Thursday, September 16, 2004


In an article in UK's Guardian, Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger quote UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, conceeding the illegality of the war against Iraq:

"I have indicated [the war against Iraq] was not in conformity with the UN charter."

The Guardian article goes on to say,

"The UN chief had warned the US and its allies a week before the invasion in March 2003 that military action would violate the UN charter. But he has hitherto refrained from using the damning word "illegal". "

"...last September, Mr. Annan issued a stern critique of the notion of pre-emptive self-defense, saying it would lead to a breakdown in international order. Mr. Annan last night said that there should have been a second UN resolution specifically authorizing war against Iraq."

"Mr Annan said the security council had warned Iraq in resolution 1441 there would be "consequences" if it did not comply with its demands. But he said it should have been up to the council to determine what those consequences were."

Thursday, September 09, 2004


By Kelsey Shipman

It begins as innocence, in the shape of a child
As a manifestation of the carelessness of the young and the wild
It enters only with the underdevelopment of the some-day astute senses
Squirming through the bouncing of child’s play
Nestling in dampened intuition and the immature dawn of what is almost today
It finds its pulse beneath knowledge in a way so discreet
That even a spy so experienced kisses its shifting feet

It slowly spreads like a wave of anticipation
Finding no comfort in limitation
It begins to boil in your blood, shooting out bubbles of intense misunderstanding
Tainting every world view that approaches conception
Of intimate connection
With the brightening beat of life, finding no individuality in coats or skins
Dismissing the presumption of lack of correlation
Found in the separate territory of the genius of speciesism and the rest of the breathing world
Which is really one in the same, although the frequency of departure will make your toes curl

It invades the mind, closes off the union with our beginnings
Begins to swirl the world’s listless underpinnings
Turning vast lakes and oceans into masses of currents
Disrupting all tranquility
And organizational equanimity
Bridges become dark masses of metal
Not fallen trees or the beaver’s toil
The ground is uprooted and organisms displaced
As the part of us throbbing with the gods’ own reflection falls into waste

The line between ourselves and the things we produce is blurred
Although nature attempts to thwart us, we continue undeterred
Is it us or an irrefutable force that paves the road of inevitable decline
You see, it has weaved so greatly into every fiber of our perception
That it is now inseparable from us as it cultivates a need for destruction
Now lacking distinction between its foolishness and our own
We indiscriminately obliterate without a consideration of the beauty of the unknown

Skies are left in darkness as mortality rears its ugly head
Soulful creatures searching for a rationalization to reason away the looming dread
As we sit among our ruins, with only more to come, we beg the wisdom of our ancestors
And yet it is they who turn to the very essence of our beginnings
That which we have fought against in some contest of obscured winnings
The wisest of the spirit-filled animals offer lessons of humility
But we as conquerors cannot accept the ineptness of our professed abilities

And what more can a mere human do but screech with endless scope
When they feel their whole being squeezed by an ever-tightening rope
The path of the wicked is no different from those invaded by foolishness
Both dismissing the presence of force and strength of mind
Only to crush the once infinite vivacity of their own kind
It is without these they experience the ferocity of animation
Only to worship illusory gods outside the holy realm of creation

The sound waves streak across the sky like an artist’s careful stroke
Entwining patterns of wisdom and elucidation that we never spoke
There is something honest and unfeigned about the gut’s exposed voice
Something which we shroud in discomfort and civility
But that we long for in our oh-so-many times of insecurity
Dark masses impend the horizon and negate glimpses of hope
And only speak to us in echoes of our attempts to cope

So we are left with only a mangled, distorted world
The obvious causes of which we still beg to be unfurled
We release screams in the night as our temporary acknowledgement of what shall come
But it is only the common cries of misery that paint the dim sky with lights
Each with its own story of sudden missing will and might
The individual’s whimper will not dull the Earth’s grief
But the beckoning of the common god in us all can illuminate the direction of peace.


Kelsey is an 18 year old sophomore, history major, attending a university in Texas. She is the daughter of a dear friend of mine, who has been an activist for peace and justice most of her life.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Well, we’re coming down to the wire on this sham election, and I must say I don’t hold out much hope for the outcome. The convention in New York clearly demonstrated that the G.O.P. is now safe in the hands—the claws, I should say—of extremists, of every shape and size, liars, thieves, bigots, religion mongers, war mongers, an assortment of the weird and grotesque, trolls, golems, chimeras, all tramping around in the woods and weeds. Every time they hear the war trumpet sounded by Cheney or Tommy Franks or Bush himself, foam issues from their lips and their eyes roll back in their heads.

God, how they love lies, and how they do love to be lied to! It’s been four years watching the triumph of lies, the triumph of paranoid fantasy and delusion over reality. As Tennessee Williams would say, we are now operating on the “fantastic level,” and so it is fantasy and delusion which are actually driving decision-making and policy.

Fantasy and delusion have brought on this needless war, which has killed upwards of 1,000 American and 12,000 Iraqi people. Fantasy and delusion have gifted us, our children and grandchildren, the biggest deficit in U.S. history, upwards of $4 trillion—from a surplus of $5 trillion. Fantasy and delusion have handed us corporate malfeasance on a scale the fat rats of the Gilded Age could only dream of. Fantasy and delusion have given us higher gas prices, Hummers, assault weapons, Fox News, and a cartoon character for governor of California. It’s why so many of our baby soldiers in Iraq are completely mystified as to why Iraqis would want to kill them instead of kiss their feet, because all they’ve ever known is what they’ve seen on TV or in Disney movies, or been told by their parents or their commanding officers. And fantasy and delusion have made it possible for a handful of chickenshits who never spent an hour in Vietnam to denigrate and malign the military service of men who were actually there, who were under fire, wounded and decorated for it.

Yes, it’s the triumph of lies, the triumph of the fringe lunatics, of the kind of folk who are driven by fear, anger, greed and superstition, believers in angels, devils and hobgoblins, who reject science, ignore history, despise education, hate liberals and resent freedom, and who probably, for the life of them, have no idea why they reject, despise, and hate these things. And that’s what makes them so spooky, because the thing that drives them, pushes them, goads them relentlessly on is—Each Other, is the Crowd Itself, without which, they must instantly revert to the level of harmless, if irritating, gnats. The crowd is their drink of courage, for that is the one attribute of which they are in short supply. In the recent past, we would expect to see them smiling blandly for the cameras at lynchings. Now, bolstered by each other in sufficient quantities, they are the folk who ban books or burn them, who run over musicians’ CD’s with bulldozers, and compare the torture of prisoners to fraternity hazings. In short, they are the ever-eager mindless followers, obedient to father-authority, that corrupt leaders down through the march of history are drawn to and feed on like birds of prey.

Germany may yet have the last laugh.

Can they win? You bet. Between the rigged voting machines and purged voter lists (in many states, now, not just Florida) they may already have the ten percent edge they need to win. Fear and intimidation tactics used on minority voters may pull another one or two percent. In short, Karl Rove leaves nothing up to chance. The fix is in.

Our best hope is to get out of our houses, suit up and stand guard at the polls, or get out there and register people to vote, as many as possible, then stand over them like nannies, ply them with food or drink, and drive them to the polls, if necessary.

It’s a weird world and getting weirder by the day. George Orwell said, “Who controls the past controls the future.” Yes, history is in jeopardy. They are trying to disappear it. We are watching it disappear from under us. And for as much as that is happening, it feels very much as if the future is disappearing, as well.

We must stop this train.

Saturday, September 04, 2004


Today's Republican Party has perfected the rhetoric of fear and anxiety in post-9/11 America, and is using the power of that rhetoric to maintain George W. Bush's hold on the White House. The Republican War Machine picked up momentum, under the banner of aggression against Iraq. And Republican delegates cheered whenever the United Nations was put down, and America's duty to wage preventative war was being praised. There seemed to be an arrogant consensus among the Republican faithful to ignore their country's increased international isolation.

There was no mention of the President's diabolic process of deception, manipulation, and misinformation, that had steered the nation toward war and occupation of Iraq. There was no clue offered as to why things have gone so badly there. Well, it's impossible to find a Republican pessimist. As US casualties were mounting in advance of the Republican Convention, President Bush was heard to describe our military operation in Iraq as a "catastrophic success". When asked for a response, John Edwards, the Democratic candidate for Vice-President, replied...

"Like most Americans, I have no idea what that means."

Impatient to simply rewrite history, speakers at this Convention clearly opted to create an alternative reality as they went along. In the state of stupefaction created by this Republican narrative, it would be impossible to separate terrorists or the September 2001 attack from the unrelated situation of Iraq and Saddam Hussein. It didn't bother them that the 9/11 Commission had cleared all that up, by its finding that there was no connection between Iraq and the 2001 attack in New York.

John McCain made a speech to the assembled delegates, and suggested that the removal of Saddam Hussein justified everything. Would we (the critics of the war) want Saddam in power, instead? But it's not a particularly honest accusation, considering that we were attacked by an altogether different enemy, in 2001. With better leadership, this travesty in Iraq would never have happened. A clear majority of Americans indicate, in polls, that they would like to take back this last, horrible year-and-a-half. Would that we could unwrite Abu Ghraib. Would that we could restore our country's shattered reputation. Would that we could bring back those 600 civilians shot down by Marine snipers in Fallujah. Would that we could bring back our own dead, or heal our own mangled soldiers.. But it is certain, as well, that tens of thousands of Iraqis are beyond help, and others bear the harder burden, as survivors.

George W. Bush and his cabal have not liberated Iraq; they have only played at liberating Iraq, and with disastrous results.

The Republicans were incapable of facing reality in New York, and simply fell back on their habit of inverting the facts. But we have the laconic Dick Cheney and the homespun figure of George W. Bush to comfort us. Nevermind the raw sewage in the streets of Baghdad. Pay no attention to fifty percent unemployment in Iraq. Don't be troubled by the black smoke on the horizon, the burning pipelines, the mostly unfunctional electrical grid.

Meanwhile, we have to wonder if it was ever the intention of this Bush Gang to rebuild Iraq. John McLaughlin, the host of TV's McLaughlin Group, characterized this convention experience as Kafkaesque, for the way it turned reality upside down.

Gov. Schwarzenegger, former Mayor Giuliani and Sen. McCain were only trotted out as window-dressing. They represent no trend and present no challenge to the extreme faction that controls the Republican Party. Before Gov. Schwarzenegger spoke, there was another speaker at the podium, giving a terse and manifestly unbelievable little pitch for the Patriot Act.

The little homily to surveillance only lent an air of dissonance to the speech that came after it. Schwarzenegger's speech went on to describe how he came to America in 1968. He admitted to deciding that he was a Republican, while part of a television debate was being translated into German for him, by a friend. Listening to both Humphrey and Nixon, he was particularly attracted to Nixon's position for strong national defense, lower taxes, and getting Big Government off our backs.

Isn't it ironic that anti-terrorist laws are now being used on our domestic scene, in order to intimidate protesters. It happened in New York during the Republican convention. Due process laws were being violated, not to make the nation safer or to deter terrorists; but simply as a blunt instrument, used on those Americans who actively oppose the Bush Administration and its policies. Many New York protesters were held in a disused warehouse, made to stand and sleep on oily floors, denied access to a phone call.

And authorities made it impossible for concerned relatives and friends to confirm if those not accounted for, were actually in custody.

During the PBS coverage, there was a moment or two of comic relief from the floor of the Convention. After Michael Moore and his recent film were attacked from the podium, a chant of "four more years" came up from the delegates. Immediately, the camera switched to a shot of Moore, seated in a balcony area, waving at the crowd, two fingers of one hand waving a V-for-Victory salute. And although there was no audio, it was possible to read Moore's lips, saying "two more months".

Friday, September 03, 2004

copeland morris MARLENE

The ring was spur of the moment.
Offered my grandmother's gold,
Marlene kept it, reluctantly.
She wrote about Lutheran hymns,
The Nygaards in forests of stone,
Norwegians in the Dakotas,
Perfume that she carefully dripped
On envelopes with her slanted hand.

In crowded barracks I savored
Each letter, proverb and dove,
The desert moon, unsleeping.

Did she mean to write cancer?
Marlene's abbreviation
Threw me: "CA. in the ankle".
"A hell of a thing", the buddy
Next to me said; "I'm sorry".

copeland morris ENTWINED SONNET

Her shaded eyes, her necklace black velvet, onyx. Anguish she spoke; and he carried on, obsessed As only a young man could. An odd harm...