181 pages

Happy

Off course I’ve been under the rocks not noticing the variations in the Happy Song by Pharrell Williams doing the rounds. First the Dutch version which starts in my city, The Hague:

and then the Dutch Moslim version:

Nothing Zen – Just Crop the Swimming Pool Photo

I56A0475 Zwembad gr

I56A0475 Zwembad

Nothing Zen – Just Crop the Swimming Pool Photo

Recently I was on a short city trip to Madrid.

When I prepared for the trip I was looking for a hotel with a swimming pool, as Madrid can be hot in September.

I choose the hotel on the basis of a photo like the first photo. I took this photo myself. The first photo is a crop of the second photo. I used a booking portal (OTA) to search and book the hotel.

When you look at the first photo, like me, you are likely to book the hotel if it features prominently on the booking site….When you look at the second photo, like me, You are unlikely to swim in this swimming pool ever with all those eyes that can peek at you from the surrounding high rises.

That is why I post this in the Zen category with the “Nothing Zen” connotation: With all the technique of Internet progressing and helping I still feel strong that you should watch your back and watch out for conman trying to lure you into something you do not want. Lucky for us it was too cold in Madrid to care for a swim and lucky for us the hotel had other amenities that fitted us well during this stay.

Herring Eater at Sunset

Harinkje _MG_6024

Herring Eater at Sunset

This herring eater statue is located at the Scheveningen beach. It portraits perfectly how the Dutch like to eat their herring: Raw and after the grates have been taken out the tail is left on and then they grab the herring by the tail and let it glide into their mouths. Just to remember summer seems over.

Pardon for Chelsea Manning?

Private Manning

Pardon for Chelsea Manning?

No mention of private Manning in the news anymore. Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison because he leaked to the (in)famous Wikileaks. A Year ago a request was lodged for a presidential pardon. I believe it’s time President Obama takes a decision.

In the meantime Bradley has publicly announced he wants to change gender and be renamed as Chelsey.

Part of the plea for presidential pardon.

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy — the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps — to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

I understand that my actions violated the law; I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

Via the Manning Support site.

Maybe an off topic but still interesting question: If a male is sentenced, can the same sentence be enforced upon a female when the male has changed gender?