Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Happy Patriot Day!

I’ve read that telemarketers are taking Sept. 11 off. So the terrorists have won after all.

Mark Hertsgaard comments on something missing in the media’s 9/11 coverage, that it was the anniversary of the US-sponsored coup in Chile in 1973, where the official death toll was 3,197.

A candidate for sheriff of La Plata County, Colorado has dropped out of the race after he shot a gang member. He, the candidate, was dressed at the time in women’s clothing, which he said was because he was part of an undercover assignment, and was leaving an adult bookstore. He refuses to say what agency was employing him at the time of the incident. In fact, no one can figure out if he has ever had a law enforcement job.

A Jewish family in Israel, who came from the US four years ago, took the Israeli bribes for doing so etc., have all converted to Islam (the father was converted over the internet). This has never happened before and the immigration ministry doesn’t really have a procedure for it. Their passports still say Jew (do Israeli passports really specify religion? Wasn’t the last country to do that Nazi Germany in 1938?).

While driving today, at a couple of overpasses I saw people waving large flags. One of them was chatting on his cell phone at the same time.

So happy Patriot Day, everybody. I think after using that word for the “USA PATRIOT Act,” with its detentions without trials, unlimited phone and e-mail taps, etc etc, maybe it was inappropriate to use it as well for the commemoration. Personally at 5:46 a.m. I sang a verse of “Happy birthday, international terrorist incident,” but that’s me. The Food Network (I first typed Foot Network, which must be one of the few channels my cable doesn’t carry) was off the air, which I suppose is a better statement than if they’d stayed on and just run pork recipes all day. Turner Classic Movies was running “Manhattan Melodrama.”

Speaking of movies, I just want to note the death of actor Katrin Cartlidge, who would have been one of the greats.

A letter to the Daily Telegraph says that Britain is obligated to join the US in its war on Iraq, given our support in both world wars. So if the US starts the war in 2003, Britain should enter in, say, 2006.

You’ll remember my theory that the reason the ATF wasn’t included in the Ministerium der Homeland Security was to make sure that no information on gun owners was ever used for law enforcement purposes. Well now the Bushies want to move it from Treasury to the clammy hands of John Ashcroft at Justice, where no doubt it will be renamed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Dancing.

A Washington Post editorial notes that on 12/7/42, the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor, things were a lot clearer than they were today, with the US at war with Japan, Germany and Italy. Actually, I’d have said that was a lot like our case. FDR used the incident to expand a war from one enemy to many. Germany had no more to do with Pearl Harbor than Iraq with the World Trade Center (yes yes, I know Germany declared war on us, but the point still holds good).

I thought that fuss in UC Berkeley over whether ribbons should be white or red, white & blue was silly until today, when Bush in his speech said that the victims of 9/11 were killed because they were Americans, which of course many of them were not. He also said that we fight for the dignity of life, just in case you were collecting oxymorons. He also said something about liberating a nation and it took me a minute to realize he meant Afghanistan.

Bush, whether he knows it or not, is now responsible for everything everywhere in the world. He wanted a world-wide war on terrorism, he got it, but the responsibility goes along with it. This month, Pakistanis are blaming him for "letting" Musharaf rewrite the constitution to give himself and the
military absolute power over any “civilian” government. And they are right to assign the blame to Bush, who is now officially helping prop Musharaf up, although two years ago he couldn't come up with his name when asked. The rule of the war lords/criminals
in Afghanistan, that’s his as well. He now runs the world and, gosh, good luck with that. This is why the establishment of a viable Middle East peace is mandatory.

Many of you know my theory that when the US’s attention is elsewhere, as it is today, Israel commits an atrocity. Well, I don’t know that it did, but it did threaten Lebanon with war if it goes ahead with a water project.

Incidentally, I was wrong earlier about the telemarketers. I have in fact been given the opportunity today to switch phone companies.

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