Union Square, Mission Dolores, the piers, etc. The best part by far, however, was Golden Gate Park. It is huge, and we saw maybe 10% of it. My mom loved the botanical gardens and the Japanese Tea Garden. I hope to spend more time there - maybe when I get a bike. Find more of my photos here.

By the way, I'll be in Austin from July 15th through the 20th, so look for me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What I Said Yesterday at the Extradite Posada Rally at the Federal Courthouse in San Francisco

Last week four men were arrested in Lodi California for alleged ties to terrorism. Thousands are being held at Guantanamo Bay and all around the world because of alleged ties to terrorism. On the other hand, Luis Posada is a known terrorist, responsible for the deaths of dozens of innocent people. He is not facing criminal charges, and he is certainly not being tortured like many of the suspects at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. Posada has access to legal help and, for all we know, he is still on the CIA payroll.

I mention the nearby Lodi arrests because it highlights the hypocrisy of the Bush Administration and the justice department under Attorney General Gonzales; and it allows me to bring up a point about the believability of government officials engaged in a bogus war on terror.

I do not believe that the men in Lodi were or are a threat. I’ll admit that the possibility exists that there was some sort of terrorist cell there, plotting some sort of terrorist act against this country. It is possible, but I have so much doubt that it is true because I simply don’t trust the FBI and the rest of the so-called anti-terror apparatus the Bush administration has significantly empowered since 9/11.

Why? I mentioned these, mostly Muslim and Middle Eastern men being held without trial. Some of them have been released. They weren’t terrorists after all. There was nothing to charge them with. Yet they were held against their will. What about the people still being held? We don’t know. How many innocent people have been tortured in U.S. detention camps? How many have been tortured to death? Even when the government does get a terrorist conviction, it may be against someone like NLG lawyer Lynne Stewart – a grandmother and litigator who was targeted for simply vigorously defending her client.

Then there is the military combat piece of the war on terror that has killed tens of thousands of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Finally we are learning more about the lies that got us into Iraq in the first place. Killing thousands of innocent people in Iraq when our leaders knew there was no threat to our country is terrorism on a massive scale. Historically, there is the School of the Americas, the Shah of Iran, the support for Pinochet, and I could go on and on. My point is that in the War on Terrorism, our government has no credibility. The fact that Luis Posada is being coddled and shielded is just another reason why I trust the accused men in Lodi California more than the men (and women) in the White House.

I want to remind people that the National Lawyers Guild has a hotline for people who have been contacted by the FBI or other government officials in the course of an investigation like the one in Lodi California; It is 415-285-1041. Thank you.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

"The Whole World Is Anti-United Snakes" -Boots Riley

I went to see The Coup at 1015 Folsom this past Friday. As when they performed in Austin, it was incredible. Though it was pretty much the same show - right down to Ghetto Manifesto performed to the music from Outkast's So Fresh, So Clean. I thought they might have some new stuff. As when they performed in Austin, I went up to Boots Riley afterward to say "hello." I asked him about new music, and he says there will be a single out later this summer and an album out probably in September.

I'll wait patiently.

Speaking of patience, perhaps the FBI should be more patient when it comes to busting up Muslim communities. Or maybe they just don't care - it's all a show anyway right? I'm referring to the recent arrests in Lodi California that had all the mainstream media falling over themselves to report on the possible terror cell in a small farming community; reporting on the "details" of the case against the men. Of course the details were just bits of information that may or may not be true that some FBI agent was using against the men, specifically one 22-year-old man who supposedly trained at an Al Qaeda camp in Pakistan.

So the whole case appears to hinge on this camp existing, and there is considerable evidence that no such camp could exist. Since the FBI is often wrong about their accusations - a lot of accused terrorists have been acquitted or simpy charged with lesser immigration violations - I think there is plenty of reason to doubt their claims and not buy into the resulting hysteria. My guess is the men they arrested are far less dangerous than someone like Luis Posada, who our government appears to be sheltering from criminal charges.

By the way, there will be protests around the country on Monday against asylum for the terrorist Posada and in support of extradition to Venezuela. Find out more HERE.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Can We Cripple Imperial Warfare and Start a Revolution?

First why we shouldn't support the Democrats if we really want change: The Left Must Learn From 2004 - Interview with Kevin Zeese from Antiwar.com.

Second, remember the trite saying "What if they threw a war and no one came?" There may be something to that: May Recruiting Goals, Already Lowered, Off by 25% - Story from ArmyTimes.com.

Finally, is a revolution underway in Bolivia? We should be paying attention to this: Bolivian Congress Meets As Fighting Erupts In Sucre.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Snap Shots

Yes, I've moved for the second time in about a month. Why? A number of reasons follow: (1) I discovered that I'm very sensitive to street noise from cars, motorcycles and such. My room overlooked a relatively busy road - and a short segment of road at that - so people were always accelerating to the next stop sign. Acceleration is usually pretty noisy. Plus my windows provided about as much of a sound barrier as tissue paper (single ply!). As a result I wore ear plugs most nights and still had trouble sleeping. (2) The area I was at, was too dog friendly. Unfortunately my dog is not that friendly, and it was getting hard to take him for walks as 100's of dogs ran towards him every time we walked out the door - owners not far behind saying, "go say 'hi' to the doggie!" Too much stimulation for a poorly socialized dog. (3) I found a place that was hundreds of dollars cheaper, still in the Mission, closer to work, more space inside and out, and with cool roommates.

There are at least two other reasons that I choose not to mention here.

A couple of nights before my move I was freaked out by a fire across the street. San Francisco is full of these 3 and 4 story homes, each floor is a separate apartment (or flat), and one house has little or no space between it and its neighbors. So it is scary to think about all these people occupying such compact space and then having a fire spark up in the middle of it all. Fire engines came and hose was pulled out. I heard a lot of windows breaking - either because firemen were breaking them to get in or let smoke out, or because the heat was breaking them.

Oh, while moving I opened a box that I had left unopened since my first intra-city move back at the beginning of May. It contained a little notebook I hadn't looked at in awhile. Here are some notes I found that I wrote as I planned my move from Texas:

Preparing to Move
-Rent for Sept. 1st
-Bill Ogilvie + Ryan - Give Notice to Each
-Moving Company
-Car-sell?
-Utilities
-Phone
-Insurance
-Gold's Gym
-Bank-Wells Fargo?
-Wells Fargo Loan-UN:**************** PW:****
-Sell ACL ticket
-Buy Franz Ferdinand ticket @ the concourse SF 9/22/04

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Now That The Very People Accused of Abuse Have Cleared Their Own Name, We Can All Rest Easy

A very noble and responsible act - this is surely how the corporate press will treat this story. The Pentagon has publicly detailed the mishandling of the Quran at Guantanamo Bay.

Of course it would be bad enough if the investigation that led to this report was done by anyone in the Pentagon, as opposed to an independent 3rd party. But the Pentagon didn't even attempt to have a seperate investigative unit take this on, it was conducted by Brig. General Jay Hood - "the commander of the detention center in Cuba."

How will Americans and the media respond? It should seem both ridiculous and suspicious to anyone with a basic sense of due process - one that I think exists even in this country. We don't let accused criminals act as their own judge and jury.

But then again, accused criminals are usually poor people of color. This is the Pentagon. Americans - at least the ones with the most influence in Washington (or Austin or Sacramento) - trust the Pentagon a lot more than petty criminals. I think. But I hope I'm wrong. Or at least I hope the rest of us can start to have more of an impact.

An accurate reading of this report should be: If this is what the accused criminals running Guantanamo are willing to reveal, what they are covering up must be much worse. Remember, it isn't just Quran abuse that is suspected at Guantanamo. It is also torture. We know that at Abu Ghraib people merely accused of something (terrorism?) have been tortured to death.

So why would anyone, particularly a responsible media, trust a single finding, a single word of this latest Pentagon admission?