Three Pictures for Today: First, John Kiriakou, CIA whistleblower who confirmed the existence of the CIA’s illegal torture program, just got out of jail, after serving two years in a federal penitentiary. This twitter photo says it all:
Well, not QUITE all. Kiriakou still has a million-dollar legal bill, five kids, one in college, no pension and no job. And he has one other major distinction: of those government officials who planned the illegal [as in violating existing U.S. federal criminal law] CIA torture program, organized it, carried it out, shilled for it, covered it up, lied and obstructed justice for it, the only one who has faced charges is Kiriakou, whose “crime” was confirming its existence to a reporter. More on John and his background here.
Now, to the second photo of the day:
Departing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was the federal officer ultimately responsible for the prosecution of Kiriakou and other whistleblowers about torture, government spying on citizens, and more. His record in this record is usefully , shockingly summarized here.
No doubt Holder did some good work in his tenure; but the record on civil liberties is going to make a rough chapter in the history books; and it ought to give him nightmares.
So Welcome home, John Kiriakou. And Eric Holder: here’s the third photo, a sign for you:
Have a nice day.
It Had to Happen: the AP Is Using Robots to Write Thousands of Routine Business Stories.
Now all we Need Is Some Robots to READ Them . . .
Philana Patterson, an assistant business editor at the AP tasked with implementing the system, tells us there was some skepticism from the staff at first. “I wouldn’t expect a good journalist to not be skeptical,” she said. Patterson tells us that when the program first began in July, every automated story had a human touch, with errors logged and sent to Automated Insights to make the necessary tweaks.
Continue reading Robots Writing News Stories?? You Mean You Hadn’t Noticed??
Teen Murders Down –And The BIG Reason Is Quite A Surprise!
George Tita, a criminologist at UC Irvine who studies homicide, said the increase in age is consistent with the changing nature of gang violence and the sharp decrease in killings throughout the county.
Others say that the trauma of losing brothers, cousins and fathers to street violence may make gang life less appealing to younger people. “It’s the little brother looking at what happened to the big brother and saying, ‘I don’t want to go that way,’” said Elliott Currie, another UC Irvine criminologist. “It’s something I think we criminologists don’t talk about enough.”
Continue reading Teen Murders In Los Angeles Are Way Down
The image below was abstracted from a new website, “Mapping The [North Carolina] Left”, just unveiled by the folks at our local rightwing “think” tank, the Civitas Institute. It purports to unmask, name and chart the “vast leftwing conspiracy” that it insists has been running the state, notwithstanding the huge rightwing majority in the legislature. Its database names many hundreds of people, groups, and funders.
And despite a lengthy spell of scrolling, I am abashed and embarrassed to report that my name didn’t turn up anywhere on it. Nor did those of the two activist groups I have worked with, one full-time and one part-time, for most of the 13 years I’ve been in Carolina. And dammit, it wasn’t for lack of trying! In fact, I thought they’ve been pretty doggone effective, given that they were devoted to pretty much hopeless causes. But what do I know?? Continue reading “Mapping The Left” In Carolina
They Vowed It Would NEVER Happen! But It DID —
While I lived in Fayetteville, as Director of the longtime peace project Quaker House, we worked hard for change and justice, including for LGBT folks.
It was an uphill slog, with many difficult moments. Here’s one, a video we made in response to an ugly campaign to put a ban on same sex marriage in the NC constitution
Continue reading Same Sex Marriage Comes to Fayetteville-Fort Bragg, North Carolina
[Note: This essay was originally published in Friends Journal; but it’s now behind their paywall. It still seems timely today; maybe more so.]
Quakerism was born in a time of revolutionary upheaval. Yet it learned how to survive when the revolution failed and was followed by decades of persecution.
I sometimes hear Quakers waxing nostalgic about recovering the fire and fervor of “early Friends.”
Continue reading “Survival & Resistance” A Message from 2006 That is Timely Again
All-One Faith! All-One Soap!
Here’s the man behind it all, live from Escondido.
By Chuck Fager – Summer 1976
On March 9, 1945, a man named Fred Walcher got himself crucified. In Chicago, on the framework under an el station, after dark. When the cops found him and pulled him down, bleeding and semi-conscious, he wouldn’t say who had nailed him up there.
Continue reading Dr. Bronner, Magic Soap & Me
In 1856, the Pennsylvania Progressive Friends heard a report from a committee “appointed to consider whether any, and if any, what Limitations ought to be put to the Accumulation of Property in the hands of individuals, as well as corporations, and to suggest laws and other expedients, by which the enormous inequalities among the children of men may be gradually lessened, and hereafter prevented.”
Continue reading Progressive Friends vs Wealth Inequality: Many Good Questions, Few Good Answers . . . .
Yes, for Progressive Quakers, A Man’s Best Friend Was His Dog-gerel. (It Was A Woman Friend’s Best Friend too.) So here’s a sample, from 1856; it might not be great art, but I hear a lot of current resonance in it. It’s called:
The Tyrant’s Ancient Argument: Or, The Dangers of Thought:
Continue reading Progressive Quaker Poetry: The Tyrant’s Ancient Argument–Or, The Dangers of Thought
Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet, by Aric Mcbay, Lierre Keith, and Derrick Jensen. Seven Stories Press, 560 pages.
In early August 2012, a large Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California was hit by an explosion and fire, disrupting production of as much as 240,000 barrels a day.
About two weeks later, at the huge Amuay refinery in Venezuela, an explosion and fire killed more than forty people, and shut down the processing of over 600,000 barrels of oil a day.
Continue reading A Plan For World Holocaust Disguised as a “Green” Revolution