May 4, 2005

you live the day you give, not get, your share

Ceiling, Library of Congress, by dronepop.

* Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post. excerpt:

"Twenty years from now, how will we remember this 'global war on terrorism'?
"The U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the United States has signed, bans the inflicting of severe "physical or mental" pain to obtain information or a confession. There's no way that the infliction of physical agony, prolonged sleep and sensory deprivation, confinement in painful positions for hours on end, sexual humiliation, threats with snarling dogs and other documented U.S. abuses fall short of the definition.

"Some prisoners were "rendered" to cooperating countries where old-fashioned fingernail-pulling is a routine investigative technique. Others have simply "disappeared," as if the U.S. government were some Latin American junta whose generals wear gold-braided epaulets as big as vultures. Most prisoners have been given neither adequate military nor civilian rights. Many don't know why they were arrested or what charges they face.

"It may be that these are all terrible people who wish to harm the United States -- we have no way of knowing, because the supposed evidence is secret. But even if they are, this mistreatment is wrong. If the price we pay for complete safety is complete abandonment of our ideals, the price is too high.

"How can President Bush preach to the world about democracy, about transparency, about the rule of law, and at the same time disregard national and international law at will? What message can Vladimir Putin be hearing? Or the dictators in Beijing? Or the mullahs in Tehran?

"The thing is, history tends to be relentless in pursuit of the truth -- and its judgments tend to be harsh. World War II may have forged the Greatest Generation, but the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps will never be excused.

"History, I predict, will not be kind to government lawyers who invented ways to interpret statutes against torture so that they supposedly permitted the abuses they were designed to prohibit. It will not be kind to medical doctors who attended interrogation sessions that clearly crossed the line -- doctors who helped inflict pain rather than alleviate it. Ultimately, there will be no free pass for the Bush administration officials who permitted torture, or for a Congress that let them get away with it."

* Nothingsville, MN

--- by Franz Wright

The sole tavern there, empty
and filled with cigarette smoke;
the smell
of beer, urine, and the infinate
sadness you dread
and need so much of
for some reason.

* For the Dead

--- by Adrienne Rich

I dreamed I called you on the telephone
to say: Be kinder to yourself
but you were sick and would not answer

The waste of my love goes on this way
trying to save you from yourself

I have always wondered about the leftover
energy, water rushing down a hill
long after the rains have stopped

or the fire you want to go to bed from
but cannot leave, buring-down but not burnt-down
the red coals more extreme, more curious
in their flashing and dying
than you wish they were
sitting there long after midnight.

* "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." -- Red Auerbach


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