Friday, September 26, 2003


Raven is starting to crawl out from behind beakfuls of Kleenex to look like his old, feathered self. He also looks angry.

“Can you believe this!”

He spins away from the computer screen to get my attention.

What’s going on now?

“Immeasurable nerve, that’s what. Remember all the fur and feathers that were flying a couple of days ago because Chavez accused the US of harboring and training terrorists who were plotting his assassination?”

But of course, Rave. That was at the International Women’s Forum. He said he had given a full color photo of the terrorists in training someplace in Florida that had been published in a Florida newspaper to the US Ambassador, and was still waiting for an explanation.

“Ah, yes. Charley Sha-perro I think he’s being called these days. Anyway, there was a photo on the news services of Chavez holding a rose and…”

You mean THAT photo, Rave?

I am pointing to a print out of a color photo taped onto the bulletin board. An Associated Press photo.

“Precisely that photo. A newspaper in Caracas doctored the photo and ran it with Chavez holding a revolver instead of a rose!”

I hope heads will roll as a result of that!

“It says here they are going to make a complaint to the Organization of American States. And sue the paper, too, apparently.”

Good. And meanwhile, under all the hoo-hah, Chavez is quietly nationalizing the diamond mines.

“It’s the least he can do, don’t you think?”

Raven turns a baleful eye in my direction, cackles. He’s back to normal.

Thursday, September 25, 2003


Raven and I have pretty much kicked The Crud.
But there are other kinds of crud
floating around out there
that kick back.
One of them is called Bad Karma—
a particularly prevalent kind of
crud that circles around
in our Universe and sticks
its psychic suction devices onto
The Usual Suspects
(at least in the fantasies of Raven and me,
they are the logical targets.)

Meanwhile, we learn that the Milky Way
(the galaxy, not the candy bar)
is eating Sagittarius.
Maybe that’s why the bird and I,
sojourning in the eye of Chiron,
have been under the weather lately.
Maybe there is becoming less of us all the time….?

Monday, September 22, 2003


Raven and I have had The Crud. After a year of living as far as possible from any industry, here we are in the middle of The Big Muddy of pollution, sneezing our brains out and spitting up unmentionable stuff here in Guayaquil (aka Galveston South). Kleenex litters the apartment, and the garbage can is full of chicken bones from the Traditional Soup Cure. Tea cups with suspicious smears of cough syrup are lined up on the kitchen counter.

This place stinks, Rave.

Raven, prostrate on the springless sofa, glares at me. And coughs.

“Tell me about it. When are we leaving?”

No, I mean the apartment stinks. Even with all the windows open it reeks of virus.

“It’s a microcosm, that’s all.”

You mean the Universe is sick?

Raven covers his beak with a Kleenex, spits.

“Let’s put it this way: it’s not having a bad hair day.”

I pull up a chair next to the bird.

Rave, we’ve got to pull ourselves together.

“Don’t do counselling mode with me. Please. The world is going to hell in a handbasket and you say we need to pull ourselves together. This can’t be my life I am living. Did you even look at any of the news commentaries today?”

I confess, no. I have done nothing but read Vargas Llosa’s “La Guerra del fin del mundo.”

“We’re LIVING the war of the end of the world. Why read about it. Look, people are even writing books about it.”

Raven flutters off the couch—like a limp handkerchief—and plops himself in front of the computer screen.

“Listen. It’s an article in The Globe about a book by John Newhouse called “Imperial America: The Bush Assault on the World Order”, describing it as: "cri de coeur" from that lost Washington world that favors diplomacy over dictate, working with allies rather than unilaterialism, and "sensible pragmatic policy" rather than the "ritual truculence" that has become the hallmark of America's international relations.”

And just what does that “cri de coeur” say?

“ ‘Newhouse traces the right's bid for power to the attempt to take over the Ford administration in the so-called Halloween Massacre of 1975, when Donald Rumsfeld was White House chief of staff and Cheney his deputy. Rumsfeld maneuvered Secretary of State Henry Kissinger out of his dual role as national security adviser, got Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger fired to be replaced by Rumsfeld himself, with Cheney promoted to chief of staff. Vice President Nelson Rockefeller was told he would not be on the ticket when Ford ran for president the following year. Rumsfeld was not interested in Kissinger's efforts to limit nuclear weapons -- he wanted a harder line -- nor did the right want the moderates associated with Rockefeller's branch of the party.

Ford lost the election. But the right wing tried again during the first Bush administration with a proposed doctrine "cobbled together" after the first Gulf War by Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's deputy today, and Lewis Libby, now Cheney's chief of staff. The new doctrine spoke of not just remaining number one in the world but of destroying any state that might in the future challenge the United States -- i.e., preemptive offense without benefit of allies, without UN sanction, with a stress on raw military power over containment, persuasion, and diplomacy. It was not a doctrine that gained any purchase with Bush senior's administration. But after 9/11 in a new Bush administration, its day has come. Rumsfeld and others were angling for an attack on Iraq before Afghanistan, a suggestion which Bush wisely rejected. But it is now clear that for this administration, regime change always trumped disarming Iraq -- thus the intelligence skewing that has now been exposed. ‘”

Sounds like more of the same to me, guy. The incredible persistence of the bad guys. What else have they had to do BUT be persistent? But I take umbrage at the idea that Bush did anything “wisely”.

“Well, yeah. But everything is relative.

No, Rave. Everything isn’t relative. That’s like saying compared to serving a life sentence having a cold in Guayaquil is a happy event. It simply isn’t.

Raven sighs.