"Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control."
A large protest against anti-gay marriage amendments was held in Atlanta last Saturday, Nov. 15. Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham spoke to the crowd of about 1,500 at the state capitol (estimate from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). In his remarks, Graham talked about the upcoming runoff in Georgia on December 2.
What many progressive Democrats may not realize is that there is also a very important runoff for the Georgia Court of Appeals, in addition to the critical runoff race between Sen. Saxby Chambliss and former state Rep. Jim Martin. I don't seem to be able to embed the video of Jeff Graham's speech here. I'm not sure if it's not allowed on the new Democratic Website (which is awesome!) or if there are a few bugs to be worked out. In any case, I can't get it to post here--so please take a look at what Graham had to say about LGBT rights in Georgia and what's at stake in the runoff races in Georgia here.
After our stunning Election Day sweep of the White House and Congress, Democrats still have one remaining opportunity to finish 2008 with a win. Even as Senate races pending recounts in Minnesota and Alaska hang in the balance favoring Democrats, one Senate runoff in Georgia remains offering Democrats the possibility of a 60% majority in the upper house of Congress. Recent polls show the Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss (pictured on left) holding a narrow lead over Democratic challenger Jim Martin (pictured on right) with just two weeks to go until the Dec. 2 runoff.
Chambliss remains infamous for his attacks on Democratic opponent Max Cleland in 2002, including an ad showing pictures of disabled Vietnam veteran Cleland along with pictures of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, suggesting dishonestly that Cleland would allow terrorists like those who struck America on 9/11 to strike America again. Chambliss' GOP colleague John McCain called the ad "reprehensible" and "worse than disgraceful" for its attack on the patriotism of a man who lost three limbs fighting for the United States in Vietnam. Ever ready to flip on previously-held principles, however, McCain appears to have forgiven Chambliss for his attack on McCain's fellow Vietnam veteran, and is currently campaigning for Chambliss in Georgia. A noted chicken-hawk, Chambliss avoided service in Vietnam with five student deferments and a medical deferment for a "football knee."
Chambliss is also infamous for his remark, shortly following the 9/11 attacks, that Georgia ought to "arrest every Muslim that crosses the state line."
This year, Chambliss took to race-baiting in the effort to stem a Democratic tide in Georgia that threatened both to unseat Chambliss himself and to deliver the state's electoral votes for Barack Obama. As in other Deep South states, Democratic voters in Georgia are largely African American while white voters tend strongly to vote Republican. Unlike in other regions of the United States this year, white voters in the Deep South broke even more strongly Republican this year than in previous years, owing to racial antipathy toward Obama. Meanwhile, African American voters in Georgia turned out in massive numbers for Obama, producing an electoral result strongly divided along racial lines, and holding McCain's ultimate Georgia victory to a relatively narrow 5.2 percentage points.
Fearing the loss both of his own Senate seat and of his state to the Democrats owing to heavy African American voter turnout, Chambliss not-so-subtly warned his conservative white base of this on more than one occasion as a way of getting them to the polls. In one instance during early voting in Georgia featuring huge African American turnout as expected, Politico quotes Chambliss telling his white supporters that "the other folks are voting" as a warning that they too had better get out and vote. In another instance, Chambliss told the New York Times that the "rush to the polls by African-Americans" in Georgia "has also got our side energized, [because] they see what is happening." Finally, after failing on Nov. 4 to reach the 50% majority required under Georgia law to avoid a runoff, Chambliss again referred in a Fox News interview to the "high percentage of minority vote" this year and the the fact that "we weren’t able to get enough of our folks out on Election Day."
Saxby Chambliss is a liar, a bigot, and a disgrace. In 2001, he openly suggested collective punishment of Muslims for the 9/11 attacks. In 2002, he won his Senate seat by shamefully attacking the patriotism of a disabled veteran in a time of fear shortly following 9/11. This year, he used race-baiting in the attempt to save his own Senate seat and keep Georgia in the Republican column. His Democratic challenger, Jim Martin, is a Vietnam veteran, an accomplished legal scholar, and served for 18 years as a Georgia state legislator. Readers are encouraged to visit Jim Martin's campaign website, to contribute there or at Act Blue to Martin's campaign, to spread the word to other Democrats, and to contact Georgia voters on Martin's behalf.
Michael Collins: Not One Dime for Georgia
The president of the Republic of Georgia eats his tie on national television. BBC
$1.1 Billion Giveaway for the Republic of Georgia Announced:
"The United States Supports The Recovery, Stability,
And Continued Growth Of Georgia's Economy"
The White House, Sept. 3, 2008
(Wash. DC) We're not talking about the great state of Georgia, which deserves everything it has coming to it and more. We're talking about the Republic of Georgia, a nation of 4.5 million people wedged between Russia and Turkey.
On Wednesday, September 3, the White House announced a comprehensive aid package valued at $1.1 billion dollars to help the Republic of Georgia recover from the whipping it took after it attacked Russian peace keeping forces in South Ossetia, a breakaway province of Georgia near the Russian border. That region experienced a major war in 1991 and varying tensions since.
Russian personnel were in Georgia as part of a multi-national peace keeping regime created by the United Nations and endorsed by the European Union in 2006.Read More »
Or a differnt perspective courtesy of www.eurasianet.org
The Kremlin received a rude diplomatic surprise on August 28, when some of its closest allies offered only a tepid endorsement for Russia’s incursion into Georgia, while reaffirming the principle of the territorial integrity of states. Moscow now finds itself more diplomatically isolated than ever over its continuing military presence in Georgia and its recognition of the independence of the separatist entities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Russian leaders headed into the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Dushanbe – a group comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – expecting to receive unqualified support for its recent actions in Georgia. Instead, they were on the receiving end of a stinging rebuke over Moscow’s hasty recognition of Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence.
"The participants [of the SCO summit] underscore the need for respect of the historical and cultural traditions of each country and each people, for efforts aimed at the preservation, under international law, of the unity of a state and its territorial integrity," the alliance’s statement said.
Using convoluted language, the SCO member states appeared to sanction Russia’s incursion into Georgia, but seemingly admonished the Kremlin for taking things too far. SCO members "support the active role of Russia in assisting peace and cooperation in the region," the statement said, going on to stress an ongoing need for "peaceful dialogue
DUSHANBE (AFP) — China and four Central Asian nations signed a statement Thursday supporting Russia's role in the Caucasus but also expressing "deep concern" over the Georgia conflict and calling for a negotiated settlement.
In a joint statement, the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan said they "support the active role of Russia in assisting peace and cooperation in the region."
The six in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) also "express their deep concern over the recent tensions surrounding the South Ossetia question and call for the sides to peacefully resolve existing problems through dialogue."
Echoing language used in the West over the conflict, a portion of the statement also said the summit members supported the principle of "territorial integrity" of states.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the statement showed a "united position" on the Georgia conflict, and Kremlin officials indicated they were happy with its phrasing
Excerpt courtesy of afp.google.com
The following is an excerpt from an August 14th, 2008 article which can be found at: www.alternet.org:
"A pipeline that runs through Georgia is the second largest in the world, and American tax dollars helped fund big oil projects in the region.
It has to do with the role of the two government agencies, the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), that lend money to private companies doing business overseas.
These agencies exist to promote U.S. business abroad, which they do by giving loans and guarantees for projects that are too big or, in many cases, too risky for the tastes of private banks and financiers.
"We exist to take risks that the commercial markets either cannot or are not willing to make," said Phil Cogan, spokesman at the Ex-Im Bank. "That's the reason for export credit agencies for the most part. It's to support the exporters of the United States because those exporters wouldn't be able to make the sale unless there was a guarantee or direct lending."
In the case of this pipeline, the Ex-Im Bank gave a $160 million guarantee to a group of banks that wanted to lend money to the companies involved in the project. If the project fails or goes up in flames (which it could do, literally) Ex-Im will bail out the private banks, and taxpayers will be left holding the bag.
Same deal for OPIC, which gave the project $100 million in "political risk insurance." In other words, the companies apparently weighed the risk of just the sort of conflict the region is now facing, and then went to a government agency for insurance.
Critics see these guarantees as a form of corporate welfare"
But there isn't enough money for middle class tax cuts, or health care, or veterans programs.
Georgia: Russian Cluster Bombs Kill Civilians
Stop Using Weapon Banned by 107 Nations! [except of course the USA and Israel]
(Tbilisi, August 15, 2008) – Human Rights Watch researchers have uncovered evidence that Russian aircraft dropped cluster bombs in populated areas in Georgia, killing at least 11 civilians and injuring dozens, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called upon Russia to immediately stop using cluster bombs, weapons so dangerous to civilians that more than 100 nations have agreed to ban their use.
GO TO HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH FOR THE STORY
Speak softly and carry a big stickwhile we are mired in Iraq.