Saturday, July 26, 2003

Mailer, again

Damn, this guy just gets better. In the most recent New York Review of Books online, there is an excellent exchange between Robert Tiersky and Norman Mailer on Mailer's previous article for NYRB, "White Man Unburdened."

The original article: The White Man Unburdened

The exchange about the article: Bush & Terror: An Exchange with Norman Mailer

Here are the last three paragrpah's of Mailer's reply, which may be some of the finest political writing about what is at stake to appear in print. The emphasis is mine:

"Maybe we will do well to learn to live with terrorism as a chronic condition, an ongoing upheaval to all sorts of good hopes, plans, and projects. All the same, until it reaches the numbers of our annual automobile accidents (more than 40,000 mortalities), can we recognize that there may be worse things in store for our Republic than projected weapons of mass destruction (which are, after all, never easy to deliver), and one of them is the shameless exploitation of American perception? A blinded democracy is soon on its knees begging for a leader to show the road.

At present, the specter of fascism settling upon us remains just that, an exaggeration, a specter, but will we escape it if we are struck by economic miseries? That is the time when we will need to be at our best rather than gulled in thought and dulled in language by our reigning Doctors of Advertising Sciences. Tiersky concludes his letter by suggesting that the real bottom line on the Bush administration, whatever its admitted low maneuvers, may be that it is still trying to do the job of searching genuinely to provide us with security.

The answer may be that there are more important things to safeguard. What does it profit us if we gain extreme security and lose our democracy? Not everyone in Iraq, after all, was getting their hands and/or their ears cut off by Saddam Hussein. In the middle of that society were hordes of Iraqis who had all the security they needed even if there was no freedom other than the full-fledged liberty offered by dictators to be free to speak with hyperbolic hosannas for the leader. So, yes, there are more important things to safeguard than security and one of them is to protect the much-beleaguered integrity of our democracy. The final question in these matters suggests itself. Can leaders who lie as a way of life protect any way of life?"

Precisely. At what cost "security"? What are we doing to ourselves as a people?


Rethuglican Politics in CA

OK, George Bush's buddy Kenny DeLay conspired to game the energy market in California, throwing the state in fiscal crisis because of skyrocketing energy costs. There is reasonable evidence to show that this one company, Enron, messed up California's tech economy, which relies on electricity, so badly that the length, depth and tenacity of the national recession can be credited to it.

So, the Rethuglican energy whores fuck over the state (punishing it for so decisively rejecting Duhbya Shrub in the last election. You DO remember that the majority of voters nation-wide voted against him, don't you?) and ruin its economy for the next ten years. Now, they have the gall to fund outside pollsters & profiteers to scrounge a fraction of signatures to force a recall election on a legitimately elected leader (unlike their own bully-boy president).

Here's the fun part - because of the way California recall election laws stand, Issa, the guy who bank-rolled the recall effort, can be elected governor with FEWER VOTES than it took to force the recall! All he has to do is out-poll the rest of the four or five Rethuglicans who decide that for a few thousand signatures and $3,500 dollars (shit *I* could do that!) they wanna be Gov. A few hundred thousand voters out of millions can appoint this guy governor.

Yes, a simple majority of votes will throw Davis out, and a simple plurality of votes will bring Issa in. Democrats cannot risk running candidates for fear of legitimizing the recall. The number of signatures needed for recall is less than the core of Republican-only voters. This isn't a recall - it is the Republican party rallying its loyalists and taking advantage of convoluted election laws to force themselves on the state.

Welcome the Bush Dynasty's kinder, gentler America, where oppositional thinking is labeled traitorous, where money means more than the law, and where *your* sons and daughters will be marched off to far corners of the earth to be killed. Not their kids, of course.


Thursday, July 24, 2003

Say "Hi" to Strom...

Uday and Qusay Hussein, it appears, are DEAD.

If this is true, the world is a better place. Hey, you two psychopathic murderers, be sure to say "Hi" to Strom Thrumond in Hell as you go by. You two are going to a deeper circle, so I doubt you'll have much time for a chat.

Of course, now we've had three retaliation killings by their supporters. Or was it by the shi'ite resistence? Angry Kurds? Free floating mercenaries?

I hope the news is true and they are dead. I also hope their father is already dead. Even so, there is still no valid justification for this war, there is something really grotesque about going after individuals to rub them out (that's the modus operandi of dictators against oposition), and the deaths of these two, no matter how deserved, does not replace a multi-national peace-keeping force to bring civil order back to the country.

That would be the only good outcome to theis whole mess.


Sunday, July 13, 2003

But let's have perspective

What IS relevant is the continual lies of the US Administration about the justifications for the Iraq War.

Point blank - The Bush White House LIED (as in "knowingly told a falsehood that matters") about the threat that the Hussein regime posed to the US in particular and to the world in general. They lied and bullied and blustered their way into an invasion which has left Saddam Hussein's whereabouts unknown, hundreds of US troops dead, over a thousand more US service men and women significantly wounded, and MILLIONS (that's six, count 'em, six zeroes) of Iraqis dead, or wounded, or in danger of robbery, murder, disease, hunger and general suffering.

I am quite happy that Hussein is out of power. Miserable, butchering, torturing bastard. I sincerely and unrepentantly hope he is dead, and that he died a lingering, agonizing death, like so many of the people he ordered murdered suffered.

This does not change the fact that this war was conducted in violation of international law, that it was done based on lies, and that is is now costing lives every day because this adminsitration has NO PLAN for actually stabilizing and normalizing the country. Shit, we can't even do this in Afghanistan!

I am reading more and more reports of how badly our troops are being supported. How badly POWs are being treated. How high-handed the US command is being with local populations.

Nation-building is a long, thankless job under the best of conditions. It is what Iraq would have faced with the death of Hussein. But the Bush White House forced this war because they thought they could get a quick win and boost their polls. They honestly believed that Iraq would remain intact, they could kill Hussein, and then leave the Ba'athists in control. Easy win, score one for the Unelected Fraud!

But reality is a messy thing, and there are some predicaments Poppy Bush's friends and influence can't buy you out of.

It would be funny, the plan blowing up in the Chimp's face - except there are people suffering needlessly because of it. There are children missing homes, water, food, parents, limbs. There are service men and women who are maimed for life. There is a great and noble nation, beggared. There are angry people who see this and only wish to return the favor - pain, destruction, death.

Iraq needs the UN to come to its aid, to protect its resources and patrimony, and to honestly set it on the path to independent nationhood.

The US needs to get rid of the neo-fascists in the White House, and look to setting its own house in order.


Friday, July 11, 2003

Told You So

Waaaaay back In LJ posts from a few months ago, I talked about how the US military would trample the forces of Saddam Hussein, and that we would get bogged down in a ghastly mess (Quagmire is too polite a term for it, how 'bout fuck-up?). I also spoke about how the reasons given for the war were false - Iraq was NOT an immediate threat to us, there were no ties to al Qaida, etc.

I was right, as was every commentator who said the same thing. We were derided in various forums, threatened with violence and harm for "undermining the President", and generally treated as enemies. OK, answer me this - why are service men and women dying in Iraq? Why are they being shot, bombed, and grenaded? Why are Iraqis by the millions at risk for disease and death due to the destruction of the war?

Because Duh-bya Shrub wants to be Prezzie for another term. Because the rabid, neo-fascist (No, Virginia, they are not conservatives, they are fascists.) mob that terrorizes the Congress and the nation have not yet reduced us to the condition of Franco's Spain, or of Pinochet's Chile. Because the richest sliver of population in the world wants MORE, MORE, MORE. That is why soldiers and civilians are suffering in Iraq right now.

The major media are finally getting some balls back and are saying what the ordinary thinking person has been screaming since last year - This war is a PR campaign by Bush & Rove.

Oh, and in other news, more people lost their jobs last month. It's the economy, stupid.


Friday, July 04, 2003

The White Man Unburdened

I usually find Norman Mailer a very annoying author, but his recent article in The New York Review of Books is spot on. The closing paragraph is brilliant:

Democracy, more than any other political system, depends on a modicum of honesty. Ultimately, it is much at the mercy of a leader who has never been embarrassed by himself. What is to be said of a man who spent two years in the Air Force of the National Guard (as a way of not having to go to Vietnam) and proceeded—like many another spoiled and wealthy father's son—not to bother to show up for duty in his second year of service? Most of us have episodes in our youth that can cause us shame on reflection. It is a mark of maturation that we do not try to profit from our early lacks and vices but do our best to learn from them. Bush proceeded, however, to turn his declaration of the Iraqi campaign's end into a mighty fashion show. He chose—this overnight clone of Honest Abe—to arrive on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln on an S-3B Viking jet that came in with a dramatic tail-hook landing. The carrier was easily within helicopter range of San Diego but G.W. would not have been able to show himself in flight regalia, and so would not have been able to demonstrate how well he wore the uniform he had not honored. Jack Kennedy, a war hero, was always in civvies while he was commander in chief. So was General Eisenhower. George W. Bush, who might, if he had been entirely on his own, have made a world-class male model (since he never takes an awkward photograph), proceeded to tote the flight helmet and sport the flight suit. There he was for the photo-op looking like one more great guy among the great guys. Let us hope that our democracy will survive these nonstop foulings of the nest.

For the full article: The White Man Unburdened

We are governed by a man who considers warfare a legitimate campaign ad. Who does not care that service men and women are dying because he lied about WMD. Who approves of tax exemptions for people who drive Humvees, while denying poor children a pittance.

Here's an interesting site:

Cost of War

It shows how much the Iraq war is costing us to the minutes - all based on government numbers - and then shows what else that budget could be covering.

The nation and the world are being ripped to shreds by this most Uncurious George, who thinks himself ordained by God to impose his whims and wants on all of us.