Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Saturday, 1 January 2011
ZEN - The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts
Now Playing: Thanks www.dharma-rain.org
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

 

Kyojukaimon

http://www.dharma-rain.org/?p=practice_kyojukaimon

The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts
Giving and Receiving the Teaching of the Precepts

The great precepts of the buddhas are kept carefully by the buddhas. Buddhas give them to buddhas; dharma ancestors give them to dharma ancestors. The transmission of the precepts is beyond the three existences of past, present and future. Enlightenment ranges from time eternal, and is even now. Shakyamuni, the buddha of this world, transmitted the precepts to Makakasho, and he transmitted them to Ananda. Thus they have been transmitted down through the generations. This is the meaning of the transmission of living wisdom.

The Gateway of Contrition

Because of their limitless compassion, the buddhas and dharma ancestors have flung wide the gates of compassion to all living things. Although karmic consequence is inevitable at some point in the three periods of time, contrition brings freedom and immaculacy. As this is so, let us be utterly contrite before the buddhas.

May the buddhas and ancestors have compassion upon us, help us see the obstacle of suffering we have inherited from the limitless past, and lead us in such a way that we share the merit that fills the universe. For they, in the past, were as we are now, and we will be as they in the future.

All my past and harmful karma,
Born from beginningless greed, hate and delusion,
Through body, speech, and mind,
I now fully avow.

A contrite heart is open to the dharma, and finds the gateway to the precepts clear and unobstructed. Bearing this in mind, we should sit up straight in the presence of the buddha and make this act of contrition wholeheartedly.

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Taking Refuge

With a pure heart, we can take refuge in the three treasures. We should repeat with bowed heads, making gassho:
I take refuge in the buddha,
I take refuge in the dharma,
I take refuge in the sangha.

We take refuge in the buddha as our true teacher; we take refuge in the dharma as the medicine for all suffering; we take refuge in the sangha as its members are wise and compassionate.

In the three treasures there are three merits. The first is the true source of the three treasures; the second is their presence in the past, the foundation of our tradition; the third is their presence at the present time.

At the source: the highest truth is called the buddha treasure; immaculacy is called the dharma treasure; harmony is called the sangha treasure.

In the past: those who realized the truth completely are called the buddha treasure; the truth realized is called the dharma treasure; those who have transmitted this dharma are called the sangha treasure.

In the present: those who teach devas and humans in the sky and in the world are called the buddha treasure; that which appears in the world and in the scriptures, becoming good for others, is called the dharma treasure; they who release their suffering and embrace all beings are called the sangha treasure.

These three merits mean that when we are converted to the three treasures, we can have the precepts of the buddhas completely. This merit bears fruit whenever a trainee and the buddha are one. We should make the buddha our teacher, and not follow wrong ways.

Having taken refuge, we can embrace the three pure precepts:

Cease from evil — release all self­attachment.
This is the house of all the ways of buddha; this is the source of all the laws of buddhahood.

Do only good — take selfless action.
The dharma of the anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, perfect enlightenment, is the dharma of all existence, never apart from the present moment.

Do good for others — embrace all things and conditions.
Leap beyond the holy and the unholy. Let us rescue ourselves together with all beings.

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Having embraced the three pure precepts, we can commit to the ten grave precepts:

Do not kill — cultivate and encourage life.
In the realm of the everlasting dharma, holding no thought of killing is the precept of not killing.
The life of buddha increases with life; no life can be cut off. Continue the life of buddha; do not kill buddha.

Do not steal — honor the gift not yet given.
In the realm of the unattainable dharma, holding no thought of gain is the precept of not stealing.
The self and the things of the world are just as they are; the mind and its object are one. The gateway to enlightenment stands open wide.

Do not misuse sexuality — remain faithful in relationships.
In the realm of the ungilded dharma, not coveting or creating a veneer of attachment is the precept of not misusing sexuality.
The three wheels are pure and clear. When there is nothing to desire, we follow the way of all buddhas.

Do not speak dishonestly — communicate truthfully.
In the realm of the inexplicable dharma, putting forth not one word is the precept of not speaking dishonestly.
The dharma wheel turns from the beginning. There is neither surplus nor lack. The sweet dew covers the earth, and within it lies the truth.

Do not become intoxicated — polish clarity, dispel delusion.
In the realm of the intrinsically pure dharma, not harboring delusions is the precept of not becoming intoxicated.
We are naturally pure; there is nothing to be deluded about. This is enlightenment itself. Understand this truly, and no intoxicants can be taken in.

Do not dwell on past mistakes — create wisdom from ignorance.
In the realm of the flawless dharma, not expounding upon error is the precept of not dwelling on past mistakes.
In the buddha dharma there is one path, one dharma, one realization, one practice. Do not engage in fault­finding. Do not condone haphazard talk.

Do not praise self or blame others — maintain modesty, extol virtue.
In the realm of the equitable dharma, not dwelling upon I versus you is the precept of not praising self or blaming others.
All buddhas and ancestors realize the empty sky and the great earth. When they manifest the noble body, there is neither inside nor outside in emptiness. When they manifest the dharma body, not even a speck of dust is seen upon the ground.

Do not be mean with dharma or wealth — share understanding, give freely of self.
In the genuine, all-pervading dharma, being jealous of nothing is the precept of not being mean with dharma or wealth.
One phrase, one verse — that is the ten thousand things and one hundred grasses; one dharma, one realization — that is all buddhas and dharma ancestors. From the beginning, not one thing has been begrudged.

Do not indulge anger — cultivate equanimity.
In the realm of the selfless dharma, not contriving reality for the self is the precept of not indulging anger.
Not advancing, not retreating, not real, not empty. There is a brilliant sea of clouds. There is a dignified sea of clouds.

Do not defame the three treasures.
In the realm of the One, holding no concept of ordinary beings and sages is the precept of not defaming the three treasures.
To do something by ourselves, without copying others, is to become an example to the world, and the merit of this becomes the source of all wisdom. Criticize nothing; accept everything.

Respect the buddha. Unfold the dharma. Nourish the sangha.

Within these precepts dwell the buddhas, enfolding all things within their unparalleled wisdom. There is no distinction between subject and object for any who dwell herein. All things, earth, trees, wooden posts, bricks, stones become buddhas once this refuge is taken. From these precepts come forth such a wind and fire that all are driven into enlightenment when the flames are fanned by the buddha's influence. This is the merit of non-action and non-seeking; the awakening to true wisdom.

These sixteen precepts are roughly thus. To be obedient to their teaching, accept them with bows.

 

See also Zen Practice In Community: Precepts and Ethics in Sangha Relationships for some ways that we apply this.

See also Kyogen’s article Precepts as Path from the May 2010 issue of StillPoint.

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Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:13 PM PST
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
My Cousin Ted
Mood:  blue
Now Playing: http://www.iraqwarheroes.org/westhusing.htm
Topic: WAR

Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Theodore S Westhusing

Dallas, Texas

June 5, 2005

AgeMilitaryRankUnit/Location
44ArmyCol

United States Military Academy

West Point, New York

 Died in Baghdad, Iraq, from non-combat related injuries.

 
From Brian C  04/10/08:

Ted Westhusing, was a champion basketball player at Jenks High School in Tulsa Oklahoma. A driven kid with a strong work ethic, he would show up at the gym at 7AM to throw 100 practice shots before school. He was driven academically too, becoming a National Merritt Scholarship finalist. His career through West Point and straight into overseas service was sterling, and by 2000 he had enrolled in Emory University to earn his doctorate in Philosophy. His dissertation was on honor and the ethics of war, with the opening containing the following passage: "Born to be a warrior, I desire these answers not just for philosophical reasons, but for self-knowledge." Would that all military commanders took such an interest in the study of ethics and morality and what our conduct in times of war says about our development as human beings. Would that any educational system in this country taught ethics, decision making, or even political science that's not part of an advanced degree anymore.

Ted Westhusing, the soldier, philosopher and ethicist, was given a guaranteed lifetime teaching position and West Point by the time he had finished with his service and his education. he felt like he could do more for his country by trying to shape the minds coming out of the academy that were the ones that would be military commanders. He had settled into that life with his wife and kids, when in 2004 he volunteered for active duty in Iraq, feeling like the experience would help his teaching. He had missed combat in his active duty and it seemed like an important piece for someone who not only philosophized about war, but who was also preparing the military's future leaders.



But more than that, he was sure that the Iraq mission was a just one; he supported the cause and he bought the information that was put in front of him. Considering that vials of powder were being tossed around hearings by the highest level of military commanders how could he not? This was a man who was so steeped in the patriotism of idealistic military fervor that he barely could fit in regular society. His whole being was dedicated to this path, and he was proud to serve his country.

Once in Iraq, he found himself straddling the fence between a questioning philosopher and an unquestioning soldier. Westhusing had thought he was freeing a country in bondage, keeping America safe from a horrible threat, and spreading democracy to a grateful people. But the reality of what was happening in this out of control war was too much for him. His mission was to oversee one of the most important tasks left from the war; retraining the Iraqi military by overseeing the private contractors that had been put in charge of it.

As the assignment went on he found that everywhere he looked he was seeing corrupt contractors doing shoddy work, abusing people, and stealing from the government. These contractors were being paid to do many of the jobs that would normally be done by a regulated military, and they bore out the worst fears of those who don't believe in outsourcing such vital work. He responded to the corruption that he saw by reporting the problems up the line, but the response from his commanding officers was disappointing. He had, for much of his career, idolized military commanders, and in that assignment he found himself with some of the military's most famous faces, doing the most important job, but he was terribly disappointed and alarmed to realize that they were greedy and corrupt themselves.

The wall of silence about this was impenetrable and the reality of the situation turned his entire belief system upside down, making him question everything that was going on, and his role in it. Having envisioned the top military commanders to be the most honorable that America has to offer, he was crushed to find out that ascending to power in this military could be more due to cronyism than expertise and that these men who he had aspired to be like were greedy and corrupt themselves. Upon reporting to his commanding officers, he realized that not only did the problems stretch to the level above him, but that they were systemic.
To these commanders the only real problem was the fact that they had a deeply honorable soldier in their command that was likely to rock the cash cow. Westhusing was so bereft at the realization of his part in this breakdown in the military's code of conduct, and the atrocities carried out in America's name, that he became despondent and finally in June, 2005, he shot himself. It was called a suicide, though there have been some questions raised about it.

He's not the first Iraq suicide, though he was, at the time of his death, the highest ranking one. He was an oddity; a thinking soldier in a war that requires blind obedience, and unwavering dedication. The black and white world of Bush's military doesn't allow much for the grays that come into the picture when one is, at heart, a philosopher...and even in the face of seeing the reality of war, how can anyone come to terms with the revelation of corruption on this scale? More crushing was the realization that the leaders that he idolized, and the honor that he held as being the very foundation of his entire world as a military officer, were all a lie, and stories told to cadets at West Point that didn't bear out in reality. The leaders in this war didn't care, and many were, as he outlined in his 4 page suicide letter, that was addressed to General's Fil and Petraeus, his direct commanders, only out for their own selfish enrichment.


Thanks for telling me it was a good day until I briefed you. [Redacted name]—You are only interested in your career and provide no support to your staff—no msn [mission] support and you don't care. I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human right abuses and liars. I am sullied—no more. I didn't volunteer to support corrupt, money grubbing contractors, nor work for commanders only interested in themselves. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. I trust no Iraqi. I cannot live this way. All my love to my family, my wife and my precious children. I love you and trust you only. Death before being dishonored any more. Trust is essential—I don't know who trust anymore. [sic] Why serve when you cannot accomplish the mission, when you no longer believe in the cause, when your every effort and breath to succeed meets with lies, lack of support, and selfishness? No more. Reevaluate yourselves, cdrs [commanders]. You are not what you think you are and I know it.

COL Ted Westhusing

Life needs trust. Trust is no more for me here in Iraq.

 
 

Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:08 PM PST
Monday, 27 December 2010
War is Over If You Want It - Anti War video from London Catholic Workers
Mood:  incredulous
Now Playing: Shut Down Military Recruiters Office - Video - Peace - Love
Topic: PROTEST!

Posted by Joe Anybody at 2:53 PM PST
Friday, 24 December 2010
Woody Guthrie - Jesus Christ
Mood:  not sure
Now Playing: music video for you all on Xmas eve
Topic: SMILE SMILE SMILE

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:41 PM PST
Bulldozers and Ethnic Cleansing in Gaza
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: The West Bank persecution
Topic: HUMANITY

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:23 PM PST
The good news is that the bulldozers stopped working today
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Update after: our arrest in Al-Walaja, a peaceful beautiful village that is
Topic: HUMANITY
The good news is that the bulldozers stopped working today thanks to the
brave people of Al-Walaja but they still need our collective support.  100
internationls will be in Al-Walaja tomorrow morning (Friday at 9 AM).
 
The video that I recorded and loaded this morning summarizes what happened
to us after our arrest in Al-Walaja, a peaceful beautiful village that is
slated for ethnic cleansing (for the second time). The beatings and pepper
spray used on Sheerin and the young men of Al-Walaja was truly vicious.
During the arrest, I managed to text message, take notes, and even take a
couple of pictures from under the stairwell without the soldiers being aware
(details maybe for my next book!).  We challenged the soldiers' demand that
we not speak to each other or to them.  Many of the soldiers kept saying
they are obeying orders and I and others reminded them that obeying fascist
order is not an excuse in international courts of justice (we are not there
yet, but I believe the day is coming). I was truly inspired by the courage,
vision and dedication of villagers like Sheerin and Dia who exemplify
decency and dignified poise in front of the machine that still comes up
among humans every few decades.  From fascism to Nazism to Zionism, the
enemy is one: racism and greed that in the end is self-destructive. But if
enough good people stand-up, the end may come sooner and more people on all
sides would be saved the physical and emotional scars of colonization.
Anyway, here is my statement on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaa_6I-PMoM
 
Our friend Olivia Zemor and many others were denied entry on Ben Gurion
airport.  You can read her statement here (in French, may translate using
translate.google.com): http://www.europalestine.com/spip.php?article5701
However, thousands of people from around the world still managed to enter
Palestine through Israeli controlled ports of entry like Ben Gurion airport.
Some were asked to sign stupid statements about not entering "Palestinian
areas". Of course all of this land is Palestinian areas, they should state
entering the ghettos or bantustans to make it clearer.
 
In the holding cell with tight handcuffs cutting our circulation, we had a
sense of peace and self-confidence.  We shared smiles and whispered words of
encouragement to each other. It was uplifting experience and camaraderie. I
myself started singing (Fairuz-Zahrat Al-Madaen, Christmas songs, the
Palestinian national anthem etc).  After all we were told not to speak to
each other but they said nothing of singing.  I wished to dance but then I
thought this might be too much for my cell-mates. We all believe that it is
a sign of weakness and desperation that the Israeli army increasingly
brutally attacks unarmed people who are simply challenging occupation
nonviolently or merely asking pointed questions. From the Gaza freedom
flotilla to Rafah to Bilin to Al-Walaja, to Stuttgart, to Paris, and to the
rest of the world,  the cracks in the walls holding empire of lies are being
felt. Again, there will be an event in Al-Walaja Friday at 9-11 AM. For
those outside Palestine, thank you for acting in your spheres of influence.
Auschwitz Survivor on Palestine
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSlFR541Uoo
 
Why will there not be a US foreign policy that benefits US population? Is it
because certain Jews make money out of the tribalism that is Zionism? An
article in Haaretz on "How much do U.S. Jewish leaders [sic] make?"
http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/how-much-do-u-s-jewish-leaders-make-1.33
0414
 
Song for Kairos Palestine (Manal abdo)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IStkXO4eCks
 
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
 <http://qumsiyeh.org> http://qumsiyeh.org
 
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Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:22 PM PST
want to put a stop to airport humiliation through invasive "pat-downs" and "virtual strip searches
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: Stop TSA illegal searches and Nude Body Scans - get involved here
Topic: TSA

WASHINGTON – Do you want to put a stop to airport humiliation through invasive "pat-downs" and "virtual strip searches"?

Now you can generate individual letters of protest of these new "enhanced" security procedures by the Transportation Security Administration to every member of the House and Senate, as well as Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in one minute, announces Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, who spearheaded the historic "Send Congress a Pink Slip" campaign that buried Congress in 9 million letters of grievance and another campaign that helped free railroaded Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Campeon.

The innovative campaign called "STOP AIRPORT HUMILIATION NOW" permits anyone to deliver 537 letters, with delivery guaranteed by Fed Ex, to all those officials – putting them on notice that Americans are angry and will not tolerate these abuses of privacy.

Because of the volume of these messages, WND is able to send them less expensively than American citizens could send them individually. Through this program, you can send the 537 messages for only $29.95. To replicate that feat individually, postage alone would cost more than $236. But the impact of participating in the "STOP AIRPORT HUMILIATION CAMPAIGN" makes your protest much more impressive – being a part of a mass movement, rather than an individual grievance, explained Farah.

 

"You would think these people in Washington didn't notice the election results this month," said Farah. "Well, maybe they need a reminder that the people are not resting on their laurels and will not accept being treated like cattle before they get on an airplane." Americans have been expressing their outrage since the new "enhanced" security procedures by the TSA went into effect Nov. 1.

"Heads should roll over this kind of abuse – namely Janet 'Big Sis' Napolitano's," said Farah.

WND simultaneously established a free on-line petition to these same officials. Similar petitions launched by WND have attracted nearly 600,000 virtual signatures.

"If $29.95 is not in your budget right now, at least sign the free petition," urges Farah. "I understand what politicians in Washington have done to our economy. But don't let them cow you into silence as they march us like sheep down the road to tyranny and degrading subjugation."

As the letter being sent to officials in Washington states, under the new screening protocols, passengers are subjected to a virtual "strip search" by being required to undergo a humiliating full-body scan, resulting in the display of a graphic image of their naked body to be scrutinized by a TSA agent.

If they choose to "opt out" of the full-body scan, they are forced instead to undergo the same kind of aggressive pat-down that criminals and drug-dealers get, including direct manual contact with their breasts and genitalia. Children are not exempt.

While such degrading and invasive searches certainly violate passengers' Fourth Amendment guarantee to be "secure in their persons … against unreasonable searches and seizures," the generation of naked images of minor passengers arguably amounts to the creation of illegal child pornography.

Moreover, backscatter X-ray technology is known to produce radiation that is potentially harmful to frequent fliers and airline crew members, which is why the American Pilots Association, representing about 12,000 pilots (including almost all of American Airlines' pilots) has strongly warned its members to refuse the full-body scanning.

This humiliating and degrading new program is already massively unpopular, and obviously subject to horrific abuse. As such, it is certain to result in a significant decline in air travel by Americans at a time when neither the airline industry nor the country can afford another economic crisis.

"Don't wait on taking action," urges Farah. "I am participating in this bargain program – and I urge every single American to do the same. Let's recreate the success of the 'Pink Slip' program and other similar efforts and return sanity and decency to our airports."

 

Participate in the "STOP AIRPORT HUMILIATION" program now.


http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=226969


Posted by Joe Anybody at 10:46 AM PST
Thursday, 23 December 2010
A letter to the Government in Israel: What have you done with Mazin Qumsiyeh?
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: My request to Israle regarding arrested US citizen and 8 others
Topic: HUMANITY
From The Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody 

Email I sent on 12/23/10 to:
(( please see their reply back to me, by "auto-reply below))

I am an independentmedia journalist in Portland Oregon, USA.
I also maintain numerous blogs and website that cover peace and justice and human rights issues and violations.
 
I am very concerned and am contacting you requesting information regarding an American citizen that is to be reported to be falsely arrested and mistreated.
I am worried that this American citizen: Mazin Qumsiyeh will be and has been mistreated, and that the reason for the arrest is false (and thus illegal.)
 
I am told the arrest took place in the West Bank, in Al-Walaja, in Beit Sahour near Bethlehem.
I am requesting "contact" information or a contact person who can inform me what is happening or happened to him.
I am also concerned for his safety and want to be briefed on his status, his charges and whereabouts, and more relevant information to his arrest and the which law he has broken.
I am contributing an article on this for Portland Indymedia ( http://portland.indymedia.org/ ) that is read worldwide by thousands of readers, your opinion will be of value and important truthful clarification regarding this international arrest.
 
In regards to his arrest and the human rights concerns is my interest regarding the right to be building or expand a settlement on Palestinian land by Israel.
It was my understanding this issue is about bulldozers and outdated work orders and over zealous soldiers and police, abusing their authority and a disregard for "International Law".

I have been informed that Israeli soldiers snatched some innocent Palestinian villagers (eight of them actually) these include an older gentlemen, two teenagers, three other gentlemen, as well as the person whom I am inquiring directly about, and Sheerin Al-Araj whom is a vocal activist from the village.
I am concerned about their locations and charges from an International Human Rights concern.
There is also allegations that these illegally detained people are being mistreated.
 
I have good information that recently these innocent people who I am inquiring about are being arrested and thus illegally detained, and they have been transferred to Atarot.
(Possibly near Ramallah.)
They are waiting to appear in front of a judge.
They are cold and hungry.
The Israeli personnel there sprayed cold water on them and is claiming it is an accident.
I repeat they are cold and hungry.
 
As I mentioned I am writing an article on this arrest, and I would like to get your side of the story before I print and circulate this information.
This is a very serious and grave situation.
With all due respect for law and human rights I hope to hear back as quickly as you can to my inquiries.

I will be making other inquiries with various agecency, here in the US and in Israel, on Thursday trying to get a clear answer as to what is going on with Mazin Qumiyeh and those that were with him when he was taken in handcuffs away. 

An email or phone me call will be sufficient, I plan on posting my article by at the latest on Friday Christmas Eve. 
I will be also reposting this letter with my article as a transparent record of my inquiry.

Thank You:
Please reply to my information request and my safety request inquiry regarding American citizen Mazin Qumiyeh to:
Joe Anybody
iam@joe-anybody.com
indymediapdx@gmail.com
uppermanagement@joe-amybody.com
Phone xxxxxxxxxxx
(( please see their reply back to me, by "auto-reply below))

Thanks for your message. 12/23/10
The American Citizen Services section of theU.S. Consulate General Jerusalem provides information and assistance toU.S. citizens in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. 
Our website provides a wealth of information, including answers to manycommonly asked questions. Your answer may be just a click away:http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/service.html
For questions about Federal Benefits or Social Security, please visit: http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/federal_benefits.html
We will respond within two to three business days.  Regards, American Citizen ServicesConsulate General of the United States in Jerusalem Email: JerusalemACS@state.govPhone: +972 (0)2-630-4000Fax: +972 (0)2-630-4070Street Address: 14 David Flusser, Jerusalem 93392(Near the former Diplomat Hotel, now the Caprice Diamond Center)Location via Google Maps<http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Jerusalem+Israel&sll=37.0625,-.677068&sspn=22.789218,70.224609&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Jerusalem,+Israel&ll=31.747876,35.225322&spn=0.002755,0.006528&t=h&z=18> (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Jerusalem+Israel&sll=37.0625,-.677068&sspn=22.789218,70.224609&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Jerusalem,+Israel&ll=31.747876,35.225322&spn=0.002755,0.006528&t=h&z=18)
Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM (UTC/GMT +2) Monday - Friday (Closed onAmerican and local holidays.)
Make An Appointment Online:http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/appointment2.html Tips for Speeding Up Your Visit:http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/service/tips-for-speeding-up-your-visit/
For Emergency Service, please see:http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/contact_us2.html

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:47 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 23 December 2010 2:49 AM PST
Thursday, 16 December 2010
Veterans in DC today chain themselves to Fence 12/16/10
Mood:  special
Now Playing: Veterans For Peace DEMAND PEACE NOW ...in Washington DC
Topic: WAR

Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:55 AM PST
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
F8 TSA ...I would rather walk ...than get on my knees ~joe anybody
Mood:  loud
Now Playing: Surrendering Our Civil Liberties (at the airports)
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS

Surrendering Our Civil Liberties

By: Jon
December 4, 2010


The TSA: taking away our freedoms to ‘protect’ us from ‘threats’ [GALLO/GETTY]

 

Cindy Sheehan
12/4/2010

As a very frequent flyer, I have wanted to write about the abuses of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) for years now. To tell the truth, since I am such a frequent flyer and often recognised by individual TSA employees, I was a little timid about this because I did not want flying to become an even bigger hassle and more invasive than it already is. But the recent brouhaha over the Chertoff-O-Scanners has given me the courage in numbers to be able to write about my experiences.

The first thing that bugs me is how complacent my fellow travellers are about the civil rights abuses we endure to be able to take the airplane seats we pay hundreds of dollars for. The second we click ‘purchase’ on the airline’s website, we are treated as though we are guilty just for wanting to go from point A to B by plane. This goes against our constitutional right of being presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Every time a TSA operative asks me if he or she can “take a look in my bag,” I say: “Sure, if you can show me a warrant.” I cannot say how many times a fellow traveller has proclaimed: “It’s for your own safety!”

Speaking of “it’s for your own safety”, who can forget Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber” who allegedly tried to detonate explosives on a flight from Paris to Miami in 2002? That incident is the reason why in the US we have to take our shoes off and put them through the x-ray machine. But did you know that the US is the only country that forces flyers to do this? Reid is a citizen of the UK and was flying from France, but if one flies in either of these countries, or anywhere else for that matter, it is not common practice to remove your shoes. So why are planes not dropping from the skies all over the world? Well, because this has nothing to do with our “safety”. Shoe removal and shoe throwing are the same act of disrespect and intimidation unless one is entering a Japanese home or walking on holy ground.

I think the next opportunity for abuse that came from on high to us already weary and grouchy flyers, was when some nebulous plot was discovered in the UK to blow up planes by carrying explosive liquids on board. We were never shown any hardcore proof that our shampoo would blow up an airplane if it was in a four ounce bottle, but that the offending liquid in a 3.5 ounce bottle, safely ensconced in a Ziploc bag, would be okay. I was actually on my way to the airport with a backpack full of naughty liquids when I heard about this one on the radio. I had to throw away about $80 worth of toiletries and make-up and wait in excessively long lines since the glorified minimum wage workers of the TSA were not too sure how to handle this latest threat to our “freedom and safety” – except, of course, to do what they always do and take away more of our freedoms to “protect” us from “threats”.

Shortly after the liquids scare, we could not even take liquids on airplanes that we had purchased after passing through security. There were huge bins at every gate to take away our coffee, water, lotions. I was sitting at the gate in one airport (I do not remember which one) drinking a cup of coffee when a TSA supervisor told me that I would have to finish the coffee before I boarded.

I responded: "Why? Can you show me the store where I can purchase bomb-making material past security?" He replied: "You never know ma'am." And, me being me, I said: "Really? What kind of airport do you run where anyone can purchase explosives past security?" At which point, the big-TSA-man gave me a look that said: "Lady, you better shut up if you don't want a body-cavity search." The other passengers were giving me surreptitious thumbs' up, but I do not think many people would go as far as I did in my conversation with the TSA-man, who looked very confused that someone was challenging him.

Over a barrel

Even before the dreaded "underwear bomber" made all of this additional screening possible, I used to kid with the audiences that I spoke to that it was a good thing that the "shoe bomber" was not a "bra bomber," as we ladies who wear those undergarments would then have to disrobe at the security line and put our brassieres through the x-ray machine. But my "joke" has now come into being in an even more horrid way than even I could have predicted. We do not have to take our underwear off to go through airport checkpoints, but, in many airports, we are forced to go through the Chertoff-O-Scanners which show a fully nude image to the TSA operatives and have been proven not to thwart the chemical agents that the "underwear bomber" hid in his Fruit-of-the-Looms.

Today I saw a CNN poll that said 58 per cent of Americans do not like the new procedure. However, in all of the corporate media discussions about the scanners, no one talks about how Michael Chertoff, the former national security advisor, represents a company called Rapiscan that is profiting from every machine that is installed in airports. There is even talk about Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, putting them in malls, schools, subways, train stations - and I am waiting to be told that we have to put a home version at our front doors.

I always refuse to go through the scanners and am then subjected to the "feel up". We have heard that toddlers, elderly people and those with medical problems have been violated by the TSA voyeurs. Each fresh incident produces a brief flash of outrage, but many people do not even know about the scanner/feel up.

A couple of weeks ago, I was running very late for a flight that was leaving out of SFO, my home airport. I was literally running for my gate and dreading the dance that I do every time with the TSA there:

Me: "I refuse to go through that machine."
TSA: "Why?"
Me: "It is my right to opt-out."
TSA: "It is also our right to ask you why you are opting-out."
Me: "Because it is a violation of my human dignity and civil rights and I don't want you all to see me naked."
TSA: "Female screening!" (As they yell for someone to come and grope me with gusto, and "someone" always happily obliges).

I do not like the groping any more than I like the molestation of the scanners - one feels dirty and violated and super-wary of future travel. However, the police state knows it has us over a barrel, so the least we can do is to protest loudly while it is happening.

Anyway, on this day, I noticed that the TSA was waving some passengers though the lane with the scanner and sending some through the normal metal detector. I was relieved to be waved through the lane without the scanner, but the woman behind me, upon noticing that her boyfriend was sent to the lane with the scanner, asked: "Why didn't I have to go through that?" I told her: "You're lucky, they can see you naked when you go through it." Unbelievably, she responded: "Why didn't they want to see me naked?" She was not kidding, but I just shook my head, gathered my stuff and ran to my gate.

The point to these stories is that we can only have our rights taken away from us with our consent. There is a famous Benjamin Franklin saying that was often quoted when Bush was president that rings ever truer during the Obama regime: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." We are becoming a nation of lemmings running to the sea with the abandon of those that would rather plunge to our deaths than think for ourselves.

While I was writing this, the FBI "uncovered" another "terrorist" plot where a Somali-American allegedly tried to detonate a bomb at a "Christmas event" in Portland, Oregon. Mark my words, the monstrous state will either ban "Christmas events" or institute mandatory travelling Chertoff-O-Scanners to be able to put us into an even deeper state of fear. Where would a "terrorist plot" have the most devastating affect? I cannot think of a more fitting one than a "Christmas event" in very progressive Portland, Oregon.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Specialist Casey A. Sheehan, who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004. Since then, she has been an activist for peace and human rights. She has published five books, has her own Internet radio show, Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. You can learn more about Cindy at Peace of the Action.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

Full article poted here --> aljazeera.net


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PST
Updated: Wednesday, 15 December 2010 1:04 PM PST

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