Tommy Pain

Hardcore Common Sense and a Proud Member of the Reality-Based Community

Monday, January 24, 2005

Future of Iraq

I've not had a lot to say. I'm sure not many come by here. So this is just for the record...

Iraqi Elections come up in just a week. Everyone is talking about how tough the resistance will be for the next week, and how many attack will be launched on election day. They have made a sham of the democratic process in order to improve security.

Iraqi's don't know who they are voting for. A third still think they will be voting for a president. Candidates are afraid to reveal themselves, because 8 have been assassinated and dozens of others have been threatened. The borders will be closed. To reduce the number of points to guard, they have cut the number of polling locations down to 5000, for 15-20 million potential voters - 3000 voters per station, IF they are evenly distributed (and they will not be). The polling locations will not be identified "until the last minute", whatever that means. They cannot use the "indelible ink" they used in afghanistan to prevent repeat voters, because marked people will be prime targets for the resistance, and voters will refuse to be marked in many areas.

The head of Iraqi security says there are 200,000 rebellion sympathizers, people who will protect the fighters and may be leaning towards violence themselves. They claim there could be as many as 250 car bombs ready to go. And the people them selves are pretty angry - the country has recieved power only a few hours a day, and people wait in lines for a half day at a time to pay 80X what they used to for gasoline. Bagdad hasn't had water for the last day, with no explanation.

But as bad as it will likely be, I don't think it will come close to what will come afterwards.

You see, this is only a big moment for Bush and his cronies. This election means nothing to the resistance - they were fighting before, and they will be fighting afterwards. They cannot cancel the election, and they probably cannot control its legitimacy. It will be proclaimed as a magnificent victory for "freedom" no matter if 5% of the country votes. I predict it will be in the 30%-50% range.

But they can destroy the process afterwards, and start the civil war.

All Iraqis are voting for is party power. 275 delegates will be apportioned to those parties based on the outcome for one purpose - writing a new constitution. The interim constitution nearly collapsed several times, and was only completed because it was temporary - everyone figured it wasn't worth getting too worked up over, especially since the CPA still had near complete control anyway.

This time its for all the marbles. Kurds will want real autonomy. Sunnis will want protection from retribution and power comparable to what they had in Hussein's day, plus a continuation of the secular government. The shi'ites want near total power (as the majority population group), the right to prosecute bathists, the oil wealth that was denied to them, and the right to live by Islamic law. Exile groups want power and authority and a chance to rip the wealth of the country to their own interests, financed through the wealth the CIA and DIA have showered them with. The US wants the profits from Iraqi oil, reconstruction contracts for US contractors, a government friendly to Israel, and at least 14 permanent bases in Iraq to further project power in the Mideast.

These groups don't trust each other. Sure, the regular people largely don't hate each other, and couldn't care less about the politics so long as they can feel secure, fed and comfortable again. But that can be changed.

Because after the election, the resistance will have something new - Targets. They will know the politicians. They will know the parties. People will have somehting invested in these targets, because they voted for them. They are their representitives.

So killing them will be far more effective than any of the attacks on the US soldiers and puppets currently being killed - Iraqis are already ambivalent or hostile towards them. The people getting ready to vote are putting their hopes into their votes (even if they don't really know what they are voting for) - interview after interview with Iraqis favoring the elections shows this.

Now the outsiders hoping to keep the country unstable will have a means to that end - they can kill off representives of the people, during the constitutional process when it will have a lot of meaning. Kill off the already under represented Sunnis, and the sunnis suspect the Shia of involvement. Kill Shia, and they suspect Sunnis. Kill Kurds, and they suspect everyone. Everyone blaims the US for the lack of security (and rightfully so). Those who bought the line that the elections would be a turning point will have their hopes crushed, and they will be angry.

The elections will happen. But they will lead to greater instability and more attacks by the resistance.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Jesus is a Liberal

Right now, the vote counts show 59.4 million for Bush, 55.9 million for Kerry. That is over 15 million more voters than in 2000. When you consider the number of voters who died between 2000 and 2004, there were at least 20,000,000 first time voters.

And a really, really large proportion of those voters were white evangelicals. According to those exit polls, 13% identified themselves as such. That is realistically more like 17%. Again, those polls are mostly garbage, but it appears that at least 17 million evangelical voters came out, and voted overwhelmingly for Bush. Why?

Gay marriage and abortion. According to the exit polls, 22% claimed their primary concern was "moral values". That was higher than any other category, including the economy, Iraq, or the War on Terrorism. And they weren't talking about the morality of lying America into a war - 80% voted for Bush. When you consider the sampling issues with the exit polls, I would bet 20% of the electorate voted for Bush based on "moral values". That’s 23 million voters.

Also, according to the exit polls, 16% of voters said abortion should "always" be illegal, and another 26% said it should be "most of the time". 75% of those people voted for Bush. Again, slant those numbers towards Bush.

37% said gay unions should have no legal recognition - not even Civil Unions. Bush got 70% of those people. 29 million people.

Solution: This is a huge, huge problem. The republicans have run the most corrupt, immoral, un-Christian Administrations since Nixon. Reagan and Bush II never even went to church. They spit on the impoverished and sick. They lie shamelessly. They start wars for economic reasons. Jesus would chase them straight out of the temple, if they ever bothered to go into it. But they have fooled tens of millions of people that the greatest threat to their moral compass is the small percentage of gay people, and women getting abortions, and that anyone with higher morale priorities is in fact immoral.

We need to claim morality back where it belongs. This phrase needs to become a mantra - Jesus is a Liberal. Even if you are not religious (and I am not), we need to convince people who are. We need to speak our morality in terms Christians relate to. And Jesus is our Man for that.

This means we need the left wing equivalent of the Heritage Foundation and the Family Research Council, honest where those organizations are false. These hypocritical institutions were created by primitive Neocons with no interest in religion, other than the people they could influence through it. They may have many sincere people working for them. But make no mistake who founded and funded them.

We need organizations to teach why liberal = moral. We have to offer scholarships to liberal and centrist religious institutions. We have to train people how to talk about morality in the modern world, how to make the connections between the Bible and liberal values. We need to train preachers. Set up conferences, and organize churches to get out the vote.

We aren't going to win back everyone. The true Fundies define themselves by who they hate and who they are more holy than, and they aren't going to change. But we need to reach the mainstream, and hope that those we don't utterly convince, at least have enough doubts as to who the most moral is to base their election decisions on a wider spectrum of issues.

The black politicians in America already have experience with this. We need to send some white politicians to learn from them. Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic convention shows us the way.

This needs to start RIGHT NOW. The republicans literally have a 20 year jump on us. But we've got reality on our side.

Note: I know this will irritate the Agnostics and Atheists among the left. Get over it. If they are moral, they are welcome, and if they chose to believe, let them. There are much worse things to believe and base your life around (money, social darwinism, Ayn Rand-ism, Rush Limbaugh-ism, for starters).

This is not shifting the party to a more religion-in-government stance. This is helping the religious understand their morality is no different than our own. From a different origin, but going to the same places. It is to assure them Jesus would be very happy if they voted for liberals.

A Common Sense Post-Mortem

We lost. Probably not fair and squarely, but its not as unfairly as we fear.

11 million new Bush voters. Its crazy. But they didn't fabricate that many new votes. Even if they got some, and suppressed several million of our own by the black box voting machines and shorting democractic districts of enough resources, we would not have won by much.

The next series of articles will be about how we lost, and what we can do about it. Some of it is big, some of it is small. But we need to drown the forces of hate and intolerance and greed in this country, preferably in Grover Norquists own metaphorical bath tub.

In summary we need the following:

1) To reclaim the language of morality. We don't have to change a single position, or shift right or left. But we need to be able to explain to Christians that liberal morality is nearly identical to Christian morality. We aren't going to convince the true fundementalists, but we can get a lot of people who wonder why their more conservative friends seem so angry and hateful.

2) Election reform. Every vote must be counted, and no one can be intimidated or forced to wait 4 hours to vote.

3) Media bashing. Enough. Its a lazy, conservative media. Its time to start calling them on the slander. To their faces. Maybe boycott for aggregious bullshit.

4) Teach Americans that the government is theirs. Too many think it is an out of control oppressive monarchy, not a tool of the people. People need to write their congressmen and make sure they do our will. Democrats will need a lot of fortitude for the coming two years - they get that fortitude from us.

5) Start organizing NOW. Lets target the seats for 2006, and get to work.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Call to Action, Pt 1

The very first thing all Left Wingers need to do is to buck up our elected representatives. They are going to be under a lot of pressure to capitulate, and no matter how demoralized you feel, imagine how they feel - they live this battle every day.

You need to write to every single one of your elected officials. If you don't have a sympathetic elected official, write to them anyway, just to let them know you care, and then find another elected official you especially respect or want to help. For instance, I have the great misfortune to be represented by Heather Wilson, a truly souless automaton for the right wing. I will be letting Tom Udall know that I expect him to work for me even though he is in the next district, because of my misfortune.

A sample letter would be:

As I'm certain you are aware, President Bush is proclaiming a mandate with 51% of the popular vote. Though this is absurd on its face, the media is running with it.

I want you to know, that as an elected official who won at least 51% of the vote in your area, you have an equal if not greater mandate to oppose him. We played nice with the president too often after 9/11, and he screwed us.

I don't care what they call you. I want you to be an obstructionist on every bad idea they try to foist on us. No more Medicare Reform fiasco's. No more "bipartisan investigations" where we agree not to assign blame. No more taking the president on good faith - he has proven faithless. No more tax breaks for the wealthy.

I expect you to first serve the people who have elected you, not those who voted against you. I expect you to carry on the fight to restore our country to greatness, just as I will do.

I pledge to you - I will do my part if you do your part. I will work to help win back the Congress in 2006, and the Presidency in 2008. Please don't the Neocons do more damage before then.

Mail them, and email them. You can get addresses for House Members here, and Senate Members here here.

You should probably do you state representatives and governors as well.

This is no bullshit exercise. There is nothing I can think of that would be more constructive and a better use of money right now. These people need us to tell them where this country is going, and that we are paying attention, and that we have expectations of how they will perform.

What the Hell Was That?!

Who would have believed that Bushco would have found 10 million more people to vote for him than in 2000? I'm still not sure I believe it, if you catch my drift. But, since paperless voting has taken control in so many important states, we probably will never know what was real and what wasn't. Its probably not worth worrying about.

How did they do it? Gays. Seriously, in a country threatened by terrorists, in the midst of an occupation where we have lost the hearts and minds of the occupied, with record national deficits that are enriching foreign countries, and having lost more manufacturing jobs than at any time in our country's history, millions were mobilized by the critical threat of a few hundred thousand people maybe getting family recognition for their loved ones.

Jesus would be proud. Its just like in the Bible, when He said "Love thy neighbor, unless they are a couple of fags" and "Suffer not a dyke to live among you".

Also many of them were apparently inspired by the time Jesus killed the midwife proscribing holly leaves for the sick pregnant woman. "Thou shalt carry thy fetus to term, even should it kill thee." Jesus proclaimed, adding "Slut!"

Actually, I'm pretty sure Jesus never said a word about either subject, but you'd never know that talking to people who think they are doing His work.

More about this phenom later. To mark the outlandish results of the election, I've wiped this slate clean. Tommy Pain is starting over. We have a new focus - Taking back the Congress in 2006. Americans, the period of mourning is over. We are better organized than ever before, and we got out 7 million more voters than in 2000. Just like teams have "rebuilding seasons", we are going to build on what we have achieved and learn from our failures, and we are going to reclaim America for Americans!