Little Beirut And Other Autonomous Zones

The One True bIX

Canada20(Why, some may be asking, am I here at all? This site has been around for awhile now, and I turned away an invitation to come in at the beginning. Had to focus on my other, Portland-related site, after all. But we've all just come through November 2, 2004, and I needed somewhere to be, somewhere to talk the Larger Scene of politics. Final preliminary: My presence here is not an indication one way or the other of the future of my other, Portland-related site.)

Wednesday was for the walking dead. Like many of us, I in essence knew when I went to bed at 3:00 AM in the morning (only to wake four hours later) that it was over. But, also, I suspect, like many of us, it wasn't until after that break of sleep, in the light of day, that it began to take hold. My survival tactic of choice? Gallows humor.

I greeted people -- my regular streetroots vendor, a friend I met for coffee -- with a hearty, "Greetings, citizen!" and hearty Roman-like salute. I text messaged three people reminding them to have their loyalty oaths on file at the Federal courthouse by noon. It was, of course, little more than escapism. A kind of drug. Because no matter how many people were trying, in weak voices, to point out some of the good results in our little corner of the United States (an example of which you can see in Randy Leonard's post earlier this evening), I was having a damnably hard time figuring out how the Hell to cope with what the next four years were going to mean.

There were also random moments which likely ocurred all around Portland today. Standing in line for my morning coffee, two women behind me in line were involved in a rather distraught conversation about the results of the election. I half-turned in order to eavesdrop. The woman doing most of the talking stopped in mid-sentence, grabbed my arm, and tried to apologize for going on so much about it. "Yeah, well, you're freaking out, and I'm eavesdropping," I said. "It's all good."

Of course, it wasn't all good. We both understood that. What we both meant was that the particular moment we were experiencing, of the Stranger Wall momentarily breaking down for the greater good of distributing the emotional load... that was what was good.

Unsurprsingly, others were finding their way through similar psychological dismay today, in rather peculiar ways.

In near-record time, someone launched a website for Canadians to select an American to marry because "lonely, afraid (did we mention really hot?) progressives will need a safe haven." But then again, Reuters devoted an entire article to how difficult emigrating to Canada really is, and the website for Harper's Magazine republished an October article which widened the emigration net a bit only to find similar problems with this particular solution.

Others have begun musing upon the idea of secession. There's talk once again of the Republic of Cascadia, although it's been pointed out elsewhere in the world of Oregon weblogs that the State of Jefferson has been around much longer.

Then we have more drastic rearrangements of the political geography, coming to us all in easy-to-understand map form. There's a simple bipolar split envisioned by some, with a somewhat more dramatic vision being dreamt up by others. (For what it's worth, we prefer the latter and more dramatic version of future events.)

And of course, here in Little Beirut, the first responders of the liberal protest community took to the streets today. I followed them around downtown, beginning as they left Pioneer Courthouse Square, for about an hour this evening. I didn't march with them -- I didn't have it in me. I just stayed to the sidelines, more often preceding them than tailing them. More than once, I had to explain to people I would run into one or two blocks away from the march (as I tried to run around blocks to get in front of them) what was going on. I don't recall anyone disapproving of my explanation for what was being protested.

For whatever it's worth, tomorrow's New York Times has an article on "left coast" reaction, including a paragraph or two from here in Portland. The reporter emailed me this morning, and we talked in the afternoon, but I don't appear to have made the cut. No big deal, that's what weblogs are for anyway.

We are going to be in dire need of shared spaces. We have a very long haul ahead of us. Mad King George has already decreed a mandate, even though 55 million Americans voted against him. The hard party line out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is going to be clear. "Let's come together in the spirit of America and bi-partisanship, and heal." What they really mean is, "Sit down, shut up, and fall into line."

Me (and this won't be a surprise to those who have read what I've written about the backers of Measure 36, but it's all the more true now), I'm done being politic, done being civil, with those who don't deserve it. Anyone on the other side who wants civility is going to have to prove to me that they, unlike their President and his loyalists, deserve it.

P. Diddy may have stolen my years-old "VOTE OR DIE!" slogan and pimped himself all over the media as a result, but that's okay, I've got a new one, although it's not quite as sublime.

Push back, or get the Hell out of my way.

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    The exaggerated Left Coast piece in the NYT's perpetuates the myths about living in Portland. Most of get out of our suburban beds, drink drip coffee from the local Safeway, get in our Ford Escort and drive into Portland to work all day. We grab a quick lunch at the fastest and cheapest place close to work. We feel unrepresented at the Federal level and hopeful about the State level of government with more Dems in the Senate.

    We are joining with other committed Dems, after an appropriate period of disbelief to organize and work together to winback the White House in 2008.

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    The thing you want to read in today's New York Times is Tom Friedman. I think he's hit the nail on the head with this:

    The election results reaffirmed that. Despite an utterly incompetent war performance in Iraq and a stagnant economy, Mr. Bush held onto the same basic core of states that he won four years ago - as if nothing had happened. It seemed as if people were not voting on his performance. It seemed as if they were voting for what team they were on.

    This was not an election. This was station identification. I'd bet anything that if the election ballots hadn't had the names Bush and Kerry on them but simply asked instead, "Do you watch Fox TV or read The New York Times?" the Electoral College would have broken the exact same way."

  • brett (unverified)

    Why should anyone have to prove anything to you? Quit your whining and grow up. Or, alternatively, keep that attitude for four years and lose again.

  • Bob R. (unverified)

    But Brett, you whine all the time! You are the #1 whiner on this blog.

    Kisses, Bob

  • Justin (unverified)

    If at all possible, could we avoid the personal attacks. They get really old, really quick.

    Anyway, I agree with Friedman. Republicans are acting like they won the Superbowl or something.

    I'll leave you with another blurb from the NYTimes.

    Dr. James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and an influential evangelical Protestant, said he had issued a warning to a "White House operative" who called yesterday morning to thank him for his help.

    Dr. Dobson said he told the caller that many Christians believed the country "on the verge of self-destruction" as it abandoned traditional family roles. He argued that "through prayer and the involvement of millions of evangelicals, and mainline Protestants and Catholics, God has given us a reprieve."

    "But I believe it is a short reprieve," he continued, adding that conservatives now had four years to pass an amendment banning same-sex marriage, to stop abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, and most of all to remake the Supreme Court. "I believe that the Bush administration now needs to be more aggressive in pursuing those values, and if they don't do it I believe they will pay a price in four years," he said.

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    Why should anyone have to prove anything to you?

    I don't think it's unreasonable for me to insist that Republicans as a general species now have to prove to me that, unlike their President, they aren't lying, manipulating, insular, secretive, war-mongering jackals.

    I know there are Republicans who aren't like that. But given the damage their President has caused and will continue to cause to the republic, I'm simply not going to be giving anyone on the other side the benefit of the doubt.

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    Meaning this: The President's words and deeds are the face of the GOP. Do non-jackal Republican disavow that face? Or are they apologists for it?

    I hardly think that's an irrelevant or somehow improper question.

  • Shetha (unverified)

    Indeed, indeed. Accountability. Since the president and administration will not be accountable, now we can hold those who voted for W himself accountable. Explain the lies and the mistakes. Explain how it is that values such as ignorance, selfishness, and righteousnous are going to make this country great. That's all we want to know... please explain.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    It is validating the thought in your mind that the vote numbers you saw on TV are accurate and the TV result is the reality you believe -- THAT is the mistake, the failing. If it is in your mind then it is your failing, which is fine as long as you own up to the fact of your behavior. Solely admit you choose to believe and perpetrate THAT reality, your bad. Your choice does not make it reality, same as (the parallel that just doesn't go away) the masses who believed the earth was flat after it was proved to be round. But they KNEW it was flat. They could SEE it was flat (although they had not been across it). And they KNEW that their KNOWledge that it was flat MADE IT, in fact, FLAT.

    But of course, the earth is round and they were flat wrong. So? So what? Well, so hundreds of thousands of people were burned at the stake because they did not believe the 'flat truth.'

    Just so, hearing yourself say either "Bush won" or "Kerry lost" means you agree with, and you know you are in your rights, killing a thousand American troops and hundreds of thousands -- that's hundredS plural, of thousands -- of Iraqis, for the earth's oil, because you KNOW that the only way you can live is to get in a car and drive to work and make the money to live on. You accept that 'those' people just had to die, partly for you to survive justly, because 'Kerry lost.'

    We don't know who won or lost because all the ballots have not been counted.

    Kerry won. Here's the facts.

    Kerry Won. . . Greg Palast November 04, 2004


    I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad. But I don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry.

    ------- from -------

    Habeas corpus. Prove the ballots exist. Bring forth the punchcard ballots in Ohio and NM, run them through the counting machines, and let us see them counted. I'd believe the results of a news reporter or live video account of the process, as witnessed. Without ANY account -- the TV-type didn't even travel to Ohio, they only read the press release they were given and, what's worse, after the fact they dismiss the complaint that they go witness what they reported, and none of the 'mass hypnosis media' have seen the material body. It's like if the TV news reported a building burned down, but they didn't send anyone to witness whether it did or not. Maybe it did and maybe it didn't, but simply because they said it did is not the knowledge that it did. They must go there or present the account of someone who did go there.

    There is no media account from Ohio except Palast's. He went there. He talked to people there. He says there are boxes of punchcard ballots that have not been counted, and that SoS Blackwell's 'office' says they exist and (by) refusing to say how many there are. These 'media not reporting, journalists not doing their job' charges are more of an on-going pattern -- saying it now about Ohio and NM is not the first time this dereliction charge has come up.

    Hell yes there is something to be proved. Prove Bush has got the ballots. Produce the body. And if the rightwing fascists want to shut people up from calling fascists 'fascist,' they should be joining in the effort to line up the ballot cards which the eye can see and the hand can hold, (completely ignoring for a minute the computer-operated touch-screen voting thing), produce the punchcard ballots and let's all together have a look at them. THAT is proving it.

    The only 'media credentialed' witness who has offered first-person WITNESS accounts so far, says there are boxes of uncounted ballots. Prove there is a different account. Lacking that, Kerry won and voting fraud crime has been committed. (Nor is that the first criminal charges due against Bush that has come up -- it's a pattern in his presence. And, logically, there is more reason to believe ballot boxes were illegally 'stuffed' and the announced tallies are fraudulent, than there is reason to believe all the pre-polling and same day exit polling was somehow mistaken and misperformed by experts at the job, in business to poll, who do it all the time and this time broke their pattern of doing it correctly and did it wrong, for some reason, which is too irrelevant to investigate.)

    Except it is very relevant. Human beings have been and are being killed and murdered based on the legitimacy of unopened boxes of uncounted ballots -- 'trust us what we believe is in the boxes.'

    The bretts and Reinhards and Liars Larsons and FOXzi TVists damn straight are shouting over and disparaging at anyone saying habeas corpus -- Prove it! -- because they can't act to hold up the ballots to show, for fear everyone is going to see the human blood on their hands. As if no one sees them at the oil station drinking SUV-gulps of it

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    Why should anyone have to prove anything to you? Quit your whining and grow up. Or, alternatively, keep that attitude for four years and lose again.

    You know, amid the fire raining down from the sky as a result of the Bush election we may have failed to notice that there was a sea change politically here. The Oregon GOP crapped out pretty badly if truth be told. No statewide elections (again), a net loss in the House, and they lost the Senate. Worse, Mannix's Rovelike approach backfired, and may have done the GOP long-term damage.

    Meanwhile, Oregon Dems got out the vote and delivered HUGE. One station I watched called Oregon before Washington. That's impressive party discipline by Oregonians.

    Yeah, Bush won and the national GOP consolidated gains. But in Oregon, we can call ourselves truly blue.

  • Sunshine (unverified)

    I started to think about succession. It hit me as I looked at the map. Fine! You don't like our values? Well, we'll take our toys and be on our merry way. We'll take our money and the economy of Calfornia, Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois et. al. and we'll see how robust your union is!

    Hell! Let's name the Country "Riche Etat de Bleu" just to gall them.

    Thanks for the chance to vent!

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    And another thing, or the same thing another way:

    They said on TV there were WMDs and threats to Iraq. But TV was lying, there were no WMDs nor threat.

    They said on TV Ohio's ballots were marked Bush. TV is lying again, or not. There have to be ground inspectors this time in Ohio and New Mexico before bimbo Dubya is authorized to do anything.

  • Kent (unverified)

    Hey guys, take a deep breath. I'm an Oregonian temporarily exiled to Waco TX while my wife completes a family practice residency here. We plan to move back to Portland or perhaps Salem when she's through. After living in Texas which is a weird combination of "Southern" and "Western" I've come to the conclusion that all of this is uiltimately the fault of another Republican Administration--the Lincoln Administration.

    Take a look at the electoral map and at the boundaries of the Confederacy and contemplate what North America might have looked like today had the South been allowed to go its own way. Slavery would have died a slow death by the late 1800s anyway. It was not sustainable. But Imagine what the North and West would have looked like as a nation without Texas and the South. Perhaps something much more along the Canadian or Northern European model. And with North America broken up into smaller countries we probably wouldn't have seen the American Imperialism of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries. So blame it on Lincoln for keeping all those Southerners and Texans in the fold.

    That said, I have come to be a believer in Federalism after the experience of the past decade. As long as the red states are dragging us down, forget about using the Federal Government as an agent of change and focus on your state and local governments. But that also means cutting off the Federal gravy train that subsidizes most of the red states. If they want Ag price supports, let them pay for it at home. Let each state go its own way.

  • brett (unverified)

    b!x, that's a much better way to put it. I don't mean to be uncivil; sorry for the tone of that comment. I was momentarily irked.

    There are lots of ways in which one can disagree with Bush and still vote for him. Most everyone in my particular demographic would have major issues with Bush's social agenda. I'm sure there were at least a few people in Portland who voted for Bush and against Measure 36, for example.

    But as I commented on Kari's post above, there has to be a little soul-searching here on the part of Democrats. Why should Republicans concede anything after a decisive election? (Before you start about decisiveness, take a look at this. Interesting tidbits: 45% of Bush's vote came from self-described liberals or moderates; 46% of first-time voters went Bush; and the one I find most surprising, 52% of college graduates.)

    Democrats have to come up with a plan to fight the demographic trends which threaten the party's very existence. In 1994, there were 17 Democratic Senators from the South, and 9 Republicans. Now, there are 22 Republicans and 4 Democrats. That hurts. Asking Republicans to be more Democratic is not a plan.

    Lastly, I think Jeff has an excellent point; Oregon really is an exception to the red tide. I expected Measure 36 to be more of a landslide than it was, and lots of polls showed Oregon to be a tossup between Kerry and Bush. So, for whatever it's worth, your message appears to be resonating here.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)

    No, the part that you don't get is your premise "decisive election" is false, meaning you are speaking lies.

    Listen, countable ballots have not been counted. The election is fraudulent. The results on your TV is a lie. Just like the WMD thing. From the same people. Lies. They simply lied to you. (On the other more-complicated, less-likely hand, everybody else is wrong except you.)

    That your rightist 'violent force' sympathy has not changed since you found out WMDs was lies, does not by your constancy make the TV election 'results' not a lie this time. More like the opposite, the same hotheadedness or emotional vengefulness which made you susceptible to believing by wanting to believe WMDs the first time, also hobbles your reasoning to analyze (think for yourself) TV election lies you want to believe this time.

    Dems aren't asking Repubs to be Dems. Dems are asking Repubs to be human. Humans produce the body, humans see to believe. The ballots for Bush don't exist, brett. Listen, they aren't real. It's a lie. Another lie. Whether we want them to exist or not, it is easy to settle. Let's dig them up and see them. Then 'wants' don't matter. They are either there, in fact, or they are not. This is perfectly human. This is the "reasonable man." This is "due diligence." This is civilization.

    And, yeah, like B!x said, the civil community can not allow berserkers to be at large believing anything they want to believe when their behavior in those beliefs turns to murdering humankind.

    (Like the Catholic Church for several hundred years, or maybe you believe that's an okay group. What say we dig up the records and see what they did for several hundred years? Oh, but they've changed today. Well, good, that's not asking them to be Dems, that's asking them to be human. It's not just the least they could do, it's the least civilian law and order requires, under penalty of restraint, them to do. Just like you and me.)

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    Continuing the maps, here's a good one that puts things into a differently-colored context.

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