Woozles? Bring 'em on!!

August 10, 2007 by barbara

barbara writes

(Warning: The following post contains zigs and zags that are not marked. Proceed with caution.)

The bridge collapse about which there is no end of blame and acrimony yielded its sixth, seventh and eighth victims yesterday. (Update: now nine.) One was a man from a suburb adjacent to mine. Same age as my elder son. The most recent is a tiny girl child who, in life, had laughing eyes. Amazing how this bridge catastrophe seems so personal sometimes, even when we don’t know the individuals.

I read a little while ago that a homeless man whose “home” was under the bridge believes everyone who lived there was someplace else last Wednesday when the bridge crashed down. Thus the out-of-sight-and-mind people surfaced for an instant. Apparently they look out for each other. A community with no automatic garage door openers, no air conditioned rooms with closed doors and windows, no visible walls, no fridges with ice and water dispensers.

Just got my Common Dreams update. Headlines include these: Read on.

The dominant thread on the Clothesline before this one is about hope vs. hopelessness. Funny, in a way, to be jawboned by Anon for feeling beaten down by BushCo. That’s what perpetrators do. Blame the victims. But who wants to be a victim?

I was reminded a couple weeks ago by Congressman Tim Walz that the beating-down thing is the modus operandi of Bush Republicans. Cast doubt on everything Dems embrace (literally and metaphorically) and wherever possible, attempt to make the people afraid. Conjure up bogeymen that rival Opus’ anxiety closet denizens. Keep us distracted by whatever they throw at us so we take our eye off the essential matters, e.g., eroding infrastructure, global warming, Pat Tillman’s death, the truth about Iraq, the nature and dealings of Alberto Gonzales, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, and, and, and.

In my more rational moments (and I do have some), I can see clearly what they’re attempting to do. “They” being the Bush Republicans. Keep us churning, burning, confronted by so many issues it’s nearly impossible to home in on one and keep it fixed firmly in our crosshairs. We are, by nature, easily distracted. We love conspiracy theories. At some level, we have been conditioned to thrive on chaos.

I’m reminded of the Pooh story where that sweet bear of very little brain (as he describes himself) is circling around the base of a tree, and quickly discovers footprints. He is joined by Piglet (as I recall), and they become more and more upset as their circling reveals multiple sets of prints. They believe they are on the trail of Woozles. Christopher Robin, concealed in the branches of the tree, watches the whole thing unfold. You’re smart people. You get the drift. I think it’s an apt metaphor.

It isn’t helping that at the moment, Dems with sufficient spine to stand up to the Bush Republican Bullies are in very short supply. There are games woven within games being played. It’s high-stakes stuff. It isn’t helping that the party predicated on transparency and trusting the people with the truth has gone opaque and secretive. Near as I can tell, that’s mirroring the Bush Republican model.

What to do, what to do? Somewhere in this house, there is a book by Paul Rogat Loeb called “The Impossible Will Take a Little Longer,” or something darn close to that. It’s filled with writings from the best and brightest about the essential nature of hope. It probably is a sign of some kind that I can’t find it. Might have to buy another. Entirely possible that in a fit of pique or disgust or even absolute certitude, I pitched the one I had.

So all of this has circled back to the matter of keeping hope alive. I probably need your kick in the ass more than anyone you know. It is so easy to get sucked down the Bush cesspool. It’s huge and it’s treacherous. If we’re going to build walls in this country, let’s build one around that. Not a good place for the human spirit.

Friends, let’s help each other keep hope alive. I am absolutely serious. Difficult task in difficult times. Some would say simplistic. I would say it’s bedrock. How now?

Posted in


perhansa (not verified) | August 10, 2007 - 6:53pm

One of the corporate clients for which I conduct training has a saying, when things are getting off track and need to be brought back to the work at hand anyone in the meeting (or in the training class) is encouraged to say, "We're going down a rat hole!"

I'm going to try using that one on myself as the disease -infested little vermin in DC try taking us down rat hole after rat hole. Dang, there I go calling people unhelpful names already---sorry: As the unpatriotic-surrender-monkeys and wussy-white-flag-pansies in DC take us down rat hole after rat hole.

One of the reasons I keep coming back to the CL is to bolster my sense of hope and to affirm that someone still cares what's happening in our country and watching the ... fine-people-fulfilling-a-sometimes-thankless-job-by-representing-us in DC are doing. (And the ones that got their jobs through cunning, guile, and skullduggery.) And because Barb and Susan let me post guest articles...up 'til now. that is.

I think we have yet another option for the Dems to get our troops out of Iraq--when they come back to work they can try reallocating the war funding and Pentagon increases to long-overdue infrastructure projects at home and say, "It's in the interest of national security AND we won't have to impose a gas tax--see, we aren't only about raising taxes." Then when the Repubs say, "We'll filibuster!" They can back down and say "Next week we're REALLY going to get tough on bringiing the troops home, just you wait."

Oh, but if we leave, not only will bridges collapse the entire middle east and then the western world and then everything will collapse---oooh what's wrong with me, I forgot to be AFRAID of the dreaded certainty of the DOMINO EFFECT.

Wait a minute--isn't that exaclty what the holy-book-end-times-you're-all-going-to-hell fundamentalists are praying for under the code name "THE RAPTURE"?

If there really are gods and one of them is the fundamentalist christian god, boy am I in deep sh**; if it's the jihadists' god I'm cooked, if it's Zeus I'll probably have my privates broken off like many a greek statue...Oh well, my new credo is---when you see absurdity, call it ABSURDITY and let the chips fall...and if that fails, call 'em unpatriotic, fascist, surrender monkeys!

Kudos to Bill, Rush and AnnC for elevating the political dialogue...


Barbara aka babs (not verified) | August 10, 2007 - 7:42pm

Well, you know, Perhansa, if we don't keep the bridges falling over there, we'll have them falling here. And we can't have that, now, can we?!

I wonder if it's possible to put a national reverse-draft in place that would require our troops to return home immediately to tend to things here. Things like, oh, protecting and defending the Constitution, since no one on either side of the domestic aisle seems to be taking that job very seriously.

And here's another thing. Do we need a Secretary of Hope? Well, as soon as those words tripped off my fingertips, I found myself asking who in the world that would be. So never mind.

Meanwhile, unpatriotic, fascist, surrender monkeys have hijacked the Republican Party. Do you suppose they've noticed?? Do you think 'normal' Republicans (surely there are some) realize they have terrorists in their midst?

Isn't terrorism about a comparatively small group of people scaring the bejeebers out of the majority with threats of something dire that may or may not ever happen? In this case, circling endlessly back to 9/11 as the mother of all terrorism, which the Bush Republicans have used as a weapon against us for nearly six long years.

Oh, lordy, there I go again. Ommmmmmmmmmm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


barbara | August 10, 2007 - 8:44pm

Spoke a little too soon about the reverse-draft. Seems Bush's new war adviser, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, says it is worth considering a return to the military draft. Bush has opposed this, but doggone it, if it's what's required to make the surge yet another shock and awe operation, then . . . . oh, lordy, I can't even snark about this. Let's get the hell out of there before any more of our young people are murdered or ruined for life. I am so serious about that. On the other hand (I think I ran out of other hands a long time ago), I've heard it said that nothing short of reinstituting the draft will get the attention of that vast gaggle of Americans who think none of this has much to do with them and therefore do not feel compelled to protest George's War. Stand by. Your day may be coming sooner than later.


perhansa (not verified) | August 10, 2007 - 10:31pm

As soon as the plain folk start getting a draft status 1A and shipping off in droves to the hell on earth in Iraq to protect the oil fields (i.e., our national security) they'll be some urgent bitching about this boondoggle...of course, if the supporters of the war would all just sign up, there'd be no need. We could also throw in the vertebrae-impaired Dems who jump at the sound of Republican objection and we'd have a surplus and the Nat'l Guard could do what they actually volunteered to do--help out back home. But why is it even coming to this? I thought the Iraqis were going to stand up so we could stand down? Wasn't that one of Bush's rationales' and expected outcomes of the "surge"? More lies...


paul miller (not verified) | August 11, 2007 - 9:46am

It seems that most of us are old enough to remember the sixties - the words of Bobby Kennedy seem to be the last American vestiage of calling for justice for all of our citizens. Since then the political appeal has been to make everybody dream of being rich using the shining city on the hill metaphor.

If we do indeed call out the absurdities we have to recognize that the true prophets end up dead, i.e. Abraham, Martin and John and of course Paul and Malcom. So who wants to step up and end up dead?

We all had hopes for Pelosi's leadership, Klobuchar's potential and the possibility of a newly elected congress to end this charade of a war. We have to ask ourselves how many times will the football be pulled out from us before we recognize the democrats as the same as the republicans albeit with a different cartoon character. They can talk the progressive talk to keep us strung along but they never really deliver the goods.

If the political blob guiding this country reinstitutes the draft they will be reigniting the embers of passion for justice in this country. Everything they do is based on a complacent populace. I'm sure there is a latin saying for proceed with great care when your power depends on a sheep like following.

For me it is what it is. Hope is a personal challenge / issue. Either you engage to try and define things and call and work for change or you resign yourself to complacency which means following the whims of the least capable of us. It's a daily choice.


Poet (not verified) | August 11, 2007 - 7:33pm

Your selection of CD headlines and ruminations on the same reminded me of the joke that was going around in 71-72 with respect to Vietnam. This was when President Nixon started his carpet-bombing of Laos and Cambodia and subsequently ordered ground forces into eastern Cambodia.

A radio reporter was interviewing a sargeant on a tank as they rolled across the border and asked him what this was all about, to which the tank commander replied,"well the president said he was going to get us out of Vietnam and I guess he sure as hell has!"

Wouldn't it be ironic if the way our troops finally withdraw from Iraq would be to invade iran? To carry the irony further wouldn't it be equally tragic if such action against Iran led to the installation of an Iranian version of the Khmer Rouge complete with killing fields?

Barbara you are right, it's too hot to think straight!


barbara aka babs (not verified) | August 12, 2007 - 9:00am

Crikey, Poet. Something new to stew about. The "be careful what you ask for because . . ." phenomenon, i.e., getting our troops out of Iraq only to move them into Iran. Or the next "I" country on the BushCo agenda. Pay attention, Israel and Iceland. You just never know when The I Eye may focus on you.

About the draft. I suppose America will not rise up until more people have skin in the game. Skin of spouses, kids, grandkids.

My adult kids all trend conservative. Yeah, I know. Go figure. It isn't possible to have a rational political conversation with any of them. So we don't try any more. Not even when our country is in something approaching melt-down, literally and figuratively.

One of them considered voting for Kerry, but had a change of heart at the eleventh hour. The fear factor. BushCo tough on terrorism, blah, blah, blah. So would a military draft move them (and others) to active opposition of George's war? Maybe. Maybe not.

Oh, wait. This is the Clothesline, not a confessional.

Have a good day.


paul miller (not verified) | August 12, 2007 - 9:32am

Meet the Press sans Timmer:
every once in awhile a crack appears in the mainstream media moratoriam on real debate witness Marcos M. from the DailyKos taking on Harold Ford of the DLC leadership on Press the Meat today. It's hard to deny someone's cred when they have a readership of 1 million. Harold Ford on the defensive as a rep of the DLC works for me regardless of the stupid questions from Stretch.


susan | August 12, 2007 - 10:30am

Iran. The draft. The next president . . .
Is it too early to start fretting about who wins in 2008? Am I the only Clothesliner who still thinks we're better off with a Dem president than a Repub? Because the Rasmussen poll is freaking me out. It shows Clinton gaining strength, Obama slipping, Edwards staying the same, and declares that barring a major gaffe, Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. At one time in my life this would have put me over the moon, but that time is gone.
It gets worse. When Clinton is matched up against either Guilliani or Fred Thompson in the polls, they edge her out by a statistically insignificant point or two. WHAT? Two Republican actors, one who hasn't even declared himself in the race yet, appeal more to the American people than Hillary? I know her flaws, truly, but still, how could they think that either of these two clowns is more suited to be president than HIllary? Well, time to batten the hatches for another season of despair.
As for the draft and your conservative kinder, I think it all depends on how much money they have. Because during the Vietnam war, those with money and privilege, like President Chimpy and VP Igor, managed to avoid the war, as we all know. There were plenty of gung-ho wealthy and well-connected war supporters who managed to get their own sons pulled from the ranks. Funny how healthy x-country runners and rugby players were suddenly discovered to have had severe asthma as children, which compromised their lungs, making them unable to serve.

Still, the draft did hit the middle class as well as the poor, and that did shape attitudes toward the war and is perhaps what got folks off their duffs and into the streets. Would it do the same thing now? And is there enough of a middle class left to be hit? If the only way to find out is reinstating the draft and invading Iran, I don't want to know.


paul miller (not verified) | August 12, 2007 - 10:51am

Global powers historically fall when they run out of cannon fodder - the US is seeing the first rumblings of a lack of cannon fodder to pull off the global dominance efforts - part of the reason they would like to mechanize military supremacy, I'm sure.

If you did a pyschological profile of Darth Cheney it would match with failed meglomaniacs of days gone by. How far they get and how much destruction they achieve remains to be seen.

I still much prefer a democratic president to the brainless bunch of republican candidates or God forbid a more direct heir to the Bush agenda. And of course the DLC knows when the chips are down we have to pick the lesser of two evils i. e. their more moderate empirist.


Anonymous (not verified) | August 12, 2007 - 5:10pm

If you did a pyschological profile of Darth Cheney it would match with failed meglomaniacs of days gone by.

And your evidence is? You just slop junk like that against the wall and hope it sticks?

You are silly !


Poet (not verified) | August 12, 2007 - 5:37pm


Short of seeing exactly what questions were asked to reach the conclusions stated I wouldn't trust what any polls predict because their purpose is not to reveal trends as much as to promote the position of those who requisition the poll.

Hillary, Barack O, "Frid" (or "Frayed"), and Rudy are now on top because (surprise, surprise!) they got big money backing them. Mitt (who the hell names their kid "Mitt"?) Romney spends most of his wad of cash in Iowa and wins the straw poll--whoopi do!

As far as whether or not it makes a difference whether a Democratic or Republican candidate wins it sure hasn't made any difference in Congress. They just keep rolling over for his infernal majesty and give him whatever he demands.

All the Democratic presidential candidtes when asked (except for the politically incorrect Dennis Kucinich) vow to run the war smarter instead of end American participation and withdraw. So what would you rather have Bush or Bush-Lite? This isn't much of a choice.


perhansa (not verified) | August 12, 2007 - 5:59pm

There's a long way to go before Nov. 08 and a lot will happen before then. Don't forget Unity '08. If enough people get sick of the two party system who knows what could happen--Jesse Ventura could end up President! Or a ticket of Arnold and Russ Feingold or Clint Eastwood and Barbara Boxer--"You gotta ask yourself Iran, do you feel lucky?".

One thing's for sure, we got us a mess...but I'm not sure it's simply that people are "sheep" or government officials are all "crooks". I watch my kids and siblings and neighbors and here's what I see: Dual incomes, kids, soccer, lawns to mow, new technology to keep up with, mortgages--first, second and third, challenges of a marriage or relationship, appliances that need replacing or repair, thank-god-it's-friday, off to the cabin, back to the grind, aging parents, no time for sex or a movie, what're the kids doing on the internet--are they on MySpace? Who are they talking to? Church camp, Girl Scouts, school supplies, dance class, the oil in the car needs changing, dishwasher's broke, when am I going to get to the Y to workout, ED, acid reflux, obessity, menopause, fast food nation, fast forward society, escape escape escape...let's go see the latest "Pirates" movie or Adam Sandler. The Constitutiion? Huh? Freedom and responsibility? Huh? You say the universe is HOW OLD? there's HOW MANY galaxies? What's that got to do with me? You want me to be "up" on the debates about Science and Creationism? Global Warming? Immigration? HealthCare? That's why I vote--so I can send someone else to go worry about those problems. I got more responsibility than I can handle and the boss is giving crap and I'm going to have to get a second job or sell the lake place if gas prices go any higher and Erin needs braces and Jane has to start wearing a bra and you can't leave Dakota and his girlfriend alone in the same room...and when is that a**hole ex of mine going to get caught up on the child support, did you hear the neighbors two streets down had a meth lab in their garage? Can't I just sit down for a minute and watch the Simpsons or Family Guy--geesh! I been on my feet all day, I got all this pressure, please, please, just don't raise my taxes. Hillary, Rudy, Obama, they're all the same, crooks, they all just want to screw us and hold onto power. Gub'mt is evil, they just want to keep picking my pocket and then a bridge falls down and its all our fault 'cause we won't give 'em any more of our hard earned money. They gotta learn to live within their means like I do...sort of....I know we gotta war going on but my kid's not there, or I'm damn proud of my kid service to country--justification for war, we didn't start this sh**, we need to fight 'em over there or we'll be fightin' over here..We're doin' those people a favor, we got rid a Saddam now they need to put aside their differences and make their government and their country work--"Kinda like ours? What'd'ya mean by that?" I love America. Everyone else is just jealous--they all wanta move here--that's why we gotta immigration problem. How are we going to pay for Kristins' college tuition--do you know what the charge at the U now?....and that's just Sunday. Hey, what time's football come on? Is the beer cold?

So, who is to blame? My kids are all conservative like my-ex (their mother). My siblings and surviving parent are conservative or libertarian or just don't give a crap about politics unless it's hitting them in the wallet. My in-laws are mostly all conservative. Do they read the editorial page? I doubt it? Do they have time for anything more than sound bites and easy solutions? I doubt it. Do you think liberalism has any accountability? I sure do.

What ever we're doing it doesn't seem to be working. Maybe we're trying to solve '07 problems with 60's solutions. Don't know....

We're caught up in a web of "systems" that drive our behavior and that keep getting ever more complex...ever more connected...moving faster and faster...I was fishing with my brothers-in-law this weekend and I looked in the eyes of one of the fish I caught and I saw myself...damn that treble hook in the mouth hurts...I let him go.

Imperfect people in an imperfect world that will never be perfect. We're animals. Do fish think they can overcome their destiny and be more than animals? Dolphins? Gorillas? History seems pretty clear once you read it--like it or not. We're a weed species that has overrun the balance of the environment and something's gotta give. We create systems that then drive our behavior in ways we may or may not have intended. They get ever more complicated and no one person understands them--maybe that's why the past always seems better, the further back you go the simpler, less complicated, easier the "system" was...Sisyphus was condemned to roll that rock up the same hill forever and ever only watch it roll down again...

Ohmmmm...mani padme ohm.


barbara aka babs (not verified) | August 12, 2007 - 7:32pm

So clearly national night out isn't sufficient. We need a national time-out with teeth. Perhansa, you paint a really scary and realistic picture. I see this stuff all around me. Hell, I see it under my own roof sometimes, though less and less as time passes. Partly by choice. Partly owing to economics. Partly due to diminishing energy for the rat race. That and the motion sickness that comes from navigating the maze, over and over and over again.

I sat in on an e-Salon at FDL earlier today. The guest was Robert Frank, whose most recent book is titled “Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class.” The sense of scrambling and scraping along is real for most of us. Some 90% of us, actually. It was an interesting conversation and it brought me back to something in which I was involved a long, long time ago.

It was an initiative rooted in just sufficiency. My conservative kids and conservative ex- and conservative parents and conservative paternal grandparents would probably label it socialism. I dunno. Maybe it is. But one of the underlying premises was that it is not just for individuals and governments to become wealthy at the expense of/on the backs of the "little people," i.e., making outrageous salaries and bonuses and fringies that now exceed what the lowest-paid employee in that same company makes by some 400 percent. Capitalism run amok.

So pile our economic realities onto the frenetic pace of daily living with an overlay of continual bad news out of government, and it's not hard to understand why people feel overwhelmed. I think we've created a whole nation of people addicted to chaos. Apathy and exhaustion look a lot alike.

Tired. Time for bed.


susan | August 12, 2007 - 10:13pm

Poet -- You're right about the polls. And yes, Perhansa, it's early. (And a great and depressing riff, btw, about how it is for most people.) But I can't look at the Democratic contenders, then at the Republican goons, and not feel that this is much more than Bush and Bush-lite. Nader people said that about Bush and Gore too, and well, never mind.

No matter how you cut it, any one of the Dem contenders is light years beyond the Repubs in every way, and on every issue I care about.

So it seems inconceivable to me that we could have another close election, but some folks are saying that's where we're headed.

And a quiet ballot initiative in California may play a big part in tipping the presidential election to the Republicans. Read Hendrik Hertzberg in the August 6 New Yorker to see what initiative mischief is afoot this time.

Here's a clip. "Two weeks ago, one of the most important Republican lawyers in Sacramento quietly filed a ballot initiative that would end the practice of granting all fifty-five of California’s electoral votes to the statewide winner. Instead, it would award two of them to the statewide winner and the rest, one by one, to the winner in each congressional district. Nineteen of the fifty-three districts are represented by Republicans, but Bush carried twenty-two districts in 2004. The bottom line is that the initiative, if passed, would spot the Republican ticket something in the neighborhood of twenty electoral votes—votes that it wouldn’t get under the rules prevailing in every other sizable state in the Union."

Florida. Ohio. Now California.


Poet (not verified) | August 13, 2007 - 12:09am

Susan--You write:

No matter how you cut it, any one of the Dem contenders is light years beyond the Repubs in every way, and on every issue I care about.


More exactly explain what the issues are which ring your bell so to speak with Dem superiority.

Let me model by telling you the issues for which i see no substantial difference worth voting for a Democratic contenser over a Republican for President.

1. The war--Bidness gone wild or bidness gone smart, they all (except for the likes of Kucinich and Nader) are willingf to let the thing drag on and on and on.

2. Nafta/Gatt/WTO--Bidness gone wild or bidness gone smart, they all (except for the likes of Kucinich and Nader) are willing to let these things drag on and on and on.

3. Expanding medicare to include all Americans with a single payer, government run, universal coverage program.--All candidates (except for Kucinich) want to keep HMO's and Insurance companies and big pharma functioning pretty much as they always have.

4. Revocation of the Big Brother state created by Bushco. All candidates (except for Kucinich) are mute about such things as the Patriot act, restoring Habeas Corpus, the Military Commissions Act, the Protect America Act, extraordinary rendition, closing the torture gulag of CIA and military-run prisons worldwide.

5. Reducing the Pentagon budget--Not only are all the Democratic contenders bowing before this sacred cow in the federal budget (the single biggest item of federal expenditure) most are wanting to increase it! Except for Kucinich.

Do you see a pattern here? That's why I say that it is either Bush or Bush-lite so far for '08.

Now as for your concern aboiut the California initiative, while it may give Republicans some gains otherwise not available in that state's electoral count, it also is the germ of the seed for the idea of proportional vote assignment in counting election results and could be the crack in the wall that finally allows third and fourth and firth independent parties to blossom. Such an eventuality could force the so far voiceless to be heard in the corridors of power.

I would rather see Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo or Rudy and Freddy the Thompson (to use some really obnoxious examples) as Pres and VP than Hillary and Obama or Biden and Richardson if it was the one thing that finally convinced the Democratic Party to cease being Bush-lite.

It would also help to see the Christo-fascist element win back control of the house and senate if it finally made the Democratic party wake up and realize that leftist poklicies properly adminstered and budgeted are what is needed instead of more of the same Republican crap slightly watered down.


paul miller (not verified) | August 13, 2007 - 7:38am

breaking: turd blossom to resign


barbara aka babs (not verified) | August 13, 2007 - 8:21am

Yeeks, Poet. But no yeeks, really. A symbolic gesture at best. Does anyone believe that Rove resigning means Rove will be gone? This does not pass the sniff test. It's a supposed sacrifice to illustrate the moral purity of BushCo. Yuppers.


Anonymous (not verified) | August 12, 2007 - 7:19pm

I just returned from a visit with my relatives - mostly apolitical or republican-leaning. I found hope in hearing how disgusted 2 of the 3 republican relatives were with bushco AND with the current slate of possible republican nominees. I think the truly conservative folks who THINK and are not just echoing the talking points of rush and bill, are completely disenchanted.

My concern continues to be with the integrity of our vote. We didn't vote bushco into office twice. Unless we see some changes, I don't think we will have any say in who is our next president either.