Archive for September, 2007|Monthly archive page

Vietnam v2.0

Eric Alterman has an excellent article in October’s The Nation (here) about the “Stab in the Back Campaign” that is underway and getting ready to shift into overdrive:

Having exposed their country to the ignominy of certain defeat in Iraq, the Bush Administration and its neoconservative allies are seeking to salvage their crumbling reputations by blaming their critics for the catastrophe their policies have wrought. We are witnessing the foundation for a post-Iraq “stab in the back” campaign.

… The coming campaign’s foundations are already in place. They rest on three building blocks: an attack on the loyalty of those willing to recognize reality; the construction of an alternative reality in which victory is deemed to be imminent; and, finally, a shifting of blame for a supposedly premature withdrawal to those who refuse to play along.

I would place the odds at roughly 90% that he’s correct. For one, this play’s been run before (Vietnam, anyone?) Second, it fits right in with this administration’s well-established practice of carefully constructing logic traps that leave no room for debate or discussion. From the PATRIOT Act that violated the Constitution, to the Clear Skies Act that increased pollution, to the No Child Left Behind Act that has crippled our educational system – these are only a few of the precedents for what will follow.

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Hurricanes

Growing up in New Orleans meant keeping an eye on the tropics for several months each year. Specifically, keeping an eye out in the hopes that a hurricane would hit us so we could get out of a few days of school. Though it devastated Florida, Andrew came just close enough to us to cancel school for 3 days without doing any damage – score! I spent that memorable Wednesday gleefully wading around in the chest-high waters of Lake Pontchartrain on Lakeshore Drive. Christ teenagers are dumb.

Of course now as an adult (with a mortgage) I understand the concerns about hurricanes quite a bit more, and it goes without saying that Katrina drove the point home. Rather than focusing on their destructive power, I’ve become interested in how these storms work and why. Last week I found this link while searching for an explanation of cold core vs. warm core tropical systems. If you have any interest in understanding how hurricanes form, give it a read.

And now for a segment that will hopefully make a regular appearance here. Overheard in another cube: “How can a Mennonite be a computer guy?”

The Video Professor is a douchebag

… which means he’ll probably soon be suing me as well.

Some balance

Since I’ve bashed the Republicans in my prior two posts, I feel it’s worth mentioning that I’m also disgusted by the Democrats.. albeit for very different reasons. Those reasons, of course, all relate to the shining example of incompetence, ineptitude, and outright cowardice that Congressional Democrats have shown in the months since they were elected to do something. I don’t care that Republicans have filibustered more in the last 8 months than the Democrats did in the first 6 years of the Bush presidency. I don’t care that the Democrats don’t have a veto-proof majority in the Senate. The so-called leaders have abdicated responsibility for what they were elected to do – end the war. I suppose it’s unfair of me to think that a politician should risk his or her career to do the right thing, but these are very different and troubling times that beg for someone with clarity of purpose to stand up, tell it like it is, and roll the political dice. I personally believe anyone that anyone willing to take that chance would be handsomely rewarded at the polls. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking since the focus groups and polls consulted hourly must be indicating otherwise. I guess I’m just looking for someone to step up and be a real leader for a change. Guess that means I’ll be voting third party again.

Four More Wars

I’m doing some BizTalk work that isn’t interesting enough to write about, so there’s just another political post today. I also can’t stay silent about something as important as this.

We’re about to start another war.

It’s true. With a depleted and demoralized active duty force and a reserve force being abused like never before in the history of our country, this White House is preparing for war with Iran. We’re not talking about the usual plans that are developed in advance in case Canada marches southward or Cuba launches a flotilla of ’63 Buicks; these are the specific plans that act as blueprints for invasion.

As with Iraq, the slow buildup to war with Iran has begun. The rhetoric about Iran supplying weapons to all seventy four sides of the conflict in Iraq grows with each passing week. Stories have begun to leak out of the White House regarding the internal battle between hawks and doves, namely the State Department against everyone else. It should come as no surprise that these off-the-record leaks are pointing the finger at Cheney for supporting, if not personally driving, the march toward the cliff’s edge.

I’m usually not an alarmist, but the similarities in the talk and attitude of the White House between the fall of 2002 and the present are uncanny. Like Yogi Berra said, it’s deja vu all over again. We already have several carriers in the Persian Gulf, no doubt sent as a polite reminder to the Iranians that we ‘muricans don’t cotton to brown people with nukes (unless they’re Indian or Pakistani, of course). I have no problem with this kind of pre-internet-era message delivery system, but I also don’t trust that this comprehensively incompetent leadership of ours will follow through on Bush’s promise to exhaust all possibilities before invoking the military. After all, they didn’t bother to exhaust ANY possibilities before plowing into Iraq – how’d that work out for us?

It really is time for the last 25% of you that somehow support these people to stop, look at what these guys are really about (hint: they aren’t conservatives), and not be afraid to admit that they aren’t the people you thought you were defending. It’s time to recognize that people who promote their agendas through fear and secrecy aren’t leaders – they’re authoritarian lunatics with a chronic inability to anticipate even the most obvious repercussions of their decisions. It’s up to us, the people, to tell them that we’re in no position to even THINK about opening up yet another front in this battle.

Unless, of course, those remaining 25% and their children will volunteer for duty en masse to avoid burdening the rest of the US with another draft.

Waxing political

This is a politically biased post so read no further if you get offended easily.

John DeanI had an unfinished rant titled “What the f*ck is wrong with Republicans? ” all ready to go when my feed reader delivered the second of a three part essay on that very issue by John Dean. If the name isn’t familiar, Dean was a high profile figure in the Watergate scandal of the early to mid 70’s. I guess the experience, or other experiences since then, convinced him to part ways with the GOP. His series is an expansive study on the topic of authoritarians in the Republican Party and is much more professional and less profanity-laced than my meager effort. Rather than embarrass myself I will instead direct you to the first and second parts to read for yourself.