Saturday, August 30, 2003

Have a Cracker

For lunch today I had soup, vegetable beef, left over from dinner last night. With a little crumbled feta and crackers. Just your basic flat soup crackers.

I ate the soup and sat there for a while, eating crackers and drinking water. And staring at the screen of my laptop, where a chapter of my book was curdling in the warm summer air.

Suddenly I found myself stuck in time, staring at a cracker frozen halfway between the table and my face. I looked at the unfocused thing in my hand and realized that somewhere, deep inside me, some lost and lonesome chamber of my soul was trying to cry.

Well what’s this then? What do I have to grieve about? We’re all alive here, though maybe we’re not getting out of here that way. What’s up?

It just occurred to me to wonder what in the hell we have done. I mean George W. Bush and mankind in general. I was thinking about the children in Iraq, in Jerusalem and Gaza, in Liberia and so many other places where there is no peace. Is that so much to ask for? Peace doesn’t cost anything, require postage, or go bad if you leave it in the open air. Peace can be had with the act of a clinched fist, deferred in favor of an open hand, and there is no reason in the world why the children of the world can’t have it.

Go get yourself a cracker or something, and see what I mean.


The First Amendment Lives on this Blog

Erik. All those Blog stories confirm the fact that Liberals, Democrats, Republicans, whatever all agree on one sure thing: All war is immoral and unacceptable. All countries indulge in it, even families. How soothing if everyone would just kiss and make up.
The U.S. has consistently gone to the aid of oppressed countries, i.e., Eng, France, Austria, etc, against madman dictator, Hitler. We tried (albeit proven a mistake) to save So. Vietnam against oppressive No. Vietnam. Recently we tried to help the tortured citizens of Iraq against sadistic Hussein, & now murderous dictators in Liberia. I don't feel that anyone wants to just look the other way & let those people die. There is big controversy about chemical weapons in Iraq; but, if they had none, how did they destroy 200,000 of their own people with chemicals?
I haven't heard an explanation of that, or why the agreements of war with Iraq weren't enforced during the Clinton era.
Re wars, our own stupid Civil War killed more Americans than a culmination of all other wars since.
I certainly agree that war is hell and ugly. I don't agree that our administration is killing people just for the fun of it - - unwise maybe, but sadistic, no.
Be careful how you indulge in these negative BLOGS. Hate is an insidious acid that destroys the hater more than the hated.

Odious--far more odious than odious--comparisons

With the death and injury toll of our (and our "coalition's") soldiers mounting in Iraq and Afghanistan, we now hear from the warmongers various comparisons. We're told that we're suffering fewer dead soldiers daily than traffic and murder victims, cancer patients, tobacco addicts, and so forth.
I am so dumbfounded, struck dumb in bewilderment, by such idiocy that I find myself unable to form words to extemporize in rebuttal to such thinking (which, BTW, I've occasionally heard--usually by obscene shouts--during the Saturday Peace March through downtown Santa Barbara at which I display a sign that says, "Hey, Hey, USA, How Many Soldiers Died Today?"), that I must write.
The number of dead kids--shot down in the prime of life while in service to their nation--is not comparable to abstract numbers of dead drivers, smokers, disease-ridden elderly. Not, either, to dead victims of crime, tragic as their deaths are. Life goes on, and with it, death, as part of the process of being alive.
The deaths of soldiers aren’t the same. These are youngsters that have chosen to risk their lives for our benefit, for our peace and safety. Their lives are precious to us in a special way, like the lives of firefighters and police.
Can you imagine how Limbaugh/Savage and their ilk would rage (have raged) against the death of a single cop? Can imagine them comparing a death from cancer to a death by a robber’s bullet into the chest of a policeman? Can you imagine the outrage of the surviving spouse of the cop or firefighter when such a comparison is made? Can you imagine why I—or anyone with any sensibility—cannot without loss of speech on account of revulsion respond to such comparisons?

We lost thousands of young soldiers in the world wars, in Korea, VietNam, and elsewhere. Never, except now, have we heard such comparisons. How wretched, how ugly, how base--how sick--have the warmongers become.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Salam Pax's Home Searched!

Our troops searched the hope of blogger Salam Pax in Baghdad. In the middle of the night. Without a warrant. (Ok, it’s sort of a joke even to mention a warrant. The Powers barely bother with the proprieties here anymore.) They scared the guy's poor mother.

Dammit, even in Iraq, people ought to have the right to be free in their homes from warrantless search. How are the good guys going to bring democracy and freedom like this? I was wondering if/when this would happen, as I read Baghdad Burning, and how she is afraid to write under her name. But why am I writing about this? Go read about it: Dear Raed

Hard act to follow

My co-blogger's last post kinda took the wind out of my sails, but here goes:
Silly us. We thought the Bushies were going to plant WMD's to justify the war, but no, they're suggesting Saddam planted plants. Silly and sillier.
Which brings up the Baghdad Burning blogger, Riverbend. Her latest posts are amazingly astute, informative, well written. She details the backgrounds of some of the Iraqi "leaders" appointed by Bremer, and has figures about the bidding on a bridge rebuilding in Baghdad--a fair bid might be a million dollars, but Halliburton is charging 50 million!
The breadth and depth of her knowledge does give me some pause, however. I hope she's not a plant.


the great gag

The disinformation coming out of Washington is getting downright silly. The latest thing, which I gaped at over my morning fruit smoothie and almost spit up down the front of my shirt, is this:

(Notice that sentence … gaped at over spit up down … now that’s some fun writin’.)

The Bush Administration now suspects it was the victim of disinformation, brought out of Iraq by fake defectors. Get it? Hussein sent out fake defectors, to tell Bush exactly what Bush wanted to hear. Saddam sent them out to give the US et. al. the justification for the war.

Back in Old Baghdad, sometime before the war, it must have gone something like this:

Groucho: All right here’s the plan. You two sneak out and get to the CIA.

Chico: Right boss.

Groucho: Tell ‘em we got lotsa weapons, and we’re gonna use ‘em if they don’t come in here and kick our butts.

Chico: Right boss.

Harpo: [Honk?]

Chico: Wha? Tell ‘em we gots weapons? I thota we don’a gots no weapons.

Groucho: We don’t gots no weapons. That’s the gag.

Chico: But boss, if we tell ‘em we gots weapons, and we don’a gots no weapons, we’re gonna need’a some weapons.

Groucho: Right, tough guy. They’ll come stompin’ in here, kickin’ butts, but there’s no weapons. Then we’ll jump outa the steamer trunk an’ surprise ‘em. That’s the gag!

Chico: Oh yeah, that’s a pretty good gag, boss.

Harpo: [Honk! Honk!]

Meanwhile, back at the ranch …

The Gunslinger: Say, what in the wide wide world'a sports is a’goin’ on here?

Cowpoke: Nuthin’ boss. We’re just leanin’ on this here fence, keepin’ an eye out for rustlers an’ shoe bombers.

The Gunslinger: Wail, I hired you boys ta rustle me up some I-rackee dee-fecters, not ta toedance ‘round here like a bunch a Kansas City nancyboys. Now cowboy up! We gotta head ‘em off and get ‘em runnin’ an’ run ‘em down and head ‘em up move ‘em out!

Cowpoke: Right boss.

Harpo: [Honk!]


Wednesday, August 27, 2003

A problem for radicals like me

Here's the deal. I want Bush out of power absolutely, permanently, unequivocally. I want the US to end its empire absolutely, too. So, I want Bush to maintain his various forms of demonic intransigence--ruining our economy, killing G.I.'s, avoiding UN involvement in Iraq, dooming us to a failed economy and a failed foreign policy--so that by 11/04 he's out of there by a vote of 200 million to zero.
Which, however, means that I begin to hate myself for my own foul desires--that the US fails in all ways, including a rising death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan--and to hate Bush all the more for causing me to have such base desires.
So that should Bush even see one crack of light, perform even the slightest sane deed, I hate it, hate it.
Like the Administration's latest ploy--making a noise that the US might consider allowing the UN to have some influence in the governance of Iraq, provided the UN peacekeeping force is headed by the military leadership of the US: "Blue hats" commanded by Green Berets, or something. The softies on the Security Council may indeed go for some such half-measure, allowing Bush to slide out of the consequences of his stupid rapacious misdeeds, by getting UN troops into Iraq to be killed instead of us.
I'm ranting in this post (only a fraction of the rantings of my mind), and so I'll stop. Point is, I hate hating. And I hate the hateful people who cause me to hate them. Sounds like a title to a book, right?

Speaking of Wiser ...

At the final exam, the philosophy professor places his chair on his desk and instructs the class, "Using every applicable concept you've learned in this course, prove to me that this chair does not exist."

The students are all busily writing in their blue books, proving that this chair doesn't exist, except for one student. He writes his answer in thirty seconds, then turns his exam in to the astonishment of everyone.

In a week, grades are posted, and to the amazement of the class, the student who wrote for thirty seconds gets the highest grade.

His answer to the question: "What chair?"

[old and in the way] [e-mail]

Older, wiser, duller

No less and authority than BBC explains why I’m losing my sense of humor lately. It's not the warmongering fascist pigs in the Administration, not the tax-the-poor wastrels, or the greed-driven corporate swine. It's my age.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Wrong-Way Democrats

I'm reading that most of the Democratic candidates for President, including Dean, favor increasing our troop deployment in Iraq (Afghanistan, too) in response to our continuing failure to control those areas. This to me is madness, and sounds just like the mid-Vietnam madness, when Nixon and Humphrey were vying for "most-Hawkish" in the 1968 election. The nomination of Humphrey, you may recall, gave rise to the Chicago "riots" (later proven to be police riots) at the site of the Democratic convention. I know it's still a year-plus before we know how this all plays out, and my fervent hope is that by late summer 2004 the pressure to get out of these wars is so strong that the Democratic candidate will take the position that we must withdraw. Otherwise, I see nothing but more of the same failed, corrupt foreign policy, giving the Greens and the hope-less lefties no incentive to go to the polls. And of course we know who that favors.

If anybody deserves the straight truth ...

"9/11 family members are pissed--and rightfully so--at the Bush Administration's continuing cover-up of the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as the pathetic media's complicity in letting officials change the subject." [Link]


Monday, August 25, 2003

Freeze, drop that goulash!

Looks like it's true; at least Islam Online isn't the only news source covering it. [news]

But look, we've got military bases all over the place. I think they should train these guys in a variety of locales. Germany, Greenland, Japan, and some right here in the good old USA. Travel is very broadening, it fosters tolerance, and I have this hunch -- admittedly unfounded -- that most Iraqis haven't been getting out much to see the world.

I understand that Santa Barbara and Ventura County Sheriffs departments have excellent training facilities. So if Paul Bremmer wants to send a couple of the Iraqi trainees here for classes, I'll volunteer to take them out for burgers at The Nugget one night. It'll be cool. Wait, do Muslims eat burgers? Well, we could do Thai food; I know a good place.

Can it be true that we’re shipping 28,000 Iraqi troops to Hungary for training? What, there’s no room to do it in Iraq? My God, how much is that going to cost?
Since money is no object, why don’t we save some billions by moving all 23 million Iraqis to the Outback, start the damned nation all over again.
Maybe IslamOnline isn't an unbiased source for news (is there one?), but if this story's true, somebody's gotta scream like crazy.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

big ugly

This is the ugliest thing mankind can do, short of nuclear war I suppose. Sometimes, as I sit here in my chair, watching cartoons, or on my Dad's redwood deck, watching the mated pair of doves splash in the bird bath, my brain buzzes happily with denial. At those moments I unconsciously believe that the righteous nation of my birth and its brave and noble armies are capable of waging a clean and moral, ideological war. That’s who we are, isn’t it? The good guys?

War is a bloodletting, havoc and hell. There’s no such thing as a good one, and we’re not the good guys anymore. I’m sure this would come as a complete surprise to our military people in Iraq, who are no doubt good people, caught up in all that chaos. The disingenuous pretext for all our shock and awe has, in my mind, stripped our country’s acts of all hope that history will reflect our righteous mandate.

Damn, it’s late. I’m tired. Let me just say I believe what the author of Baghdad Burning wrote on her blog. I’m sure it’s every bit that bad. Somebody needs to tell Mr. Bush, “Mr. President, John Wayne is dead, and you’re no John Wayne. You’ve done a really bad thing. Fix it.”

But let’s not tell the woman blogger in Baghdad that Karen Carpenter died of anorexia 20 years ago. She can hum “we’ve only just begun” until it gives her some hope.

[e-mail. be nice, I'm not goin' to war with you too]