Monthly Archives: September 2006

Something to wear


Since a couple people have suggested “Enemy Combatant” T-shirts, I fixed it so that you can get some. The above design and a simpler one are available here. I put a small markup on the shirts: any leftover money I’ll give to an appropriate organization. Suggestions welcome.


There was a request in comments yesterday for suggested actions. The always clear-minded BitchPhD has some:

[O]kay, so what are you going to do about it?

Here’s my list.

1.  Mail in my registration to vote at my new address today.
2.  This weekend, talk to Mr. B. about volunteering, money, and a strategy for what to do about the upcoming election.
3.  As I get to know the other parents at PK’s school, ask what they think about the upcoming election, the new law suspending habeas corpus, etc.
4.  Convince my dad, who lives in a reddish part of a blue state, that he has both the time and responsibility to call *his* local Democratic organization and volunteer to help register/get out the vote.
5.  Call *my* local Democratic organization and volunteer to help with whatever.
6.  Join the ACLU.  No, I don’t belong yet.  Yes, I am ashamed.  Find out who else to join/read/subscribe to, especially locally, to get the political lay of the land here.

That’s for starters.  You?  Suggestions?

And yeah, I know what some of you (including me) will think about that “getting involved with the Dems” thing. We’re not in a position to throw tools away, says this Green.

Oh, and let’s be clear about what happened yesterday

What happened yesterday is that the Republican-controlled Congress decided to make formal policy what has been de facto policy for years.

That’s a clip from Peter Davis’ devastating 1974 Viet Nam documentary, Hearts and Minds.

There is more information on this fine American tradition here. This is nothing new. Yesterday’s vote marks a shameful expansion of and acquiescence to this evil, but this is nothing new.

The difference between me and Eric Muller, UNC professor of law

… is that I knew some weeks ago about the existence of the alleged Michelle Malkin 1992 spring break photos Muller refers to in this post, and it was manifestly clear to me that it would be wrong to use them to the left’s political advantage. In fact, a friend and I briefly considered informing Malkin that they were there. And now it seems we should have.

Why was it wrong to use the photos? Because when you adopt Karl Rove’s tactics, the abyss will look into you.

Isn’t that right, Wonkettesters?

I am an enemy combatant

I have been thinking a lot these days of the story they tell about King Christian: when the occupying Nazis required Danish Jews wear the yellow Star of David armband, the king donned one for his daily rides through København as an expression of solidarity. This inspired the common Danes, who all started wearing armbands, making it impossible for the Nazis to tell Jew from Gentile.

The story is untrue: Danish Jews faced many dangers from the genocidal Nazis, but they were never ordered to wear the yellow badge. But the story resonates, with its “I Am Spartacus” moral of taking a firm, perhaps risky stand with those who are oppressed.

I have been thinking as well of the Free Speech Fights. Starting a century ago and lasting well into the Great War, municipalities across the western US banned sidewalk oration in response to a surge of union organizing. In Fresno, in Spokane and Seattle and Kansas City and about two dozen other places, union organizers were arrested for the crime of addressing passers-by. The Industrial Workers of the World responded: IWW activists — “Wobblies” — came into town, stood up on soapboxes, uttered the usual Wobbly salutation “Fellow Workers!” and were hauled off to jail. Soon the jails were full to bursting with Wobs, and towns realized they’d better rescind the free speech bans or go broke feeding prisoners. A simple idea behind a strategy that won every time: “They can’t take us all.” The Wobs faced more than arrests. They faced occasional mob violence from the equivalents of modern day Freepers. But they won, and today we assume their victories as our birthright. No Wobs, no blogs.

Forty years ago, one of my late neighbors involved in a very similar Free Speech fight stood on the steps of Sproul Hall, UC Berkeley’s administration building, and told an assembled crowd:

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

For all its manifold faults, for all its history steeped in racism and genocide, for all its wars of empire and Know-Nothing heritage, this country was manifestly founded on the notion that a just government bases its authority in the consent of the governed. Now the Bush administration has declared that the interests of this country are coincident with, and limited to, the short-term interests of the administration and its corporate backers, and the most basic, most essential Constitutional rights of the citizenry be damned, not by the odious exceptionalism of privilege that marred this country’s history, but across the board. All of us are three-fifths of a person now, granted the privilege of full protection only if we do nothing that requires protection, unless we are unlucky enough to be falsely accused. And I withdraw my consent.

I withdraw my consent. I am no one: a cog in the machine Mario Savio described. I am a man who would rather tell jokes than argue politics, would rather hike than march. But I have fought, over the course of my life, when the operation of the machine deprives me of the privilege of self-absorption. I have worked the past 14 years to educate, to inflame the public so that they might oppose environmental destruction done to enrich those who run the administration. I have worked the last three decades, if sporadically and without much consequence, to oppose the use of violence in the service of politics — any politics.

The Bush administration claims that all those who oppose it, though they think themselves loyal citizens sworn to defend the US Constitution, are enemies. I have opposed the Bush administration since before it began. The conclusion is a simple matter of logic. 

I am an enemy combatant.

I am an enemy combatant, and I admit it freely and without reservation. You who reserve the right to climb up on that soapbox to say things unflattering to those in power: enemy combatants all. I am putting on that yellow armband. There are unlimited yellow armbands to be worn. One size fits all.

Daily dog report

More lab results in, and unsurprisingly, as Zeke is not a Lab, they’re negative. This means the vets have ruled out Addison’s Disease and Cushing’s Disease as reasons for Zeke’s odd suite of slightly-off blood-enzyme-and-hormone readings and the low blood sugar. “Could it be,” I asked her this afternoon, “that he was just hungry?” “Possibly,” she said. They still haven’t ruled out myelopathy to their satisfaction, though if that’s what it is it’s such a slow onset case as to be a wild outlier in the myelopathy bell curve.

We might treat his low thyroid levels, or we might not. They’re borderline. I did some digging on the web, and found out that some vets are using the anti-viral amantidine as a pain control drug for chronic pain in dogs, in conjunction with more traditional drugs such as Tramadol, first described in a novel by Kurt Vonnegut a synthetic opioid Zeke’s already taking. Amantidine works to numb the section of the brain responsible for “windup pain,” and thus the drug should work in positive synergy with the Tramadol. I suggested it to my vet, and despite the fact that I thus became the most annoying type of person in the medical world, namely “caretaker who looks things up on the web,” and our vet hadn’t used amantidine that way ever, she looked into it and is all for it.

Meanwhile, to combat his low blood sugar problem, we’ve been offering him tempting food three times a day. By “tempting food” I mean ground turkey, roast beef hash, chicken breast, mashed potatoes, etc. I saw ground bison at the store today, remembered how much Zeke liked sharing it with me, and thought “what the hell.” He’s lucky, I know, but we’re luckier.

This has been a scary week. He’s feeling better, and it seems he’s got a shot at reaching birthday number 16, five months from now, in some comfort. Nothing is certain, of course. Turkey and mashed potatoes: every day is Thanksgiving around here these days.