Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Conyers in '08

If you don't know who John Conyers is, you should.

The Congressman (since 1965) from the 14th Congressional district of Michigan, and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee has been on the front lines of any number of constitutional battles for honesty, accountability, and protection of the rights of Americans. If you consider yourelf patriotic - whatever that may mean to you - John Conyers should be on your radar.

Read his letters to the President about the rights of voters and the counting of votes in 2004, or his questions about the Downing Street Memo. If history bores you, check out what he's requesting from President George W. Bush about PlameGate (or Rove-a-thon, treason-gate, etc.). Congressman Conyers is trailblazing the path into the belly of the beast. He is the only one directly (and too politely, if you ask me), officially asking questions of the President.

Check in at his website once in a while, if you know what's good for you. And I think is still available.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Flashback to SF Mayoral Election Aftermath

Matt Gonzalez frequents the coffee shop where I spend what I like to call my morning “office hours.” It is there that I have come to recognize him, not as a city Supervisor, but as a familiar face in the neighborhood. It was only after he assumed the top city council position, and his photograph began to appear in the press, that I came to put the name and the face together. Until then he was just another neighborhood guy I would see on a semi-regular basis, perhaps with a passing smile or quick “good morning.” It was a moment of delight when I made the connection, as if to say, “Hey, I know that guy.”

Learning about the public Matt Gonzalez throughout the mayoral campaign, I was continuously impressed with his lack of plasticity. Many politicians instinctively exude the veneer of television, even while shaking hands on the street. Matt always appears human, and when he decided a few years ago to quit the Democratic Party in favor of the Greens, it was an act of principle and integrity by a man who knew which way the wind was blowing.

I have learned things about him that have further endeared him to me. While I found the tabloid-flavored newspaper pieces celebrating the youth and attractiveness of both candidates more disgusting than tantalizing, I was impressed by the fact that Matt looks the same on television as he does rounding the corner at Hayes and Fillmore. I had heard he is a fan of jazz, but I didn’t know that he played bass guitar in a rock band. A musician myself, I felt comfort knowing that we have that in common. When he speaks about artists and the poorer folk, he is speaking to us and not just at us.

There were a few times during the campaign when I would see Matt and some of his associates in the coffee shop, quietly formulating strategy and taking turns going outside to answer their cell phones. He was focused, but never imagining himself superior to his surroundings. The shameless self promotion required of a candidate for public office, the sheer amount of talking about oneself that's necessary when clarifying issue positions and fending off attacks from opponents, can easily go to one’s head. I respected the privacy of their hushed tones, while cheerfully acknowledging my novel opportunity to observe politics over breakfast.

While “stepping up to the plate,” Matt never intimated that it was all about him. If he purchased any new suits, they are quite similar to his old ones, leading me to believe that at certain moments he must have gracefully declined the advice of potential fashion handlers. George W. Bush must certainly have a makeup person. And this is San Francisco, after all.

I observed many things about Matt, both during the time I didn’t know who he was, and after. His casual gait is has a hint of slightly dragging feet, the sound of friction between shoe and floor. It’s noticeable in a quiet room, which the coffee shop becomes after the morning rush. He is sometimes accompanied by an attractive woman, better dressed than he, on their way to a meeting at City Hall or elsewhere.

What I witnessed this morning speaks volumes about his character. The day after a very public defeat, he entered the coffee shop, as if enduringly stepping right back into the flow of everyday life. When he ordered coffee for himself and his companion, I overheard both fatigue and relief in his voice.

On the day after losing the election, the ubiquitous “Matt For Mayor” signs invoked a sense of gloom. The skies over San Francisco had still not seen the front page, trumpeting Gavin Newsom’s victory. Their indecision between sunshine and downpour was a supernatural blend of catharsis, hope, and caution.

Matt purchased a Chronicle with a simple courage I silently applauded. He asked his companion, “inside or out?” inquiring where they would sit. The rain had just stopped but the bench outside was soaked. After bringing their beverages outdoors, Matt came back in for a few napkins to wipe the water from the seat they had chosen outside.

I paused to contemplate how Matt might feel about seeing reminders of defeat posted all over town. As if reading my mind, Matt came inside again, grabbed a handful of now souvenir placards and carried them outside to the bench, where he laid one next to the other, forming a temporarily protective layer on which to sit.

It was a poetic and utilitarian gesture. People often act intuitively when they think nobody is watching, when they leave public posturing aside. I was unable to see whether he placed the signs face up or face down.

I spent the rest of the day accepting the reality of the election. My proximity to the defeated this morning helped dissipate the denial that many other Gonzalez supporters must be experiencing, but I can’t help fantasizing about an alternate reality, where the absentee ballots were Green, and the celebration belonged to the underdog. With what dignity would Gavin Newsom have handled such a loss? Would he be at his local coffee shop, reading the paper and accepting smiles and condolences? Or would he be locked in at home in the Marina? We’ll have to wait at least four years for the answer.

A Smattering of Randi Posting

I imagine the whole experience is designed to intimidate and coerce a potentially unruly guest into "behaving" oneself. It's a classic case of home field advantage. It's Hannity's set, staff, format, etc., and you have to really have your soundbite mojo up to speed to get through the Neanderthal grunting of the host. And the boss always has the last word, with some help from his post-production editor.

Only those like George Galloway, armed with potent truth and Barbara Boxer sized gonads can properly brow beat the buffoons on the TV. Everyone from Howard Dean to whomever they get to challenge Tom DeLay's seat should employ Mr. Galloway as their personal public speaking coach.

And of course, testifying in the Senate is a bit more civilized than walking the plank over at FOX studios.

Rove should by rights be issued a urine-soaked Koran, and shipped out on the next (unmarked) plane to Guantanamo. People have been executed for far less than his offense(s). Novak should simply choke to death on his own feces (preferably live on CNN).

In reality, though, they will likely draw this out long enough to have Junior pardon him on his way out...which is assuming these criminals will ever leave. If the heat gets turned up any more on this, watch your back, because these bloodthirsty thieves wouldn't think twice about engineering a little 9/11 redux to make this bad dream go away

Wumser, Hadley, Hannah, Cheney, Bolton, Libby...
smells more like charges of conspiracy
in this case perhaps impeachable
Conyers is on the case, of course
but we need Congress (post '06?) to bring the charges
i hope they don't let Cheney know what day Fitzgerald's report comes out...other wise...look out

the war was a lie even back when Poppy Bush was the front man

and each piece of evidence offerered was quickly debunkable with a few minutes of research

before the war rattles had really caught on, it was fairly easy to read reports about massive military build up

as soon as i saw James Baker arguing against counting the votes in Flordia, I election far too important to lose

don't forget about the presidential pardon...scumbags like Abrams and North and such got pardoned...the only way to really rid the cancer is impeachment...that will take a swing of Congress out of BUSHCOntrol in 2006 elections...
which brings us back to Diebold, unfortunately

Conyers for President!

I've never been one for random searches. We used to have a Bill of Rights for that, but no more.

I suppose we should be thankful that they don't shoot us in the face and ask questions later. The London police are very clearly saying that the shoot to kill policy (quietly adopted 2 years ago) is here to stay, and that cops murdering a mistaken suspect will happen again.

It's like this is all a dress rehearsal for the permanent police state. A search here, a liberty eroded there...bit by bit...keep the fear in the news. Continue to intimidate or con lawmakers into casting gutless votes for bills they are too scared or else too lazy to read and understand.

Next thing you know we're all reporting our neighbors for wearing a sweater in the summer.

An Out of Context Reply to Steven Capozzola

Do I know this person? It appears you have succeeded in making him yo bitch. I have always enjoyed your "f the immigrants" position, and your economic sense. Manufacturing in the USA will become even more important when our battle with China heats up as the oil runs out. We'll have really screwed ourselves then, having outsourced our capacity to produce anything more tangible than a financial transaction.

I have to admit though; I'm secretly rooting for CNOOK over Chevrondoleeza in the Afghan Pipeline Sweepstakes.

The Defense Department, when they're not trying to one-cheek-sneak another internal report about low morale, are showing concern over China's military push. The new fleet of Chinese destroyers are said to have AEGIS technology stolen from us. We probably couldn't defend Taiwan any time this month or next, if you ask me.

My question is, is China just doing fascism better than us?

You mentioned the recommendations of the "independent" Kean commission, which would have been known as the Kissinger report had the Bush Crime Family had their first pick. It is bad enough that this cover-up crew altered timelines, disregarded crucial testimony, and failed to disclose serious conflicts of interest among some of its members. For the Administration to then play switcheroo with Security Bill provisions, prefering instead to "keep us safe" by dismantling the Bill of Rights and sub-contracting what's left of government ("drowning it in the bathtub" as Grover Norquist prophecized) in the Homeland Security reshuffle, is beyond forgivable.

The only Democrats left, in my opinion, are people like John Conyers of Michigan. And Republicans in the mold of the late John Heinz of Pennsylvania? Nowhere to be found.

Buy locally grown food. Drive less. Cheat on your taxes. Deconstruct government propaganda.

I had a flash of Bernhard Goetz as I imagined our border vigilantes urinating on a dusty Koran.