Sister Novena's PortaPulpit
freedom, liberalism, movies, and truth

Thursday, April 22, 2004
De-De-Baathification

Oh, for fuck's sake...

U.S. Says It Is Loosening Policy on Baath Party
By EDWARD WONG

BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 22 €” The American administration in Iraq said today that it was loosening a policy aimed at purging the Iraqi government of members of the former ruling Baath Party.

The change marks the first major policy rollback by the White House during the occupation of Iraq and signals a sharp split on the issue with the Governing Council, particularly with Ahmad Chalabi, the council member in charge of the de-Baathification process.
source

Translation: they were bastards, but we hardly have any friends at all in Iraq now, and that Chalabi guy's an even bigger snake than Cheney. So we're taking literally anything we can get.

In light of this decision, I'd like to present what may become a regular feature here:

NEWS OF TOMORROW

The Cheney administration announced today that it has located a replacement for the recently-indicted former head of the Governing Council, Ahmed Chalabi.

The replacement, Saddam Hussein, is a longstanding political figure in Iraq, with extensive experience in leading the country. He's also a one-time ally of the United States and was chosen for his proven ability to create and maintain peace and order in Iraq.

When asked by reporters whether this Saddam Hussein is the same Saddam Hussein that former President George W. Bush forcibly removed from power, President Cheney replied, "I have no idea what you're talking about. Mr. Hussein is an Iraqi exile and was never in US custody. Perhaps you're thinking of Muqtada al-Sadr. Or Zacarias Moussoui. Yeah, Moussoui... yeah, that's the ticket."

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Those Are Some Big-Ass Spiders

There are two things that I hate about spring in Mississippi: tornadoes and ticks. (I loathe ticks.)

But I don't think I'm going to be complaining about the ticks after seeing this photo.

Addendum: No, these spiders probably aren't nearly as big as they appear in this photograph... most likely it's just a case of tricky perspective. Yeti-spiders notwithstanding, Camel spiders typically grow to be about six inches across, including the legs. But that's still a big fuck-off spider.
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Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Only If Sen. Hagel's Kids Go First

I'm guessing this is the beginning of the official rollout... introducing us to the idea gradually, y'see...

Senator says US may need compulsory service to boost Iraq force

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A senior Republican lawmaker said that deteriorating security in Iraq may force the United States to reintroduce the military draft.

"There's not an American ... that doesn't understand what we are engaged in today and what the prospects are for the future," Senator Chuck Hagel told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on post-occupation Iraq.

"Why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?" Hagel said, arguing that restoring compulsory military service would force "our citizens to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face."

The Nebraska Republican added that a draft, which was ended in the early 1970s, would spread the burden of military service in Iraq more equitably among various social strata.

"Those who are serving today and dying today are the middle class and lower middle class," he observed.
source

First off, the draft might indeed bring a few more middle-class people into the military, but don't let that fool you into thinking that any of the privileged class's children are going to be dying in Iraq. George W. Bush could explain better than I how that works.

More importantly, the ultimate logistic need for a draft has been patently obvious for months now to anyone paying attention. We never had enough troops there in the first place, the situation may be on its way to becoming a meat grinder for Americans as well as Iraqis, and those who are currently serving voluntarily are increasingly saying that there's no way in hell they'll sign up for another run once they finally get sent home. Combine that with the hundreds who have died and the thousands that have been sent home irreparably damaged, and you're looking at a substantial drop in the number of troops available in Iraq, when there already weren't enough to begin with. And that spells DRAFT.

Politically, of course, it's another question. Will Americans -- who are already experiencing some pretty deep misgivings about the situation over there -- feel able to support this war not by slapping flag decals on the backs of their cars, or by watching a lot of FOX News, but rather by sacrificing the lives of their own precious sons and daughters for Iraqi "freedom"?

I'd guess probably not. But then, god knows I've been wrong about how gullible and self-destructive Americans can be before.

Sen. Hagel asks, "Why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?" Well, I'll tell you: this isn't a necessary war. Even if we assume that such a thing exists, this is, pretty much by definition, not one of them. But if indeed all citizens should bear some responsibility and pay some price, that's fine... so long as the Republicans go first.
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Norwegian Blues

Hey Kris... happy birthday!

What's up with you, buddy? You still in Oslo? Drop us a line sometime, goddammit, I miss you!

(PS... if you have Luzius' email address, send it to me! And hugs to Hanne when you see her next.)

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Monday, April 19, 2004
George W. Nothing

I don't generally like to reproduce entire articles... it's not that I fear legal retribution, but let's face it: I have pitiful little original material here as it is without borrowing entire columns. ;) Still, this is a really great piece... and why should I spend hours writing when I could hardly improve on this glorious rant?

(When you feel overwhelmed by the endless stream of bullshit, read this aloud. It's powerful medicine.)

George W. Bush Means Nothing
Note to self: The demons of sour conservatism cannot touch anything that truly matters. Just FYI
By Mark Morford
San Francisco Gate Columnist

You cannot reach me, Dubya.

Go ahead, ya smirkin' Texas lug, stumble around all scrunched and blank eyed and pseudo-manly, shove this country into a bloody unwinnable war and lie about all the reasons why, gouge the economy and ruin the schools and embarrass the nation every single day as you mangle grammar and meaning and truth. It doesn't really matter.

Go ahead, toss those useless $400 rebate checks to the depressed and jobless populace as some sort of bogus humanitarian gesture as you quietly force an increase in their property taxes to pay for your record-breaking deficit brought on by the tax cut no one wants. Ha. You are so cute.

There is so much more going on than you know. There is so much deeper understanding and wider knowledge and higher winking and you can't touch any of it. Do you know this? You need to know this.

You and your brethren are like this sticky toxic mist. You will burn off in the sun of awareness and orgasm and breath. This is what makes it so fun to watch, so magical and visceral, such a divine circus, a rich tragicomic pageant. Do you sense it?

By all means, hack away at the Clean Air Act so it allows millions more pounds of pollutants into the air every year. Slam gays and women's rights and call everyone in the country a "sinner," cut funding for AmeriCorps and the arts and the poor and nature conservation. Wow. The universe is so very proud. Do you hear it laughing? You're not even making a dent.

See, you cannot touch us. We are inured. You are merely hollow and sad and quickly, effortlessly forgettable the minute we step outside or get into bed with our lovers or laugh with friends or scream to the sky the lyrics to "Ballroom Blitz," always, always striving to taste the intense flavors of the collective dream state.

What, too vague? Too namby-pamby new-age tofu-licking pro-sex liberal? Too bad.

Because there is more meaning and content and depth and significance in a lover's moan and in a drop of wine and in a dog's wag than in anything you can conjure in your homophobic faux-cowboy Lynne Cheney-thick dream, honey. Get over yourself. We are on to you. We know you are made of nothing but spin and frantic gesticulations and scowls. Poke a finger into you and out pours only sawdust and sighs.

Hello, Senator Lott. You want to stick it to the environment, do you? Lick the tailbones of your corporate cronies in the auto industry and kill that recent bill that would've mandated a reasonable increase in fuel efficiency for thuggish belching SUVs in about 12 years?

You wish, instead, to snicker and sneer and give not one crap for the planet or our nation's terrorism-inducing dependency on petrochemicals? Kill that bill, senator. You go. Toss a bone to your Detroit pals. That is so sweet. Here's a karmic Post-It note: The gods would like you to right now realize, you have zero true effect. Barely a footnote. A blip. A flicker of quick pain and then poof, gone. Very sorry.

How about you, RIAA? You want a piece? You want to bitch and moan and attack individual music fans with your snide lawsuits and desperate paranoia and come scour my iTunes library and find out how I got my hands on free MP3s of the new Metallica and AFI and burned all that glorious chill electronica from Net-radio broadcasts using my glorious copy of RadioLover? Here is my phone number: 555-LICK. Bring it.

Here is my porn collection. Here are my divine sex toys and my lubricants and my leather strappy things and my collection of happy open-minded perversions and my active account at Blowfish.com and my tattoos and piercings and love of massage oil and vibrators and things that go ooooh in the night. Come on over, Mr. Ashcroft, I have something to show you.

You see, I know you're there, all of you. Sour politicians and conniving Wal-Mart execs and desperate reality-TV creators and gluttonous SUV manufacturers and poisonous garbage-food purveyors and all-'Murkin homophobes and the dumbed-down lowest common denominators and lip-twitching hyper-religious crusaders and anti-everything GOP lizard people, Rummy and Rove and Rice and Ashcroft and Dick, et al. I see you. We see what you are trying to do.

We feel you seething and churning and eating away at the soft rainbow underbelly of the culture, feeding on the weak and the poor and the ignorant, doing your utmost to lower the collective vibration and thinking you are somehow all-powerful and significant and invincible, the center of the sociocultural universe, when in fact you are but a strange and banal rash on the ass of time.

I know you want to shut us down. I know you would love nothing more than if all resistance was mowed under and all perversions were bleached dead and all nuanced questioning of your malicious antihumanitarian agenda was numbed to the point of blind flag-waving psychopatriotism, one born of fear and misinformation and photos of the bloody mutilated bodies of Saddam's demon sons. Damn, you try so hard.

I have news. I have a revelation. It is timeless and ageless and nothing new and I hold no claims to it, but it needs to be repeated and shouted and deeply felt again and again and again, because sometimes you get a little out of control.

Here it is: You are immaterial. You are of zero nutritional value and are indigestible like corn and just pass right through. Do you understand?

There is so much more going on down here than is dreamt of in your bitter and small-minded philosophy. I, and millions like me, sense a more luminous undercurrent, a wider spiritual lens, a richer sensual mother lode.

We know that no matter how much you pule and spit and hiss and spank and crack down, no matter how many laws and how many restrictions and how many wars and murders and stabs at the heart of meaning and sex and divinity, you cannot touch what really matters, you cannot really have any lasting effect.

Oh, it might seem like you do. You can make daily life very grating and tiresome and make people sick with your chemicals and desperate with your slashing of jobs and guilt ridden with your hammering sin and pain and guns and fear.

We watch you spin and hype and rage and scrunch your face in intense bogus prayer aimed at your bitter and self-righteous and homophobic God as your testes wither and weep. Man, have you got gall.

Maybe this gives you the illusion of power and control. Maybe this makes you feel all phallic and handsome and virile as if your toupee isn't rank and askew and your slacks wrinkled and your children in rehab and your sexless wife popping Zoloft like M&Ms. Titter.

But here's the thing: You affect only the surface of things. You are like the little swarm of gnats you have to pass through on the path to the cool summer lake. You are the tainted oyster in the vast ocean of time and sex and love. You are a jagged pothole on the highway to hell and the broken step on the stairway to heaven. But you are not real. You give no light. You contribute nothing. Not where it matters.

But please, by all means, keep trying. Keep ripping away at the rich dense frantic fabric of this gorgeous inexplicable life. You represent all the dark threads, the ugliness and the tension and the low vibration and you are necessary to remind anyone who's paying attention of what to watch out for, what to methodically purge, what to use as easy leverage to vault forward.

Look. You cannot reach me. You are nowhere near. You have no true power and no true connection and have yet to make any sort of splash in the calm lake of open-thighed soul. But it's OK. We understand. After all, as the saying goes, the graveyards are full of indispensable men. And the divine only smiles, licks its lips, and shimmies on.
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Sunday, April 18, 2004
An Ungodly Fucking Mess

I've been really restless all day... haven't been sleeping well the past few nights, can't seem to find anything interesting or satisfying to do, I'm fidgety and faintly irritable. I'm not sure what's behind it all, but I hope it passes soon.

Anyway... sometime in the past 24 hours April '04 officially became the deadliest month so far for US soldiers in Iraq, with an official total of 100 fatalities in 18 days, almost certainly with more to come. Things are getting uglier by the day over there while Bush continues to tap dance on the edge of an awfully deep, dark chasm. Spain is quitting the scene, and even Britain has said that it will leave if asked; meanwhile, tensions in Baghdad are increasingly daily, and the rest of the country could blow at any moment. Iraqi nuclear facilities have been left unguarded by the coalition forces (guess we're not too worried about terrorists making dirty bombs after all), all while despair and hatred grows amongst even those Iraqis who once supported us.

"When the fighting is over in Fallujah, I will sell everything I have, even my home," said a resistance fighter who gave his name as Abu Taif Mashhadani. He wept as he recalled his 8-year-old daughter, who he said was killed by a U.S. sniper in Fallujah a week ago. "I will send my brothers north to kill the Kurds, and I will go to America and target the civilians. Only the civilians. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. And the one who started it will be the one to be blamed."
Washington Post, via Billmon

But d'ya think Bush is worried that maybe, y'know, all of this strife and bloodshed will lessen his chances at the polls come November?

Nah, he knows all Americans care about is how much it costs 'em to fill up their SUVs, and he's already got that covered with a little help from the Saudis. Good to know that he really is serious about the War on Terror, eh?

Fuck, no wonder I can't sleep at night.

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