It always concerns me when people use the word democracy. These days it tends to be bandied about a little bit, often under the guise of democracy. Let me explain…
The Democratic Republic of Congo.
Need I say more?
OK… the United States of America.
Before I get the usual Bush-lovers bleating on about how good it was before Obama, I wish to explain further.
Let’s start at the most obvious place: the Democratic Republic of Congo. Situated in between Angola, Sudan and the actual republic of Congo, this country dubbed itself the Democratic Republic of Congo after, would you believe, a kind of coup/rebel takeover of the capital Kinshasa in 1997. In fact, since independence in 1960 there haven’t been too many elections there. You might remember President Mobutu from the film When We Were Kings (he starred alongside Muhammad Ali, George Forman and the USA’s own Mobutu – Don King). He was used to be an army dude, but got into power in 1965 by your standard ‘overthrow’ tactic, then he went on to invade and fight with neighbouring Angola. Since they were backed by the Soviets, Mobutu raked in the ideological cash from the US who thought that funding the likes of him and Saddam Hussein would somehow bring down the USSR (???). As we all know, that job went to David Hasselhoff. (As a PS to this paragraph, I like how the country has now dubbed itself on various world maps as Dr. Congo – sounds like a fix-it-up consultant that flies in to restore credibility to Dancing with the Hasbeens).
The second most obvious place is, arguably, the United States of America. I say arguably because I’m arguing my point of view. You may not agree with it, but the rest of the world does. Anyway… the US has spent the best part of the last 50 years telling the rest of the world democracy is the answer. Funnily enough, the rest of the world didn’t really ask a question. The US like to place sanctions against the might of communist Cuba, or invading world terrorising countries such as Afghanistan – Operation Enduring Freedom (just cut out the word freedom and that’ll sum it up), Iraq – Operation Iraqi Liberation, and Panama – Operation Just Cause.
They, and when I say ‘they’, I mean the US government / State Department, not the many wonderful people who make up the rich tapestry of the country, tell us they’re invading/liberating to bring ‘democracy’ to the affected area. I can tell you now that countries or regions of the world aren’t sores that can have the elixir of free and fair elections applied to them and be cured. People in those countries have to want to change and I suspect many inhabitants of the aforementioned countries were none to happy with the US-led forces trotting over their borders waving the flag of extreme shock and death awe freedom.
Democracy is something that can’t be imposed – it has to come from a groundswell of the people. Hang on… isn’t that how the United States was formed in the first place…
So we know that the US aren’t really leading these charges against undemocratic nations in an altruistic way. Nope. It’s got more to do with what type of petroleum-based goo lies under these, or nearby nations, or, in the case of Panama, how they can secure a shortcut for the ships taking that goo to the Californian refineries.
While I’m spouting on and on, as is my want from time to time, why don’t we briefly talk about the example of democracy that the US is setting for the rest of the world. The choice between two parties, one who thinks they’re Jesus and the other who tries not to be but if someone says what they’re doing is wrong then… Democrats too scared to be leaders, Republicans too scary to be leaders.
And so we move on to my actual point of this session – the March for Democracy held in Auckland, New Zealand yesterday. If you want to find out more click here. In short, 4000 people marched up the main street of the biggest city in New Zealand calling on the government to make referenda binding.
Failing to see the point yet? Well, as an aside, earlier on this year the government held a referendum that asked people to vote on the question, “should a smack, as part of good parental correction, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” Overwhelmingly, and much to my disgust, New Zealanders voted 89% in favour of being allowed to use the defence of reasonable force if they were ever brought up in court on charges of assaulting their children. The new National government had promised the referendum before winning the election last year, and to their credit, delivered on the promise. Of course, New Zealand has this wonderful system of citizen initiated referenda whereby anybody with enough signatures can force (yes, that’s right, force) the government to hold a referendum on their issue of choice. This time, it was the right to hit children with impunity.
As a further aside, the legislation dubbed the ‘anti-smacking law’ does not ban smacking, instead, as mentioned above, it removes the defence of reasonable force from the statutes. Anybody who is in favour of this remaining as a defence for disciplining children needs to think… isn’t reasonable force is something the police think about when apprehending criminals.
And, finally, to my point. Yet again the word DEMOCRACY has been hijacked. 4000 people is by no means a majority. It is, in fact, just 0.0001% of the population. admittedly they looked pretty good having been at the cardboard with black paint, tomato stakes and glue, but it was only 4000 at this “family(!!!)” event.
Now I might disagree with the 89% of New Zealanders who want to use reasonable force on their children, but I don’t care. If you want to use the word democracy, be very, very careful. It is, after all, a government of the people. If you invade, does that mean democracy? If I disagree with your march, does that mean democracy? If you coup me out of office, does that create a democratic republic?
You might just say this argument is all just semantics. I say your anti-semantic.
Until next time, all the best.
George Walker Bush is a criminal and a murderer.
I suppose technically a murderer is a criminal… but let me explain further.
The thing with a hurricane is that it’s big. You can see one from space. Hurricane Katrina was no different. Clicking on the link shows you a weather pattern stretching from the Cuba/Mexico part right across the gulf to the south coast of the United States. It’s not like it magically appeared either. No. Miss Katrina was heralded into existence by the National Hurricane Centre as early as 26 August 2005. Previously they’d just thought it a bit of a storm next to the Bahamas I suppose…
Come the end of September New Orleans was a toxic swimming pool and Bush had lost the Republicans the next election. So bad was the hatred that not only did the Republicans lose to the Democrats, they lost to a Black Democrat who was half African.
Good old Bush.
By good I mean appalling and by old I mean dickheadedly arrogant. Bush was to the United States of America the type of thing that Ebola is to humans. One minute you’re petting the cute Texan monkey funded by the Halliburton of the Congo, next minute your internal organs are melting and you’re bleeding out your eyeballs. Having read over that metaphor it was making sense at the start but I think I lost it towards the end. Basically I’m trying to compare His Bushness with something terrible – perhaps Ebola or some kind of Bobbit-like incident upon your person – because he was truly the most atrocious president I have had the misfortune of living through. That’s saying something because Nixon was in power when I was born.
George W. Bush – an anagram of Beg Worse Hug… mmm, indeed.
How could someone in the face of total catastrophe leave a city to wash into the gulf? How could someone leave one of the cultural capitals of his country to rot in the summer sun? How could a ex-drinking coke-fiend decide to spend anywhere between $US177,000,000 and $US400,000,000 per day in Iraq looking for weapons of mass distraction. Oh that’s right, I remember now. Bush wasn’t actually president. Cheney and his mates were. Bush was just the Texan joker with the mellow accent who made all the evil done by the satanic lapdogs the extreme right boosted to the White House kind of sound OK.
It’s estimated the cost to repair the damage from Hurricane Katrina is going to be around$150 billion – depending on where you look. This would equate to around 850 days (2 and a bit years) worth of Iraq War (based on above estimates which I suppose can be questioned as to accuracy since I didn’t count the actual money as it was being spent). If the Bush/Cheney regime of plantation owning oil munching slave traders had pulled out of Iraq when the world called their bluff on the weapons of mass distruction they may have been able to rebuild New Orleans in about a week.
Why am I going on about this 4 years after the fact? See the Spike Lee documentary When the Levees Broke. It’s an astounding portrayal of how little a federal government made up of rich whities can care about its people. No wonder there are so many fundamentalists roaming around Utah and Montana training for the imaginary apocolypse.
Ah well… at least in New Zealand we don’t have to worry about that sort of nonsense. The government here looks after the people and the country. Oh no, wait, that’s right. They don’t at all. This week the National government, whose been in power for about a year, announced that vast tracts of land owned by the Department of Conservation – the government department responsible for looking after what’s left of our natural landscape – up to mining and exploration of our mineral wealth.
My god. Honestly. Could you be any more unsustainable than that????? Well yes you could. By invading Iraq and spending more than the entire yearly New Zealand GDP figure per day on a war that was argued for on the basis of weapons that didn’t exist.
The reason this is happening is because of the unsustainable thinking of idiots who run the country. Making money seems to be the goal of those on the right. Making money any way possible. The capitalist juggernaut barrels through the pristine countryside on the hunt for gold or silver or nickle. What do we get in return? A filthy great hole in the ground, massive pollution left over from tailings dams and no wildlife because the bush covering the stripped land was cleared to get at the land in the first place.
Phew! Why am I so against capitalism? Because the model just doesn’t work. Time and time and time again we see suffering and deprevation that occurs because some boffin in an office, with no sense of humanity, just a sense of the bottom line of his company’s/government’s wallet, makes a decision to cut and slash and burn. Capitalists only see the balance sheet. Their projections are made only in dollars. They cannot or will not see the people their decisions affect.
Economists have a lot to answer for. Formulas are ok in your computers or on your office whiteboard but as soon as you add the complex requirements of a human being, or many, many human beings, the formula is rendered obsolete.
Money was the reason for the Katrina disaster also. The levees broke because the government cut corners. The government failed to respond because the majority of those affected by the levees lived in the poor parts of town. Those votes don’t really count because they can’t really fund-raise like a Newt Gingricher. Iraq wouldn’t have been invaded if there wasn’t oil there or the contract to reconstruct wasn’t won by Cheneyburton (how that conflict of interest failed to get impeached I’ll never know).
I did promise last time something more upbeat and lively. Unfortunately the Spike Lee doco got in my way and Bush pissed me off again. He’s like the athletes foot of thought in his continued return to my psyche.
George W Bush – anagram of bugger he sow.. how very true.
Greetings once again for perhaps the final time this year.
On Saturday I fly off for my summer holidays with my gorgeous wife. We are spending our summer holidays in winter this year – most notably in Scotland, although sometime will be spent in Ulster and Lancaster. In any case, it better be a white Christmas, otherwise I will be sorely disappointed and may have to consider throwing freezer wall scrapings at the front door in order to feel placated.
2008 – what a year!
There have been many historical moments this year – an African American man got voted into the White House, while another, slightly less charismatic, more koywoy man got voted into Parliament House here (bloody hell! Where’s the history there???). After years of mismanagement by countless thousands of overpaid and under-performing executives, the world financial markets went into meltdown. Who would’ve thought? How unlikely. It’s all been summed up this week by the accusations laid at the feet of Bernard Madhoff and his wonderful revolving pyramid of cash investment scheme. What a dick. He got away with the alleged pilfering for so long because he traded on his name of being one of the most respected financial figures on Wall Street. If he’s the most respected and he’s diddled the world that much, what the hell else is missing out of my pension fund???? And, more to the point, what are they going to use the $700 billion for? Propping up other such schemes? Let me know when Wiley E. Coyote sets up the Acme Investment Fund using only a plank and a precariously placed anvil and we’ll see who does a better job. Stupid capitalists…
As much as we’ve all been focusing on the richer shades in the White House, I’m sure you will all agree with me when I say this: the award for most newsworthy moment of the year has to go to that brave Iraqi journalist who paid the ultimate disrespect to the leader of the free world this week by turfing his Hush Puppies at George Dubya Bush. He has been immediately hailed as a hero by most of the Middle East, and, I’m guessing, most of the Left East and Right East (i.e. rest of the world). I’m sure once or twice over the past eight years you yourself have thought about throwing some part of your clothing in the direction of one of the most useless presidents the United States has ever seen. If we were to compare George W. to, say, a 40 gallon drum of frying lard from a diner or some kind of takeaway establishment, this would be a huge insult to drums of frying lard the world over. Ultimately he is a puppet of some members of the right who thought he might do quite a good job because he was easy to manage. As with all puppets, the fist must be removed from the anus at some point, and that point is early next year. Thankfully those who thought Bush was a good idea have now melted into the background. He is the most hated president ever, if you believe the polls, and I would gladly throw my sneakers at him any day. Hopefully, after he leaves the world stage, he will end his days offering himself as a target for other brands of footwear. That’s all he’s good for. I don’t think he’s going to manage to get a multi-million dollar book deal like Clinton did, or try to solve the Middle East problems like Jimmy Carter, or slowly lose his mind while still in office like Reagan or Bush Snr.
George W. Bush’s epitaph: “I feel it is my job to be correct in my informationating.”
Enjoy catching up with your families over the holiday period. Tell them I said “hi!”