Thursday, May 29, 2008

Candidate '08?

I have made a concerted and disciplined effort to not comment on the Presidential primary races. I have followed it obsessively, however, and have only been prodded to comment by today's big headline of the publication of Scott McClellen's tell-all "expose" of the lies that the Bush Administration fed to the American people in order to advance their agenda in Iraq.

Now, Obama has already commented on his willingness to open an investigation onto potential criminality and wrongdoing on the part of Dubya and his evil-hick-cabal if elected President. However, we have to take that with a massive grain of salt because in the same breath that he speaks of justice, he utterly pussies out on impeachment (a power that he has RIGHT NOW as a member of the Senate).

"You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances," Obama was quoted in mid-April.

I just have to say that this is why Democrats lose: starting a war on false pretenses and approving torture is not exceptional enough for Democrats, getting a hummer from an intern was enough for Republicans to dismantle the most popular Presidency in recent history. This is because Republicans play for keeps and Democrats have no balls. It is this essential lack of balls, and the lack of will to play hard-ball against their political enemies that makes the Democratic Party a shaky bet on the best election day.

However, we must take heart, because there is the chance that Obama is merely dancing the "election trail" shuffle. I think he means what he says when he suggests that no one is above the law. And I know in my heart that he feels no kinship or sense of loyalty to these scum who have befouled the White House for the last seven and a half years. Could he prosecute them successfully? Would they pay to have him murdered the way their fathers did with Kennedy? Would the VP silently give the conspirators a nudge and wink, in order to pursue their own agenda the way LBJ did?

Clinton's recent mentioning of RFK's assassination should have been enough to discount her from any VP consideration, not to mention the baggage (political, emotional, and legal) that Hillary brings in tow. Yet, there are still some who insist that this Obama-Clinton "dream ticket" is the only way that the Democrats can unite to defeat the Republicans. When 57% of Clinton's supporters say they will not vote for Obama, it would seem that the Democrats have found a way to lose it again, before the real game has even begun.

With that said, Obama's comments regarding a willingness to investigate and prosecute has met its mark with me. It will likely not be quite as lively as the reinstituting of the guillotine fantasies that I indulge so often when I read the news and despair, but it is probably enough to make me want to stay in the country another four years just to get front row seats on the show-trials and public humiliation that these evil fucking fuckers--Dubya, Cheney, Rumsfeld, all of them--deserve.

So there it is. I'm going to vote.

Obamarama '08!

Monday, December 17, 2007

What choice?

"I was pleased to see... no policy changes to the Petraeus plan," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Is this why the Democrats were elected? We knew that they wouldn't impeach Dubya. We knew they would get down on their knees for big business. We knew they were just as capable of corruption as the Republicans. However, they SAID they would start evidencing a little opposition to Dubya's military adventures.

No policy changes at all to the Petraeus plan is not opposition. Petraeus was propped up before congress in order to give a military voice to Dubya's ideological position on Iraq. There are far more former-generals who have decried this clusterfuck in Mesopotamia; Petaeus was chosen for the job of spokesman based on the congruence between his delusions and Dubya's.

Stay the course. The Surge is working. Keep sending the money. Stop asking questions about how we are spending the money.

What do we need a Democratic Party for if they aren't willing to offer some counter-proposals? If they all want to prounce about and declare Dubya's war illegal, then why are they funding it? Wouldn't that make them culpable? You bet your ass it makes them culpable.

And that is why the Democratic Party will not get my vote next November, no matter who their candidate is.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

New Orleans Political (R)Evolution

I had recent occasion to meet with a number of New Orleans political dignitaries, office holders, office seekers and former office holders. It was a rare opportunity to gain insight into the dialogue of those who actually hold measures of real political power. I raised a number of issues with them, and to their credit, they were able to address many of my concerns with well thought out, well informed opinions. No solutions, mind you. But opinions and, more importantly, insight into the nature of the beast we live in sufference of.

New Orleans is fucked. It has always been fucked. From the earliest colonial settlers, murdering and raping indians to the Creole land owners with their wives and concubines. From Africans brought here in bondage to African-Americans kicked out of here by Hurricane Katrina and from Ray Nagin's Chocolate City to 27% African-American turnout in the last election, this place is fucked.

No one knows what to do about it either.

Conventional wisdom is always turned on its ear in New Orleans. The city is totally integrated, with multi-ethnic neighborhoods the norm. Yet, the images of suffering, poor (mostly) black people in front of the Ernest Morial Convention Center are certainly burned into the collective memory of everyone with access to television or the internet.

The port of New Orleans and the port of south Louisiana in the New Orleans suburb of LaPlace, combined form the largest port system on earth, in bulk tonnage. Yet, the City of New Orleans and the south-eastern corner of Louisiana benefits very little from this commerce, insofar as real wealth is concerned. Why? Comparatively few New Orleanians participate in the commerce of the port except in service capacities.

Violent crime is rampant in New Orleans. Governmental corruption and incompetence is a wild-fire, burning through political capital and imaginary federal dollars faster than a white rock in a brand new crack pipe. The DA's office has gotten its pants sued off after the last guy got caught with his pants down, firing 40 assistant District Attorneys because they were white.

Education in New Orleans is just as good (and bad) as it ever was. Politicians mouth off slogans about the lack of education being the root of all of New Orleans' ills, but a satisfactory abundance of the wrong types of education do no good to anyone.

These politicians I spoke with all understood that New Orleans' problems were systemic in nature. The problem with systemic problems is that systems in place are very loathe to change. Even following disaster and catastrophy, the old systems quickly reassemble and reassert themselves---Nagin was re-elcted, so was "Dollar" Bill Jefferson.

This resistance to change inherent to New Orleans' political culture is why New Orleans still experiences "old-west frontier-style" violence in its streets. People say that they have had enough, but people have always said that. Thou shalt not kill? Yeah-yeah, I've seen the billboard at the Claiborne on-ramp to I-10.

New Orleans will soon be called upon to make a choice. Behind door number 1 we have Neo-con wet dreams of Underreichfuhrers commanding permanent detachments of the National Guard to the streets of Central City and the Lower Ninth Ward. Behind door number 2 we have sustained Mad Max-style societal breakdown which will eventually break down into Neo-con wet dreams of Underreichsfuhrers commanding permanent detachments of the National Guard to the streets of New Orleans from the Jefferson Parish line to the St. Bernard Parish line in Arabi. Behind door number three is (R)Evolution.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Gaze Upon The Face of Empire With Fear and Loathing and Despair

It seems that everywhere the British set up imperial shop during the 1800s is pretty well fucked up now. At best, India for example, things are just starting to get back on track after a good 200 years of tumult that, for a while, seemed to derail the better part of 3000 years of high culture and civilization. If you look around the world at the failed states that export nothing so much as despair you almost certainly see the Union Jack lingering somewhere in that nation's recent history.

In all fairness, the British didn't really know any better. Hey, they were new at the whole empire-thing and the way the history books of the Victorian era read, you would think that under the Romans, things prolly weren't so bad...unless you were a Gaul or a Jew and again, in all fairness, it was pretty crap to be a Jew irrespective of who was in charge. Babylonians, Egyptians, Romans: everybody got a piece of the Israelites. It was almost a prerequisite to being an Imperial State, terrorizing the Jews, that is...

Regardless, the British weren't Jews and I suppose that tromping across le monde, kicking people's asses and stealing their shit seemed like a pretty decent way to make a living until World War II changed all of that. Hitler was intent on building a great German empire though he never really got past the killing-the-Jews part of empire building, despite the honest college try he gave to Poland. After WWII though, the British saw their empire reduced to Scotland and Northern Ireland and as of this moment, Scotland has their Kingstone back and Gerry Adams is no longer given a Gizmo-the-Mowgwai voice on British TV.

The Brits were punted from Palestine. They were punted from South Africa. They were punted from India. They were punted from Iraq and Jordan. Australia, they were bunted; the same with Canada. When Maggie Thatcher gave the old Imperial flag one last wave at the Falkland Islands, it was like watching Danish historians sail the North Sea in reconstructed viking longboats. Today the Brits only remain politically relevant, globally, as the velvet glove covering the jail-house-tatooed hand of the United States.

It is a pity Americans don't like History the way the British do. This is a consequence of our pre-fab, planned communities: there is nothing in these places to link people with their past, so people willfully forget their own history. If Americans did enjoy history, they would take a cue from post-Victorian England and pay attention to the hard lessons the British learned about building and maintaining an empire.

General David Petraeus gave his testimony to Congress today regarding progress in Iraq in the wake of the 20,000-man strong troop surge ordered by Dubya after the Republicans lost Congress last November to Democrats who "promised" a change in the US' policy in Iraq. I don't think a troop surge was the change the American people were looking for, but the Democrats probably banked on their constituents being too chickenshit to take them to task for puss'ing out and, so far, it looks like they placed safe bets.

The surge is working he says. Nevermind that the death tolls today, as of this writing are comparable to the death tolls of October, 2003 (almost exactly four years ago), General Petraeus assures us that violence is down in Baghdad. Nevermind that insurgents in Baghdad have almost certainly skipped town to hide out and nevermind that just as sure as violence in Bahgdad is down, violence somewhere else in Iraq is up. General Petreaus is confident.

"It is possible to achieve our objectives in Iraq over time, although doing so will be neither quick, nor easy," he said.

"Over time" is the operative expression there: "over time." How much time? That, says the Bush Administration, is not a fair question as it presumes a lack of committment. Dubya has made it clear: we need to be ready to stay there til the job's done.

Well, here's the news: the job'll never be fucking done. Either we assume direct control of Iraq and conquer it, the way Anne Coulture says we should or we admit that we don't have the answer to the world's problems, we don't have the will (or the money) to throw away to make sure that oil companies can get their dope from Iraq's oil fields, and we cut our losses and split.

If we are going to split, then it makes very little difference if we leave tomorrow or three years from now...except for the accumulated body count.

If we are going to stay, then we must look at ourselves and ask some pretty hard questions: are we ready to see our fortunes decline and our empire fail the way Great Britain did? The way Napoleon's France did? The way Rome did?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

George W. Bush: Irresponsible and Ignorant

So much going on...This summer, I went to Montreal for a week; scoping out a possible destination for emigration. I took my wife and daughter and a good time was had by all. I came back--back to the US, back to New Orleans--and now I am back at work, I am reading the news and the familiar feeling of rising bile is settling in again.
Last week, George W. Bush compared his failed campaign in Iraq to another failed military adventure in America's recent history: Vietnam. Suggesting that the problem with Vietnam was that America was winning until commies and faggots (I'm assuming) hoodwinked the American people into believing that we were losing that war, and thus precipitated a premature withdrawal that had disasterous consequences for the freedom-loving people of South Vietnam. Bush proceeds to warn against a similar scenario in Iraq.
John Kerry referred to Bush's comments as "irresponsible and ignorant."
Fuckin' way to go John!
It is about time John Kerry loosened up his patrician knickers and called that spade a spade. It's too bad he didn't feel confident to stick it to W like that when he was running against him in 2004.
Of course there are similarities between the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. In both instances, Americans found themselves fighting people who refused to play by their rules, who did not accept the superiority of American political ideals and who were willing to kill to safeguard their autonomy. In both instances, ignorant hicks from Texas (LBJ was a fuckin' yahoo too) brought our country into conflict with people whose culture we did not understand. In both instances, thousands of Americans had to die before the country was finally willing to step back and reevaluate.
Irresonsible and ignorant? Hell, that is only a best-case scenario...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Just a Comment on the present situation in Israel...

I haven't written in quite a while...

I was talking to an Israeli friend of mine recently who remarked that the present situation in Israel (that is, Israelis bombing the shit out of Gaza...again) and the coverage of that situation in western press (specifically the BBC and CNN) seems to be biased towards the Palestinians.

I was dumbfounded.

Because Hamas had been lobbing rockets into Israel for weeks without any western reporting of that situation, my friend asked me whether or not it was fair to interpret that as bias to the Palestinians since, now that Israel has decided to demonstrate the strength of its pimp-hand, the whole world has somehow refocused its attention.

This was my response:

What Israel does is more important than what Palestinians do. Americans have given Israel F-14s and shared nuclear technology. A few disgruntled Palestinians take it upon themselves to lob some rockets into Israel, it isn't news. Palestinians are always doing stuff like that, and what is more, they only rarely get caught on tape doing it due to the guerilla nature of their conflict.

Israel, on the other hand, has an actual army, a generally kick-@$$ army at that (last year in Lebanon was the first time the Israelis ever had to retreat without their objectives being met). When the Israeli army starts to move, it is BIG news because, generally, it means somebody is about to get F'edUBAR: some few thousand people are going to end up homeless, some few dozen 12 year olds will be shot by Israeli snipers for doing some $h!t that they shouldn't be doing etc etc...

For any side involved in that conflict to claim foul, favoritism or even (or especially) righteousness, is just absurd. There is so much blame to go around that getting into arguments over "who did what to who first" is simply same-old, same-old and thus not news at all. Israeli tanks revving those engines, burning diesel and lobbing American missles (that will have to be replaced by American workers in American facilities, thus translating into Israeli shekles turning into American dollars)---THAT'S NEWS, BABY!

Cha-ching! Cha-ching!

What is the US' interest in bringing that conflict to an end as long as those with the power (read: wealth) to influence policy there are making money off of ignorant Palestinians and paranoid-psychotic Israelis killing each other?

I know enough about the situation to have an opinion and my opinion is that it is just too bad that people can't just chill the fuck out and hang loose. It seems a much better way to spend time than killing people and attending funerals...