Back to blogging. I am almost over the disappointment of the return of the dastardly John Howard as Australian Prime Minister. There have been some personal distractions such as uprooting from Sydney to Melbourne. More later.
In the light of the pivotal moment of 2004 - the US elections - here is a compelling argument for John Kerry written by The Nation. I have plucked the following from Sydney Morning Herald columnist, Alan Ramsay.
New York's 139-year-old magazine, The Nation, in endorsing the Democrats' John Kerry, this week put the argument for ridding us all of George Bush with a power and eloquence unanswerable by reason.
An edited extract: "While we have sharp differences with Kerry, we believe he is more than 'anybody but Bush'. His instincts are decent. He is a man of high intelligence, deep knowledge and great resolve. At times in his life he has shown exemplary courage. He respects the law. As for Bush, where to begin the list of his mistakes, delusions, deceptions, follies, tragedies and crimes?
"He failed to respond to repeated clear warnings of an al-Qaeda attack [in 2001]. He displayed startling incompetence when the attack came. He tried to cover up both failures by opposing the September 11 Commission. In the name of 'fighting terror', he waged a war in Iraq that has nothing to do with terrorism and was as unjustified when it was begun as, after the loss of thousands of Iraqi and American lives, it is unwinnable now. He has inaugurated an immoral and unsustainable policy of global hegemony based on military force, estranged most of America's principal friends and dismayed the world at large. He mocked the United Nations as 'irrelevant' and defied the Security Council. Today our forces are overstretched in pursuit of delusional goals.
"Bush's policies have turned away from this country's tradition of seeking disarmament exclusively by diplomatic means and adopted force as the mainstay of its nonproliferation efforts, violently pursuing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, where there were none, and overlooking them in Pakistan and North Korea, where they existed. He withdrew from negotiations to address global warming, which except for nuclear war is the gravest danger facing the world; sponsored a Clear Skies Act that fouled the air; gutted regulations limiting strip-mining; sold off public lands to oil, gas, timber and mining companies; rejected fuel conservation measures; and tried to suppress or repudiate the science on which knowledge of environmental hazards is based.
"And while conspiring to discredit scientific findings, he has pandered to a 'base' of religious fanatics, many of whom look forward to a day of 'rapture' when Jesus returns to Earth and kills everyone but them. His attitude to the factual world in general is one of hostility and rejection. He has made fraud and fantasy foundations of his Administration. His own belief in something appears to be evidence enough that it is true. One of his advisers has mocked critics by stating they live in a 'reality-based community', explaining, 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.'
"Bush has by any measure worsened the US economy and set it on a likely path to disaster. He has taken hundreds of billions of dollars from people of ordinary income and given it to the rich through tax cuts, while driving the country into unprecedented federal debt and trade deficits. He has broken his oath to uphold the law. He asserted and made use of 'inherent' powers nowhere mentioned in the constitution to lock up American citizens and others, with no access to courts. He has governed through fear and intimidation. His party will not tolerate dissent. His Administration insinuates his opponents are in league with America's enemies.
"Kerry's election would not necessarily save, and Bush's election would not necessarily destroy, democratic government in the United States. Yet it remains true that of all the things Americans can now do to support democracy, the election of John Kerry is the most important..."