Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Tuesday 21 April 2009
by: Nick Mottern, t r u t h o u t Perspective
US President Barack Obama (center) is escorted to his limousine by Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta (right) and Stephen Kappes (left), deputy director of the CIA. (Photo: Getty Images) http://www.truthout.org
The following is an excerpt from a talk by Nick Mottern on April 19, 2009, delivered after receiving a Peace and Justice Award from the WESPAC Foundation in White Plains, New York.
I asked (several friends) what they would like me to speak about today, and the consensus was: Tell people why you do peace and justice work. I will get to that in the course of my remarks.
I want to address a fundamental issue facing us right now: President Obama has said that people who have committed torture during the Bush/Cheney years will not be prosecuted. He said: "Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past - we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future."
I would like to make two points.
First - President Obama is sending the message that there will be no investigations and prosecutions that are "divisive," that is, if they are politically difficult.
Is this a message then to the Yonkers (New York) police, for example, that they will not be prosecuted under federal law if they continue to humiliate and physically abuse people in the black and Hispanic community?
Is Mr. Obama sending a message to certain big bankers who are stealing from us every day in a variety of ways that they are simply too big to be prosecuted?
Is it a message that the legal system that is decimating our black and Hispanic communities with the disproportionate imprisonment of black and Hispanic men will go unchallenged?
My second point is that Mr. Obama's judgment on prosecution of torturers is central to the wars of our time.
Richard Nixon was forced out of office by Watergate; a burglary and cover-up, which was also an attempt to cover up domestic terrorism against his foes and particularly against African-Americans working for economic and social justice. Nixon was disgraced, but he did not go to jail.
But Nixon was not investigated, indicted or disgraced for a set of far greater crimes than Watergate. He and Henry Kissinger, and others, had, in the course of pursuing the Vietnam War, systematically, knowingly and willfully violated the US constitution and international law. International law doesn't get much respect in the US, even though it was forged out of the misery, degradation, sufferings and deaths of millions of people.
Nixon was a war criminal. Kissinger is a war criminal. They were responsible for millions of deaths, including the deaths in Cambodia wrought by our war on that nation which led to the scourge of Pol Pot.
We who were fighting for an end to the Vietnam War made a big mistake when that war stopped. We did not stay in the streets until Nixon, Kissinger and the others were investigated, prosecuted and imprisoned for war crimes.
I volunteered in 1962 to go to Vietnam. I was in the Navy on a ship that had extremely boring duty in the Pacific. I was 21 years old. I was looking for more exciting duty and the mystery, romance and adventure of Asia. I had been an avid reader of Terry and the Pirates comics. I believed our government, that we were fighting Communism and that that was important. And, it was an argument that gave me a righteous reason for what seemed to me high adventure.
Fortunately, I did not see combat in Vietnam. I was not called on to directly kill, nor was I threatened directly with death. But I went to Vietnam prepared to kill. And I did see death. I did see massive corruption. I was there because of a decision by then-President John Kennedy to expand the number of troops in Vietnam. I was there because of lies. I was there because the war crimes of the current Vietnamese leaders and the deceptions of the US had been covered up. I went to Vietnam because of lies and youthful stupidity, but nevertheless I feel a need to do what I can to repent for participating in the atrocity of Vietnam because I shared the same will to power and will for glory that drove our leaders and drove them to lie.
I believe that had Nixon and Kissinger been held accountable for their war crimes, we probably would not be in the wars we are in today. That is because in the very divisive process of investigating and prosecuting Nixon and Kissinger and others, we the American people would have learned something life-changing about ourselves as a people and about our acceptance of war.
Barack Obama is not given the right by our Constitution to be the judge and jury for torturers. I include Bush and Cheney in this category although they committed other war crimes. Mr. Obama and our Congress took oaths to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land. They must be reminded that they must do this job regardless of whether they think it is divisive or not.
If President Obama and the Congress do their jobs of enforcing the law with respect to torture and other Bush and Cheney war crimes, they will begin unraveling the web of deceit that has supported the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
We as Americans will learn things that we must learn to save countless lives here and in countries where we are supporting and waging war.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
My friend Flux Capacitor aka Maggie is Pregnant!!! The link is above. Through years of desire and frustrating physical ailments, SHE IS PREGGO!!!
HOORAY!!!!! Ohhh Maggie! I am so happy for you that I had to post. Hugs.
She is experiencing nausea and vomiting, like some of us had. If you have any suggestions, feel free to tell them! I was sick my entire pregnancy sooooo, I am hoping for some positive feedback! I remember ginger and shakes.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Heightened Level Of Amygdala Activity May Cause Social Deficits In Autism
ScienceDaily (2009-03-24) -- An increased pattern of brain activity in the amygdalas of adults with autism that may be linked to the social deficits that typically are associated with the disorder. Previous research has shown that abnormal growth patterns in the amygdala are commonly found among young children diagnosed with autism. ... > read full article
"This is another piece of evidence that there is something wrong with the amygdala in autism that contributes to social impairment. These results help refine our understanding of functional abnormalities in autism and are a new way of thinking about social dysfunction in autism," said Kleinhans'
I prefer differences rather tham abnormality. However, there is a striking difference between people with autism in regards to the amygdala and social interaction.
A MOTHER'S RESPONSE:
The Amygdala and Autism
by Kristina Chew
Published March 25, 2009 @ 02:15PM PST
Numerous articles about autism research in neuroscience, genetics, and other fields are regularly published. Some of them are presented in press releases and news articles, often with some indication of how the research might contribute to the creation of new treatments (such as medications) for those with autism. I turn to these studies principally to learn a bit more about how things are for Charlie; about why some of his struggles seem to arise "out of the blue" and for reasons that aren't immediately explainable.
The American Journal of Psychiatry has recently published a study about autism and hyperactivity and overarousal in the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure of the human brain that is linked with a person's mental and emotional states. In studying 19 individuals with autism and 20 adults who were not on the spectrum, researchers from the University of Washington found that, when looking at a series of human faces, "..... brain activation in adults with autism remains elevated long after similar brain regions of typically developed adults have stopped being activated," as noted in Science Daily. Further:
The amygdala is popularly associated with the "fight-or-flight response" in dangerous situations. But it has other functions, including identifying faces and situations and evaluating social information such as emotions.
The new research shows that brain activation in adults with autism remains elevated long after similar brain regions of typically developed adults have stopped being activated when exposed to a series of pictures of human faces. A decrease in activation over time to the same type of information is called neural habituation and is connected with learning, according to Natalia Kleinhans, lead author of the new study and a UW research assistant professor of radiology.
............................."If you consider that habituation reflects learning in as simple a task as looking at a face, slowness to habituate in people with autism may contribute even more markedly to difficulty with more complex social interactions and social cognition. If the brain is not reacting typically to a static face with a neutral expression, you can imagine how difficult it may be for someone with autism to pick up more subtle social cues."
It's this noting of "hyperarousal" and overactivation in response to "socially relevant stimuli" that draws my attention. Sometimes it seems that there are only extremes to things with Charlie. One moment no one could be happier, more excited, jumping up and down and all huge smiles; the next, he might be down on the ground wailing and miserable. Sometimes we use the word "mood swings" to explain these, but I've wondered if something else might be afoot----that there's some connections that aren't happening, that are taking too long too happen, that happen too suddenly and all at once.
We actually are taking Charlie to a different neurologist today. His current neurologist----whom we have seen for so long and with whom all three of us have a good rapport----is wonderful. But we've felt that we have to keep looking into everything for Charlie and, in particular, to look more closely at his medications and the potential effects of the changes brought with adolescence.
Last night I worked my way through the 17-page new patient form and dug out old reports, behavior intervention plans, and IEPs and reviewed them: A lot of paperwork on this kid, that's for sure and yet how little we still know and seek to learn in whatever ways possible---you never can stop trying
Saturday, April 11, 2009
My friend Bill made me a rad mix tape in high school. Some Frank Zappa, "she's only 13 and she knows how to nasty." The doors, "Break on through, break on through, break, break." Some Beatles, "listen to the color of your dreams, is it not living, is it not living." The Cocteau Twins with their ethereal non-language singing. What a trip.
Best friends tape, punk of course! "Welcome to Der Wiener Schnitzel can I take your order please!" "To drunk to fuck, I'm to drunk to drunk to fuuuckkk." Hahaha, gettin chili fries at Tommy's in her blue 64 and a half Mustang. Sweeet.
She had all the angst and I had all the love, yaaaaa.
I still have some of those tapes of nightly sessions by the radio and turntable. The simple joy of dancing to the mix tape that made your body flyyyyyyy.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Or the giddy excitement of a text message. Walking around wondering what to text back. All the while a silly grin on my face.
When we do finally toss aside the new technology for good 'ol telephone conversation, the silence is golden. Hehe. Nervous energy and chuckles. Slowly opening up and finding that any connection, be it a phone line, or a computer, is a way of finding home.
Now, about this knock at the door. Could I really stand there and wait? Or would I run and hide behind a tree, too red in the face to actually say hi.
The feeling of seeing your face and hearing your voice right in front of me.
Realizing you are indeed real, and there waiting for me.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
lacking skill or dexterity; clumsy.
lacking grace or ease in movement: an awkward gesture; an awkward dancer.
lacking social graces or manners: a simple, awkward frontiersman.
not well planned or designed for easy or effective use: an awkward instrument; an awkward method.
requiring caution; somewhat hazardous; dangerous: an awkward turn in the road.
hard to deal with; difficult; requiring skill, tact, or the like: an awkward situation; an awkward customer.
embarrassing or inconvenient; caused by lack of social grace: an awkward moment
Obsolete. untoward; perverse.