Wednesday, May 30, 2007

another war casualty

Hey, you liberal punk, are you some sort of traitor?It occurs to me to think that the strength of the Republican Party is the strength of a bully on a playground with no adult in sight. No matter how often you try to reason with him, the bully will simply knock you in the dirt, then laugh as he kicks you. It will require an adult, or a person bigger or stronger or madder than the bully, who will then make a display of physical force upon said bully, since this appears to be the only thing the bully understands.

In the playground of the United States of America, George Bush and his ilk are the bullies. It's obvious now that no Republican adult is going to take George and his Gang by the ear and kick their asses home with no supper. Sadly, the Democratic Gang is too scared of George's gang to try and stand up to him. Are there any other non-partisan adults or authority figures to knock some sense into the Capital City Locos?
I'm only giving you what traitors deserve, you fucking liberal nerdThe result is that the nerds of the playground, the reasonable 60% or so (Poindexter Public), are getting kicked on a regular basis and having their lunch money stolen, with no end in sight.

Nerds like Cindy Sheehan, who has announced that she is quitting the Anti-War protest.

And who can blame her? She has been mocked and derided, scorned and ridiculed. She has been called a traitor, and accused of trying to cash in on the death of her son.
For the crime of speaking out against a war she feels to be wrong, for the heresy of questioning those in power, and for wishing to confront those who have made the decisions that led to the pointless death of her son.

When will the bullying end?

Perhaps America will grow up, and the bully will no longer be large enough to kick us. Or maybe the bully will continue to beat us, until we leave this lawless playground that we grew up in, but now no longer enjoy being at. Or maybe, one day, we'll just simply reach a point where we've had enough, and we will turn upon the bully, and proceed to kick the living shit out of him*.
Or maybe the bully will continue to pound us whenever he feels like it, and we'll just take it.

Who knows?

"Thank you, sir, may I have another!"

props to United We Lay, who first broke the story, at least to me.

*remember Ralphie in A Christmas Story?

Monday, May 28, 2007

(dis) honoring our war dead

This is the number of soldiers killed fighting for freedom, justice, and the American Way:


This is the number of people killed on September 11, 2001:


So, the ratio of dead civilians that horrible day in September to soldiers who died fighting for America is:

1 : 225

Now, think of the Bush Administration, and its legacy of lies, wiretapping, torture, no-bid contracts to cronies, destruction of American Prestige and moral authority, usurpation of checks and balances, corruption, subborning of the Justice Department, stacking of the Courts, removal of habeas corpus, jailing of prisoners without trial or legal representation, extraordinary rendition, mocking of the electoral process, mail searchs, placing of wolves to watch over our regulatory sheep, the triumph of money over policy (or money as policy), and out-and-out ignoring of the will of the American people in favor of a "base" made up of the Un-American religious zealots who make up about 25% of the population, and (more importantly) the richest 1% of the nation*.

Got that image in your head?

Now look at that last ratio, because that is the number of soldiers who have been betrayed in the name of each the 9-11 dead, not just by the Bush Administration, but by every single American who still supports the Republican Party that enables King George's Cabal. We can also include the Democrats in Congress who sent Bush the war funding bill he wanted in exchange for 40 pieces of pork, betraying those who voted them into "power" last November.

These are all people who are more interested in their careers and their wealth and in petty political gain than they are in the maintainance of the Constitution as an instrument of freedom and choice, regardless of personal sacrifice. That's what the dreams of our Founding Fathers have come to.

Someday, when some Viet Namese scholar is doing his doctoral thesis on the collapse of America, they'll point to these times, and the lack of foresight, insight, or even on-the-tip-of-your-nose-sight that Americans display these days. I hope they can make some sense of it, because I sure cant.

Friday, May 25, 2007


That's how I feel. That the nation has been betrayed by the Democratic Party, the party which was put back into power after being out for 12 years on the idea that Republicans had gotten the nation into a wasteful, immoral and unwinnable war, and that only the Democrats could get us out. And yet, when faced with the simplest of tasks, to merely set a timetable, to tell the president, who administers the laws created by Congress, that the war needed to end by a certain date, please, they could not.
Dear me, but they were worried about a presidential veto, and the bad things that Republicans might say about them.
Fuck the veto, send that skeezy bastard in the White House bill after bill if necessary, because in the end, it would be he and not Congress that was denying the will of the people.
But, no, showing the same lack of backbone that has characterized their "leadership" throughout this entire clusterfuck of a "war on terror" (since even before 9-11, really) the Democratic Party gave a deluded fascist what he wanted, ignoring both the polls and the voters. Apparently, Democrats actually believe Republican spin, so instead of bringing our people home, they have instead given in to the Terrorist holding the troops hostage in Iraq, afraid that to do otherwise wouldnt be "supporting" those same troops, who have been placed in harm's way in the first place by our own King George (and dont fool yourself, George Bush is our mistake).

There are some who say, Oh, give the Democrats a break! They've only been in power since January, they cant do everything at once, they've got a slim majority, Joe Lieberman, blah blah blah.
Sorry, no break. They had one priority, to wrestle control of this shameful years-long episode of foriegn policy incompetence away from The Decider, and either fix it, or get out of it. Neither, apparently, will happen. Big Daddy Dubya continues to abuse his "children", cheered on by an increasingly isolated batch of "Christian" Soldiers.

Republicans are hailing the Democratic wimp-out as a victory. And they should, they should.
It was definitely a loss for the American People, a group that the GOP no longer represents (if it ever really has in the last few decades). But who are the big winners here?
Well, certainly the terrorists win, as America continues to dance to their tune. Bin Laden is still free, and if tomorrow he declared baseball to be alright with Allah, you can bet that the Right would attempt to destroy it the very next day (they might throw in apple pie, too, just in case).
The biggest winners, I think without question, are the oil (and oil-related) companies and especially oil-producing nations (like Saudi Arabia, that nation where most of the 9-11 hijackers came from; or Iran, whom the Bush Administration claims to want to weaken).
Checked the price of gas lately?

The biggest losers? Well, okay, obviously it has been the Iraqi people. But (and I realize this sounds awful) this post isnt about them, it's about us. And folks, we're fucked1. This war, for which we've now been committed to spend another $120 billion dollars without any real controls or goals, is going to be a debt burden to us for the rest of our lives. And what have we gotten for it2? Thousands of dead bodies, a compromised justice department (although, arguably, one could say that BushCo wouldve screwed us there anyway, war or no war), lost world prestige, and our "moral authority" shit out the bunghole of George Walker Bush and flushed down the toilet (after he wiped his ass with the constitution, of course).

Let me give you a little before and after analogy. Once upon a time, we were a bit like Bill Gates. Okay, so we werent anybody's favorite, but we had money and respect and power and we actually did stuff that was useful and if we came by people would at least act like they were happy to see us (and hopeful that maybe we'd give them some of our money).

Now, we're more like Donald Trump.

So I'm pissed off. So pissed off that it's tempting just to quit. To put my head down, keep my mouth shut, and hope I can survive until this diseased and bloated edifice we call a nation collapses under the weight of its own corrupt hubris.
At which point things'll get really hard.
I thought, maybe, that by adding to the buzz, by voicing my opinion and exploring ideas and information, I might make a small difference, one which would add up, with all the other small voices, to a large roar. And it did, it did. But to what end?

None. What. So. Ever.

The Baboon still rules, the Democrats still drool, and the craziest part of our nation still has the loudest voice and an ear that listens. We are well and truly screwed.

I'm going to finish up with what Andrew Bacevich, "a retired Army officer who served in Vietnam and has become a noted conservative critic of the war in Iraq" has to say about the war in Iraq3:
"what kind of democracy is this, when the people do speak, and the people's voice is unambiguous, but nothing happens?"
'Nuff said. 'Nuff said.

1. But no, not as fucked as the Iraqis. Perspective, Dave, perspective.
2. props here to the Liberal Doomsayer. Also, tooting my own horn, here is what we could have spent the money on.
3. I've kind of quoted/paraphrased this in several comments elsewhere, but this is the actual thing he said.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

popcorn, laughs and 1 sad clown

Inexplicably, the Carnival of the Liberals (#39) has once again accepted me into the line-up, this time honoring "my nation's baby wont return my calls, redux". Head over there and see if I'm the exception or if there's just something wrong in Coturnix's head.

mixed message

Okay, to be honest, I dont see why you might care, unless you're a serious closet Davophile, but I'm going to let you all know that I've merged an old, secondary blog that I kept on the side for more prosaic stuff which I called "Dave's Evil Twin". That blog was supposed to be about boring domestic stuff, but it was so good at being boring that I had no interest in writing for it. Finally, I got tired of having that unused space, and so I've taken the "best of" that blog and merged into this blog. As for the old blog space, I've changed it into an Art Blog (see the sidebar; for google-protective reasons of self-censorship I dont want to give you name of my Art Blog, but you can figure it out.) Enjoy!

Below is the stuff from Evil Twin which I've incorporated into Daveawayfromhome:

September 4th, '05 - "how to catch a fly (well, maybe)"
September 6th, '05 - "Seven Things I swore I'd never say, or, the foolishness of youth"
September 8th, '05 - "curious compliance code can cripple kiddie's calliope"
(and again) - "Purging myself of a meme"
September 13th, '05 - "Kittens! Kittens! The Kittens are Here!!"
September 20th, '05 - "Reason no.58 why I need to get back to school and get a new job"
September 23rd, '05 - "Shiver Me Timbers!"
September 27th, '05 - "Nostalgia throws me a Loop"
September 29th, '05 - "We're NOT havin' a heat wave"
October 1st, '05 - "Reason no.59 why I need to get back to school and get a new job"
October 1st, '05 - "the home family in linear form"
October 3rd, '05 - "The Boy and His Other"
October 8th, '05 - "But I dont feeeel old!"
October 11th, '05 - "shopping with Dad was fine with me"
October 11th, '05 - "the importance of proper headgear"
October 11th, '05 - "last entry today, I swear"
October 24th, '05 - "t-shirt"
November 11th, '06 - "tripping thru memory lane"

On a darker note...

I feel like a Tom Waits song. How's that for a metaphor?

I dont know what it is lately, but I'm just not very confident about much of anything. My gut is queasy, I feel all anxious, and my confidence is slipping into a slippery-sided hole. Maybe it's just the job-hunting blues, but maybe not.

To be honest, I'm feeling less and less sanguine about the future of America. The Republicans show no signs of shaking off destructive elements of the Religious Right, and the Democrats show no signs of having much (if any) moral or intestinal fortitude. The Justice Department has been compromised, perhaps fatally; the military is falling apart; much of our social infrastructure has, or is being, dismantled for profit, and the only people who continue to gain anything are those who already have so very very much. Throughout all this, the People seem more interested in watching TV and eating at chain restaurants than they are in demanding reform. As for the people who supposedly "represent" us in the government, they show no sign of really giving a damn what we want, unless our "needs" are accompanied by cold hard "campaign contributions".
I'm beginning to think that the only answer (assuming you dont plan to desert this sinking ship) is to go to ground and hope that your grandchildren have a reasonable place to enjoy their old age (or that you have grandchildren at all). Get a house with a backyard, buy yourself some gardening tools, and hunker down for the Long Run, 'cause apparently We as a nation feel the need for a Hard Lesson. someday, maybe, this and other blogs will provide valuable material to future historians as they write the story of the decline of America, because it's starting here, today, courtesy of the Moral Majority, the "free speech" of campaign contributions, and the dogma (that's the "dogma", not the idea) of the Marketplace.

How's that for a fun post? Especially one coming, as this one does, on the 2nd anniversary of the beginning of this blog. Still, arbitrary time-markers must be observed, right?

Actually, I cant feel too bad, since Los Fabulous Cadillac's "Matador" just gave me a nice boost.
I love my I-pod. Have I mentioned that?

Monday, May 21, 2007

a question or two

I have just one question: Why doesnt the new immigration legislation contain provisions to fine or jail those who hire illegal immigrants? Would they even bother to come here if they couldnt easily find work? Ask yourself again why King George, who is no friend to the poor but is a big friend to Big Money, is so interested in a program to let in foriegn workers? Even in Europe, where all those crazy liberal policies occur (like providing health care to all citizens without making profits for private insurance companies), they are trying to pass such laws. What's so hard that we cannot do it? It seems to me a simple answer to the immigration problem, based on a simple question: If the jobs arent available, will they stay here or go home?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

out of left field

The other day for some reason I looked in on Dennis Kucinich's campaign site, wondering just what the little homonculus stood for (a cruel description, I know, but he smiles too damn much for me, and it kind of creeps me out). Would you like to know just what kind of a wacko Kucinich is? Well here's his list:
  1. Universal Health Care
  2. International Cooperation: US out of Iraq, UN in
  3. Jobs and Withdrawal from NAFTA and WTO
  4. Repeal of the "Patriot Act"
  5. Guaranteed Quality Education, Pre-K Through College
  6. Full Social Security Benefits at Age 65
  7. Right-to-Choose, Privacy and Civil Rights
  8. Balance Between Workers and Corporations
  9. Environmental Renewal and Clean Energy
  10. Restored Rural Communities and Family Farms
This is the agenda of one of the most radical candidates on the Democratic side??? Would you like to see what the Democrats wanted in 1956? Or the Republicans?
Better yet, check out the Democrats in 1908 (the more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?). And how about Teddy Roosevelt and the Republican party:
The great accomplishments of President Roosevelt have been, first and foremost, a brave and impartial enforcement of the law, the prosecution of illegal trusts and monopolies, the exposure and punishment of evil-doers in the public service; the more effective regulation of the rates and service of the great transportation lines; the complete overthrow of preferences, rebates and discriminations; the arbitration of labor disputes; the amelioration of the condition of wage-workers everywhere; the conservation of the natural resources of the country; the forward step in the improvement of the inland waterways; and always the earnest support and defence of every wholesome safeguard which has made more secure the guarantees of life, liberty and property.
That was not today's Republican party. Hell, it's not even today's Democratic Party.

Want to know what the Socialists in this country want:
Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.
Crazy, huh? No, not really. You want crazy, try some of the folks on this page (scroll down past the Big Boys), where you'll find Nazis, hippies, Franco-ite fascist Christians, and the marijuana party.

Of course, all this tells you is what each of the parties is/was saying about themselves, which isnt quite reality. No, strike that, it isnt reality, period.

Do I have a point? No, not really. It just seems to me that how people feel about candidates, and what the candidates and parties say about themselves and each other is completely irrelevant to anything that actually goes on. So how do we choose them? And why?
Let's look at Kucinich again. Is there anything on that agenda that is really nuts, or a threat to national security, or national well-being? As far as normal people are concerned, I mean, not as people like Dick Cheney would say. No, there's not (okay, Americans dont seem to get the universal health-care thing, but we're stupid). Some of the things he calls for I'd even consider to be generally conservative/Republican ideas (like numbers 8 or 10).

It's a beauty contest folks. We dont pick them because we like their ideas, we pick them because we like them. When you come right down to it, the anti-abortion crowd is actually more intellectually honest than most of us, because they at least vote according to one issue, regardless of what a shitheel the candidate may be otherwise. I dont think that most Americans can even muster that.

Or maybe not. This post is a bit of a wash, frankly, but I'm done with it anyway.


Friday, May 18, 2007

in the news

East Podunk, PA: Local bank manager Wolf Paulowitz resigned his position today at the Podunk County Bank, after weeks of tension and days of negotiation. Paulowitz, a close personal friend of West Podunk Chamber of Commerce president Dubya "Decider" Shrub, has been under a cloud for having allegedly given his girlfriend a promotion and an enormous pay-raise. Said Paulowitz, "she deserved it, plus she made me do it. It's not like she's my brother's kid or something, sheesh!"
While Paulowitz admits that mistakes "were made", he refuses to admit that he was the one to make them, saying, "it's the bank board's fault. I mean, how was I supposed to know all that ethics and banking stuff?" The bank board has merely said that after intense negotiations towards Mr. Paulowitz's resignation, they're just pleased to see the situation resolved without any "unpleasantness".
For his part, Mr Shrub, who recommended Paulowitz for the management job, says he doesnt see what the problem is. He speculates that perhaps the bank board "just doesnt get Wolf. You know, boys will be good ol' boys".

In other bank news, janitor D'John Jackson was also let go. Bank officials said that Mr Jackson had been late for his 6pm shift repeatedly, sometimes by as much as ten minutes. For his part, Jackson says that sometimes he didnt get off his other job until a few minutes late, but that he would get to work as early as he could. The bank will be hiring a replacement as soon as they can find someone "trustworthy" that will work for the money being offered. Said assistant manager Heywood Gebuzov, "we got a business to run here, you know".

Is it just me, or does the whole Wolfowitz thing seem absurd? Any ordinary person committing this kind of nepotism would have been fired (or at least repremanded) without issue, but when one reaches the stratosphere, the rules change. It's like something out of The Dukes of Hazzard or a Walking Tall movie, except we got no heroes to save the day, just more big-money guys covering their asses.

song for Falwell's followers

you never pray for peace
you pray for victory
you never prey for love
you prey for abstinence
your mind's stuck in reverse
and life keeps getting worse
you say you pray for blessings
but it works just like a curse
you pray for the godless ones
the ones who will not pray
you pray for a savior
who will blow them all away
you pray on your bible
you pray on bended knee
and every time you say a prayer
you prey on me
you prey on me...
you pray to God each day
that your son wont turn out gay
and your daughter wont bring home someone like me
you pray with every breath
you love the Lord to death
you're killing Him with your kindness, dont you see?
you pray he'll crush the enemies
of your sexual oppression
you pray he'll send a virus
that will teach us all a lesson
and for all the unwed mothers
in this whole knocked-up city
and all the unborn children
who will never feel your pity
you pray on your bible
you pray on bended knee
and every time you move your mouth
you prey on me
you prey on me...
you never prey for peace
you pray for victory
you never pray for love
you pray for abstinence

from the Timbuk 3 song "Prey"

Thursday, May 17, 2007

fair weather

Today I went to a job fair. It was a nightmare. I'd do it again, and I'll go to every other one that comes along, but oh, God was it a nightmare. Job fairs combine a whole host of things I hate:
  1. Dressing up.
  2. Placing your self-worth on the line with people who dont know you from the other 200 people in the room.
  3. Answering tricky questions requiring buzz-word answers designed to weed out people.
  4. "selling" yourself.
I hate talking about myself, I really do. I'll give opinions till the cows come home, and blogging is good for self-inspection, but to stand around answering questions about my thoughts, beliefs and history? Feh! I can do the job, and do it well (any job, that I choose to do), but Lord I hate jumping through hoops to get to that point. And then there's the question I hate most of all: "Do you have any more questions about our Organization?"

Umm, no?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

today's quote

"A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions; in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty: and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it."

John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, 1861

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

read this

I recently finished reading John Dean's book Conservatives Without Conscience. I thought it was excellent and informative and it cements my view that if you want to read a book about the problems with some group or other, read a book by a member of the that group. Al Franken is funny and all, and I dont doubt much of his information, but one cannot deny his bias*.
Another thing I've decided is that I will no longer try to write book reviews. It seems like anytime I try to convince people to read, watch or listen to something, I always seem to have the opposite effect. So I'll just give you a quote:
What has driven this book is the realization that our government has become largely authoritarian. It is run by an array of authoritarian personalities, leaders who display all those traits I have listed - dominating, opposed to equality, desirous of personal power, amoral, intimidating, and bullying; some are hedonistic, most are vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, nationalistic, and two-faced. Because of our system of government, those dominators are still confronted with any number of obstacles, fortunately. Yet authoritarians seek to remove these complications wherever thay can. They are able to do so because the growth of contemporary conservatism has generated countless millions of authoritarian followers, people who will not question such actions. How, then, can authoritarainism be checked?


"Probably 20 to 25 per cent** of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, ans so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds,"
[Bob] Altemeyer told [John Dean]. He added, "They would march America into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result. The problem is that these authoritarian followers are much more active than the rest of the country. They have the mentality of 'old-time religion' on a crusade***, and they generously give money, time and effort to the cause. They proselytize; they lick stamps; they put pressure on loved ones; and they revel in being loyal to a cohesive group of like thinkers. And they are so submissive to their leadership that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going to go away."
Scary? Perhaps. Maybe, as a nation, we need to be scared. Not in the fear-mongering manipulative way that King George and his Cabal use, but in a oh-shit-what-have-I-done? kind of way, the kind of fear that makes people get up and work to make the world a better place, rather than hunker down and hide behind the coat-tails of a Big Daddy. As Dean says, "Democracy is not a spectator sport that can be simply observed". This nation has started down a dangerous path, one which may result in the destruction of the very ideals that those who destroy it are claiming to be saving. Time to get busy people. Maybe it will be inconvienient, maybe it will be unpleasant. So what? If it doesnt get done, I believe the alternative will be much worse.

*dont think I'm saying that bias is bad, either, but when trying to persuade others, it's more convincing if the arguement comes from a neutral party, and more so if the arguement against something comes from a member of the group the arguement is against.
** does this figure seem familiar to anyone?
*** or a jihad, perhaps?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

for mother's day

This is my wife, with The Boy, circa 1990. This pretty much sums up parenthood.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

more Camelot

Okay, so, if the Bible in Lego wasnt crazy enough, now there's this. And if this isnt enough for you, there are some lesser ones, like the Taunting Frenchman, or the Black Knight, or this rather fuzzy medley.

my gorey death

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?

You will be smothered under a rug. You're a little anti-social, and may want to start gaining new social skills by making prank phone calls.

Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Thursday, May 10, 2007

camelot! (built in)

Embedded html stuff courtesy of Rev. Billy Bob (you're a beautiful human being, man)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Okay, here's a odd one. For some reason, on Sitemeter, I keep getting these hits that describe two things. First, that pepto-bismol image that I put in for April Fool's day, deleted after, then put back because people were looking for it. But, if I actually click on that link, it leads me to this old post from October 2005, which has nothing to do with the pink stuff, but could have fit right into last month's Blog Against Theocracy (I was ranting about Fundamentalists). Why are these two things linked? I have no idea. So, I experimented; I googled "Pepto-bismol" under "images". Guess what? I'm the first image shown there! Except if you click on the image, it goes to the aforesaid post about religion.


I suppose I cant bitch about the increased traffic. Still, it's got to be frustrating for somebody who needs a pepto-bismol image, and I just know that one day that frustrated person is also going to be an evangelical wacko (as opposed to an ordinary evangelical)(yes, they do exist), and I'm going to find myself the target of ire of the entire Holy Church of The Righteous Indignation of Christ from someplace like West Podunk, South Carolina.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

better days

Look at this poster. It's from WWII. Can you believe this shit? What a bunch of hippies we must have been. Thank goodness we got over that community thing, and got down to a more traditional dog-eat-dog mentality. That equality crap might be alright in Scandinavia, but it just aint natural. If God hadnt meant us to collect more than we could possibly use, he wouldnt have given us pockets.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I see a complete and total screwjob, facilitated by unquestioning obedience by a small percentage, and criminal disengagement by much of the remainder... DUHHHH!You know how comedians, funny as they are, are quite often actually really kind of angry? Read on!, as the amazing Onion magazine makes predictions about Big Daddy Dubya at the start of his first term! or better yet, read this linked one and be amazed at the prescience! If only the prognosticators at The Bush Administration had a success rate this high. Or even a success rate at all.

props to Contrary Brin

Friday, May 04, 2007


''-oid'' is a suffix meaning ''-like'', which makes a factoid ''fact-like''.  Remember that.

my baby's nation wont return my calls,

On the March 24th show of Real Time With Bill Maher, panelist David Frum, sitting in the "wingnut" seat, asked an excellent* question: If an American pullout results in a Shia-led massacre of Sunnis (what might, in fact, be described as a genocide, assuming it's one-sided, which I wouldnt), will the Democrats take responsibility for that?
This is the flip side of the coin, isnt it? Yes, we did a bad thing invading the country. In fact, we've done hardly anything right since then. But, we broke it, and, as the saying goes, "you broke it, you buy it".
Should we get out of Iraq? Well, yes. But not because we dont belong there, (we dont), but because we havent got what it takes to clean up our mess. I'm not saying we couldnt do it; I'm saying we wont, because it'll hurt too much. So, like some cheap playa' who's knocked up one of his playthings, we're denying responsibility and taking off. If forced to, we might pony up a few bucks over the years towards raising this monster we've sired, but no way are we going to take the responsibility we owe this situation, because that'd really cramp our style.
What?! Give up our party lifestyle? Hey, why should I pay just 'cause she's got great assets? Besides, she seduced me.

We should have kept our rifle in our fatigues.

We never should have gone to Iraq in the first place. But we did. Now, like the dead-beat dads, we're going to abandon our love (hate) child to the vagaries of chance.

So, here's what I think we ought to do:

1. Institute a draft. Double or triple the number of soldiers in Iraq, and increase the number in Afghanistan tenfold (you remember Afghanistan, the country where al Queda actually was). Part of the problem our troops have always had is that there has never been enough of them.
2. Raise taxes. During WWII there was a 91% marginal tax on income over $200,000. Compare that to the Bush years where only the extremely rich have made gains. I'd be fair though, everybody gets a tax increase. 414 billion spent so far (or about $5000 per Iraqi**); somebody's got to pay for it, and it ought to be the people who initiated the war, and that's US (about $1300+ per American citizen).
3. Ration gasoline. What's gotten us into this mess? Our obscene thirst for fuel. There's a woman at my daughter's school who drives one block to pick up her child. That's beyond stupid, it's suicidal. How about an extra tax on any vehicle that gets less than 20 miles per gallon (an extra, extra tax on any non-commercial vehicle getting under 12mpg)? Higher taxes on gasoline powered recreational vehicles also, and we'll include vintage cars in that catagory. Iraq is just the latest in a 60 year-old mess created by our our feeling of entitlement about our seemingly endless thirst.

Nasty, huh. But, hey, War is Hell, or it ought to be. I'm not done, yet.

4. Investigate all information and "evidence" used to get us into this quagmire. During this investigation, for anyone who was involved in authorizing the torture of prisoners, torture will also be authorized for use in their questioning.
5. Investigate oil companies and oil prices. The biggest winners in this whole mess has been oil producers (except for the Iraqis, that is). And it's time for the "executive privilege" farce to end. Bush and his people are Public Servants, and the public deserves to know what he's done. In Detail. Which leads to...
6. No more secrets. Yes, some things need to be classified, but claims of "security" made by an administration more secretive than any even during the Cold War, yet which feels justified in outting a 20-year CIA veteran as political vengeance, are more than a little disingenuous.
7. In cases where laws have been broken, law-breakers need to be punished. Any and all. And lets start with those in positions of trust, not the foot-soldiers.
8. Any and all outsourcing and private contracts will be terminated, possibly with prejudice. The military will again take over any and all operations. Local workers will be used for local work, except for that done by the military for U.S. operations. All monies spent (save for covert operations) will be maintained and recorded in a transparent and auditable manner.
9. Remember War Bonds? I'd say bring them back, with higher interest rates pegged to lower purchase quantities, in order to encourage small investors to reverse the American trend away from personal savings. But this plan may not be possible.

Will any of this happen? Hell, no. This is a country that adamantly refuses to do anything that doesnt earn money (generally for someone politically connected). Even our government is more worried about money than it is about service. No, we'll pull out eventually, pretty much cementing our world-wide reputation as a nation that comes in swinging, busts shit up, then slinks out without paying the bill.

Except that we will pay the bill. This will cost us. Somehow.

Just in case you think I've lost my mind, I dont think we should be in Iraq. But we are, and we are morally obligated to clean up our mess. But I know we will not. And for me, that makes it all the more imperative that we hold those who led us into this mess accountable.
But even as we do, we should remember that we had a choice to follow or not, and then, after following, we had a chance to change our mind and our leadership. We failed at both. A change in leadership three and a half years after starting this war absolves us of nothing. Should this war ultimately lay the U.S. low, making our future nation a sad husk of its former self (think Italy compared to the glory of Rome, but without all the fine Art), then it will be nothing more than we deserve. We have, collectively, failed to live up to our nation's ideals.

Oh, and one last thing: The Iraqis are not a bunch of children. Once upon a time, mere years ago in fact, they ran their own country; refineries, airports, factories, police stations, etc, all by themselves. We showed up and busted everything wide open, made a big mess, and pushed people around (and out). If we leave, they may choose to kill each other, or they may choose to rebuild their country.
They may choose both.
But it will be their choice, made as grown-ups who probably have a pretty good idea of what they want. They may not all agree on the best course, but that's hardly a localized problem now, is it?
If we're really concerned about the Iraqis more than we are about our own skins (and oil thirst), we need to ask this question: Is our presence as much a problem as it is a solution? If the answer is yes, then we need to withdraw and concentrate on humanitarian aid (massive humanitarian aid) while the Iraqis sort out what's best for themselves.

Oh, and as for the original question, "If an American pullout results in a Shia-led massacre of Sunnis, will the Democrats take responsibility for that?", here's my answer:

If a cop catches a rapist in the act, and hauls him off to jail, should the cop be held responsible for child support should the victim get pregnant?

* addendum: It was a good question the first time I heard it, but now I'm pretty sure it's just a new Republican talking point, which, for me, removes a lot of the onus that the question might have had. Republicans dont get to moralize about Iraq.
** Next time, let's just bribe them.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

my, how times change

or, in this case, to lessen the reasons to have one. If you'ld like further proof that Big Daddy Dubya aint leading the Greatest Generation, redux, then listen to Ken Burns talk about his latest book. Or, just listen to a discussion on the Veto, including the idea that Bush may not be so much concerned with "losing" as being blamed for it.

Too late.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

1st day of summer,
at least as far as I'm concerned

A while back I mentioned the 6 seasons of Texas, and said I'd have more on that later. Well, it's later and here's more. The six seasons of Texas are:
January and February - Winter
March and April - Spring
May and June - Summer I
July and August - Hell
September and October - Summer II
November and December - Autumn
You'll notice that there are six months of "summer" here. I base this on the idea that if it's going to reach 90 degrees or more reliably in any given month, then that month is summer. It may hit 90 in February here, every once in a while, but it hits 90 in May every year. October, too.


Wow, David Brin has not one, but two terrific points in his latest post. Here's the first one:
Oh, there is something you are now hearing over and over. The BIG ROVEAN TACTIC is this. Demand that their opponents choose a simple, one sentence strategy for Iraq.

"Well? What would YOU do?"

It is horrendous and a "Have you stopped beating your wife?" question. Because No one-sentence answer will sound mature or sage, given the horrific political, social, military, and moral quagmire that we are inheriting. Moreover, any attempt to avoid giving a one sentence answer sounds equivocating and mealy-mouthed.

Another brilliant Rovean gotcha ploy and dems are falling for it.

There has to be an answer that turns the tables. I suggest this one.

"Obviously, a new team will have to work with allies (once we have regained their trust) and others to come up with new plans. But YOU are twisting and evading the issue.

"The issue is who should be entrusted with the task of finding a way out of this mess?
And then there's a second one that he relegates to the comments section:
There are two ways to describe the confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration over funding for the Iraq surge. You can pretend that it’s a normal political dispute. Or you can see it for what it really is: a hostage situation, in which a beleaguered President Bush, barricaded in the White House, is threatening dire consequences for innocent bystanders — the troops — if his demands aren’t met.
Brin's blog is always interesting, but sometimes I ignore it because it's often more reading than I have the time to do (his comments section can run very, very long). I'm glad I took the time today.