Monday, June 30, 2008

Mandela's "Elders" Urge African Union to Pressure Mugabe

I was hoping we'd see something like this:
"A group of international elder statesmen, including Nobel Peace Prize winners, urged the African Union on Monday to reject Zimbabwe's presidential vote and called for a transitional government and a new election."
See more about The Elders.

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AM Punk Rock: Rancid - Bloodclot

"Pick it back up and start it all over again."


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mugabe Declares Victory, Is Sworn In

They didn't waste anytime rigging the result this time.

Well, now that this joke of an election is out the way, the world can focus on putting some serious pressure on Mugabe and ZANU-PF in earnest.

I'm looking forward to seeing the U.S. sanction package (hopefully, including an arms embargo). I'm really hoping this will be something I can get behind the Bush administration on (for once).

Now is the time.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hagel Won't Back McCain


He would serve in an Obama administration, however.

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Zimbabwe Election A Sham...As Expected

To sum up yesterday's "election" in Zimbabwe:

Opposition supporters were killed.

Voters were forced to the polls under threat of violence.

Despite that, turnout was apparently very low - despite the government controlled media's assertions to the contrary.

Many who did vote spoiled their ballots, writing "Mugabe Must Go!"

There will likely be reports of violence against the opposition and people who did not vote.

And this (from VoA): "[President] Bush said the United States will press for strong action by the United Nations, including an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and a travel ban on government officials."

So, all in all, another good day for Mugabe. I'm afraid this is just going to continue to slowly spiral down. I can't see a civil war type of situation because the opposition does not seem to have the means to fight a military conflict. There best hope seems to be to hold out for international sanctions and pressure to force a resolution, which hopefully will come sooner rather than later. The one good thing about this sham election is that it has focused the international community on Zimbabwe and how out of control Mugabe is. (What were they thinking before when the country only had 1 million percent inflation?)

In the meantime, Mugabe will likely be inaugurated tomorrow. Much faster than the five weeks it took him to release the results of the first election, isn't it?

Of course, when you are the only candidate allowed to run, counting the votes becomes irrelevant.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008


Apparently, these flyers fell from the sky in Harare this morning:

Good luck.

[H/T This is Zimbabwe.]

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Zimbabwe "Election" Tomorrow

Mugabe is going ahead with tomorrow's sham runoff election despite the fact that it has been roundly condemned as illegitimate. Turnout may well be high given that ZANU-PF and all their surrogates (the military, "War Veterans", etc.) will probably bully people to the polls and to vote for Mugabe just to try to make it seem as if Zimbabweans actually still want the old butcher in power.

Surprisingly, and possibly in response to the mounting international pressure, Mugabe declared today that he would be open to negotiations with the opposition - but only after the election tomorrow.

Tomorrow could be messy but hopefully the two sides can negotiate a settlement. Even though it is bull$#!# that ZANU-PF would still have a significant role in the government (especially with Mugabe as President, which would almost certainly be non-negotiable), it is probably the best way to avoid violence and actually move the country forward and away from the disastrous iron-fisted rule of Mugabe.

[Check out Fareed Zakaria's assessment of the situation and his condemnation of Thabo Mbeki's "cowardice". Well said.]

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mandela Condemns Zimbabwe Crisis

Today Nelson Mandela condemned the "tragic failure of leadership in Zimbabwe." (About damn time.) (See video.)

Hopefully, this will open the flood gates and allow other African leaders to come out against the crimes that are being committed against the Zimbabwean people. (More have already spoken up in recent days. I would hope SA President Mbeki would follow suit but he's proven once again that he is worthless. He'll be out as President next year, but it won't be soon enough.)

Part of what has been protecting Mugabe has been his status in Africa as an anti-colonial freedom fighter, but Mandela more than trumps Mugabe's credentials.

In other news that I'm sure will terrify Mugabe even more, Anderson Cooper has come out forcefully against him on his AC360 blog. I'm sure Mugabe is now busy peeing his pants almost as much as he did when I came out against him on my blog.

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AM Punk Rock: Flogging Molly - What's Left of the Flag

"Wipe that golden tear from your mother dear,
and raise what's left of the flag for me."


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

ZANU-PF Won't Acknowledge Reality

I was listening to NPR earlier and they interviewed a spokesman for Mugabe's government.

Give it a listen.

It is terrifying to listen to this man speak and realize that there is no reasoning with these people.


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AM Punk Rock: Dropkick Murphys - The Warrior's Code

"You make the most of the hand you're dealt
Because the quitter never wins."


Monday, June 23, 2008

Tsvangirai Seeking Refuge in Dutch Embassy

Hopefully, they can get him out of the country safely.

He's a brave man to have ever returned to Zimbabwe in the first place.


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AM Punk Rock: Transplants - DJ DJ

"Ride's gettin' rough, so I know I better buckle.
P U N X tattooed on my knuckles."


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tsvangirai Pulls Out of Zim Election; Mugabe Automatically Wins Re-Election

Due to the unmitigated violence being visited upon the people of Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe's regime in an attempt to steal the Presidential runoff election that had been scheduled for this coming Friday, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has opted to drop out of the race for fear that voting for him could cost many Zimbabweans their lives.
"We in the MDC cannot ask them to cast their vote on the 27th when that vote could cost them their lives," he said. "We will not play the game of Mugabe."
(Read Tsvangirai's full statement.)

This decision effectively hands Mugabe another term as President; a position that gives him the power to dissolve the legislature in which the MDC had won a majority for the first time ever. So, Mugabe may also be able to steal the legislative victory from MDC as well as the Presidency.

Mugabe's forces have already violently cracked down on areas that showed strong support for MDC and the voter intimidation was expected to carry on with Mugabe supporters even going into the voting booths with people to ensure their vote for the incumbent.

Tsvangirai has asked for the U.N. to step in and help ensure a free and fair election. (As I have said before, this is unlikely given the fact that China is so close to the Mugabe regime and they favor the stability of Pro-China regimes over any other concern. Plus, the U.N. is a bunch of toothless hypocrites. Prove me wrong, U.N., Prove me wrong.)

I am at a complete loss as to what comes next.

Whatever it is, it can't be good.


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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bush Should Act on Zimbabwe

From today's Post:
"The Zimbabwean tragedy may continue beyond the Bush administration, but that is not a foregone conclusion. The United States has nothing to lose by investing in a bold diplomatic initiative to fix one of the world's worst man-made humanitarian disasters. What better legacy could George Bush leave in Africa than to close out this terrible chapter of tyranny and restore to a nation its lost freedoms?
Read their plan.

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Jim Webb on Point for Obama and the Dems

This article in the Wall Street Journal today paints a detailed and compelling picture of our favorite Senator.

The most amazing thing about the article (and Senator Webb) and probably the reason he WON'T be picked for Vice President, is that it paints a picture of a politician who is...a real person (gasp)!

Check it out if you want to read a profile of a man who will be a major player with positive effects on America for years to come.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

AM Punk Rock: Motion City Soundtrack - Hold Me Down

"How will I break the news to you?"


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Obama and McCain Sign on to PEPFAR Bill

Kudos to Sens. McCain and Obama for (finally) cosponsoring the PEPFAR bill that is being stalled in the Senate by Sen. Tom Coburn and his merry band of fellow nutjob Senators.

A little late to the party but still welcome. Here is a list of the Sponsors of the bill:

Joe Biden (D-DE)
Richard Lugar (R-IN)
Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
John Kerry (D-MA)
John Sununu (R-NH)
Gordon Smith (R-OR)
Barack Obama (D-IL)
John McCain (R-AZ)

Unfortunately, it is still not enough to remove the hold Coburn has placed on the bill.

Go to the ONE Campaign web site and sign a petition to Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell to show some leadership on this issue.


Zim Election in 8 Days

Zimbabwe has devolved into such an unmitigated cluster%#@$ that it is hard to even follow (let alone write about) all the violence and election rigging. (That's why I added the Zimbabwe Election Coverage link at the top of the page.)

The election is one week from tomorrow. Things will probably get worse until then...and then things may explode.


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AM Punk Rock: The Vandals - I Have a Date

"I picked her up at a quarter to eight.
I got there early - didn't want to be late."


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

AM Punk Rock: Motion City Soundtrack - Broken Heart

"You never get used to it. You just have to live with it."


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hey Dominion Power, Bury Your #@#%ing Power Lines! (with bonus anti-McCain article)

Sorry there was no AM Punk Rock this morning. Apparently, Northern Virginia's infrastructure is analogous to Baghdad's and we lose power every time the wind blows; so, no internet access for me. Won't happen again...unless the wind blows again.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out this Matt Taibbi article from Rolling Stone that I really enjoyed. Here's one of the many entertaining (and depressing) passages from it:
"McCain's transformation is so complete that at a recent town-hall meeting in Nashville, when asked to name an author who inspired him, the candidate — who once described televangelists of the Jerry Falwell genus as 'agents of intolerance' — put none other than Joel Osteen at the top of his list. "He's inspirational," McCain said.

Standing at the meeting, I didn't write Osteen's name down in my notebook — apparently because my brain refused on some level to accept that McCain had actually said it. Of all the vile, fake, lying-ass, money-grubbing shyster scumbags on the face of this planet, there is perhaps none more loathsome than Osteen, a human haircut with plastic baseball-size teeth who has made a fortune selling the appalling only-in-America idea that terrestrial greed is actually a form of Christian devotion. "God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us," Osteen once wrote. This is the revolting, snake-oil-selling dickhead that John McCain actually chose to pimp as number one on his list of inspirational authors. So much for "go, sell everything you have and give to the poor," and all that other hippie crap from the New Testament."
Read it for a good laugh/cry.

Monday, June 16, 2008

AM Punk Rock: Bad Religion - American Jesus

"I don't need to be a global citizen
cause I'm blessed by nationality."


Friday, June 13, 2008

Rest in Peace, Tim Russert


AM Punk Rock: Tiger Army - Forever Fades Away

"But the embers fade."


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Zim Military Running the Show; Kudos to the BBC

The BBC has done some excellent reporting in uncovering the role of the Zimbabwean military in organizing the crackdown (story and undercover video) against MDC as part of Mugabe's election campaign (also run by the military). Mugabe, et al. are also using food aid as a weapon; taking it from areas that support MDC and using it to buy votes. They've even stolen food aid from America.

The Secretary General of MDC was arrested today upon his return to Zimbabwe and may face a treason charge (which is a capital crime) for releasing election results from the March 29th poll before the Zimbabwean Election Commission.

[Just to recap: in Mugabe's Zimbabwe, it is punishable by death to report election results, even though it took days for the ZEC to fix report the results.]

Oh, and Tsvangiral was arrested...and released...again.

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Man, I'm Tired of Being Right

Almost five months ago (my God, really?) I laid out my reasons for supporting Barack Obama for President and one of them was:
"3. President Barack Obama's name and face on TV screens across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia will fundamentally reshape the way American is viewed abroad. They will see that, for once, America elected a more diverse leader. One who for many, will seem much more similar to them than anything they have ever seen from an American president. This will all happen at a time when much of the population of developing countries (especially Arab and African countries, not to mention Iran) are under the age of 25 and vastly more impressionable than they will be in 8 more years. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say the best thing we can do to win hearts and minds in the War on Terror would be to have Barack Obama as President. We have a singular opportunity for this right now that will pass away in a short time."
Yesterday's column by Tom Friedman seems to back me up:
"Egyptians are amazed, excited and agog that America might elect a black man whose father’s family was of Muslim heritage. They don’t really understand Obama’s family tree, but what they do know is that if America — despite being attacked by Muslim militants on 9/11 — were to elect as its president some guy with the middle name 'Hussein,' it would mark a sea change in America-Muslim world relations...'Could something like this ever happen in Egypt?' And the answer from everyone at the table was, of course, 'no.' It couldn’t happen anywhere in this region. Could a Copt become president of Egypt? Not a chance. Could a Shiite become the leader of Saudi Arabia? Not in a hundred years. A Bahai president of Iran? In your dreams. Here, the past always buries the future, not the other way around."
That's great. (Now nobody tell the red states.)


AM Punk Rock: Dropkick Murphys - Barroom Hero

"Face down in the gutter, won't admit defeat, though his clothes are soiled and black. He's a big, strong man with a child's mind, don't you take his booze away!"


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

AM Punk Rock: Rancid - As Wicked

"I saw an old man on the street.
He was in a dumpster lookin' for somethin' to eat.
He moved so slow like a dyin' dream.
Like a machinist who got caught in the machine."


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tsvangirai: Zimbabwe Now Ruled by Junta

Morgan Tsvangirai claimed today that Zimbabwe has undergone a "de facto coup d'etat" and was now being run by a Junta, ala Myanmar.

There have been rumors that Mugabe was forced to contest the Presidential runoff and crack down on the Zimbabwean people by a military unwilling to allow Tsvangirai and MDC to take control of the country. Whether that's true or not, the suffering of the Zimbabwean people doesn't seem to be bothering him too much. He has banned all aid organizations from working in the country.

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai continues to say he is confidant of victory, despite the violence being visited upon his supporters. He has rejected talk of a Unity government being formed between MDC and ZANU-PF in order to avoid a runoff and end the current crackdown. [I think this is the best option given how opposed the military is to outright MDC rule. Unfortunately, I don't think it will happen. I hope I'm wrong.]

The runoff election is set to be held two weeks from Friday, June 27.

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AM Punk Rock: The Offspring - Come Out and Play

"If you're under 18, you won't be doing any time."


Monday, June 09, 2008

AM Punk Rock: Pennywise - Bro Hymn

"If you're ever in a tough situation; we'll be there with no hesitation."


Friday, June 06, 2008

Zimbabwe Opposition Rallies Banned

And just three weeks shy of the election, no less.

Mugabe and ZANU-PF must be pretty scared of losing again if they took this step so soon.

Again, what a free and fair process they have. Why would they need election monitors?

PS: Make sure you check out the picture of Mugabe in the story I linked to above...He even looks bat-$#!# crazy.

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AM Punk Rock: Bad Religion - Los Angeles Is Burning

"And you can’t deny that living is easy,
If you never look behind the scenery"


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Jim Webb Counters McCain

Jim Webb introduced Obama at a rally in Virginia today.

Yesterday he was interviewed by The Huffington Post and again proved why he is an awesome Senator and would be an awesome running mate for Obama.

For example, here is his response to the flap McCain is trying to instigate about Obama traveling to Iraq to talk to Gen. Petreus:
"If you know who to listen to, if you know how to make judgments, if you know how evaluate information, you can do that. I don't think Franklin Roosevelt was ever at the front in France during WWII in order to help end the war."
That's his polite way of saying, "Suck it, McCain!"

Obama/Webb '08

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U.S. & British Diplomats Attacked in Zimbabwe

They are safe now, but one native-Zimbabwean staffer was beaten by police and/or so-called "War Veterans."

No shame.

The U.N. Security Council may get involved with this now. However, with Mugabe's best friend China on the Council, I doubt anything real will happen.

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AM Punk Rock: Transplants - Diamonds and Guns

"Bombs going off in Sierra Leone;
taken more shots than Karl Malone."


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tsvangirai Arrested, Then Released

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested today while campaigning in Zimbabwe and then released eight hours later.

Imagine if Bush had had John Kerry arrested after speaking at a rally during the 2004 campaign. That's what happen in Zimbabwe today.

Of course, in the past, Tsvangirai has been badly beaten, almost thrown out of a ten story window, and threatened with assassination by snipers; so, this wasn't so bad.

It just shows what the opposition is up against in the run up to the July 27th election.


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Clinton to Quit and Endorse Obama on Friday

Again, about damn time.

She, of course, needed some convincing.

Good for the Democrats for having some sense for once. Maybe they won't blow it this time. [Unless they decide to force Clinton on the ticket that is.]


AM Punk Rock: The Matches - Chain Me Free

"She was from my home town,
I'd never met her.
Ditched her boyfriends
'cause I was better."


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I Can't Wait for the Debates

McCain really is a poor public speaker, which I just don't understand because he's so much better on The Daily Show and SNL. Apparently, he needs to be doing schtick to be comfortable.

His speech writers kind of suck, too. In his speech tonight, he kept repeating, "That's not change we can believe in." [Almost as brilliant as the Clinton campaign's "Yes we will!" So sad.] The audience was a little slow to catch on to that being an applause line - but then so was McCain. I kept waiting for him to say "That's not change we can believe in; that's change you can Xerox." [Thanks again, Senator Clinton.]

Also, the forced smile was really creeping me out. A little Monty Burns.

Obama breaking into the speech by winning the nomination was fantastic!

When Obama and McCain get on the stage together in the debates (hopefully, in HD), that'll pretty much sink McCain. The contrast between the future and the past will be obvious.

I appreciate the history of this moment in terms of the racial turmoil we've had in this country; however, this is merely a "nice" moment unless he wins in the fall. That's what I'm going to focus on.

I'll enjoy the history of this (and by extension, how far we've come as a nation) once Barack Obama is the 44th President of the Unites States of America.


Game Over (For Clinton)

Barack Obama will (finally) wrap up the Democratic nomination for President tonight. [Yay!]

Fortunately, Clinton is being magnanimous by offering to be Obama's VP.

Thanks, but no thanks.

For all the talk about Clinton bringing "her" voters to Obama (as if any Democrat would lose California or New York, or win West Virginia), everything positive she may bring to the ticket is at least offset by the negative things that she brings as well. The fact that conservative voters hate her like poison and she would help energize a dispirited Republican party notwithstanding, how many times do we want to see this from McCain, et al. over the next five months?:

Oh, and who in their right mind would have a Vice President who intimated that he might be assassinated?:

No. She burned that bridge long ago.

I'm willing to let all the bull$#!# go (mostly) as soon as she gets out of the way and falls in line behind Obama. But, I must say to Senator Clinton (hopefully, for the last time), cut the $#!#.

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AM Punk Rock: Dropkick Murphys - I'm Shipping Up to Boston

"To find my wooden leg."


Monday, June 02, 2008

It Will (Finally) Be Over Tomorrow

Nothing much to add to that. Just "Thank God."

Hopefully, in a couple of days we can get on with trying to win the actual election.


AM Punk Rock: Motion City Soundtrack - This Is for Real

"Before, my face hits the floor
There's just one thing you should know"


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