Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Within hours [of the World Trade Center attacks], Mr. McCain, the Vietnam War hero and famed straight talker of the 2000 Republican primary, had taken on a new role: the leading advocate of taking the American retaliation against Al Qaeda far beyond Afghanistan. In a marathon of television and radio appearances, Mr. McCain recited a short list of other countries said to support terrorism, invariably including Iraq, Iran and Syria.
“There is a system out there or network, and that network is going to have to be attacked,” Mr. McCain said the next morning on ABC News. “It isn’t just Afghanistan,” he added, on MSNBC. “I don’t think if you got bin Laden tomorrow that the threat has disappeared,” he said on CBS, pointing toward other countries in the Middle East.
Within a month he made clear his priority. “Very obviously Iraq is the first country,” he declared on CNN. By Jan. 2, Mr. McCain was on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the Arabian Sea, yelling to a crowd of sailors and airmen: “Next up, Baghdad!”
Whether through ideology or instinct, though, Mr. McCain began making his case for invading Iraq to the public more than six months before the White House began to do the same. He drew on principles he learned growing up in a military family and on conclusions he formed as a prisoner in North Vietnam. He also returned to a conviction about “the common identity” of dangerous autocracies as far-flung as Serbia and North Korea that he had developed consulting with hawkish foreign policy thinkers to help sharpen the themes of his 2000 presidential campaign.
While pushing to take on Saddam Hussein, Mr. McCain also made arguments and statements that he may no longer wish to recall. He lauded the war planners he would later criticize, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney. (Mr. McCain even volunteered that he would have given the same job to Mr. Cheney.) He urged support for the later-discredited Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi’s opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress, and echoed some of its suspect accusations in the national media. And he advanced misleading assertions not only about Mr. Hussein’s supposed weapons programs but also about his possible ties to international terrorists, Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 attacks.
Maybe there is reason that McCain doesn't know the difference between Sunni and Shia groups. Whether it's Iraq, Iran, North Korea, or Al Qaeda, he has this simplistic worldview that calls for the same cookie cutter response to every problem.
But Obama is a celebrity (unlike that other Presidential candidate who has appeared on SNL and several other late night programs), so he couldn't possibly have a more sophisticated view of foregin affairs!
Sunday, August 03, 2008
We now live in bizarro world, where pointing out the obvious racial context of this election is racist, even though Republicans have been playing on racial fears for decades. Apparently, the most racist thing you can do in America these days is to point out that racism exists. If you think it's a coincidence that all of the faces on our money are white, you are lying to yourself. Obama faces serious challenges in running as the first black candidate of a major party and pretending that they don't exist is ridiculous.
Obama is facing a clear double-standard. The very fact that he's black means that he has to stay away from focusing on race, even when doing so is appropriate, for fear of being labeled "uppity" or a "dangerous black man." McCain, meanwhile, is free to spout off racial epithets like "gook" and no one cares. He can use imagery that is racially charged, as in his ad juxtaposing Obama with Britney and Paris, but if anyone point that out, they are decried for being the real racists. But if Obama even suggests that his race may be used against him, it sets of a storm of controversy.
McCain faced racist attacks, himself, in 2000, and he wasn't even black. Now he has hired people associated with Bush's political campaigns and he's surprised that people are preparing for racially charged attacks? If he were honest, he would acknowledge his party's legacy of racism and vow not to repeat it. But he won't, because acknowledging that it exists would reveal the elephant in the room and take away one of his best means of defaming Obama.
What was the devil's greatest trick, again?
I've been listening to these albums and want to get more:
Fela Kuti & Afrika '70 - Zombie
Fela Kuti & Afrika '70 - Opposite People + Sorrow Tears and Blood
Fela Kuti - The '69 Los Angeles Sessions
Fela Kuti - Yellow Fever/Na Poi
Chicago Afrobeat Project - Self-titled (they have a newer album I haven't heard)
Geraldo Pino & the Heartbeats - Afro Soco Soul Live
Geraldo Pino - Let's Have a Party
Various Artists - Nigeria Disco Funk Special