Posts Tagged ‘politics’

By Christopher Harper

Jim Abourezk, the South Dakota politician who died last weekend at 92, was among the most interesting and engaging people I’ve ever met.

We crossed paths in Wounded Knee during the American Indian Movement takeover in 1973 and later when he tried to get the United States and Cuba to resume diplomatic relations. But I spent a lot of time with him in Iran during the hostage crisis when he represented the Palestinian leadership, who were friendly with the ayatollah.

Later, while researching a book about South Dakota, I’d join him at his daily lunchtime gathering at his wife’s restaurant in downtown Sioux Falls. He even wrote a glowing review of the book.

Abourezk was the first Arab American to serve in the House of Representatives from 1970 to 1973 and then in the U. S. Senate from 1973 to 1979. He decided not to run again, mainly because of family reasons and a difficult campaign he always faced in South Dakota, which usually elected Republicans. Abourezk and his fellow senator, George McGovern, were the exceptions as populist Democrats.

In his 1989 memoir, Advise and Dissent, Abourezk wrote of the Senate: “Where else are your doors opened for you, is your travel all over the world provided free of charge, can you meet with world leaders who would otherwise never let you into their countries, have your bad jokes laughed at and your boring speeches applauded? It’s the ultimate place to have one’s ego massaged, over and over.”

A wonderful storyteller, Abourezk would regale people with stories of his colorful past.

He grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where his Lebanese father ran a general store.

Abourezk served four years in the U.S. Navy following World War II. He worked a series of jobs, including as a rancher, blackjack dealer, and judo instructor, and then earned a degree in civil engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines.

His job as a civil engineer took him to California, then back to South Dakota, where he worked on the Minuteman missile silos in the western part of the state. He attended law school and opened a solo practice in Rapid City.

Abourezk ran for South Dakota attorney general in 1968 and lost. But he remained undeterred from entering politics and narrowly won a U.S. House seat in 1970. Two years later, he jumped to the Senate. During his term there, he was a seatmate to both former Sens. Joe Biden and Edward Kennedy.

In the Senate, he opposed U.S. policy in the Middle East, which favored Israel then, and pushed legislation to help Native Americans.

During the vote to give control of the Panama Canal to Panama, the Carter administration barely won the day. In fact, Abourezk joked about how he held back his vote until the administration promised him millions of dollars in aid for South Dakota.

After leaving the Senate, he created the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and had law offices in Washington and Sioux Falls, where he focused on legal matters for Native Americans.

For those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Jim, his presence at his lunchtime get-togethers will be sorely missed.

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – For the first time since 2006 Shreveport, Louisiana has elected a white Republican mayor. Attorney Tom Arceneaux was elected in a runoff election Saturday.

I am astounded yet also extremely cautious exactly HOW conservative this mayor-elect actually is given that he was endorsed by the much loathed, ineffective outgoing Democrat mayor and two other locally prominent Democrat politicians.

His opponent is longtime veteran state senator Greg Tarver who has a colorful political and personal history.

The abysmal voter turnout of 30% has a lot to do with the outcome of this election and local pundits point to the fact that in a primarily black city, those voters did not turn out for Greg Tarver.

Shreveport has been circling the drain economically for decades and we have been losing our young, producing citizens for decades. There is literally nothing to hold upwardly mobile young people here except family ties. There are no jobs, no industry. Even the casinos are stagnant. With Dallas, Texas three hours away why would these young people stay here when there is so much more on the table so close by?

Crime is, of course, at an all time high with shootings, murders, and other violent crime literally a daily occurrence.

This is, of course, not unique to Shreveport. Many cities, small and large, are suffering the same plight. Is a new Republican mayor a step in the right direction?

Meh. Who knows.

Is it too late?


Am I skeptical? Definitely!

Tom Arceneaux will take office December 31. I sincerely hope he has an impressive start and generates a lot of optimism and hope in this town. I would say that it can’t get much worse, but of course it always can.

Color me disillusioned.

For further reading: NOLA: Tom Arceneaux wins, is Shreveport’s first Republican mayor in more than twenty years.

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT –  I didn’t want to write about election results, BUT, since all politics are local, I will say that here in Louisiana, John Kennedy handily won re-election with 62% of the vote so, there’s that. And even more locally, our ridiculous mayor here in Shreveport was soundly defeated, coming in at a lame fourth place. There will be a runoff in December between an attorney and a career politician. Meh.

As for Kennedy, the state political world is on the edge of their seats waiting to see if he will announce a run for governor next year.

The Advocate speculates:

Kennedy is in the pole position after waltzing to reelection with nearly 62% of the vote in a 13-candidate field. A Republican in a GOP-dominated state, he has nearly $15 million in the bank, according to sources close to the campaign, that he could shift to an outside super PAC for the governor’s race… Kennedy is so formidable that political analysts believe U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Treasurer John Schroder, state Sen. Sharon Hewitt and other Republicans are waiting for Kennedy to announce his plans before deciding whether to run themselves.

Louisiana State Attorney General Jeff Landry has already jumped in the race. No Democrats have declared. Speculation has it that as the Democrats now control the Senate, a gubernatorial bid may be more attractive to Kennedy. When asked his intentions, Kennedy refuses to comment at this time, opting instead to savor his current election win.

Here in Shreveport, back to our mayoral election, we are faced with a choice between Greg Tarver who is 74 years old and been in politics since 1984 or Tom Arceneaux who is an attorney and has served in local city politics. Tarver is in the funeral home business too, and a local radio station had a good time with Tarver’s revelation that on occasion he sleeps in a coffin at work. This one will clearly come down to party lines. The runoff is in December.

Stay vigilant folks.

By John Ruberry

With Christmas past us it’s time to look back at the current year, 2021. And with a less than a week left we can say that 2021 was America’s worst year since 1864.

Why was 1864 so bad? While there were significant military successes for the Northern armies fighting to keep the United States together–Atlanta and Savannah were captured and General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was locked into siege warfare in Virginia–and a potential political victory of the Confederacy was averted by Abraham Lincoln’s reelection, Americans were still killing each other by the thousands. The following year was an improvement, despite Lincoln’s assassination. The Civil War ended in the spring of 1865 and the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, was ratified. 

As for 2021, it got off to a wretched start when hostiles, American ones, stormed the US Capitol in a riot. We have to go back to another horrible year for America, 1814, when the British Army seized the Capitol, for the only other time that happened. The hooligans who entered the Senate and House chambers on January 6 were not participating in an insurrection, despite claims made to this day by CNN and MSNBC. Sure, the rioters wanted to keep Donald J. Trump in power, but they had no plans for a coup, such as imprisoning Joe Biden, taking control of the military, and dissolving Congress.

Bad people? Yes. Nutty? That too. And sorry leftists, President Trump did not call for an insurrection.

And what about the people who were supposed to protect the Capitol, such as the Capitol Hill Police and the who they report to? You know, Congress, which is run by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They failed America.

In the fraught election of 2020, a feeble old man, Joe Biden, was elected president. “Lunch Bucket Joe from Scranton” was chosen as the Democratic nominee because he was viewed by many as the “safe” alternative to Trump, and not a radical like Bernie Sanders. Biden’s “good years,” assuming he ever had them, are well in the past. Biden, and the people who control him, such as Ron Klain or Susan Rice, went full-blown leftist on Inauguration Day. Economically, the result is the highest level of inflation in decades. These price increases, once dismissed by the Biden White House as “transitory,” will likely continue indefinitely, serving as a hidden tax for all Americans.

While not quite energy independent as Trump claimed, our nation was headed into that direction under his leadership. Shortly after his inauguration Biden suspended new drilling and fracking on federal lands. It has since been reversed in court, but the White House maintains a malevolent attitude towards the world’s most reliable form of energy, fossil fuels. Gasoline costs over $1 more per gallon since Biden became president. Biden also cancelled the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, essentially firing thousands of union workers.

An effective commander-in-chief, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, does his job so well it appears that he is doing nothing at all. While Trump certainly doesn’t have Ike’s soft touch, I’m of the belief that Trump would have seen the possibility of a supply chain crisis coming and would have taken steps to ensure we would not have seen the bottleneck of cargo ships outside America’s largest harbors. 

Meanwhile in the Biden administration the cabinet officer in charge of our supply chain, Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, went on an unannounced two-month paternity leave just as the shipping crisis began. Rather than resigning for failure or dereliction of duty, Buttigieg’s is being hawked by some Democrats as a possible 2024 Democratic presidential candidate should Biden choose not to run for reelection. While family is of course important, liberals often claim that public service is the highest calling. Buttigieg could have simply quit as Transporation secretary. Or not taken the job at all.

While not something that the federal government is directly in charge of, violent crime plagued America’s largest cities this year–and all of those cities are run by Democrats. A dozen cities endured record murder totals. Some jurisdictions, such as San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles County, Milwaukee County, and Cook County (Chicago), are burdened with woke prosecutors engaging in catch-and-release policies regarding criminals.

Biden was elected last November because more voters saw him as more capable to fight the COVID-19 epidemic than Trump. But wait, what’s this? There were more COVID deaths in the United States in 2021 than in 2020, despite the availability of vaccines. And lockdown and mask mandates are ramping up again with the new omicron variant, which so far has killed one American. That number will surely climb but I have a strong suspicion that omicron will not be killing 15,000 Americans a week as soon as next month, which is what the politicized CDC is predicting. 

In order to prove Trump wrong, Biden has proved him right in regard to enforcing the law at our southern border. In late October the Washington Post reported that a record 1.7 million people arrested while trying to cross that border. In addition to illegal aliens, it’s believed that large amounts of fentanyl have been smuggled across the border in 2021.

As Biden as Biden is, his vice president is even worse, the inept cackler, Kamala Harris.

I’ve saved the worst for last. America suffered a humiliating military defeat in Afghanistan. Biden vowed that our departure from Afghanistan would look nothing like our bugging-out from South Vietnam in 1975. He was right, it was worse. As with the border crisis, the Biden White House blamed Trump for the debacle. While Trump did enter an agreement to pull our troops out of Afghanistan this year, it was not a treaty. We could have back out. Trump says, and I believe him, that he never would have made our country look so feeble, yes, feeble like Biden physically and mentally is, if we had departed Afghanistan under his watch.

When the next international crisis comes, our allies will have understandable doubts about American resolve. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.