[Journal Menu]

[Home Page]


[100 Books]

[Other Sites]

Here In Oakland

Art & Life

Today at the pump

My sister!


Under here.

December 7, 2010

Get Them Together

Tuesday. Maybe we can keep this from running all over the place. Then again, maybe we can't. Ruts and habits are hard to alter.

Up, out and back from breakfast at eight, the sky clear, the old California sun we know and love coming up out of the east. Not that it ever comes up anywhere else. What to do today? I have no idea, no reason to even think about it, time and chance will prevail and something will come up. It always has. It always does. There's a movie I'd like to see in Berkeley, maybe this afternoon. Nah. What am I saying? I won't do it, know I won't do it, yet I write it down. Best, when you're looking for something to say and find you don't have anything to say, to keep mum. Or search further, dig deeper, do it right. Write right.

This over the top assault on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks is weird to watch and I guess I'm pretty much in agreement with Glen Greenwald - his comments on Democracy Now are a good synopsis of the argument in favor of supporting WikiLeaks if you're at all interested - and with Assange himself in saying this has become a battle over government transparency and freedom of information on the Internet and, from the look of things - major politicians being cheered on when they call for his assassination - Internet freedom is losing, big time.

He hasn't broken any laws - this is up to interpretation, but if he's guilty, then so is the New York Times as he hasn't done anything that doesn't apply equally to the newspapers who've been culling and printing his releases - no one's been able to identify a single person who's been harmed by the leaks themselves, contrary to most of what you hear on the main stream media; there hasn't been a warrant out for his arrest until yesterday, when one was issued in London and he turned himself in. Wanted for questioning in this Swedish “rape” saga rather than actually being charged with rape itself. Well, no problem there, as long as he faces the charges.

Maybe he'll eventually be charged and proven guilty of whatever it turns out to be - no sympathy, I'd cut him no slack there - but these charges have been used to attack others in the near past whom the government doesn't like and they demand to be analyzed with a critical eye. Assange is the messenger, he can sink or swim, but what he's doing (so far) is important and needs to be supported until it's proven otherwise.

We're very good and righteous about chastising China for its attack on Google but we don't seem to see parallels in our own government going after WikiLeaks here. Recent reader comments in local newspaper web sites have generally followed the administration's line: the world will crumble if this guy isn't put in the ground. But I'm getting way too cranky, shouldn't get so involved.

I take that back. No apologies. We live in times where the dangers that surround us don't all come from people who live in caves.

Part of what sets me off here is my early interest in First Amendment issues for reasons I've never quite been able to understand. I was aware, not particularly knowledgable, but aware of the low level fear Joseph McCarthy and his House Un-American Activities Committee generated in the fifties when I lived in New York (not so low level for those writers and others he attacked), joined the ACLU when I was in college and was publishing an off campus humor magazine at the University of Washington when I was a student (pre-underground press, not all that political or scatological, but created waves for its time).

There's always a ragged line of demarcation between what the government wants to allow you to say or do and what it thinks crosses the line. Some are non-controversial, publishing tactical military information of use to an enemy army is obvious along with others, but the government tends to use our secrecy laws to cover up their errors and mistakes. And the reasons they've taken us to war as opposed to the reasons they used to make the sale. Where all those billions were really sent that somehow didn't appear in the budget.

WikiLeaks has evidently released something like nine-hundred and fifty of the one hundred and fifty thousand government communications they currently hold. It could be some of them cross that line and, if so, they should be held accountable, but so far what I'm seeing is a reaction to an irritant that puts the government (both Republicans and Democrats and large corporations - what do they have on BofA?) under an uncomfortable spotlight, a spotlight that shows they haven't been playing straight with us for a very long time.

Perhaps it's just naïveté on my part, I often suspect it is, it's always been done this way and it always will. But another side says you have to watch them closely or they'll take everything you have: money, individual rights, bread, the roof over your head. Paranoia, perhaps. Just a bit. A comfortable paranoia, I'm not worried about writing this, although some have expressed fear they'll be targeted by the government should they send money in support of WikiLeaks. Gives you an idea of what people are thinking, how they feel in this new post 9-11 state, WikiLeaks aside.

You've forgotten how you started today's entry?

No. I'm hopeless. Something everyone eventually understands.

The movie I talked about earlier, Inside Job, is, from what I've heard, an excellent synopsis of the financial crises and how it came to be. The reason I won't go is it will make me angry, righteously angry, and that's not altogether good. Anger can get you going, but it can also fog the mind, cause you to speak and write where it's best to keep quiet, say things you'll regret. Paul Krugman, whom I generally trust in such matters - economics, not necessarily movies - recommends it, but with exactly that caveat: it will make you angry and upset. There's too much upset, more than enough to go around.

Later. I spent most of the late morning and afternoon working on another page for artandlife. I need to continue searching for old negatives and contact sheets from the period, get that act together. Most of it's in one place, has always been in one place nicely catalogued, but I've noticed one photograph, one I consider important that I have in digital form, that I haven't found the negative for, so it's somewhere here along with what well may be others. And I'd like to get them together.

The photograph was taken yesterday at the Oakland Holiday Parade with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens.