Thursday, August 31, 2006

Join the National Guard, Stupid!

Went to the movies and put up with all the commercials and trailers. I really don't mind them - except sometimes when a trailer for World Trade Center is jammed between the trailer for Tallagega Nights and a goofy promotional message complete with dancing snack food items. Sorry, but when I go to see "Snakes on a Plane" I am not interested in being jerked back to the reality of 9/11.

The other night, they ran an advert for the National Guard. They want us to join up, and they figure people who go to see a movie about a plane loaded with manaical homicidal snakes on crack are likely to be the kind of people who would still be willing to join up. Yes, they figured we were that stupid.

They showed lots of pictures and told lots of personal anecdotes about how the Guard are here at home helping out when disaster strikes. Presumably, we are expected not to have noticed that the Guard are mostly in Iraq, and were nowhere to be seen when Katrina struck. Yes, they figured we were that stupid.

I used to think we had a volunteer military. People who wanted to serve, could. But you didn't have to. Now I see things more clearly. People who need the money were signing up, and then they got themselves shipped to Iraq. If they are lucky, they will someday come back, maybe even in good health.

Folks who signed up for the Guard really didn't expect to be in Iraq, but that's where Bush sent them. Because of WMD's. Because of 9/11. Hmmmm...startin' to feel stupid yet?

I have decided to express my aggravation at these insulting messages from our idiot-boy war president and his half-assed Secretary of Defense. So when these ads run across the screen, I intend to run my mouth. Loud. Why should we sit silently and let that kind of propaganda stand? Lies like these get innocent people killed.

In the next six months, I hope nobody joins the National Guard. I hope nobody joins the Reserves. I hope nobody even talks to a recruiter for the Armed Forces. Let them run their ads one after another -- 24/7. Maybe then they will fire Rumsfeld. Maybe then they will stop exploiting the poor of this country to fill the ranks of Bush's army. Maybe, just maybe, he will have to think once before he sends them into unwise wars of choice; dishonest wars of false pretenses; illegal wars of shameful acts.

If it doesn't happen, maybe they're right.

How stupid are we?

Saturday, August 26, 2006


I ran an event for my son and daughter, and a few close friends, a week ago in New York. I had set up a scavenger hunt of sorts, that forced the participants to travel all over Manhattan in the course of about ten hours. One of the places they had to visit was St Paul's Chapel, across the street from the site of the former World Trade Center.

You should go to St Paul's.

In the past five years, I have several times resisted the urge to go to the World Trade Center site. It felt too much like a macabre tourism. The memory of the gut-wrenching emotions of that terrible day - those terrible days - is still just below the surface. I am not a religious man, but the place inspires me to reverence and makes me wish that I could pray. When I finally had to go into the area, for a job interview when I was unemployed, I came up from the PATH and saw what looked like a construction site. But I knew better. I crossed myself and tried to recall the words. Eternal rest grant them, O Lord. May perpetual light shine upon them. When there are no words of my own to hold in my head at such a moment, why do the words of a prayer seem right?

I saw World Trade Center a couple of days ago. Aside from Bruce Springsteen's The Rising, I have resisted the 9/11-related movies and entertainments that have been offered in the past few years. And when the trailer for Oliver Stone's new movie started to run in local theaters, I nearly vomited. Why do they run such a trailer in between the preview of some Will Ferrell comedy and the dancing popcorn concession advert?

But I put aside my objections and went to see this movie. I knew it was based on the actual experience of two Port Authority cops who were pulled from the pile and have survived. I wanted to hear their story, and to see its reenactment (even if that meant putting up with Nicolas Cage).

It isn't a great movie. But it feels real and right, and I hope people will go see it. So many Americans are confused today. We went to war in a state of confusion in March 2003, and are still confused. Iraq was not our enemy, but that doesn't mean that we are safe. We should pull out of Iraq, but that doesn't mean we can give up the fight against the jihadists. The President lied to us, but that doesn't mean that we should buy into crackpot conspiracy theories.

Five years after 9/11, we are in worse shape than ever - despite the formation of a Department of Homeland Security, we are less secure than we were on that Tuesday morning in September. Bush may not have rolled back the clock to 1950, as some say he has tried to do (those who disagree generally believe 1929 is the year he punches into the time machine), but we are surely back to 9/10 in this forgetful and complacent country.

I sometimes think that there are three groups in America: those few who carry the burden of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, those few who bear the scars of 9/11, and the shit-for-brains majority. Guess which group Bush fits into.

As 9/11 approaches, I suspect that a lot of discussion will focus on the past. That has its place, but it is time we started to get serious about the present and the future. Before there is another 9/11, we need to reexamine the President's strategy and actions in the war on terror. It is time to replace Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney and Chertoff.

Give them the same medal Tenet, Bremer and Franks got -- that will be a suitable punishment.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Connecticut is a lot like Lebanon

More news coverage than it is worth.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Any news from the nutmeg state?

Waiting to hear whether Lieberman has been excommunicated from the party. On the one hand, a party that has room for Al Sharpton should be able to house a Lieberman or two. A party that was happy to claim the loyalty of segregationists as long as they voted to sustain the New Deal ought to be able to accept a dissident view from Joe Lieberman without going into a panic.

On the other hand...

We have watched for five years as the New Deal was watered down, repealed, ignored, and replaced by the old deal - the one we last saw at the start of the last century - a deal that favored the filthy rich; that bent the machinery of government to meet the needs and desires of industrialists; that permitted abuses of labor, adulteration of food, privatization of public assets; degradation of the environment; and the imposition of white, nativist, Protestant Christian prejudices on the people of this nation.

Where was Joe Lieberman? Didn't he stand with Bush?

We have watched the nation ignore its war with Al Qaeda in order to launch a war against the people of Iraq -- justified to a gullible nation with a shell game of Chalabis, curveballs, 9/11 connections, and WMD smoking guns. We have seen that war take the lives of tens of thousands, and ruin the lives of millions. We have seen the nation's honor and treasury trashed in this war by a President whose negligence, ignorance, arrogance and blasphemous sense of mission led him to attack a nation that was no threat to us -- in the process alienating our friends, destroying our military, antagonizing 1.3 billion Muslims, and creating an Iraq that along with an emboldened Iran is indeed a security threat to keep us up at night.

Where was Joe Lieberman? Yes. With Bush all the way.

Compared to this record, Al Sharpton's looks statesmanlike.

I am waiting to hear from Connecticut.

I hope they throw the bum out. Count this Jersey boy for Ned Lamont.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rumsfeld still has a job

You would think Bush would find someone else, if he gave a crap.

UPDATE (NOV 200): He found someone else. But he still doesn't give a crap.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Lebanon still in the news

Calls for an Israeli cease-fire are all over the news. Mostly from people whose neighbors don't fire missiles at them. Do you think the Russians would sit impassively as Chechen terrorists attacked Moscow? We know the answer to that one. Would the French or Italians tolerate similar threats? Why should they?

Who can ask the Israelis to turn the other cheek and permit Hezbollah to continue to amass weapons and fortify positions in southern Lebanon, waiting like snakes to strike whenever it pleases?

Lebanese children and other non-combatants are dying. This is terrible, but how would you propose to clear out Hezbollah from Israel's border? Could you fight this war and guarantee the safety of civilians?

Of course not. Israeli children are expendable; Lebanese are not. I get it.

Here's a bulletin for you -- as long as Israel's neighbors support terrorism and deny Israel's right to exist, there will be war and lots of people, including old folks and children, will die.

As long as Muslims celebrate bin laden, Zarqawi, Ahmedinajad, Nasrullah, and similar thugs, bloodshed will be their reward.

Stop crying for Lebanon. I hope Israel crushes Hezbollah, no matter what the cost.