Sunday Reads in Darkness and Truth: All for Nothing…All for Everything

Good Morning

Yesterday I spent some time watching movies with my son, first we saw Sergeant York, with Gary Cooper, and after that we saw Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven with Orlando Bloom and Eva Green. It felt good to sit a few hours watching these films, and while we were watching, my son would ask me about things…like historical accuracy…or sometimes he would comment on the actors, and the way the scenes were shot.

The reason I bring all this up is because there is a line in that movie Kingdom of Heaven, when the character of Balian surrenders the city of Jerusalem to Saladin…

What is Jerusalem worth?  Nothing….Everything

I thought that line was fabulous, and while looking for articles to feature in this morning’s post, it seemed like an interesting shadow of a theme.

Not all of today’s articles will relay a message of nothing and everything, but some will.

Former Dictator Hosni Mubarak was sentenced yesterday to life in prison, or as the Judge described… “30 years of darkness.”  After the sentencing, Egyptians protested in the streets. There is an op/ed In the Independent by Robert Fisk that you should take a look at. Robert Fisk: Mubarak will die in jail, but that’s no thanks to us

Twenty-five years is death, isn’t it, if you’re 84 years old? Hosni Mubarak will die in jail. And Habib al-Adli, his interior minister, 74 years old, maybe he will be killed in jail if he doesn’t live out his life sentence. These were the thoughts of two old Egyptian friends of mine yesterday. And Mubarak was sentenced for the dead of the 2011 revolution. That’s 850 dead – 34 people for each year of his term. Quite a thought.

Of course, we were not asking about the death sentences at the military courts in the 1980s and 1990s – and we can’t, can we, when the military is still in power in Egypt. Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the field marshal who runs the country, never suggested these courts – and their death sentences – were wrong. Mubarak was fighting “terror”, wasn’t he? On our behalf, I believe. For he was a “moderate”, a friend of the West, and maybe that’s why Mubarak’s sons, Gamal and Alaa, got off. Will they leave the country? Will they quit Egypt? No doubt.

So that’s the story. Let’s not mention Bashar al-Assad here. The Egyptian court was meant to be a lesson for him. Kofi Annan was down in Qatar, talking about the Syrian government’s sins yesterday. But, then, there are some problems, aren’t there? Didn’t Mubarak receive a few “renditioned” prisoners from George W Bush; tortured them, too, at Washington’s behest? And didn’t Damascus also torture a few “renditioned” prisoners – the name Arar comes to mind, a Canadian citizen, sent off from JFK for a touch of torture in the Syrian capital? Yes, our “moderate” Arabs were always ready to help us, weren’t they?

Read the rest at the link…and think about the nothing, everything quote.

Meanwhile, in Greece there have been some arrests involving recently elected MPs from the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, who were arrested over a racist attack.

Nikolaos Michaloliakos

Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, led by Nikos Michaloliakos, won 21 seats in last month’s election. Photograph: Petros Giannakouris/AP

Two newly elected MPs from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party were among six people arrested over an attack on a Pakistani man in Athens, in the latest in a series of incidents that have raised fears that Greece‘s immigrants are being targeted in the runup to this month’s crucial elections.

Ilias Panagiotaros and Ioannis Vouldis were briefly held alongside the daughter of Nikos Michaloliakos, Golden Dawn’s leader, but were later released. According to police, the attack took place late on Friday when a group involved in a protest turned on a 31-year-old Pakistani bypasser.

Golden Dawn confirmed two of its MPs had been held, but denied they took part in the attack. “[They] could not have been involved because they were miles away,”it said in a statement.

Golden Dawn caused consternation across Europe after winning 7% of the vote in Greece’s elections in May, giving them 21 seats. It is the first time the far right has sat in parliament since the fall of the military junta in 1974. With their neo-Nazi insignia, violent rhetoric and calls to expel Greece’s immigrants, Golden Dawn’s leaders are hoping to exploit political instability in Greece to gain further ground in elections called for 17 June after no party was able to form a government following last month’s vote.

This group ran disturbing ads prior to the first election,

…with the campaign slogan, “Let’s rid this country of the stench.” On election night Michaloliakos dedicated their success to “all the brave youngsters who wear black T-shirts with Golden Dawn written in white”. Unemployment in Greece now stands at at 22%, and 52% among young people, and the party has sought to capitalise on a mood of fear across a country that is struggling to come to terms with rising crime, falling living standards and a feeling that it is on the brink of economic and political meltdown.

Greece’s 1 million immigrants have become an easy target for neo-Nazi and other far-right groups, who regularly parade through Athens chanting racist slogans.

Connie mentioned this group in the comments a couple months ago when the Greek election results came in. I had no idea they were so “out there” with their hate. I mean, look at that campaign slogan…wait a minute, that sounds like something one of the GOP Border Patrol candidates would say.

Now, I am going to bring it back to the US…and another op/ed. This time from Charles M Blow in the New York Times. Darkness in the Sunshine State

Florida ought to know better. And must do better, particularly on the issue of voting and discrimination.

But, then again, we are talking about Florida, the state of Bush v. Gore infamy and the one that will celebrate the birthday of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederacy, with a statewide holiday on Sunday.

What am I getting at? This: Few states in the union have done more in recent years to restrict and suppress voting — particularly by groups who lean Democratic, such as young people, the poor and minorities — than Florida.

Voter interference is very prevalent with the GOP, and it seems that the Dems aren’t speaking up loud enough against the purge going on in the Sunshine State. You are all well aware of the anniversary this past week, when Florida’s Democrat voters were disenfranchised by their own party.

I can’t quote the whole Blow op/ed, so again I will encourage you to read the entire post at the link above.

Some of what Blow touches on in his piece is the type of voter this tactical discrimination is aimed at, poorer minorities.

So, I think this next article about Income Inequality, Racism and Imprisonment sure seems to be a good follow-up to the Blow link. It has both the US rates and foreign country rates, but I will just quote the US ones.

Rates Increased in Unequal States.

The average rate of incarceration in the U.S. is 576 people in prison for every 100,000 people. Just as there are fewer persons per 100,000 in Japan (40 per 100K) who are in prison, there are differences between U.S. States in rates of imprisonment: Louisiana has an incredibly high rate, above 700 people per 100,000. Compare that to Minnesota, below 200 per 100,000. Maybe a difference of five or six times the percentage of people locked up between Louisiana and Minnesota. The chart below shows that these differences are correlated to income inequality differences in each State:

The article describes the way researchers came up with these graphs, but it also brings other things into the discussion.

Racism and Imprisonment.

TheSentencing Project graphs (see the bottom of page 4) show how the rate of incarceration for blacks is 6.70 times the number compared to the rate of incarceration of white people. The New Jim Crow book demonstrates how people of color are being persecuted and exterminated through the misuse and abuse of the U.S. courts and prison systems. The link to the Wikipedia summary is comprehensive and informative.  Stop and Frisk laws routinely sweep communities of color, arresting and imprisoning urban youth from impoverished communities. The war on the poor and people of color in the U.S. make manifest the extreme income inequality and deprivation of the class system in the U.S.. Racism is the penultimate expression of the worst, most oppressive but essential dynamic of income inequality.  The American imprisonment of people of color on a massive, genocidal scale is a direct outcome of a class based, extremely unequal society. In the U.S. a person of color is 6.04 times more likely to be in prison than a white person. In the courts, black youth are more likely to receive a harsher sentence than their white peers.

Again, I suggest going to the link and reading the whole thing. (And are you keeping that quote up top in the back of your mind…)

This next link is very personal…connected to me and my family. As you are all aware, my husband is a survivor of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. I completely disagree with the people below who feel that no mention should be made of the hijackers that flew the airliners into the Twin Towers. They must be made part of the museum, because truth must be told.

It seemed self-evident at the time: A museum devoted to documenting the events of Sept. 11, 2001, would have to include photographs of the hijackers who turned four passenger jets into missiles. Then two and a half years ago, plans to use the pictures were made public.

The museum has not decided whether to include a composite of several tower floors and other materials that were crushed and fused together during the collapse of the World Trade Center.

New York City’s fire chief protested that such a display would “honor” the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center. A New York Post editorial called the idea “appalling.” Groups representing rescuers, survivors and victims’ families asked how anyone could even think of showing the faces of the men who killed their relatives, colleagues and friends.

The anger took some museum officials by surprise.

“You don’t create a museum about the Holocaust and not say that it was the Nazis who did it,” said Joseph Daniels, chief executive of the memorial and museum foundation.

This anger surprised me too.

James Estrin/The New York Times

The museum has not decided whether to include a composite of several tower floors and other materials that were crushed and fused together during the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Such are the exquisite sensitivities that surround every detail in the creation of the National September 11 Memorial Museum, which  is being built on land that many revere as hallowed ground. During eight years of planning, every step has been muddied with contention. There have been bitter fights over the museum’s financing, which have delayed its opening until at least next year, as well as continuing arguments over its location, seven stories below ground; which relics should be exhibited; and where unidentified human remains should rest.

Even the souvenir key chains to be sold in the gift shop have become a focus of rancor.

But nothing has been more fraught than figuring out how to tell the story.

It is a very long article…like most of the links today, I hope you take the time to read it.

The “Tribute in Light” memorial is in remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001, in honor of the citizens who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks. The two towers of light are composed of two banks of high wattage spotlights that point straight up from a lot next to Ground Zero. The ÒTribute in LightÓ memorial was first held in March 2002. This photo was taken from Liberty State Park, New Jersey on September11, 2006, the five year anniversary of 9/11. USAF photo by Denise Gould.

My husband saw first hand the “body parts that littered lower Manhattan.”  He smelled the death and burning for months after the buildings fell. The suit he wore to work that day is covered in dust…remains of those who were killed…remains of friends he saw everyday.

This is not something that should be portrayed with kid gloves. The horror of the attack must be shown for what it was. So many people have put that day out of their minds, and I think it is wrong to sugar coat the facts and hide the truth.

Yes, I get that the Memorial should be a solemn place for remembrance. I am not talking about that…I am talking about the Museum, which is something that needs to be frank in its representation of that day. Everything must be laid out.

The quote up top comes through my mind once again….with the museum that depicts the tragedy of that September day…What is it worth? Nothing…Everything.

49 Comments on “Sunday Reads in Darkness and Truth: All for Nothing…All for Everything”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Voter supression, elimination of women’s rights, attacks on collective bargaining, these are the issues that have been brought forward since the mid term elections of 2010. Is this really what the electorate bargained for when they cast their votes and “sent a message” to the powers that be who campaigned on jobs, jobs, jobs?

    Twenty one states are in the solid grip of the GOP and from these states will emerge the next round of congressional candidates bound and determined to see these purges through to the finish with enough money coming from secret donors via the approval of super pacs and deep pocketed billionaires. We are drifting further and further from the ideal of a democracy.

    This is no longer a fight between two opposing parties but a war against democracy itself when the right to vote is being challenged and civil rights are being eliminated with the stroke of a pen.

    The Constitution is bleeding. The separation of church and state has been breeched. The laws that once stood are being chiseled away for the sake of those whose self interests far outweigh the fundamental rights that built this nation.

    This is American Fascism at work here. The bloody purges of the Third Reich a mere 80 years ago began with these very same policies. Eliminating abortion rights, voters rights, outlawing workers rights, and the rewriting of laws.

    It is not a stretch to see the similarities.

    • RalphB says:

      It’s no stretch to see the similarities but our parents fought the fascists, they didn’t vote for them.

    • You know, there is a lack of acknowledging the history of all these events. Even those of the Third Reich were foretold to anyone that studied history.

  2. ecocatwoman says:

    Not sure if this falls in the Nothing…….Everything category or not, but it’s worth reading:

    • RalphB says:

      From The Austin Chronicle last year. Thanks to local directors like Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater, who founded the Austin Film Society in the ’80s, we would probably get our share of Indie films in any case. I generally don’t like tax payer subsidies for private businesses, be they sports stadiums or films.

      Is That a Wrap for Incentives?

      In total, the state estimates that eligible projects have brought $600 million in economic activity to Texas. The terms may not be as generous as Michigan’s 42% tax credit, but, as Texas Motion Picture Association President Don Stokes explained it, “We created a sliding-scale incentive program, where we were able to be competitive in the arenas in which we need to be most competitive.”

      Numbers from the state back that assertion up. In a recent study, the comptroller’s office reported that in 2005, before the incentives took effect, there were 51 film and TV projects in Texas, spending a total of $155 million. By 2009, there were 244 projects worth $249.7 million. In total, projects approved for incentives created 27,057 jobs, including 3,790 full-time positions. Austin Film Society Executive Director Rebecca Campbell said, “Since the incentive bill was signed, we’ve definitely seen an uptick and a surge in energy.” Prior to that, she said, “Competing states were getting film after film after film that would have gone to Texas.”

  3. bostonboomer says:

    The Florida purge has been halted. Reposting the link I posted last night: Florida suspends Gov. Scott’s voter purge efforts.

    • bostonboomer says:

      More from Palm Beach Post.

      • Seriously says:

        These people are so brazen:

        Cate said the agency disagrees with the federal department’s interpretation of the 90-day restriction on voter list maintenance.

        “We’ll address that specifically in our response to DOJ,” he said. “We have a year-round responsibility to make sure ineligible voters cannot cast a ballot.”

        Meanwhile, the federal government has a responsibility to ensure that states which designate Jefferson Davis Day as a holiday don’t get away with nullifying federal voting rights law and thinking they can do whatever they want.

    • Yeah I know, which is a relief…but I included the Blow op/ed because I felt it was important.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Excellent roundup. I don’t understand why the museum wouldn’t include the names and faces of the perpetrators either. It should also explain how the government learned who the perpetrators were almost immediately. That still troubles me. Did the feds already know who they were?

    For us older folks, it was very reminiscent of the amazingly rapid determination that some guy named Oswald shot JFK. His name was announced almost instantly–even before the plane carrying the coffin and LBJ took off from Dallas. How could they know so quickly? We now know that Oswald was on the FBI/CIA radar for a long time. So why wasn’t he stopped? Why weren’t the buildings on the parade route checked out ahead of time? In fact, why was the parade route altered to go past the book depository in the first place?

    These huge tragic events always leave thousands of questions because of the desire of those in the charge to cover their asses. The 9/11 attacks will probably be argued about after 50 years just as the murder of JFK is still being argued about in the 50th year since he died.

    • dakinikat says:

      Maybe they felt the focus should be on the victims. That is what most holocaust museums do.

      • bostonboomer says:

        OK. I admit I’m not familiar with these kinds of museums. I was responding to JJ’s comments, which I assumed were reflecting her husband’s viewpoint.

        I still think there is little value in obscuring the facts about historical events. I wanted to make a point about that based on what JJ wrote.

        • dakinikat says:

          There’s a lot of information out on the internet about all that as well as the press, etc. My understanding is that these types of “memorial” museums usually try to be places where people can focus and memorialize the victims and don’t want to give any attention, energy or focus to the perpetrators. This kind’ve started with the holocaust museums. There’s so much out there on NAZIS that the feeling was to personalize the victims and leave the negative energy and hate out of the experience because it detracts from experiencing what the victims went through. Plus, whenever pictures, etc of these kinds of monsters get put up, it tends to attract folks that want to go gawk or even worship them. So, that’s just the explanation. I wasn’t saying it was right or wrong or any one was right or wrong. I’m just mentioning what the standard thought is on that kind of thing. It’s like black history museums focus on the slave experience instead of the master experience. It’s just one of those modern approaches to museums these days.

          • It’s like black history museums focus on the slave experience instead of the master experience. It’s just one of those modern approaches to museums these days.

            But they do mention the masters, I mean we aren’t talking about making the hijackers experience part of the focus, we are talking about making the hijakers responsible for the victims part of the story because they are.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Again, my point really wasn’t about the museums. I understand what you’re saying, and thanks for the explanation. But I was trying to make a separate point, one which is important to me. I tried to apologize for making my point based on what JJ said, but I guess I wasn’t explicit enough. I am very sorry for any criticism my words may have implied regarding museums based on historical tragedies. To repeat, I know very little about these kinds of museums and I certainly meant no disrespect for the people who design and operate them.

        If the information that I’m referring to were on the internet it would be great, but it really isn’t.

        In the case of the JFK assassination, the Obama administration is currently trying to avoid releasing the files that were to have come out next year–50 years after the event in question. I believe the information about the 9/11 investigation will probably stay secret also.

        I realize that most people nowadays couldn’t care less about the JFK assassination, but there are still many of us who remember the events and still would like to have access to the masses of information that has been classified. This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the tragedy.

        I feel that the historical facts about the death of a President of the United States are important and relevant to the events of today, just as the history of the holocaust is.

      • The holocaust museums do mention the forces that caused and allowed for this to happen. Just like slavery museums bring up the slave owners…and the same with Civil Right’s museums depiction of Jim Crow…it needs to be a part of the museum, so that there is some explanation as to why the museum is there in the first place.

      • @BB 1:07

        I am with you and do not think you should apologize for your thoughts. This is a discussion and there should be no feeling of remorse for your thoughts. That said, this situation with the museum is very important to me too. I see it from a perspective of the wife of someone who survived the attack, and also from a historical perspective, as someone who studied history and knows what the consequences are when history is ignored.

        • dakinikat says:

          The Library of Congress is supposed to be the depository of our records but who knows what never reaches its collection.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Who knows? The CIA does.

        Amazingly, the CIA under George W. Bush may turn out to be more compliant than Obama’s “open government” advocates. In 2004, on Bush’s watch, the agency voluntarily agreed to accelerate the release of postponed JFK assassination documents, and it did indeed release some early.

        By contrast, in the spring of 2012, three D.C. attorneys with long experience in litigating Freedom of Information cases expressed their disappointment with Obama in an opinion piece. They noted that the Department of Justice under Eric Holder seems willing to go to bat for any and every agency and department that wants to withhold information.

        As for the 9/11 investigation, I assume the CIA and FBI still have records of how the identified the hijackers. They haven’t released those. Perhaps they’ve been destroyed like the torture videos?

      • bostonboomer says:

        I don’t think Congress has much control over the CIA. They pretty much do what they want. They destroyed the torture evidence with no repercussions.

        But why would Obama put a former CIA agent in charge of deciding what JFK files to release? That’s like letting George Zimmerman decide what evidence should be allowed in his prosecution.

    • After spending a night with my daughter who is very sick, I just now got up and logged in…so here is my thoughts on the September 11th museum.

      I think you are right BB, and I agree with what you said, regarding the questions and the similarities with the government knowledge and the hijackers and Oswald…and that the arguments will be going on years from now.

      I obviously agree with you too on the inclusion of the hijackers in the museum…they should be a part of it.

      I get that the focus should be on the victims, however my thoughts on this is that the memorial is separate from the museum. Even the OKC museum had pictures of Timothy McVeigh, and info on his background and childhood, and what made him into the man who would bomb and kill.

      What gets me is that there is such a outcry about completely ignoring who, what, why carried out the attacks. It seems logical to document the entire thing…even the first attempt made in 1993, because they are connected.

      This is not about persecuting an entire group of people (Muslims) this is about stating the facts regarding who carried out the attacks. I feel that some of the museum should also depict the aftermath of emotions against Muslims that this country has had.

      What I mean is it all is repetitive from other wars…the treatment of Japanese in the US during and after the war. Same thing with the underlying distrust of the Northerners that we still see today in the South so long after the Civil War. I am not glossing over the anti-Muslim sentiment by referring to the past, I am just saying that it is connected and should be represented.

      I also feel that those compressed pieces of the towers should also be included. It is painful, of course…there is no question about that, but it must be remembered and part of remembering is to be confronted with the horrors of that day.

      • NW Luna says:

        I was surprised that having photos of the men — who hijacked the planes and flew them into the towers thus causing so much death and tragedy — was seen as glorifying them.

        The compressed pieces of the tower are visually powerful. I look at them and think: This is what hate does. It is ugly.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    George Zimmerman is in Florida and will surrender by 2:30PM.

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    My suspicions seem to have proved to be true about the dolphin die-off in Peru. Of course, the government is denying it. No surprise there. Seismic testing by oil companies appears to be the culprit. I had done a post on this in early April (Goodbye Flipper).

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m glad you’re following this story!

      • ecocatwoman says:

        It’s tragic. And it makes me think how often has something like this happened and either gone unnoticed, unreported or been covered up? Another product of governments + big corporations’ profits trump all living things, people included.

      • Sounds like a follow-up post in the making Connie…

  7. RalphB says:

    A couple of pieces from “This Week in the GOP”.

    Romney adviser dismisses women’s issues as ‘shiny objects’

    Krugman slams Romney advisor: Truth on Ryan’s ‘fraud’ plan is ‘anti-bipartisan’

    New York Times columnist Paul Krugman once again slammed Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R) budget Sunday morning, chastising Mitt Romney’s advisor Eric Fehrnstrom for firmly standing behind it.

    “The plan’s a fraud,” Krugman said. “The plan is a big bunch of tax cuts, some specified spending cuts, basically for poor people, and then a huge magic asterisk which is supposed to turn into a deficit reduction plan, but, in fact, if you look what’s actually in it, it’s a deficit-increasing plan.”

    “And so to say that, just tell the truth that there is really no plan there, neither from Ryan, nor from Governor Romney, is just the truth,” he said. “If that’s being harsh and partisan, gosh, then I guess the truth is anti-bipartisanship.”

    • ecocatwoman says:

      I was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis and spent 23 days in the hospital in Aug/Sept 2010. I had 4 surgeries to remove the damaged area, followed by a skin graft & then 12 derma grafts, all this along with tons of hyperbaric oxygen treatments. None of the health care folks (doctors, nurses) seemed to be overly concerned about it. Certainly wasn’t treated as something potentially fatal. I was pumped full of nearly every antibiotic known to humans & maybe that’s why it didn’t spread to my blood. What these folks are going through is so tragic.

    • HT says:

      17 years ago my friends 8 year old son died of this horrible disease. One day he was bouncing on her bed, next day he suffered flu like systems, couldn’t breathe and was rushed to hospital, next day he died in hospital. The disease was relatively rare in those days and seemed to only affect adults, so this hit everyone very hard, including the doctors and hospital staff. The first time we had ever heard of it was in 1994 when one of our politicians contracted it (practically overnight) and lost a leg two days later.

      • For something so rare, it seems strange that two people have first hand knowledge or a friend who had this bacteria. I don’t know…

        Hey, there was another cannibal case, this time in Texas. What is up?

        ‘Zombie apocalypse’: Horror movie genre becomes twisted, real-life news headlines – NY Daily News

      • HT says:

        JJ as it was explained to me, it’s caused by Strep A bacteria which most people get at one point or another in their lives. At the time Justin died, they could not explain why one person got a Strep A infection which was limited to a very sore throat infection, while another person got a Strep A infection which resulted in flesh eating disease, and as it was (and remains) rare, I’ve never really investigated further. All I know is that it acts really fast, it attacks tissue and if not stopped, can result in loss of limb or death. In Justin’s case, it was so rare at the time, that by the time the doctors identified it, he was dead. Hopefully, today’s doctors are more aware.

    • NW Luna says:

      ecocat, necrotizing fasciitis is a very serious and horrible condition, and I believe the clinicians caring for you knew that. You were in ICU for much of that time I expect. The people who work in ICUs see only serious conditions often with high mortality. They may be acting neutrally but they sure know it’s serious. The treatments you received: surgeries, skin grafts, antibiotics, hyperbaric O2 treatments, lengthy stay, indicate they did treat you seriously. Sounds like their bedside manner wasn’t very good, though. Sorry to hear what you went through.

  8. RalphB says:

    Well, isn’t this special? Oops.

    Holy Crap! Scott Walker Might Have a Love Child!

    Dr. Bernadette Gillick is accusing Scott Walker of impregnanting his college girlfriend and, after encouraging her to get an abortion, abandoning her.
    Dr. Gillick says she decided to come forward after watching Scott Walker in the debate last week, droning on about his integrity and lookit me! I’m a Boy Scout! It pissed Dr. Gillick right off because Scott Walker has no soul.