Hanging out on Martha’s Vineyard with Barack & Michelle

As all six of my regular readers know, I live on Martha’s Vineyard, where, among other things, I’m a volunteer firefighter. So today, on facebook, I put up a tweet about the Tisbury Firefighter’s Association Dinner last night.

Almost immediately I got a private message from my pen pal the Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam, who distilled the hard-won wisdom of his decades in the journalistic trenches into two pithy sentences:

Be posting on Obama, bro!

that’s what the people want

Well that made me laugh. What the hell do I have to say about Obama? That my wife saw three helicopters flying over our house on the day the “First Family” arrived? That I know where Blue Heron Farm is, where Nancy’s is? Other than that I got nuttin, Honey, I wrote back to Mr. Beam. I suggested that maybe I should go interview Cindy Sheehan instead. But Beam was having none of it.

let me rpt: all obama, all the time.

Well, it’s not every day that a distinguished professional curmudgeon like Alex Beam swoops into my life to give me free wisdom bits, and upon reflection I realized that Beam was right: since I have been hanging out with Barack & Michelle I do have a story to tell, and The People not only want to hear it, The People have a Right to hear it. They are, after all, The People.

And so, below the fold, the true story of my recent time with Mr. & Mrs. President on the little bit of Paradise that I call home: Martha’s Vineyard.

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Noble Cause update: “Kick their ass and take their gas”

The courageous Cindy Sheehan famously asked the coward George W. Bush to tell her what was the “Noble Cause” for which her son Casey had given his life as a soldier in Baghdad. Bush was too cowardly to answer, of course, but over on Eschaton, Atrios the dog-barker has a pithy little post that pretty nearly sums it up, and addresses Harold’s question about citizen and “real” journalism at the same time.

So we’ll spend a hell of a lot of money and lose a lot of lives presiding over an occupation and using our military to provide security for the private security which will be guarding the commercial interests involved in oil extraction.

And since it’s against Village etiquette to suggest that we we are engaged in an imperial colonial adventure, it will be almost impossible to debate the merits of our policies in Iraq or even have a vaguely honest discussion about what those policies are.

Like Atrios, I don’t think the war was about oil alone. It was about Bush’s vanity and sociopathy, the Cheney/Cheney cabal’s lust for war and conquest for the sake of war and conquest, the Cheney/Cheney cabal’s lust for war profits, and the Cheney/Cheney cabal’s hatred of the constitution and the idea of demoncracy. It was fueled by the infantile jingoism of a lazy and kitsch-loving populace and a reasonable admixture of patriotic altruism on the part of some of the troops.

But now it’s about the oil, mostly. And Bush’s vanity, and the Cheney/Cheney-cabal lust for war profits. But mostly it’s about the oil. Possession of which satisfies all the other subgoals.

Cindy Sheehan's Question

So now we’re five years into this goddamn war.

Cindy Sheehan, whose camping out in Crawford, Texas, during the August heat of 2005 did as much as anything to get Americans to see George W. Bush for the puny coward he is, had a very simple question for the man who caused her son Casey to die. Bush had said that Casey Sheehan, Cindy’s son– an Army soldier who was killed by a bullet in the head in Sadr City in April, 2004–had died for a “noble cause.”

Cindy Sheehan asked, “What is that noble cause?”

Rather than answer this question, Bush ran and hid. (Of course. That’s what cowards do.) And then he had some bumsucking speechwriter gin up a response about how the brave soldiers who had been killed in Iraq had died for this reason, or for that. An afterthought, really, but a bumsucking speechwriter can usually be found when George W. Bush needs one.

If you listen to Bush or to any of his apologists or whores or spokespeople, or to war apologists on the TeeVee; to wingnut bloggers, television “news” talking heads & radio oh-so-serious pontificators and teleprompter readers; to Christianist preachers, ingnorami in the street, flagwavers and dolts of every hue and persuasion, they’ll give you some bullshit definition of the so-called noble cause that cost Casey Sheehan his life and Cindy Sheehan her son. But the thing is, whatever bullshit answer they give you, it is guaranteed to be bullshit. It’s not going to be the answer they gave in 2003, or the different one they gave in 2004, or the still different one they gave in 2005, and on and on and on. If it comes from anybody in this administration or from any of its supporters (such as John McBush McCain), it’s going to be the latest bullshit. It’s not going to have anything to do with the earlier, inoperative versions of the bullshit. It’s going to be a hollow, empty lie.

If we ever get a truthful answer to Cindy Sheehan’s Question from a president, such as, “there was no noble cause”, then we’ll perhaps be ready to look at solutions to our current situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Until then, it’s nothing but lies, and sorrow, and waste.

Land of the formerly free, home of protofascism

Cindy Sheehan, on her eviction from the People’s House:

I told him that my son died there. That’s when the enormity of my loss hit me. I have lost my son. I have lost my First Amendment rights. I have lost the country that I love. Where did America go? I started crying in pain.

What did Casey die for? What did the 2244 other brave young Americans die for? What are tens of thousands of them over there in harm’s way for still? For this? I can’t even wear a shrit that has the number of troops on it that George Bush and his arrogant and ignorant policies are responsible for killing.

Read it and weep.