Get Your Paws Off My Foreign Policy, You Damn, Dirty Hippy!

The online dust-up between one-time liberal supporters of the Iraq war like Jonathan Chait and Kevin Drum and, well, people who were unconvinced by the administration’s arguments that an invasion of Iraq was necessary is pretty fairly summed up by tristero’s post today, Part III of which was titled: “The Chuckle-Headed Flakes Were The Bush/Iraq Hawks. The Rest Of Us Had Both Feet On Planet Earth.”

To defend themselves, the liberal hawks have to contort themselves into making statements like:

If anti-war liberals were right about the war from the start, how come they don’t get more respect? Here’s the nickel version of the answer from liberal hawks: It’s because they don’t deserve it. Sure, the war has gone badly, but not for the reasons the doves warned of.

The problem for the liberal hawks is, of course, that it wasn’t just “doves” warning against war with Iraq. It wasn’t just scary old George McGovern and his demented followers. No, the reason the United States has taken so much international heat for the invasion was that most of the rest of the world — despite the administration’s claims that “everybody’s intelligence” said Saddam had WMDs — didn’t see Iraq as a real threat. They were unconvinced by the “evidence” put forward by Bush, Cheney, Powell, and others, which is why they chose not to support the war, with the exception, of course, of the UK, Spain, Italy, and let us not forget Poland.

Wasn’t that just Old Europe (and Old Asia and Old South America and Canada and…) talking? Why, they’re no better than the stinking hippy doves, are they?

Well, how about the fact that there were some Democratic politicians who didn’t think the war was such a hot idea? As I’ve pointed out before, the 2002 Iraq war resolution failed among Democratic Representatives on a vote of 81-126, and most of those House members are still in office.

In the Senate, 21 of the 50 Democrats voted against the resolution (42%). At the time, the Democrats had control of the chamber, there were nine of them on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and five of those Intelligence committee members — privy to the best information on Iraq that was provided to Democrats in the Senate — thought that giving George W. Bush authorization to go to war in Iraq was a bad idea.

Now maybe somehow Kevin Drum and Jonathan Chait and Peter Beinart and all of their buddies had some info about the immediate threat from Iraq that wasn’t available to Senators Carl Levin, Barbara Mikulski, Richard Durbin, Robert Graham, and Ron Wyden. Or the other sixteen Senators who took the same position on the resolution. Or 60% of the House Democrats. Perhaps they’re more “serious” than those people were. Or maybe to Drum and Chait all those Congressional Democrats were right for the wrong reasons, just like the dirty hippies were.

I’m In a Show Me State

The New Yorker article by Jeffrey Goldberg on last week’s crop of Democratic presidential contenders has quite a bit on the various personalities and their stands on Iraq.

The article mentions that the top two positions in a December poll of Iowa Democrats went to former Sen. John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama, each with 22% (Sen. Hillary Clinton came in fourth, with 10%, after Iowa governor and DLC chair Tom Vilsack, who had 12%).

The article quotes from Obama’s recent book where, as has become his wont, he uses the same arguments that the neo-conservatives do to vilify people who oppose the war in Iraq:

Obama is discomfited by those on the left who, in his view, minimize the threat of terrorism. In his recent book, he even scolds those who put the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and the improvement of relations with America’s allies, ahead of national-security concerns. “The objectives favored by liberals have merit,” he writes. “But they hardly constitute a coherent national security policy.” He adds that “the threats facing the United States today are real, multiple, and potentially devastating.” But when he writes that it’s “useful to remind ourselves, then, that Osama bin Laden is not Ho Chi Minh,” it’s hard to imagine who would confuse the two.

And here I thought that not continuing to expand the mess the administration created in Iraq and getting back to dealing with terrorism by international cooperation would be a good national security policy. By all means, let’s continue bombing people we shouldn’t have been bombing in the first place.

I’m also disheartened by the tack Edwards is taking.

Edwards is genial in conversation, but he became almost testy when I brought up his vote, in 2002, in favor of the Iraq-war resolution. Edwards has repudiated his vote, unlike Clinton, who has not renounced her own support for the war despite demands from her backers that she do so. Edwards worries that his vote will be seen as evidence that he was somehow fooled by the Administration into giving it his support. “I was convinced that Saddam had chemical and biological weapons and was doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons,” he said. “There was some disparity in the information I had about how far along he was in that process. I didn’t rely on George Bush for that. And I personally think there’s some dishonesty in suggesting that members of the United States Senate relied on George Bush for that information, because I don’t think it’s true. It’s great politics. But it’s not the truth.”

Here we are, nearly four years after the invasion of Iraq. We’ve had ample opportunity for any evidence from any source that was convincing to be produced by the administration as they’ve try to bolster their reasons for going to war. Nada. Whatever evidence there was that was provided to the full Senate still didn’t convince two-fifths of the Democrats in the Senate to vote for the AUMF. It didn’t convince Sen. Jim Jeffords or Sen. Lincoln Chaffee, either. It didn’t even convince four of the eight Democrats who were on the same committee Edwards was on during the fall of 2002: Carl Levin, Ron Wyden, Richard Durbin, and Barbara Mikulski all voted against the Iraq war resolution. [UPDATE] My mistake, I missed the name of Bob Graham — chairman of the Intelligence committee at the time. He also voted against the AUMF, making it 4-5, not 4-4.

So what, exactly, was it that convinced Edwards that the vote was a good idea? You’d think that even if it was a secret then that secret evidence of WMDs that didn’t exist wouldn’t really be of much use, no matter how convincing it was. Show me. Or tell me why you really voted for it.

The War on MLK Day 2007

The War On MLK Day 2007

In honor of the day, I’m resurrecting my December 2004 post “The War on MLK Day.”

O’REILLY: All right. Well, what I’m tellin’ you, [caller], is I think you’re takin’ it too seriously. You have a predominantly Christian nation. You have a federal holiday based on the philosopher Jesus Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And you don’t wanna hear about it? Come on, [caller] — if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel live in some skinhead compound then. I mean because we live in a country founded on Judeo — and that’s your guys’ — Christian, that’s my guys’ philosophy the principle “All men are created equal”. But overwhelmingly, America is Christian. And the holiday is a federal holiday honoring the philosopher Jesus Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So, you don’t wanna hear about it? Impossible.

And that is an affront to the majority. You know, the majority can be insulted, too. And that’s what this anti-ChristmasMLK Day thing is all about.

January 17, 2005 is the third Monday of January, a day nationally-recognized as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. King — as you may be aware — was a minister who rose to prominence in the late 1950s and 1960s during the struggle for African-American civil rights. He was assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. This year’s observance will be a day off of work for some senior politicians who opposed his cause of racial justice when he was alive. They and many more younger lawmakers later opposed the establishment of the MLK holiday, which was first proposed by Representative John Conyers (D-MI) four days after the assassination and resubmitted by Conyers and Representative Shirley Chisolm (D-NY) repeatedly over the next decade and a half.

Although President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation authorizing the holiday in 1983, and it went into effect in 1986, several states refused to honor King. Arizona approved it only after a threatened tourist boycott in the early 1990s.

As a slap at the very ideals King was honored for by his Nobel Peace Prize, Arkansas, for instance, chose to make the day a combined tribute to King and Confederate General Robert E. Lee, a man who did his professional best to preserve a nation in which civil rights were not a goal. So did Mississippi. Georgia, at least, being King’s home state, shifts the observance of Lee’s birthday to November this year, although this almost makes the fact that it’s being observed at all more of a travesty.

Considering the fuss people like Bill O’Reilly have made about Christmas this year, and how it deserves more attention (is that possible) because it is, after all, a national holiday, I’m ready to hear him make the above declaration.

And I’m ready to see everyone urge their local newscasters, national networks, magazines, and — yes, especially FOX News and Bill O’Reilly — to do something more than a 30-second retrospective of King’s life. I’m ready to see some build-up over the next three weeks, as everyone joins in the conversation about what King stood for, what he did, and how people today can honor his goals. Don’t let the bigots and neo-segregationists pretend it’s just a second-rate holiday; another day off for federal workers; or a bone thrown to African-Americans to keep them quiet. Make sure people know why MLK deserved this type of recognition.


MLK Day of Service

The King Center: “The Meaning of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday”

Infoplease: The History of Martin Luther King Day

Is Late Better Than Never?

A lot of locals seem to be impressed by the conversion of state Senator Ben Westlund from Republican to Independent to Democrat over the course of 2006. There’s talk of him running against US Senator Gordon Smith in 2008.

In the interview mentioned in the Blue Oregon post linked above, Westlund talks about how he “grew weary of the intolerance” of many of his fellow Republicans. I certainly can’t fault him for that, but I do wonder why it took him so long to figure that out: the religious right has been ascendent in the Republican Party for mor than a quarter-century now; Pat Robertson had enough delegates at the national Republican convention to make things uncomfortable for Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1988.

And yes, I’m a skeptic. I like evidence. I want proof. I prefer a record. A party switch two years before a Senate seat comes up when many of the Democratic potentials seem to be sitting it out? That seems a little calculated. I’d love to see someone who was a Democrat before the November 2006 elections actually in the race.

Most important to me if he decides to make a try for the Senate is, what stand did he take on Iraq? Because that one issue is draining the country for hundreds of billions a year. Someone with common sense — say, Senator Wyden, or Congressman Blumenauer, or Congressman DeFazio, or Congresswoman Hooley, or Congressman Wu — might have expressed some doubts about the reasons for going to war in Iraq by, say, voting against the October 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force. Senator Westlund wasn’t in Congress, so he didn’t vote on the issue, but I found a letter he wrote nearly two years after the invasion of Iraq and posted it in my comment on Blue Oregon.

Ben Westlund, almost exactly two years ago (8 January 2005), my emphasis added:

To The Troops and Caring For Troops:

Right up front. . . . . let me just say I love you guys and wish I were speaking these words to you in person. BJ, Taylor and I would like nothing better than to spend the morning packing care boxes with all of you as we have proudly done before. But the truth is we’re doing something I wish each and every one of you and your loved ones in Iraq could be doing. . attending a long-scheduled family football outing. . . yes, we’re watching the Seattle Seahawks beat up the St. Louis “Bad guy” Rams.

I don’t say that to heighten your pain of separation from your loved one. . . but to underscore what they’re fighting for . . . it’s our freedoms: moments at the movies, school plays, our right to vote, and yes Saturday football . . . it’s our way of life. They are protecting our very existence.

What you are doing is so important. . . sending a little bit of home to our troops in Iraq. I can’t tell you how inspired I am by each of you.

Volunteering a few hours of your day will mean so much to each member of G Troop . . . these packages will lift their spirits and let them know how much we care.

Thank you and carry on!!


I’m not about to vote for anyone in the Democratic primary who was gullible enough to fall for the tissue of lies that got the US into the Iraq war. I don’t think we need to replace someone like Gordon Smith with someone else who would make the same mistake — one that none of the Democratic members of the Oregon Congressional delegation made — of green-lighting a similar military operation or other misadventure, no matter what their stand on health care, because so long as those kinds of wasteful mistakes are made, there’s not going to be enough money left to fund any kind of comprehensive plan for anything.

Have any of the people impressed by Westlund bothered to ask him about his stand on Iraq? Or why anyone should trust him on that type of issue any more than you’d trust, say, Gordon Smith?

In comments about Senator Smith’s post-election cris-de-coeur over Iraq, Westlund is quoted saying “If you come to an enlightened position late, that’s better than not coming to it at all,” which might explain his own situation as well, but it’s still better not to make the incredibly stupid mistake in the first place, when it involves the deaths of tens or hundreds of thousands of people.

Letter to an Impotent Commie Loser

For the record, more correspondence from someone I shall not name, just in case I disappear under mysterious circumstances (I wonder how knowing about this letter — and any that follow it — would influence my decision to work for the author if I was a freelance Web developer, Flash designer, or Director programmer working in the Portland metro area):

Dear Mr. Plant:

It has been brought to my attention that like your friend Peter Sylwester, you seem to feel you have been ordained with a universal license to take liberties with other folks copyrighted/trademarked stuff. That is a real bad concept.

You are instructed to immediately remove the link to my Poetry website and all references to it and myself from your pathetic, commie, Loser website forthwith (that means now idiot). If I see it there Monday (January 15, 2007), you WILL find yourself in the receiving end of a Federal lawsuit in the Multnomah Federal court, and having the distinct displeasure of meeting my attorney, Mr. James Buchal, who is a trial attorney.

If you “guys” actually had anything on-the-ball, you would have more to do than play with Barbie dolls and whine like little babies to each other about your sad pathetic tales…. boo hoo. If Peter doesn’t comply per the Letter I sent him, we will tango. And this applies to you now.

There’s no “alleging” anything dimwit;

The U.S.C. is very clear on the statutory penalties for trademark/copyright and patent infringement and about what happens to the imbeciles like you who use ®-™-© materials without expressed consent, which neither you and/or Pete have ever had. The fun starts with a fine for “each use” of $1,000.00 (Federal fine). If either one of you wood-heads had even as much as a brainstem inside the space you think is your head, you could look it up; it is after all, online now.

Further, prior to sending Peter the Letter, we collected dated videos of the unauthorized Greets® materials that were seen/found on Peter’s site (again with your complicity and help), which have been preserved with the ones from 2002, for use as needed in Federal Court. The U.S.C. provides statutory fines (Federal) and attorney’s fees to the holder of the abused tradmark/patent/copyright. My friend Mr. James Buchal (also admitted to the Washington State Bar) will quite happily purse this matter if there is any timely failure to comply with my instructions. Costs me nadda, since the government (that you apparently hate) provides that; YOU will pay ALL my attorney fees and all the costs to kick your sorry asses in a court of law. We need only to show the court proof of the unauthorized usage (which we have in Spades), and unless you have a get-out-of-jail-free card, or a letter of consent signed by me (which you don’t have), YOU PAY.

And my warning now extends to you Mr. Darrell Plant (dba: Moshofsky/Plant – 3635 SE Alder St. – Portland, OR 97214); Mr. Buchal will effectively drain some chlorophyll from your wallet as well, if needed. You are hereby given notice that you must not link ANY of your web sites to ANY of my trademarked/copyrighted materials and/or any of my web sites (all inclusive). This applies to any and all sites that you host and or control. YOU DON’T HAVE ANY CONSENT WHATSOEVER FOR ANY SUCH USAGE.

You two Stinking Commies give honest programmers a real Bad name…. When you Work For Hire, you don’t get to Steal stuff away under any circumstances. It’s just NOT YOURS, AND IT NEVER BECOMES YOURS, EVER. Furthermore MORONS, things that are copyrighted, trademarked or patented ARE NOT YOUR THINGS TO USE FOR ANY REASON, or at ANYTIME; unless you have PRIOR written permission. What part of this don’t you mental-midgets understand??

And, if Pete had any honor (honesty), he would have asked for permission before his first unauthorized use in 2002, which was with your assistance, making you complicit in that crime….. yep, it’s a crime, look it up dummy!

IF he had the common sense of a house-cat, he would have done as most normal people and asked for consent to use MY STUFF at his site back then, and I would have most likely granted the consent. But NOT NOW. You want to play games and you’ll loose.

IMHO, your so-called “Blog” reads to me like a mutual admiration club for socially dysfunctional and impotent Commie losers like you and Pete. And you are clearly identified by Dr. Roseman’s article cited herein below. Here’s a link that YOU should use at your site and label it “All About Us”. (of course you’ll need permission from Mr. Roseman)

Here’s the Key paragraph for you and Peter:

Most often I see this in terms of software programmers or engineers who go off with an idea for a business. They are blinded by their brilliance at programming, or mechanical problem-solving because that comes easy to them. But try as they might, they can’t relate to people. They keep failing and don’t know why. And they will keep failing until they see that they have a blind spot with people and get somebody in there who is talented in that area.
© (Jack Roseman, who taught entrepreneurship for 13 years at Carnegie Mellon University, is director of The Roseman Institute, a subsidiary of Buchanan Ingersoll, and president of computer firm On-Line Systems. Contact him via e-mail at

Have a Nice Day {:-)

William Simpson

“They keep failing and don’t know why. And they will keep failing until they see that they have a blind spot with people and get somebody in there who is talented in that area.” Wow. I guess I should check in and see how successful the rich-media greeting card on a disk concept was. Or the idea of putting grocery store coupons on disks.

I’ve heard of Multnomah County court. I’ve heard of US District court, which is a federal court. But I’ve never heard of “Multnomah Federal court.”

Trademark infringement occurs when someone utilizes the mark of another party to deceive a third party. Copyright infringement takes place when you duplicate or make widely available content belonging to another party in part or in whole. Posting examples of your work at a private web site address for the purpose of showing it to potential employers? I think that would be stretching the concept.

Linking to someone’s site on the World Wide Web? Well, if the site’s out there, there’s nothing legally stopping anyone from linking to it (as opposed to framing it within other content) for any reason. If you put it out on the Web where search engines and anything else can find it, you really can’t complain when someone links to it.

You’d think that if he was going to file papers he could at least spell my name correctly. It must have been difficult to find my address, what with it being on my web site and all. And I really don’t understand his obsession with Barbie dolls.

Protest On Wry

As what TV reports later described as “several hundred” protestors were preparing to gather for a protest at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland Thursday evening, Oregon Public Broadcasting‘s local news report during the 5:30 break in “All Things Considered” made note of the nationwide, coordinated protests by referring to the “wry” smile they gave to a soldier from Fort Lewis. He was smiling because — and I have to paraphrase here because OPB doesn’t have their news reports archived online — he was going to be going to Iraq next spring as a part of the “surge” strategy to protect the right of the protestors to protest.

No indication was given as to why that particular soldier was chosen to speak. No voice of any protester or protest organizer was heard during the piece. No opinion was presented apart from that of the soldier.

And, of course, there wasn’t any questioning of exactly how 25 million Iraqis were supposedly impinging on the rights of 300 million Americans to protest or anything else, or how a war in Iraq was preventing that.


Letter to Joe Klein, TIME:

Were you hoping for the US to lose when you declined at the age of 20 to join the armed services at the height of the Vietnam War, Mr. Klein? Is this whole “liberals want us to lose” thing just some sort of projection of your own failing of 40 years ago? I’d be perfectly willing to accept that you didn’t think Vietnam was a war worth fighting for if you’d give up this stupid line about liberals wanting Iraq to spiral into violence. Heck, that’s why I was against the war in the first place; I thought it would get a lot of innocent people killed. But once you jump off the cliff, no amount of flapping your arms is going to make you fly.


Just for fun, I passed along a Director job for a full-time position in Europe to the other developer in the office I work at, Nathan Pryor, and he responded:

I don’t think anyone should be allowed to use the word “permanent” in regards to a Director position. Who do they think they’re kidding? 🙂


My friend Peter Sylwester has bad luck. Specifically, he has the bad luck to know me, because I bear full responsibility for hooking him up with a couple of people who went beyond the average bad-client/employer mark while he was working as a free-lance Flash developer.

In one case, a woman I’d done some Shockwave games for hired Peter to create Flash casino-style games. He wasn’t in charge of the backend programming, though, and when the various people who were supposedly doing that work fell through time after time, Peter was the one getting harassing calls and emails.

Then there was the time I referred Peter to an honest-to-God job. I hadn’t taken it, because the concept looked a little shaky to me. I told Peter up front about that, but he needed something to pay the bills, interviewed, and took the job, developing interactive animations and content for a heavy-media CD-based greeting card company (I told you it was a little shaky). Pete poured his heart and talent into it, though, and they got more than they could have hoped for in terms of quality work under the kind of personally abusive conditions that would have sent me out the door. In fact, they got more than they paid for, because when they eventually closed the doors (in the spring of 2000), they stiffed Peter for about several thousand dollars in pay.

Peter put some of the files up on his site as an example of his work after the original site (which hadn’t been shut down) went through enough changes that it didn’t represent anything he’d done. Then, in late 2001, he and I got a series of wack letters from his old boss demanding that the files be taken down, alleging “very significant fines and jail terms, which may be levied against you and Mr. Plant.” That was, mind you, over five years ago.

So here we are, nearly seven years after the company shut down. In the meantime, Peter’s moved (physically) his site’s moved a couple of times, and yes, he put some of the screens up to show to students and prospective employers, without a link to them. The original site is like one of those parked domains, giving “information” about various vendors on a particular subject. And at the address Peter had the files stored is the letter he got.

Supplemental reading: poetry by the same author.

With friends like me, who needs that guy?