October 26, 2008

Notes from the Rainbow Nation

DURBAN, South Africa -- Reporting from the shores of the Indian Ocean, looking beautiful today, turbulent with many white caps. It's good to be in the Rainbow Nation. It's a good perspective from which to view the election madness in the U.S. It looks like it all comes down to election fraud now. If there was integrity in the system, Obama would win big. Since the system is full of holes, nothing is sure. The Republicans are getting more and more aggressive about suppressing votes, because voters are their enemies, a threat to their power. It's such a tiny minority that still believes in them.

But it's good to be in one of the places where people believe in their dream. While America has been in a psychological depression and is now plunged into an economic one, South Africa is still humming on the euphoria of its newly democratized status only 14 years ago. Yes, the country has very serious problems. But there is a national narrative that people believe in. It's something we have not had in the states for at least the last eight years. It's something that Obama can provide, I think, though he is certainly not my ideal candidate.

If he were my ideal candidate he would have stayed true to his original notions that the warrantless wiretapping bill was a way to condone the lawlessness of the administration and its accomplices for an abuse of power that was not at all necessary for law enforcement or security. The feds could tap anyone they wanted for two days before they got a warrant anyway. If he were my ideal candidate he wouldn't be pounding the militaristic drum for war in Afghanistan. What is the United States there for, except for the oil companies? But as a politician, he chooses his issues, and since his candidacy was buoyed on his objection to the Iraq war, he felt he had to throw a bone to the military industrial complex and say, "But Afghanistan, now that's another story." Oh yeah, Osama bin Laden supposedly lives in a cave there and he's the guy that masterminded the collapse of the U.S. defense system using only box cutters as weapons.

If he reresented me, when McCain got onto his nonsense about Democrats spending he would have said, "How's a billion a week in Iraq for unnecessary spending? You seem to like that okay." All for some goofy neocon fantasy about America ruling the world. In case anyone hasn't noticed, the neocon fantasy of world domination by the United States has broken the country economically, morally, and brought it to its knees. McCain wants to continue all that, and add a few more wars to the list. Obama does not dare challenge the fundamental mindset that drives it. There's no way for a politician to get anywhere in that system without making massive compromises of that nature.

But given all that, given all those flaws and a thousand more, the choice is clear. America must put Obama in office and reject McCain and the leftover neocon agenda resoundingly. It may be a long way from where the American people really need to be, but it's step one. If Obama is elected it will change America overnight. For America to be a place where a half-African can be president will be a different world. America will be seen differently by the rest of the world. The depression akin to misery induced by the horrible Bush-Cheney neocons will be lifted, and it will be a new day with new hope for America and the world. How much energy will be released when millions of individuals have the Bush depression lifted from their individual psyches. Yes, Obama is far too compromised with the militaristic corporate state, but he is by far the best hope at this juncture. Get the Bush vermin out of Washington first and then keep the pressure on to change the country, to give America the change it really needs.

Meanwhile, it's great to be in South Africa. In Durban it's very Indian. Then the are the Zulu, the Xosa, Khoikhoi, Brits, Germans, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, the Cape Millay and on and on. It's a glorious blend. So stimulating to be around. And in general, in this country that used to be the symbol of the most vicious racial oppression in the world, most people really do support this notion of a rainbow nation, the ideas of tolerance, appreciation of diversity, fairness. I often go back in my mind to a South African friend telling me that South Africans were inspired by Martin Luther King and the American civil rights movement, and it helped to fuel their own movement for change. And now it's time for Americans in turn to be inspired by Nelson Mandela and his dream of a Rainbow Nation. Obama may not be the perfect candidate for the people of America, but if an African-American is elected, America will immediately be a different place than it has ever been. There is no denying that. Until election day it is still just a possibility. But on the occasion that he wins, it becomes manifest reality. Then the world starts again the next day, but from a very different vantage point.

October 27, 2008

Very Bad News -- Proving once again that they have no intention of respecting any law of any nation, the Bush administration has launched an attack inside the state of Syria. This is a very grim development, casting shame on all Americans. But blitzed until braindead by the corporate media, most may not even be aware anything has happened. The war in Iraq is itself indefensible. The war against insurgents in their own country compounds the crime. The expansion of the war beyond Iraq's borders is even more despicable. The U.S. government makes us all complicit in war crimes. It is once again an elevation of our shame to a new level. See The Guardian for the story. The Associated Press report takes the U.S. assumptions of its right to strike anywhere it wants to attack what it deems to be its enemies.
  • Bush Go Home -- Ohio officials tell Bush's Department of Justice to stay out of Ohio.

    October 27, 2008

    Pit Stops -- A long time on the road, but here are some good links that have come my way to pass along before e-day:

  • Are you ready for President Palin? Augusta Chronicle.
  • I'm So Proud -- Vermont citizens voted to indict Bush and Cheney. Hurray! Good old Vermont!
  • The Bush Terror Regime -- W. Christopher Epler (Bill): "HORROR is the only word to describe these last eight years and we must never minimize or repress this truth."
  • In Search of a Real World -- Money is not the fundamental reality of economics. Ann Kramer says, "Here's a reality-if every piece of paper called money disappeared tomorrow, the economy would still be here. That's because the economy represents the activities necessary to live life--and these activities are going to happen whether there's money or not. Yes, money is a tool that can help us facilitate the activities of life...but it isn't a situation of money first, economy/activities of life second. However, part of the reason we're in such chaos right now is that we have created a world that put money/credit first and economy/necessary activities to sustain life second." Some good ideas about where to go when fantasy capitalism collapses.
  • Bush Clamps Down on Ohio -- The Bush regime is trying hard to maintain its vote fraud system in Ohio. See, Senator Brown.

    October 28, 2008

    Wild and Woolly McCain -- Why McCain's former Navy roommate won't vote for him for president.
  • No Way Jose -- Now we are hearing that a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll ( is saying Obama leads by four points. This is very convenient for the election fraudsters because it's easily within the margin that they can fix and they can present the results as plausible. The only hope, it seems, is for the actual majority who want passionately to be rid of Bush/McCain, to come out in such force that it overwhelms everything the right wing is doing to undermine the election. We know that they can sweep tens of thousands of votes aside with a single stroke, as they have done countless times in a great variety of shenanigans designed to eliminate votes. But it will be very hard to sell to the American people and even harder to the people of the rest of the world, that this crotchety old man who can barely get a thousand people to show up to see him, can defeat this figure who brings out tens of thousands every day, who in St. Louis attracted 100,000 people, filling the streets for many city blocks, as far as a wide angle aerial shot could encompass. This is all very interesting, but unfortunately not in a benign way. It is interesting in a very sinister way.
  • Nader Supporters Take Note: A Pragmatic Approach -- What is needed in this election, says Norman Solomon, is a Great Rejection of the extreme right wing that has held the country in its merciless grip for the past eight years. "What's emerging for Election Day is a common front against the dumbed-down demagoguery that's now epitomized and led by John McCain and Sarah Palin," says Solomon. A large margin is needed for that repudiation, both to make it as resounding as possible and also to compensate for the host of election suppression techniques now in operation by the right wing. "As McCain's strategists aim to thread an electoral-vote needle," says Solomon, "it cannot be said with certainty that they will fail. Who can credibly declare that an aggregate of anti-democratic factors -- such as purged voting rolls, onerous requirements for voter ID, imposed obstacles to voting that target people of color, inequities in distribution of voting machines, not counting some votes as they are cast, anti-Obama racism and other factors -- could not combine to bring a 'victory' resulting in a President McCain and a Vice President Palin come Jan. 20, 2009?" Support for Obama is a pragmatic move to support a broad-based coalition to unseat the vicious and destructive right wing faction now in control. It is not a signal of blind faith in Obama as the messiah of the 21st century. Solomon says, "Progressives are mostly on board with the Obama campaign, even though -- on paper, with his name removed -- few of his positions deserve the 'progressive' label. We shouldn't deceive ourselves into seeing Obama as someone he's not. Yet an Obama presidency offers the possibilities that persistent organizing and coalition-building at the grassroots could be effective at moving national policy in a progressive direction. In contrast, a McCain presidency offers possibilities that are extremely grim." Well said.
  • Don't Get Cocky -- "Eight reasons why Obama might not win" by Eric Zorn, told from a pro-Obama point of view. Chicago Tribune
  • Don't Cry Over Spilled Trillions -- What we could have done with the trillion dollars that was spent on pulverizing Iraq. Rob Simpson embarked on a research project to discover what a trillion bucks could buy, to make it tangible, not just an abstraction. "$1 trillion could pave the entire U.S. interstate highway system with gold -- 23.5-karat gold leaf. It could buy every person on the planet an iPod. It could give every high school student in the United States a free college education. It could pay off every American's credit card. It could buy a Buick for every senior citizen still driving in the United States."

    -- David Cogswell

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