Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Laura Bush Has An Opinion

In an interview with Larry King this week, First Lady Laura Bush said that while she understands that the American public doesn't think the war in Iraq is going as it should, she agrees with the President (AKA her demonic husband) that we have to stay the course in Iraq for the sake of the Iraqi people. To do otherwise would be a serious mistake.
Well, Laura, if the President's war is so important, why aren't your louche daughters Barbara and Jenna out in Iraq? Even for a photo opp in fatigues next to sodomized Iraqis?
I love how WMDs have now been replaced with an out-of-the-goodness-of-our-oil-guzzling-hearts desire to usher the Iraqi people to the promised land of democracy.
But I really love our Democratic congress that is calling W and his band of thugs he's to task on this dirty war.
While the Right celebrates the teenagers that have been senselessly killed in Iraq, the Democratic party is in the process of showing W what democracy is all about. It's about transparency, accountability, it's about forging alliances, not dictating policy from the recesses of your Born-Again heart.
The Dems are telling W: You want $90 billion for your defense contractors to create more bombs and kill more civilians whose relatives will then fly a 767 into the Sears Tower? Sure thing, Mr. President, but first, tell us what you did with the other $100 billion we gave you and tell us how much better off Iraq is for it. Because we seem to have gone from waging a pre-emptive strike against a brooding enemy to happily sacrifing our young for its future well being.
Isn't it funny that while we never found WMDs in Iraq, Iran is wagging their nuclear program in our face and we're looking the other North Korea, where we gladly gave Kim Jong-Il oil, food and money so he won't blow us up.
Kudos to the Dems for standing up to W and demanding answers. I just pray that I see the day when a higher power demands answers from him.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Are We Financing Terror?

Shakedown in Colombia, my mom's homeland and the destination for 700 million of our tax dollars every year to combat left-wing guerrillas.

Says the Washington Post: The political scandal that forced Colombia's foreign minister to quit and put other close allies of President Alvaro Uribe in jail is being driven in large part by a rebel-turned-senator who has defied death threats to become the opposition's most fearless provocateur.
The following post might be a little long, so here are bullets:

-- On Monday, Colombia's foreign minister, Maria Consuelo Araujo, resigned following allegations that her brother and father were involved in dealings with murderous right wing militias.

-- The civil war in Colombia has pit leftist rebels against right wing paramilitary groups. Both groups have killed civilians indiscriminately in this 50+ year war.

-- Colombia is a staunch U.S. ally and receives $700 million in U.S.-aid every year to combat the guerrillas and there are concerns that some of the money may be funding paramilitary groups that are just as violent.

-- Charges that the Colombian government, up to the presidency, is in bed with the paramilitaries could be a huge blow for U.S./Colombian relations. W does not need another human rights crisis.

Here's how things work in Colombia: since the 1950s, a period now referred to as "La Violencia," or The Violence, the country has been embroiled in a civil war that was sorta placated during the advent of the drug cartels in the late 70s through the 90s. Since then, after the druglords were killed or shipped off to jail here in the States, the armed forces of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC, Spanish acronym), have taken over the country's drug trade and have waged war on the country's established government. Kidnappings and bombings are the stock and trade of this group, who have kidnapped countless civilians and politicians and foreigners.

The Colombian government has relied on the support of the U.S. to combat the guerrillas and the country's current President, Alvaro Uribe, is BFF with W. In fact, in spite of his conservative views, people I spoke to in Colombia cited their president's amicable relationship with Washington as a huge win for the country.

However, as is the case with all U.S.-funded counter-insurgency movements, the situation in Colombia is fraught with human rights violations. In the fervor to weed out rebels, many innocent people have been killed by right wing paramilitary groups who gun down anyone suspected of having ties to the FARC. Some human rights groups claim the U.S. supports the paramilitaries, who by now have become a terrorist group of their own.

So what does this mean for U.S./Colombian relations now?

Our new democratic congress will rightfully demand more accountability from the Colombian government. Still, the problem remains that a war that has raged on for half a century can't be quelled with hundreds of millions of dollars. While this kinda sounds like the situation in Iraq, the situation in Colombia has shown remarkable signs of an upswing. The economy is growing, the country is even embracing gay rights, and Bogota is by far one of the most cosmopolitan and exciting cities in Latin America. With all of this potential harnessed into one place you have to wonder what the missing piece of the puzzle is for a nation so ravaged by war?

I guess money can't fix everything.

Monday, February 19, 2007

This is NOT 1776....

... or is it? Back then, our country was under the rule of a tyrant who wanted one religion for all and the unwavering obedience of his people.

My how times don't change.

In the same way that Hugo Chavez likes to tout the spirit of Simon Bolivar about like a marinette in the dumbshow that is his brand of totalitarianism, so too does W try to distract us from his foibles by drawing our attention to even worse times in American history.

As our country honors past Presidents, (I did an extra set of squats on my day off in honor of our POTUS-es at the gym today) George Bush couldn't pass up making another pitch for the war in Iraq:

''Today, we're fighting a new war to defend our liberty and our people and our way of life,'' [...] and as we work to advance the cause of freedom around the world, we remember that the father of our country believed that the freedoms we secured in our revolution were not meant for Americans alone.''

Or Black people. Cuz you know, they were slaves back then, Dubya. Funny how the founding fathers' generosity excluded a large chunk of the people around them but was rather meant for Muslims on the other side of the planet, nearly 300 years later.

I would bet you my apple tree that George Washington would have cared as much about the Iraqi civil war that we helped create as much as I care for our current President's myopic view of history.

Funny how our President interprets the actions of a people inspired by the Age of Enlightenment by wanting to limit people's freedoms every which way he can. If the Revolutionary War was the precursor to the liberation of the Iraqi people, then what the hell does it mean for Americans today?

For W it would mean taking away basic human rights from gay people, the introduction of a fanatical brand of Christianity into our public schools, the end of programs that help minorities forge ahead, and total disregard for the environment.

To compare the war in Iraq to the battle for our nation's freedom is offensive. The founding fathers didn't battle England so they could become the world's police state. To compare the Revolutionary War to 9-11 is ignorant, even by W's standards.

Still, we are in a revolutionary moment in history -- let's pull a 1776 on Bush and declare our independence from his tyranny once and for all.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bank of America: Intrepid or Bold?

From the Los Angeles Times: "Continuing to court the burgeoning market of Latino immigrants, Bank of America said today it is test-marketing credit cards for Spanish-speaking customers who may not have Social Security numbers."
Remember, just because you don't like something that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. And that doesn't mean you can't make money off it, either (see posts on Nasty Pig). Folks, illegal immigration isn't going to stop. So if people are going to risk life and limb to get here we should find a way to get these people up and functioning sooner rather than later. If an illegal immigrant wants to embrace the lofty American principle of senseless consumerism then it's high time our financial institutions started making a profit off of it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Liberal Politics in Portugal

I know this blog is primarily focused on U.S. issues, but the abortion debate that has been rekindled in Portugal has gotten my attention.

Says the Washington Post: Portugal's prime minister said he will enact more liberal abortion laws in the conservative Roman Catholic country even though his proposal to relax restrictions failed to win complete endorsement in a referendum. [...] However, under Portuguese law more than 50 percent of the country's 8.9 million registered voters must participate in a referendum to make the ballot valid. The turnout Sunday was 44 percent.

Believe it or not, yours truly is (sorta secretly) anti-abortion. However, this is such a tricky debate because the minute a society starts selectively enforcing religious dogma as law, all hell can and will break loose. If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned here in the States, what would happen to other progressive laws?

An even harder question, when and how did the debate over the pursuit of happiness get tied up in the abortion debate? Speaking as a man this may be terribly shortsighted of me to say, but still, we are talking about the ending of a life. And the ending of that life is for the benefit, and perhaps, longterm happiness of another.

I wish I could look at this issue in black and white...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rooting for the Dixie Chicks... the Grammy's tonight. Not just because I totally agree with the ladies' opinions on our "President," but because I really, really like their album and the lead song, "Not Ready to Make Nice."

And before I get tossed on the liberal bandwagon as a Chelsea queen who'd never heard of country music before the Chicks, I want to say that I love country music. From Conway Twitty to Loretta Lynn to Dolly Parton and Hank Williams, I have loved country music since my uncle, who moved to Birmingham, Alabma in 1960 from Puerto Rico, introduced me to it as a kid during my summer vacations on the island.

So good luck to them tonight, and to my girl Mary J. Blige, who definitely made '06 her year.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Really Wanting to Root for Obama....

...but is this nation really ready for an African American POTUS? I still can't get over the fact that this country voted for W twice, but that makes it all the more incredible that the successor to a man who has taken it upon himself to drag our country back into the Dark Ages should be a man of color who wants to talk about unification and ending the war in Iraq.

And that was the theme behind Barack Obama's bid for the presidency, which he announced today in Springfield, Illinois. Good for him! And good for our country, too. What I like about Obama is his seemingly genuine interest in making things right in this country. It's hard to argue with someone who says our country is woefully divided and that the war in Iraq isn't working.

Still, I don't see POTUS material here. We're still making a big deal about there being less than ten black Oscar winners and now the American public is going to put an African American Muslim in the Oval Office? The same public that has cheered George W. Bush into Iraq and who has sworn allegiance to curbing civil rights is now going to vote for a black man who is unashamed to say that everybody in this country deserves the freedom to be happy and access to medical care?

Forget about the American public for a second. Let's ask these questions of the Democratic Party who sold 2004 away by throwing John Kerry into the ring! Theresa Kerry was more of a liability than Howard Dean come to think of it. So now the same party that has been hemming and hawing in the sidelines for the past seven years, and finally managed to finagle ownership of the legislative branch of our country's government this year, is going to bet its hot streak on a black liberal?

Would be nice. But I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Evil Gays

Every community has its members that you pretty much want to get all Taliban on and drag to the center of town for an ol'fashioned stoning.

For the gay community, I can't think of two people who really need to get some sense beaten into them more than Ted Haggard and Mary Cheney.

In today's New York Times, Haggard boasts of his "complete heterosexuality" after a three-week stint in counseling. Even Lindsay Lohan committed herself to 30 days of rehab, but I guess when you're as demonic as Haggard, you can get on the fast track to "redemption." For those of not drinking the Kool Aid of the power of "faith," it's laughable that three weeks can undo years of lying and self-loathing.

Still, that's the message from the National Association of Evangelicals: “He [Haggard] is completely heterosexual,” Mr. Ralph [a representative for the religious group] told The [Denver] Post, adding that Mr. Haggard’s homosexual activity had not been “a constant thing.”

What's even more frightening about this mess of a story is that Haggard's wife is not only staying with him, they are both taking online courses to get master’s degrees in psychology!

Mary Cheney is another mess. Now that she's pregnant, she and her tight-assed, lame-duck, mass-murdering-war-profiteering-father have made the topic of her insemination off-limits, saying that her choice to inflict her seed on the world is not a political statement.

And truth be told, the Cheneys have more to be excoriated for than their wayward daughter's romps in the hey with arriviste park rangers. Nonetheless, as Dan Savage brilliantly put it in his blog this week:

" long as your party insists on making the fitness of homosexuals to marry or parent—or, hell, exist—a subject of public debate, Mary, your decision to become a parent is germane and very much fit for public discussion and debate. The GOP’s selective embrace of some pregnant dykes—only knocked-up lesbians with powerful connections will be treated with respect—is a disconnect that demands answers. From you, from your father, from your venomous mother, from the idiot president you helped elect. Is that fair? Maybe not. Want to blame someone? Go look in the mirror—and then come out swinging, Mary—for yourself, your partner, and your child."

In times of war it's not uncommon to see people turn on their own just to survive. While the "culture war" rages on in this country, the bigger battle is within the souls of people like Ted and Mary who hate themselves so much that they've made it their life's mission to "redeem" themselves for just existing. The scary thing is that these people have a platform and political connections to see that their twisted brand of hate and depravity turns into legislation.

Stone em!

Friday, February 02, 2007


Very disappointed by the news out of San Francisco. Mayor Gavin Newsom, a man who advanced the cause of civil rights in this country by allowing same sex marriages in his city, has confessed to an affair with his campaign manager's wife.

While this isn't anyone's business and it shouldn't be the arbiter by which we judge Newsom as a leader, to see someone you respect have to squirm under the limelight and admit to less than honorable behavior is heartbreaking. Can we focus our attention on the Foley scandal again?