Archive for the ‘Bush’ Category

Waiting for Hurricane George

March 11, 2007

So, we just returned from a lovely afternoon walk in our blockaded neighborhood here in Guatemala City. It’s pretty eerie out there and reminds me of when I was growing up in Central Florida. When we had hurricanes, we usually knew they were coming a couple of days ahead of time – enough to put plywood up on the windows, buy extra groceries, and then go for a walk under sunny skies. On our walks, we’d always bump into the neighbors and chat, all while feeling a sense of impending doom/giddiness. It was the same this afternoon here in la Zona Viva…

A few notes on the visit:

I’m frustrated with CNN’s lack of coverage of President Bush’s Latin American trip – instead, it’s every detail about the happy news of the baby from Lubbock, TX being found, the Atlanta bus crash, and the forest fires in California – but nothing on Colombia.

As I posted in the comments below, the Mayan people near Iximche are going to do a purification ritual of the site after Bush’s visit tomorrow. I find this whole purification stuff to be really interesting – from a religious and PR/political statement point of view. Some of you might remember conversations in the past about purifying Gandhi’s tomb after Bush’s visit a few years ago (more about the bomb-sniffing dogs than Bush…).

The graffiti outside of our neighborhood is intense and scary. Although Guatemala has not seen the kind of protests that occurred in Brazil and Uruguay/Argentina, the graffiti is pretty incredible – those people who do want to protest Bush’s visit sure have some nasty things to say/write! It certainly speaks to the growing negative perceptions of the US here in Latin America.

Immigration – not crime, foreign aid, drug trafficking, or Iraq – seems to be the main issue on everyone’s mind here. Many Guatemalans have family and friends in the US and the desire for a fair immigration package is the one issue mentioned by most people I talk to and those quoted in the papers.

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Write to the White House – Law firms should be proud of representing Guantanamo prisoners!

January 13, 2007

As a lawyer myself, with a very good friend working on the Guantanamo cases pro bono, I find reprehensible Charles Stimson’s comments criticizing lawyers at big firms representing Guantanamo prisoners and his call for a boycott. The thing about being detained by America is that you deserve legal counsel. The thing about being a lawyer is that you donate some of your time to helping those in need of representation. Unless he wants to attack every public defender, every pro bono asylum lawyer, every legal professional in the U.S., Stimson and his followers ought to shut up. If right-wingers want to go on a witch hunt, they should steer clear of reputable lawyers who are giving of their own precious time to ensure that our system of legal rights is not affected by the present administration’s madness. It’s like J. Edgar Hoover all over again.

Write to President Bush right now and demand that he rebuke Stimson’s comments. Alberto Gonzalez and the DoD already did, but I’m afraid without our demands Stimson’s concerns will stay on the right-wing, nut-job radio stations for a very long time.

Oh, and apologies for the long absence, which may continue a bit longer – the New Year has arrived replete with many new projects here in Guatemala. I’m struggling a bit to juggle it all and prioritize… but this issue was too important not to post…

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Go Oprah!

October 13, 2006

I just watched Frank Rich on Oprah talking about his new book, the war in Iraq, Katrina, and a host of other issues. The show is part of a series about Truth in America. It was fantastic, balanced, and exactly what the country needs – a healthy airing of opinions and discussion – INCLUDING criticism of the government. Two different soldiers spoke up – one said the media doesn’t report enough good news from Iraq, and the other said that she and alot of other soldiers are questioning the war. I tried going to a bunch of blogs on the episode – and most of them are right-wingers criticizing Oprah for having Frank Rich on the show. Funny how most of them require log-in’s to comment… I imagine they don’t want any critical thinkers on their sites either…

Is it me, or is Oprah finally getting a spine? She took on minimum wage earlier this year, said Obama would make a good President, and now this!  I like how this episode made it clear that you don’t have to be a Bush-supporter to be a good American (hell, with his approval numbers lately, I guess that’s obvious)…

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Sad day for America…

September 28, 2006

Here’s the letter I wrote to John McCain just now, sitting in the library in Guatemala City, contemplating all that Guatemala has fought for to establish a democracy and honor human rights and dignity for all. I wrote my Senators – PLEASE take a moment to do so as well. Sometimes it seems like America is running in the opposite direction, away from new democracies like Guatemala and towards tyranny… (Check out Obama’s comments here):

Dear Senator McCain,

I just read the NY Times editorial about the torture-terrorism bill and was extremely disappointed that you would agree to such an extreme position in your so-called “compromise” with President Bush.

The bill – if it becomes law – will put our troops in harm’s way, allowing them to be raped, tortured, and mistreated with no way out – just the situation we have created for terrorism suspects here in the U.S.A., a place that used to be a haven for human rights and persecuted people.

These are not the ideals of the United States, and I denounce you, the President, and any Senators who vote for this un-American and inhumane piece of legislation. You are leaving a legacy that threatens the very core of our great nation.

Sincerely, Archana

PS – I had been impressed with your so-called “compromise” and your independence from the President, but now realize it was just a political stunt to put your face in the news…

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I wish President Bush did this all the time…

July 18, 2006

So two noteworthy and unusual things happened today regarding President Bush. First of all, he spoke candidly, as if no one was listening. But wait, they were.

I’ve noticed a stark contrast between the Republicans and non-Republicans that I’m around. The Repubs think that Bush’s greatest character trait is honesty and straight-shooterness. Liberals and radicals think he is usually misleading at best, and lying at worst. Today Bush spoke what he really felt. He used a the big bad “s word” because he was, frankly, tired of Hezbollah’s shit.

Which is understandable, because (here’s the second thing) I’m tired of Syria’s Hezbollah bullshit, too! President Bush and I agreed for once. It’s actually happened a couple of times, although only his trying to close military bases and more importantly, cut farm subsidies to huge agribusinesses come to mind as other examples.

Anyway, I found his talk refreshing. I wish he just told the public what was on his mind all the time and treated us as if we were his buddies. He always gets so much credit for being the loveable guy next door, but he rarely his. He always cloaks his comments in politicospeak. I like him a lot more when he’s not trying to talk the way that his handlers want him to talk. Why can’t he always call people/countries on their bullshit? I, for one, am very curious what he really thinks about many issues. I know he doesn’t think that Iraq is “Mission Accomplished”. I’d like to know what he really thinks. We bloggers pride ourselves on speaking from the hip. Why can’t our politicians do the same?

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