Wednesday, November 08, 2006  

Ding! Dong!

...the witch is dead!

Oops, sorry. Wrong movie.

Before many of us indulge in the almost uncontrolable urge to dash outside, rip off our clothes and scream whooo hoooooooo! at the news Rumsfeld resigned, may I suggest you keep your clothes on and finish your screaming before 10 pm.

Rumsfeld resigned! (excuse me while I do a happy dance. Ok. I'm back)

He's being replaced by Robert Gates. You know, as in ex CIA director. As in Iran-Contra. As in James Baker III's Iraq Study Group. (What do you want to bet they've been studying Iran for kicks?)

As in what are we getting here?

He needs to be confirmed, first by the Senate Committee on Armed Services.
So, perhaps we'll be sending in more troops and expending more money to win.

And then there is the Nancy Pelosi win. Whoohooo! Again.

While Pelosi occupies a very unique position: first female speaker of the house and third in line to be pres. if implosions happen from the top down (it could happen...remember that other war? Remember how we got Ford?)

Before you get too happy, you might want to take a look at what I would consider Pelosi's rather uncomfortably close ties with AIPAC. Here is the text of her remarks to them last year.

Pelosi seems to believe that the problem is not the occupation of Palestine but Israel's right to exist. She is right in that some Arab/Muslim groups do not recognize Israel's existance, but she is dead wrong that the occupation of Palestine is not the problem. She was also wrong on the issue of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the horrific deaths in Qana and other places. She may not see the situation in the Occupied Territories as problematic, but many groups and many countries do. The Occupied Territories serve as a rallying cry for Islamic extremists and ordinary resistance groups in Iraq and elsewhere that see the OT as code for Western aggression against the Arab world. The EU, the United Nations, NGO's such as Doctors Without Borders have declared themselves appalled by the conditions there. Reports are coming in today, that an Israeli incursion killed at least 15 children in the Gaza, that Israel used white phosphorous in Lebanon, that Ethiopian Jews (The Fallasha) are demonstrating in Jerusalem because blood they donated in good faith has been thrown out because the donors are Black.

So, right now, I think I'll wait and see.

For those who might be interested in how she voted on several issues, here's a >list

ready to put those pants back on? Thought so.

Nonetheless, I sense a change a'comin'


Tuesday, November 07, 2006  

Simply FAAAAAAAbulous

After voting with a paper ballot- VERY un-privately I might add, in a precinct whose main voting machine had collapsed and then been resurrected (this being in a church meeting hall). I think I rather deserve a giggle after being dissed by a Bush crony (Diebold). And so I found that not only does Bush not pronounce nuclear correctly, he also has a thing for the word fabulous.
And so, on this election night, I bring you the fabulous chronicles of the fabulous young Mister Bush. May you have a simply faaaaabulous time, darling. God knows after voting in this election, you deserve it.


Rock the Vote


Get out and vote!

This is probably one of the few elections since the Civil Rights Era when African Americans had such difficulties exercising their right to vote, when the act of voting counts so much. A democracy is only as healthy as its voting practices, and right now, we are lurching towards critical with the voting improprieties, probelms with absentee ballots, etc. And in a country with such a long history of actually voting, this is inexcusable.

This year, there are several citizen movements keeping an eye on things, intiating actions that you, too, can join, if you are concerned about the integrety of the vote.

You might consider doing the following:

* ask for a paper copy of your voting record
* bring your digital camera, especially if it has video, to videotape yourself voting with a clear picture of the results
* go back later and observe the polling place- it's your right as a citizen
* if an electronic voting machine goes down, ask that it be taken out of service, and a paper ballot provided.
* stick around later to make sure the pollworkers deliver the voting machines properly and don't leave them unattended at the registrar's office at the end of the night.

If you do have trouble voting. contact the group below:

Department of Justice's Voting Rights Section at 1-800-253-3931

Chances are nothing will happen; however, things have happened in the past and we need to make sure this election is clean.

Some reading you might find interesing:

Days before the election, state officials have learned that California's most widely used electronic voting machines feature a button in back that can allow someone to vote multiple times.

Several computer scientists said Wednesday that the vulnerability found in all touch-screen machines sold by Oakland-based Sequoia Voting Systems was not especially great because using the yellow button for vote fraud would require reaching far behind the voting machine twice and triggering two beeps.
Hacking Democracy"

Sunday, November 05, 2006  

Justice on a rope

Well, it looks like the verdict is in- the one many of us expected, in fact, the only one, the US would probably accept. The reaction is, again, predictably, mixed.

Riverbend has an interesting take on it:

I'm more than a little worried. This is Bush's final card. The elections came and went and a group of extremists and thieves were put into power (no, no- I meant in Baghdad, not Washington). The constitution which seems to have drowned in the river of Iraqi blood since its elections has been forgotten. It is only dug up when one of the Puppets wants to break apart the country. Reconstruction is an aspiration from another lifetime: I swear we no longer want buildings and bridges, security and an undivided Iraq are more than enough. Things must be deteriorating beyond imagination if Bush needs to use the 'Execute the Dictator' card.

She is not the only one who finds the timing suspicious. As various elements of the Republican party implode under their own moral failings (Foley, Jim Allen) and a military publication calls for the dismissal of Rumsfeld, they need something two days before the elections to stave off the potential of a Democratic majority in the house. Is this the "suprise" of which Rove spoke?

The verdict is problematic on so many levels. Saddam is indeed guilty of personally and indirectly condemning 1,000's of people to death, often in horrific ways. This is not new information. This had been known for decades. That he has been tried is amazing. That the trial has been marred by improprieties, questionable strutures and authority, is no suprise, either. Iraq, no matter what Maliki says, is not a sovereign nation. If so, why are the military personnel accused of Haditha, Hamdaniya, etc. before military tribunals in the US? Why are they not before an Iraqi court? They are charged with the murder of Iraqi civilians on Iraqi soil after the hand-over. What is so sovereign about that?

And so, Saddam's trial leaves one feeling ominously uneasy. He has been tried and convicted only on one crime- there are others to follow, I would hope, since so many people deserve what little true justice this procedure metes out.

Then there is the issue of the punishment- a sort of Nuremburg come again. How many times can you kill someone to attone for the murder of 1,000's? On the other hand, leaving Saddam alive in prison in Iraq creates a living martyr around which movements can mobilize- and that's not a particularly desirable thing, either.

There is also the question of additional culpability, raised by so many. So many other governments collaborated or looked the other way when these things were done. And there is the issue of Mssrs Bush, Rove, etc. Surely they deserve a trial for war crimes, for establishing situations in which war crimes could occur, for allowing torture, for the use of white phosphorous... the list is long. How long will we have to wait for justice for the crimes against humanity committed by our current leaders?

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