Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"I knew the government was lying..."


Progressive San Francisco can rest easy knowing that the SF Bay Guardian is doing some Deep Thinking about History and this War on Terror business. In the current Guardian, Tim Redmond dusts off his Good Guy/Bad Guy theory of history:

If I were a Bad Guy and I say the baby boomers with all their energy and idealism and potential and I wanted to be sure that they never became a threat to the total dominance of private capital in America, I would have killed a president, covered it up, gone to war for no good reason, spied on them or their friends---and given an entire generation every reason to see that government was the enemy. And it would have worked. (SF Bay Guardian, 9-13-06)

Guess who the Good Guys are? Redmond and the whole baby boomer generation! The capitalists just knew that Redmond and the baby boomers were going to be energetic idealists, so they killed President Kennedy, and went to war---Vietnam? Iraq? Doesn't matter, since all wars are about capital, right?---and made Redmond and his generation enemies of Good Government, which is why we don't have national health insurance. But the thing to remember is this: Recent American history is all about Redmond and his generation.

How does Redmond arrive at his profound historical insights? He just knows, that's how:

My son, Michael, won't remember Sept. 11, 2001. He was barely two years old. But I'll never forget the nervous feeling I got when I dropped him off at day care that morning. And I'll never forget the realization that from the moment I started hearing news reports, I knew the government was lying to me. I can't sort out all the Kennedy conspiracies and honestly, I don't know exactly what happened on the day after my parents' wedding anniversary five years ago...This doesn't make me terribly comfortable.

What exactly does the JFK assassination have to do with 9/11? Redmond admits he can't sort it all out. He just knows something is fishy, that there must be some connection, and anyhow it's all about "private capital." What do Redmond's parents, his two-year-old son, and his personal discomfort have to do with 9/11? Because it's all about him, that's what, the Good Guy with parents and a kid that he has to drop off at day care, for Chrissake!

In an unsigned editorial---Redmond? Brugmann?---on the anniversary of 9/11 in the same issue, we learn that the war in Iraq is "pointless":

This will be the enduring historical legacy of the Bush administration: At last count, 2,996 dead or presumed dead at the World Trade Center. At last count, 2,668 US soldiers dead in Iraq. At least 41,650 civilian casualties of that war.

Citing casualty numbers is a meaningless way to determine whether a war is/was worth fighting. After all 407,316 Americans died in World War II, 373,458 died in the Civil War, and 4,435 died in the Revolutionary War. Is counting casualties how we decide whether those wars were worth fighting? Nope. And who, by the way, is responsible for almost all the civilian casualties in Iraq? The people we and the elected government of Iraq are fighting, the anti-Shiite Sunnis, al Qaeda and assorted Iraqi religious fanatics, the car bombers and the suicide bombers.

As a special bonus, the Guardian also has an opinion piece by Krissy Keefer, Green Party candidate against Nancy Pelosi for the 8th Congressional District. Like Redmond Keefer conflates the JFK assassination with 9/11: "Finally, we have had to let go of the assumption that our government would protect its own people, as we ask: when did the Bush team know about Sept. 11? Will this question take as long to answer as 'Who killed JFK'?"

In spite of its muddled formulation, the question clearly implies that the Bush administration had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attack. Keefer doesn't provide any facts or an argument on either 9/11 or the JFK assassination, but, like Redmond, she just knows something's fishy here. Like Redmond, she doesn't have to have any information or do any analysis to know that the US government represents the Bad Guys and that Bush used 9/11 "as a pretext to undermine the pillars of democracy."

Keefer is so convinced that the US is governed by "a criminal administration" that she of course supports Supervisor Daly's November ballot measure calling for the impeachment of President Bush. Tim Redmond, Krissy Keefer, and Chris Daly are doing all this Big Thinking just for you, you poor bastards!

See also this.

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"Pretty lame article, Dan..."

Dan:
 
Pretty lame article, Dan. Once a Bike Guy always a Bike Guy? Your piece read like a press release for the SFBC. Odd that a long-time reporter who lives in California doesn't seem to know anything about CEQA. And you may not have known that Dave Snyder is an SFBC guy from way back. Citing him as some kind of independent authority is deceptive. "Each project of the overall bike plan has its own environmental review during which local homeowners and business owners can voice their concerns, they say." That's what they say, but it's a lie. The city is literally rubber-stamping pieces of the bike plan as "categorically exempt." That's not environmental review. Hard to believe that you would have done such a slipshod job if the story was about L.A. You don't cite any of the small businesses you refer to, but I posted the public comments of 24 businesses that protested the Market St. fiasco, where the city took away street parking to make bicycle lanes between Van Ness and Octavia.

Rob Anderson
 
Dan Wood writes:
Rob, sorry you feel the article is lame and i agree in retrospect that it could benefit from some voices of concern among business owners and/or residents who might lose lanes in front of their homes or businesses. But here are a couple of points. -- the article is ABOUT the progress of the bike coalition over the years...so in presenting how that happened (and that it happened) i spent most my time laying that out. that is not to be construed as a press release for their concerns.--i think your complaints are quite articulate and powerful...and they are high up in the story. That is a compelling argument -- the 2 percent point (and that "we are about to redesign the streets on behalf of that ...") I mention the state law (and therefore that this is not just some crank, there are serious procedural questions involved), and the requirement for environmental review and that when people actually look at what it might mean to their neighborhoods "they will find it over the top." That is a very powerful observation -- and from years in journalism i have found it to be true. (it just happened down here...they wanted to widen the 101 (most traveled freeway in the world) and EVERYone seemed for it. then they held some hearings and it was totally kaboshed when all those who would be affected showed up at the meeting and said, "I don't THINK so!" Perhaps i am realizing this phenomenon is so powerful that i didn't bother to support it enough. (one reason we have a water problem in the south is there is no way to collect the massive winter rains that rush through the la river to the ocean every winter. why do we have no storage? -- despite EVERYone wanting/knowing that water is so important? -- because the political forces of putting storage IN ANY GIVEN PLACE RAISES OVERWHELMING OPPOSITION WHEN THINGS GET SPECIFIC. My guess is if you are right, that will happen up there...in passing, i did hear over and over that each project in the plan does have a chance for review by the local businesses and residents. (if that is NOT true, then i wish i would have mentioned it... and maybe that is a peg for another story once the plan gets rolling, please let me know.) i dont have a point of view on the bike thing one way or another, and if it appears so in the article, then that is my failure and i apologize. repeating though: the story is about the growth of them as a political force, so the bulk of the piece had to establish that in my book. most of the people i saw and talked to gave me the impression i tried to reflect in the piece. maybe the most powerful was the cop driving behind the parade. he himself had rolled his eyes and had had a fairly negative view of the whole thing years ago...but had said he watched the whole community soften to the idea over the years. and he appeared to have softened as well i'll keep my eye on this. if what you say is true (that people say, "hey, wait a minute, not on MY street etc"), then that will make a compelling story.

stay in touch,
thanks for writing.
give me a call on this, or later when the next wrinkle breaks ...

dan wood
csmonitor

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