Monday, September 18, 2006


New York skyline at night -- showcasing the World Trade Center towers - photograph by Ralf Uicker

September 11, 2001

A day that truly did create a new world.

And a new perspective.

Forever more will be the reference to "before 9-11," "the Day" and "after 9-11"

I've been stalled for more than a week on what to write about the anniversary of the attack.

Partly on how to express my own feelings on that day.

But more, I've been stalled because I have so much trouble getting past the rage that that day, and its aftermath, have engendered.

Rage at bin-Laden, certainly.

But that rage is one that is impersonal, against a target that is the product of an outlaw environment that views individual human lives as insignificant, an environment that uses a guise of religion to subvert that religion's teachings of peace and justice to murder and atrocity.

But the fiercer, and more personal rage I feel is for this presidential administration, that purposely ignored the lessons learned in the Clinton presidency, either because of simple ignorance and disbelief or because of some spiteful "*we* didn't find it, so it must be wrong" process.

An administration that used the attack as a way to try to distract the United States citizens from the Bush administration's failures, and as a way to cement the political and economic power that comprised the status quo obtained when those party conservatives had captured the keys to the kingdom by numerical control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the executive branch.

An administration that purposely set out to denigrate the aid and support that much of the world offered to the United States.

An administration that has been lying to the citizens of this nation from the start - from trying to downplay the importance of the reports of an impending attack by calling it an "obscure historical analysis."

An administration that directed the agency that is chartered to inform the public about dangers to our environment, and dangers from our environment, to lie about the toxicity of the debris from the remains of the towers' destruction.

An administration that continued to lie, even about its own public utterances, even so far as claim that the President's own statement that he was no longer concerned about the previously stated goal of the capture and trial of the architect of the attack, even after declaring A "War On Terror." A war that would never be ended.

A "war" that has also had the result of quickly stripping the citizens of our constitutional rights, under the guise of "national security."

An administration that started one war against the nation that harbored and collaborated with the attackers, and then lost focus and started another war, using knowing deceit in the expression of the "justification," and created a new environment that fostered a fertile breeding ground for the very terrorists that were supposed to be "eradicated."

A war that is costing the U.S. 250 million dollars a day.

250 million dollars a day that is stripped from funding for education.

250 million dollars a day that is stripped from funding for the proper health care of our seniors.

250 million dollars a day that is stripped from funding for the proper health care of the veterans of our armed forces.

250 million dollars a day that is stripped from funding for the infrastructure of our industrial society.

Thousands of our citizens killed and wounded in that second, unneeded war. And quite truthfully uncounted thousands of the citizens of Iraq who have been killed and maimed.

And levels of corruption and pandering to monied interests has been unmatched since the Unites States' own civil war, and that may add a new catchphrase that will be recognized by the name itself, much as "teapot dome" does.

On that day I turned on my television to catch a weather forecast, and was stunned.

My wife and I watched in disbelief as a second missile struck the second tower.

And the perpetrator is still at large, the people in the nation of Iraq have poorer healthcare and access to civil services than under the Baathist rule, the rights of women in Iraq have been stripped from the, and the poppy-for-heroin crop in Afghanistan is at record levels.

I still cannot freely and dispassionately write about what happened that day.

I don't know if I ever will be able to, no matter which party controls the legislative branch, no matter which party's representative sits in the oval office.

Maybe that's just part of the world we live in now, "after 9-11."

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Even when there *is* a "Plan B" there isn't

Again, Tata at Poor Impulse Control has pointed out the Catch-22 that the thugs who call themselves "conservatives" have put the country into.

I think every liberal in this country, of whatever stripe, agrees that freedom of thought is a desirable thing, and the freedom to practice one's religion is a right protected by the U.S. Constitution.

But what happens when that right is abused so as to deny others their own fundamental rights, such as the rights to control over their own bodies, and the right to their own privacy?

Tata has noted in this article that there is a pharmacist in Washington State who is refusing to provide the "Plan B" emergency pill.

Because he is morally opposed to it.

So he will take his moral indignation and use it as an excuse to deny the privacy and reproductive rights of others.

I note that this ass of a pill dispenser is admitting that he's willing to let "embarrassment" (that *he* induces) be a bar to people getting medication that they may need.

And he *approves* of it. He's *proud* of it.

"Douchebag" is too kind.

Attitudes like his go hand-in-hand with the pressure on medical schools to not give training to physicians on how to provide a safe and timely abortion. And the tolerance and celebration of those who threaten to harm, and do harm, doctors and their families frightens those doctors who might be willing to perform the procedures away from the performance.

This pharmacist will simply refuse to carry "Plan B" in his pharmacy (paradoxially, it will be simpler to do this in some states, now that Levonorgestrel has been classed as an over-the-counter medication, and it will not need to be stocked as the laws and licensing regulations require for prescription medications).

It will be legal for women to get and use the drug.

It simply will not be available.

The same way that it is legal for a woman to obtain a first-trimester abortion.

There will simply be no physicians who will either know how to perform the procedures or who have not been frightened away.

The end results will be the same as if there were an outright ban on both the pill and the procedure.

And if the ability of these happy few American Talibans to circumscribe your rights doesn't get you enraged and frightened for the rest of your rights, you aren't awake.

I'm male, so the access to either "Plan B" or safe abortions is of a secondary concern to me personally (after all, I'm not ever going to *be* pregnant).

But what happens when the American Taliban decide that access to other medications should be restricted (after all, "depression" can be cured by prayer, or so I've been told).

What if the decision is made that if you are not the "right" shade of xtian, or not xtian at all, that you should either be denied rights or forced to "convert?"

We already have federal monies flowing to "faith-based" "social service" organizations who have denied services based on religious beliefs (such as when they refuse to provide the services unless the "sinner" prays and "repents.")

What comes next?