Saturday, July 18, 2009

Time out

I listened to part of the questioning of Judge Stomayor and just saw a post by a misguided soul who blogs as David Drake. It was a hideous photoshop of the president's beautiful children making them appear as if they were pregnant. He claims his point is to show people on the left how it feels when we say mean things about Sarah Palin. "Misguided soul" was not what I was really thinking, but I am trying to work on being compassionate toward all sentient beings. One wonders whether some people deserve the label, "sentient". but there goes my effort.
Right now what I need is to take a break and stiil the mind, breathe deeply and focus on impermanence and loving kindness. I am fond of this picture by Anahi Becanio because it takes me to a place far from the Pat Buchanans and Jeff Sessions and Sarah Palins of the world. It isn't exactly escape (except escape from anger), it is seeing what is important, what is real.

All of this has no more permanence than a fallen leaf on blue water.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why Didn't You Just Leave?"

I worked in a domestic and sexual violence shelter in Michigan for several years. One of the things I learned is how horrifyingly obssesive abusers can be. We sheltered women who had fled from brutal, sadistic men inTexas, Georgia, Mexico, California, Mississippi and many other states. Most of the women(and children) we sheltered were local people so one of the things we spent a lot of time doing was trying to prevent their assailants from finding them. We fielded calls from assailants claiming to be police, sherrif's deputies, lawyers. We fielded calls from women working with the abusive men who claimed to be family, friends, probation officres.
The most common question asked of abused women is, "Why didn't you just leave"? Most women try. They often have no place to go, shelters are mostly severely time limited stays. They are frequently kept unemployed or totally broke by their controllers. Altogether too often they are hunted down by incredibly tenacious control freaks who believe that if the can't "have" them, no one else will. During my few years at the shelter we worked with one woman who was murdered, one who was tracked from out of state and kidnapped, raped and beaten,and many, many women who could not escape.

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration has proposed new rules that may provide asylum for women from other countries who have a serious history of domestic abuse. The Bush administration refused to allow that these women are"not part of any persecuted group under American law. " While this is indeed good news, and people who have worked for justice for abused women for years feel this is a real breakthrough, ' “This really opens the door to the protection of women who have suffered these kinds of violations,” said Karen Musalo, a professor who is director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Professor Musalo has represented other abused women seeking asylum...'
the women still bear an onerous burden of proof. What I saw were many women who fled their homes with just the clothes on their backs. If they were lucky, they were able to bring some documents and identification. The government wants women fleeing abusive men to be able to prove "In addition to meeting other strict conditions for asylum,--- that they are treated by their abuser as subordinates and little better than property, according to an immigration court filing by the administration, and that domestic abuse is widely tolerated in their country. They must show that they could not find protection from institutions at home or by moving to another place within their own country. "
As anyone who knows anything about domestic violence, this is nearly impossible without either carting a satchel of documents with them or obtaining first rate legal assistance in the U.S.

While this is better than it was, this is far from a compassionate policy and offers only the bare bones possibility of help for women.
It seems to me that victims of brutal and cruel domestic partners more than fit the category of the desperate souls described on the Statue of Liberty.

If you are interested Amnesty International is working for the women of the world suffering domestic violence.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Dew soaked spiders web
Originally uploaded by MimaD
Tsu yu no yo wa
tsu yu no nagara
sari nagara

This world of dew
is a world of dew,
and yet, and yet.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Originally uploaded by TechnoMeister

Thought it was a relic from the 50's, eh? Guess again my friend. Here is a repulsively current example from Alternet:Rights and Liberties.

Here's a charming summer story out of Philadelphia: A private swim club kicked out some 60 summer camp kids out of their pool on the grounds that they were Black.

NBC reports: "The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise."

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

One camper named Dymire Baylor told NBC: "I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child.'"

The most incredible part? The Valley Swim Club's defense: "There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.

As if it needs saying, it is dumbfounding that in the Obama era such blatant bigotry continues to persist in this country. Sobering, outrageous, and sad.

Thanks for reading,

Liliana Segura,

Editor, Rights & Liberties Special Coverage

Monday, July 6, 2009

Palin's Intimidation

Originally uploaded by federico.bebber
The soon to be former governor of Alask is blowing hot. She is really pissed that, in light of garbled resignation address and tissue thin reasons for abandoning her post half way through the first term, people have the audacity to speculate that there are darker motives than simply that people are picking on her. Her lawyer has issued a statement threatening lawsuits agains a blogger and the NY Times and The Washington post for even suggesting that there are rumors! This is a person who claims to stand for the Constitution. This is a person who called a candidte for president, 'someone who pals around with terrorists'. This is a pathetic and deluded creature who can dish but not take and who believes in the right to bear arms, but not freedom of speech.
Someone needs to remind Sarah that she isn't REALLY a barracuda.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

God Grinds Her Teeth Every Fourth of July

Saturday, we celebrate Independence Day, the 4th of July. We do this with parades, picnics, shooting off millions of dollars worth of fireworks and fly lots of flags(or maybe paint them on). In thousands of churches across our fair land, sermons will be preached extolling the foundation of a Christian nation, the nobility of the "Founding Fathers" and their commitment to freedom and Christian beliefs. The more fundamental the church, the more prominent the flag in front and the louder the bleating about freedom, 'Christian nation' etc.
Don't get me wrong. Living in the USA is lots better than living in North Korea, The Congo and many other places, as near as I can tell.
But I do object to the sermons. Even the more moderate sermons that extol the revolution are full of shit for one important reason, and here it is:

Obey the king's command, I say, because you took an oath before God. 3 Do not be in a hurry to leave the king's presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. 4 Since a king's word is supreme, who can say to him, "What are you doing?" Ecclesiastes 8

And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's Mark 12

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, Titus:3

And the coup de grace, the word of Paul, which fundamentalists pay far more attention to then the reputed words of Jesus.

3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.Romans 13

There you have it boys and girls, moms and dads, ladies and gents, the very WORD OF GOD, according to the fundies, "God-Breathed" and in -freakin' -fallible! But do they acknowledge these passages on the 4th of July? You can bet your leather bound, words- of -Jesus- in- red, King James study Bible that they do not. And why not? Because it contradicts all their blather about Christian nation, founded on the Bible, horse muck.

Notice, please, these are not some ambiguous proof texts taken from one book of the Hebrew Bible such as they dredge up to condemn abortion. These are references from both the titular head of the church, Jesus, and the fundamentalist's true source of instruction(when it suits them) , the Apostle Paul. Plus, I cited a tiny selection representative of a huge number of teachings saying this same thing throughout the Hebrew and Christian writings, namely, be obedient to the king, the rulers, the magistrates, the authorities, etc.
Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, et al, flat out went against the so-called word of god at the cost of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives, causing death and destruction to those who were obedient to the "word of god" , those who remained loyal to the king.
If these hypocritical, blowhard bible-thumpers were really "Bible believing" they would preach the truly relevant texts on the 4th of July and either condemn the rebellion as sinful, or call for a return to obedience to Britain and the Crown. After all, they have no problem calling for overturning laws giving women reproductive rights and LGBT folk the rights to equality in marriage. They are proud to call themselves conservative and claim obedience to the teachings of the Book. Why not in this matter?