This new one is a full-feaured blog, so you can leave comments, call me names, etc. 'Nuff said. Go there and have fun.
Portland, Ore. February 1, 2006— WackyMommy asks if I enjoy her blog (I do) and said she wished I had an online diary for her to read.
So here's what's on my mind today.
Dip-stick Geo. W. Bush. David Corn has a good dissection of the SOTU address.
Water. Water. Everywhere. In the back of the "swamp mobile" due to a leaky tailgate seal (this was our '97 Saturn wagon we just ditched).
In the walls and across the subfloor under our shower, thanks to a faulty plumbing job by a previous owner of our home. Insurance adjuster comes out Friday to tell us whether we're covered. Long story short: if it's from "gradual seepage" we're fucked. Gradual seepage is betrayed by wet rot.
Nothing like living in western Oregon during one of the wettest winters on record. Hey, wait! The sun's shining out there. Oops, now it's gone.
To keep my mind off of Bush and water, let's talk hockey. The Portland Winter Hawks (our local franchise of the Tier I Major Junior Western Hockey League) lost all 6 games on their longest road trip of the year. They have slipped to third place in the U.S. division of the Western conference. Shit, that's depressing, too.
On a bright note, we've got tickets for their return to home ice this Saturday.
I took a slap shot to the knee during a pick-up game today. That kind of hurts.
So there you go. My new blog theme: More Hockey - Less War. Take that ya evil capitalist pigs! La de da de da isn't blogging lots of fun.
Portland, Ore. January 4, 2006—
Do I blog any more? No. Does anybody care? Probably not. Here, look at this:
Portland, Ore. October 27, 2005—
The other shoe—Fitzgerald's indictment of Scooter Libby is devastating. Lies, lies and more lies. How gratifying is it see that lying sack of shit indicted.
But what about Rove? Ah, patience! Over at The Raw Story, they're reporting that Fitzgerald may be casting an even wider net for Rove. We may yet see that stinkin' SOB frog marched (at least figuratively) out of the White House.
Portland, Ore. October 24, 2005—
Nightmares of Nuclear Terror—Both Himself (me) and a dear friend in Minneapolis have both recently had dreams of nuclear terror. In mine, a single device was detonated in Vienna. In his, it was multiple mushroom clouds on the horizon visible from the Twin Cities.
With a figurative nuke fixing to blow up in the middle of Geo. W. Bush's White House, this seems fitting. But then the creepy conspiracy thought ocurred to me: What if those under the gun orchestrated a nuclear terror event to deflect attention from their troubles?
Take it easy... I don't really believe the Bushies are that cynical. But the thought did occur to me.
Portland, Ore. August 19, 2005—
Not being a TV watcher, I've only seen a few photos of the Cindy Sheehan protest. Today I stumbled aross a great collecton of photos, on three different pages: page 1, page 2, and page 3.
This is a really great collection, including shots of counter-protests, Bush meeting with his staff at his ranch, a mug shot of the twisted mo-fo who ran over the crosses in his pickup, and an aerial view showing the proximity of the protest site to Bush's house.
Portland, Ore. August 17, 2005—
Why not withdraw immediately? Cindy Sheehan has re-ignited the anti-war movement, and she is demanding something even many lefties consider a radical concept: immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
So why is it that groups on the left, like MoveOn.org can't get behind immediate pullout?
"We've got to stay and get the job done," many complain. "Iraq will collapse into civil war if we leave."
These are rather quaint notions, prefaced on the idea that the US forces in Iraq are a stabilizing force.
Last week's Nation featured a forum to discuss the Iraq war. The panelists were asked, "The liberal community seems to be divided about what to do in Iraq, in particular over the issue of an American withdrawal. What is your view?"
Helena Cobban, a columnist for the Christian Science Monitor, put it thusly:
I strongly agree that the US should withdraw its troops completely from Iraq, and as fast as is humanly possible. The troops have no right to be there, because their presence is the result of a war that was illegitimate under any reasonable reading of international law. Their presence there is doubly illegitimate because, in the postinvasion era, they have been used to buttress a US Administration inside Iraq that has disregarded the entire legal structure that regulates what is permissible during a military occupation. I am aware of the argument that a too-early US withdrawal may leave the country mired in civil war and that therefore Americans have some kind of "duty" to stay in Iraq to "make things right." I believe this argument is based on the completely false premise that the American presence has a stabilizing influence within the country. My reading of the situation there is that exactly the opposite is true.There are lots of other great thoughts from the other panelists, too.
Portland, Ore. July 25, 2005—
Cease fire my ass— Hillary Clinton, in a prelude to her 2008 presidential run, told the faithful centrists at the DLC "It's high time for a ceasefire."
In Iraq? Oh heaven's no! She wants a bigger war on terror. It's the lefties in her own party she wants a truce with. She wants those pesky liberals to stop blaming the DLC for 2 straight presidential losses.
If only the lefties would get on board, we could beat the Republicans by showing that we are stronger on national defence!
Shit. I'm just spitting mad. I am so fucking sick of the DLC telling the world if we just sell out our priciples we could win!
Of course we all know that this line of reasoning is fucked because: a) we keep losing fucking elections and b) I don't want to fucking sell out my principles!.
Will the Dems continue to follow this utterly discredited campaign stategy and blow a third presidential election? Or will the left prevail and take back the party? (My money's on the former.)
To the DLC: Fuck you! If you want one big tent, stop acting like elephants. Then maybe there'd be some room for progs like me.
Portland, Ore. July 22, 2005—
Helen Thomas rules! As John Stewart said, "We've secretly replaced the White House press corps with actual reporters." At yesterday's press briefing, Helen Thomas opened with a bang:
Thomas: "Why does Karl Rove still have security clearance and access to classified documents when he has been revealed as a leaker of a secret agent, according to Time magazine's correspondent?"Stay tuned for unofficial Democratic congressional hearings today, and the confirmation of Karen Hughes, both prime opportunities to get this story back on page A-1 of the major dailies.
McClellan: "Well, there is an investigation that continues, and I think the President has made it clear that we're not going to prejudge the outcome of that investigation."
Thomas: "You already have the truth."
McClellan: "We're not going to prejudge the outcome of that investigation through --
Thomas: "Does he have access to security documents?"
McClellan: " -- through media reports. And these questions came up over the last week -- "
Thomas: "Did he leak the name of a CIA agent?"
McClellan: "As I was trying to tell you, these questions have been answered."
Thomas: "No, they haven't."
David Gregory, NBC News: "Let me ask -- "
McClellan: "Go ahead, David."
Gregory: "And they most certainly haven't. I think Helen is right, and the people watching us know that. And related to that, there are now --"
McClellan: "Let me correct the record. We've said for quite some time that this was an ongoing investigation, and that we weren't going to comment on it, so let me just correct the record."
Gregory: "If you want to make the record clear, then you also did make comments when a criminal investigation was underway, you saw fit to provide Karl Rove with a blanket statement of absolution. And that turned out to be no longer accurate --."
And the White House press corps can follow two stories at once. At least Walter Pincus and Jim VandeHei at the Washington Post can. So Rove got a one day reprieve. Go get him, boys!
Portland, Ore. July 20, 2005—
As the SCLM (so-called liberal media) suffers the whiplash of being yanked off the Rove/Libby/Plame CIA leak story to cover the Supreme Court story, I offer a few choice words from yesterday's White House press briefing. As of then, the press corps as still grilling Scott McClellan. Veteran journalist Helen Thomas gave McClellan the day's best whipping:
What is his problem? Two years, and he can't call Rove in and find out what the hell is going on? I mean, why is it so difficult to find out the facts? It costs thousands, millions of dollars, two years, it tied up how many lawyers? All he's got to do is call him in.Most of the briefing continued something like this:
MR. McCLELLAN: You just heard from the President. He said he doesn't know all the facts. I don't know all the facts.Today's briefing was of course dominated by the Supreme Court, with only a powder puff tossed out:
MR. McCLELLAN: We want to know what the facts are. Because --
Q Why doesn't he ask him?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll tell you why, because there's an investigation that is continuing at this point, and the appropriate people to handle these issues are the ones who are overseeing that investigation. There is a special prosecutor that has been appointed. And it's important that we let all the facts come out. And then at that point, we'll be glad to talk about it, but we shouldn't be getting into --
Q You talked about it to reporters.
MR. McCLELLAN: We shouldn't be getting into prejudging the outcome.
Q Dan, did the timing of this announcement today have anything at all to do with all the intense focus on Karl Rove and the leak investigation?And, of course, he went on to list all the reasons for an early announcement, taking great pains to avoid any mention of the CIA leak probe.
MR. BARTLETT: I'm glad you -- I omitted discussing that, and I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to talk about that.
And that was it. The White House press corps is back to being completely cowed. And it looks like we've got weeks, if not months, of Supreme Court coverage on the way.
Now, don't get me wrong. This is imporant. John Roberts is a trusted conservative, with a strong anti-abortion, anti-civil liberties pedigree. And the Democrts in the Senate are going to roll over and let him tip the balance of the court. Mark my words.
But meanwhile, we shouldn't let Bush and his minions get a free ride on the Plame story. But just like that: POOF! The Rove story is not only off the front pages of the New York Times and Washington Post, it's nowhere to be found.
Why the hell can't the Washington press manage to follow two stories at a time?
By the way, David Corn has been providing excellent coverage of both the Plame story and the Supreme Court story on his blog.
Portland, Ore. July 14, 2005—
Still waiting to see how the so-called liberal media handle the Rove issue. So far, none of the major dailys' editorial boards (New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today) are calling for his head.
But in today's Washington Post, columnist Richard Cohen points out that "Rove isn't the real outrage:"
The inspired exaggeration of the case against Iraq, the hype about weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda's links to Hussein, makes everything else pale in comparison. It was to protect those lies, those exaggerations, that incredible train wreck of incompetence, ideologically induced optimism and, of course, contempt for the quaint working of the democratic process, that everything else stems from.No shit.
Portland, Ore. July 13, 2005—
In these wacky times, it is rare that I get a warm fuzzy feeling from the headlines. But in today's online edition of the Washington Post, the top three stories just warm the cockles of my heart.
First, there's "Bush Deflects Questions on Rove", which, in case you've been living under a rock, is all about the White House's official policy of refusing to comment on the fact that the man behind the curtain, Karl Rove, is in deep, deep shit. Why is he in deep, deep shit? Because in an attempt to discredit Joseph Wilson, a diplomat who debunked the infamously bogus claim that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium in Niger, Rove exposed Wilson's wife Valerie as a CIA operative. Delicious: the White House compromising national security to smear a critic. Even better: getting caught red handed.
Then, there's "WorldCom's Ebbers Sentenced to 25 Years". Ebbers was convicted of $11 billion fraud and now he's going to the pokey. Hee hee hee.
Finally we've got "NHL, Players Reach Deal, End Lockout".
What more could a anti-Bush, anti-Corporate, lefty hockey nut wish for? Oh, okay, world peace and equitable distribution of wealth would be nice. And a firm sheet of ice in the summer wouldn't hurt. But this is pretty good.
Portland, Ore. June 13, 2005—
I've been a Nation reader for many years. It has been my light through many dark political times. It's funny how when I'm feeling the most pessimistic, I can pick it up and find reason for hope.
Not just hope for whatever angst I'm feeling, but also remarkable tidbits about issues I've shelved in the back of my psyche for years.
The most recent issue in the crapper at chez singe has just such an intriguing tidbit, from columnist Patricia J Williams, about race and genetics. It made me recall a conversation with a former friend (an obnoxious, anxious British woman) who insisted that south Asians were "genetically white."
Of course, anybody who's read even a little bit about race and genetics knows that there is no genetic marker for race, but rather collections of genetic mutations that indicate millenia of human migration. Race is, in fact a myth. But you already knew that.
In her June 20 Diary of a Mad Law Professor column, Williams writes of Penn State sociology prof Mark Shriver regularly administering DNA tests to his students in order to provide precise measurements of "geneteic anscestry."
It's a fascinating read.
Right next door to Williams' column is Eric Alterman's The Liberal Media. In this issue, Alterman begins:
In what is clearly a coordinated campaign of deliberate defamation, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, White House spokesman Scott McClellan (citing George W. Bush), State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher and Pentagon spokespeople Lawrence DiRita and Bryan Whitman have all sought to blame Newsweek magazine for the deaths of Afghan citizens killed in weeks of anti-American rioting. The charge is intellectually insupportable and morally indefensible. Muslims, worldwide, did not require any new information to heed the jihadists' call to demonstrate against America. Newsweek's mistaken report of official confirmation of a Koran having been flushed down a toilet inside what Amnesty International has termed "the American gulag" in Guantnamo follows years of confirmed reports of officially sanctioned torture, both physical and psychological, some of it specifically designed to offend Muslim sensibilities. A Pew Research Center poll taken in early 2004 found that large majorities in four Muslim countries held deeply negative views of the United States. In Jordan, one of our closest Arab allies, our approval rating hovered at a mere 5 percent.Just don't flush my Nation down the toidy, 'k?
Portland, Ore. June 1, 2005—
Great editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Memorial Day. Now just a cotton pickin' minute... I was just reading that, and now it wants a registration. Well, it may or may not be worth your while to register to read this...
Portland, Ore. May 31, 2005—
The disassembler-in-chief—It was one of those icky NPR "parking lot moments." Dubya was holding a press conference before an increasingly unenthralled press corps (I even heard one follow-up!). Somebody asked him about the Amnesty International report dinging him for setting up a new Gulag, and he got all huffy about how it's just "absurd" (he used this word repeatedly), and how they based their report on people who hate America. People "that had been trained in some instances to disassemble." Pause. Here I'm thinking, what, disassemble our freedom? Then he finished his thought: "That means not tell the truth."
Wha?!? HA HA HA HA HA! Yes, I laughed aloud. Here's the POTUS dissembling like a mad man, accusing those freedom hating America haters of disassembling. The combination of irony, hypocrisy and illiteracy absolutely boggles my mind. Why doesn't everybody see through this clown? More and more, I think people do.
Anyway, I had my doubts about how the White House would transcribe this lulu of a blooper, but they were true to what I heard.
Portland, Ore. April 13, 2005—
I was reading the news today, and it turns out the Pope is still dead.
And it turns out there's a movement afoot to canonize the man who surely condemned hundreds of thousands to death by preaching that condoms are sinful.
The sainthood movement is clearly a way to ensure that John Paul II is succeeded by an equally conservative pontif. It sickens me.
Portland, Ore. April 12, 2005—
Clinton Finds his Surrogate Family—Turns out I'm not the only one a bit weirded out by Bill Clinton cozying up to the Bushes. Peter S. Canellos at the Boston Globe writes that "Clinton has become a member of the Bush clan."
Those of you who know me know that I've never been a Clinton fan. So it should come as no surprise to see him in this light.
Bucky—For some reason I've been drawn to R. Buckminster Fuller lately. Part of it is because I'm trying to jumpstart my sci-fi memoir. But he just keeps popping up. Those not familiar with his work should start by reading some of his thoughts on humanity's option to succeed on planet earth and in the universe and on the obsolescense of war.
Portland, Ore. February 17, 2005—
There's a new blogger in town, and she's our very own WackyMommy! Yes, Himself's better half Herself has taken to the blogosphere with a vengeance, with an fresh angle on parenting and a general focus on grrrl power! Hers is a true blog, where you can leave comments and all that, unlike my little soap box here. Enjoy!
Portland, Ore. February 3, 2005—
Killing for fun—I've taken a few months off from blogging, but I'm back.
I started this blog with quotes from generals, and I'm going back to those roots today. Military men are often painfully honest. Witness Lt. Gen. James Mattis this past Tuesday in San Diego.
"Actually it's quite fun to fight 'em, you know. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up front with you, I like brawling," said Mattis.
"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said during a panel discussion. "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
Of course, he got nothing but praise from his boss.
And do recall, this is the same Gen. Mattis who refused to apologize for the masacre of 40 people at a wedding party last year on the grounds that "these were more than two dozen military-age males." (Which eveidently justifies their deaths, as well as the deaths of their accompanying 16 women and children.)
Portland, Ore. November 1, 2004 Update—
I'm agitated. Nervous. I wanna scream.
Instead, I'm double blogging, baby.
I'm getting the increasing sense that Kerry's going to pull it off and get his sorry ass elected. All he's gotta do is seal up Ohio and/or Florida. Bush needs both. The polls are dead even, but they don't take into account huge numbers of new voters, who will break dramatically for Kerry.
So, on the eve of what I hesitantly suspect will be Kerry's election, I've gotta get a few things off my chest. Just so I can say I told you so.
First, Kerry's not going to get us out of Iraq. Well, he probably will eventually, but not before he gets us in much, much deeper, with vastly worsening civilian and U.S. casualties.
Then, when he does pull us out, it will be in disgrace.
Second, Kerry's not going to do dick to insure the uninsured. He's going to be completely hobbled by the Republican Congress.
Third, he'll be likewise impeded in rolling back the Bush tax cuts.
Fourth, he's going to follow through on his pledge to increase the military by 40,000 new troops.
And fifth, while there's no way in hell he'll be able to cut the deficit in half will all his new military spending, he'll make painful cuts to domestic spending.
It is a very, very sad state of affairs, my fellow Americans.
Portland, Ore. November 1, 2004—
Cut from the same cloth? Osama bin Laden's cameo in the 2004 election campaign couldn't have been better timed or more artfully crafted to boost his and George W. Bush's shared vision of a global clash between good and evil.
The thing is, they're both on the same side: the side of war waged against innocent civilians in the name of quasi-religious beliefs. Bush and bin Laden are easilly the most despised men in the world, and their fortunes are intimately linked to one another.
With 9/11, bin Laden handed Bush his only reason for popular support, and with Iraq, Bush has handed bin Laden a rallying call to the Muslim world that was on the verge of turning away from extremism in the wake of 9/11.
I am not a conspiracy theorist. I do not believe that these two men are in active collusion. But when analyzing world politics and strife, you've got to ask yourself: Who prospers? Who is benefitting from the continued war of attrition in the occupied Palestinian lands and in the occupation of Iraq?
The answer is so obvious as to be overlooked. Bush, bin Laden, and the dogs of war are the victors. Women, children, and the elderly are the victims.
Will Kerry change this? No, he won't. He's said he won't. Many liberals argue that he's said these things for political expediency, but I take him at his word when he says he wants to win the unwinnable war in Iraq, pledges undying fealty to Ariel Sharon, embraces the illegal policy of unilateral pre-emptive war, and vows to increase millitary spending while slashing the deficit.
Bin Laden, in speaking the truth about Bush's provocative foreign policy, does not do the truth any favors. It seems especially calculated to discredit the truth, and Bush couldn't have asked for a better October surprise for his faltering campaign.
Portland, Ore. October 27, 2004—
The Christian right in Oregon got so worked up about gays getting married in Portland, they put a measure on the ballot that would ammend our constitution to prohibit gay marriage.
Now, those of us who are not sexually confused and are in committed, loving hetero marriages know that gay marriage is no threat to our matrimony. How can two people in love getting the blessing of the state be a threat to any other two people in love who already have the blessing of the state? It's boggling, but welcome to the culture wars of the 21st century.
A neat thing about Oregon's initiative process is that anybody can buy space in the state voters' guide to publish arguments for or against any measure. A certain M. Dennis Moore bought three of them, and they are hilarious.
Hmmm. M. Moore... Could it be...?
Portland, Ore. October 14, 2004—
The suspense is killing me! The debates are over, thank heavens, but now the wait is on for the October surprise. What's Karl got up his sleeve?
I'll be honest, I couldn't bear to watch any of the debates in their entirety. As a progressive, I am insulted that John Kerry was unable or unwilling to turn Bush's "Massachuesetts liberal" back around on him.
Like, "well, my record proves that I'm an opportunistic centrist, but what if I am liberal?"
It offends me as a liberal that the Democratic party has unequivocally run from that label and has refused to defend the notion of a liberal society. Jesus fucking Christ, guys, the New Deal isn't dead yet. But maybe what it will take to finally kill it is a Kerry presidency...
Portland, Ore. October 4, 2004—
While Mt. St. Helens rumbled and hissed 50 miles to the north, thousands of people took to the streets of Portland yesterday for a rally and march against the various U.S. sponsored wars and occupations.
Led by the Northwest Veterans for Peace and the No War Drum Corps, the event was sponsored by Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, a broad coalition of peace and justice, civil rights and religious groups. There were many families with young children, buttoned-down Quakers, hippies beating doumbeks, and old ladies wearing glittery wigs. There were representatives from Oregon Republicans against Bush.
It was a beautiful day for to take democracy to the streets, but the major local news outlets couldn't be bothered to make much of a showing.
We saw exactly zero cameras from local TV stations. The Oregonian ran no photos of the diverse throngs, and downplayed our numbers with the headline "Hundreds march against war, Bush" in their print edition (interesting that the online edition says "thousands".)
Lots of folks had digital cameras out there, and I'm still looking for some posted on the Web. Stay tuned.
October surprise? What will it be? Osama? John Kerry in a torrid love affair with a man? Or will the Dems pull one out of their hat and stick it to the Republicans for once? I'm betting on Osama, but with the race tightening and Bush getting more and more peevish and petulant, I'm holding out hopes that the Kerry campaign can ambush the bastard with something really stinky. They've definitely been showing a more aggressive style of late.
Portland, Ore. September 23, 2004—
Washington Post blogger Dan Froomkin hosted his bi-weekly Live Online chat yesterday and asked readers what they thought the press whould ask Bush and Alawi at their joint press conference today.
I submitted that the obvious question was:
Given that major population centers are in the hands of insurgents, how will it be possible to hold elections? Will elections be held if these areas remain out of government control, and if so, how can the elections be considered legitimate?Now, it's no big deal to have your input included in a live discussion at the Post, but I guess Dan really liked it. He included it in his daily White House Briefing column today.
Jeez, man, I've been published by the Post! Well, er, sort of, anyway. When you start counting the degrees of separation thing (see below), it's almost scary!
Portland, Ore. September 22, 2004—
FCC Chairman Michael Powell dope slapped CBS for letting Janet Jackson bare a breast on national TV, hitting the network with a $550,000 fine.
Powel expressed shock at the horror of children—children!— seeing the breast of a woman.
"As countless families gathered around the television to watch one of our nation's most celebrated events, they were rudely greeted with a halftime show stunt more fitting of a burlesque show," he said.
I'm shocked, too. I mean, think of all the children who tuned in to see great big guys bashing each others' brains in, only to be snookered into seeing more or less the same amount of flesh that the cheerleaders show. I mean, her nipple was covered up (as if that should make any difference).
Fuck it all anyway. It's a breast, a non-sexual piece of human anatomy. This whole shebang is the perfect commentary on our victorian love/hate relationship with sexuality and our simultaneous fascination and glorification of violence.
Now, somebody, please tell me who it was that characterized American football as endless comittee meetings punctuated by sudden, short bursts of violence. Whoever said it first probably put it better than that.
No, wait, I found it, it was George F. Will, and I think I like the way I said it better. The actual quote is something like "Football combines the two worst things about American life. It is violence, punctuated by committee meetings."
And that, my friends, is one of the very few times you'll catch me agreeing with George F. Will.
Portland, Ore. September 2, 2004—
Hockey hockey hockey—Regular readers know I'm obsessed with politics, but only close readers will notice my obsession with hockey. Indulge me for a moment while I ignore the platitudes coming out of NYC.
While the National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association face off over a new contract (with a lockout looming), the boys of the Major Junior Western Hockey League Portland Winter Hawks are gearing up for their season with a training camp in Portland this week. This is the first time since the late 70s that the Hawks have had the camp in town, and they opened the doors to the public. It was great opportunity to see some elite-level hockey after a long summer of getting my own sorry ass kicked by teenagers (and pre-teens) on the local rink.
Now, I don't have cable TV, so I don't get much opportunity to see NHL hockey. So I don't really care if they delay the start of the season, or if they cancel the whole thing. If they do have a lockout, Portland benefits by getting to keep 19-year-old ace D-man Braydon Coburn, who was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in '03. If the NHL plays, it is likely he will be called up to fill out their defensive line this year.
Braydon's taking it all in stride, and seemed pretty unbothered when I asked him about it after the final training camp scrimmage last night. He was more interested in signing a broken stick for my 2-year-old than talking about something he says is "completely out of my control. If it was something I could do something about, I might be upset, but there isn't."
Portland, Ore. August 17, 2004—
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin stopped short of telling Dick Cheney to go fuck himself, but he didn't pull any punches when criticizing him for mocking Kerry's call for a "more sensitive war on terror."
"It just outrages me that someone who got five deferments during Vietnam and said he had 'other priorities' at that time would say that," Harkin was quoted in an AP story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Bush and Cheney are "running scared because John Kerry has a war record and they don't," he said. "What he is doing and what he is saying is cowardly. The actions are cowardly."
"When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward, who would not serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil," said Harkin. "He'll be tough, but he'll be tough with someone else's kid's blood."
Believie it or not, this made some republicans angry. Heh.
Portland, Ore. August 16, 2004—
Would Kerry Vote Today for the Iraq War? His direct, unequivocal answer was "Yes," but wishful-thinking liberals are bending over backwards to see that as a "No." Witness Slate's chief political correspondent Will Saletan's gyrations in order to conclude:
When Kerry says he would have voted for war authority because "it was the right authority for a president to have," the president he's thinking of -- "a president," as he puts it—isn't Bush. It's himself.Oh for cryin' out load, Will. Yes means yes. He's a fucking hawk. He's not going to pull us out of Iraq, and he would have invaded just the same, just like Al Gore would have, just like Paul Wolfowitz would have told them too (just like he told Bush to).
Kerry and Bush were both in town last Friday, and some of my friends attended the Kerry rally. It was a huge open-air affair, with some 30,000 in attendance. Boring as hell, according to one, "inspirational" according to another. This was contrasted with Bush's heavily scripted private "Ask the President" event. (See WashingtonPost.com's Dan Froomkin's take on Bush's favored campaign event format.)
I can't get over a couple of things. First, how willing people are to believe that Kerry's going to get us out of Iraq, despite him having voiced no discernible differences in Iraq policy from W.
Second, what a horrible orator Kerry is. It is widely believed, with Bush's plummeting approval ratings, that it is John Kerry's race to lose. And it is quite clear that he's every bit as capable as Al Gore of doing just that (with or without Ralph Nader's help).
I caught the tail end of Bush's stump speech on the radio on my way back to the office from playing hockey (no, Kerry didn't show up at the rink, but I was forced to take a detour on the way there because the freeway was closed for the Bush motorcade).
In his speech, Bush was confident, relaxed, jocular and enthusiastic. He cracked up at his own joke about his mother. He generally sounded like a fun guy to hang out with as he bantered with the hand-picked crowd. He's learned a thing or two about speaking since the last campaign, and his handlers have made sure to put him in comfortable surroundings with fawning crowds.
Then the local NPR affiliate cut to the downtown Kerry rally, where Teresa was "warming up" (more like putting to sleep) the crowd (following Jon Bon Jovi and Leonardo DiCaprio). Yawn. She. Speaks. Really. Really. Slowly. So they cut away. Then they cut back when Kerry was speaking.
I can't find a transcript anywhere, but his opening was an absolute mood killer, the antithesis of a pep speech. It was some kind of incomprehensible nonsense about how Portland could have been Boston, it was 50-50 between Boston and Portland, Maine, what a beautiful city this is, it's so great to be here in the city of roses, can you hear me back by the flag? Can you hear me up in the parking ramp? Can you hear me Portland?
And the crowd went wild. Why? Because they desperately want to believe in John Kerry. Jesus, John, open with a joke and pick up the pace. This ain't rocket science, my friend, it's Stump Speech 101.
Portland, Ore. August 11, 2004—
Just what is sovereignty? Mark Trahant, Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial page editor and president of the Native American Journalists Association, asked W what would appear to be a pretty straightforward, open-ended question.
Mark Trahant: What do you think tribal sovereignty means in the 21st century and how do we resolve conflicts between tribes and the federal and state governments?
Bush: Tribal sovereignty means that—it's sovereign. You're a—you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity.
This drew unabashed laughter from the audience at the UNITY: Journalists of Color conference last Friday.
But the real fun was Jesse Jackson's "defense" of the president at a press conference when questioned by Brent Merrill of Smoke Signals. (Democracy Now! has audio and video clips, as well as transcripts of these exchanges.)
Brent Merrill: As you saw today at the president's conference, the leader of the free world does not understand tribal sovereignty. What would you do in your estimation, Reverend, what would you do and how would you advise tribes to educate our folks, just exactly what tribal sovereignty is?
Jesse Jackson: The President explained. You just didn't understand. Sovereignty is sovereignty. You understand? It's like in sovereignity. If you are on a reservation, you have been soverized. Your Ph.D. is in soverbication. You understand? I don't think you understand.
Brent Merrill: You're right. I didn't understand that.
This wasn't the only embarrassment for W at Unity. Emil Guillermo at the San Francisco Chronicle dings Bush for being in favor of "colleges affirmatively taking action" without favoring affirmative action. And what about "legacy" programs, a.k.a. affirmative action for rich white guys? (Don't forget W is a Yale legacy.)
Guillermo quotes Bush: "'Well, in my case, I had to knock on a lot of doors to follow in the old man's footsteps,' said Bush, prompting some laughter from the audience. The president was caught red handed, and his recovery was pathetic. 'No, look,' Bush said, 'if what you're saying is, is there going to be special treatment for people—in other words, we're going to give a special exception for certain people in a system that's supposed to be fair, I agree I don't think there ought to be.'"
Portland, Ore. August 5, 2004—
"America and the world are safer." While W repeated this several times gainst the backdrop of his own orange terror alert, and while JFK bored his crowd to tears a few blocks away in the heartland town of Davenport, Iowa, crooks took advantage of the fact that all the local cops were occupied with this dog and pony show and robbed three banks.
Ain't that America.
But this I love: in a feeble attempt to reconcile his safer-danger dichotomy, Bush paraphrased the 9/11 commission. "See, the 9/11 Commission said something wise: Our homeland is safer, but we are not yet safe."
Safer than what? Jesus, George, talk out of your mouth, not your ass.
Portland, Ore. August 3, 2004—
Bush using terror alerts for political gain? No way! Believe it or not, it's true.
Dan Eggen and Dana Priest (free subscription required) report in today's Washington Post that "Most of the al Qaeda surveillance of five financial institutions that led to a new terrorism alert Sunday was conducted before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and authorities are not sure whether the casing of the buildings has continued, numerous intelligence and law enforcement officials said yesterday."
Not only that, but "much of the information compiled by terrorist operatives about the buildings in Washington, New York and Newark was obtained through the Internet or other 'open sources' available to the general public, including some floor plans," write Eggen and Priest.
"There is nothing right now that we're hearing that is new," they quote one senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the alert. "Why did we go to this level? ... I still don't know that."
W Throws Like a Girl—Check it out!
Who's checking up on Teresa Hampton? Ever since I linked to her and William D. McTavish's story about Bush on anti-depressants, I'm getting many many hits from people googling her. These hits include, notably, surfers from domains like house.gov (the U.S. House of Representatives), doe.gov (the U.S. Department of Energy) and gsa.gov (the U.S. General Services Agency).
Hampton and McTavish quoted several unnamed sources in their story, so my guess is that those sources are making sure they remain unnamed. Damn, the World Wide Web is a trip. Glad to see we've got some gubmint insiders reading WackyMonkey!
Portland, Ore. August 2, 2004—
America is safer... Be Afraid! Be Afraid! (America is safer....)
Damn, get the message straight, boys.
But hey, any excuse to see paramilitary forces guarding the heart of capitalism, i.e. Prudential, Citigroup, the New York Stock Exchange, the World Bank and the IMF.
I think it's working. I'm feeling safer and afraid!
But seriously, this back and forth about America being safer, then raising the terror alert level, then going back to how much safer we are without those pesky civil rights can only serve to beat people into submission.
Closet Wimps? In his June 30 article in The Nation, William Greider asks a crucial question: "Why have most people submitted so willingly to a new political order organized around fear?" It's an important question to ask, and the answer may be more simple and embarassing than most war hawks are willing to admit. "Despite the patriotic breast-beating, are we closet wimps?" asks Greider. "America's exaggerated expressions of fear may look to others like a surprising revelation of weakness."
Quoting an unnamed Republican political advisor and siting complaints from cabinet officials, senior White House aids and congressional leaders, Teresa Hampton and William D. McTavish write that "a sullen President George W. Bush is withdrawing more and more from aides and senior staff, retreating into a private, paranoid world where only the ardent loyalists are welcome."
They also site an unnamed Homeland Security aide who has a scary take on whose in charge. "Too many make the mistake of thinking Dick Cheney is the real power in the Bush administration," he is quoted as saying. "They're wrong. Its Ashcroft and that is reason enough for all of us to be very, very afraid."
Say what you will about Al Sharpton, but Jesus, that man can deliver a speech. And a speech of substance at that.
"Look at the current view of our nation worldwide as a results of our unilateral foreign policy," He said. "We went from unprecedented international support and solidarity on September 12, 2001, to hostility and hatred as we stand here tonight. We can't survive in the world by ourselves."
He's one of the few convention speakers to mention gay rights: "The promise of America is that government does not seek to regulate your behavior in the bedroom, but to guarantee your right to provide food in the kitchen."
You can find the full text of Sharpton's speech at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, among others.
Portland, Ore. July 28, 2004—
Happy pills all around! We recently had to put our poor, addled black lab on happy pills to keep him from nervously chewing our house to splinters, and it looks like Dubya's handlers have had to do the same thing with him (for approximately the same reason). According to Teresa Hampton at Capitol Hill Blue, Bush started taking powerful anti-depressants after he had a complete meltdown when questioned about Kenny Boy Lay.
Hampton says Bush screamed "Keep those motherfuckers away from me!" after storming offstage on July 8. She also quotes an unamed GOP political consultant as saying "We have to face the very real possibility that the President... is loony tunes."
But you already knew that.
Portland, Ore. July 14, 2004—
Repeat after me: "America is safer. America is safer. America is safer...." It's the dominant white house talking point these days, designed to distract from the fact that all rationale for invading Iraq has evaporated.
But wait.... What's acting CIA director John McLaughlin saying? "This is about as serious a threat environment as I have seen since 9/11," said McLaughlin. "...We have high confidence that the nation needs to be on guard."
Jeez, John, guess you didn't get the talking points memo from Karl Rove, eh?
Let the distancing begin—Bush left in a huff when reporters asked about his good buddy and benefactor Kenny Boy Lay yesterday.
Meanwhile, there have been lots of great pictures of the thieving bastard in cuffs all over the press.
While we're reading the Blue, check out the speculation that Dick Cheney may be on his way off the Bush ticket. It's hard to imagine it happening. But if they decide to dump him, it'll probably be under the guise of his weak ticker. Getting a popular moderate on the ticket (like Rudy Giuliani or John McCain) may be the only way Bush has a prayer in November.
Portland, Ore. July 8, 2004—
Kenny Boy in the dock—Major Geo. W. Bush contributor and close friend Kenneth "Kenny Boy" Lay has finally been indicted for fraud in the Enron debacle. It's been a pretty short trip from potential Bush cabinet member to the defendent's table, and it's only a short trip from there to the pokey.
Dan Ackman at Forbes says he's toast.
"When the federal government issues an indictment for securities fraud--which it does not do often--it almost never loses," says Ackman. "That's a general rule, and it should apply in spades to a case where the government has so much at stake."
Now watch carefully as the Bush administration artfully distances itself from the mess.
What joy to see such corporate scum led into the courthouse in hand cuffs.
If you have any doubts about Kenny Boy's closeness to W., check out the correspondence at The Smoking Gun obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.
Portland, Ore. July 6, 2004—
Kerry took Nader's advice and has tapped John Edwards as his running mate. Edwards has some likable qualities. As my colleague Frank Benjamin points out, he "has a good record litigating the shit out of corporate hospitals and hospital corporations." But take a closer look, and what do you see?
An irrefutable indicator that the conservative Democratic Leadership Council still holds sway in the Democratic party, with a smirking Bill Clinton poking his head out from behind the curtain. James Ridgeway at the Village Voice hits the nail on the head: "Anybody who thought Kerry's support for Edwards spelled a tilt to the liberal wing of the party, can pretty much forget it."
We now have two solidly pro-war tickets to choose from, at a time when polls consistently are showing a majority of Americans think the unilateral invasion of Iraq was a mistake. Yet the Dems keep scratching their heads trying to figure out why that hasn't translated into a lead in the polls for Kerry. Jesus, guys, pull your heads out of your colective ass.
But the Republicans still have the bigger Dick on their ticket. Cheney's been out on the campaign trail, alternately firing up the faithful and pissing off everybody else. Gary Jacobson of the Manassas (Va.) Journal Messenger takes issue with Cheney having issued the military order to shoot down civilian planes on 9/11, which was reported in the staff report of the 9/11 commission.
"Mr. Cheney is not part of the military command structure. Neither the U.S. Constitution nor any federal laws give him the authority to issue commands to military forces," writes Jacobson. "Since Mr. Cheney never served a day in the armed forces, it is not surprising that he doesn't know much about the chain of command."
Take that, Dick.
Portland, Ore. June 30, 2004—
Some more hand waving... and another big POOF! Saddam Hussein is in Iraqi custody. Nevermind those U.S. soldiers guarding him at a U.S. facility. Didn't you hear? The occupation is over! Yay! Just in time for the 4th of July. Let's go blow something up for Christ's sake.
Portland, Ore. June 29, 2004—
Next step: the draft? The army is so strapped for volunteers, it's about to force some 5,600 retired and discharged soldiers back into service in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a Reuters report. This, combined with the "stop-loss" program of forcing soldiers to stay in service longer than they signed up for, sounds suspiciously like a stealth draft. Most frighteningly, it indicates we've run out of volunteers willing to do the Bush administration's dirty work, and if the trend continues, there may be nothing left but to re-instate the draft.
Just in case Singapore Airlines has inaugurated its latest non-stop, an 18-hour flight from Singapore to New York, the longest commercial flight ever. There is some concern for the health and safety of the passengers and crew spending such a long time in cramped quarters with recycled air, but Singapore Airlines has taken it all into consideration.
According to the Guardian, they have "equipped [their] new aircraft with special cupboards big enough to take a corpse in case any passengers die en route."
Portland, Ore. June 28, 2004—
Poof! The occupation is over! All ya gotta do is say it, evidently. Pay no attention to the 160,000 foreign troops over there, my friends. I said, the occupation is over! Now go buy something, it's almost 4th of July.
Hey Dick Cheney! Go fuck yourself! There, that was long overdue. Now I feel much better.
Portland, Ore. June 25, 2004—
From the "only in Washington" dept. John Gorenfeld reported in Salon (subscription or "day pass" required) the other day that Rev. Sun Myung Moon had the audacity to declare himself the Messiah during a ceremony at a Senate office building with several members of congress present.
You can read about it in the Guardian if you don't want to jump through Salon's hoops. Fucking weird.
Portland, Ore. June 24, 2004—
My friend Tony in Minneapolis also thinks the Bushies will win by hook or by crook come November, to wit:
The Prez has twice as much money as Kerry. The computerized voting machines are notoriously error-prone, and Diebold's head (a major manufacturer of computerized voting machines) has said (I think in an internal memo which was leaked) that he was going to do all he could to help Bush win the election. There is no paper trail with these computerized voting machines, so there could not even be the hint of a controversy, like 2000.
Then there's Kerry and the Democratic handlers. Kerry might be too smart to be President for a lot of people. He's not an exciting speaker. He hasn't come out and said, My investigations into the BCCI scandal led to the discovery of Iran-Contra... at least he has come out and said that he is a combat veteran, which Gore never did.
People here are just too fucking stupid. "I don't really know enough about Kerry; I hate what Bush has done, but I might vote for him again." Kerry is going to continue to be smeared, and they're going to smear his wife, too. In any half-sane universe, Bush would be toast...
Plus, they might find Osama BL around, say, October...
Portland, Ore. June 23, 2004—
Hold on tight I have a coworker who believes that the Bush administration will do anything to stay in power. He went so far as to suggest they will stage a massive terrorist attack and postpone or cancel the election.
I'm not willing to believe they are that purely evil and treasonous. But what about the chances of a terrorist attack timed to keep Bush in power? A senior US intelligence officer believes it is likely Al Qaeda will attack us with just that purpose in mind.
It is evident that the Bush administration has done Al Qaeda a huge favor by invading Iraq, torturing and killing POWs and generally fulfilling their call for a war of cultures. It is also evident that Al Qaeda has given an illegitimate president his only raison d'etre.
They don't have to be literally allies to behave as such.
Portland, Ore. June 18, 2004—
Rats on a sinking ship Wednesday's release of a statement by the new group Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change is a significant signal of how quickly Bush's core support is eroding. Forget about the swing states for a moment; Bush is being harshly criticized by members of his father's and Reagan's administrations.
Sure, this statement got very little press coverage, but it shows how far Bush has moved outside of the comfort zone of even the very conservative military-industrial-intelligence-diplomatic establishment in Washington. The mass media (with the possible exception of Fox) is sure to follow suit. Is it possible for him to win re-election without them? I think his goose is cooked.
Bush is also being criticized by stalwart Republicans like Bob Barr and Dick Armey for his constitution-shredding Patriot act.
Now let's wait and see if there are high level indictments in the Valerie Plame case, as some expect. If Dick Cheney, Lewis Libbey, Karl Rove (or perhaps even the president himself) is indicted this summer, it's bye-bye Bush for sure. John Dean thinks that Bush consulting with an outside lawyer is an important indicator that he's in some seriously deep shit with this one. Even Bill Clinton knew this: You just don't fuck with the CIA.
Those Kooky Konservatives! In the interest of being "fair and balanced" (you know, like Faux News and Matt Drudge) I've carved out a little korner for our konservative friends. Feel free to kontribute if you are so inklined.
Portland, Ore. June 15, 2004—
Has Dubya gone 'round the bend? That's the question on many lips around Washington in the ten days since Doug Thompson at Capitol Hill Blue wrote Bush's Erratic Behavior Worries White House Aides, which paints a frightening picture of the president going "from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as 'enemies of the state.'"
Yesterday, the Blue reported on the new book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President by Dr. Justin Frank, director of psychiatry at George Washington University. Frank diagnoses Dubya as a "paranoid meglomaniac" and "untreated alcoholic," with a "lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions ... [and] pumping his fist gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad."
Portland, Ore. June 14, 2004—
What's your Bacon Number? This has been around forever, I know, but it just came up in conversation with a coworker who just saw Mystic River. Often referred to as "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," the Oracle of Bacon uses the Internet Movie Database to create links between any actor and Kevin Bacon.
If you (or anybody you know) is listed on IMDb, you can find out your "Bacon number." Mine (ahem) is, uh, three. Sheesh. My coworker, the one who got me thinking about all this, has a Bill Clinton number of 2 through (guess who!) Monica Lewinsky. Which means I have a Bill Clinton number of 3.
Jesus, this can get really scary. I've got a Tonya Harding number of 4. And that's pretty roundabout through the IMDb. In truth, it's probably lower than that since I play hockey on ice that she has been known to skate on.
Portland, Ore. June 10, 2004—
National Public Reagan I admit it, I'm a news junky. The best I can get for my commute is NPR, which has been sickening in its coverage of Reagan's death. I got in my car after work yesterday, turned on the radio and heard the strains of martial music and—holy shit!—a play-by-play by Scott Simon and (I think) Linda Werthheimer of Nancy Reagan placing her hand on Ronnie's flag-draped casket.
Jesus H. Fucking Christ on a crutch, I couldn't believe it. "She's placing her hand on the flag. The palm of her hand. She's patting the casket. She's walking away. It looks like she doesn't want to take her hand off as she walks away." I'm paraphrasing, because I can't stomach listening to it again. (My lovely wife emailed me "too bad she didn't just crawl in." Ouch. She's also the one calling NPR "National Public Reagan.")
Portland, Ore. June 9, 2004—
What's in the email? Sometime last month, somebody sent an email to a lot of people with a link to this site. I got about 800 visitors that day, considerably more than normal. I'm still getting hits from people's hotmail and yahoo mail accounts. But I have no idea what was in that email! It's driving me fucking berserk! Somebody, please tell me!
Why are the Democrats scared shitless of Ralph Nader? They blame him for Gore's miserable failure in 2000. They piss and moan about how he could help Bush get elected in 2004. They essentially blame him for the mess we're in now in Iraq.
But let's face it: We're in Iraq because the Democrats in congress (including, notably, John Kerry) abdicated their responsibility to declare war to King George II, who is in office because the Democrats put forth one of the weakest and ugliest tickets in recent history to lose to one of the weakest Republican tickets put forth in recent history. And those who think Gore would have resisted invading Iraq underestimate the hold the neo-con Wolfowitz cabal has has had on US foreign policy since Bush I.
And now we've got John Kerry, a hawkish, bland, "Free Trade" Democrat in the mold of Bill Clinton going against Bush. (Let's not forget that Clinton/Gore did more damage to the New Deal society than 12 years of Reagan and Bush I, devastated the environment to a degree that had the Republican's green with envy, and screwed labor in ways unimaginable to the staunchest conservatives.) And the Democrats are already whining about how we need to forget about principle and vote for this man who voted to authorize the annexation of Iraq in violation of the UN charter.
Okay, all right already. I'm going to hold my nose and vote for the bastard Kerry. But I vehemently support Nader in his right to run a campaign that calls attention to the failures of our one party corporatist system of government. (There are many, many Web sites explaining why Ralph Nader is the devil and we must vote for John Kerry, but my favorite is JohnKerryIsADoucheBagButImVotingForHimAnyway.com, mostly for the name.)
Someday, maybe, the Democrats will learn that they can't win by running as Republican lite. They are absolutely silent on issues of environmental and economic justice. And being beholden to corporate interests, they refuse to take a stand for a nationalized, single-payer system of health insurance (like most industrialized nations have).
Most shockingly, they won't make a peep on the issue of poverty and the growing gap between the rich and poor. How can we ignore that one in six children in the richest nation in the world live in abject poverty? And that fully 37% of our children live in low-income families?
I'm no fool; I know Nader's no Socialist/Green dream. But I know that he's not a corporate whore war candidate (unlike the two Republocrats on the ballot).
Run, Ralph, run!
My new hero, Dave Andreychuk I rooted for Calgary in the Stanley Cup, but when all was said and done, I had developed a lot of respect for the Tampa Bay Lightning, especially team captain Andreychuk. Forty years old, 22 years in the NHL, and never even played in the finals before this year. Great player, and such humility. What was he thinking when he took the cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman? "Not falling, first of all. Not dropping it," he said. Ha! That's exactly what I'd be thinking!
Portland, Ore. June 8, 2004—
Okay, first update in almost a year...
I've resisted the "blog" notion for some time, but I've decided it's going to be the best way for me to keep this sucker updated. So here's what's on my mind today.
Sick of all the Reagan hype? I know I am. Glad to see at least somebody else (in this case, Christopher Hitchens over at Slate) is sick and tired of the hagiographies in the mainstream media (and isn't afraid to call the late president "dumb as a stump"). The Nation has gathered some relevant articles from the past and present, and CounterPunch's Jeffrey St. Clair has the chutzpah to ask, "Will the Earth Accept His Corpse?"
The Civilian Toll in Iraq You've probably noticed the body count thingy at the top of the page. Even though it points to around 10,000 civilian casualties in Iraq, it's pretty abstract. Here's an interview with marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey, who did duty in Iraq, from the May 16 Sacramento Bee. Massey was sickened by the civilian carnage he took part in. Here's an example from the interview:
"There was an incident with one of the cars. We shot an individual with his hands up. He got out of the car. He was badly shot. We lit him up. I don't know who started shooting first. One of the Marines came running over to where we were and said: 'You all just shot a guy with his hands up.'"
The General's speak on Iraq There's a pretty radical difference between those in charge now, and those who have recently ended their service. In either case, career military officers can be brutally frank.
Brig. General Mark Kimmit, Deputy Director for Coalition Operations in Iraq, thinks the best way to deal with the civilian carnage is to ignore it. What would he say to those seeing dead Iraqi women and babies on Arab satellite TV? "Change the Channel."
What about the US attack on a wedding party in Mark al-Deeb in western Iraq? "Bad people have parties too," says Kimmit. I suppose that that includes the women, children and wedding musicians gunned down as they fled that attack.
It appears we are seeing a return to the Viet Nam era notion that "military-age males" are legitimate targets regardless of intent. What is a military-age male? A major portion of the civilian population in Iraq.
Major General James Mattis, commander of the US 1st Marine Division, remarked on the massacre of some 40 people at the wedding that "these were more than two dozen military-age males. Let's not be naive." He actually scoffed at the notion of apologizing for civilian casualties. "Bad things happen in wars. I don't have to apologize for the conduct of my men," he said.
Okay, you say, but these guys are just doing their jobs, right? Well how about Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Lt. General William Boykin, an evangelical Christian with direct ties to the torture of US war prisoners and a history of anti-Muslim invective going back at least to his service in Somalia?
"I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol," he said after his defeat of a Somali warlord who was silly enough to think Allah would protect him. (I'm sorry, maybe I'm misremembering my religious history, but isn't Allah the same "God of Abraham" that Christians and Jews worship? Fucking revisionist fundies!)
In various speeches (sermons?) to evangelical groups around the nation, Boykin has said things like this:
"Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army.... [They] will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus".
And perhaps most frighteningly: "George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the US. He was appointed by God."
What about those generals now departed from service?
General Joseph Hoar, the former head of the Marine Corps, was unequivocal in his assessment of the current situation in Iraq to the Senate foreign relations committee: "I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss."
General Anthony Zinni, former commander of Central Command of the US military, and special envoy to the Middle East in the Bush administration until he stepped down in protest, wrote a tell-all book with Tom Clancy ( "Battle Ready") and went on 60 Minutes on May 23 name names.
"Heads should roll at the Pentagon--Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith and those who foisted the Iraq war on the U.S. despite my objections and those of most U.S. Generals including Schwartkopf, Skowcroft, Clark, Shinseki and others."
The war plan itself, he said, "was wrong, it was the wrong war, the wrong place and the wrong time--with little or no planning."
There were "derelictions of duty" and "criminal negligence," and US administrator Paul Bremer has made "mistake after mistake after mistake."
He went on to compare the Bush administration's war policies to a dangerously defective weapon. "Suppose you went to war with a rifle that malfunctioned and got your soldiers killed, would you just keep your mouth shut and let your men be killed or would you speak up?" he asked. "We have a policy in this war that is worse than a malfunctioning rifle, and it is our American duty to speak up"