by h. brown
|I want to thank all of you, because of all of the places
I’ve been, this is the most recent.
|-- Jens Nielsen, my campaign manager in 2 in ’02
I didn’t hear from any smart & pretty girls for over a week. I started
to wonder why. I asked the pretty woman who is in the kitchen when I come
up to make coffee in the morning what she thought was happening. “How long
since you posted a column?” Uh huh, she was right … just over a week. I
wrote a column for the Sentinel and 3 beautiful and brilliant women wrote
within hours! (Some ugly guys too.)
I thanked the pretty woman in the kitchen at 5:30 am the next day.
“They only love you for your keyboard,” she said. “And the cat litter
needs changing.” Then she took her coffee and toast off to wherever it is
I don’t know most of the people I live with personally, but then, who
Lafco proves its value
The waterline from Hetch Hetchy can be cut in a split second. Two weeks
later, we surrender to whoever cut it. (Constantinople withstood a
100-year siege.) Gas and water sources for San Francisco’s
electrical-generation facilities can be halted by 3 dim-witted winos in
less time than it takes to listen to Janis Joplin sing “Me & Bobby McGee.”
San Francisco, in these troubled times, is hearing a cascade of world
experts testify before its Local Agency Formation Commission (I get that
right?) about how to make the city self-sufficient for water and power in
the event of a catastrophe. Again, the City by the Bay is ahead of the
Iraq will not be the last crisis. The world, as Brecht noted, is a
dangerous place. The big lesson from back-to-back hearings on tidal power
and desalinization was that San Francisco can be more like Constantinople.
As Tom Ammiano likes to say: “That’s a good thing.” (Bottom line dollars,
including buying and rebuilding the PG&E grid: both projects … 4 billion.)
The birds are doing it
I try to make myself useful in little ways. I do dishes and take out
the trash. I sweep around the barrels and hose the pigeon doo. It’s a
downtown San Francisco thing. Anyway, the pigeons roost above where I do
my trash thing. Suddenly, this time of year, the gangway containing the
barrels is cluttered with debris. Much more than would normally blow down
the naturally active breezeway. After a while, you realize it is nesting
material for the amorous doves above.
What’s a dove build with these days you’re probably asking? Trust me,
I’ve swept up the stuff the pigeons drop while building their nests for
years. Here are the basic construction ingredients in a Tenderloin pigeon
Swizzle sticks of all kinds. Coffee to alcohol. Wooden and plastic.
Q-tips. Pigeons love Q-tips in their nests.
Plastic tear-seals from tops of milk, juice, etc. containers.
Leaves and small branches.
An occasional strand of barbed wire (hey, it’s San Francisco).
I love pigeons. They are, after all, non-violent doves of peace. They
live up to 45 years, mate for life and should be the local bird. But
that’s another story.
The pigeon population needs to be managed but there are just so many
problems in the world. … (I told the pigeons I’d say something.)
The War Thing
I know that most of my readers are anti-war. Most any war. I appreciate
that. I’m extremely supportive of the anti-war crowd.
I, however, am a barbarian. I’ve studied war most of my life (did you
know that in 5,000 years of recorded history, there have been over 5,000
wars?). I read & watch and sort information every day. I think there are
some real bastards out there torturing and murdering their own people
(many of them supported by either the U.S. government or American foreign
capital). I’d like to see a tyrant removed yearly. The difference between
these guys and George W. is that in 2 years, we can vote him out of
office. I certainly hope we do. On the other hand, look at the prospects
for Iraq under American rule.
As a guide, let’s look at the last dozen or so countries “we” have
conquered and occupied.
When we win the war
I guess the Japanese benefited more from American occupation and
democratization than any country over the past century or so. I’d rate
Germany as second. The Germans’ only attempt at democracy (the Weimar
Republic) hadn’t lasted more than a few years and the Japanese had no idea
of the concept. Both now rival us economically and have very, very serious
democracies. I’m partial to the Japanese because they sometimes have a
pro-wrestling atmosphere in their legislature (ever seen films of them
whaling away at one another - sometimes, an occasional knife fight?). We
“won” those wars and the people of those two countries are freer and more
prosperous than ever in their history.
I’d have to say South Koreans benefited from American conquest and
occupation. Hell, look at North Korea! We certainly abused the
Philippines, but their new democracy is modeled after our own. Kosovo?
Granada? Haiti? Dominican Republic? Can you really say the U.S. made
things worse in any of these countries? They haven’t stoned a woman to
death for the “crime” of adultery in downtown Kabul for nearly 3 years!
Can you deny that millions died because we did nothing when the United
Nations was too slow?
The other side of the coin …
When we lost the war
How do you think the locals would react if you started criticizing the
government in downtown Saigon? Mogadishu? Havana? Hey, things are better
for the locals (if my data is correct) when “we” come in, make a bundle
off rebuilding infrastructure while establishing long-term economic ties,
and then get the hell out. Hey, we’ve done that with great success for the
past hundred years or so.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still the “last commie standing,” but I’m
a realist. There are lots and lots of bad people out there. Some of them
have whole armies and navies and air forces of their own. That’s why we
maintain a military. Until we change the human genetic code, there will
remain not just the need, but the absolute necessity of fighting off
gangsters, either on an individual or international level.
The class of “warrior” has always been among the most honored. We still
need warriors. People the world over still need a savior. Would that we
could answer every cry. Presently, only the cries of those either sitting
upon giant oil reserves (Iraq) or providing a natural path to the oil
tankers from huge reserves (Afghanistan) are the cries being heard. We
remedy that through agitation and at the polls.
In short? Don’t cry for Iraq. If they have the luck of the Japanese and
the Germans, in 20 years, they’ll clean our economic clock.
More later: firstname.lastname@example.org