Thursday, March 13, 2003


Raven has been complaining. The physical malaise that has kept me on the verge of idiocy, as well as altogether too chummy with the bathroom, has been cramping his style. As I was forcing myself to eat some scrambled eggs for my lunch, he was giving me an earful. Clearly, from Raven’s perspective, this is not the moment for anyone to be a wimp.

“Look at the example of this woman, Nancy Lessin, who is suing to prevent Baby Bush from declaring war on Iraq:

Lessin and several other parents of troops serving in the Gulf have joined U.S. soldiers and a dozen members of Congress as plaintiffs in a lawsuit that seeks to bar President Bush from ordering an attack on Iraq without a congressional declaration of war.
"If the rest of the world can debate this war, then America can as well. Our Constitution requires that debate," says Lessin, whose son Joe is among the almost 300,000 U.S. troops who have already been sent to the Gulf. "If the president starts this war without a declaration from Congress, he will violate the Constitution. And I do not want our troops being ordered to fight an unconstitutional war."

Is that on the Common Dreams site, Rave?

“Yeah, as a reprint from yesterday’s MADISON CAPITAL TIMES. The case is being examined in a Boston federal appeals court. It says here:
Boston lawyer John Bonifaz argued that an invasion of Iraq without further action by Congress would violate Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, which states that "Congress shall have power ... to declare war." He explained that the October resolution on Iraq that was passed by the House and Senate had failed to declare war and, in fact, had unlawfully ceded to the president the authority to decide whether to launch an invasion of Iraq.

"We are not saying that the war cannot occur if Congress declares it. Our position is that the Constitution requires the president to go to Congress before launching a premeditated, first-strike invasion of another country," explains Bonifaz. "This is precisely what the framers of the Constitution intended to prevent. They placed Article 1, Section 8 in the Constitution to assure that the president of the United States would not have the power that European monarchs had held in the past in matters of war and peace."

Raven gives me the beady eye, “I don’t remember that Bush was elected King.”

He wasn’t elected President, either, Rave. His brother manipulated the votes in Florida, and the Supreme Court largely appointed by his father got around the Constitutional mandate to elect the President in the House of Representatives but upholding the Florida caper.

“Sounds like Royal Family stuff to me. But this attorney, Bonifaz, seems very articulate about heading him off at the pass:
"It was clearly the intent of the founders that there be a congressional declaration of war before this country invaded another. We are now at the point where an invasion appears imminent, yet we have not had the declaration. This is exactly the point where the court should intervene and say George Bush must obey the Constitution," Bonifaz says. "Saddam Hussein can, on his own volition, send troops into Kuwait. President Bush does not have the power to send troops into Iraq. We have a different system, and it is right to ask that that system be allowed to work."

Theoretically we have a different system, Rave. Considering that a non-elected President has on his own hook shipped almost 300,000 troops to the Persian Gulf, I am not too sanguine about that system still being operational.

“It looks as if there is support for this lawsuit, though:
More than 70 law professors have signed onto a brief supporting the suit. And U.S. Rep. John Conyers from Michigan, ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and one of the congressional plaintiffs, says, "President Bush recently told journalists that whether we go to war 'is not up to you, it's up to me.' The founding fathers did not establish an imperial presidency with war-making power. The Constitution clearly reserves that for Congress."

Sure. But the fact is that Bush had the audacity to tell journalists that war WAS up to him. And they are circulating his perception as if it were true.

“The emperor’s new suit all over again?”

Rave, I would have thought that was obvious.

“For those of us who are feathered creatures, such tricks are not only dishonorable, but unnecessary.” Raven surfs to another site.

Nothing like taking the moral high ground....

Monday, March 10, 2003


Raven and I are hunkered down here in “Macondo North” trying to be serious about the world situation.

“I am going to have to start drinking coffee. That’s all there is to it.” Raven looks resigned.

Gee, Rave, I am really sorry the news is driving you to drink.

“Look, none of this is our fault. But reading this stuff is like watching the re-invention of Surrealism. For example, this interview with the North Korean Ambassador to Mexico.”

What does he say?

“He says Bush is lying and manipulating world public opinion, and that he is the head of the “Evil Axis”. He says that North Korea is not a terrorist state, that the yankees are the terrorists—that they have practiced State Terrorism in Chile, Panama, Grenada, Nicaragua and Cuba and have indiscriminately bombed Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. He goes on to say that North Korea is a peaceful country, that they have spent years proposing a non-aggression pact to the US which would resolve the nuclear issue. He says they want dialog, but if there is war they will fight. And smash the enemy.”

Seems to me he is right about most of that. I don’t know about smashing the enemy, though.

“Well, it says here that the head of the CIA told the US Senate that North Korea was capable of reaching the west coast of the US with a missile with a nuclear warhead.”


“But the Ambassador said—they say that he said so “enigmatically”—that they only had short range missiles.”

Enigmatically—sounds like “oriental inscrutability”, doesn’t it?

“Sounds like a Charlie Chan movie. Anyway, he went on to ask who is daily threatening preventive nuclear attacks on other countries. He says it is in Washington, and not in Bagdad or Pyongyang, where one should search for the criminal state which constitutes the principal nuclear threat today.”

He has a point there, Rave.

“Yeah, but he also says that they will fight total war with total war, that there is no other way.”

That’s very scary.

“Tell me about it. I think I am going to pass on coffee, and just go directly to mezcal....”