Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler

 

Archive for July, 2009

More About Burma

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Apropos of my men­tion of Burma in yesterday’s post, the BBC has a news update about the tri­al of Burma’s pro-democ­ra­cy activist Suu Kyi. Looks like a clum­sy American with a hal­lu­ci­na­tion prob­lem is going to be respon­si­ble for her doing much hard­er time than her pro­longed house arrest.

In oth­er Burma news, an update from EarthRights International land­ed in my work inbox today point­ing to an EarthRights Alumn’s arti­cle about the impacts of Russian backed min­ing inter­ests in Burma on the indige­nous pop­u­la­tion. EarthRights is going about doc­u­ment­ing the way the Burmese gov­ern­ment pret­ty much gives for­eign inter­ests carte blanche to suck the land dry and/or remove it alto­geth­er in exchange for a share of the gross with lit­tle or no regard for the local pop­u­la­tion, the envi­ron­ment, or any­thing in between. Obviously, none of this is front page news here, but the issues are ongo­ing and real. eri_12

Perhaps the answer to the UN’s debate over for­eign inter­ven­tion in sov­er­eign coun­tries is that it’s already tak­ing place and we’d do well to con­trol it prop­er­ly or we’re going to end up with more suf­fer­ing peo­ple and an even messier plan­et than we already have. Perhaps…

R2P">Charbonneau on United Nations R2P

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

What’s more impor­tant — the right of a sov­er­eign state to man­age its affairs free of out­side inter­fer­ence or the duty of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to inter­vene when mas­sive human rights vio­la­tions are being com­mit­ted in a coun­try?

Louis CharbonneauReuters Global News Blog

R2P (Responsibility to Protect) is the UN’s most recent attempt to answer this ques­tion and it sides fair­ly clear­ly (from all reports — I haven’t read it myself) on the side of inter­ven­tion, but no one can real­ly agree what that means or even whether or not the UN ought to have the right to inter­vene.

Lou’s post offers a pret­ty clear expla­na­tion of the push­es and pulls on this, includ­ing ref­er­enc­ing Chomsky’s view on R2P — “R2P-type argu­ments had been used to jus­ti­fy Japan’s 1931 inva­sion of Manchuria and Nazi Germany’s pre-World War Two move into Czechoslovakia.”

The flip side of Chomsky’s his­tor­i­cal­ly found­ed fear of impe­r­i­al designs mas­querad­ing as pro­tec­tion, is the war in Darfur where noth­ing good has been going on the last few years and plen­ty have been ral­ly­ing around the cause of inter­ven­tion to lit­tle or no avail with those that could inter­vene in that hornet’s nest excus­ing them­selves on the grounds of Sudan’s sov­er­eign­ty.

I think, too, of Burma/Myanmar where things aren’t too good for the any per­son with any kind of opin­ion that might be per­ceived as opposed to the cur­rent regime. The recent Tsunami there and the refusal of aid from the devel­oped world, I think, is a case of sub­ju­ga­tion and elim­i­na­tion of unde­sir­ables by active neglect and denial of sup­port on the part of the cur­rent regime.

There is no sid­ing with some­one on one side or the oth­er of some his­tor­i­cal or per­ceived his­tor­i­cal con­flict when offer­ing aid after a nat­ur­al dis­as­ter as in Burma. This is about the per­cep­tion of pow­er in giv­ing or receiv­ing a gift or some act of char­i­ty. As a sov­er­eign state, if I take your aid, I admit my weak­ness and risk mak­ing myself sub­ject to your fur­ther good or ill will. Sovereign states, par­tic­u­lar­ly total­i­tar­i­an ones, aren’t designed for the shar­ing or relin­quish­ing of pow­er of any kind.

I remem­ber the skep­ti­cism with which Castro’s offer of med­ical aid dur­ing hur­ri­cane Katrina was viewed at the time. Military inter­ven­tion “in the name of human­i­ty” isn’t like­ly to be wel­comed any more eas­i­ly than the kinds of aid we typ­i­cal­ly cat­e­go­rize as ‘human­i­tar­i­an’ as long as the motives are ques­tion­able and loss of pow­er is a pos­si­ble result. And can you blame a small state for being skep­ti­cal, much less a total­i­tar­i­an one?

All that said, I’ve nev­er liked the UN’s rea­sons for not doing some­thing dur­ing the Rwandan Genocide in 1994.

So, after that mud­dled bit of back and forth, my view — in answer to Lou’s clos­ing ques­tion — begins with remem­ber­ing what some­one once told me: law cod­i­fies the rights of the pow­er­ful over the weak. International law is no excep­tion to that. If we agree that the UN actu­al­ly has sov­er­eign­ty over the mem­ber states of the General Assembly (how­ev­er ten­u­ous that pow­er may be), then the res­o­lu­tion holds as a law would and inter­ven­tion is required because, in this case, the rights of the pow­er­ful would  include inter­ven­tion on behalf those whom they decide to pro­tect.

If, on the oth­er hand, the UN retains no such pow­er, then the res­o­lu­tion serves sim­ply as a state­ment of good inten­tions. Good inten­tions may seem like a good start, but strict­ly apply­ing moral good inten­tions to state­craft has a fun­ny way in result­ing in a lot more dead peo­ple.

People in The Brenlee Story

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

This is a list of all the peo­ple who appear in the Brenlee Story (the orig­i­nal Honestly Kid posts) and the posts where you can find them or things about them. There are oth­ers who are mere­ly men­tioned who don’t appear here, but you don’t need to wor­ry too much about them. The prin­ci­ple folks are list­ed in the order in which they are iden­ti­fied in the course of the sto­ry and the peo­ple of The World are list­ed alpha­bet­i­cal­ly by last name.

Folks

William “Billy” Loof - About William, More About William, Old Voices, Old Ghosts, Luke Bettis, Luke’s Last Friend, William’s Knot, William’s Day, So He Tried To Kiss Her, The Whole Project, The Dog Would Not Stop Barking, The Perfect Downtown Location, Dirty Work, Friends By Coincidence, Burnt, Slow, Muddy, Sleepy Swirls, If Beginnings Matter, Sand And Stone, Till Then Sit Still, My Soul, No Trouble, So She Smiled,
Another Inner Strangeness

Officer Eduardo HernandezGood For Your People, Ass Kicking Eyes, Before The County Arrived, Winchester Kady, No One Could Help Him, Inside Gabriel’s Desk, They Did It All Before, Not Much Of A Toy, The Boy Who Stopped Breathing, The Dog Would Not Stop Barking, The Perfect Downtown Location, Dirty Work, Friends By Coincidence, Ballast, Grady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard, Up Against It, Another Way To See Things, Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 1, Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 2,
Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 3, Evidence,

Luke Bettis - Old Voices, Old Ghosts, Luke Bettis, Luke’s Last Friend, They Did It All Before, The Perfect Downtown Location

Mike BooneLuke Bettis, So He Tried To Kiss Her, The Perfect Downtown Location, Next Of Kin, Tagged

Tamra JamesWilliam’s Knot, William’s Day, So He Tried To Kiss Her, If Beginnings Matter, So She Smiled

Gabriel VelasquezThe Boy With Strong Hands, Inside Gabriel’s Desk, Not Much Of A Toy, The Boy Who Stopped Breathing

Tomas “Tommy” CoatesLuke Bettis, Luke’s Last Friend, Local Boy Murdered, Friends By Coincidence, Maria’s Story Pt.1, Maria’s Story Pt.2, Maria’s Story Pt.3, Maria’s Story Pt.4

Maria BatistaLocal Boy Murdered, Till Then Sit Still, My Soul, No Trouble, Maria’s Story Pt.1, Maria’s Story Pt.2, Maria’s Story Pt.3, Maria’s Story Pt.4, Maria’s Story Pt. 5
Phillip BergoyanLocal Boy Murdered, Charlie Oliveri, The Dog Would Not Stop Barking, Haunting Old Man Bergoyan, All The News, An Empty Morning, Sand And Stone, Till Then Sit Still, My Soul, No Trouble, Maria’s Story Pt.4,
Another Inner Strangeness, Maria’s Story Pt. 5

Trot SneedNo One Could Help Him, No Trouble, Maria’s Story Pt.1

Charlie OliveriCharlie Oliveri, The Whole Project, The Dog Would Not Stop Barking, The Perfect Downtown Location, All The News, An Empty Morning, Grady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard, Next Of Kin, Tagged
Ken SneedHell Once And For All, No Trouble, Maria’s Story Pt.1, Maria’s Story Pt.3, Evidence

The World

Nathan AdderleyAll The News, Grady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard,

Neto BatistaMaria’s Story Pt.1, Maria’s Story Pt.2, Maria’s Story Pt.3, Maria’s Story Pt.4

Walt BishopUp Against It

Chip BuedallGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Maxon CantwellGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Andy CurrieGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard,
Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 3, Evidence

ClaraAbout William, William’s Day,

Perry FoltzGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard , Empty Hands

Roberta HobanOld Voices, Old Ghosts

Winchester KadyWinchester Kady, They Did It All Before

Jim LangenGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Andrea LawsonInside Gabriel’s Desk, They Did It All Before, Not Much Of A Toy, No Grace For Part-Timers

Jorge Nuñez - Grady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Officer Dennis PlasterThe Part-Timer, Shredding As A Second Language, No Grace For Part-Timers, The Thin Needle Points Down, Empty Hands, 28.3 Cents A Minute, Todo es, Blind Initiative

Frank RochaGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Ms. Schmidt - Inside Gabriel’s Desk, They Did It All Before, The Part-Timer, The Thin Needle Points Down

Mable SneedMable Sneed Makes Breakfast

Pickem SneedMr. Sneed Fails To Pray, Good For Your People, Mable Sneed Makes Breakfast, Hell Once And For All, Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 1, Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 2, Poor News Badly Delivered Pt. 3, Evidence

Sherri SneedMore About William

MacDuff TaylorTime For Bed, MacDuff Taylor Is Not Dreaming, Todo es

Emiliano Velasquez - The Boy With Strong Hands

Alma VelasquezThe Boy With Strong Hands

Grady WeberGrady’s pt. 1, Grady’s pt. 2, Grady’s pt. 3, The Car In The Orchard

Tim O’reilly on Creating Culture

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

We have to con­nect with each oth­er. We have to build on each oth­er. And we have to take the time and the effort to weave a com­mu­ni­ty of peo­ple with com­mon inter­ests. We have to take the time to build up the peo­ple who we care about. I use a phrase at O’Reilly as a mot­to, which is, “Create more val­ue than you cap­ture.” That is, if you’re try­ing to think of what you do as a media prac­tice, think about it as cre­at­ing val­ue for your com­mu­ni­ty and even­tu­al­ly that com­mu­ni­ty will cre­ate val­ue for you.

Tim O’reilly

Participating in Culture

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Because when you con­tribute, when you par­tic­i­pate in cul­ture, when you’re no longer solv­ing prob­lems, but invent­ing cul­ture itself, that is when life starts get­ting inter­est­ing.

Matt Webb