Staying at a hostel means that the conversation can take an unusual turn that you are not likely to find in a local American bar. How should an America respond when a citizen of another country glibly asserts, as a lad from Britain named William Owen did recently, that George W. Bush is a "***** (same as wimpy) war criminal"?
Should an American try to refute the wimpy charge? George W. Bush hid as a paper entity qualified to fly an airplane that was no longer being manufactured during Vietnam, and so trying to assert that he was as macho as Hitler, who won an Iron Cross in Battle during WWI, won't work.
Refuting the criteria for war crimes that was established at the Nuremberg War Crime Trials won't work either because the things that Bush has ordered closely match some of the methods that Herr Hitler also sanctioned.
It's a debating fork. An American can not prove that Bush is a macho war criminal and he can't prove that he doesn't qualify (under the guidelines established at Nuremberg) as a war criminal either, so what's a good citizen to do?
The comedian, Dennis Miller, has the right answer: you just blindly assert that he has been a great President. It is the funniest Dennis Miller routine ever. He delivers the laughs with a dead-pan serious delivery that makes it so much more hilarious than if he did the old wink-wink-nudge-nudge (which is kinda hard to do on a radio show) and that is what makes the routine killer comedy. The routine ranks right up there with the classic "Who's on first?"
Anyone who tries to refute the wimpy-war-criminal assertion is doomed to failure. Especially on a day when Bush's "the economy is sound" speech causes convulsions. The best debating strategy is to firmly switch the topic to something that can lead to a mutual agreement, such as the exhilarating atmosphere for tourists exploring San Francisco. So far, ain't nobody said they've been disappointed by Frisco.
Monday was one of those picture postcard perfect days in San Francisco. We stopped by the Cindy for Congress HQ and noted that they need volunteers and monetary donations. Later in the afternoon, we walked up Knob Hill and when we say "up" we mean "up" with capital letters and triple underline. The hills have gotten steeper since 1969. Back, then they were steep enough to inspire a great comedy routine by Bill Cosby.
Sunday was an exhausting day. The Castro Street Fair deserves a column of its own, and seeing Rev. Billy at City Lights Books, proved that the fellow who left a recent comment that suggested that looking back at '69, might cause a tourist to forget to "be here now" and enjoy the newest cultural offerings available in S. F.
As a kid, we envied Herb Caen's ability to write columns in San Francisco. Later, we envied Hunter S. Thompson's SF writing gig. Walking around "the City" on a bright sunny day knowing that there would be a column to knock out that night was exhilarating.
The ocean side of the city was socked in with low lying clouds, which were spilling through the Golden Gate. The Bridge was covered with low lying clouds but the towers were poking through up into the sunlight.
Hunter Thompson warned that the Bush team would only bring darkness to America and he didn't live to see just how right he was.
Will the Bush team impose martial law and suspend the election? How else can they avoid arrest for war crimes?
Will America let him get away with martial law, just like he started the war with Iraq and sanctioned torture?
Some time ago, we tried to contact Hunter S. Thompson and see if he would bet on the possibility that despite what the Constitution says, Bush would still be President after Inauguration day in 2009. He never took the bet. Subsequently we tried to see if Maureen Dowd would act as his proxy. She never responded either. Oh, well, if it does happen, readers of this web site won't be able to say this columnist didn't give them a heads-up.
Hunter S. Thompson said: "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Now, the disk jockey will play a Moby Grape album and we will take another walk. Have a "Maltese Falcon" type week.