May 2008


So Scott McClellan wrote a tell-all about the Bush White House, eh? He makes “extraordinary” claims about Karl Rove and Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney orchestrating wars and smear campaigns for political ends. He uses words like “propaganda” when describing how the American people (and the world) was convinced that war in Iraq was necessary. But is any of this really news? Can anyone actually say with a straight face that they are shocked at these so-called revelations? I mean, other than the fact that this is coming from a highly ranked former employee (White House Press Secretary is an enviable job title), is any of this stuff “news”?

We have known for a long time that the Bush Administration has simply made up “intelligence” to suit their feeble egos and wicked intentions. They spew lines about God and country, American security, family values and morals, and say that the war was a “War of Necessity, not a War of Choice.” They make us imagine the shadows in the corners are trying to kills us, and they spend lots and lots of money that we don’t have to fleece the nation and tell us that we’re safer because of it. All lies.

If the media had done their jobs, they would not have blindly taken a White House Press Secretary’s word for anything and have investigated other sources for confirmation. When officials claimed that Bush was not planning on invading Iraq and taking out Saddam Hussein prior to 9/11, the media should have run a continuous loop of the second debate during the 2000 election. Here’s my favorite part:

BUSH: . . . I think credibility is going to be very important in the future in the Middle East. I want everybody to know should I be the president Israel’s going to be our friend. I’m going to stand by Israel. Secondly, that I think it’s important to reach out to moderate Arab nations, like Jordan and Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It’s important to be friends with people when you don’t need each other so that when you do there’s a strong bond of friendship. And that’s going to be particularly important in dealing not only with situations such as now occurring in Israel, but with Saddam Hussein. The coalition against Saddam has fallen apart or it’s unraveling, let’s put it that way. The sanctions are being violated. We don’t know whether he’s developing weapons of mass destruction. He better not be or there’s going to be a consequence should I be the president. But it’s important to have credibility and credibility is formed by being strong with your friends and resoluting your determination. One of the reasons why I think it’s important for this nation to develop an anti-ballistic missile system that we can share with our allies in the Middle East if need be to keep the peace is to be able to say to the Saddam Husseins of the world or the Iranians, don’t dare threaten our friends. It’s also important to keep strong ties in the Middle East, credible ties, because of the energy crisis we’re now in. After all, a lot of the energy is produced from the Middle East, and so I appreciate what the administration is doing. I hope to get a sense of should I be fortunate to be the president how my administration will react to the Middle East.

. . .

BUSH: That’s hard to tell. I think that, you know, I would hope to be able to convince people I could handle the Iraqi situation better.

MODERATOR: Saddam Hussein, you mean, get him out of there?

BUSH: I would like to, of course, and I presume this administration would as well. We don’t know — there are no inspectors now in Iraq, the coalition that was in place isn’t as strong as it used to be. He is a danger. We don’t want him fishing in troubled waters in the Middle East. And it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be important to rebuild that coalition to keep the pressure on him.

MODERATOR: You feel that is a failure of the Clinton administration?

BUSH: I do.

It is important to remember that this debate occurred on October 11, 2000 — exactly 11 months before the September 11th attacks. Israel and Palestine were engaged in bloody battle, and I had not heard the words “Saddam Hussein” in any serious way in almost 8 years. I sat on the couch, incredulous at this exchange, and said to Brent, “This guy is going to start a war.” September 11th gave a convenient excuse for said war, but the media completely failed this country when the Iraq War/WMD/”get Saddam Hussein” rhetoric started by not reminding everyone of this very publicized debate. Is this not evidence in itself that a war with Iraq had been on the minds of officials well before our War on Terror? Not to mention every other incident subsequent to that where the media just followed along with the official talking points like little puppies. And people wonder why we turn to The Daily Show to find out what’s really going on in the country. . .

Throughout this “media firestorm” surrounding Scott McClellan, only David Gregory got closest to admitting that the media failed:

MATTHEWS: . . . David, what do you make of that? What do we say when we realize “The New York Times” was used, in sequence used—and other media were used as well?

GREGORY: We got it wrong.

. . .

MATTHEWS: No, you didn‘t get it wrong. You were manipulated, weren‘t we?

GREGORY: Well, I mean, if you believe that our job is to try to get it right, and to…

. . .

GREGORY: … sort of pierce past that manipulation, the press, the body politic of the press, wasn‘t able to do that in this particular case.

. . .

There were no WMD in Iraq. The basis of the congressional resolution was based on the nuclear threat that was presented by Saddam Hussein.

MATTHEWS: Right.

GREGORY: A lot of people believed that, Democrats, Republicans, and the White House, and reporters who were trying to report the story as best they could.

MATTHEWS: Yes.

GREGORY: You know, we didn‘t get it right. The facts are what they are. And the press didn‘t get it right.

So, yes, the question of manipulation, the administration did what it did.

Not quite an apology, and no one’s losing their jobs over it, but it’s a start.

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On Saturday, Brent played a gig at a tea house off the Plaza. This place is a local hang-out for the unwashed, trust-fund-baby, bohemian set – outfitted with wicker chairs and tables, big pillows on the floor, and local art on the Moroccan gold walls. The place promotes itself as very zen, but we all know better. Inside of all the mellow, yoga-stretched, “enlightened” Santa Fites that frequent places like this are self-absorbed, narrow-minded, holier-than-thou drama majors just dying for their chance in the spotlight. They come in attention grabbing get-ups — the tall blonde in tight jeans and black sequined top that would have fit in more properly on a Saturday night in NYC, the 50+ year old man with hair dyed the color of Ronald McDonald Red #40 , the scruffy owner traipsing around in his loose-fitting hemp pants and tunic, holding one of 5 scruffy kids acting like the king of the castle while his staff behind the counter struggle to keep up with orders.

After the leader of the second band started to warm up his guitars onstage while the first act was still playing (citing “Hey, man. The audience came to hear me play!”), and I left my book on the pillow that I was sitting on to use the restroom (which, I thought was the international symbol of “This Seat Is Saved”) – only to return to the dirty owner and his oily family sitting in my spot with my book tossed to the side – I decided it was time to exit. Then, as I sat in my perfectly parallel parked car across the street from the tea house, reading my book with the window rolled down, waiting for Brent to finish his set, an older woman in a frighteningly hideous outfit of white pants, white fringed jacket, and white cowboy hat, complete with red and blue sequence from head to toe, white platinum hair, and red smeared lips, gets out of her car, comes up to my window, and asks me to move my car forward so that she can slide into the spot behind me. I snapped. I’m embarrassed to repeat what I said to her here, but it started with “What? So you want me to move my car because you can’t parallel park!?!” and went down hill from there.

Now today I read a story about how there is a movement afoot in Santa Fe to have WiFi removed from public places because some people’s perceived sensitivities to the radio waves makes it an issue under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Freaks. I’m so sick of these people. Their right to exist is so much more important than anyone else’s right to exist. Their “I get a headache from looking into the sun, so the government needs to stretch a huge sunshade over the entire state until I am comfortable” whine gets old. They seem to be the only 12 people on the planet who have “symptoms” from WiFi – have they not thought of other environmental (or just mental) factors that could contribute to their ailments? And in the meantime, they are going to fight to restrict my freedom to engage in communication and commerce via WiFi? Give me a break. Shawn Mullins didn’t get it quite right – the line should have read “Take me far away from Santa Fe!

OK – I just stumbled across this article, Meatless Like Me, and I just had to post it! I agree with 95% of it.  I’m not on a crusade to change you (though it would be nice if my way of life were the norm); PETA does not represent me; I, too, think tofu is gross for the most part, but I still eat it; and I would like to have more than a Gardenburger offered on a menu.

Where the author and I diverge is that I don’t believe I could pull the trigger on any animal if I were starving, I make a conscious effort to not buy leather shoes (1 pair of hiking boots and 2 pairs of athletic shoes are my failings), and I have never liked the smell of bacon.  Otherwise, this guy is right on target.  My People!

I read about the death of Eight Belles, the second place filly at the Kentucky Derby, with great sadness for our society. For a number of reasons, I deplore horse racing, dog racing, and any other type of “entertainment” in which animals are put at risk for our amusement. Outside of the animal rights community, I’m often a minority.

However, this guy from Fox Sports wrote an article that pretty much represents the genesis of the line of thinking I took that led me to choose vegetarianism 18 years ago this past March. Where are the boundaries of our collective hypocrisy? How can we have companion animals and love them like kids, and then not extend that affection and compassion to the cow on a plate? Why do people who love horses condone horse racing and rodeo riding? And why do “animal lovers” still tolerate animal testing by purchasing cheap consumer products manufactured by Procter & Gambel, Kimberly Clark, Colgate Palmolive, etc.?

Our choices have ripple effects that permeate areas lots of us don’t want to think about. But we shouldn’t kid ourselves that we are somehow living “true to our beliefs” when we choose to ignore the effects of our behaviors.

Marlo Silva was a classmate of mine through grade school and junior high. Three-quarters tomboy, Marlo rode horses, rode to school in a big truck, and didn’t give a rip about what others thought of her. While Marlo was chucking dodgeballs on the school yard, I was wrapped up in pre-teen girldom (frienemies with Shannon Parsons, wanting Daniel Bigham to like me). But Marlo seemed to be above all of that. She was confident and non-judgmental. I remember her being among the first to talk to the new kid in class and tolerate all of the crappy things that little kids did to one another with a nonchalance that was unusual for me.

In high school, I was in awe of Shelby Borchard. Shelby was 2 years older than me, girl-next-door pretty, a cheerleader, and dating the quarterback of the football team. She could have easily been a Mean Girl, but she wasn’t. She was one of the sweetest people I knew, and she was always very kind to me.

Teva is very much an amalgamation of all of the cool girls that I’ve personally known, and some of the ones that I wish I knew. Part Mia Hamm, part Jennifer Garner, she is an adventurous, confident, and audacious go-getter. She has always done things her own way with a spring in her step and a smile on her face. The pretty girl tomboy who can keep up with a rough game in the schoolyard, welcomes the new kid to the house without attitude or judgment, puts up with the crappy things other “lesser” dogs do, and she’s the only one in our family that I trust implicitly with children, the elderly, and other animals with my back turned. She could have easily been a model in an REI or Title 9 catalog – snowboarder in winter, rockclimber in summer, yoga poser/salsa dancer/pizza eater and beer drinker year round.

But that was nine days ago. After a hemangiosarcoma diagnosis, three trips to the emergency vet in 7 days, and several seizures or “syncopal episodes” (no one really can tell us which with any certainty), Brent and I are talking about euthanasia. We’re not there yet, but if we can’t get these things controlled with the meds soon, we won’t have her the 1-2 months that the “experts” tell us we have. The oncologist said we could “go aggressive” with treatment – surgery, chemo. But that would only give us another 5-7 months with her, and that’s being optimistic. So, we’ve opted for hospice. Steroids to control swelling and inflammation, pain meds, and yunnan baiyao for any internal bleeding.

I can’t tell if any of it is doing any good, though, because she still seems pretty out of it. She’s sleeping more, but she did hang out in the backyard yesterday morning eating grass and breathing in the sun and wind. Then again, we did have to run to the E-vet yesterday evening because of an “episode.” It is just so hard to watch her deteriorate and not be able to throw any amount of money at it to fix it.