Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy Belated Birthday to Edward Snowden

Hello there!

Just saw that yesterday was the 30th birthday of whistleblower Edward Snowden.  Hope that you had a good one under the circumstances, Edward, and that you are and continue to remain, safe!

Saw the birthday blurb in the latest Glenn Greenwald piece at The Guardian site

This is a good read as to the important issues involved.  The comments are usually pretty good, too.  Pay attention to those who mention that stifling of dissent is probably at least one cause behind all this suspicionless snooping and warrantless wiretapping.

You can also read the Q and A Snowden did at the Guardian's site.  I read it a few days ago and was pretty stunned.  Here's why: 

Back in February (before any of us had heard of Snowden), I wrote a poem, the first I'd composed in a while.  When I read his response to the second part of the first question - what did he say----- "Truth is coming..."  THAT WAS THE TITLE OF MY POEM !!!  So here's the poem - I hope somehow Snowden gets to read it:

Truth is Coming (Truth Chant)

Truth is coming
Truth is on the horizon

Truth is coming
Truth must be our guide
Its light chasing the shadows from our path

Truth is coming
Truth must be our fortress
Its strength forming our pillar of support

Truth is coming
Truth always must be heard
Its voice piercing the static of oft-competing lies

Truth is coming
Truth must not be denied
Its pure simplicity finding a way to be openly revealed
Truth is on the horizon
Truth is coming

A neat (I think) aside:  The fortress/strength stanza was inspired by Rep. John Lewis. Shortly after I finished the first version of the poem, I was reviewing his BookTV appearance and at one point he said: "Nothing is stronger than the Truth!"  Well, I had to add a stanza after that!

BTW, I see I have been getting some readers - or page views anyway.  Hope some of you leave some comments sometime; it would be nice to actually hear from folks - it would make it less like speaking to an empty hall!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Protests in Turkey

I'm really appalled that the Prime Minister of Turkey used riot police to clear their famous square of protesters.  Things like this just seem to happen way too much all over the world.  Yes, here in the U. S., too.  They certainly took lots of pains to throttle the Occupy Movement.  I guess it's still around, but it's certainly getting no notice.

Why do those in power feel they have to do this.? Do they forget that they SHOULD be accountable to the people, not the other way around?  Is the lure of power so strong that they would do ANYTHING to hold on to it?  Physical force is probably the worst - as Civil Rights protesters, Suffragists, and labor organizers could probably attest.  But it can be more subtle, too.  I remember when Occupy Philly was camping in the one spot, the news media seemed to be all to happy to point out how much this was costing the city (police overtime, cleaning, etc.).

I hope the brave people of Turkey stand firm, make their voices heard, and get real results to their petitions!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Now, what would THEY say?

Especially considering the revelations of such far-reaching spying and data gathering recently, I decided to play that old game of imagining what the Founding Fathers would have to say.  We may not know for sure, but we may have some clues - and I do have some actual quotes!

So imagine a news anchor is on air when 5 gentlemen in colonial garb enter the studio...

"Here in the studio are some gentlemen with extraordinary claims.  I think I'll let them speak for themselves and you folks at home can make up your own minds."  She gives a microphone to the first guest.

"This is George Washington.  I have some real concerns about the state of our freedoms.  In 1783, I said, 'If freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to slaughter.'  Citizens, do not take this Freedom, or any other of our Freedoms for granted.  Be ever vigilant."

The next guest takes the microphone.  "This is John Adams.  I learned the hard way that Freedom of Speech needs to respected. Yes, the Bill of Rights is there for a reason.  Remember also not invest too much power in any one official.  My words are still true: ' no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.'  By the way, Mrs. Adams keeps asking me about why some Equal Rights Amendment has not been ratified."

The microphone passes to a third guest. "This is Thomas Jefferson.  It is true that members of our generation were the first American Dissenters.  So nothing could be more American.  I still feel that 'The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.'  Do not let government put out this fire of independence of spirit."

Guest number four now takes up the mike.  "This is Benjamin Franklin.  A wise man once said, ' They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.'  Oh, that was me, wasn't it?  Well, I told you it was a wise man!  My message to you today is do not give into fear-mongering, but cherish and defend your liberties.  Freedom may have some risks, but isn't it really better than the alternative?"

Guest number five now takes his turn.  "This is James Madison.  Please remember who ordained our Constitution.  It was 'We, the People.'  It was not We, the Surveillance State, and certainly not We, the Corporations. One of the functions of our hallowed document is to 'secure the Blessings of Liberty.'  We must make sure we hold our laws and officials to that standard."

The microphone passes back to George Washington.  "Dear citizens, remember that a republic is supposed to foster liberty and freedom. As I wrote so many years ago, 'It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.' Know your freedoms and protect them."

The anchor receives back the microphone.  "Thank you, gentlemen for sharing with us your very stimulating thoughts.  We'll be right back after this break."