I had to be in Atlanta briefly both ways to and from Asheville. (For all I know, if there is a heaven, my mom had to transfer in Atlanta on the way) I have never experienced a ruder place. Have others noticed this or is it just me?
I was able to at least get back for the funeral and to see my stepdad and sister. The woman I love very dearly, Grace, lent me the money to at least take Greyhound and do that. She'd actually been willing to pay for a plane. But I did not want to take advantage. I am not a person who asks others for things and certainly doesn't take advantage and enduring Greyhound(and, especially Atlanta, that does suck, as I found out) was a tiny thing by comparison to what I would have felt had I not gone down for THAT. Regardless of being broke.
Grace is a good woman, and my mother would have loved her, as I do. She's very much like her in this respect. My mother would have endured torture in Gitmo if necessary for those she loved. I'm lucky in this, I guess.
In any event, it was an eye-opener when I was there. No one blamed me for not getting there sooner; they were just happy to see me at all.
But going through her stuff, I was struck by one common thread: how much she missed me. And this was hard to endure. So very many pictures that she'd saved of me and her, so far fewer of my sister. I can't imagine my sister was thrilled at that, but it's not like she said anything about that. So many little things around, such as little crafts she made with little boys fishing and other stuff, such as the book "Love You Forever." Look it up. Opening it I saw on each page someone else's expression of her feelings about it and I could tell she'd read it a lot. She thought about me all the time. She missed me far more than she ever told me. And she didn't tell me completely because she knew my situation and did everything she could to not make me feel guilty. Though I do. I knew she loved me. But the full weight of it hit me with all these little clues all around. She not only loved me, she thought about nearly nothing else.
I will never be able to get past that. I will never have the chance now to truly know her, though I thought I knew her well and spoke often. But not like that. But maybe I never would have. These were private feelings I'm not sure anyone says to someone else. These are the kind of things you only find after someone is no longer there to hide them and keep them private. Perhaps it might have even embarrassed her. That's how people are. When someday(a long time from now; despite what people think, it's the fact my dad killed himself that made sure I never will--I have always despised his example) death comes for me, I imagine people will go through my stuff and be struck similarly and wonder why I didn't say this or that. But some things are just too intimate to say. You want to, and you cannot. They seem silly at the time.
It was actually a memorial. She was cremated and we did not get the ashes in time for the service. They were to be scattered there, at a place called Pretty Place, an open-air chapel overlooking the mountains, her favorite. My stepdad and I tried again(my sister had gone home--she was to scatter the other half with him upon returning) but there was a wedding, so that was that. We tried. When I left there was still a box full of my mom--well, a box with the container inside--on the table. I hugged the box for a long time. It was the best I could do, the closest I could come. It seemed so small, this box.
My poor stepdad, I think now I've seen the place he and two other guys built. Made of logs. Huge. Elaborate. Magnificent. With a view of the mountains like something out of HEART OF GLASS. You hire people to build something like this. But he built it. It's a sculpture with the subject, How Much He Loved Her. And now he's alone up there. I intend to call him more often. I regret that it took this for us to have a relationship. I will fix that at least if I can. I will go there with Grace at Christmas. He wants so bad to meet this woman that was good enough to make sure I could be there.
He's such a good man and he's hurting. He reformed his whole life for her but only got 17 years with her. My pain is nothing compared to his. Or my sister's, who commuted(only 3 hours but still) every week to go and see and take care of them. It's right that if it can only be two of us that she, not me, will scatter the ashes with him.
I spoke at the memorial. There was a blown-up picture of her at 20 at the beach with a friend. My mom was a pretty woman, but never so much so as in this photo. And she looked so happy. It was a good choice and I'm glad my sister found this pic. None of us had ever seen it. I spoke of how my friends, when I was young, always told me how restrictive their folks were with them, the apparently normal stuff; and how I never understood what they meant, because my mother, unless I was in danger(and that was never--I was a boring kid) always trusted me, within reason to think for myself. How she was unfailingly supportive. How if it wasn't for her I would not be the artist I am now. Or for that matter, anything I am now. How I loved her for that, and that we could always talk openly, and I never had to hide anything, good or bad, from her, and how lucky I was because few people, so I hear, have this.
I said it without the notes everyone else had. I couldn't think about structure or effect at a time like that. I just spoke what I felt. It wasn't enough but at least it was something, and it seems it was something the others liked hearing. It also had the benefit of being true.
I did not feel good but I felt I had been able to say something to her if she could hear. So I felt better than I would. But I look at these items I retrieved and ponder. Trying not to regret.
And last night I asked Grace to marry me. And I am happy to say she accepted. With delight.
As the post a little below indicates, my mom died (of cancer, in her sleep)yesterday, and you won't be seeing me blogging till next week. I know there's one or two of you that got worried the last time there was this long a hiatus(one though I'd been sent to Gitmo. Ha! Like I'm at all hard-hitting), so no, I'm alive, just on a trip to North Carolina, and in deep mourning for my mother, who was just about the best mom anyone could have had, who taught me how to play guitar, without whom I never would have read so many comics as a kid and become the cartoonist I now am. For what that's worth.
Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran.
Bush has put in place all the necessary measures for dictatorship in the form of "executive orders" that are triggered whenever Bush declares a national emergency. Recent statements by Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, former Republican senator Rick Santorum and others suggest that Americans might expect a series of staged, or false flag, "terrorist" events in the near future.
Many attentive people believe that the reason the Bush administration will not bow to expert advice and public opinion and begin withdrawing US troops from Iraq is that the administration intends to rescue its unpopular position with false flag operations that can be used to expand the war to Iran.
Too much is going wrong for the Bush administration: the failure of its Middle East wars, Republican senators jumping ship, Turkish troops massed on northern Iraq's border poised for an invasion to deal with Kurds, and a majority of Americans favoring the impeachment of Cheney and a near-majority favoring Bush's impeachment. The Bush administration desperately needs dramatic events to scare the American people and the Congress back in line with the militarist-police state that Bush and Cheney have fostered.
William Norman Grigg recently wrote that the GOP is "praying for a terrorist strike" to save the party from electoral wipeout in 2008.
Chertoff, Cheney, the neocon nazis, and Mossad would have no qualms about saving the bacon for the Republicans, who have enabled Bush to start two unjustified wars, with Iran waiting in the wings to be attacked in a third war.
Nothing's more dangerous than a neocon with nothing left to lose.
I hold no brief for Arafat, nor the Israeli government: my feeling has always been a pox on both their houses. I also don't care what Arafat died of. That he's gone is enough. One less old man with outdated grudges removed by Father Time from the insane politics of that region, on either side, is never a bad thing.
But tell me if the rather lurid story--credited, too, only to a "staff writer"--doesn't read more like propaganda than news. AIDS still carries defamatory power there, and whatever the facts, this reads like something designed to enrage Palestinians, not "confirmation."
But though Sullivan is very sharp, it's also true that he can be very gullible--look at his former support for the war. I'm assuming it was just a hasty post--I've done that many times myself.
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Joe Lieberman are all flying over New Orleans in a Blackhawk, surveying the progress that has been made in rebuilding the city and the levees. As they fly over the Ninth Ward, Cheney looks out the window, grins, and says, "You know, I could throw a thousand-dollar bill out the window right now and make one of those poor bastards very happy."
Bush says, "Well, I could throw ten hundred-dollar bills out the window right now and make TEN people very happy."
Not to be outdone, Lieberman chimes in, "Oh yeah? Well, I could throw a hundred $10 bills out the window and make a HUNDRED Americans very happy."
Hearing this, the copter pilot rolls his eyes and says, "Man, I could throw all three of you out the window and make 300 million Americans very happy."
Isn't each one of these claims, given the pattern that you'd have to be blind not to have noticed by now, an admission of guilt? How many of them does it take before we realize this man should not be in the office of the president, nor should Cheney occupy...whatever branch of government he does.
Bill O'Reilly promised his audience "the truth about Iraq" on Thursday, saying that most Americans now feel the war has not been worth the costs, while "the president's argument for sustaining the war is largely theoretical."
O'Reilly turned on his special guest during the segment, White House press secretary Tony Snow, saying, "You can't win ... unless the Iraqi people turn on all the terrorists. And they're not."
O'Reilly said he agreed with the president that defeat in Iraq could harm the US but said that "enough is enough." The populist pundit who, according to his Wikipedia entry hasn't been a registered Republican since 2000, added that the American people are as exhausted by this war as they ultimately were by Vietnam, and also that "the Iraqi government is incompetent and "the people themselves largely ungrateful."
"The whole thing is tragic and depressing, complicated and dangerous," O'Reilly concluded. "After more than four years, Iraq remains a huge stone around America's neck."
But let's not forget all the cheerleading the Big Giant Head has done up to this point. This is welcome, but he's the next to the last person on Earth to figure it out. It's nothing more than opportunism, but hey, I'll gladly accept one less shill for Iraq.
The House passed a bill to end the war that will almost surely clear the Senate. And of course Bush will try to veto it. So now we will see which Republicans don't want to be re-elected next year, because those will be the ones that try to vote against overriding the veto.
Of course, we all know why he keeps the soldiers dying. Firstly, as long as there's a war he can still hold off his rightful political and legal comeuppance by bleating the mantra, "We's at war." Secondly, the Republicans don't want this ending on their watch, so that they get the entire blame. They want a way they can put it off on the Democrats. Just the same way that they usually leave the country in a horrible economic shambles for the Democrats to spend their whole terms fixing.
Are you stupid enough to give these people power again? Bet you are.
This too, though I can't imagine Bush completing this many sentences in succession.
FROST: The wave of dissent, occasionally violent, which followed in the wake of the Cambodian incursion, prompted President Nixon to demand better intelligence about the people who were opposing him. To this end, the Deputy White House Counsel, Tom Huston, arranged a series of meetings with representatives of the CIA, the FBI, and other police and intelligence agencies.
These meetings produced a plan, the Huston Plan, which advocated the systematic use of wiretappings, burglaries, or so-called black bag jobs, mail openings and infiltration against antiwar groups and others. Some of these activities, as Huston emphasized to Nixon, were clearly illegal. Nevertheless, the president approved the plan. Five days later, after opposition from J. Edgar Hoover, the plan was withdrawn, but the president's approval was later to be listed in the Articles of Impeachment as an alleged abuse of presidential power.
FROST: So what in a sense, you're saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, where the president can decide that it's in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.
NIXON: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.
FROST: By definition.
NIXON: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president's decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they're in an impossible position.
FROST: So, that in other words, really you were saying in that answer, really, between the burglary and murder, again, there's no subtle way to say that there was murder of a dissenter in this country because I don't know any evidence to that effect at all. But, the point is: just the dividing line, is that in fact, the dividing line is the president's judgment?
NIXON: Yes, and the dividing line and, just so that one does not get the impression, that a president can run amok in this country and get away with it, we have to have in mind that a president has to come up before the electorate. We also have to have in mind, that a president has to get appropriations from the Congress. We have to have in mind, for example, that as far as the CIA's covert operations are concerned, as far as the FBI's covert operations are concerned, through the years, they have been disclosed on a very, very limited basis to trusted members of Congress. I don't know whether it can be done today or not.
Over the past five years, tens of billions of taxpayer dollars have been dedicated to standing up and building capacity at the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Homeland Security is charged with deterring, preventing and responding to the threat of terrorism. To that end, systems have been erected to identify risks and communicate them to the American public. With all the resources you have at your disposal and all the progress that you assure us that you are making, I cannot understand why you are quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying you have a “gut feeling” that we are entering a period of heightened risk this summer.
Words have power, Mr. Secretary. You must choose them wisely—especially when they relate to the lives and security of the American public. What color code in the Homeland Security Advisory System is associated with a “gut feeling?” What sectors should be on alert as a result of your “gut feeling?” What cities should be asking their law enforcement to work double shifts because of your “gut feeling?” Are the American people supposed to purchase duct tape and plastic sheeting because of your “gut feeling?”
The Committee on Homeland Security has repeatedly emphasized the importance of getting specific, actionable information to our first preventers in law enforcement and other emergency response providers. I urge you to follow up on your “gut feeling” and share whatever information our nation’s first preventers need to be on alert and prepared. Otherwise, we run the risk of communities taking it upon themselves to mobilize for every possible threat. This not only would result in communities depleting their scarce homeland security resources but runs contrary to your efforts to move toward a risk-based approach to homeland security.
This fall, we will be marking the sixth anniversary of the most deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil. With likely action on legislation to implement the unfinished business of the 9/11 Commission, Congress is poised to give you more and better opportunities to work with law enforcement in a constructive manner.
Mr. Secretary, I urge you to clarify your comments by providing concrete direction to the State, local and tribal stakeholders and if necessary make the required changes to the Nation’s threat level to ensure that the American public can take the necessary steps to protect their families, businesses and communities.
I would be happy to convene a classified briefing of our Members to discuss the threat to our nation if you believe that such a briefing is warranted.
And between this and the fact that the first prominent name on the D.C. Madam's list is his Southern campaign manager, you'd think this would wreck him. But in fact, it may instead, being thrown against him so early in the race, immunize him against later attack.
Chertoff admits that the increased terror threat they announced, to keep Iraq and Bush's stonewall of Congress off the front page(and it hasn't worked) is based on nothing whatsoever.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has downplayed comments he made Tuesday on the U.S. terror situation. "We don't have specific intelligence about an attack, that is, a particular attack against the homeland, that is imminent or scheduled for the summer," he told ABC News.
Below is a clip from a film you should see that talks about our current situation better than anything, and it was made in 1985. Perhaps you've heard of it. It's called Brazil.
Trivia: Though it's not mentioned in the film, the "terrorist bombings" in the film are in fact just the ducts and other systems, which "Central Services," which is part of the government, oversees. blowing up due to being badly maintained. The government in the film uses "terrorism" to cover up its own incompetence, quiet critics, and allow itself unlimited powers. Nothing at all like today, of course.
Invoking a privilege is one thing, but telling a person not to show up in response to a subpoena -- if only to actually invoke the privilege -- is quite another. It's not just worse, it's a felony under federal criminal law. See for yourself.
18 U.S.C. Sec. 1505 : ... Whoever corruptly ... influences, obstructs, or impedes ... the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress ... [s]hall be fined under this title, [or] imprisoned not more than 5 years ... or both.
18 U.S.C. Sec. 1515(b): As used in section 1505, the term "corruptly" means acting with an improper purpose, personally or by influencing another, including ... withholding, [or] concealing ... information.
Our national nightmare may soon be ending. Cross your fingers.
Those tapes show Thompson played a behind-the-scenes role that was very different from his public image three decades ago. He comes across as a partisan willing to cooperate with the Nixon White House's effort to discredit the committee's star witness.
It was Thompson who tipped off the White House that the Senate committee knew about the tapes. They eventually cinched Nixon's downfall in the scandal resulting from the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington and the subsequent White House cover-up.
And then there's Nixon's opinion of the intellect of his stooge:
This assessment comes from audio tapes of White House conversations recently reviewed by The Associated Press at the National Archives in College Park, Md., and transcripts of those discussions that are published in "Abuse of Power: The New Watergate Tapes," by historian Stanley Kutler.
"Oh s---, that kid," Nixon said when told by his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, of Thompson's appointment on Feb. 22, 1973.
"Well, we're stuck with him," Haldeman said...
Nixon expressed concern that Thompson was not "very smart."
"Not extremely so," Buzhardt agreed.
"But he's friendly," Nixon said.
"But he's friendly," Buzhardt agreed. "We are hoping, though, to work with Thompson and prepare him, if Dean does appear next week, to do a very thorough cross-examination."
Why Is Christian Bale Always In Asian Detention Facilities?
You haven't noticed? Empire of the Sun, the beginning of Batman Begins, and now Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn. My favorite current actor seems to have a way of getting imprisoned in Asia. A review of the film here.
The reasons I don't sleep. Two new pieces of art having to do with two very different projects I can't tell you nothin' about at the moment. As usual, click the images to see them at proper size and resolution...
Early in 2001, the commission presented a report to the incoming G.W. Bush administration warning that terrorism would be the nation's greatest national security problem, and saying that unless the United States took proper protective measures a terrorist attack was likely within its borders. Neither the president nor the vice president nor any other senior official from the new administration took time to meet with the commission members or hear about their findings.
The commission had 14 members, split 7-7, Republican and Democrat, as is de rigeur for bodies of this type. Today Hart told me that in the first few meetings, commission members would go around the room and volunteer their ideas about the nation's greatest vulnerabilities, most urgent needs, and so on.
At the first meeting, one Republican woman on the commission said that the overwhelming threat was from China. Sooner or later the U.S. would end up in a military showdown with the Chinese Communists. There was no avoiding it, and we would only make ourselves weaker by waiting. No one else spoke up in support.
The same thing happened at the second meeting -- discussion from other commissioners about terrorism, nuclear proliferation, anarchy of failed states, etc, and then this one woman warning about the looming Chinese menace. And the third meeting too. Perhaps more.
Finally, in frustration, this woman left the commission.
"Her name was Lynne Cheney," Hart said. "I am convinced that if it had not been for 9/11, we would be in a military showdown with China today." Not because of what China was doing, threatening, or intending, he made clear, but because of the assumptions the Administration brought with it when taking office. (My impression is that Chinese leaders know this too, which is why there are relatively few complaints from China about the Iraq war. They know that it got the U.S. off China's back!)
My first question is: who elected Cheney's wife to anything? Then again, who elected Dick and George to where they are?
Oh, and: once again, Bush does the simplest, clumsiest thing that no other president would have the idiocy to do, and that people would have liked to think he had at least enough sense not to do. Given this, keep in mind all those jokes about how he might nullify the 2008 election--if it goes against the GOP--and become president for life. Yeah, that's a really funny joke, and doesn't seem at all plausible now.
Think Progress has already pointed out that, less than a month ago, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino was saying that "given the fact that the judge has set up a process for appeal and given the way that the president has handled this for the past year or so, he's not going to intervene."
"Eternity with Beelzebub, and all his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me and this pencil." - E. Blackadder, 1791 Questionable
words & pictures from John Linton Roberson SUPPORT US AT PATREON!