So Blue In My Red State: Political Post 1
I promised myself I would not comment on President Bush for the rest of my life, but I’m about to break it because of his inauguration speech about the job of the U.S. being to spread freedom around the world. (Freedom from the barrel of a gun, so to speak.)
Bush might’ve mentioned the incredibly repressive Uzbekistan. In 2002, Muzafar Avazov, an opposition leader, was boiled alive for refusing to abandon his religious convictions and attempting to practice religious rites in prison. A UN report says torture in the country is “pervasive and persistent… throughout the investigation process.” In February 2004 Donald Rumsfeld visited the country's dictator, Islam Karimov and said: "The relationship [between our countries] is strong and growing stronger. We look forward to strengthening our political and economic relations."
Uzbekistan gets around $90m a year in aid from us. Why? Because Uzbekistan, with an estimated 10,000 political prisoners, hosts a US military base that offers easy access to Afghanistan and the rest of the region.
At her confirmation hearings, Condi Rice named six countries as "outposts of tyranny" that would get special attention from the U.S. in the next four years: Cuba, Myanmar, North Korea, Iran, Belarus and Zimbabwe. She could as easily mentioned six allies — Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Russia, Kuwait, Egypt and Uzbekistan. They’re equally undemocratic, and they’ve done more to increase global terrorism than Rice's baddies.
So, should this make us miserable? No. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but our citizens are mobilizing. The alternative, progressive, internet-based media such as commondreams.org, alternet.org, and tompaine.com flourish. Progressive political groups like MoveOn (moveon.org), Center for American Progress (americanprogress.org), and Campaign for America’s Future (ourfuture.org) prosper. Progressive media watchdog groups like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (fair.org), Center for Media and Democracy (prwatch.org), and Media Matters for America (mediamatters.org) also experience rapid growth, as does progressive sites such as freepress.org and yesmagazine.org/cmblog. Check them out.
And there are many timely and excellent videos available directly and inexpensively over the Internet for citizen education, empowerment, and action. Titles like “Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War,” “Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties,” and “Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire” are but a few of many. Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine,” served a similar function first in theaters, and now in living rooms, across the country. His next one will be about Big Pharma.