Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Spreading Democracy In The Middle East

There's a specter haunting the Middle East. The specter of democracy. President Bush has stated before, with no hint of irony, that "democracies are peaceful." This after having launched an unprevoked, preemptive war of agression in Iraq. That's demacracy for ya! And look what we get for our troubles. The Shiites are in control of Baghdad. Well most of the neighborhoods in and around Baghdad and virtually all of the Southern parts of Iraq. But most importantly they control the parliament. So now they can go about forging friendly relations with their Shia neighbors in Iran.

Speaking of Iran, they too are a democracy. Or at least something called an Islamic Republic. And the guy they elected has stated that he would like to see Israel wiped off the map. Which in the textbooks in Saudi Arabia it already is. Saudi Arabia by the way, not a democracy, but non the less, our closest Arab ally in the region. Democracy shmocracy. The leader of Iran also insist on refining nuclear materials, ostensibly for peaceful purposes. Bush has said he will not allow Iran to develope a nuclear weapon.

Democracy is all about voicing your opinions. So what are the majority Shia in Iraq likely to think of the United States telling their friends in Iran what they can and cannot do. Whose side will they be on? If the democratic Iraq held a referendum on who they liked better, the US or Iran who would win? Democracy in the Middle East - Yaaayyy!!!!

Lebanon is also a democracy. Hezbollah, in addition to being an armed terrorist orginization with ties to Iran, operating in the South of Lebanon; also is a legitimate political party. There are members of Hezbollah in the Lebanese Parliament. They also run hospitals, schools, daycares. If it weren't for the Katusha rockets and AK47 assault rifles and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, they might have more power in the region. But they are part of the Lebanese democracy. So that's a good thing right?

Then we have Hamas. These guys actually won more votes in the Palestinian Territories than anyone else. This is democracy in action. This is the will of the people. They also hate Isreal. Which in the Middle East actually helps your chances of being elected to anything. This is democracy.

So here is the Bush Mid-East policy: (which was described by the deputy Prime Minister in the UK as "Crap")
Remove Saddam Hussien from power and allow the majority Shia to take control through democratic means. Tout spreading democracy as one of the reasons for the invasion.

Allow Israel to reak havoc on the infrastructure of Lebenon. A US ally and democracy in the region. A fledgeling democracy, just like Iraq, but a democracy no less. How does this jive with Bush's "spreading democracy" policy?

Maintain very close ties, hand-holding, kissing ties, with the Saudi royal family. Yeah right, democracy. There are those who would argue that we need to maintain those ties with Saudi Arabia to help keep the price of oil stable and the price at the pump at a reasonable $3.10 a gallon. Not to mention that most of the hijackers on 9/11 were from there. (why are we friends with these guys again?)

While at the same time increasing sympathy for Iranian supported Hezbollah in Lebanon, and installing a friendly Shia regime in Iraq, shake fist and threaten sanctions against an embolden Iran. The US has removed all of Irans natural enemies in the region save Israel.

So Middle East democracy: A triumph of US foreign policy akin to the Marshall plan. Or just another smokescreen talking point put up by lackeys in the most incompetent, corrupt, inept administration in the history of our country? I know what I think.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

August 19th Rocks!

Forty years ago today the Beatles made their one and only appearance in Memphis. They played two shows at the Mid-South Coliseum. The first show being a matinee at 4pm and the evening show at 8:30 pm. The city council passed a resolution saying the Beatles were not welcomed. The Ku Klux Klan were protesting in the parking lot. Tickets were only $5.50. The Beatles 11 song set lasted only about thirty minutes but was proceeded by two hours of opening acts. During the evening show someone in the audience set of a cherry bomb causing John Lennon to remark later in an interview "we thought it was a gunshot." There were eighty police officers assigned to the show for security.

The Beatles had wanted to record the album that would later be released as Revolver in Memphis at Stax studio. Their manager Brian Epstein ultimately nixed the idea because he wasn't happy with the "securtiy or living arrangements." During a press conference between shows McCartney was attributing the Beatles not recording in Memphis to "little things like money..."

The Beatles left for Cincinnati as soon as the show was over. I guess they didn't feel welcomed. Two years later, in the aftermath of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assasination the New York Times would famously describe Memphis as a decaying backwater town. I wish the Beatles could come back and play today. It's different here today. Yeah we still have our problems, but we still love our rock & roll.

Also on this date: Exactly twenty years before the Beatles played Memphis to the day, Bill Clinton was born across the river in Arkansas.

August 19th rocks!

Friday, August 18, 2006

I'm Tired Of These Motherfucking Wire Taps Without A Motherfucking Warrant!

That's what a federal judge in Detroit told the Bush Administration yesterday. To tired to blog. I just wanted to write the headline.

And I hope to write more about my recent trip to Philadelphia at some point. I will say this; the Kimmel Center really stuck out in my head. I loved that building. And City Hall. And that big ass office building with a mall in the bottom of it across the street from where I stayed.

Yeah. Oh and the Art Museum and Rittenhouse Square and and that other pleasant little river with the funny name.