Saturday, November 15, 2003

Spent most of the evening over at DailyKos and Timshel, making comments about the Governor's election here in Louisiana.

Thanks to Cory in New Orleans, who also made regular posts on Timshel's comments to keep readers up to date on NOLA's coverage of the election.

Am glad, but not thrilled that Blanco won--this was a lesser-of-evils choice if there ever was one. Fortunately, the lesser evil won.

A number of comments over at Kos referenced race regarding Jindal's loss. My take is that there is a little bit of truth to that, sadly. Blanco took a number of parishes in the north part of the State. But the big factor in her win was voter turnout, which was higher than so-called experts thought, and the VERY LARGE support for her among African American voters. I'm pretty sure when the voting trends are analyzed, we'll see that Jindal's poll numbers showing upwards of 15 percent support among African Americans were inflated.

Here in Baton Rouge, Jindal won, but only by about 8,000 votes out of 130,000 cast in the parish.

And a final note: Cory down in NOLA, in comments over at Timshel, characterized Jindal's concession speech perfectly--he sounded like a 'poor loser.' Indeed. In fact, let me quote his comment:

"Jindal didn't congratulate or even mention Blanco's name in his speech.

WWL-TV's political analyst was saying that that is the first time he's seen a concession speech like that. No one even knew if Jindal had called Blanco to congratulate her as is expected.

Also, after Jindal's speech, his 'security detail' rushed him offstage refusing all requests by reporters to speak with him.

That's certainly the first time I've ever seen that.

'Poor loser' comes to mind."


WBRZ, in contrast, called his speech "classy." As I commented over at Timshel, what a crock.

But, it's time to go celebrate, and it's also Saturday. Will try not to get too hung over, and will try to work on posting a little more regularly.

Friday, November 14, 2003

From Mary over at Naked Furniture.

Thanks for the post, Mary. For those who'd like a summary, it is a partial transcript of what is the best speech I've ever heard from Mary Landrieu. Even better than her promise to Suzanne Terrell, which was something along the lines of ensuring that Suzanne's career in Statewide politics was over.

Will probably make this a light night of posting--it's payday Friday and I'd like to do my part for the local economy....
This has been a busy week for me, so I haven't been able to post much. However, I've been able to quickly scan all the usual websites, and came across this earlier in the week, from TalkingPointsMemo. Here's how I would headline it:

DLC'ers Threaten to Quit Playing and Take Their Marbles Home

If Marshall and the rest of the elite-conservative wing can't handle Howard Dean as the nominee--well, should I tell them to Fuck Off? It was bad enough when these folks bolted the party back in 1972--no, McGovern would not have won anyway, but the intransigence of the elite-conservative Dems turned a loss into a landslide. VERY fortunately, Nixon was such a paranoid creep that he couldn't resist playing dirty, even though the deck was heavily stacked in his favor--which brought about Watergate and his downfall.

And yet, these same elite Democrats, the ones who bolted or abstained in '72, couldn't take advantage of the political equivalent of winning the lottery--in spite of Nixon's utter political disgrace--and, for those too young to recall, his actions were despicable--but, in spite of this, the best they could muster up was Carter. Jimmy Carter--Southern, Conservative-Christian, member (albeit not in the inner circle) of the Trilateral Commission, and millionaire farmer. Carter was caught in a rough spot--between the bills coming due on Vietnam, the soaring price of crude oil, and the lingering effects of the mid-70's recession, he had almost no chance. Still, the best he could come up with was Sweater Days and speeches about malaise.

As Jimmy was caught in events beyond his control, so Bill Clinton benefited from events like the technology boom that supplied entry-level jobs for thousands of folks (including myself). But let's face facts: the populist wing of the Democratic Party was never a BIG fan of Bill, just as we saw through the so-called 'outsider' label that Jimmy attached to the lapel of his expensive suit. But we supported these guys--well, we supported them to some extent (Disclaimer: I was too young to vote for Carter, but I did pull the lever once for Bill--back in 1992). IF the Republican candidate MUST be defeated at all costs--like in the next national election--then yes, I will hold my nose, if I must, and, even vote for Joe Lieberman if I have to--fortunately, Joe's campaign is simply waiting for someone to come up with a good eulogy...but yeah, I DID that back in 1992, when Clinton was the lesser of evils. In '96, Clinton was easily going to win the State I lived in--Wisconsin (brr)--so my vote went to deny him a mandate by keeping his total below 50 percent...

And, yeah, I voted for Nader in 2000. I did so without ANY regrets, knowing that Bush would easily take Louisiana, and he did. Would I have held my nose and voted for Gore if I was living in, say, Florida? Probably, although the problem in Florida WASN'T the Nader voter, it was the combination of systematic denial of voting rights to large numbers of poor and minority voters, a dumb strategy by Gore's legal team, and intimidation from the wingnuts. BUT: if the DLC'ers are willing to bolt or abstain, to the benefit of George W. Fucking Bush in 2004, then it might well be time to think about sticking a fork into the party. The Marshalls of the world, at some point, need to be reminded that the Democratic Party is a COALITION, and the coalition is held together by allowing for the expression of ALL points of view. Besides, Dean, the erstwhile front-runner, is surprisingly moderate on all kinds of issues. Hell, I DON'T plan to support him with a great deal of enthusiasm, but I WILL vote for the guy, if he's the nominee. And Marshall and his ilk ought to consider the same, especially as the USS Kerry is listing pretty badly after hitting the iceberg, Joe L., as I said, is waiting for a decent eulogy, Edwards seems to be positioning himself as a potential candidate for VP, while Kucinich, Sharpton, and Braun are there to get out the vote (including mine, but you'll have to guess which one of these three will get my vote come primary time)--leaving Dean, Gephardt, and Clark as the last three standing.

The folks in Iowa might be able to win one for the Gepper, but their train runs out of steam up north. I don't want to say Dean's got an absolute lock on New Hampshire, but he'll have to do some awfully stupid things to lose the Granite State, while Clark pins his hopes down south. Dean's unfortunate choice of metaphors shouldn't hurt him too much, provided he manages to put it behind him--here's a hint for Howard: if pushed, tell folks that you regret the poor choice of words, but you still want to appeal to conservative southerners who've been voting Republican. And then ask for the next question. Works for Bush, and Scott McClellan.

In 2004, the point is to defeat Bush, and all he stands for: to paraphrase Grover Norquist, I don't want to abolish the neo-con movement and Project for a New American Century. I simply want to reduce them to the size where I can drag 'em into the bathroom and drown 'em in the bathtub.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I've been meaning to write about the racist nature of the War in Iraq, although work--both for pay, and at home--has limited my postings this week. I finally have some time, but I want to be relatively brief, both for reasons mentioned in my last post, and for personal reasons (hell, it's Thursday, payday is tomorrow, and I'd like to enjoy what's left of the evening).

So, here goes. Let's begin with my premise. At its core, the War in Iraq is RACIST. Why? Because of the following reasons:

Saddam Hussein, for all his evil, was not, and never was, a threat to the United States. But hey, he invaded Iran, he invaded Kuwait, he invaded, uh--well, he used poison gas against his own people, and he supported terrorists, right? Let's look at each of these events carefully.

The Iran/Iraq War

By the late 1970's, the United States had severed diplomatic relations with both nations involved in the conflict. In Iran, we suffered the humiliating debacle of foreign policy failure when the Shah fell from power (scroll to section marked REVOLUTION) and United States citizens were seized and held as hostages. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was consolidating his brutal rule. They had severed relations with the United States following the 1967 Arab Israeli War.
War broke out due to border disputes and friction between the secular rule of Hussein and the religious theocracy taking shape in Iran. Initially, the United States had no position on the war.

However, we began to see the potential of supporting Iraq, given our animosity towards Iran, and a worst-case fear of Islamic fundamentalism taking a stronger political position in the Middle East. Hence, we began to support the Iraqi side, providing intelligence (especially satellite photography and interpretation of the same) and some armaments. Of course, some may recall that we also supplied Iran with weapons in an infamous breach of law and ethics. Less well remembered was the incident involving the USS Stark, which suffered a direct hit from an Exocet missile fired by an Iraqi fighter jet. The link referenced notes that the United States acknowledged Iraqi culpability, but attempted to blame Iran nonetheless. It was during this time when the United States began to truly turn towards support for Iraq in the conflict.

Incidents of note: The Stark attack, the intel and photographic interpretation, the fact that sworn affidavits have been submitted indicating that the United States also provided weapons to Hussein should make our position clear--Hussein was one of our people in the region.

During the war, the United States removed Iraq from its list of nations supporting terrorism, reestablished diplomatic relations with Hussein, and, later, during the first Bush administration, made it clear that we liked the idea of Hussein being in control: "President George H.W. Bush signed National Security Directive 26 on Oct. 2, 1989. Classified ''secret'' but recently declassified, it said: ''Normal relations between the United States and Iraq would serve our longer-term interests and promote stability in both the Gulf and the Middle East. The United States government should propose economic and political incentives for Iraq to moderate its behavior and to increase our influence with Iraq.'"

Also, the links referred to will make it clear that our position, at the time, on Hussein's chemical attacks were greated with a shrug by the Reagan Administration. Sure, Bush the elder made some hay with it in 1990-1991, but did he really care?

The Invasion of Kuwait

Of course, this all changed less than a year later, following Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, undertaken following a careful conversation with April Glaspie during which he expressed resentment over border issues, particularly issues involving the Rumallah Oil Field, as well as frustrations with Kuwait demands for payments on debts incurred during the Iran/Iraq War. Glaspie did not make it abundantly clear that invasion was unacceptable--later, she really dropped the ball, indicating that little action would have been taken had Hussein merely taken the oil, and not the entire country.

That should convince anyone that neither Saddam nor Glaspie are the sharpest knives in the drawer. Hussein suddenly became more dastardly that the mullahs in Iran, and, as if they didn't have enough instances of him truly being despotic, he was falsely accused of baby-killing in Kuwait. Well, that's reason enough to go after him, even if the allegation was a pr gimmick... but, in the end, I think we all know what happened, more or less, during this war--Iraq was beaten like a Division III school taking on a Top Ten team in College Football. Of course, there's more to the story(click on link to photographs showing effects of depleted uranium).

But what does all this have to do with the latest quagmire, uh, I mean, Triumph, uh, I mean, ongoing battle in the region? Well, it all goes back to 9-11...


So much has been written about 9-11 that it is not necessary to reiterate it here. That said, it is important to emphasize the following--there were 19 hijackers. 15 were Saudi nationals. There were also at least one, possibly two, of Egyptian descent. THERE WERE NO IRAQIS. The act of terrorism was organized by a Saudi national, Osama bin Laden, who is on a wacko religious crusade against infidels. bin Laden had been kicked out of Saudi Arabia, then Sudan, and was spending his time encamped in Afghanistan--which we subsequently invaded, with the idea of smoking him out, as it were.

But, meanwhile, just long enough for bin Laden to become bin Forgotten, war fever was whipped up against Iraq. The fact that NONE of the attackers on 9-11 were Iraqi, the fact that Hussein and bin Laden HATE each other, the fact that the ONLY terrorists supported by Hussein are the pro-Palestinian variety (in fact, the TERRORIST--he was Abu Nidal--that's right, we've caught exactly ONE--and, by the way, I don't have any problem with Israel defending itself. I just don't think the United States should be required to do work Israel should do--and as far as Saddam providing cash to Palestinian suicide bombers, well, just about EVERY government in the region does so), the FACT that Iraq is an extremely complicated, even if weakened country, courtesy of war, sanctions, and, indeed, the psychopatic rule of Hussein--well, you still have NO evidence that Hussein was involved in ANY way with 9-11. Period. There IS NO EVIDENCE.

And, where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction? Remember? Go back to March 8th "news conference" for a moment. All about weapons, and while he pays lip service to the Iraqi people, the fact is that he's selling an invasion on WMD. Iraqi people/and or War on Terror are taking a back seat here. Meanwhile, our "love" for the Iraqi people is becoming increasingly a one-way relationship, as news report indicate at least 5,000 in active opposition (although I saw reports of as many as 50,000--at least till they went down the memory hole.

And while each US casuality is rightfully mourned--let me repeat, all of our casualities are AND SHOULD BE MOURNED AS HEROES, in spite of my opposition to the fighting--the fact is, no one has even bothered to come up with an official count of Iraqi dead, neither military nor civillian. How can this NOT be racist?

Lies about who we are fighting, lies about why we are fighting, lies about how we can "bring democracy" to the region 9no one "brings democracy" anywhere--people in a location TAKE democracy, as they've done throughout history)...what's left? I close, a little less well organized than I wanted, but satisfied that the point has been made, with this link, an excellent article in The Guardian UK, aptly titled The Return of Arabophobia...

The damage is just beginning. Damn.

Monday, November 10, 2003

I apologize for lax posting over the weekend. Later today or tonight I hope to have some carefully thought out and edited remarks on an idea that's been on my mind of late. It will concern the War in Iraq and racism.

Wrote a comment over at Mary's site, with the main idea being that the war is, at its core, racist. Another reader/commentor considered this "demostrably untrue," although this person wanted to focus on other aspects of the post.

So, the post I'm working on will NOT be an attack. It will, however, look over the rationale(s) for the conflict.

Raising the charge of racism is not done lightly. This is a why I'm taking some time in composing. I'd also like to keep it short. Even a good post, like this one by Winston Smith, runs the risk of readers giving up before the conclusion.

Note: Winston's post concerns the Kim Du Toit, uh, essay, and I use the term essay generously. The post is very good, and is highly recommended.