...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, March 31, 2003
      ( 2:50 PM )
A Generally Great Idea

Check out Digby's ongoing discussion on the possibility of Wesley Clark running as a Democratic candidate in 2004. (If you aren't reading Digby regularly, now is a good time to start.) He raises some interesting points about Clark as a possible dark horse candidate who could actually pull the Dems together and beat Bush. Comments from his readers are also interesting. Digby echoes some of Kos' thoughts on the matter as well. Just the fact that Bob Novak hates the him makes the General A-OK in my book. Oh, and Ann Coulter hates him too (though she can't manage a cogent thought, as usual).

The Mama confesses that not only does she admire Gen. Clark's position on issues surrounding this war and so far likes what she's read about his domestic political views, but she thinks he is the best looking candidate EVER. Now, I realize this may be a very shallow observation, but many a presidency has been known to be won because of this one issue alone (however sad that may be). I find this topic very timely as I informed P only 3 days ago that I have a crush on the General and I would like to watch him on CNN every night, just to look at him. P has informed me in return, no way in hell are we watching CNN every night. So I'm off to read the General's writings and find whatever bandwagon I need to jump on to get him nominated.

P.S. If he DID win, wouldn't it sort of be a let down to go from being addressed as "Supreme Allied Commander" to just plain "president?" Can we still call him Supreme Commander if we want to?

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      ( 2:13 PM )
The Mama welcomes a Bloggin' Senator
Reading through Eric Alterman today was a delight - so much good stuff, as usual! But it wasn't until I got to the very end that I discovered that Gary Hart has started his own blog! Now, I don't claim to be a huge Gary Hart fan, but I do find it fascinating and encouraging that someone in politics actually knows what blogging is. It looks like he's been getting some abuse because he's dared to have a comments section for his posts, but all in all, I think it's kind of cool that a politician is blogging. Now, my main question is, how does one get onto the good senator's link list?

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      ( 12:45 PM )
The Un-Patriot

Please read this beautifully-written editorial printed in yesterday's Oregonian. Just a taste:

"The blood of this war, like the blood of Abel, is crying to Heaven against [the president]," [he] said. As a member of Congress, he voted for a resolution attacking the war as "unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States."

Hmm..would a member of Congress be so bold as to oppose an unjust war...and still keep his job? Everyone should read this article - but hardly anyone probably will.

Media-Orgy: v. the state of entwining self-aggrandizing and mutual adoration wherein all forms of American cable tv news outlets prefer to report on themselves and/or repeat what the government says, rather than report actual news. See also: government spokesmen, yes-men, bias-R-us.

It was incredible to watch various media this weekend - so many of the stories were about other media that I wondered if the war was just getting too boring for them. Of course, most are obsessed with the idea that the arab media outlets are biased. The firing of Peter Arnett, one of the most talented, experienced war correspondents ever, shows that our own media are unable to distinguish between their own propogandizing and the actual truth. How is what he said different than this Time article???

A favorite story this weekend seemed to be "the arab media is biased!" Saying that all arab news shows focus on the dead and injured civilians. The stories failed to see the irony that all we see are the ass-backs of tanks rolling through deserts and bombs falling (never who they fall on) - and I can't count how many times I saw graphics -outside of stories - on every single one of the cable news networks of planes dropping bombs, of the american flag waving, etc. Then there are the fade-to-commercial interludes of music played to the pictures of soldiers and their families back home. Fox even has a little bulletin board where you can send in your picture of your own soldier and they'll put it up and tell the story. Local news here has a "support the troops" icon, and here has a "Download the American Flag" - which makes them oh-so-unbiased when reporting on anti-war protests. I loved today's post from easybakecoven highlighting the disgusting antics of Fox News last week.

Only print outlets seem to be addressing issues like oh, the president using forged documents as evidence for his invasion, or, say, the f---ed-up way the Bush Administration has handled diplomacy. But stories like this are few and far between anyway.

Check out this great piece on the media's coverage, along with this one, defining the terms you should know.

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      ( 11:48 AM )
While You Were Sleeping.

Thanks to Annie for this heads-up to the blogosphere. Here is a link to our local paper discussing the fact that this administration's secret police are quietly doing their job -- and no one seems to be nervous about it:

"More than 5,000 interviews have occurred across the country and the FBI has said it plans to talk to about 11,000 Iraqis. "

Reuters reports that the FBI is unwilling to discuss who has been detained or why. Of course, no legal representation has been given to them, I'm sure. Claiming "immigration" issues is the way this administration has found it can hold detainees indefinitely without due process.

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      ( 11:18 AM )
Back in Blogo-land

After a very long 4 days we are moved into our little house. There is so much work to be done on it, that even though we're finally there, I prefer to live in denial for a little while longer. We are basically camping out in a construction zone right now. Fun for exploring 10-month olds, not so fun for the taller people. Moving was horrendous, but thankfully, it's over with. If I can dig out from under some of the boxes, I might even be able to concoct a fully-nutritious meal of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese tonight. Anything is better than take out or pizza at this point.

Thanks to Daintily and Annie for your well wishes - sorry your comments disappeared when I re-did my commenting format, thanks to byte back and mwowwww. But I did read them, and appreciate the sentiments.

I am slowly making the rounds of blogs and checking in on what went on while I was gone. I'm definitely with maru on the firing of Arnett from MSNBC (why don't they just run constant loops of ari fleischer and rumsfeld "press conferences" if that's all the info they really want to communicate - why on earth do you need actual reporters anyway these days??).

Everyone in the media is all a-twitter about this New Yorker article that says that Rumsfeld is micro-managing the military plan and overruling the generals. Why this is news, I'm not so sure. Why the press thinks asking Rumsfeld about it will clear up any questions they might have is even more mysterious to me.

And no one seems to be talking about the sudden departure of Richard Perle last week...cracks in the administration's fortress? Probably not, but it's fun to think so.

And check out Wampum's heads-up on the small pox vaccines and W's secret executive order that takes away all the rights of anyone injured by the vaccine.

A good friend sent me this while I was out this weekend. Haven't seen much about it, and while I think it would be lovely if it happened, with the entire congress kissing the butt of this imperialistic administration, I doubt anything will happen. I guess the lesson here is: you're not impeachable if you lie to the country and the world, fabricate evidence, usurp the authority of the UN Security Council, undercut your generals and their troops and generally encourage the full eradication of civil liberties in the U.S., all in order to invade and conquire weaker nations that have not actually threatened you...BUT, if you lie about having sex, then dammit, you've got the full power of the impeachment process pounding down on your head.

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Thursday, March 27, 2003
      ( 8:32 AM )
In Country

My Dad shared with me this morning some of the letters he's been sending Brother Jon since the latter was deployed to the Gulf four weeks ago. Each letter is a segment of a story about his arrival in Vietnam and all the starkly bizarre things he saw and heard as he made his way through his first days in combat in 1969. His descriptions reminded me of a Joseph Heller story and found myself lost in his words, reading stories I'd never heard him tell before. I guess my brother's position and location right now have drawn out a lot of memories for my Dad. Something they might have in common that he can share with his son amdist a swirling conflict. It was a sobering reminder to me of how many people in our country and around the world will never be the same because of war. It's a tragedy that war has to shape so many people's lives.

Holiday from Political Science Class

Today I am starting the first of two days off from work because we are packing up our apartment and moving into our first home. We found that with the low interest rates, actually purchasing a home would give us lower monthly payments than continuing to rent an apartment. It's definitely a fixer and requires a ton of work, but it is ours and we're finally moving in. So I will be offline for several days until the computer gets set up. I am hoping that the transition is not too traumatic for the Kid and that once we are there, he will happily begin to explore his new surroundings. Right now he is yelling at me that he is ready for breakfast. It is good to be able to feed a child, to take a break from the cloud of war and tragedy. But it's never out of my mind. How can it be?

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Wednesday, March 26, 2003
      ( 1:08 PM )
Dictator Removal Service

Jonathan Wallace in this month's Ethical Spectacle lays it out brilliantly (you should read the whole thing):

[Starting off commenting on a NYT piece by Todd Purdum on Bush's State of the Union Address]
The article, like the Times itself, like the
mainstream media, buys the premise
that the President is sincere in his moral
crusade against the "axis of evil"--that
the coming war, whether well-considered
or not, is a sincere exercise in the public
good--a dictator removal service engaged
in as a gift to the world.

So here is a little corrective history.

[He goes on to describe in detail what happened in Chile]

These three men [he is speaking
of Kissinger, Poindexter and Reich - he
didn't even bring up Negroponte] are
not regarded as tainted players from a
past, amoral era; they are regarded as loyal
soldiers, valued resources who did what
they had to in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan
administrations and are willing to do so
again. This proves, in effect, that the current
president and his advisers do not believe
that the goals advanced or the tactics used
by earlier administrations in Chile and
elsewhere in Latin America were wrong.

This amorality, this "real-politik" maps very
poorly to the President's ringing rhetoric
of human dignity, the rule of law, etc. --unless
one regards the list, not as the fundamental
and simple building blocks of a better
world, but as highly convenient, shifting,
realpolitik concepts, to be taken out of the
closet as needed and laid away again when
they become inconvenient. In fact, I don't think
the Bush administration understands
anything, or cares in the slightest, about
"human dignity, the rule of law, limits on the
power of the state, respect for women.....free
speech [and] equal justice...."

All of the President's and Colin Powell's
speechifying have given me a glimpse of a
possible world, one in which the United Nations,
acting by consensus, operates a dictator
removal service. International norms exist, like
the rule against torture, which are universal and
therefore are even paid lip-service by the regimes
which flout them. The Chilean constitution, before
and during the Pinochet years, contained a
prohibition of torture. An international force which
moved in and removed regimes at the very extreme
of human behavior, as Saddam is, and promoted
democratic self-determination everywhere, would
be a beautiful thing. Unilateral action by the United
States based on a contingent, shifting set of
perceived interests masked in the language of simple
morality, is not. One common denominator between
the overthrow of a democratically elected president
in Chile, and the removal of a dictator in Iraq, is private
property: the one nationalized the copper mines,
and the other has oil. There are other motives which
are apparent or waiting to be revealed; but the
language of simple morality is nothing more than a mask

Does Bush, et al. actually believe they are doing the morally right thing? Or are they truly and with malice misleading the American public and the world to acheive their own greedy ends? While I agree they are definitely masking their true intent behind "a language of morality", is their true intent actually evil, or is it that in their own minds they are morally correct in their actions?

Either way, the ends of their actions cannot possibly justify the means. And if history shows us anything, as Wallace's article clearly displays, the ends never quite turn out well either.

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      ( 11:54 AM )
The Art of War
I found it instructive this morning during a break to read through Sun Tzu. Not because I'm trying to learn about how to conduct an excellent war, but because I am trying, through various ways, to understand. Reading Digby this morning made me think about whether we Americans are a 'warlike' people, or if that is just basic human nature.... or if the warring is simply accepted because it's been done for so long, and no one has really tried resolving conflict without war on a sustained basis...so that one day the latter option might evolve into the status quo. I don't know if it really is productive to try and establish whether it's human nature to wage war on each other. It's been done since the beginning of the history of humanity, and I think the "nature v. nurture" argument is overdone. But what about WHY the war is waged? In the beginning, war was waged because of basic needs. If you took my food, I'll get it back from you. If you invade my home, I'll beat you back. But today, men and women of this country are waging a war based on the empire-building aspirations of our political leaders. Do people who keep telling themselves that we are waging this war so the Iraqi people can be free feel that the people of Chile did not need to be free of Pinochet (just as one example)?

There was so much comparison of Saddam Hussein to Hitler before our invasion that it was becoming almost a mantra on cable news shows. But who has really followed in the footsteps of Hitler now? While we invade and wage war on a country so far weaker than ourselves, at home our secret police continue to keep tabs and round up certain citizens of particular lineages that we are told "could" be a danger to us, the real threat to our well-being. We have isolated ourselves from the rest of the democratic world while making pacts with oppressive and abusive dictatorships. Meanwhile, the population that can be heard, along with the media as the voice of the government, sings praises to our leaders and feels that our support of our fighting men and women is enough to equal justification for this war we have begun. Those who take a stand are silenced by storm trooper police and/or the media which portrays them as lunatics and hopeless idiots without reason or true purpose. Chemical weapons are tested on our population and military. The government raises paranoia and fear in the population at its own whim, using imaginary threats arbitrarily. Military and Political leaders, along with experts trusted by the public, declare that this invasion most certainly can't be the last in order to establish true freedom from the threat of other countries to our own precious way of life. So we should expect this pattern to continue. But we will be triumphant because we are the better race. We are more deserving and the rest of the world will want to live our way, even if they don't yet realize it. And the people keep shopping because, really, what else is there to do?

I don't apologize for the comparison. I'm scared about the road our leaders are taking us down, and if you're not then you're not paying attention.

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      ( 10:46 AM )
Na-Na-Na-Na I Don't See You, War - I'm Covering My Eyes!!

I couldn't have said it better:

...this is our war and we should have to face it. Not the sanitized images on CNN and Fox. We should have to live with the reality of what is happening to the people in Iraq every minute.

It would be enough to make one crazy I imagine. Sleep disrupted for days. Looking at dead people. Not knowing one minute to the next what to expect. Having no control. It's much easier to support a war that you don't have to think about, let alone live with. And this is what war protesters are trying to do. Getting in people's faces and saying "THINK ABOUT IT". They are disrupting traffic and daily life so that people are forced to think about the war. Even if it's just a few minutes while you're sitting in your car in a traffic jam. War is ugly and inconvenient and disrupts and takes away life. So I'm not too sympathetic with people who are angry that they have to deal with the inconveniences here of war protests and people talking about how horrible the war is. A lot of people are having to deal with a hell of a lot worse than a traffic jam or pictures of dead people. And they had no choice either.

As usual, the eloquence on Hopes and Dreams is exceptional and I feel like this statement perfectly mirrors my own feelings on the matter.

After 9/11, our government's response was to go out shopping. There was no acceptance of collective grief, of the ability to just stop and consider what had happened and let things go for a little while. No, we had to act like life was normal and keep going. While I would like to blame the Administration for promoting this way of thinking, I can't - it is deeply imbedded in the modern American culture. "Act Like Nothing Is Happening!" seems to be the key motto of our country nowadays. I don't know when it started, but it's so prevalent, that it makes my head spin.

I would like to believe that a majority of people in this country do NOT think it is appropriate to consider what is happening in Iraq as a normal course of war and that the casualities that will be heaped on each side are just "collateral damage" and the "wages of war" as if "well, that's just the way things are - oh well!" It's also hard for me to confront my own feelings on many issues surrounding this situation, especially because I am not a pacifist and I do believe that sometimes armed resistance to oppression is the only last resort available to some people. But in the case of invading a country when no threat or attack has been made, and after over a decade of bombing and starving that country anyway, it seems to me that there is a line we must draw.

How can we continue to live and operate normally in a country that allows our government to carry on like this? I don't understand it. I don't understand how the stopping of traffic and the inconvenience caused by committed protesters has become "endangering innocent lives." Does anyone remember bombs going off in federal buildings every week during the Vietnam War? Have we become so calloused and so fat and spoiled by our indulgent culture that we don't even see that our option to being inconvenienced is Timothy McVeigh? I'm not even going to push the point about the dead, dying, injured and prisoners in Iraq right now (on both sides) - and for what? "Freedom???" When our country has the right to invade, bomb and then eventually (but probably not) establish it's version of "freedom" on other countries, then something is wrong with how we basically exist here.

Sure, you're pissed off you can't get to work on time or get home as quickly, sure you're pissed that you might have to wait for a march to pass before you can go into the shopping mall downtown. Well, I don't mean to be rude, but I don't feel sorry for you. If every time you are inconvenienced by a protest you have to stop and think about WHY they are there, then it's worth it.

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      ( 9:06 AM )
All Around The World...The View from the Empire
Daily Kos has a great sum-up of what the rest of the world's occupants are doing...including comments from the Pope, stirrings of unrest, and a growing economical boycott of American goods and companies:

A German bicycle manufacturer, Riese und
Mueller GmbH, canceled all business deals
with its American suppliers.

"Americans only pay attention when money
is on the line," director Heiko Mueller told
Reuters, whose firm buys $300,000 worth
of supplies from half a dozen American firms
each year.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2003
      ( 10:38 PM )
Mama (and Non-Mama) Action Needed!!
I know not many read my blog, and this has already gone out all over, but it's worth repeating and putting everywhere possible. Please read Wampum's Action Alert on Sen. Bill Frist's disgusting attempt to shield Eli Lilly and make changes in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (virtually gutting it). Please take the time to take action and pass this plea on to everyone you know.

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      ( 12:09 PM )
News You Can Use...or not.

What? What's that about China Preparing for War with the US?
And now from the "mainstream" media...the invasion of Iraq has now become tedious and repetitive, so moving on to what OTHER countries we can go to war with...

And the Winner Is...
In today's Money section...Congrats, Veep, you got the job!

That's Not What Mr. Rumsfeld Said Was Happening in Basra...
The BBC is reporting that in fact, we have not secured Basra.

Wait A Minute...What Do You Mean They Don't Like Us? But We're LIBERATING Them!
Continuing my perusal of today's news...I find some very revealing and intriguing headlines captured by Common Dreams. This particularly poignant (and yet infuriating) story caught my attention (partial):

Standing in front of his destroyed home, Thamur Sheikel, a 53-year-old Oil Ministry employee, said he had returned from work to find his house no longer standing and his older sister and two young nephews killed.

"Bush is cursed," he said, biting off the words. "They want to destroy the people. Maybe God will destroy them. Revenge on Bush for this aggression. We are peaceful people; we do no harm to anybody."

Thom Hartmann's article in today's Guerilla News is an excellent piece on the very subject of discussion over at Digby's today. Can the progressive wing of the Democratic Party institute actual change and take back the power from the ever-more radical republican stronghold? The Answer is up to you (or me...or whoever actually decides to do something about it).

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      ( 11:25 AM )

"It was a week to check your hearing. Many of the things being said could only be described as delusional." -- Mary McGrory, Washington DC correspondent, describing George Bush's latest press conference. --from Eat The State

Mr. President, I have an enormous favor to ask of you.
Could you bomb us?

Not just once or twice for show; I mean really bomb the city of Seattle, hard, like what you're planning for Baghdad, and probably for Pyongyang and Teheran and Damascus and whatever other 50 or 60 major world cities are on your Pentagon planners' current lists. I mean blast us back to the stone age. Make it hurt. Send us a message.

I'd prefer that you not hesitate or think too much about this; I wouldn't want you getting migraines or anything. But if you do, consider that we, too, are under the rule of a power-hungry leader we never voted for, one that's using torture and investigating political and religious minorities and disappearing people off our city streets and into a prison system from which they never re-emerge. That government has unthinkable numbers of nasty weapons and seems anxious to use them

--Read the whole letter from Geov Parrish - it's not to be missed.

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      ( 10:28 AM )
You Callin' ME a Terrorist?

I quote:

A tough anti-terrorism bill that has ruffled feathers
from human rights activists to police departments
comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday

This is how one of our local news outlets frames their story of this bill that is before the Oregon Legislature. To say that this bill has "ruffled feathers" may be somewhat of an understatment, but that's the news media for you -- this is the same outlet that last night throughout their entire broadcast kept previewing the story with this teaser: pictures of protesters walking in a march and one of the broadcasters saying "are these people terrorists?" For those of you that haven't heard yet, here's what our Legislature is actually going to have a hearing on:

A person commits the crime of terrorism if
the person knowingly plans, participates in or
carries out any act that is intended, by at
least one of its participants
, to disrupt:

(a) The free and orderly assembly of the inhabitants
of the State of Oregon;
(b) Commerce or the transportation systems of the
State of Oregon; or
(c) The educational or governmental institutions of
the State of Oregon or its inhabitants.

(2) A person commits the crime of terrorism
if the person conspires to do any of the activities
described in subsection (1) of this section.

(3) A person may not be convicted of terrorism
except upon the testimony of two witnesses to
the same overt act or upon confession in open court.

(4)(a) A person convicted of terrorism shall be
punished by imprisonment for life.
(b) When a person is convicted of terrorism
under this section, the court shall order that
the person be confined for a minimum of 25
years without possibility of parole, release
to post-prison supervision, release on work
release or any form of temporary leave or
employment at a forest or work camp.

Sen. John Minnis, R-Gresham, who sponsored the bill, said on tv last night when asked his response to the calls that his bill was unconstitutional, said "it may need a little tweaking."

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      ( 10:06 AM )
We Say Tomato...You Say...
Please read this Guardian Article on the Geneva Convention. This morning on my train ride in, I ruthlessly plunged my brain head-on into trying to figure out how this hypocrisy could continue unabated. The Geneva Convention thing is just one of the more recent obviously glaring hypocrisies this Administration has boldly thrown out to the world. I also notice that our US news media has no trouble airing the pictures of the two Apache pilot POWs in all their terrified glory, but somehow thinks this is not a contravention of Geneva's "don't put them on display for public curiosity" rule. The gray line the news media is walking has reached frightening levels.

I keep thinking that maybe, just maybe, the Administration has some kind of end-game in mind. That they have this ruthless, yet thought-out plan of how this is all going to work out for their benefit and wrap up nice and neat for them to be re-elected. But I can't figure it out. I don't think they HAVE a plan. I don't think they even have the ability to look into the future, to see a bigger picture. It's like they are unable to measure consequences, to strategically plan anything - to actually see reality. Do they even realize the hypocritical things that they say EVERY SINGLE DAY? How far are they willing to go? Are they just power-hungry egotists, or actually fascists? Do they have Messiah complexes - do they in their own minds truly feel altruistic about this? Do they seriously think that they can continue to blatantly lie and mislead us? Is the American public so willing to be lied to and misled? (witness W's speech this morning from the pentagon, tying the attack on that place to this war - just a calculated misleading of people).

I don't really focus much on the actual fighting of the war, I guess I have a more emotional response to the humanity of it all. But this morning, trying to wrap my brain around the situation, I wondered a couple of other things. It's interesting that the military "experts" on tv only focus on tactical issues of the war. I think that must be because it's the whole thing the media has about having to have flashy things to talk about so they can compete in the ratings. But no one seems to be discussing overall strategy. Is this subterfuge on the part of the military leaders and/or administration, or is it simply because strategy isn't as sexy as tactics?

I wonder now if the commanders are thinking that we really may NOT have enough troops out there to do the job since the securing of territory seems not to be taking as well as they first thought it was going to. And the more the guerilla tactics of the cells of Iraqi troops that are attacking from behind get little victories and more media coverage, the more other Iraqi troops may be galvanized to keep fighting. I worry that the Administration has built up everyone's expectations and their 11th-hour warnings that this war might take longer and cost more lives than we expect seem a little hollow. I also wonder how the need for more troops is going to be resolved, when it seems like we're at the breaking point, and that almost all Guard and Reserve units have already been called up. And if there is another attack here in the US, there won't be Guard or Reserves here to deal with that.

On another aspect of the war coverage, I find it interesting that the news channels feel their primary story is following every step of the troops. There is very little national or international news at all anymore, no stories about "homeland security", or other aspects of "wartime culture," not to mention non-war news (is there any?). Just constant shots of the desert and interviews with "imbedded" reporters. I suppose if the war drags on, there may be more of a balance, but it just seems over the top sometimes.

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      ( 9:33 AM )
At this very moment throngs of people are crowding at the NW corner windows of the Firm to look down on protesters on the corner. It is cause for much comment and screeching about the storm trooper cops and mocking of the bedraggled protesters. In fact, there are more cops than protesters. There is a whole line of motorcycle cops lined up facing the few people with signs on the corner, and along the adjoining street, a line of bicycle cops (is this only in Portland: riot cops on bikes?). The protesters aren't sophisticated, only have signs made out of cardboard and markers, are wet from the rain. But they are there. And they are saying what they need to say and doing what they need to do. It's important. I am glad they don't know the mocking being heaped upon them from the buildings above them. They don't deserve that. I feel like an alien in this Firm sometimes.

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Monday, March 24, 2003
      ( 12:50 PM )
What Goes Around...
Thanks to Barney for catching this one. Is "Boy, times have sure changed" an appropriate understatement?

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      ( 11:55 AM )
Blowin' In the Wind - the Answer, that Is.

I have been reading through many blogs this morning. It seems like there is a lot of feeling of loss - loss of innocence, loss of understanding, loss of certainty, loss of faith. It's not surprising in times like this. I read body and soul this morning with a sense of kinship (not to mention admiration for the usually wonderfully-written thoughts). It really can be a bipolar experience - the shift between grief and sadness and anger and cynicism that seems to be in a constant cycle with me these days. I can't say it's unfamiliar - I felt the same at various times in my life. I can't define what I feel as a loss of innocence, though. Before P and I married, I experienced a tremendous personal and professional loss, and it happened through an incredibly horrible act of political violence. At the time I thought that I'd been innocent up to that point, and it had all been suddenly blown away. P said to me that it wasn't innocence I'd lost, it was a sense of clarity. And I pondered that - and realized the wisdom in recognizing the difference - but couldn't quite find it in myself to understand that difference when it came to my own feelings.

Later, when P and I together experienced, early on in our marriage, the terrible loss of a child not yet born, but formed enough in my body and in our hearts to have been named - I thought I'd again lost my innocence. In the midst of my grief, I thought to myself that I would never again be fooled by the Universe that there is ultimate Good.

When time brought that soothing mist that always eventually softens grief, I thought again about my own innocence...and I wondered if there truly ever was any inside me to begin with. If there is actually innocence in humanity - or if we fool ourselves into thinking that there must have once been, because that softens the blow when we happen to see the worst of humanity exercise its strength in front of our very eyes. Is it that each time there is loss or each time we manage to catch a glimpse of evil with our own eyes, our innocence is subsumed under that negative experience? Or is it merely a wish for innocence that is chipped away, bit by bit... only to reveal to us (if we are looking) that we have at our core a divinity - and that is what we have been trying to protect all along. If we as human beings knew at a constant conscious level that there is divinity at our core, how could we survive living on a planet where other humans who deny that divinity's existence and commit acts against humanity that we cannot fathom?

Instead, we cover our core with a sense that we must have started out innocent somewhere along the road and when that innocence gets beaten down, while it is devastating when it happens, in the end, we survive it and somehow pick up some sense of it again. But if we acted as if we were divine, and we saw the divinity in all of humanity, then the overwhelming pain of watching evil happen before our eyes in all manner of ways that humans commit it against each other would be unbearable. In our own ways and for many different reasons, each of us has been numbed a bit to the evil, and so our pain, though piercing, is survivable for the most part. And we have learned to cope. We look for reason. We try to live with the questions instead of the answers. We try to focus on things larger than ourselves, on those needier than ourselves (or some of us translate our pain into rage and commit the very acts we once found horrible). At the same time we have felt that a piece has been carved out of our souls because of what we have seen, we are filling our souls back up by forcing ourselves to believe that even in the darkest moments, something good might happen. I think the resiliance of that belief comes from our divinity. And I am so grateful for it.

In the last few days, I have noticed a marked change in the Kid's behavior. My son is 10 months old next week - and he thrives on his routine, on the familiarity of the things and people that surround his life. We are moving this coming week into a house, and our apartment has become a warehouse of boxes and things that are stacked and ready to go. At the same time we've been packing, we've tried to keep his room intact and his routine as normal as possible. In the midst of all this, my brother (who is also the Kid's godfather) is in the middle of the events occuring in the persian gulf right now - and though we try to distract ourselves, we are inevitably drawn to watching or listening to the news. And I worry. And I wonder what will happen. And I try to brush away those what-if-the-worst-happens thoughts. I try to hope that my Brother, in his own deep sense of morality and sensitivity, and all the rest of them will not be psychically scarred by being a part of this action. I think the Kid senses it. He sees his material world changing, and I think he knows that his Mum is hugging him a lot tighter these days, and I'm sure everything seems so uncertain. His tummy was upset all day yesterday, and he was uncharactiersitically clingy - grasping my trousers in his hand even as he sat next to me on the floor and played with his little piano. I feel so bad for him - I wish that I could make his world easier and more reassuring right now, but I can only hold him and promise that everything will be back to normal again soon. And for him, it will.

Then I think of my own world - the way that the politics of the leaders of my country have affected the lives of every human being on earth, and I wonder. How can it ever be back to normal again? And what are my limits to "normal" anyway? How far will I let this go - until the world that is left for my son's generation is destroyed? What do I do now?

courtesy of Bob Dylan:

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, 'n' how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

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      ( 10:37 AM )
Horoscope for the Day
If you're a Boondocks fan, today's is just as prescient as ever.

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      ( 9:37 AM )
Lessons in 'Diplomatacy' from the Bush Administration

1. When we want to mistreat prisoners of war and hold them indefinitely, even when there really is no war anymore, we just say that they are criminals and so we don't have to abide by the Geneva Convention. But if you mistreat American prisoners of war, you will be condemned as a war criminal in the Hague and we will yell about your transgressions to the world (not that we could actually charge you in the Hague, since we're the only major democratic country on earth not to sign on to the Hague treaty - but we'll get someone else to do it).

2. When we want to torture people to get information, we just keep them in countries that allow torture, so that we don't have to deal with that inconvenient Constitution thing at home. But if you torture people for information, we will publicly condemn you and come after you and kill you.

3. We don't have to sign onto the agreement to ban land mines because it would be a big hardship to our manufacturers who make most of the land mines in the world. But if our troops are injured or killed by landmines when we invade your country, you are despotic and evil.

4. We don't have to sign the Kyoto treaty because we don't believe there is such a thing as global warming or the ozone dissappearing, and also because we have lots of polution rules and we don't let people smoke anywhere anymore - and frankly, the environment doesn't really matter to us. We can be the main polluter of the air and seas because we have all the big guns. But if you light oil wells on fire, we will condemn you for the vast environmental damage you have done to the earth.

5. We can have as many nuclear plants as we want to, not to mention nuclear weapons. But if you try to build a nuclear plant for energy, we will stop helping to feed your starving people, and we will stop talking to you altogether and won't even consider signing a non-agression treaty with you.

6. We can invade a country if we say it is developing weapons of mass destruction, but we reserve the right to diplomatize with countries that already have them. We can test chemical, nuclear and biological weapons on our own citizens, but if you do that, then you are a despotic government which must be eliminated.

7. We don't have to give health care to our old people and children if we don't want to. And we can cut the budgets for research on the cure to aids and cancer and parkinson's disease. But if you don't cure that rampant aids crisis in your own country, we're going to consider not letting you trade with us.

8. We can withdraw from proliferation and weapons treaties we had with you, but if you disagree with our policies, you are just the same as our enemy.

9. We can arbitrarily bomb and attack any country we please, and that's our right. But if you attack us, you will be obliterated because you are immoral and a terrorist.

10. We can take away the civil rights of our own citizens if we want to. But if you don't give your citizens freedom and democracy, we can and will invade you whenever we deem fit.

Therein ends today's lesson, students. Don't say we didn't set a good example for you.

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      ( 9:17 AM )
I couldn't have said it better.

Don't Let the Masses Hear the Music!
Thanks to byte back for the revealing internal MTV memo on which songs & videos to ban during the war. The irony of going against calls for banning explicit sex in videos doesn't seem to phase MTV execs, but God forbid people see war footage or bombs dropping...in music videos.

Non-Fiction Strikes Again
Kudos to Michael Moore - one more reason to love someone who isn't afraid of the establishment - and wins their awards anyway. I'm sure everyone either saw his speech (and it was beautiful) or read it, but it's worth repeating...over and over and over again.

Whoa. On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and
Michael Donovan from Canada, I'd like to thank the Academy
for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on
the stage with us, and we would like to — they're here in
solidarity with me because we like nonfiction. We like nonfiction
and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we
have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president.
We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for
fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or fictition
of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you,
Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the Pope and the
Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. Thank you very much.

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Sunday, March 23, 2003
      ( 9:04 AM )
Why I envy the Kid Today:
1. He doesnt know what dying means.
2. He has no idea that life can suck.
3. He gets to nap all the time.
4. He finds incredible delight and joy in simply banging on a toy piano.
5. He gets to stay in his pajamas till 10:00 a.m. every morning.
It would be nice to be 10 months old during days like this.

Thoughts on Protesting
I have honestly been trying to consider the point of view that seems to be very pervasive, including the following main ideas: (1) the protests that block streets are equivalent to "violence", (2) now that the war has started, the dissenters should drop their protesting and support the government, and (3) protesters are ignorant and unaware.

(1) I don't understand how people can equate people marching down a street (and yes, blocking traffic) with violence, when at the same time they are inundating themselves with 24-hour viewing of a city being bombed into oblivion. When did all protesters become equivalent with a few black blocks who commit vandalism? I think it most likely has always been that way - like the incredibly pervasive belief that ALL Vietnam war protesters spit on GIs when they came home. I think that people in Northern Ireland or South Africa or Chiapas might beg to differ on what constitutes "violent protest." And don't tell me that our culture is more highly evolved and we can't be compared to those other countries. A culture that consists of 5% of the world's population but consumes 20% of its resources is not highly evolved. When close to a quarter of a million people march in New York City and only 90 or so get arrested, and most of those for simply sitting-in, how can the entire protest be "tainted" by those "few bad apples" (quoting the news commentators)? This can only happen when people fail to have a larger world view and a bigger perspective on things.

(2) Why would people think that just because the threatened invasion has now occurred that people who were against in the first place would suddenly change their minds? And why should they? I don't understand this thinking at all - it assumes that protesters don't have any conviction. Is this what the general public believes? That these people march because they have nothing better to do? Do hundreds of thousands of young people, old people, war veterans, children, doctors, lawyers, students, etc, etc, have no real thought or faith or true belief behind their actions? How can this be so broadly assumed? Is it because they choose to disagree with how the country they live in is representing them to the rest of the world that they are so evil? How about the opposite question: Is it the right thing to just go along with the government no matter what it does, just because it's your government? I think that a few people of significance (like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams) might disagree.

(3) I can only think that protesters are being called ignorant and unaware because they are not towing the line like the rest of the country. Perhaps the rest of the country (and several cable news commentators that I've seen) convince themselves that the protesters just don't understand and are idiots, because if they aren't, then their blind faith in the government might actually be challenged. I have found that people who are against the war are incredibly informed, by a vast array of sources of information. They actually read and observe information from other sources than the American media. They actually know the history of the country that we are invading. They actually are aware that we have already been bombing that country for 12 years, and that the sanctions we have imposed have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children. While they know these things, they also know that Saddam Hussein is a despotic dictator and is a terrible, ongoing threat to his own people. Yet, the same was true of Pinochet, Idi Amin -- and yet, we did not invade. It wasn't convenient. The argument that this invasion will stop another 9/11 from happening is ludicrous, and that the protesters are "for Saddam" is equally ludicrous.

I fear that when we are attacked again by terrorists (who will most likely be religious zealots, and not from the secular Ba'ath Party of Saddam Hussein), that people will wonder what happened and why didn't our invasion work? The people who are protesting aren't arguing for evil to triumph, they are arguing for a broader view. They see beyond the tv war coverage:

I would also like to take a moment to respond to a comment made to one of my posts a few days ago with regard to the protests here in Portland. He said that when protesters block highways, they endanger innocent lives, and that makes them degenerates. ...Thanks for posting your comment - it gives me a chance to show that I don't disrespect you or your point of view. While we are probably worlds apart in our opinions on this matter, I do appreciate that there are two sides to the coin. I do not believe such action actually "endangers innocent lives" because it is a slow-moving action for one, and also surrounded by police at the same time. Blocking a freeway causes people to have to stop and get jammed up in traffic, but not unlike the stops and jams they might encounter when there is an accident. What I'm trying to say is that while I may not personally go out and sit on a street, I feel kinship with people who feel that they have not been heard by their government and thus must take direct action like that. I guess when I hear "endangering innocent lives" in relation to protesters, I think of the innocent lives that are being lost right now on the other side of the world, and I wonder how the two can be equated. But that is only my perspective, and I recognize and understand there are other views on the matter.

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      ( 6:24 AM )
If You're Looking for Something Really Good
Please take the time to read this incredibly touching and thought-provoking post from Daintily.

And this list from Anna.

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Saturday, March 22, 2003
      ( 9:04 AM )
Happy Now?
Oh God. Does this make up for 9/11? When will the administration's insatiable, insane hunger for blood be satiated?

This makes me sad and so pissed off at the press who keep berating the poor man for expressing his grief and anger, very appropriately, I think. I realize probably everybody is already tuned in, but in case you're not - check out warblogs for up-to-date news and commentary on what's happening. Also, you can't miss with Agonist's up-to-the-minute progress reports.

Thanks also to Digby for his continuously on-the-spot analysis of the crap seeping out of the white house. Also, check in regularly with Atrios - never misses a point.

The war porn continues on all channels - not one mention of the FBI's new campaign (does anyone REMEMBER the internment of the Japanese-Americans 50 years ago?) Disgusting.

The protest in NY looks GREAT - and being led by family members of lost people in 9/11 - not wanting that day to be used as the excuse to commit these atrocities.

On a personal note, I caught myself in one of those odd moments this morning while packing up for our upcoming move...wrapping dishes in newspapers that had pictures of bombs dropping on people. Sigh...

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Friday, March 21, 2003
      ( 11:05 PM )
Blogosphere: Help!!
Okay, I've figured out how to get "permanent link" set up under my posts, and I've got comments working well now. But my archives are really frustrating me. For some reason, one whole week of posts won't archive. Poopy. Even though you can see them on my blog, they don't exist in my archives and the permanent link doesn't work for them. I followed all the directions on Blogger for republishing archives, but it always skips that week. Can anyone shout out or email me with some advice on what I might be able to do to ensure these posts get archived? Or have I lost them forever? If so, double poopy.

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      ( 3:17 PM )
Where is Raed?
I hope he and his are okay.

Free Press = Say What We Tell You
Looks like CNN has shut down Kevin. Don't want actual eyewitness accounts getting out on accident, do we?

Done Deal
Just noted on BBC that Turkey is going into northern Iraq to "prevent an influx of refugees." I guess we told the Turks they could have our money AND kill as many Kurds as they want. Wow, we're awesome.

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      ( 1:57 PM )
Thank You, Wil Wheaton. I hope people start to understand this concept that we can be against this war and still support and love our men and women on the front lines. They are honoring their committment to the job they volunteered for. It is our government we are angry with, for putting them in this situation in the first place.

Does anyone see the sick irony in this?

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      ( 1:38 PM )
Is this What We Want to Teach Our Children?
"Gee, I don't mind if we invade... [Iraq] Poland or Hungary or Russia. Those countries might have attacked us sooner or later anyway, and we need to protect ourselves. I don't know why the government is doing what it's doing, but who am I to question if they feel it's necessary to round up all the [Arab-Americans] Jews and keep tabs on them? I'm sure it's for my own safety. Even if they decide to put them in camps, who am I to question my government's decisions? I'm patriotic. Who do the rest of the world think they are anyway? We've been pushed around long enough. I'm loyal and devoted to my country's leaders, no matter what they do to others in my name. I'm patriotic. I probably can't make a difference if I speak up anyway. Not that I'd speak up. Because we've already invaded anyway... and I am patriotic, after all."

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      ( 1:16 PM )
What Would You Rather?
I believe that my 10-month old Kid could understand what was going on last night as we watched the lovely ballet played out on the streets of Portland. Why don't grown adults understand? I was frankly relieved to have something to watch besides just all the cable news war porn going on... and it was good to see the actual SUCCESS of a protest. Yes, that's what I said. So many people seem to think that there was no point to what happened, and that the people out on the streets were simply delinquents and had nothing better to do with their time. In fact, the point of DIRECT ACTION is to affect the infrastructure or general ability for your government to operate in its usual method. Anyone ever heard of the Boston Tea Party? (Probably people were saying when that happened "what a waste of good tea!")

The protesters last night in Portland and New York and Seattle and San Francisco actually did accomplish what they set out to do: they disrupted the infrastructure of their local governments. If you think it's pointless to sit down in the middle of an intersection or on a highway and cause - maybe you could think about it this way: Would you rather live in a country where people have the right to protest non-violently this way and express their grievances to the government by blocking traffic, or would you rather have to live in a country where people have to resort to this (which, by the way, I support).

In fact, while most people seemed to be angry or disgusted with the movements of protesters last night, at my house, we quite enjoyed watching as the protesters surged up onto the bridge to confront the cops, the cops, wanting to hold them back and keep the bridge open, formed up about 8 lines of combat troops and then proceeded themselves to block and close the bridge for hours while the protesters had already retreated back the way they came...this repeated itself over and over again in various locales.

Protesting takes on various forms: you can hold a sign, chant, march, write your legislator - or you can participate in direct action. I wonder if a few more people, or even a few of our own legislators themselves had taken direct action BEFORE the administration started down this slippery slope, would our troops even be in the midst of this right now?

Also, I'm issuing a general notice of disgust at this (minus the part about supporting the troops). And this (come on, John, do you have to drool that much over what the white house gives you?).

And a notice of happiness over this.

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      ( 11:51 AM )
Someone Please Bail the Rest of Us Out
What kind of sick country is this? And this morning on the news I heard that Congress is meeting to discuss a bailout of the airlines. Oh, poor airlines. Not like there are MILLIONS of unemployed Americans out there who don't have the benefits they deserve, not to mention the old folks who can't get their medication, or the teachers who have to work for free, or the kids, who because the school year is being cut short, won't get breakfast or lunch - or that millions of children don't even get the health care they need (if not for the wonderful state medical care program here, for the first 6 months of my baby's life, he wouldn't have had health care because we were underemployed and had no benefits - I will always be thankful for the OHP that allowed for my Kid to get the check ups and shots he needed - most states don't have anything for kids of people who work hard, but just don't make ENOUGH)... but god forbid the government not hand over another billion or so to the poor, hurting airlines.

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      ( 10:08 AM )
"The Vast Majority of the Attacks were Pro-Peace - and that's Unusual"
Well, those damned pinko commie unpatriotic hackers are at it again. One wonders if anyone in the governments of the US or UK are going to get the whole point that people are mad because the governments are not listening.

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      ( 9:43 AM )
Friday's Five Things That Are Really Pissing Me Off Right Now
(I am feeling surly again and in order not to cry from helpless sadness while working at the Firm today, I'm choosing to be belligerent and angry)

1. SUPPORT THE TROOPS - I would like to know where these f@!*ing "supporters of the troops" have been the last ten years while vast numbers of members of the military have had to use food stamps in order to feed their families because the "defense budget" doesn't actually go to PAY the men and women who put their lives in harms way - no, it goes to CONTRACTORS. I would like to know where these "supporters of the troops" were before this war buildup started so they could try and voice strong dissent about sending the men and women over there in the first place! I would like to know HOW you can "support the troops" AND be FOR A WAR THAT'S GOING TO KILL THEM AND NOT DO A DAMN THING TO PROTECT US FROM FURTHER ATTACKS. THINK ABOUT IT, PEOPLE.

2. WELL, IT'S STARTED SO SHUT UP AND SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT. What???!!!!! Just because our government engages in belligerant invasions of other countries, ignoring the cogent arguments of the rest of the world, that once they actually start their war, we should just suddenly believe we're doing the right thing and back our government all the way? Patriotism means shutting up and sitting still while the government that is supposed to represent us to the world randomly acquires targets and shoots the world apart?

3. HI I'M 11 YEARS OLD AND I THINK THAT WE SHOULD SUPPORT THIS WAR. Last night for hours on end, the local news cable channel had people calling in. Somewhere there was some kind of blanket propaganda machine that infected all 11 year olds in the Pacific Northwest, because I swear to God, at least 20 of them called in to say that they supported the war and that they thought the protesters shouldn't be on the streets. Are we explaining to these 11 year olds what exactly WAR is????

4. OH LOOK THERE ARE SOME BEDOUIN SHEEP! Thank goodness there were some interesting protests to watch on tv last night because god forbid the cable news channels show anything ELSE but SAND. And by the 5th time I heard one of the reporters on their lovely satellite phone camera thingys that produce those lovely impressionist images of war say "we're in tanks heading through bedouin camps - oh look! Bedouin goats! Sheep! I was ready to throw my kid's talking turtle toy through the tv. Interestingly, while OUR news was reporting about zipping through the desert in tanks and passing only bedouins, the BBC was reporting that the troops were meeting a fairly high level of resistance and shooting. Hmm..so much for IMBEDDING our reporters with the troops.

5. SADDAM IS DEAD! THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT IS CAPITULATING! WAIT, SADDAM IS ALIVE! BUT HE'S HURT! NO, WAIT - HE HAS 14 DOUBLES, THAT MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN HIM!! Give it up already. Does Rumsfeld actually think we believe anything that comes out of his mouth anymore? The press as gatekeepers is long gone, I realize that - but come on, is there no end to your vapid kissing of the pentagon's ass?

Finally, I heard this doozy on NPR this morning: A fellow in southern california, who is of Lebanese descent, but is an American citizen, thought perhaps there might be some backlash against him during this conflict. There was damage and vandalism done to his businesses, but not because he's Lebanese. No, he owns a chain of dry cleaners that has the Eiffel Tower as its emblem.

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Thursday, March 20, 2003
      ( 3:49 PM )
Fly, Fleance, Fly!
(obscure Macbeth quote of the day)

I have only a little time left in my work day and am taking a break to express my utter and complete frustration with what is going on around me at the Firm today:

(a little background, as in most cities today, protests are being organized at 4pm/5pm because it's the day after the war started - thus, one is going to take place here in Portland. At around 3pm, people started packing up. At 3:30 - it was like a mass evacuation of the building, I kid you not.)

(1) people are fleeing the Firm early because the "Safety Committee" decided that because of the protests in downtown Portland, people might not be able to get out of town. Thus people are running for the doors - of course all of them leaving at the same time will create the same phenomena (traffic jams) that a bunch of protesters blocking an intersection might have created - but why think that far ahead?

(2) people are leaving not because they want to take advantage of the chance to just quite work early - no, they are actually dismayed and frightened by the idea of hundreds of people gathering in the streets around them.

(3) All I have heard all day long is ridicule of people conducting non-violent protests. The first time it happened (someone mocked students walking out of classes and said "what idiots - what does that accomplish?"), I actually tried to subtly indicate that people do what they can to express what they believe..etc, etc, and that's cool, but I quickly realized this was not a position that was going to be widely accepted in the Firm.

(4) one of the members of the "Safety Committee" walked by saying that someone had just passed a bunch of protesters and (I quote) "they punched him in the nose for no reason - an innocent guy!" Feeling this could possibly be an outrageous rumor, I commented "perhaps some unruly folks got into an altercation, but I doubt all the protesters punched the guy in the nose for no reason." The quick comeback was "frankly, I think it probably was most of them in on it - they probably told the person to punch the guy. They're all like that." (again, I quote).

(5) the prevailing comments elsewhere around the firm generally fall into the following categories:
"yikes, those evil protesters are scary!"
"seems like the police have their act together this time - thank goodnes!"
"those damned protesters - my commute is going to be hell!"
"for god sakes, what are they still protesting about - the war started already - what's the point?"
"whoever thinks it makes a difference to protest is stupid."
"as far as I'm concerned gathering like that and yelling is violent."
etc., etc., etc.

It reminds me of WTO. While we were out there peacefully participating in nonviolent action - and then being pepper-sprayed and fired at with rubber bullets and stampeded by horse cops, people were pissed off because they couldn't get their holiday shopping done. I would like to now pat myself on the back for resisting the urge to stand up in my little cubicle and yell "you're all a bunch of freaking ambivalent bastards and if you gave one damn about participating in making your community and world better, you'd be out there yourselves!!" whew. Okay, done venting. Going out to support the troops - both the ones in uniform in the persian gulf and the ones in the streets of portland tonight.

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      ( 12:43 PM )
Alert to Fellow Oregonians & Everyone Else:
This is one reason I'm proud to live here. P just called and told me that he heard on KBOO this morning that someone is trying to shut down the Portland Indy Media website with a denial of service. They Can't Shut Us All Down.

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      ( 11:54 AM )
And Now for the News...
...The Good...
...The Bad...
...And the Ugly....This is f#@*ing unbelievable. Isn't our own country in relatively BAD economic straits right now? Or is that just me misreading the news again? By the way, the recipient of this bulkage of aid is one of our SILENT partners in this war. Nice to have imaginary friends, isn't it?

The World Reacts (translated)...

"Freedom regrets this action started without United Nations backing, and I hope that these operations will be as quick as possible and will claim as few lives as possible and that they won't lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. To the last, Freedom, with many other countries, strove to persuade [people] that the necessary disarmament of Iraq could be obtained by peaceful means. These efforts did not succeed. Whatever the duration of this conflict, it will have serious consequences for the future. "
--Jacques Chirac, President of Freedom

After Thought
Last night after the War Has Started Speech, I said to P, "it's sort of grotesque watching a war happen on tv." He agreed, so we turned the channel to watch Angel. Did anyone see Angel last night? Damn, I'm getting really creeped out by Cordelia lately.

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      ( 11:36 AM )
Mama Musings
Baby is disoriented and a little confused right now because we are moving next week and the apartment is all a-jumble with boxes, etc. He seems to be feeling some tension about all the unfamiliarity. As he lay sleeping last night I just wanted to keep looking at him because it gave me such peace - I never wanted to leave his room. I told him that no matter what happened, how different things looked, Mama and Daddy would always be there. I hope that's true. It made me think about other Mamas of older children. What do you tell your children during times like this? I suppose if they're young enough, you just protect them by not telling them anything.

Just heard from my mother that a buddy of my Brother has contacted her to let her know he's closer up than we thought - most likely, he is here. I've sent him cards and a couple of short letters, but I have had an ongoing battle with myself, trying to write him since the High Noon Speech Monday night. I should probably just let it go and be light and happy in my letters. Then again, he'd probably see right through me. He's like that.

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      ( 10:40 AM )
Now Entering the Surreal Zone
Here in the Pacific Northwest we have our own cable news channel - kind of like CNN for Washington, Oregon and Idaho. I watched it more often when I lived in Seattle. But this morning, P was watching while I got ready for work and they were having viewers call in and express their opinions. Of course there were long diatribes against the protesters (several were arrested last night for singing and holding hands at Westlake Center). Two vets actually called in separately and expressed anti-war sentiments.

But then, a woman called in and said: "I don't understand how these people can be protesting - don't they know this man has bombs that can reach Oregon?" I kid you not. She actually said that. And the anchors didn't correct her...until about 5 minutes later one of them interrupted the ongoing call-ins and said something to the effect of "we just want to correct something here...Iraq does not have bombs that can reach Oregon - that's North Korea." Turn away from the television, just turn away.

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      ( 10:40 AM )
The Day After
I have avoided blogging most of this morning, just not knowing really what to say. I've taken a whirlwind tour around the blogging world and see that several folks are trying to blog on as usual and not be obsessed with the war. Some people are continuing to comment, or to track what's going on. Some people are just silent and haven't said anything today. I think all are good responses. It's nice to have variety to read - it keeps one from feeling such a weight.

I did note that Jack found the words to one of my favorite Randy Newman songs, Political Science. It was sort of weird reading through it though - thinking about how it always used to make me laugh.

Also reminded me of the old Kingston Trio's Merry Minuet:

They’re rioting in Africa (whistling)
They’re starving in Spain (whistling)
There’s hurricanes in Flo-ri-da (whistling)
And Texas needs rain ---
The whole world is festering with unhappy souls
The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch
But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud
For man’s been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud
And we know for certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off
They’re rioting in Africa (whistling)
There’s strife in Iran
What nature doesn’t so to us
Will be done by our fellow "man"

I read with a mixture of sadness and frustration Ampersand's comments on Rachel Corrie. It wasn't the comments themselves that frustrated and saddened me, just the situation. Take a minute to read her words today to remind yourself what it really means to be a hero.

And from Jeanne - 198 Methods of Non-Violent Action. Use one today. Right now, I'm leaning towards #30.

Saw Eric Alterman on Jon Stewart's Daily Show the other night. It was probably one of the most refreshing and intelligent talk show interviews he's done, I would bet. Anyway, he identifies the current hypocrisy (via a 1999 Slate article) pretty cogently, as summarized by mwowwww.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003
      ( 6:44 PM )
Mama Solidarity
Please light a candle and say a prayer for all the Mamas in Baghdad and all the rest of Iraq tonight (and in these next days) who are trying to figure out how to protect their children. I can't even imagine the kind of terrorized fear that Mamas and children (and the Daddies too) must be feeling right now, waiting for the invasion, knowing it's coming. I feel so responsible and I feel so helpless. May you and your babies be safe and unharmed...and may grace and comfort be in your hearts. The rest of us Mamas are praying for you.

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      ( 2:37 PM )
Second Verse, Same as the First

The eastern world, it is explodin'.
Violence flarin', bullets loadin'
You're old enough to kill, but not for votin'
You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin'

But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve
of destruction.

Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say
Can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today?
If the button is pushed, there's no runnin away
There'll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
Take a look around you boy
It's bound to scare you boy

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don''t believe
We're on the eve
of destruction.

Yeah, my blood's so mad feels like coagulatin'
I'm sitting here just contemplatin'
You can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation.
Handful of senators don't pass legislation
And marches alone can't bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin'
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin'

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve
of destruction.
(written by Barry McGuire - 30 years ago)

Today's Translation Lesson
Class, today we are translating quotes from Ari Fleischer in an MSNBC article. Get out your notebooks, time to translate.

White House Tells Americans to Prepare for War
Wed March 19, 2003 05:45 PM ET
By Randall Mikkelsen

The Bush administration gave Congress the required notification for war and told Americans on Wednesday to prepare for a bloody and possibly prolonged conflict with Iraq.

{==> Bush told Congress what he was going to do and that if they didn't like it, they could kiss his ass. Actually, the Constitution mentions that CONGRESS shall declare war, but lately "notification" passes for that and - hell, why should the administration start caring about the Constitution at this point?==}

"On the brink of war with Iraq, Americans should be prepared for what we hope will be as precise and short a conflict as possible, but there are many unknowns. It could be a matter of some duration, we do not know," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters.

{=="We have no idea what the fuck we're getting into, but what the hell, the troops are already there."==}

"Americans have to be prepared for loss of life. Americans have to be prepared for the importance of disarming (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein to protect the peace."

{=="Americans have to be prepared for their government to send its troops into be slaughtered if necessary, in order to chop off Hussein's head since we never did find that Bin Laden fella."==}

President Bush has given Saddam and his two sons until 8 p.m. EST on Wednesday -- 4 a.m. in Baghdad -- to quit his country or face attack, and Iraq has vowed to fight.

{==President Bush's favorite movie when he was a kid was High Noon.==}

"(At) 8 o'clock tonight the American people will know that Saddam Hussein has committed his final act of defiance," Fleischer said.

{=="At 8 o'clock, the American people can stop watching that stupid counter tick down on MSNBC, and the President can brush his teeth before bedtime."==}

Bush notified Congress on Tuesday night, under terms of a resolution passed in 2002 authorizing force against Iraq, that diplomacy had failed to reduce the Iraqi threat or enforce U.N. disarmament demands. The notice was required before or within 48 hours of the start of war. It was released on Wednesday.

{==Bush told Congress that they were too pansy-assed to do anything, so he was going to pretend that Resolution 1441 actually authorized force. He also told Congress again, that like he told the rest of the countries he was trying to "diplomatize" that they could kiss his ass.==}

The timing of the start of the war is up to Bush and his military advisers.

{==The war will start after Bush has decided that what his military advisers say is shit and he doesn't need to start doing what they advise now, when he hasn't given a damn what they said in the past.==}

The president would make an Oval office speech in the event of war, but Fleischer declined to say if it would be before or after hostilities began.

{==Ari noted that the speech-in-the-event-of-war will probably happen after the actual war has started, because it will most likely start after the President has brushed his teeth and gone to bed.==}

Meanwhile, Bush was working with military planners "and allowing the time that he has given to pass," he said.

{==Meanwhile, Bush was ignoring his military advisers and planning his own war because, gosh darn, LBJ got to do that!==}

Fleischer's comments were some of the most direct by the White House on the possible costs of a war, which would be the first under a national security strategy announced last year that asserts a right to pre-emptively attack countries deemed a threat.

{==Fleischer's comments were some of the most direct CYI statements by the White House in a long time. This war, which would be the first since we declared we could invade anyone we wanted to, could possibly last a long time and kill lots of our soldiers and lots of innocent civilians. "Don't say we didn't warn you!"==}

Democrats have criticized the Bush administration for failing to discuss anticipated costs in lives or money.

{Some little flies tried to dissent but we squashed them under the all-powerful non-liberal media's toe and so they were nothing but a little peep. How dare they criticize? How dare they assume? We'll just mention that there could be a high cost in lives and money, just in case.==}

The administration is expected to ask Congress for between $70 billion and $90 billion within days of the start of the war.

{==The administration is expected to ask for lots and lots more money for the war, but it won't go to toilet paper for the troops, and will most likely be taken out of taxpayer's money that might have gone to health care for old or poor people, or education for children, or maybe even the money that was promised to states to enable them to comply with the 50,000 requirements they now have to follow for HOMELAND SECURITY.==}

The money would cover war costs, stepped-up domestic security and aid to Israel and Jordan. Turkey may also receive aid, but it is likely to be sharply reduced because of its failure to let U.S. troops use its bases for an invasion.

{==Oh, and that money that isn't going to poor people, old people, hungry people or children in our country is also going to be given away to Turkey, Israel and Jordan -because, hey, what's an invasion policy without the bribe money to back it up? "Don't worry, Turkey isn't getting the whole 32 billion we offered before. Probably only like 20 billion or something."}

After meeting Bush at the White House to discuss security needs, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of the looming war, "there's been a healthy discussion in this country about what the appropriate course of action is, the president has listened and he's made his decision."

{==Mayor Bloomberg, while kissing the president's ass, noted that despite the fact that millions of americans have been protesting this war, that a majority didn't agree with it right up until the High Noon Speech, that the president was right in ignoring all of them and doing what he wanted anyway. "They can all kiss your ass, Mr. President!"==}


{==Commie pinko unpatriotic crybaby bastards shirk work and clog the streets so that shoppers couldn't get to their destinations==}

Hundreds of anti-war protesters converged around the White House, but were kept far away by barricades and police guards around a perimeter expanded under a heightened terror alert level announced on Monday. Police arrested 28 people.

{==Close to a thousand anti-war protesters surrounded the White House, but were surprised to find that they had suddenly been transported back in time to 1967 when the white house was surrounded by fences and barriers. "What happened? Where are we?" Some of the confused protesters asked while being carted away by Police because they were blocking the road and keeping shoppers from getting to their destinations.==}

"Four more hours!" shouted one man as a crowd of about 250 people chanted "If the war breaks out, walk out!"

{=="Quit your jobs you lily-livered yella bastards!"==}

The FBI warned police to be on the lookout for suspicious activities by vehicles with Iraqi diplomatic license plates. Bush said Monday individuals with ties to Iraqi intelligence had been expelled to guard against possible retaliatory terror attacks.

{==Even though this has nothing to do with this story, we're still going to add at the end of it, just like we will with every other story that we can, that people of Iraqi descent can expect to be harrassed and targeted because they are all probably terrorists. Not that all the terrorist attacks committed on this country have never been conducted by Iraqis, but you can never tell with those shifty a-rabs. Remember: Iraqi=Terrorist. You can just never tell. Best to set up camps - it will keep them all safe from harassment for the duration. Thank god the FBI is on the job.==}

Bush's notice to Congress was accompanied by a report saying war on Iraq "would directly advance the war on terror." The assertion aims to meet demands by Congress in its authorizing resolution that any war be consistent with the anti-terrorism campaign Bush launched in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

{==Bush thought he better add that yes, despite everything he's said up to this moment, probably there would be more terrorist attacks on us because of this invasion. He thought it best to pre-empt any criticism that he was unaware that his actions might cause more Americans to be killed on our own soil.==}

Bush has given no clear evidence tying Iraq to the attacks, and critics have questioned U.S. attempts to link Saddam to the al Qaeda network blamed for the attacks.

{==Holy Crap, what are we doing this for?==}

The report also said Bush had authority to act under the U.S. Constitution, the U.N. charter and previous U.N. resolutions on Iraq. France, which led a successful effort in the U.N. Security Council to block a war resolution, said on Wednesday that only the council has the authority to authorize force and the world opposed Bush's ultimatum.

{==The report listed a bunch of laws and charters that had nothing to do with what Bush has done today, but it's good to mention them in the same sentence as declaring war, so it sounds like you're law-abiding. France, those pansy-assed commie pinko bastard do-gooders implied that the rest of the world opposed this invasion. What are they thinking? We know at least 30 countries are on our side!==}

Saddam denies having the weapons of mass destruction Bush accuses him of developing. There have been no signs Saddam would leave, and Iraq vowed to defeat an invasion.

{==Saddam figured he'd just as soon get his head chopped off at home rather than have to go live in one of those caves with Osama. Besides, if he stays home, he could try and hit Israel one last time - what a blast!==}

"Unfortunately we have seen no indications from Iraqi authorities that Saddam Hussein will avail himself of this final chance to avoid military conflict," Fleischer said.

{==Unfortunately, Saddam doesn't know the true story of High Noon, and he really has no idea that the showdown actually entailed the Earps sneeking up and firing first before the other guys had a chance to throw down their weapons. Damn. That worked out well for Wyatt.==}

As the deadline neared, Bush kept out of sight of reporters and met with his war planners.

{==He had to work so much last night that he didn't get to watch his favorite show - and so he spent today watching his tapes of American Idol in anticipation of tonight's elimination show. He likes the skinny white guy best.==}

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers, CIA Director George Tenet, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Vice President Dick Cheney arrived at the White House in black limousines and sport utility vehicles for council meetings that have increased in frequency to almost daily as war looms.

{==The chickenhawks are all incredibly rich and love burning up as much fossil fuel as they can because - hey - why else invade Iraq?==}

The president called British Prime Minister Tony Blair, his staunchest ally on Iraq, to congratulate him on overcoming a party revolt to win parliamentary backing to wage war on Iraq.

{==The president called Tony and said "ooo, boy, you narrowly got away with that one! It's a good thing we don't have a system like yours here, or I could be facing an actual revolt here! Thank God nothing can take MY job away and that my Legislature is impotent and doesn't bother with things like standing on principle."==}

Here endeth today's translation lesson. Remember: The press WANTS to tell you the story, they just don't know how.

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      ( 12:50 PM )
The South Rises Again (or: Now You Know How John Lennon Felt)
I have been searching around trying to find out exactly what it is the Dixie Chicks said that has been causing such a hubub. Here's what it was: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." Uh...I have been hearing people say that since 2000. Especially one very pithy Molly Ivans. This is just another example of what I don't understand about our country: people can pour so much effort into hating people who speak their mind or just generally hating a country for no good reason, but can't seem to form coherent opinions on WHY they harbor this hate. And now I hear that Walmart and Kmart are boycotting as well - and yet they seem to think this is okay.

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      ( 11:58 AM )
With a Little Help from our uh-Friends?
Thanks to RR, here is the list straight from Powell's mouth - the official "Coalition for the Immediate Disarmament of Iraq":

Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Britain,
Bulgaria, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark,
El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary,
Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia,
the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Poland,
Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and Uzbekistan

However, only 2 (Britain and Australia) are actually lending military troop support (although Bulgaria offered to send troops "largely in a symbolic gesture"). And there are evidently 15 other countries who secretly support the US, but want to remain anonymous. It's so good to know that no one actually wants anyone to know they support you. How to make friends and influence people.

By the way - This is What History Feels Like

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      ( 9:19 AM )
Basic Needs of the Troops? Why Bother?
Despite the billions in the military budget, evidently none of it is being spent on the most basic provisions for the soldiers on the front. Their families are having to send them toilet paper!

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      ( 9:07 AM )
Be Ready!
Courtesy of exit zero, get prepared - know the signs and how to protect yourself in case of an attack!

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      ( 9:07 AM )
Shifting Sands of Reason
Then and Now - reminded me of an interview I saw on one of the look-alike cable news shows last week - it was Rabbi Marvin Hier. He put forth that ever-present theory that Saddam is worse than Hitler and that we have to stop him now, etc. etc. I can't help wondering: if this is our altruistic motivation, then why didn't we long ago invade and conduct regime changes when other dictators were anhilating their own people: Idi Amin, Papa Doc Duvalier, Milosevic, Pol Pot, Pinochet -- oops, who am I to question the changing tides of foreign "policy"?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2003
      ( 4:22 PM )
Seen on a Bumper-Sticker During My Lunch Break Today:

"Where are we going? And how did we get in this handbasket?"

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      ( 4:15 PM )
Mama Meanders...
Warning: This post is a long, introspective observation of myself. Just what a blog is for…but maybe a bit boring for anyone else but me. Feel free to skip this one, folks. I did it mostly just because I needed to.

I have been trying to figure out how to express the thoughts going through my head since last night. I guess that’s what a blog is for. Part of me wants to sort the myriad of thoughts and feelings and figure out exactly what I think, and part of me wants to just leave it all a-jumble and not deal with it. But I’m too introspective to let it lie, and I know that. It would just keep bugging me. It’s like how I’d like to know exactly why I cried as I listened to that speech last night. Was it because I’m a girl and girls cry easily? Was it because I’m 10 months into being a mama and mamas cry easily? Was it because I could only think of death and destruction, and that just generally causes crying? Was it because I missed my brother – and felt the loss of not knowing where he is or how he is doing? Was it because it’s the first time I’m dealing with a war as an adult – and understanding more makes you cry? Was it because I was angry? Probably all of that contributed to my general crying-ness last night.

But in the cold light of day (with only 38 hours to go – if the 48 hours started at the speech. But the 48 hours could have started this morning, I’m not really sure.), I realized this morning that it’s easier for me to dissect it chronologically, in order to more easily digest my own history and feelings on the matter. In my own mind, I've gone chronologically “war” by “war.”

Vietnam: I was born during Vietnam. My father served in Vietnam as an aircraft maintenance officer. He never talked about it. Finally when I was about 23, I directly asked him “what do you remember about Vietnam?” And his answer: “lots of white birds in the sky whenever a bomb went off.” I gradually learned a number of horrible things he had experienced and witnessed and why he kept the white birds as his prominent memory - and I did a lot of my own reading on the subject. But it was still removed from me – like history.

Cold War: I spent a bulk of my childhood overseas in Asia and the Pacific – so much of my elementary-school memories include ducking-and-covering in the event of (a) a hurricane; (b) a tornado (this involved ducking and covering in the hallway, rather than under desks); (c) an earthquake; and (d) a nuclear bomb. I often wondered, as a curious 10-year-old, how powerful the duck-and-cover really was. Luckily, I only experienced two of them in Japan; one tornado and one earthquake. I remember when I was 12, I was deathly scared of nuclear war, nuclear fallout, nuclear everything. My mom didn’t even let me watch “The Day After” because she knew it would totally freak me out. Still “war” itself was removed – men actually fighting didn’t occur to me. “War” meant total, instantaneous, painful annihilation.

Various South American Campaigns, Grenada: I was a kid – and though I remember the headlines, had no emotional or intellectual connection or understanding of what went on. When I learned later as an adult all that had happened, I was mad as hell, but felt powerless because again…it was history already.

Invasion of Panama: High School Senior. Watched the news and saw soldiers playing loud rock music to ferret out Noriega. I didn’t learn until almost 8 years later that not only were the charges against him all pre-1984 (when he became our Boy in the contra dealings), but that US troops killed possibly thousands of civilians in their raids, and that after Noriega left Panama, people continued to be abused, disappeared, executed, etc. So much for installing democracy there. Again, though, at the time, I didn’t really perceive what had happened in a real life context. It was on the t.v. – and then, it was history.

Persian Gulf War: This I clearly remember. I was 20 years old when “Desert Shield” became “Desert Storm.” I had no real, focused opinion about it except that I was marginally attached to the situation by virtue of my father being stationed to Command Headquarters at the Pentagon at the time. I remember being surrounded constantly by yellow ribbons and American flags. I remember the bold t-shirts and the constant tv coverage (stayed up every night to see Arthur Kent, of course.) But it was over so quickly – and no one ever really talked about the dead, and all we ever saw were those video game bombing pictures. And no one ever really said anything about “victory.” I don’t recall actually being for or against it – just sort of watching it. I think I felt patriotic, but not out of any support for the action itself, more of a support for the troops kind of thing. It was abstract, and even though I was 20, I was in college, and adulthood was only sporadically part of my life at the time. But over the next 12 years I developed definite opinions about it. I don’t remember any anti-war protests, but I now know many who were part of them. I wish I had known - I wish I had paid more attention.

Balkans: My first experience at being outraged at the action/in-action of my country. I didn’t understand what the hell we were doing, and I boldly spoke my mind to anyone who would listen. Mostly people didn’t care. It didn’t really hit their radar screens, even with constant stories about the dead, tortured, abused, etc. I felt like the whole thing sort of faded away, and no one really ever truly paid attention. In reality, though, I think it was more of an academic thing for me - I was emotionally affected, but not really attached to the reality of it all. I was enraged, but not to the point where I really did anything effective.

Rwanda: More rage at our inaction. Was it racism this time that kept us from stopping this genocide?

Somalia: I didn’t truly understand the politics and history behind what happened there till I read about it years later. I remember being horrified at what happened – and I remember it being the catalyst for not interceding in other countries. Yet we continued to bomb Iraq in the “no-fly zones.” I began to feel confused and to try and pay more attention to the various "foreign policies" of our country.

Kosovo: My first experience with two factors together: my own brother being involved in the military action, and my being against the American bombing of the country. I felt quite conflicted because I was proud of my brother and I knew he was serving his country, but I was very much in disagreement that the wholesale bombing taking place was necessary. For the first time, I accessed independent media for my news, and I paid attention to everything that happened. For the first time I actively protested the actions of my government in an intervention situation. I wasn’t as scared for my brother, at that time he was not on the front lines, but I worried for his psyche if he were to know whether or not he’d contributed to the killing of innocents. He never knew if he was, and I was glad for that.

Afghanistan: I was absolutely against the rush into bombing this country in response to 9/11. Our “installing democracy” again seems to have come to a fizzling end with no one paying attention to the fact that we dropped the ball and don’t care because we started our own new game. Brother Jon once again served in “Operation Enduring Freedom,” but again, though he was there, he was in the back lines and I wasn’t as worried about him. I actively protested the US action, and I actively and publicly dissented. But I don't remember feeling as much conflict, I think because up until about 6 months ago, I was very determinedly against the whole "war on terror" thing and felt strongly enough about it that my emotions centered on anger, dismay, cynicism, etc. I was not yet a mother.

Now. I feel so much more emotion. I think because of the combination of all the things together: my anger about the policies, my disgust with the way we ignore the rest of the world, my fear for the soldiers, my fear for the Iraqis, my worry that we will carry on this policy of “pre-emptive war” on any country we deem “pre-emptible;” my fear that we won’t carry on this policy and we’ll be seen for the oil/money-grubbing-“let’s-distract-them-from-that-war-on-terror-we’re-never-going-to-win” leech that our government is, my concern about what kind of world my child is going to grow up in, my determination to continue protesting, and sometimes my total ambivalence.

In the end, I guess for everyone it’s a situation of blundering through the best we can. However we deal with each moment as it happens is however we deal with it. No one is right or wrong in how they feel, they just feel that way. If you’re angry one moment, cynical the next, joking the next, sad and crying the next – it’s all a part of experiencing it instead of retreating from it. I think that bloggers have an advantage in that they are used to experiencing instead of retreating. In that way, the blogosphere may handle the weight of what is to come much better than the outside world, and for that reason I’m really glad I’m here. It sort of feels like there’s a net beneath me – I can jump off the cliff of exploring the various things that pop into my mind and know that I will land softly on my blog and I’ll bounce back up again.

How was that for introspection? Now, back to our regularly programmed show…

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