“Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated” by Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal’s “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated” makes for quite eye-opening reading. He traces the recent history of “terrorism” and indicts the U.S. government heavily for its role in inciting domestic and international terrorism. He explains how Waco–the largest massacre of Americans by the feds since Wounded Knee, where 82 Branch Davidians died at the hands of federal agents, including thirty women and twenty-five children–led to the Oklahoma City bombing and details some of his fascinating correspondence with Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted of the bombing. He explains how the U.S. funded Osama bin Laden’s activities for many years. He includes an impressive list of U.S. “operations” in various parts of the globe spanning several decades. He explains how anti-drug laws have failed miserably at stopping drug traffic while diminishing considerably the civil liberties of U.S. citizens, including arbitrary seizures of property without substantial justification. He points out that Clinton passed an Anti-Terrorism Act on April 20, 1996, restricting civil liberties, such as the ? law permitting posse comitatus, the domestic use of U.S. armies, which is prohibited by the U.S. constitution. At points, he seems to espouse conspiracy theories about McVeigh’s helpers, coverups of the Waco and Oklahoma City incidents, and right-wing religious affiliations. He ends with an essay that points out, among other facts, that the “1950 tax on corporate profits accounted for 25 percent of federal revenue; in 1999 only 10.1 percent.” Yet Shrub is still asking for more corporate tax cuts! The burden of humungous military spending in the absence of any real major enemies of consequence is an albatross the U.S. bears at great peril, both domestically and internationally… who can show the leadership to turns this mess around?

“Trajectory of Change” by Michael Albert

I found Michael Albert’s “Trajectory of Change” well-written and thought-provoking. In fact, he points out answers to some of the frustrations I’ve felt about organizing on the left. If only we could all work together in coalition more effectively not only to oppose the efforts of the right, but to put forth progressive campaigns for change.

Perhaps the We Stand for Peace and Justice statement that Michael has been circulating and that I’ve signed along with many other folks will help spark an international movement in that direction:
http://www.zmag.org/wspj/index.cfm

Visiting Seattle: Family, Longhairs, “Hair,” and Boom

I’ve been visiting Seattle since Wednesday and will return home tomorrow.

I got to meet my two new baby nephews, born within a week of each other to my sister Jen and my sister-in-law Erika. Their names are Zach and Sam.

I’ve started up picture galleries for myself and some of my family members:

http://www.willdoherty.org/gallery/albums.php

http://www.alexbenton.org/gallery/albums.php

http://www.zachbenton.org/gallery/albums.php

http://www.samdoherty.org/gallery/albums.php

http://www.erikawalther.org/gallery/albums.php

http://www.rickdoh.org/gallery/albums.php

Hopefully, the rest of the family will start posting pictures too!

We had a good time celebrating Dan’s birthday and I had a pleasant lunch with my mother. I’ve been staying at my father’s place and he and I are planning to have lunch with my brother today, after which I’ll probably head over to the house where the rest of the family lives in the evening.

In addition to visiting my family, I met up with a bunch of queer longhairs here in Seattle. In addition to great meals at varioous restaurants and some bar hopping, we attended a great production of the play “Hair” at the 5th Street Theatre. I was crying throughout the performance of what is now a theatre classic. It seems particularly apropos in this time of U.S. interventions abroad, although parts of the play definitely are dated to the 60s era.

Thanks to Mike, Herb, and J. Steve for organizing a fabulous weekend of longhair events! It was good to meet Bryan from near Vancouver and to see Seattlite David Kerlick as well as Drake from Bend, O’er Again. :-)

I got a chance to meet a faerie named Boom in person… it was fun to get to know him better.

Studying Spanish

I’ve been studying Spanish for awhile now and I’m gradually getting the hang of it. The primary motivator was speaking with Paul, and it’s great to be able to practice with him in real-life conversations. I’ve contacted a local queer Spanish speakers group and will probably start attending their events next month.

Exile’s Honor

Early early this morning I finished reading Mercedes Lackey’s “Exile’s Honor.” I enjoyed this one too. It focused on the character named Alberich who is a soldier in exile from his native Karse. He’s chosen by his Companion named Kantor who rescues him from being burned alive by the Karsite Sun priests, then he lives within Valdemar where he trains soldiers. There was no gay content in this one.