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Democracy has been taken for granted at a time when it is most endangered. Neo-Conservatives are organized to replace it with oligarchy, to replace consent for the rule of law with fascistic allegiance to the executive branch disguised as "patriotism." As a team made up of a political philosopher and a writer, we consider otherwise repressed information from a critical perspective in the hope of elevating the quality of our political dialogue so that it is worthy of a truly democratic society.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Lisa:
Thanks for the viewpoint. I'm just back from a roadtrip to Seattle, Soap Lake (WA), and Moscow (ID), and I think I am moving toward better perspectives in general. In Seattle I saw one of my idols, Kristin Hersh, roaring cathartic with her new band, 50-Ft. Wave, I got to play Outerspace Uncle to my friend, Matt Sullivan's, toddler, Milo, and I spent a bizarre electricity-outage two hours in a Moscow bar with my former director of comp and an old friend who is a lecturer in the department there. I have all these scattered people who make up significant parts of my life, and sometimes the various chapters seem to have happened to very different Erics. It's interesting. Regarding Ostin, I went through all sorts of phases, finally moving from "embarrassment" to "anger," and then out the other side to feeling relatively nothing at the moment.

I found Eternal Sunshine utterly captivating, a melancholic embrace relieved by its final moments.

Your own emotional ordeal reads very complex, very layered and even strange . . . yet, if you will permit me, wonderful: rife with possibility and hope, yes? And why not? It is such possibility that prods me to keep slugging it out when this world can so seem awful (I suppose because the alternative, death/whatever, seems so dull). But sometimes I worry that my desire to find a significant other is exactly what gets me into trouble, but well whatever. I have learned that earnestness freaks a lot of people out these days. I continue to be willing to take the risks rather than anguish alone in my head even though that sometimes means hurt. I keep looking.

My future plans are a jumble at the moment, but rest assured I will make a visit to you and your garden. I may be living out of my vehicle, but it's a nice vehicle. And hey--I just got a story accepted for publication in a nice, Midwestern review, so things are not so bad.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Eric..

My impression of the account you received of your breakup was that it was rather contrived, and such contrivance is often a cloak for more fundamental issues which may very likely be too dramatic and direct to share. Notice the disjunction between falling in love and hollow apologies - do you see as i suspect you do a lack of coherence between his behavior and his account of his decision? When he explains himself in terms so remote, shouldn't we wonder that something more ugly lurkes in the swampy depths of his inclinations? His whole approach is insincere and patronizing, and for me, it sends off warning signals that make me think he was a far more treacherous companion than he revealed himself to be. There is no comfort in telling you that you were wronged, and no advice of any utility. Just get out here and let's drink some wine in my garden, more beautiful now than ever. I can offer you compassion, however. Grief, as i have found, is a proces which has its own internal logic of movement, and there is no help for it but to wait patiently for it to subside.

Let me tell you about the paradoxical process of growth i'm in as a result of confronting sorrow, because I am really struggling to understand what is happening to us as a result. For the first time ever, i think my life could take a direction that is unprecedented but something i have spent seven years getting ready for. I have always carried a fear of marriage/monogamous commitment, but now i find myself moving toward it as though it were an instinctual project. Not for any old reason, but because Bill and I are psycholocially enmeshed with one another, and can now barely stand not to live at all times under the same roof.

The confusing point for me is that I have in some way always known we would end up this way, but i managed to avoid dealing with this bit of "knowledge." Now it is pushing us toward a culmination that we've always wanted but have yet to experience EVER in our entire lives. And i have to balance my hurt feelings against the long-term momentum of our relationship, which has only begun to get so FUCKING SERIOUS in the last year. It was always serious, it was never not serious, but now it is psychically serious, it's serious in a way that involves terrifying mutual vulnerability and trust beyond what i have learned to reveal to anyone so far.

I have been depressed about my crisis with Bill for a month now - profoundly depressed, a condition in which anger is not even possible because sadness is so absolute that everything else yields to it. And yet, our relationship is growing steadily and has never been more close and more serious and with more clearly at stake in choosing one another at all times. We each saw that the choice before us is to move forward or harbor sadness, and i think we don't intend to experience living without one another.

So, there is a strange irony here that makes my head feel overwhelmed/dizzy off and on as i move though these Spring days. Having faced down our crisis in part by admitting and affirming for five weeks now that our commitment to one another is indefinite, i am beginning to wonder if I may eventually marry. Expressed in words it feels incomprehensible to me, but the historical tides of my own maturity seem to be propelling me toward the kind of lifelong unified partnership that actually becomes legal - what a trip. We will see, anyhow.

Occasionally i become paranoid that i will be hurt. I start to fear that my inclinations are proceeding to become more serious without any kind of reciprocal commitment, but this cannot be the case. He is buying a house which he describes as a nest for us, and antique furniture as the twigs and strings that will line it. It will be filled not just with artifacts of our time together but with furniture for ME as well as for him. He is furnishing the house to reflect the fact that it is the home we share together. All last month we spent in an attempt to knit our lives together more firmly. Though the words "marry" were only on my lips once - when i was yelling/sobbing at him that he was the only one i had ever thought seriously about marrying, we have verbally acknowledged that it is time for us to take the next step in our relationship and focus only on each other passionately, indefinitely. I think this means that we will share our homes with one another, and i confess i think this is a wise plan. My marriage-phobia is probably deeply buried but i do get a little overwhelmed at the idea that this is THE ONE ... and yet it has been so long so long so long that we have been together, i must either acknowledge it or consider whether i am wasting my time. THe second option is an impossibility, because I have never told anyone this, but i knew almost immediately after i met him that he was IT - i didn't even know him. This sounds pathetic and i am feeling a vague sort of "confessional guilt" for it, but i never had that experience before or after. We went to see "eternal sunshine of the spotless mind" for the second time, and as Jim Carrey reflects on the first time he met Kate Winslet, Bill whispers in unison that he knew almost immediately that i would be the one to "save his life" with such sincerity that i knew we knew immediately (seven years ago) that we wanted to be exactly where we are today. How are such experiences possible when love is a practical accomplishment requiring growth and investment? How is it possible to know such things, and explain them in ways which demonstrate that you are not being duped by romantic ideology? It isn't love at first sight, it's more like an intuitive connection that develops after a month or so that this one person unlike any before is your perfect complement.

Am I mad? If i am, we must necessarily be so together. I trust the experience but not the idea of its reasonableness. Nevertheless, this is the insight that has become explicit between us since the crisis forced us to choose one another so deliberately, and apparently we have each always known it and never confronted it so directly.

I wanted to tell you but my hope was that i could find a way to clarify it without sounding like i've been duped by two thousand years of romantic propaganda. When i was in my early to mid twenties, i never thought i could sustain feelings of love, much less remain faithful. Now i'm taking responsibility for having found my mate and choosing to keep that as a "sacred" project (in the humanist sense of course!) I'm as cynical as anyone, and yet this was a kind of transcendental insight we have had into our bond with one another which endured seven years before it became possible for us to talk about putting our lives together in a way which is inseparable. I am relieved and ashamed to acknowledge it at the same time - what language exists for it which has not already been reduced to the perversity of consumer ideology?

Pipsqueak died because i placed her in a pen with a rabbit i believed was a female, and she became pregnant and died giving birth. I never even knew, she didn't show. She dug a hole, padded it with weeds and soft fur, and crawled inside to die. WHen i pulled her from the hole hours later, unsure of her condition, i found her stiff and cold and in the process of having a kit whose frozen twig legs with their precious infant claws had been just about to emerge. Despair was all i felt for weeks, and i cried and cried.

I am lifing weights again and it won't be long before i am back to my warrior princess physique. I think four more years of GWB may inspire thoughts of suicide, but somehow thoughts of a future which i NEVER thought i was capable of committing myself to inspires a will to live - even if the cloak of fascism is more firmly drawn around us, i think i may still want to learn how to live finally. It's an odd and unprecedented feeling.

Come out and spend part of the summer with me here. My garden is beautiful and i am looking foward to growth and flourishing - perhaps i can return the dear favor you did for me last summer, when it was my turn to become obsessive over a bad-faith breakup.



Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The Real Nuclear Danger
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
The New York Times

“In the summer of 2001, there was a spike in Al Qaeda ‘chatter’ and mounting evidence that a terror strike was imminent. But without precise details, it was difficult to get the attention of top policy makers or the public — until it was too late.

“Now something similar is happening in North Korea.

“North Korea is potentially more dangerous than the mess in Iraq. It probably has at least 1 to 3 nuclear weapons already, it is producing both plutonium and uranium, and it is on track to have close to 10 nuclear weapons by the end of this year.

“Yet because President Bush's policy has failed in North Korea, Washington is determinedly looking the other way. When we next focus on North Korea, after the election, it could be a nuclear Wal-Mart.

“North Korea not only has genuine nuclear weapons programs, but it is also the model of a rogue state: it gets its U.S. currency by printing it. That's right; it counterfeits excellent American $100 bills.

“The latest disclosure, via David ‘Scoop’ Sanger of The Times, is that the father of Pakistan's bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, claims that North Korea showed him three nuclear weapons in 1999. The Bush administration, after publicizing anything to do with Iraqi W.M.D., tried to keep that North Korean revelation secret.

“Dr. Khan's report has not been confirmed. But this much is sure: The Bush administration has invaded a country on far less evidence.

“Worse, North Korea is reprocessing enough plutonium to make an additional half-dozen weapons. It has also restarted one nuclear reactor and will soon replace the fuel rods there, producing enough plutonium for another weapon. All of that activity began during the Bush administration. […]”

Read the entire essay here (requires a free, one-time registration).
--------------------------

Lisa, I hope your weekend with Bill was wonderful. I am off to Seattle to visit my brother early Thursday morning (driving) and am hoping to see some friends in Moscow, ID on my way back. I'm doing okay but worn from tending a wounded heart. We'll talk soon, eh.


Friday, April 16, 2004

Thank Goodness For Jack Krugman

The following quote comes from Krugman's "The Vietnam Analogy" in today's New York Times:

"On Tuesday George Bush did a meta-Nixon: he declared that anyone who draws analogies between Iraq and Vietnam undermines the soldiers and encourages the enemy."

Read the full editorial here. (Requires a free, one-time regsitration)

Hear no evil, read no evil, speak drivel
From The Guardian:

Bush's press conference shows just how ill-informed he is about Iraq (Article link available here.)

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday April 15, 2004
The Guardian

"On April 21 1961, President Kennedy held a press conference to answer questions on the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles that he had approved. 'There's an old saying,' he said, 'that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan ... I am the responsible officer of the government and that is quite obvious.'

"On Wednesday, President Bush held only his third press conference and was asked three times whether he accepted responsibility for failing to act on warning before September 11. 'I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't [sic] yet,' he said. 'I just haven't - you just put me under the spot here and maybe I'm not quick - as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.'

"Bush's press conference was the culmination of his recent efforts to staunch the political wounds of his bleeding polls since the 9/11 commission began public hearings and violence spiralled in Iraq. Bush had tried to divert blame by declaring that the August 6 memo he was forced to declassify at the commission's insistence contained no 'actionable intelligence,' even though it specifically mentioned the World Trade Centre and Washington as targets.

"Bush, in fact, does not read his President's Daily Briefs, but has them orally summarised every morning by the CIA director, George Tenet. President Clinton, by contrast, read them closely and alone, preventing any aides from interpreting what he wanted to know first-hand. He extensively marked up his PDBs, demanding action on this or that, which is almost certainly the likely reason the Bush administration withheld his memoranda from the 9/11 commission.

"'I know he doesn't read,' one former Bush national security council staffer told me. Several other former NSC staffers corroborated this. It seems highly unlikely that he read the national intelligence estimate on WMD before the Iraq war that consigned contrary evidence and caveats that undermined the case to footnotes and fine print. Nor is there any evidence that he read the state department's 17-volume report, The Future of Iraq, warning of nearly all the postwar pitfalls, that was shelved by the neocons in the Pentagon and Vice-President Cheney's office.

"Nor was Bush aware of similar warnings urgently being sounded by the military's top strategic analysts. One monograph, Reconstructing Iraq, by the US Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute, predicted in detail "possible severe security difficulties" and conflicts among Iraqis that US forces 'can barely comprehend.' I have learned that it was suppressed by the Pentagon neocons, and only released to US central command after Senator Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the foreign relations committee, directly intervened. A revolt within the military against Bush is brewing. Many in the military's strategic echelon share the same feelings of being ignored and ill-treated by the administration that senior intelligence officers voice in private. 'The Pentagon began with fantasy assumptions on Iraq and worked back,' one of them remarked to me.

"As the iconic image of the 'war president' has tattered, another picture has emerged. Bush appears as a passive manager who enjoys sitting atop a hierarchical structure, unwilling and unable to do the hard work a real manager has to do to run the largest enterprise in the world. He does not seem to absorb data unless it is presented to him in simple, clear fashion by people whose judgment he trusts. He is receptive to information that agrees with his point of view rather than information that challenges it. This leads to enormous power on the part of the trusted interlocutors, who know and bolster his predilections.

"At his press conference, Bush was a confusion of absolute confidence and panic. He jumbled facts and conflated threats, redoubling the vehemence of his incoherence at every mildly sceptical question. He attempted to create a false political dichotomy between "retreat" and his own vague and evolving position on Iraq, which now appears to follow senator John Kerry's, of granting more authority to the UN and bringing in Nato.

"The ultimate revelation was Bush's vision of a divinely inspired apocalyptic struggle in which he is the leader of a crusade bringing the Lord's 'gift.' 'I also have this belief, strong belief that freedom is not this country's gift to the world. Freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the earth we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom.' But religious war is not part of official US military doctrine."

--Sidney Blumenthal is former senior adviser to President Clinton and Washington bureau chief of Salon.com

Sidney_Blumenthal@yahoo.com



Thursday, April 15, 2004

I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO NOTICED ONCE AGAIN THAT BUSH IS INCAPABLE OF PERCEIVING CONCEPTUAL DISJUNCTIONS IN HIS OWN SPEECH

From Misleader.org of course.

BUSH CONTRADICTS SELF AT HIS OWN PRESS CONFERENCE

During last night's prime time press conference, President Bush once again
claimed that "there was nobody in our government, at least, and I don't
think the prior government that could envision flying airplanes into
buildings" (1). But just minutes later at the same press conference the
president proved he was not telling the truth.

Specifically, Bush said the reason he supposedly requested intelligence
briefings before 9/11 "had to do with the Genoa G-8 conference I was going
to attend" in 2001. Bush was referring to the fact that, prior to that
conference, he was warned that "Islamic terrorists might attempt to kill him
and other leaders by crashing an airliner into the summit" meetings (2).

His statement that "the prior government" had not taken precautions against
terrorists using planes as weapons is also contradicted by the facts. The
Wall Street Journal recently reported that under President Clinton, "the
federal government had on several earlier occasions taken elaborate, secret
measures to protect special events from just such an attack" (3) after
receiving intelligence warnings (4).

At the press conference, Bush also claimed to have no "inkling whatsoever"
(5) about an attack before 9/11. But the Washington Post today reports that
newly-declassified information shows that the president did not just receive
one intelligence briefing about an imminent Al Qaeda attack, but "a stream"
of repeated warnings (6). In April and May 2001, for example, the
intelligence community titled some of those reports "Bin Laden planning
multiple operations," "Bin Laden network's plans advancing" and "Bin Laden
threats are real." The CIA explicitly told the Administration that upcoming
attacks would "occur on a catastrophic level, indicating that they would
cause the world to be in turmoil."

Sources:
1. President Addresses the Nation in Prime Time Press Conference,
04/13/2004,
http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1305775&l=28724.
2. "Italy Tells of Threat at Genoa Summit", Los Angeles Times, 09/27/2001,
http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1305775&l=28725.
3. Wall Street Journal, 04/01/2004.
4. "Report Warned Of Suicide Hijackings", CBS News, 05/10/2002,
http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1305775&l=28726.
5. President Addresses the Nation in Prime Time Press Conference,
04/13/2004,
http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1305775&l=28724.
6. "Panel Says Bush Saw Repeated Warnings", Washington Post, 04/14/2004,
http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1305775&l=28727.






WOULD BUSH RESORT TO PLANTING WMD IN IRAQ TO SAVE FACE BEFORE THE 9-11 COMMISSION AND THE AMERICAN PUBLIC?

I think the answer is clearly yes - he's a violently prideful individual with a sense of absolute entitlement who displays willingness to punish anyone who may make him look bad. So it's not out of the realm of possibility. The problem is that for most of the world's people, there is no readily available empirical evidence to suggest this. All we have are media reports, and between both "sides" i doubt there is much integrity.

********************
From AxisofLogic.com

Iraq
New Reports on U.S. Planting WMDs in Iraq
By News Report
Apr 13, 2004, 07:10

BASRA, April 12 (MNA) - Fifty days after the first reports that
the U.S. forces were unloading weapons of mass destruction
(WMD) in southern Iraq, new reports about the movement of
these weapons have been disclosed.

Sources in Iraq speculate that occupation forces are using the
recent unrest in Iraq to divert attention from their surreptitious
shipments of WMD into the country.

An Iraqi source close to the Basra Governors Office told the
MNA that new information shows that a large part of the
WMD, which was secretly brought to southern and western
Iraq over the past month, are in containers falsely labeled as
containers of the Maeresk shipping company and some
consignments bearing the labels of organizations such as the
Red Cross or the USAID in order to disguise them as relief
shipments.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added
that Iraqi officials including forces loyal to the Iraqi Governing
Council stationed in southern Iraq have been forbidden from
inspecting or supervising the transportation of these
consignments. He went on to say that the occupation forces
have ordered Iraqi officials to forward any questions on the
issue to the coalition forces. Even the officials of the
international relief organizations have informed the Iraqi
officials that they would only accept responsibility for relief
shipments which have been registered and managed by their
organizations.

The Iraqi source also confirmed the report about suspicious
trucks with fake Saudi and Jordanian license plates entering
Iraq at night last week, stressing that the Saudi and Jordanian
border guards did not attempt to inspect the trucks but simply
delivered them to the U.S. and British forces stationed on
Iraqs borders.

However, the source expressed ignorance whether the
governments of Saudi Arabia and Jordan were aware of such
movements.

A professor of physics at Baghdad University also told the
MNA correspondent that a group of his colleagues who are
highly specialized in military, chemical and biological fields
have been either bribed or threatened during the last weeks
to provide written information on what they know about
various programs and research centers and the possible
storage of WMD equipment.

The professor also said these people have been openly
asked to confirm or deny the existence of research or related
WMD equipment. A large number of these scientists, who
are believed to be under the surveillance of U.S. intelligence
operatives, have claimed that if they refuse to comply with this
request, they may be killed or arrested on charges of
concealing the truth if these weapons are found by the Bush
administration in the future.

He said that the Iraqi scientists believe their lives would be in
danger if they decline to cooperate with the occupation forces,
especially when they recall that senior U.S. officer Michael
Peterson once said, Iraqi scientists are at any case a threat to
the U.S. administration, whether they talk or not.

A source close to the Iraqi Governing Council said, In the
meantime, many suspect containers disguised as fuel supplies
have been moved about by some units of the U.S. special
forces. The move has been carried out under heavy security
measures. Also, there are unofficial reports that the containers
held biological and bacteriological toxins in liquid form. It is
possible that the news about the discovery of the WMDs
would be announced later.

He also said that such mixtures had been used by the
Saddam regime in the 1990s.

The source added that some provocative actions such as the
closure of Al-Hawza periodical by U.S. administrator Paul
Bremer, the secret meetings between his envoys with some
extremist groups who have no relations with the Iraqi
Governing Council, the sudden upsurge in violence in central
and southern Iraq, a number of activities which have stoked
up the wrath of the prominent Shia clerics, and finally, the
spate of kidnappings and the baseless charges against the
Iranian charge daffaires in Baghdad are providing the
necessary smokescreen for the transportation of the WMD
to their intended locations.

He said they are quite aware that the White House in
cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has
directly tasked the Defense Department to hide these weapons.
Given the recent scandals to the effect that the U.S. president
was privy to the 9/11 plot, they might try to immediately
announce the discovery of weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq in order to overshadow the scandals and prevent a further
decline of Bushs public opinion rating as the election
approaches.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Eric - hang in..
I am sending out warm thoughts for you, and i'll get with you right quick re: all these developments. i am swamped for the next day or so, and then bill and i are going to portland for the weekend. i am still upset with him somewhat, but unfortunately i am hopelessly in love and thus fully vulnerable in the face of this thing that i am part of but which is so much bigger than i am alone. he's an amazing man and so passionately devoted (who else kisses my tears away so faithfullyl?), and wouldn't you know he makes me a happier girl and better woman than i've ever been before. So, things are going well. If i could have anything it would be to have him reveal his emotional life with more intensity/frequency, and he's promising to make sure i never doubt i have full access to such things.

I jotted some notes on the last 20 minutes (?) or so of Bush's press conference this evening, and needless to say i think he's got a double problem: he's gone slightly mad after his post-911 status as messianic cowboy, but now he's in deep shit. More later, lots of love to you.
lisa
shite - a typical afterthought - i forgot to tell you that Pipsqueak passed away and it was my fault.

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