Saturday, August 28, 2004

Back on Track 

Hope to be back on track blogging now...

Let's examine the moment we live in now, politically. I think it really IS a turning point in American history. The aftermath of Sept 11th and the decision to go to war in Iraq was a watershed. For the first time, the United States chose to publicly turn its back on the most democratically sacred principles it represented, namely, that we treasured an individual's right to speak, believe, and assemble, and that we were the antithesis of imperial colonial power.

One can argue that while espousing them, the U.S. has turned its back on these principles before. I'll admit this has some veracity, but I would argue that even when our country has violated its own principles, it's government always thought it necessary to sell the exception to the people by claiming that, "We're coming to the aid of a sovereign country that's been invaded (i.e. Vietnam)," or that, "this group of people is different. We are in a declared war with them (i.e. Japanese-Americans in WWII)." While those supposed justifications are not especially worth glorifying, they are worth mentioning because they were regarded as a necessity not especially for the world at large, but for the government to protect itself against the American people's reaction.

This American government appears to think it doesn't need the fig leaf. They stripped away Americans' rights (not to mention the due process of foreign nationals) and invaded Iraq, without pretending it had somehow found a unique or exceptional reason to do so (if one believes Bush- that the fictional WMD weren't critical to his decision). Bush and Co. simply stipulated that we could no longer afford to allow for due process or freedom of information and that we could no longer wait for a foreign country to become an actual threat before we invade it. In essence, they defended their own underestimation of Al Qaeda and their obsession with refighting the Cold War prior to 9/11 by excusing their unpreparedness as simply a dysfunction of an outdated democracy. They claimed "reform" was needed to protect us from ourselves.

As Americans, we can either accept this rationale and the consequent transformation of our nation's democracy into an imperial strongman, or we can hold to account the leaders who were caught napping and get back to the business of defeating religious fanaticism and defending our freedoms. America as a political concept is at stake.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Beth Strong 

In memoriam:

Beth Kavanagh

Anyone wishing to remember Beth or celebrate her life and struggle to fight cancer can make a donation to the PMC Challenge on the Bethstrong team. She'd have cycled for the 17th year this year had she been able.

Here's the link: https://www.pmc.org/egifts/giftinfo.asp?eGiftID=BK0001

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Bush Campaign Not Linked to Swifties, Right? 

Everybody who believes Karl Rove had NO role in the smear campaign against Kerry's Vietnam record, please step forward... come'on, somebody step forward!

Let's look at it this way-- if politics ain't beanbag and Kerry can expect this sort of thing, which seems to be the message from Bush/Cheney and from Dole on the attack hustings saying, "If this many veterans say so, there must be something to it...," then the gloves should be off on holding Bush to account if he won't specifically condemn the smear. He won't condemn it, ergo, he has associated himself with it.

Not to mention that we now have three links- Rove's good ol' buddy Bob J. Perry (see blog Aug. 7 entry), Ken Cordier (a non-Swift Boat veteran, by the way), and now outside Bush/ Cheney counsel Ben Ginsberg, whom you may remember from his role in the Bush v. Gore Presidential selection by Supreme Court case in 2000.

If politics ain't beanbag, then where there's smoke, smoke, and smoke, what must there be? ....Right...mud.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Be Good, Smile Pretty 

Get a look at the documentary above here. As referenced yesterday, this film might be a balm on the subject of the Swift Boat Veterans, by the daughter of the late commander of one of the boats.

It won't air on PBS until after the election, so if you want to see it, you've got to order it or find someone who rents it...

And just possibly, the Kerry campaign IS up to the task. See the new ads they're running

Well all right. Gotta admit, having been away from the States for a few days, taking punches on the depths to which the United States has sunk from Europeans, I lost focus.

I thought more about America’s place in the world, not focusing on the reality that in a campaign for a Bush family member, that campaign will always sink into the gutter. We won’t be discussing the issues of the day, because that would require shining a light on the war in Iraq and the almost total lack of honesty behind the selling of it. It would require a discussion of domestic security and the ridiculous distribution of first responder funds to cornfields in Red States over cities like New York that have already been hit. It would mean discussing the failure of education reform in a country that now depends more than ever on a trained workforce and an educated citizenry to compete in a world economy. It might mean a discussion of energy independence, ways to get energy and still avoid the rape of the land and the warping of our foreign policy.

Those issues don’t hunt for Bush. So what will we see next, now that Kerry’s war record is being smeared by surrogates who are willing to make up any charge? It’ll apparently be commercials featuring Kerry’s opposition to the war—no not the war in Iraq—the war in Vietnam. It’ll be a selective cuts version of his testimony in 1971 about atrocities in Vietnam, being used to describe the candidate as unpatriotic and a culture criminal, with long hair no less.

Now this culture war works. It works like a charm, as described here before. If you think about it, the beauty part is, if the Administration and its cronies can keep the public focused on associating the opposition, in a fuzzy way, with street demonstrations coming up in New York, with people saying unpleasant things about the country in the past, with a host of bad associations that people in the heartland object to—they win.

They win not because people look at the present situation and like it, but because their sense of insecurity is being mined further to get them worrying that a breakdown of order and morality could begin if the opponent takes power. People in an insecure world want something solid to hang onto.

Kerry will have his hands full to fight back without allowing the smear campaign to overtake the issues of the day. The other element of the character smear is the focus on Kerry’s reaction to it as opposed to Bush’s culpability for allowing and encouraging the smear. The media focus shifts to the sexy story—does Kerry cope well with it? We’ll see if the folks running Kerry’s campaign have the discipline and the smarts to counter the onslaught that’s coming…

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