Tuesday, December 11, 2007



Indian media is far more informative about U.S. politics than American media is about Indian politics, or, for that matter, about India in general. The big political news in India right now is about what we would call a midterm election in the U.S., involving the state of Gujarat, and pitting an extreme right-wing incumbent-- a violent xenophobe and religionist hypocrite, Chief Minister Narendra Modi-- against the very concept of a secular and unified nation. Yesterday was day one of actual voting as 87 constituencies (think Assembly districts) in the southern part of Gujarat went to the polls. The second round takes place next week and then the results will be announced the week after. 60% of the voters turned out, not bad for a midterm. (I'm really eager to see how many voters turned out in OH-05 today, where a feisty Democrat was able to force the NRCC to spend 20% of it's entire bankroll to defend a deeply red congressional district.) Indian media's exit polls yesterday all agree that Modi's NJP lost seats. The conclusions and specifics, though, vary widely. Star News shows the BJP losing 5 seats but retaining a lead with 48 seats over the Congress Party's 37 (a gain for Congress of 7 seats). But NDTV shows the BJP down by 13 seats to a total of 40, with Congress picking up 13 for a total of 43. The 3 areas that voted yesterday, Saurashtra, Kutch, and South Gujarat, have been BJP territory and if voters here are turning against Modi's naked appeal to communalism, divisiveness and religionist bigotry,it bodes very badly for his chances to retain power.

And in the midst of wall to wall Modi coverage here, Indians have been introduced to an American political "rising star" of a similar stripe: Mike Huckabee. Indians don't know he has a funny-sounding name but today they found out about his not so funny views on important social policies courtesy of a Hindustan Times story by Kira Cochrane, Mike Huckabee's Antiquated Views Are Frightening For Women. Acknowledging him as a "folksy charmer," and noting his accomplishments-- losing over 100 pounds, helping the children of undocumented immigrants get taxpayer-funded scholarships, and being a rock music fan-- the article posits that if an observer were to "squint a little... this guy looks great. A clear eyed view of Huckabee's candidacy, though, reveals that this ordained Southern Baptist minister is not just offbeat (he doesn't believe in evolution), but frightening. In fact, when it comes to women's rights, he ranks as one of the most terrifying presidential candidates in memory.
Huckabee's conservative politics contain plenty of subtle threat to women... [W]hen he was governor of Arkansas in the 90's, Huckabee pushed for the release of Wayne Dumond, a convicted rapist. This was despite a number of Dumond's victims writing to him personally-- including one who had been raped at knife point while her three year old daughter slept beside her.

Huckabee was apparently more moved by the right-wing tabloid campaign waged in Dumond's favour, and his influence helped to release the rapist 25 years early. Dumond went on to rape and murder one woman, and died in prison as charges were being brought against him for the rape and murder of yet another.

Staunchly opposed to abortion (which he has compared to the Holocaust), one of Huckabee's first acts as governor was to block Medicaid, the health scheme for people on low incomes, from funding an abortion for a 15 year old with learning disabilities who had been raped by her stepfather. This went directly against federal law, which requires states to fund abortions in cases of rape.

It is the sheer, unbridled cruelty of this decision that gives the lie to Huckabee's claims that he cares for the vulnerable.

The article concludes that only a fool or a misogynist could possibly support Huckabee. Presumably the writer doesn't support Narendra Modi either.

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At 5:53 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

As a member of a strong and proud military family;Our government has been playing games with our veterans ever since the Oneida Nation fought in the Revolutionary War. They were among our first veterans and took up arms against the British to help our nation earn its independence. Look how they have been treated by our government ever since. The oneidas are one of the areas largest employer and every time the they to better this area economicaly They need to fight State and the Federal Goverment to do so .You know that they have two citizineships,one for being a veteran of the Revolutionary war ,and one from their mothers blood.Repeated and extended deployments to war zones have driven a rise in post-traumatic stress among troops. It may be good to support your troops That serving our interrest, but it is better to demand a accountability from those responsible for the lack of their care.the fact that VA hospitals are turning away those most in needs is utterly disgusting. Those in charge of VA hospitals need to take responsiblity for their actions. I think the whole VA system needs a overhaul badly and very soon. With more and more wounded troops coming home the need is there for both physical and mental healthcare. Our troops only deserve the best is all aspects of care! Wake up, America. We do not take care of our own.Nobody who has ever encountered the VA medical system will be surprised by this. The entire operation is a horror show run mostly by lazy, self-important, arrogant and self satisfied bureaucrats.This kind of treatment has been going on for years and years and years. VA hospitals hopless situations. For those who are closely associated with regular active duty military, this type of treatment is the rule and not the exception. Sad, but true.Service member is suppose to be referred to a civilian facility if a military facility cannot treat the patient, and there is suppose to be no cost to the service member. This shouldn't be a suprise for the VA system when it comes to treating any service related condition. In this situation, the Iraq veteran is in the same boat as the Vietnam veteran was in the 1970's. At least now, they have a name for it, PTSD, but they don't take it seriously! It's terrible that our country is ignoring the cries of our vets. It's no surprise what is happening with Syracuse Veterans Hospital if similar acts are occurring around the country.I've have made many attempts in the last four years to talk with Mr Cody ,Who is self-important, arrogant ,dont call me ill call you is who is the head of the VA hospital in Syracuse NY about these conditions and, as stands theres been no dialog. I, believe that Mr. Jim Cody should tendered his resignation for the good of our veterans. Dennis Thorp is a native of Frankfort and served as a U.S. Army medic during the Vietnam War. He is co-founder of Agent Orange Victims International. doctho@roadrunner.com

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember this when you vote. What the government has done for Vets, it will do for all Ameircan's if the left gets its government run universal health care.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Misogynist certainly.
One of the reasons Huck won' t go into detail about his faith is that he almost certainly would support the old bible dogma of WOMEN NOT TEACHING. I believe Jesus said something several THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO about women not teaching, essentially because they weren't allowed to get an education. So Huck is in the camp of literal interpretations and one scary presidential dude if you are in the shellfish, particularly shrimp busyness.

(Let's keep it down on Huck until he wins the nomination, then we can peel him like a grape. Guilliani is a very viable candidate out of that lot, and would take many more independent and conservative democrats than Huck).

HEY isn't it great he lost all that weight?! He should be PRESIDENT!


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