Tuesday, May 10, 2011

He Ran into Me the Other Day on His Journey to Consult the Oracle of Escalated Suffering

The presidency of George Bush was and is still of rubeful educational benefit to me (if not dead children in Afghanistan and Iraq). The hypothetical was broached here yesterday for the first time in my recent memory: What if Gore won 2000 and was president after 9/11? Kerry had won in 2004 re: war?

The presidency of Barack Obama has been of chagrining educational benefit to me (if not dead children in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and Yemen and by proxy Palestine and who knows where the fuck else though there must be fuck many), for without Obama's (or any Democratic) presidency my answer to the above question would have been as rubeful in 2011 as it was in 2004, 2008.

The pretexts and justifications and targets might have differed (and which Ira do you think Gore's VPOTUS would have advocated bombing for reelection? Trick question! Death to the Either/Or!) but Corporate would have been as served within .06% + or - as of the second you finish this sentence.


Dana Wier

A wolf had grown tired of his character and sought
to find a means to transform himself into something 
more vicious, more deadly. While his coat was slick,
thick and well-colored, for he was an excellent hunter,
he yearned for something to do that had nothing to do 
with survival or instinct. He no longer killed because
he needed to or could. All that was useless, too practical,
too obvious. He wanted to kill for some other purpose.
For all of his successfully completed kills, his perfect
record of stealth and elusion, he felt nothing. When he
ran into me the other day on his journey to consult the 
oracle of escalated suffering we shared a table in the
shade of a parasol tree in whose branches were preening
half a dozen or so birds with gaudy chromatic feathers.
A few of these fell onto the dome of his forehead but he
was too engrossed in his story to brush them away. He 
didn't look like a very serious wolf. I think he was
missing a real opportunity.


  1. In hindsight I think that if Kerry had won there would have been little, if any, backtracking from the extremes of Bush BUT the extremes would have been slightly less so because Bush would have only had four years to, depending on your viewpoint, make things worse than they were in the year 2000 or make things more obvious in their "worse-ness" than they were in 2000 (in terms of foreign policy at least we have been quite a nasty place for a long, long time).

    From the perspective of 2004 itself, the election felt much more like a referndum on the war that it did in 2008 so a Kerry victory might have at least provided some vague sense of mental relief. I would have welcomed the opportunity to not hate people for a little while.

    Say what you will about 2000. Say what you will about Sen. Les Shitty (D) and Pres. Mawr Shitey but still... In 2004, people had had four years of Bush and still thought it was a good idea to vote for him.

  2. :-p, it's hard to beat a sitting president. 2004 was all about swiftboating and anti-abortion initiatives, with the usual corporate media narratives about weak Democrats and strong Republicans.

    I brought up the Gore and Iraq question to point out that while voting for the lesser evil has NOT been working (and Obama has been the poster child), there is in fact a greater and a lesser evil.

    Note that when Democrats won country-wide elections in 2006 and 2008, you did not see the outbreak of anti-woman, anti-gay, ant-immigrant, and anti-union legislative initiatives that we are now seeing from the Republicans.

    P.S. For the record, I think net deaths of children would have been higher if Gore had been POTUS 2001-2009:

    I'm going to have to disagree, BDR. Iraq was an entirely different scale.

    I also disagree with those who contend Gore would have invaded Iraq. I'd suggest those who want to think this reread the history of how it was done, and by whom, starting with PNAC back in the 90s.

  3. Yes, I knew we were going to disagree, but that's cool, I wanted to spark a debate.

    And I agree, I don't think Gore would have invaded Iraq (though as Richard said yesterday, he would have kept the sanctions and no-fly zones). I do think it very conceivable he would have chosen Iran as the incarnation of evil, bombing if not invading (and the consequences of either), which would have pleased the neo-cons just as well. And beyond Team Democrats trying to kill the zombie meme - and I have no doubt they would have tried (as they are currently trying) to kill the zombie meme as a means of getting to control Corporate's spigot - Corporate needs war and collapsing empire gets war.

  4. Thanks, Blckdgrd. For the record, here's an update on those phone numbers:

    Sorry for the flurry of emails, but this is a serious time in our struggle. We have some better phone numbers to call.

    Take Action today:
    Call the Office of Foreign Assets Control at
    202-622-2410 and 202-622-1651
    -- Unfreeze the bank accounts of the Abudayyeh family
    -- Stop repression against Palestinian, anti-war and international solidarity activists.


  5. Posting this for Richard:

    "The idea that anyone besides a government of Cheney and Bush would have used 9-11 (which might not have happened under Gore, after all...I doubt he would have dismissed the intelligence simply because even then the Bush
    Administration was focused on invading Iraq) is silly."

    Are you kidding me? This is the most naive remark I have ever seen posted in a blog comment.

    "Sorry, Richard, but do you really think the PNAC crew would have made it into a Gore Administration?"

    This is a non sequitur (besides dripping with unearned condescension). Your assumption that PNAC is all that was required in order for an
    invasion of Iraq to occur is entirely unwarranted.

    Look, I'll grant that, under Gore, it's ossible 9-11 doesn't happen, since it is indeed true that the Bush Administration, and Ashcroft in
    particular, in its arrogance brusquely ignored much of the data given them by outgoing Democrats. However, if we accept that 9-11 might have happened anyway, if you think the Democrats would not have "used" it, or that they
    would not have been under immense pressure from the likes of PNAC, and the Republicans in general, to invade Iraq, then I don't know what to tell you that will penetrate your fantasy world; I can only point to the entirety of the American post-WWII political landscape and shrug.

    In any case, you're sidestepping the main point. You complained about the liberal-haters by asking if any of us really thought Gore would invade Iraq. I said I did think he would. Now, obviously anything's possible, and a Gore Administration may well have found it not in the interests of the American/Capital power nexus to invade Iraq at that time, that it would
    have been fine to continue the near daily bombing campaign and murderous economic sanctions. You've said nothing about that, instead suggesting that it is morally unthinkable that they would have invaded Iraq. You also said nothing about my point that Gore would unquestionably have authorized the invasion of Afghanistan, a war that many liberals STILL support on humanitarian and/or justice grounds, in much the same spirit that they embrace the kill order on Bin Laden. That war was just as morally unjustified as was the invasion of Iraq, and the earlier Persian Gulf War, and the invasions of Panama and Granada, and the longterm terrorist atrocity against Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and every other military activity of the last 65 years, if not longer. Democrats love them some war.

  6. 300 trillion pennies could buy a hell of a lot more than ten thousand marbles.

    Sure, the dums might or might not have invaded Iraq, but unlike the goopers, whoever they did kill, you can bet your bottom 300 trillionth penny they'd be somber about it, +1 to you, tails of the coin.

    I'm sick of the library tech gig, events coordinator is my future.

  7. "Note that when Democrats won country-wide elections in 2006 and 2008, you did not see the outbreak of anti-woman, anti-gay, ant-immigrant, and anti-union legislative initiatives that we are now seeing from the Republicans."

    First off, a lot of that is at the state level. I don't see abortions becoming illegal under Federal law any time soon. Nor do I see any prospect of collective bargaining being outlawed at that level either. I have no idea what to do about those numerous states that have been solidly cracker for sixty years.

    Secondly, I've come to think that the mere threat of siginificant change to the rights of the disadvantaged, women, etc., is a weapon that is being used to beat us into submission. It sounds scary but I think we have to call bluff someday.

    Thirdly, and sorry to be blunt, but I do think that being "collateral damage" in a drone attack is a worse fate than that of what most people, even many of the most disadvantaged, suffer in this country. So if gay marriage, or a constitutional amendment protecting the reproductive rights of women, or a massive new overhaul of labor rights has to come at the expense of a few million more deaths, I don't think the cost is worth it. That at least two of those things will probably not happen anytime in my lifetime, regardless of who is in power, makes a Devils' bargain with the Democrats that much more unsavory.

  8. The notion of Gore invading Iraq makes NO sense from any angle that I can see. So tell me how it makes sense from any place other than "everybody sucks but me and I'm not too sure about me."

  9. The word "Gore" in Sasha's comment is surplusage. And yet, and yet.... No one knows what Gore would have done, but he was dialing for dollars from the White House and picke Lieberman to be his VP even after Lieberman said he was going to run for the Senate at the same time, thus depriving the democrats of a senate seat. Al Gore was a shitty candidate and would have been a shitty president. Less shitty than Bush? Maybe, certainly shitty in a different way, but still really, really shitty. Maybe he would have invaded Pakistan. Maybe he would have established heaven on earth, but lord knows he would have been shitty.

  10. First off, a lot of that is at the state level. I don't see abortions becoming illegal under Federal law any time soon.

    Maybe not illegal, but if you can't afford it, then the net effect is the same. Federal money to Planned Parenthood has never been allowed for abortions, and now the Republicans in Congress want to kill PP totally. Plus use the IRS, of all things, to audit women who may have had abortions to find out how those abortions were paid for. The House has already passed these insane bills; the Senate hasn't. But that's where we stand in the Land of the Scared and Home of the Enslaved.

  11. The primary argument in favor of finding Donkeys "less evil" compared to Elephants is based on supposition, not on a comparison to actual Donkey behavior in positions of Fed Govt authority.

    Most wars have been started and conducted by Donkeys.

    Major fed enviro laws and regs were installed under an Elephant POTUS.

    Every Donkeyphile I know loves to blame the Elephants. Every Elephantine character I know loves to blame the Donkeys. So the blame-game serves the two-faced monopoly's persistence, which gives the two tribes ever more armament (word-based, not fact-based) with which to savage the opposing tribe.

    Donkeyphiles love to reduce everything to gay marriage and abortion, because those are two issues where "cultural conservatives" are opposite the position of most Donkeyphiles. Thus, the heft, scope and depth of the whole nation's manifold problems are reduced to two issues affecting a tiny % of the populace.

    I can't imagine voting based on the supposed "threats" to gay marriage or abortion, but then I'm not a Donkeyphile or Elephantine creature.

    I think tribalists should just state their tribal affiliation and stop arguing issues, because really... there's no substance in the issue-arguments... they're just arguments about I'm Better/Smarter/More Enlightened Than You, which is totally different than trying to fix social problems plaguing our nation.

  12. Speaking of elephants, everyone seems to have ignored the 10,000 lb pachyderm in the room: OIL. Iraq was all about it. Full stop. Gore campaigned on a more or less anti-big oil platform. Hippy, green, renewable. That one feature alone makes the probability of an Iraq invasion significantly lower; though it's futile to say what might have happened counterfactually.

    Two words re 9/11: Richard Clarke. Guy's hair was on fire re UBL, and Condi demoted him so no one would have to listen to him. Intel, under Gore, would not have been stovepiped through the Pentagon, counterterrorism would not have been demoted in favor of war planning. Again, no one can say with any certainty whether and how things would've been different under Gore and , but an educated, probabilistic guess can be ventured. And they would have been different.

    More or less than .06%? Who's to say?

    Oh, and as preening as Gore/Gackerman might've been, their arrogance cannot be reasonably compared to that of the war criminals who paid their corporate lawyers to declare torture legal and then proceeded to do it and brag about it—which the fuckers are still doing as of this week. Frankly, I can't see Gore doing that. But call me a rube.

  13. Jim - Gore has a walk vs talk problem though. Family wealth, personal wealth both from Occidental Petroleum. And where did he stand on the Iraq Study Group's recommendations 62 and 63...?


    I think the problem most partisans have is that they assume Career Politicians are passionate about the issues they blather about. They assume that if a Career Politician talks a big game about Issue X, it's because of a heartfelt desire to improve things around that Issue X. My experience is that the rhetoric is a sales pitch and the private position of the Career Politician isn't as issue-oriented.

    Instead it tends to be about personal wealth, reputation and power accumulation, and very little else.

    And the nature of Career Politics involves being Someone Else's Man, once the campaign coffers fill up, eh?

    Exceptions exist at very local levels, and in my experience the localities need to be small and relatively rural for the exception to have any vitality or substance.

    And as to general criminality, unconstitutionality, etc of the Bush/Cheney Crime Syndicate's tenure ... well, it helps to examine how many of the Democratic Career Politicians in the US Congress and/or running for POTUS were truly against any of the crimes committed by the B/C Syndicate.

    Again I saw a lot of posturing but not much actual resistance or thwarting.

    Sad... if you assume the Career Politicians are principled and passionate about their principles when clashing in issue.

    Inevitable... if you realize the nature of Career Politicians, however.

    It's helpful to remember: they can't be there without a lot of repeated compromises of whatever personal values they might hold. The compromises grow larger and more frequent the higher the power ladder one goes.

  14. The kid likes Fleabus. She cried out "meow meow!"

  15. A reminder: all Fleabus photos are by Planet.

  16. KFO,
    I can't dispute a thing you say. Truth is, we simply can't predict counterfactually. To further your point, there are enormous institutional pressures weighing on the office (any wo/man who holds it) that we peons are simply not privvy to which contribute to the decisions made and directions taken irrespective of the holder's own personal predilections, prejudices, and corruptibility. If you or Dog or any one of us in this discussion were elected President, (finished spewing and laughing?) how much of our own wants and desires and policies and philosophies would we have to throw out the window bowing to the determinism of the office's pressures? Would we, e.g., have been forced by pressures we can't begin to imagine to ourselves invade and Ira_? Like the former point, it's another unanswerable.

    Still, Bush sucked, and w/r/t Planet, shouldn't she be studying for her AP's and finals instead of spending all day taking such adorable kitty pics? I know that's what keeps me coming back here!

    Oh, and, Dog, thanks for the link! Think we can find our way back to the garden?