Bush’s War on HIV… education

Just to prove the gravity of the things that are slipping under the radar these days, I had to hear from the great security risk blog about Bush’s plan to censor sex-education plans. Wait, not censor, GUT. Not just ignoring condoms, but denouncing them. Read more in the LA Weekly, which says the laws go even further, blocking the vital research that lets us know how people actually get HIV:

Under the new regs, it will be impossible even to track the spread of unsafe sexual practices — because the CDC’s politically inspired censorship includes “questionnaires and survey materials” and thus would forbid asking people if they engage in specific sexual acts without protection against HIV. For that too would be “obscene.” (Questions about gay kids have already disappeared from the CDC’s national Youth Risk Survey after Christian-right pressure).

The new regulations are in their “comment period” until August 16. So right this minute, send an email (cc: a few hundred friends, too!) and tell the CDC that if they won’t tell kids how important condoms are, we’ll start stopping every teen we see and showing them how to put one on. I mean sure, we’d get arrested, but it seems a small price to pay.

I ask you again–is this our country? From a President who seeks to get credit for fighting AIDS in Africa, the true obscenity is his willingness to help spread it here.

The Party Line

One needs no more evidence that the Prime Minister Allawi of Iraq is a full parnter with the US web of disinformation about the Iraq war than this quote from last night’s interview with Tom Brokaw:

Allawi: We know that this is an extension to what has happened in New York. And — the war have been taken out to Iraq by the same terrorists. Saddam was a potential friend and partner and natural ally of terrorism.

At least this time our man in Bagdad didn’t nod his head in agreement:

Brokaw: Prime minister, I’m surprised that you would make the connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq. The 9/11 commission in America says there is no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and those terrorists of al-Qaida.

There’s a partial transcript of the interview here.

The US is truly remaking Iraq in its own image, complete with the faith based politics embraced by our own leader. The administration’s stonewalling in the face of facts is hard to take on any day, but watching the supposedly independant Prime Minister of Iraq parrot the party line so accurately made my stomach turn.

Saddam was a tyrant and and a dictator and I’ve no doubt that many people in Iraq are happy to see him deposed. But I don’t understand how the new Iraqi government can stand on the same rhetoric that we used to justify the war. Does Allawi really think it’s okay that we bombed the shit out of Iraq in after 9-11, even if it was in supposed self-defense?

Google turns up a few interesting things about Allawi and his ties to the CIA (during the Bush senior years) and unspecified business interests in Saudi Arabia.

What did Condi say? (Can’t find the quote, sorry.) Something like, “Make no mistake about it, they will have an independant and sovereign government.”

“I Ruck, therefore I am”

The Village Voice’s “25th Annual Queer Issues” has a great meditation on gay rugby by Christopher Stahl of the Gotham Knights. But if you really want to see what the Knights are all about, check out this month’s issue of Out magazine. Fashionable ruggers? It was inevitable when you think about it! Seriously, they are running like 20 pages of Gotham’s hottest. I have to say, though, I’m feeling like this “gay rugby” thing might have peaked. It felt so much more transgressive in, like, 2002. Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just dreading the work involved in getting my fat ass back on the pitch!

Inspiration, and its absence

It seemed so sad during the primary season this year that so many people chose John Kerry as their man over Howard Dean largely because they deemed him more electable. The goal of the election this year, has from the beginning not been about finding a great president to lead us boldly through the next four years, but about firing the current bad president. Howard Dean inspired a lot of us, but he was too liberal and too full of bravado to carry the more moderate democratic voting base, and much too, well, Howard Dean, to get many republican fence-sitters. Kerry was the man. And for one main reason–his electability. And so he’s the candidate.

The problem is, that we now have a candidate who a lot of people don’t know much about. They didn’t choose Kerry because they agreed with his stance on taxes, health care, or same-sex marriage. They chose him because he wasn’t a freakshow like Dean (and I mean that in the most flattering way, Howard). They didn’t need to know much about him, because they weren’t choosing him so much as they were not choosing someone else. Is anyone all that excited about Kerry? Do they know what he stands for? Do they care? Or just that he isn’t Bush?

So there are lots of people rallied around Bush. We’ve got lots of people that are rallied around the cause of getting rid of Bush. But are that many people rallied around Kerry? The polls don’t really seem to show it. With approval ratings that low for Bush, Kerry should be riding high, but he’s still running pretty even with him. At this point, it’s not a race between Kerry and Bush. It’s a race between Bush and notBush. (Or nonBush, if you prefer).

And people are worried. Because how can you maintain momentum through to November if you never built any up in the first place? Arianna Huffington is one of those trying to get Kerry to start getting his hands dirty. Together with Joe Trippi, late of Dean’s campaign, she’s started an online petition asking Kerry to start inspiring voters to want him rather than relying on them to not want the other guy. Why his people aren’t pushing for that too, I don’t understand, unless there is some strategy to holding back. Otherwise, it makes me a little concerned that they know that if he did open his mouth, we’d want to turn the clock back to the hour before he did.

update on tribunals

OK, here is an update for my posting on tribunals. The news is really fresh, so the story is getting fuller by the minute. Check out this from the Washington Post:

Defense lawyers have criticized the process as stacked against them, but the military has said tribunals would offer full and fair trials.

Smith [Air Force Maj. John Smith, a lawyer who helped draft commission rules]said Monday’s Supreme Court ruling made no difference to plans for the tribunals, which the military calls commissions.

“The Supreme Court right now doesn’t directly affect military commissions at all,” he said. “Everyone would like to move this cases forward as quickly as possible.”

Unfucking believable.