Archive for the 'Democrats' Category

McCain tries to bash Obama, ends up looking like a fool

From AFP:

“In a formal written statement, McCain also took a shot at Obama, the Democratic front-runner who renewed his offer to speak to leaders of US foes without preconditions in a campaign debate with rival Hillary Clinton in Texas.

‘So Raul Castro gets an audience with an American president, and all the prestige such a meeting confers, without having to release political prisoners, allow free media, political parties, and labor unions, or schedule internationally monitored free elections,’ McCain said.

[…]

“Meet, talk, and hope may be a sound approach in a state legislature, but it is dangerously naive in international diplomacy where the oppressed look to America for hope and adversaries wish us ill.”

I’m not sure if this kind of statement is Orwellian or simply unadalterated ignorance coming from a man who recently stated that Vladimir Putin was the President of Germany, and that he’d just returned form a meeting with German President Putin not too long ago.

Either way, perhaps the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party is in need of a history lesson.  U.S. Presidents have long histories meeting with brutal tyrants, dictators, presidents for life and absolute monarchs quite regularly, not one of whom ever once had to release political prisoners, allow free media, political parties, and labor unions, or schedule internationally monitored free elections in order to have the meeting with the U.S. President.

Here are just a few examples of U.S. presidents meeting, shaking hands or dining with some of the most brutal human beings to rule nations since the end of the Second World War.  My personal favourite is the one of LBJ meeting with brutal authoritarian dictators Park Chung Hee of South Korea AND Ferdinand Marcos of The Philippines at the same time.    Meeting with one brutal dictator is all well and good, but when you’re so overbooked that you’ve got to double up on your meetings with brutal dictators, now that‘s art.

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 and….

Official meetings on behalf of the U.S. President:

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See also:

The U.S. embargo against Cuba was never about ‘democracy’

Bush names terrorist sympathizer as new ambassador to Nicaragua

Holy red-baiting, Batman!

Naomi Wolf on the end of America and the rise of fascism (audio)

Kettle calls the teapot black: Bush calls Cuba “criminal”

Reality Check: What you’re not supposed to think about 

Who’s afraid of human rights? Conservatives apparently

UPDATE in University of Florida tasing scandal: THE COP SMILED! [pic]

I will be posting a detailed documentation of how the corporate news media have distorted or attempted to minimize this story in the next day or so. But as I was looking over one of the many videos on Youtube of the incident where police tasered an unarmed, peaceful student for asking a question, I couldn’t believe what I saw for just a fraction of a second.

I have a simple question for all you right-wingers out there who want to belittle, downplay, obfuscate or otherwise mis-characterize this incident:

If the police weren’t acting out of line, then why was this police officer smiling just after he had sent 50,000 volts running through this kid’s body after the kid begged him repeatedly not to?

florida-kerry-taser-incident-cop-smiling.png

“Freedom is the freedom to simply say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows”

-George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

 

U.S. Presidential Candidates compared to Canadian political parties

Since Howard Dean, the new Chairman of the Democratic Party, spoke at Canada’s Liberal Pary leadership convention last year, I think most people commonly make the false comparison that:

U.S. Democratic Party = Canadian Liberal Party

U.S. Republican Party = Canadian Conservative Party

This causes lots of problems and misconceptions amongst both Canadians and Americans, but especially amongst Canadians.  Canadians tend to root for the U.S. Democratic Party because they feel they’re similar to our ‘natural governing party’ (present circumstances excepted), the Liberals.

But, as I, and many others have attempted to point out, this is very far from the truth of the matter.

I recently decided to have some fun with politicalcompass.org‘s placement of political parties and personalities in Canada and the U.S.. 

The site lists both Canada’s political parties and the contenders for the 2008 U.S. Presidential on a standard, two-axis grid with the left/right x axis representing economic matters and the up/down y axis representing social matters (with the top being the most conservative and state-interventionist and the bottom being the most libertarian).

While the site doesn’t list Canada’s political parties on the same grid as the 2008 U.S. Presidential candidates, I was able to superimpose them over each other, scale them to match, and then transcribe them onto this grid to demonstrate that the Democrats are NOT anywhere near the same as the Liberals and the Republicans are NOT anywhere near the same as the Conservatives.

new-left-right-spectrum-canada-us-08.png

As you can see, and as we socialists have been saying for as long as I can remember, the American system is brilliantly devised to always provide an extremely narrow range of opinions which are acceptable for serious candidates to have — more so even than in Canada.  Ignoring the two fringe candidates for the Democratic party who don’t have the backing of enough capitalists to make even a moderately serious run, the allowable opinion divergence covers roughly 28 cells, or, if you like, only 1.1% of the entire available political spectrum.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are much more open than the Democrats at accepting divergent political opinions.  Their spread (again excluding the one fringe candidate who has yet to poll above the margin of error of having any support at all for more than one consecutive poll), covers an area of 33 cells — or only 1.3% of the entire political spectrum.

So we know that American’s have a cumulative choice of only an extremely narrow range of policy options with more than 95% of possible policy opinions in the U.S. being excluded from the mainstream which their capitalistic system permits.

But even the narrow ranges permissible in America do not line up as people commonly think they do:  Liberal = Democrat, Conservative = Republican.

Except for John Edwards, every one of the Democratic Party’s candidates would be Conservatives if they were in Canada — and some of them, such as Bill Richardson, would even be considerably to the right of the Conservatives.

Conversely, the man portrayed as ‘ultra-extreme’ left in the States — Kucinich — would actually be a pretty boring, run-of-the-mill NDP backbencher in Canada.  He would probably closely approximate a Pat Martin or so.  Which, as you can see, in the grand scheme of things, is merely centre-left.

So, should Canadians be rooting for a Democratic victory in ’08 as we always do?  Obama?  Clinton?  Edwards?

I’d say no.  I’d say that more than anything, Canadians — and our American comrades too for that matter — should, in my opinion, be hoping that the Americans’ perverse political and electoral system collapses under its own weight.  Only once Americans have a complete ‘reboot’ of their political system, will they be able to enjoy even a modicum degree of control…. or at least a modicum of control over what brand of capitalist overlords they want to have.

A Democrat in the White House simply won’t cut it.

———————

See also:

How to appear tough on terrorism without doing anything

What do politics and monkey shit fights have in common?

harper-bush-monkey.pngIt’s been my experience that Marxists are a peculiar bunch.  Peculiar not in a bad way necessarily, but just peculiar nonetheless.  Most of the orthodox Marxists I’ve met want people to get engaged in politics; want people to get interested in politics and social movements; but we just don’t want people to be interested in what I suppose can be termed the ‘pop culture’ elements of politics at all.

You know what I mean by this.  It’s the part of politics that would be more on the monkey-shit-fight end of the spectrum of intellectual stimulation as opposed to an-evening-reading-Proust end of the spectrum.

It’s Polls as opposed to policy.

It’s Cults of Personality as opposed to principle.

It’s Idiotic right-wing conspiracy theories as opposed to ideas.

For the most part, I couldn’t agree more with my fellow comrades, and, as those of you who read this blog regularly know, I do enjoy (and, in fact, thrive off of) the more cerebral elements in politics.

But that said, the fact of the matter is that sometimes, regardless of how cerebral we may think ourselves, a political “monkey shit fight” is just plain fun to watch!  Sometimes you don’t want a steak, sometimes you just want a bag of potato chips.  And for those of us who run in left-wing circles, it’s been my experience that we tend take flak for this as being somehow less progressive or less committed to revolutionary change.

For years now I’ve been trying to reconcile these two things — intellectual, progressive, socialist political discussion, and pop-culture politics like polls and image politics — in my mind.  But it wasn’t until the other day, during one of my now frequent stints bashing Ron Paul die hards who believe their own spam that I came to a realization.

I realized that, just as I don’t necessarily need to root for one group of monkeys in a monkey shit fight in order to be entertained and captivated by the spectacle, so too can I be captivated by things like polls without really caring which one of the capitalist parties is winning and which one is losing.

So what do politics and monkey shit fights have in common?  Well, with the way politics is structured in North America where there is no real genuine choice — they’re both similar insofar as the results will largely be the same regardless of which group wins at either competition.

But it doesn’t make us any less progressive to nevertheless enjoy the fight.

How to appear tough on terrorism without doing anything

bin-laden.jpgIn a move to appear ‘tough on terrorism’, the Democrats in the U.S. Senate have successfully moved a bill to double the bounty on bin Laden’s head from $25 million to $50 million.

Sounds tough doesn’t it?

I mean, wow, $50 million!

The Democrats must be tough on terrorism since they proposed such a bold strategy to bring bin Laden to his knees.  The Republicans couldn’t even come up with the testicular fortitude to double his bounty.  Right?a-rod.png

Actually, if you put it into perspective, this move by the Democrats is more evidence that they are just as completely ignorant as Republicans and equally as unable to see past their pax americana ideology long enough to offer up any intelligent solutions.

So, to put this into perspective (and, incidentally, speaking of ‘testicular’ fortidue), the New York Yankees paid over $112 million dollars just to acquire Alex “A Rod” Rodriguez (pictured right) from George W. Bush’s own franchise, the Texas Rangers, in 2004.

Anybody with half a mind (which obviously exlcudes most liberals and conservatives alike) would realize that if capitalistic rewards sufficed, bin Laden would have been turned in to the U.S. years ago for a bounty of $87.98. 

(In fact, he was almost turned over to the U.S. government by the Taliban in 2001 but the U.S. refused to accept the offer.)

The fact of the matter is that both liberals and conservatives in the U.S. are so blinded by the ideology of their national mythologies as the “city on the hill” and beakon to the rest of the world that they are incapable of seeing what every socialist and every anarchist and every free-thinker sees as self-evident:  this will have no effect on either the capture of bin Laden or on Islamic terrorism.

To address global terrorism, the U.S. must first stop contributing in terrorist activities themselves and must renounce the title of the world’s leading terrorist supporting state.  Only once the brutal, anti-democratic conditions which create radicalism are removed, will the world have rest from this phenomenon.

$50 million won’t cut it.


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