••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

scooped again

looks like i won't be first to notice a similarity between lucrezia borgia and vlad putin.
fran lebowitz, hosting the national book awards ceremony a couple weeks ago, said something about timing then brought up jim baker's iraq study group and said something like:

if you were a student and had a test coming up, when would you start studying for it? [short pause] before the test? [pause till a few laughs show they're starting to get it] or three years after the test?
it was a lesson in comic technique john kerry could profit from.
election victory even bigger than we imagined

the context was bozo complaining about pro-dem media bias, but using the -ic ending was a true capitulation, folks!
my beloved, the divine ms ariel levy, was on fresh air yesterday.


bush loses firefight in info war

no, not that c word. what's with you guys, anyway?

? ? ? ?

Supreme Court Hears First Global Warming Case

this case has been dragging on for years. states trying to make the EPA regulate greenhouse gases. EPA claims it doesn't have the authority.

so the environmental protection agency has no authority to—what!protect the environment?

?? ?? ?? ??

Monday, November 27, 2006

applied colbert

moral relativism: a great evil of our time? or the greatest evil of our time?

on a handful of occasions in recent months i've heard guys on radio or tv—a writer or a questioner in an audience or a caller to a talk show—express one of the above opinions. i heard it once more over the weekend.

damn! that puts folk like me and margaret mead right up there alongside hitler, stalin, slave traders, and ted bundy!

did you ever notice that, in the bible, god is a moral relativist: he commands the children of israel never to kill then orders them to stone somebody to death or even wipe out a whole tribe?

given the plethora of evils in the world today—at least a few of them perpetrated by absolutists—i feel called upon to offer two possible responses to antirelativist assertions like those i led off with:

• well, maybe from your point of view.

• relative to what?
driven up a wall

that's what i am by the bushricecheneyisms still resurrected daily by rationalizing, projecting, in-denial, phobic gops who can't let go of whatever neocon scenario hooked them into backing the bush family vendetta-become-slaughter-of-the-innocent, aka iraq, and just have to call washington journal to dispute something or other.

yesterday two guys rewrote history to justify bush's boondoggle. (the voices sounded similar, but i'm sure a viewer would never violate c-span's request to wait a month between calls.)

one used ann coulter logic to explain why it was ok to invade a country that hadn't attacked us: because we'd done it before against germany, who had nothing to do with pearl harbor.

never mind that germany declared war on us and iraq did not. (of course, coulter would say iraq did declare war. her mind is made up. don't confuse her with facts.)

the next fellow responded to the news that the length of the iraq war had just tied US involvement in ww2. he said the iraq war lasted 23 days: occupation is not war. and, he said, we occupied japan till 1952, so you've got to count that if you count the last 3½ years.

never mind that japan surrendered. unconditionally. iraq did not. (it did in 1991, but not since.) in case you don't know, germany, under admiral dönitz, also surrendered unconditionally. sporadic acts of resistance by german and japanese diehards did occur but were few and far between, unlike iraq.

today a woman reacted to an earlier caller who claimed we attacked iraq for oil. she said 9/11 wasn't about oil. she just took for granted that iraq was about 9/11.

unfortunately, c-span's hosts never argue with callers unless they unfairly criticize c-span itself.

or maybe it's not unfortunate. nearly everyone agrees on c-span's neutrality. that wouldn't last if they consistently contradicted false statements, because the misinformation comes preponderantly from one end of the political spectrum. recall what happened to the bbc when it started questioning the rationale for war.

then again, when truth came out, bbc ex-execs got vindicated.

hard to resist parting shot

September 10, 2003
JIM LEHRER: Let's cut to the crunch on this question. If in fact this team does not find any weapons of mass destruction, do you believe that would do serious harm to the credibility of the president and this administration and particularly on the...in the long run and when history looks back on this?

DONALD RUMSFELD: I mean, the intelligence that our country had—has—was over a sustained period of time, it was validated by other intelligence services. I have to believe it was reasonably correct—obviously not perfect. No intelligence is ever perfect. And that as the reports come out, they will find evidence of the kinds of programs that Secretary Powell presented to the United Nations. That's my...yes, I mean that's what I believe.

LEHRER: But if they don't? Is that a problem?

RUMSFELD: I don't do hypotheticals.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

just when it looked like we might have something to give thanks for this year, another assassination in lebanon, and the UN says 3700 iraqis died last month, not to mention darfur and all the other trouble spots.

but let's look on the bright side of life. (recall the life of brian? the real xian worldview?)

true optimism, contrary to popular belief, doesn't mean a conviction that the best case scenario will materialize. it means hoping for the best. i can do that. you can do that.

so rotsaruck & happy thanksgiving, all!
more from asia times online

Iraq: Kissinger's 'decent interval', take 2

Iraq's fate hangs on a new axis

The danger of a 'dignified' exit from Iraq

Iran's defensive posturing

North Korean nukes: Flurry, then fallback

Part 1: Russia attacks the West's Achilles' heel
Part 2: Russia tips the balance

The rise and decline of the neo-cons

Friday, November 17, 2006

also african americans and latinos, which the washington times left out of the headline. but at least they ran the story.

oh, i'm sure dk would like it if i mention that the youth vote may have been significant too.

i suspect there are several more constituencies that helped throw the bums out as well.

this is truly hilarious. his statements prove he obviously learned nothing from vietnam. not to mention his actions.
"drive-by media"

did rush limbo really describe the msm that way?

if so—and if i understand what he meant—there's a case of projection if ever there was.

oh! i see from a google search that the phrase may have been first used by brent bozell. another flying-in-a-circle bozo.
rectifying wrongs

close to 14 months back i posted a short poem i wrote some 2½ years ago on how to set right our iraq error.

i think it's still true, so here it is again:


ok, fellas
le's not fight over credit

it don' m@er f
tom, dick, or colin sd it frs

wha m@ers:
le's not get 2 lit'ral here

it really means
u break it, u pay 4 it

no need 2 hang roun
n clean up ur mess

folk who run d place
cn handle it

jus pay wha u owe
n get d hell out o d sto!

First iceberg seen from New Zealand shore in 75 years

Thursday, November 16, 2006

bout time, eh?

but a little late. they stopped being the party of lincoln in 1876, stopped being the party of TR in 1909.

and "limited and efficient government" might not be a bad idea, but if you think it's the kind of principle you need to recover, you've still got a long way to go.
govt eliminates hunger

USDA Drops "Hunger," Goes With "Very Low Food Security"

yeah. this is great. byron dorgan had fun with it on the senate floor today: just like that they eliminated hunger.

did you know the world produces enough food to feed everyone, yet 798 million suffer from chronic hunger?
a good tree doesn't grow bad fruit

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"The election is over, and it leaves our community divided. We have happy macacas, upset macacas, indifferent macacas, and those who object...."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

my, my. mike yon has a fervent defender. i envy him. (i have one too, but mine has a cooler head.)

but it's interesting how someone can zero in on a word or two and miss the point of a sentence.

so let me say to "huntress":

first, thanks for all the info about mike. however, i based what i wrote only on what he said in the c-span appearance, tho i did include a link to his website for anyone who wants more.

second, i'm going to delete one copy of your comment. you didn't need to post it twice.

third, i have no time to respond to everything in your rambling diatribe, but i will answer a few key points.

..."hawks" and "doves" as you would call them - but I prefer the correct terminalogy - those that lean right politically and those that lean left....
that's incorrect. at various times and places, "hawk" and "dove" get tied to the right and left, but it's not a necessary bond, and it's quite possible to be an independent hawk.

I can support our troops, understand that our enemy wants to kill YOU, and choose to support the use of force to prevent that from happening. That doesn't make me a "hawk" .
again, you're mistaken. supporting the use of force as an instrument of national policy does make you a hawk.

...are you simply so steeped in your biased hatred for the right, that you view anyone who supports our war against an enemy who wants to KILL YOU as being 'hawkish"?
i'm biased, but i don't hate anyone. i disagree with and oppose the right wing on the basis of evidence and reason, not emotion. but, yes, i do "view anyone who supports our war" as hawkish by definition. we make war not on terrorism but on iraq and afghanistan. we fight not defensively but preventively, yet our attempt at prevention only loses us friends, makes us more enemies, and makes us less safe, because it causes suffering and death of innocent folk, like all wars, which is why we must do everything we can to win without fighting and go to war only out of absolute necessity.

I can be fiscally conservative, believe in the importance of a relationship with God, support a womens right to choose, and support gay marriage, while not supporting stem cell research as outlined by the democrats, sI can upport the war against terrorism, and yet donate my time and energy to organizations that work to change the social consciousness through non military options. So am I "right", "left", "hawk' or 'dove'?
tough question. virtually everyone in the country claims to be "fiscally conservative" these days, so it's irrelevant. have you noticed when you pray you talk to yourself? if you oppose embryonic stem cell research, you're somewhat confused, possibly brainwashed. the current "war" against terrorism gets waged in a counterproductive manner that will almost certainly result in devastating blowback over a period lasting several decades, so supporting it enables insanity. congratulations on the rest, two of which are "left," and one of which is "dove," i think.

You pass erroneous judgement on Mike, claiming it to be fact, based on a strategic decision to have this important piece published in The Weekly Standard....
i haven't passed judgment on him at all, certainly not in any negative sense. perhaps if you temporarily suspend your passion and go back and reread both pieces in their entirety, you'll get the context of the introductory remarks that so discombobulate you. as for "claiming it to be fact," no, as i said in my second post, it was my "impression." i've always expressed my opinion freely in this blog and will keep doing so. mike can publish wherever he wants. i only mentioned it because the standard is known to have wanted us to invade iraq very early on—even before bush ran for prez. that, combined with mike's desire for a successful war effort, provides an interesting contrast with what follows it: "...he talked about how bad things are getting in afghanistan and predicted it will get much worse."

you seem to think that's an attack. far from it. i'm glad to see someone with his background realize what's going on.

So your "fact based" pronouncements about where Mikes work has been published have so far been completely wrong..
again, i only went by what he said on c-span. don't take my word for it. listen to the program again if it's still available.

This is why nothing you put forth about AFG or anything else of that matter can be considered with any seriousness.
like when i called him "courageous" and "informed"?

also, see what the CFR's ray takeyh said about opium from afghanistan.

You twist or deny facts to suit YOUR agenda.
my "agenda" is to fight fear and to foster liberty and justice for all. make of it what you will.

i can understand your concern over my opinion. after all, this is such an influential blog. its readers are among the most important residents of the planet.

Global warming threatens 'large-scale' bird extinctions: report

Saturday, November 11, 2006

on duty

ask not
—when leaders start illegal wars—

what your country
—robots follow orders—

can do for you

real men and real women—

ask what you can do

for your country
for your country!


Friday, November 10, 2006

dear mr president:

1. there is no way to ensure that democratic government will succeed in iraq.

2. there is no way to defeat worldwide terrorism by fighting in iraq.

3. "the course" is a curse.

4. the real way to support troops is to bring'em home.

5. why do you keep doing things that make more enemies?

6. you need to learn to think strategically.

7. pull out, like your daddy should've done 61 years ago.
cuban high 5 in UN

for the 15th straight year the UN general assembly wednesday passed a nonbinding resolution against the 44-year-old US embargo of cuba. the vote was 183-4-1. only the US, israel, marshall islands, and palau voted no, and micronesia abstained. the last three were all formerly administered by the US under UN trusteeship and still have major economic ties to us, as does israel.

the assembly also tabled an australian amendment calling on cuba to stop repressing dissent. only 51 nations wanted to vote on it.

the main objection to the amendment seemed to be that it would tie the issues together to make ending the embargo appear to depend on cuban human rights compliance. that tie would imply support for the embargo.

so i would think australia ought to resubmit the amendment as a separate resolution.

or don't things work that way?

pelosi power

the incoming house speaker announced wednesday that the president could signal willingness to work across party lines by removing don rumsfeld.

later that day it happened, in spite of the fact that before the election the bush had said rummy would finish out bush's term.

thursday tony snow seemed to imply the switch was already in the works when bush said "nyet," but bob gates had not yet been offered the job, and the prez didn't want to appear poll-driven or anxious to win a few votes.

but he was willing to lie?!

i guess we little children wouldn't know what to do with the truth.
iraq, the economy, health care, terrorism, immigration: top election issues

see pollingreport.com
election lessons

i think the electorate is more sophisticated than 2 years ago. voters are willing to oust popular incumbents to change the majority. that takes a bit more strategic thinking than i've noticed in a while.

issues may have trumped "values."

mr rove may've expected the eminent domain issue to bring gops to the polls, but it looks like voters saw it as party-neutral.

minimum wage and stem cells, in contrast, may've helped dems.

the religious right apparently turned out and voted the same as in 2004, yet arizona became the first state to defeat an anti-gay-marriage ballot measure.

is race still a factor? only one african american took a major vacant office. 3 lost [md, oh, tn], including both gops, who got a higher share of black votes than gops usually get, but a great majority of african americans voted for party, not race. i can't be sure that's true of white voters, but antiracism may've reversed the virginia senate race.

except maybe in tennessee, smear ads and scare tactics didn't work.

"it's time for a change" and "throw the bums out" did.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

with all the negatives re kerry, i guess it's only fair i post this online comment i found, here reproduced unedited:

I hope that John Kerry will run for president in 08.

This country is really in deep trouble now and is so overdue for a serious leader who knows how to win a war against terrorism with every resource we got, not just guns. We need a leader who can really lead America in this complicated world. America really need to wake up and smell the danger that the Bush policy has brought us into. It is a more dangerous situation than ever before, how could we have the time to keep bickering about a slip of tounge for?

Posted by: Nguyen November 7, 2006 12:24 AM
during the first group of on-air phone calls on this morning's washington journal, i heard no less than two who claimed they'll vote gop because of john kerry's supposed put down of our troops.

i suspect they would've anyway and just want to amplify the bush spin, but who knows? what if the tightened up polls of the last couple days are because of kerry?

what a revoltin' development this is!

i'll say it again: rehearse your jokes!

Monday, November 06, 2006

US will not reduce greenhouse gases under bush

US, Australia's greenhouse gases way above pledged levels

Report: Climate Change Weighs on Economy
will negative ads stop you from voting? if so, you lose, and america loses!

all ads aim at your mind or your heart. the advertiser tries to sell you with logic or emotion. negative campaign ads aim to give you doubts or confuse or even scare you about a candidate.

the opponent wants your vote, of course, but, failing that, will be happy to see you stay home on election day.

some negative ads attack voting records, some try to smear character. sometimes you know if an ad is true or false, sometimes you don't.

it often takes a bit of research to know who to vote for. if you haven't made up your mind by now, you most likely didn't start early enough and should try to get better informed next time.

but all is not lost yet this year, even if you're confused. you still have time to decide if you like the way this country is going.

if you do, vote gop. if not, vote dem.
divided states of america?

that's what a video of a washington journal viewer said we've become during the last 6 years. he blamed g w bush.

i think bush contributed, but he didn't start it or do it all.

it began as least as far back as the early cold war.

you may know gops like joe mccarthy and richard nixon stirred the anticommunism pot to gain power, but dem harry truman lit the fire by making govt workers sign loyalty oaths.

in 1954 a gop congress divided "one nation indivisible" by inserting "under god" in the pledge to the flag. a year later a new dem majority—not to be outdone—put "in god we trust" on money then made it the national motto, supplanting the latin for "from many, one."

you may object that those were only symbolic acts, but symbols communicate and affect the way we think.

it didn't stop then. irrational fear of communism led to the cuban embargo, the vietnam war, and a lot more crap, and both major parties wallowed in the mire.

meanwhile, religion—never really absent—crept back into politics, while young businessmen—most of them gops—read musashi and sunzi and so discovered strategy.

when the USSR fell, the main bogeyman vanished, but the seed of division, once planted, thrived.

ronald reagan had already attacked liberals. rush limbaugh and other gops continued the process. dems failed to recognize the implications of the trend and so didn't take it seriously or resist.

when dems tried to move to the political middle, gops actually moved further right, tilting the already unstable seesaw into the dirt.

right about then, g w bush began running for governor of texas, and karl rove started a homophobic whisper campaign against the incumbent, ann richards.

dirty politics is nothing new. it has a long history in this country and worldwide.

guys like rove simply raised it to a new level of sophistication, strategically applying every resource they found.

it's hard to foresee how we can scrub off the muck.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ford Gets Help from Clinton

we don't want to
cut & run,
we just want to
—bill clinton in memphis wednesday
ray takeyh, middle east studies director of the council on foreign relations and author of hidden iran: paradox and power in the islamic republic, agrees with me.

during a CFR panel discussion this past week he mentioned that iran has a substance abuse problem:

I think that there’s a serious drug addiction. The estimates are about 2 million Iranian youth are addicted to largely the narcotics that are coming through Afghanistan. And there’s been a lot of cooperation between Iran and the United Nations and others in terms of how to deal with the question of narcotic exports and drug addiction and interdiction of that. It’s particularly the Afghan-Iranian border, which is largely a no-man land.

Those efforts have been going on in the U.N. How can the United States help? Buy up the Afghan drug crops.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

have the log cabin republicans taken over the whole party?

but of course it's not really about gays but about hypocrisy.

Friday, November 03, 2006

i recall reading in a mcluhan book

we shape our tools and then our tools shape us.
words are tools. we made them up. they shape our thoughts. beliefs are thoughts. words shape them too.

if you hear embryos and fetuses repeatedly called "babies" or "children," eventually you'll talk the same way. babyunbornchildbabybabyunbornunbornchildchildbabybabybabyunbornunbornunbornchildchildchild

if you hear a pregnant woman called a "mother" often enough, you'll start thinking of pregnant women as mothers, even those that don't yet have children. mamamamamamamamamamamamamamamamamaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

if you grow up hearing people say abortion is murder, a day will come that you'll believe it.

and if you hear a big crime constantly called an "act of war," sooner or later you'll buy into the idea that the country is at war with the perpetrator.

mcluhan also wrote
environments are invisible.
a fish doesn't notice the water.

we swim in a sea of information—an information environment—but we're unaware of it.

and it affects us.

pay attention!
grisly blowback

yesterday c-span covered a discussion at the national press club on partial birth abortion. panelists from both sides of the debate dealt more fully with the range of relevant issues than i've heard done before in a public forum, including a woman's health, definition of a person, distinction between medical options, and judicial opinions.

no conclusion was reached, and i can't sum up the arguments, but i think i gained better grasp of the controversy.

a factor that arouses much passion is that the procedure, generally said to be intact d & e (dilatation and evacuation), is often described as "grisly."

as i understand it, intact d & e is performed mainly when a fetus has a condition—hydrocephalic hypertrophy—that compresses its brain and greatly enlarges its head, preventing normal birth.

both terms—"partial birth abortion" and "intact d & e"—appear to come from details of the procedure, which removes most of a fetus from a womb alive and unharmed before penetrating its skull with a surgical instrument (thus causing death) to drain out fluid in order to complete the extraction. (where does "dilatation" come into it? i assume it refers to opening a cervix, possibly using a drug and/or traction.)

i'm not sure what's more grisly about it than, say, open-heart surgery—which can get fairly bloody and sometimes gets done to young children—but i'll guess lethal penetration of the skull sounds gruesome.

6 years ago justice kennedy wrote in a dissenting opinion that when a fetus is taken out of a womb alive it becomes a person, which gives its life constitutional protection. since the composition of the supreme court has changed, his opinion could decide the next case on the issue.

if intact d & e then gets criminalized, surgeons might avoid prosecution by resorting to a type of d & e that risks permanently injuring a woman by dismembering a fetus inside her womb and extracting it piece by piece.

talk about GRISLY!
christianist: one who has always believed in the divinity of jesus christ but had an experience now alluded to by the phrase "when i became a christian...."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

snow blows cover off information war

You can't say, I support the troops, but I hate the cause....
when he said those words today to the white house press corps, spinmeister tony snow essentially gave away the white house rhetorical strategy on iraq, tho perhaps neither he nor the reporters realized it.

snow even elaborated on the idea, saying the troops were committed to the cause, so opposing it opposes them.

that's exactly the idea bush and his cronies want to sell, because then their supporters associate dissent with hating the troops, and dems in congress fear voting against funding the war.

"support our troops" is the most subtle of cudgels.

the real way to support troops: bring'em home!
trust but verify?

verify first.
stay the curse, pt 2

"everybody's a comedian"—supposedly—or, better yet: not!

who woulda thunk the gop october surprise would turn out to be john kerry?

the divider wasted no time leaping on kerry's foot-in-mouth flub, yet i heard a republican say he knew when he heard it that kerry meant bush, not our troops.

yes, that's the same divider who the other day attacked dems for not having a plan to win the war. as if he has one!

if i were kerry, i'd say my botched stupid joke got nobody killed, but i'll apologize the day the bush apologizes for his unnecessary, illegal, and ill-conceived invasion and occupation of a country that was no threat to us and for getting 3000 americans and hundreds of thousands of iraqis and afghanis killed and untold numbers wounded and maimed for life.

but would i have the balls?

let this be a lesson to us all: rehearse your jokes!
i knew i was asking for trouble the moment i typed mike yon "comes off like a hawk," so i thought a moment before i chose to go with it.

i got a bit of flak, but i stand by the impression i got and wrote. i don't pretend this blog contains no opinions.

mike yon is a courageous photojournalist, a strong advocate for the troops, and an informed critic of some aspects of the way the afghan and iraqi wars get run. i agree with much of what he says.

sometimes he sounds like a hawk. sometimes it's ambiguous. he never sounds like a dove.

i can't entirely fault him for it. he wants to go back to iraq and afghanistan. the pentagon keeps denying permission. maybe ambiguity will look like objectivity to them. who knows? i wish him luck.

i can't retract "works for" either. c-span identified yon as "weekly standard contributing writer." maybe that doesn't mean "employe," but the neocon rag got him accredited with DoD, and the only published work he mentioned was 3 pieces for them and 3 earlier for national review.

i still think buying up the afghan poppy crop directly from farmers would suppress illegal opium traffic more effectively than any other means, but it won't end our horrific policy of bombing civilian targets and killing dozens to get one or two al qaeda suspects.

if we keep doing that long enough, this war-unlike-any-other really will go on forever, and all the misfiring paranoid neurons in dick cheney's humpty dumpty brain won't protect us one iota from righteous avengers.