Green Voicemail

Friday, March 18, 2005


By now, I'm sure you're all aware of Paul Wolfowitz being nominated to head the World Bank by George W. Bush. Most Europeans and progressives are bemoaning the choice.

Myself, I think it's a wonderful choice. I've never been a fan of the World Bank. I see it as little more than part of a gigantic vacuum-cleaner like apparatus to suck money out of small countries and send it to big countries. When a developing country accepts a World Bank/IMF loan, it's a sign that it's going to be screwed. And who better than screwing than Paul Wolfowitz?

After all, he is the perfect George W. Bush appointee. He has no actual experience in economic development to impede him, no background in economics or finance. His grand diplomatic experience consisted of his Ambassadorship to Indonesia. Maybe he kept the Indonesians from using nukes against the Timoreans, I don't know, because it certainly seems that Wolfowitz's ambassadorial know-how didn't make any headway against that problem.

For all his "brilliance", Wolfowitz is incredibly facile -- his intellect might be a mile wide, but only an inch deep. For the last four years, we've been entertained by the follies of:

1. His "performance" during the Defense Department budget hearings.

2. His claim that there were actually no holy places in Iraq, a claim that could have been disputed by an eight-year old with an Internet connection.

3. His claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. (Still looking.)

4. And the big one, the claim that Iraqi oil revenues would pay for the reconstruction of Iraq. (We're $200 billion in the hole in Iraq, and digging deeper.)

Let's see. No economic credibility. No diplomatic credibility. No intellectual credibility. No personal integrity. Trust me, he'll fit right in with the Bush administration. I suspect that we'll probably have to fund the World Bank to the tune of whatever mistakes Wolfoshitz makes while trashing the place. But what's $200 billion dollars between friends?

Then again, Wolfowitz's nomination falls in line with one of George W. Bush's theories, the Nameplate Theory of Credibility. "You are whatever you claim to be."
"I deserve the respect of a president because I hold the title." "I should be treated like a great ambassador because the President named me UN Ambassador, even though I'm a confrontationalist with contempt for the UN." "I should be treated a possessing wisdom beyond measure because I have a Ph. D. and am the Secretary of State."

And now, "My lack of qualifications for World Bank president do not matter, only the title does." My father would have said, "you can polish shit all you want to, but at the end of the day, it's still shit".

posted by Green Voicemail 3/18/2005 11:09:00 AM

Thursday, March 17, 2005


As a person of Irish descent, I have little good to say about the holiday and how it is celebrated. Even in a blog called "Green Voicemail".

posted by Green Voicemail 3/17/2005 11:54:00 AM

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


From Al From and Bruce Reid , today:

Finally, Democrats like to feel that if we just pull together and sharpen our differences with the Republicans, we'll win. We're all for Democrats standing our ground to defend what we believe in -- and no one has opposed President Bush's corporate conservatism more sharply than we have. But at the same time, we couldn't disagree more with those in our party who are so green with Karl Rove envy that they want to try to out-smashmouth the Republicans. If Democrats want to make a lasting difference in American life, we have to define ourselves by what we're for, not simply what we're against.

The very next paragraph:

Let's not kid ourselves: Americans didn't have any trouble telling the difference between John Kerry and George W. Bush. The trouble they had was figuring out what our side stood for.

Well, after all, John Kerry was one of the "New Democrats". And America unforunately is learning what the New Democrats stood for, and continue to stand for: "Republican Lite".

Oh by the way, the site links to the Bull Moose Blog, which has this winner of a paragraph:

"The recent rage on the left is to heap scorn on Joe Lieberman. The Moose is honored to stand with Joe against the dogmatic idealogues of the blogosphere. And he wears their scorn as a badge of honor.

If the plutocratic G.O.P. is ever to be defeated, Democrats will have to win the confidence of the American people that they are a tough party that will vanquish our enemies. That is why Joe Lieberman is so vital to the donkey. If those on the left have their honest disagreements with him or any other Democrat, that is fair and to be expected. However, the Moose would argue that those voices on the left who would transform the party into a dogmatically left-wing party serve the wishes of Rove and company in a profoundly significant way."

posted by Green Voicemail 3/15/2005 07:00:00 PM

Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding #4635, State of California

The full text of the decision by a San Francisco Superior Court overturning California's ban on gay marriage is here .

The switchblade Richard A. Kramer used is to compare California's ban on gay marriage with the California ban on interracial marriage which was overturned. The cases are really just too similar, if you think about it. Kramer's decision is beautiful, and I suspect that it might be required reading for years to come.

posted by Green Voicemail 3/15/2005 06:45:00 PM


From The Turkish Press (of all places):

RAMADI, Iraq -- The deputy commander of the Iraqi army in western Al-Anbar province was shot dead by US troops at a checkpoint Tuesday night, a police officer said.

"The US forces opened fire at 8:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Brigadier General Ismail Swayed al-Obeid, who had left his base in Baghdadi to head home," police Captain Amin al-Hitti said.

"They spotted him on the road after the curfew, which goes into effect at 6 pm," the officer said in Baghdadi, 185 kilometres (142 miles) west of the capital.

No immediate reaction was available from the US military.

No reaction because Donald Rumsfeld was shitting himself.

Don't worry. Scott will tell us tomorrow that General Swayed was really an Italian commie. "Oh! NOW we understand!!"

posted by Green Voicemail 3/15/2005 04:52:00 PM

Pasta-Eating Surrender Monkeys

From ABC News :

ROME Mar 15, 2005 -- Italy said Tuesday it will start drawing down its 3,000-strong contingent in Iraq in September, putting a fresh crack in President Bush's crumbling coalition. Bulgaria also called for a partial withdrawal, and Ukraine welcomed home its first wave of returning troops.

Gee, I thought that Bush and Berlusconi were super tight.

Then again, forgetting to put Berlusconi on your European visit list should have gotten someone fired at State. With the shooting death of Nicola Calipari by American troops, the temperature got too hot for even Berlusconi to be comfortable -- and Berlusconi virtually runs Italy's media.

As for Free Republic, you get comments like this one:

"! A commie stooge (who gets to keep her head only because she exoriates America) gets her vehicle shot up because it doesn't stop and afterwards the Italian government caves. Where are the "Tony Sopranos" and the "Stugats" now that we need them?

Hey, three anti-Italian slurs in one post! That's hard to top.

posted by Green Voicemail 3/15/2005 04:36:00 PM

Monday, March 14, 2005

A Spoonful of Sugar

This is from MSNBC :

WASHINGTON - Declaring the United States "must do better job of engaging the Muslim world," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice introduced former presidential adviser Karen Hughes on Monday as the Bush administration's choice for a State Department post designed to change Islamic perceptions about America.

Hughes, pending confirmation by the Senate, would become undersecretary of state for public diplomacy with the rank of ambassador.

It makes perfect sense. The Bush Administation's communication system is nothing short of astounding. Why not sign up a propagandist for your State Department?

If you read the article, you find out that Hughes has no diplomatic experience whatsoever. She's more or less an image maker. So she's been pulled in to remake someone's image.

Is she there to make over our image? It's already been tried, and by pros. Charlotte Beers had been named an Undersecretary of State for Diplomacy and tried to sell America in the Middle East the way the people at Madison Avenue sell Uncle Ben rice.

It failed. She resigned.

Why did it fail? Because it's the big rule that everyone who wants to get in the field of diplomacy needs to learn. When you want to send a message, you don't SAY something -- you DO something. And the Middle East hates what we do.

So who is Karen Hughes there to make over? She's probably there to put a brave face on our Iraqi adventure -- sort of a Ari Fleischer of the State Department. But remember -- it will take more than a spoonful of sugar to cover the pile of shit we left in Iraq.

posted by Green Voicemail 3/14/2005 06:38:00 PM

"Junk News"

From The Los Angeles Times :

The second annual report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which is based in Washington, focused more on trends and prospects than on content. The considerable change facing the industry is revealed in a few facts: Online advertising has increased 30% to almost $10 billion in one year and estimated readership of blogs has increased 58% in six months. About 32 million Americans say they have obtained information from the Web logs, or journals, known as blogs.

Tom Rosenstiel, director of the research project, said that with the growth in Internet commentary, the culture of opinion journalism has expanded exponentially. Blogging has its value -- exposing, the report said, hasty reporting by CBS News on memos that referred to Bush's military service during the Vietnam War. But it can also lead the public astray, the report found, such as when it fomented the "unfounded conspiracy theory" that Republicans stole the presidential election in Ohio.

This is the funny part:

Rather than taking the time to gather and scrutinize each piece of information — the model for the mainstream media -- the report said some bloggers hewed to another philosophy: "Publish anything, especially points of view, and the reporting and verification will occur afterward in the response of fellow bloggers."

The "mainstream media" get even the simplest of facts wrong. Maybe that's the reason that blog reading has gone up so much in the past six months. I don't watch mainstream television news at all and I rarely read the newspapers. What I read, I read on the net: I've been burned too many times by big media.

posted by Green Voicemail 3/14/2005 01:10:00 PM

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Stretching The Ol' Writing Muscles

Submitted two articles to Wish me luck.

posted by Green Voicemail 3/13/2005 04:00:00 PM

Confusing as Hell

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to get my starter packet from the university I'll be attending in Georgia beginning in the Summer of 2005.

The house is up on the market, my wife is desperately trying to get a transfer out of her job and as for me...I'm trying to make heads and tails of this admission packet. The last time I had to go through the admissions process anywhere was 1988; what a difference 17 years makes. I assume that in 1900 you must have just showed up one day to class, since this 17 year gap seems like such a quantum leap in complexity.

It looks like that unless you have a patron of some sort, you're not going to make it. There's a freshman orientation thing in mid-April and as a 39 year old man I don't know if I'm going to get anything out of that.

Some parts of the on-line stuff and the letter recommend going to orientation.
Some don't.
Some parts imply that I can be considered a Georgia resident for tuition purposes.
Some don't.
Some classes don't seem to be core requirements.
Some are. And they seem to be the same classes.

Egad. Oh well, it is expected for freshmen, even transfer post-graduate freshmen to be clueless to one degree or another. Myself, I'm hoping my wife gets the job so that we can move to Georgia...and so I can start figuring things out close-up.

posted by Green Voicemail 3/13/2005 01:02:00 PM

Nuke Your Enemies Into Submission?

This column by Steve Gilliard got me to thinking, which is the sign of a good writer, certainly. In it, he preaches the new religion of Democratic victory, that you have to be willing to cast aside the DLC "leadership" and go to the mattresses.

There was something about the column that struck me as disturbing -- it's pooh-poohing of a scenario where a centrist like H. Clinton could win, comparisons to World War II blitzkriegs and his division of progressives between namby-pamby liberals and ruthless street fighters, comparing the latter group to the Soviet Sturmovik, which used Nazi blitzkrieg tactics to bring World War II to a close on the Eastern Front.

My response:

"...Uh, you think Hillary's gonna run and win? I don't. I think that's a disaster in the making."

Funny, I said the same thing about John Kerry. But I ended up getting on that #$%$ing short bus and cast my vote, holding my nose all the while.

Tell you what. I bet that if Hillary wins the nomination (and unlike Mr. Gilliard, I don't put that in the realm of impossibility), I'll bet twenty bucks Mr. Gilliard writes love letters to Hillary for seven months on the News Blog. He'll hit the streets for ol' Hill, make calls, everything. And if you don't vote for Hillary, you'll be called every name but a son of God.

This column should be called "the only thing I care about is winning -- PERIOD". That would be the conclusion I'd come to as a person not reading Mr. Gilliard's column before. (I know he's not that kind of person.) That somehow, progressive ideals have achieved some sort of victory if you vote some golem into office who calls himself (or herself) "Democrat". My only answer to that is, "thank goodness Zell Miller never won a primary!"

Maybe the reason the Republicans won in 2004 was that there were a lot of "Republican Gilliards" out there who told their readers "the only thing that matters is winning!" Maybe if someone had said, "wait, Bush isn't a good man to represent our party", 2004 would have had a different outcome.

Mr. Gilliard's argument is "If you're not willing to model yourself after the Sturmovik, maybe you're just too much of a pussy to win elections." I suppose my only answer to that is "meow". But there are worse things to be than a pussy.

posted by Green Voicemail 3/13/2005 08:11:00 AM

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