|jazzoLOG: Barack Obama: Rock Church, Rock|
53 comments20 Mar 2008 @ 15:41 by quinty : A good one Jazzo...
One thing the Iraq war surprised me about is that there are still “love it or leave it” types who believe we should have “won” the Vietnam war. After all this time they still don’t see.
There will be those of course who believe Obama “hates” America. Those who will never attempt to understand the meaning behind the Reverend Wright’s words. The literal truth is the literal truth. Wright said, “God damn America.” Obama didn’t walk out. End of story.
Obama attempted to appeal to our better natures in his wonderful speech on race. He spoke to us, as one commentator said, as adults. He tried to put some understanding and light onto the subject.
This will never satisfy the “love it or leave it” crowd. I just hope there aren’t that many uncertain Americans who walk away from this believing Obama “hates” America. Who weren't swayed by the creatures of the night with their unending recitations of "Barrack Hussein Obama."
A wonderful entry, Jazzo.....
20 Mar 2008 @ 16:22 by jazzolog : "a deceptive ambitious flip-flopper"
Yeah, they're a wonderful people. Now send them back where they came from.
Things may get really ugly, Quinty...
20 Mar 2008 @ 23:23 by quinty : Gallup Poll
The latest Gallup has Hillary and McCain leading Obama.
I guess white voters just don't like to know what many black folks think of them? For the past decade or two we have constantly heard that race no longer truly exists in America. We, the white folks, gave MLK a nice Monday holiday in January to commemorate his birth which should have closed the books. And all that affirmative action kind of stuff is just ripping off the deserving many to benefit the undeserving few.
Oh yes, white rage is so noble and uplifting. Blacks should get on line with all the rest of us. There is no color in America.
Is there an element of race fear in all this too? Are some white brothers and sisters terrified by the likes of the Reverend Wright with his fiery oratory? "God damn America?" Doesn’t it matter that he felt white racism in his bones, throughout much of his life? That the job is unfinished? Doesn’t he have a right to anger too?
Can't our white brothers and sisters understand? Can't they see?
There is greatness in Obama. As Toni Morrison said, we ignore him at our peril.
Well, there’s time, plenty of time. Maybe the trend will shift again? Only 20% of Americans know we are approaching 4,000 dead soldiers in Iraq. We may have topped that figure as I write. Such is the attention span of many Americans. The media has virtually stopped covering the war so in a matter of months a majority of Americans no longer even remember how many American dead and wounded there are.
20 Mar 2008 @ 23:42 by Quinty @220.127.116.11 : Holy Jesus!
And Barbara Ehrenreich was once closely tied to Hillary!
If anyone else had written this I would be immediately suspicious........ Here it is.....
Hillary's Nasty Pastorate
There's a reason Hillary Clinton has remained relatively silent during the flap over intemperate remarks by Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. When it comes to unsavory religious affiliations, she's a lot more vulnerable than Obama.
You can find all about it in a widely under-read article in the September 2007 issue of Mother Jones, in which Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet reported that "through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as "The "Fellowship," also known as The Family. But it won't be a secret much longer. Jeff Sharlet's shocking exposé The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power will be published in May.
Sean Hannity has called Obama's church a "cult," but that term applies far more aptly to Clinton's "Family," which is organized into "cells"--their term--and operates sex-segregated group homes for young people in northern Virginia. In 2002, Sharlet joined The Family's home for young men, forswearing sex, drugs and alcohol, and participating in endless discussions of Jesus and power. He wasn't undercover; he used his own name and admitted to being a writer. But he wasn't completely out of danger either. When he went outdoors one night to make a cell phone call, he was followed. He still gets calls from Family associates asking him to meet them in diners--alone.
The Family's most visible activity is its blandly innocuous National Prayer Breakfast, held every February in Washington. But almost all its real work goes on behind the scenes--knitting together international networks of right-wing leaders, most of them ostensibly Christian. In the 1940s, The Family reached out to former and not-so-former Nazis, and its fascination with that exemplary leader, Adolf Hitler, has continued, along with ties to a whole bestiary of murderous thugs. As Sharlet reported in Harper's in 2003:
During the 1960s the Family forged relationships between the U.S. government and some of the most anti-Communist (and dictatorial) elements within Africa's postcolonial leadership. The Brazilian dictator General Costa e Silva, with Family support, was overseeing regular fellowship groups for Latin American leaders, while, in Indonesia, General Suharto (whose tally of several hundred thousand "Communists" killed marks him as one of the century's most murderous dictators) was presiding over a group of fifty Indonesian legislators. During the Reagan Administration the Family helped build friendships between the U.S. government and men such as Salvadoran general Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova, convicted by a Florida jury of the torture of thousands, and Honduran general Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, himself an evangelical minister, who was linked to both the CIA and death squads before his own demise.
At the heart of The Family's American branch is a collection of powerful right-wing politicos, who include, or have included, Sam Brownback, Ed Meese, John Ashcroft, James Inhofe and Rick Santorum. They get to use The Family's spacious estate on the Potomac, The Cedars, which is maintained by young men in Family group homes and where meals are served by The Family's young women's group. And, at The Family's frequent prayer gatherings, they get powerful jolts of spiritual refreshment, tailored to the already powerful.
Clinton fell in with The Family in 1993, when she joined a Bible study group composed of wives of conservative leaders like Jack Kemp and James Baker. When she ascended to the Senate, she was promoted to what Sharlet calls the Family's "most elite cell," the weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast, which included, until his downfall, Virginia's notoriously racist Senator George Allen. This has not been a casual connection for Clinton. She has written of Doug Coe, The Family's publicity-averse leader, that he is "a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God."
Furthermore, The Family takes credit for some of Clinton's rightward legislative tendencies, including her support for a law guaranteeing "religious freedom" in the workplace, such as for pharmacists who refuse to fill birth control prescriptions and police officers who refuse to guard abortion clinics.
What drew Clinton into the sinister heart of the international right? Maybe it was just a phase in her tormented search for identity, marked by ever-changing hairstyles and names: Hillary Rodham, Mrs. Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton and now Hillary Clinton. She reached out to many potential spiritual mentors during her White House days, including New Age guru Marianne Williamson and the liberal rabbi Michael Lerner. But it was the Family association that stuck.
Sharlet generously attributes Clinton's involvement to the under-appreciated depth of her religiosity, but he himself struggles to define The Family's theological underpinnings. The Family avoids the word Christian but worships Jesus, though not the Jesus who promised the earth to the "meek." They believe that, in mass societies, it's only the elites who matter, the political leaders who can build God's "dominion" on earth. Insofar as The Family has a consistent philosophy, it's all about power--cultivating it, building it and networking it together into ever-stronger units, or "cells." "We work with power where we can," Doug Coe has said, and "build new power where we can't."
Obama has given a beautiful speech on race and his affiliation with the Trinity United Church of Christ. Now it's up to Clinton to explain--or, better yet, renounce--her long-standing connection with the fascist-leaning Family.
21 Mar 2008 @ 10:57 by jazzolog : Bach, Gallup & Noonan
I don't recall Good Friday and my annual Bach Birthday Party arriving on the same day before in my lifetime, but maybe it's happened. At any rate it looks like his more quiet, reflective settings are called for today.
The work on that Gallup Poll was done before The Speech. I don't believe we have any polls to show what all the discussion has done to the rankings as yet. But the talk and the thinking continues...and generally I believe the results are unifying the society.
Comment continues in the major papers, but the most surprising to me arrives in this morning's Wall Street Journal. Wonkette describes Peggy Noonan as "Ronald Reagan’s favorite speechwriter," and goes on to say this about her: "We imagine Noonan lounging in $500 Bloomingdale pajamas on a rug made of endangered species, penning her elegant bullshit using, perhaps, a quill plucked from the still-warm skin of the last dodo bird." http://wonkette.com/343956/our-hero-peggy-noonan-praises-wonkette Others have noticed Ms. Noonan's recent disaffection with the Bushies, after years of promoting them at WSJ. http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/10/peggy-noonan-and-rotting-pundit-class.html Well, I say any of those people who want to repent and come over to the other side should be received with open and forgiving arms. Let's remember Arianna Huffington and not be so hard on them. Peggy Noonan's column today about Barack Obama shows a warm heart is in there and in bloom. She even mentions Faulkner! http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120604775960652829.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
I continue to focus on Ohio, because the extremes are so evident here...and we seem to be crucial to election results. I was curious as to why The Toledo Blade seemed hesitant to jump in more forcefully. Perhaps its editors took the time to think it over a bit more just as I did. But yesterday the editorial arrived, its title The Speech Of His Life, and it's excellent. http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008803200316 The paper also did some digging around its black community for reaction, as The Cincinnati Enquirer had done the day before. http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008803200340 Over in Akron, the editorial yesterday was lukewarm, but still positive. http://www.ohio.com/editorial/opinions/16843871.html The most delightful comment though of any I've read showed up in Cleveland's Plain Dealer yesterday, and I'm going to share the whole thing~~~
Barack Obama did not go far enough in speech - Phillip Morris
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Plain Dealer Columnist
It was a great civil rights speech.
"Just the wrong presidential speech," I said to Beatrice, shortly after Sen. Barack Obama finished explaining his problematic spiritual adviser Tuesday afternoon.
"Obama seems to have tripped onto the wrong side of his hyphen for the first time. He sounded like a defensive African-American trying to simultaneously explain and denounce racism. Not the heralded All-American unifier, who transcends race."
"What are you talking about?" Beatrice practically yelled into the phone.
She used that old, Southern black woman voice she adopts whenever she pulls rank. It's the voice designed to inform that she knows more about the nefarious ways of white folks than I do.
It's the voice within a voice that says: "Young man, you write about lynchings. I've witnessed them. Watch what you say."
"Well, I thought he gave a powerful speech. But it didn't go far enough," I said, choosing my words a bit more carefully.
I didn't want Beatrice to start cussing. People sometimes mistake her sunny disposition for passiveness. Sometimes they get cussed out.
"I thought he sounded like a black man trying to explain the racist rants of his former pastor. That was good. He highlighted some continuing racial challenges.
"But he did not sound like a morally outraged American incensed by his spiritual adviser's apparent hatred for America. He didn't convincingly sound like a man who knows how to put a nation ahead of a really close friendship.
"He didn't create clear separation from Rev. Jeremiah Wright."
"You're not making any sense. He said the man was wrong. He said he rejected the language the reverend used," Beatrice hissed. "What did you want: A crucifixion? Did you want him to pledge never to speak to him again?
"I hope you never have to defend our friendship. You're about to make me mad, you Republican."
Beatrice is 75. She knows me well. She picks my daughter up from school and holds her until we get off work. She has done it for years.
She calls me a Republican whenever she's trying to throw me off stride. Sometimes I make believe it works. Not this time.
"I just think Obama missed a unique commander-in-chief opportunity. He squarely addressed his minister's racism. That was a no-brainer. But he didn't strongly address his anti-patriotism. You can't explain that away when you're one of three vying to become president. Assaults on the flag should be met with brass knuckles, not Harvard debate team soliloquies.
"Yes, the clergyman led Obama to Jesus. But when the same clergyman used his pulpit to say, 'God damn America,' Obama had the obligation to send him back to Jesus.
"He had to throw him under the bus."
"You're wrong. And you must not have good friends," Beatrice said with a tone that signaled the conversation was over.
"I respect Obama even more for sticking with his minister. He's loyal."
"Or maybe he's just keeping his enemies closer," I said into the dial tone, as Beatrice went to pick up my 9-year-old, who has recently taken to identifying herself as Mrs. Obama.
To reach Phillip Morris:
Previous columns online:
© 2008 The Plain Dealer
21 Mar 2008 @ 16:11 by quinty : I think I side
more with Beatrice. The speech was an attempt to present an overview of race matters in the United States today. It was a nationwide call for intelligent understanding. There was nothing condescending, little that was manipulative (only a trace,) and on the whole intellectually honest. Though i suspect he pandered for a second to the Israel lobby.
Much has been made of Obama's lack of hands-on executive experience. At this point in his campaign he doesn't come on as a micromanager. True enough, such a posture may only be expedient. And once in the White House, if he's not sunk first, that may change. But the speech presented an overview of our racial problems which should have been encouraging. For, writing the speech himself, staying up until 2AM the previous night writing it, on a relatively short notice - though he's undoubtedly given the topic a great deal of thought - he expressed the following day an overall magnificent grasp of a large American social problem, stating it in a way I at least never heard or encountered before. And I think such a performance should be promising for a future chief executive.
It will take time for the country to digest the Wright affair. And Gallup only presents the first full shock. On the other hand, if race becomes too deeply ugly and distracting, Obama may be sunk. How far will the Laura Ingrahams and Savages et al succeed? Turn on the radio and you would think Obama is in the Black Ku Klux Klan. (Er, oops, that would be Muslim Jihadi, wouldn't it?)
About last night’s post.... oy vey, oy vey. I’m afraid I had two large glasses of wine before leaping into it. Oy vey. Oy vey. While Barbara Ehrenreich has been around a long time she’s not Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund, for which Hillary once worked. And I do hope Ehrenreich is wrong, though Hillary has quite visibly pandered to the Christian right.
21 Mar 2008 @ 16:33 by quinty : Readers of Faulkner
may be curious about Obama’s quote, too. And I wonder if Obama is a fan? Faulkner’s views on the civil rights movement were conservative. He didn’t like outsiders meddling around. Though Faulkner himself was no racist: one of his heroines, Dilsey, was a black woman.
Faulkner spoke much of “grieving” over the human condition, and as a novelist he must have been among the kindest. A man deeply sensitive to humanity’s pain and suffering.
Is Obama a fan of Faulkner’s?
In so many ways Obama is the opposite of Bush. Can anyone imagine Bush taking Faulkner or his world seriously? Can Bush appreciate a work of art without looking at its price tag first? Does it need to glitter like gold?
Faulkner is such an intelligent choice, too. Not only because the quote was completely apt and true: "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." But because Faulkner struggled in his novels to understand the human condition.
You know, many European political leaders actually write books? Intellectuals, writers, artists, and academics are among their circles of friends, left and right. If Obama is a fan of Faulkner’s that’s another good sign. And the choice of Faulkner and his point of view is encouraging too.
22 Mar 2008 @ 16:39 by quinty : Anchovies
Now why would Hollywood Video need anyone’s SSN?
Coming through the border can be quite an experience nowadays. The last time I entered I carried a large circular tin containing anchovies (I love ‘em as well as olives stuffed with anchovies.) in my suitcase. All went fine passing through customs until I was mysteriously asked to please step aside and go into a little office on the side. There two uniformed border agents severely began to question me and in a most gingerly manner opened my bag, pulling everything out, suspiciously asking their questions. Then they found the tin and both broadly smiled.
What did they think? That I was carrying a land mine?
Even though they were smiling at me now their authoritarian manner still didn’t let up. And some other poor soul was brought in to be questioned while they still shot suspicious glances at me as I repacked my bag. Frankly, having caused such a mess, perhaps foolishly I thought they owed me some sort of apology. After all, everything had been carefully packed in order to protect some fragile ceramic plates I was bringing home. Are you kidding? An apology? They’re protecting the country from terrorists: they don’t need to apologize!!!!
The whole thing was like entering into a Soviet state, or perhaps Pinochet’s Chile. They scan you, glower suspiciously at you, pass wands over your crotch, make you raise your hands high, take off your shoes, generally treat you as if you were on the ten most wanted list and turn entering this country into an ordeal.
Even though the dollar is tanking (a euro costs about $1.65 today. Six or seven years ago it was about .97.) the number of tourists from Europe has fallen way down, affecting the economy to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. Why? One reason European travelers offer is that passing through our border controls is so demeaning they would prefer go somewhere else. (Why heck, one would think a half hour of unpleasantry wouldn’t deter anyone from enjoying all our beautiful sights. And bargains!)
Some pundits and polls indicate the Christian right is on the wane. That old fashioned free market Republicanism is back on the rise. That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. When it comes to a choice between god and money we know which will always win out.
Worshiping at the alter of the God Capitalism it should make sense that the tax payers’ money should go to those who know how to play the game. Like someone rising up the religious hierarchy for displaying an intense and devout spirituality. If private is better than public on theological grounds then the taxpayer should merely shut up. After all, if he were truly worthy he would know how play the game. Taking advantage of all that public largesse. Which is our, the lowly taxpayers’, place on the overall scheme.
24 Mar 2008 @ 05:35 by vaxen : Dark SIde...
Obama bill: $845 billion
more for global poverty
Democrat sponsors act OK'd by Senate panel
that would cost 0.7% of gross national product
Posted: February 14, 2008
3:53 pm Eastern
© 2008 WorldNetDaily
Sen. Barack Obama, perhaps giving America a preview of priorities he would pursue if elected president, is rejoicing over the Senate committee passage of a plan that could end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars in an attempt to reduce poverty in other nations.
The bill, called the Global Poverty Act http://obama.senate.gov/press/071211-obama_hagel_can/ , is the type of legislation, "We can – and must – make … a priority," said Obama, a co-sponsor.
It would demand that the president develop "and implement" a policy to "cut extreme global poverty in half by 2015 through aid, trade, debt relief" and other programs.
When word about what appears to be a massive new spending program started getting out, the reaction was immediate.
"It's not our job to cut global poverty," said one commenter on a Yahoo news forum. "These people need to learn how to fish themselves. If we keep throwing them fish, the fish will rot."
24 Mar 2008 @ 10:23 by jazzolog : Bush's War, Ferlinghetti, Moyers & Obama
Always nice to teach people how to fish...providing there're any fish left safe to eat. Cleaning up industrial mess will cost somebody some money too. Wonder who we can get to do it. Right now our policy seems to be watching people FISH through the rubble of New Orleans and Iraq.
How's that title for an Easter basket of weekend goodies! There isn't much of a way to tie together these topics except that the day is dawning and here's what bobbed through the ice to the surface.
It's Lawrence Ferlinghetti's birthday and Garrison Keillor today not only gives us a beautiful example of his poetry called "The Changing Light," but also a portrait of Ferlinghetti's particularly fascinating life. I didn't know all these things about the poet's background~~~
In its own way, I suppose Barack Obama's life has been as varied and complicated as was Ferlinghetti's...but hopefully without so much potential heartbreak. Somehow the candidate's speech last week didn't seem to clear up, for the media anyway, the problems some people claim exist because of his association with his minister. I'd hate to think our media just likes to create troublesome headlines to sell newspapers, but "firestorm" continues to be a descriptive term as articles and comment prevailed over the weekend. A nice picture of folks going to services at Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ yesterday will greet you at the Los Angeles Times website this morning. Staff writer Peter Wallsten has put together an article about Barack Obama's life, including interviews with a couple of radical friends from his high school days in Hawaii and organizing experiences in Chicago after college. It seems to be one of the more sensible pieces about him these days~~~
I've been reading the May 3-17, 2007, 40th Anniversary issue of Rolling Stone lately. It's the one that had a couple dozen interviews with various influential culture heroes who developed through those years. Bill Moyers was one of them, and his interview was conducted by Deputy Managing Editor Eric Gates. The interview caught fire briefly last year, because he was critical of Fox News in it and mentioned Bill O'Reilly. O'Reilly, being the perfect gentleman he is, sent one of his people and a cameraman to accost Moyers on a city street and take him to task for it. What caught my attention though was his answer to Gates' question almost a year ago as to who might be "a key figure in the time ahead"~~~
"I wish I were wise enough to answer that question. Who would have thought that an obscure black preacher from Montgomery, Alabama, would become Martin Luther King? I believe that elites have to let go. Hillary Clinton would make a good president, but the same old crowd would come back with her. But when I look at Barack Obama, I think about John F. Kennedy, who leaped over Hubert Humphrey's generation to bring in fresh voices and fresh ideas. I keep thinking we need to let that happen again. People say, 'Obama is so inexperienced.' No, he's as experienced as Lincoln was when Lincoln went to the White House. Lincoln had two years in Congress and eight years in the state legislature. Obama represents a generational metaphor: He opens new gates so that younger people can feel that there's opportunity for them, that they can come in with him and create new possibilities. That's what's important."
Now a program note. PBS is resuming regular programming this week, and bashing in with a 4-hour Frontline documentary they've titled "Bush's War." http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/bushswar/art/h_postcard1.jpg
Airing tonight and tomorrow, it may be a keeper!
Possibly along the same lines, yesterday's Washington Post carried a preview of a new book set for publication next month by Heraldo Munoz, Chile's ambassador to the United Nations. The book's title will be "A Solitary War: A Diplomat's Chronicle Of The Iraq War And Its Lessons." Hmmmm. What it chronicles, it turns out, is how the Bush Administration twisted ally arms to join the crusade in the weeks before we invaded~~~
24 Mar 2008 @ 17:22 by quinty : Thanks for
the headsup for “Bush’s War,” which I’ll watch tonight and tomorrow.
Ferlinghetti’s poem sensitively captures what the sense of the climate in San Francisco’s North Beach is truly like. He got it perfectly. For me one of the thrills of living there was watching the fog creep over the hills into North Beach as the sun set, sometimes creating a light show. The ocean fog is San Francisco own natural “air conditioning,” as some locals put it. And there is almost always something very fresh and vibrant in the air, with temps very rarely going below freezing and hitting ninety maybe only two or three times a year.
When the Reverend Wright thing came up my heart sank not so much for what he said but because I knew this could possibly sink Obama. Those of us who have taken the trouble to sometimes listen over the years know this kind of talk exists in the black community. Nor is it wholly unjustified and unfounded. It is a reaction to the circumstances white racism has created for blacks in America. In the meantime, as has been pointed out by the more clearheaded among us, rightwing Christian fundamentalist preachers can blame 9/11 on homosexuality and be invited to the White House.
What’s worse? Preachers damning America over gay marriage and abortion or preachers harshly decrying the legacy of racism? The latter just sounds a little more unusual to many of us since we are unaccustomed to hearing it. Nor is it the kind of looney rightwing stuff we can constantly hear over the radio. That’s alright. That’s mainstream. And when John McCain goes out and gets endorsements from these rabid right preachers nobody bats an eye for more than a second or two. I don’t blame McCain either for doing it, since we know he needs the Christian right’s backing to win in November. But when a black preacher expresses an uncomfortable truth many whites are unfamiliar with, watch out!
For a long time now whites in America, or their mainstream voices on the media, have refused to look at many of the larger social issues simply because they’re not supposed to exist. And that’s one reason why the Reverend Wright’s comments shocked so many whites. Will race finally play a major role in this election?
As for WorldNetDaily, here’s this pearl from Chuck Norris.... http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=59697
24 Mar 2008 @ 17:32 by quinty : More on the context
of Reverend Wright's words.....
The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright and the Audacity of Truth
By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Saturday 22 March 2008
Over the past week or so, mainstream media have turned much of their attention to the fiery sermons of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright. Dr. Wright is pastor to Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) and his family. He was also, until recently, pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago.
Most of the discussion and commentary about Dr. Wright's sermons have come from a predominantly white media. The points of discussion have centered on what they consider to be the "vile, racist and un-American things" said by Dr. Wright. Very few, if any, of the discussions have focused on the historical basis and accuracy of what Dr. Wright actually said.
The major problem with the discussions is they have been largely one-sided. The media have used the imagery of Dr. Wright, clad in African garb, shouting in the cadence of an old-time fire and brimstone minister and playing to the camera as a scare tactic. Has this become the "Willie Hortonization" of Senator Barack Obama? The reporting and commentary on Dr. Wright's words have been presented from the perspective of people who either have no appreciation for the African-American historical experience or a personal agenda when it comes to presenting these issues.
Dr. Wright is under attack for saying such things as "... the government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strikes law, and then wants us (African-Americans) to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no; not 'God Bless America,' God damn America ... for killing innocent people; God damn America for treating its citizens as less than human...." These are very strong words, delivered at what many are calling a possible turning point in American history with regard to America's willingness to elect an African-American candidate. While the mainstream media have found no merit in any of Dr. Wright's statements, let's examine their merit from a historical basis.
When people read the Constitution, the supreme law of the United States, they see the oldest governing constitution in the world. They see a great document that has articulated the precepts of life, liberty and happiness that all in this country try to follow. What is often overlooked are the parts of the Constitution that laid the foundation for hundreds of years of slavery and oppression for African-Americans; the constitutional framework for human beings to be treated as less than human. It's these sections of the Constitution that America has never truly atoned for and still refuses to make right.
Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution stated, "Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons." This was known as the Three-Fifths Compromise and laid the groundwork for African slaves brought into America as forced labor to be defined as non-persons.
Article I, Section 9 allowed the importation of slaves to continue in America for twenty-one years after ratification of the Constitution by declaring: "The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person." This section only outlawed the importation of slaves once the domestic stock of slaves could be replenished by natural birthrates and importation would no longer be needed; again, treating its citizens as less than human.
Article IV, Section 2 stated, "No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due." This was enforced by Congress on September 18, 1850, when the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, allowing Southern states to reclaim slaves that had escaped to the North.
The Three Fifths Compromise and the Fugitive Slave provisions were superseded by constitutional amendments only after their damage to African-Americans had been done and the benefit to America had been served.
It is very easy to wrap oneself in the history and glory that is America and forget that from 1619 to 1868 (249 years) African-Americans suffered under the brutality and oppression of government-supported chattel slavery. In 1857, as Dred Scott, a slave, petitioned the US Supreme Court for his freedom, Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote, "beings of an inferior order (African-Americans), and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."
Even after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in 1865, the 14th Amendment granted their citizenship, and the 15th Amendment grated them the right to vote, from 1876 to 1965 (89 years) African-Americans continued to suffer under state-supported Jim Crow oppression in America. This was codified in 1896 by another Supreme Court decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the doctrine of separate but equal. These vestiges of slavery and oppression still plague many sectors of the African-American community, and the sense of white privilege they created continues to foster a false sense of white entitlement.
This is just the historical background for Dr. Wright's comments. During his lifetime he has dealt with segregated schools, separate and unequal education, and discrimination in housing, employment and lending. He has witnessed civil rights protesters beaten by the police, ravaged by dogs, brutalized by fire hoses and COINTELPRO. Since his birth in 1941, an estimated 40 African-Americans have been lynched in this country. He was 14 years old when Emmett Till was brutally murdered and 23 years old when James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were killed. Americans continue to deal with racial profiling, driving while black, the disproportionate rate of incarceration of African-Americans, the suspension of habeas corpus, warrantless wiretapping and other constitutional violations.
Regarding Dr. Wright's comments about drugs and AIDS, let's not forget the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments. From 1932 to 1972, the US Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis. These men, for the most part illiterate sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama, were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness. In his May 16, 1997, apology, President Bill Clinton said:
"The United States government did something that was wrong - deeply, profoundly, morally wrong. It was an outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens ... clearly racist."
With this historical understanding, it is not too far-fetched to think that the US government could be involved in similar activity as it relates to AIDS.
What has been conspicuously absent from the discussions about Dr. Wright's comments in mainstream media is any analysis of the validity of his comments based upon his personal history and life experiences. It is very easy for white commentators such as Bill O'Reilly to dismiss his sermons as racist diatribes, since O'Reilly has no interest in trying to understand the plight of people of color in America.
Dr. Wright has also said, "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is brought right back into our own front yard; America's chickens are coming home to roost...." Well, let's examine the record.
The Arms Exports Control Act prohibits the president from furnishing military aid to any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. In spite of all of the evidence supporting claims of the Israeli government's human rights abuses of the Palestinian people, for FY2005 the United States provided $2.22 billion in military aid. This aid to Israel has a dramatic effect on Israel's policies towards the Palestinians. It is the US funding that pays for the guns and ammunition, F-16 bombers and Apache helicopters that are used to carry out Israel's occupation of Palestinian land and people.
According to The Boston Globe, in 1984, just after Ronald Reagan's re-election, Bishop Desmond Tutu referred to the Reagan administration's support for the South African government as "Immoral, evil and totally un-Christian." Reagan ignored the rising number of Americans who were calling for American companies to stop doing business there. The president of so-called sunny optimism attempted to blind Americans with his policy of "constructive engagement" with the white minority regime in Pretoria. All constructive engagement did was give the white minority more time to mow down the black majority in the streets and keep dreamers of democracy, such as Nelson Mandela, behind bars.
History is replete with examples of the United States arranging to depose foreign leaders. In 1909, President Taft ordered the overthrow of Nicaraguan President Jose Santos Zelaya. According to Stephen Kinzer, "In Iran, Guatemala, South Vietnam and Chile, diplomats and intelligence agents replaced generals as the instruments of American intervention." More recent examples of US intervention would be the invasion of Panama and the illegal invasion of Iraq.
Some may take issue with the earlier statement, "... the government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strikes law, ..." by asking, "is Rev. Wright accusing the US government of supplying drugs to the black community?" This story has been well-documented in the 1996 San Jose Mercury News expose entitled "Dark Alliance: The CIA Complicity in the Crack Epidemic."
I can understand people being uncomfortable with the comments made by the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright. White Americans have also been lied to, miseducated and desensitized about the plight of African-Americans. With the help of the social conservative agenda, many have developed a "deaf ear" when it comes to issues regarding race. The truth, especially an ugly truth that forces Americans to examine the precepts of America, "with liberty and justice for all," and compare them with the hypocrisy of the American reality can be troubling. For far too long, Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security. Americans have believed history as told by the oppressor and failed to understand the reality of the oppressed.
Dr. Wright is not un-American. He embodies what America was founded upon, the free exchange of ideas in the public space, speaking truth to power, challenging America to be the best that it can be. The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright's views might not reconcile with many Americans' perceptions of America, but they must not be discarded as the ranting of an angry man. His statements were founded in the historical truths that African-Americans have and continue to live through.
Dr. Wilmer Leon is producer/host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program "On With Leon" on XM Satellite Radio Channel 169; producer/host of the television program "Inside the Issues With Wilmer Leon" and a teaching associate in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, DC. Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
25 Mar 2008 @ 16:36 by Quinty @18.104.22.168 : Truth or fantasy?
Here's another good one on the same subject.....
March 25, 2008
Obama exposes national blight; can America handle the truth?
By PIERRE TRISTAM
The word, attributed to the late writer Saul Bellow, is "angelization" -- willfully putting someone beyond blame. Angelizing America is the common tongue of all national politicians, the oath candidates implicitly take when running for president. It's what the most sentimental people on Earth expect. It's what enables a country that committed its share of atrocities in the past and is committing more than its share of moral degradations today to look itself in the mirror and see something exceptional looking back, rather than just another empire trampling down its march of folly, as the great historian Barbara Tuchman called it. Angelizing America is the unspoken, self-evident pledge of allegiance. Someone didn't tell the Obamas.
First, there was Michelle Obama: "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change."
Then there was Barack Obama's spiritual adviser, the fascinating Jeremiah Wright -- not the outright lies about Wright's black separatism, which is bunk (although to most classically illiberal whites any black who adopts the fervor of Emersonian self-sufficiency is suddenly a separatist), but this, from a 2003 sermon: "The government gives (blacks) the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."
Then there was Obama himself, insolently ripping the halo off the romanticized iconography of race in America and returning the matter to the reality of a job undone. That he did so in a 37-minute speech more powerfully essential than anything the incumbent nullity has managed in seven years was bound to inflame those commentators -- Shelby Steele, William Kristol, Kathleen Parker, any lips that move at the Fox network -- who've been outdoing themselves to dig up hollowness at Obama's core. What they're digging up instead is his disarming arsenal, an ability to face up to national blights without, like Wright, stopping at the diagnosis.
Obama offers a path to conciliation. The path begins with a willfulness exactly opposite angelization. It begins more along the lines of where a truth commission might begin. That's Obama's problem. It's doubtful whether this country can, in its lethargy for social justice at home and its trances for wars abroad, handle the truth.
Nothing in what Michelle Obama or Wright said was inaccurate or unfamiliar. But it had rarely been heard in more pale-faced circles unfiltered by the media's angelizing translators, or so intimately attached to a man who could be elected to do something about it. His critics have been reduced to the odd position of defending an America that systematically enslaved a whole race for 300 years then terrorized, dehumanized and repressed it for another hundred because, as Parker wrote last week, "our progress since the twin blights of slavery and Jim Crow isn't insignificant." Insignificant? No. But the double-negative leaves that other elephant hanging, the significant progress that could rightly have been expected of the most self-congratulatory country on Earth, the kind of progress that should by now have made the sex and race of a candidate for the White House a nonissue, but instead keeps it the issue of this campaign even as the opposition has managed to field nothing more pulsing than the Arizonan equivalent of Leonid Brezhnev.
Pride in the United States? In these circumstances? Assume that dreamy racial progress the neo-Confederates are celebrating. It's still not the country most of us knew even 35 years ago, when a proven anti-Semite and pathological liar occupied the White House and nearly got away with his crimes. But he didn't. The one in there now gets away with it every day: Torture. Extraordinary rendition. Secret prisons. Guantanamo. Domestic spying. Two wars. Abu Ghraib. Haditha. Deaths by the tens of thousands.
Terrorism undermines morality, certainly. A president, however, ought to reinforce it. Not this one. He undermines it more than terrorism could. And that's without touching on his domestic devolutions -- his Taliban-like ban on embryonic stem-cell funding, his daily prayers to Darwinian economics, his devotional tributes to God, gut and graft. Of course, there's pride in the possibilities of a morally just renewal. That's also the point of America, isn't it? A point not yet defeated, a point possibly, hopefully resurgent: truth without angelizing. Precisely, the point Obama was trying to make in his Philadelphia speech, to the furious despair of his detractors who are watching him turn the tables on them and hearing him say the words, without him needing to say them: These colors don't run.
Tristam is a News-Journal editorial writer. Reach him at email@example.com or on his personal Web site at www.pierretristam.com
26 Mar 2008 @ 08:55 by jazzolog : George McGovern On Obama
Thanks Paul for these great comments. This week, Spring Break for us, is turning out to be very busy!
From that same May 2007 issue of Rolling Stone I mentioned Monday, here's McGovern's answer to the same question put to Bill Moyers: Do you see anybody on the horizon who might be able to lead us into the future?
"Barack Obama. He's got a moral base that's quite clear---that seems, to me, genuine. He's a master at presenting constructive liberal ideas in a way that sounds quite reasonable to most people. I like Hillary, who worked hard for me in '72, but I can't abide her inability to say she was wrong about Iraq. The whole country knows it. Seventy percent of the country knows that the war is a disaster. Why is it so hard for her to say, 'Well, I walked down that trail once to give it a chance, but I realize now it's a disaster and I'm for getting out as soon as we reasonably can'? She's imitating the worst trait of men---belligerency and waving the flag---to make herself look tougher: 'I may be a woman, but let somebody cross me and they're going to get it in the teeth.'"
26 Mar 2008 @ 16:07 by quinty : If you watched
last night you may have seen Hillary come on with the exact same line the far right has been repeatedly voicing on Obama and Reverend Wright.
"He would not have been my pastor," Clinton told a gathering of the campaign press corps, repeating a line she used earlier in the day on a Pittsburgh radio program. "You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend."
This, from the wife of the first “black president?” Taking her lines from the rightwing’s playbook? Whose side is Hillary on anyway? (Besides her own? And Bill's possibly?) That expanse between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh must indeed be "Alabama." The woman is so shameless that she doesn’t even attempt to express the least understanding of where the Reverend Wright comes from. Which, were she not more interested in seeking an advantage, would go far in improving the national understanding of race relations. Help starting, perhaps, a dialogue.
George McGovern - who opposed the war before it began, and for the right reasons - strikes me as an extremely wise and clearheaded man. (In these times of Bushims and a giddy lack of overall clearheadedness, as evinced by the various preachers of the far right - 9/11 was caused by abortion? - who are thoroughly welcome today in the White House.) And I agree with his assessment of Obama.
Presidents, though, aren't saints. Lincoln rode his presidency into a transcendence which redefined America's democracy. “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” How can it better be said? Roosevelt made many mistakes but worked for the overall good. (He was a "class traitor" don't you know?) Let's hope we can at least find out what Obama will do. He shows the signs of greatness, which, unfortunately, many Americans are unable to see. In yesterday’s news there was an item, too, on how the right will probably attack Obama for lacking patriotism.
Are we really so stupid in this country to be influenced by anything like that?
26 Mar 2008 @ 20:33 by Quinty @22.214.171.124 : A great comment
I found over at Huffington Post....
"The Clinton strategy: Obama's run is a fairy tale, Obama wasn't really against the war, Obama took cocaine, Obama's middle name is Hussein, Obama is like Jesse Jackson (they're both black, get it), Obama isn't pro-choice, Obama is for latte drinkers, Obama only wins caucuses, Obama only wins states that don't matter, Obama is all talk and no action, Obama plagiarizes, Obama's followers are a cult, Obama isn't ready on day one, Obama might cause or not be able to handle a terrorist attack, McCain is better than Obama, Obama has no experience -- only a speech in 2002, Obama's pastor is no good, Bill says Obama's picking on me, Obama shouldn't win because I am entitled, even if it takes superdelegates overturning the will of the voters." Indie17
1 Apr 2008 @ 09:15 by jazzolog : Alice Walker About America
Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for her book The Color Purple. I guess she wrote this March 20th, and it got posted last week~~~
Lest We Forget: An Open Letter to My Sisters Who Are Brave
by Alice Walker
I have come home from a long stay in Mexico to find - because of the presidential campaign, and especially because of the Obama/Clinton race for the Democratic nomination - a new country existing alongside the old. On any given day we, collectively, become the Goddess of the Three Directions and can look back into the past, look at ourselves just where we are, and take a glance, as well, into the future. It is a space with which I am familiar.When I was born in 1944 my parents lived on a middle Georgia plantation that was owned by a white distant relative, Miss May Montgomery. (During my childhood it was necessary to address all white girls as “Miss” when they reached the age of twelve.) She would never admit to this relationship, of course, except to mock it. Told by my parents that several of their children would not eat chicken skin she responded that of course they would not. No Montgomerys would.
My parents and older siblings did everything imaginable for Miss May. They planted and raised her cotton and corn, fed and killed and processed her cattle and hogs, painted her house, patched her roof, ran her dairy, and, among countless other duties and responsibilities my father was her chauffeur, taking her anywhere she wanted to go at any hour of the day or night. She lived in a large white house with green shutters and a green, luxuriant lawn: not quite as large as Tara of Gone With the Wind fame, but in the same style.
We lived in a shack without electricity or running water, under a rusty tin roof that let in wind and rain. Miss May went to school as a girl. The school my parents and their neighbors built for us was burned to the ground by local racists who wanted to keep ignorant their competitors in tenant farming. During the Depression, desperate to feed his hardworking family, my father asked for a raise from ten dollars a month to twelve. Miss May responded that she would not pay that amount to a white man and she certainly wouldn’t pay it to a nigger. That before she’d pay a nigger that much money she’d milk the dairy cows herself.
When I look back, this is part of what I see. I see the school bus carrying white children, boys and girls, right past me, and my brothers, as we trudge on foot five miles to school. Later, I see my parents struggling to build a school out of discarded army barracks while white students, girls and boys, enjoy a building made of brick. We had no books; we inherited the cast off books that “Jane” and “Dick” had previously used in the all-white school that we were not, as black children, permitted to enter.
The year I turned fifty, one of my relatives told me she had started reading my books for children in the library in my home town. I had had no idea - so kept from black people it had been - that such a place existed. To this day knowing my presence was not wanted in the public library when I was a child I am highly uncomfortable in libraries and will rarely, unless I am there to help build, repair, refurbish or raise money to keep them open, enter their doors.
When I joined the freedom movement in Mississippi in my early twenties it was to come to the aid of sharecroppers, like my parents, who had been thrown off the land they’d always known, the plantations, because they attempted to exercise their “democratic” right to vote. I wish I could say white women treated me and other black people a lot better than the men did, but I cannot. It seemed to me then and it seems to me now that white women have copied, all too often, the behavior of their fathers and their brothers, and in the South, especially in Mississippi, and before that, when I worked to register voters in Georgia, the broken bottles thrown at my head were gender free.
I made my first white women friends in college; they were women who loved me and were loyal to our friendship, but I understood, as they did, that they were white women and that whiteness mattered. That, for instance, at Sarah Lawrence, where I was speedily inducted into the Board of Trustees practically as soon as I graduated, I made my way to the campus for meetings by train, subway and foot, while the other trustees, women and men, all white, made their way by limo. Because, in our country, with its painful history of unspeakable inequality, this is part of what whiteness means. I loved my school for trying to make me feel I mattered to it, but because of my relative poverty I knew I could not.
I am a supporter of Obama because I believe he is the right person to lead the country at this time. He offers a rare opportunity for the country and the world to start over, and to do better. It is a deep sadness to me that many of my feminist white women friends cannot see him. Cannot see what he carries in his being. Cannot hear the fresh choices toward Movement he offers. That they can believe that millions of Americans -black, white, yellow, red and brown - choose Obama over Clinton only because he is a man, and black, feels tragic to me.
When I have supported white people, men and women, it was because I thought them the best possible people to do whatever the job required. Nothing else would have occurred to me. If Obama were in any sense mediocre, he would be forgotten by now. He is, in fact, a remarkable human being, not perfect but humanly stunning, like King was and like Mandela is. We look at him, as we looked at them, and are glad to be of our species. He is the change America has been trying desperately and for centuries to hide, ignore, kill. The change America must have if we are to convince the rest of the world that we care about people other than our (white) selves.
True to my inner Goddess of the Three Directions however, this does not mean I agree with everything Obama stands for. We differ on important points probably because I am older than he is, I am a woman and person of three colors, (African, Native American, European), I was born and raised in the American South, and when I look at the earth’s people, after sixty-four years of life, there is not one person I wish to see suffer, no matter what they have done to me or to anyone else; though I understand quite well the place of suffering, often, in human growth.
I want a grown-up attitude toward Cuba, for instance, a country and a people I love; I want an end to the embargo that has harmed my friends and their children, children who, when I visit Cuba, trustingly turn their faces up for me to kiss. I agree with a teacher of mine, Howard Zinn, that war is as objectionable as cannibalism and slavery; it is beyond obsolete as a means of improving life. I want an end to the on-going war immediately and I want the soldiers to be encouraged to destroy their weapons and to drive themselves out of Iraq.
I want the Israeli government to be made accountable for its behavior towards the Palestinians, and I want the people of the United States to cease acting like they don’t understand what is going on. All colonization, all occupation, all repression basically looks the same, whoever is doing it. Here our heads cannot remain stuck in the sand; our future depends of our ability to study, to learn, to understand what is in the records and what is before our eyes. But most of all I want someone with the self-confidence to talk to anyone, “enemy” or “friend,” and this Obama has shown he can do. It is difficult to understand how one could vote for a person who is afraid to sit and talk to another human being. When you vote you are making someone a proxy for yourself; they are to speak when, and in places, you cannot. But if they find talking to someone else, who looks just like them, human, impossible, then what good is your vote?
It is hard to relate what it feels like to see Mrs. Clinton (I wish she felt self-assured enough to use her own name) referred to as “a woman” while Barack Obama is always referred to as “a black man.” One would think she is just any woman, colorless, race-less, past-less, but she is not. She carries all the history of white womanhood in America in her person; it would be a miracle if we, and the world, did not react to this fact. How dishonest it is, to attempt to make her innocent of her racial inheritance.
I can easily imagine Obama sitting down and talking, person to person, with any leader, woman, man, child or common person, in the world, with no baggage of past servitude or race supremacy to mar their talks. I cannot see the same scenario with Mrs. Clinton who would drag into Twenty-First Century American leadership the same image of white privilege and distance from the reality of others’ lives that has so marred our country’s contacts with the rest of the world.
And yes, I would adore having a woman president of the United States. My choice would be Representative Barbara Lee, who alone voted in Congress five years ago not to make war on Iraq. That to me is leadership, morality, and courage; if she had been white I would have cheered just as hard. But she is not running for the highest office in the land, Mrs. Clinton is. And because Mrs. Clinton is a woman and because she may be very good at what she does, many people, including some younger women in my own family, originally favored her over Obama. I understand this, almost. It is because, in my own nieces’ case, there is little memory, apparently, of the foundational inequities that still plague people of color and poor whites in this country. Why, even though our family has been here longer than most North American families - and only partly due to the fact that we have Native American genes - we very recently, in my lifetime, secured the right to vote, and only after numbers of people suffered and died for it.
When I offered the word “Womanism” many years ago, it was to give us a tool to use, as feminist women of color, in times like these. These are the moments we can see clearly, and must honor devotedly, our singular path as women of color in the United States. We are not white women and this truth has been ground into us for centuries, often in brutal ways. But neither are we inclined to follow a black person, man or woman, unless they demonstrate considerable courage, intelligence, compassion and substance. I am delighted that so many women of color support Barack Obama -and genuinely proud of the many young and old white women and men who do.
Imagine, if he wins the presidency we will have not one but three black women in the White House; one tall, two somewhat shorter; none of them carrying the washing in and out of the back door. The bottom line for most of us is: With whom do we have a better chance of surviving the madness and fear we are presently enduring, and with whom do we wish to set off on a journey of new possibility? In other words, as the Hopi elders would say: Who do we want in the boat with us as we head for the rapids? Who is likely to know how best to share the meager garden produce and water? We are advised by the Hopi elders to celebrate this time, whatever its adversities.
We have come a long way, Sisters, and we are up to the challenges of our time. One of which is to build alliances based not on race, ethnicity, color, nationality, sexual preference or gender, but on Truth. Celebrate our journey. Enjoy the miracle we are witnessing. Do not stress over its outcome. Even if Obama becomes president, our country is in such ruin it may well be beyond his power to lead us toward rehabilitation. If he is elected however, we must, individually and collectively, as citizens of the planet, insist on helping him do the best job that can be done; more, we must insist that he demand this of us. It is a blessing that our mothers taught us not to fear hard work. Know, as the Hopi elders declare: The river has its destination. And remember, as poet June Jordan and Sweet Honey in the Rock never tired of telling us: We are the ones we have been waiting for.
And with all my love,
First Day of Spring
1 Apr 2008 @ 16:59 by Quinty @126.96.36.199 : Walker's
piece was quite beautiful....
Here's a good one by Gary Younge....
America lauds Martin Luther King, but undermines his legacy every day
Forty years after the civil rights leader's death, his myth masks how the US remains segregated in practice and attitudes
Gary Younge in Memphis
The Guardian, Monday March 31 2008
The National Civil Rights Museum sits in what was the Lorraine Motel, just beyond the shadows of Memphis's skyscrapers and the garish neon glow of Beale Street - the main drag made famous by the likes of BB King and James Baldwin. The first words of the first exhibit state: "Protest against injustice is deeply rooted in the African-American experience." Then come pictures of lynchings, burning crosses, martyrs and heroes, alongside mock-ups of Rosa Parks in the bus and lunch counters waiting to be integrated.
About two-thirds of the way through is a replica of the Birmingham jail cell from which Martin Luther King wrote his letter in response to the local white clergy asking him to stop the protests and leave town. "I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate ... who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice," he wrote. "Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
And from there begins the gradual incline past the Mississippi Freedom Summer, the emergence of black power and the assassination of Malcolm X, until you reach room 306 - where the story ends with King stepping out on to the Lorraine Motel balcony on April 4 1968 to be killed by a sniper's bullet.
Forty years after King's death, the ability of America to both mythologise the man and marginalise his meaning is all too cruelly apparent. His symbolic likeness is effortlessly incorporated into America's self-image as the land of relentless progress. Meanwhile, his legacy of struggling against poverty and imperialism is undermined with every passing day. Had he lived he would most certainly have been loathed. In order for America to love him, he first had to die.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the stewardship of the museum itself. For while the exhibits showcase King's struggles for equal rights, the executive director of its board, JR "Pitt" Hyde, has been actively working against the selfsame principles. Hyde is a wealthy Republican who worked for the defeat of Harold Ford Jr (a black candidate) in a Senate race that was generally acknowledged to be the most racist campaign of the 2006 elections.
The contradictions between the life's work of King and Hyde couldn't be more stark. King fought racial injustice. Hyde for several years fought a racial harassment lawsuit that was backed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company that he founded, AutoZone. King was in Memphis to support a garbage workers' strike over pay and conditions. Hyde has packed his board with corporate types who hire out the museum for functions.
"Nowadays they like the fact that they can sit down to dinner at the site of the King assassination," says circuit judge D'Army Bailey, a founder of the museum who was ousted from the board. "It gives them a good feeling. Corporations want to be identified with it because that kind of identification brings pacification. It's been hijacked."
This cognitive dissonance between what has proved to be morally right and what remains politically expedient is deeply entrenched. The absurdity it engenders will crest over the coming week as the nation watches, as though on a split screen, as King is lauded on one side and Barack Obama's former preacher, Jeremiah Wright, remains lambasted on the other.
Wright is no King. His delivery is too shrill, his demeanour too hectoring, his message insufficiently unifying. Nonetheless, Wright and King come from the same tradition of militant religious leadership that has been a hallmark of black political life for well over a century. Under slavery and then segregation, the church was one of the few places that African-Americans could gather and organise autonomously - giving primacy, for better and for worse, to the pulpit and the preacher in black politics.
"The principal social institution within every black community was the church," writes historian Manning Marable in his book Black Leadership. "As political leaders, the black clergy were usually the primary spokespersons for the entire black community, especially during periods of crisis ... To some extent, this tradition has been characterised by a charismatic or dominating political style."
It is unlikely King would have fared any better on YouTube or the blogosphere than Wright did. King, like Wright, was excoriated for opposing the "senseless and unjust war" in Vietnam. "The reaction was like a torrent of hate and venom," recalled one of his aides, Andrew Young. "As a Nobel prizewinner we expected people not to agree with it, but to take it seriously. We didn't get that. We got an emotional outburst attacking his right to have an opinion."
A few months before he died, King told parishioners at his church in Montgomery, Alabama: "We are criminals in that war ... We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world ... But God has a way of even putting nations in their place." And how would God deal with an unrepentant America? "And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power."
After a few loops of that on 24-hour cable TV, it's not difficult to imagine the anchors pressuring Bobby Kennedy to disavow all association with such a wayward black preacher. These episodic outcries at the black political vernacular reveal the force and the fragility of King's legacy.
The monied black middle class his movement helped create is imploding. A Pew report last year revealed that almost half of African-Americans born to middle-income parents in 1968 - the year King died - have ended up in the lowest fifth of the nation's earners. This was true for just 16% of whites. Obama's electoral hopes notwithstanding, black America has rarely been more pessimistic. Another Pew poll shows that less than half say life will get better for them in the future - a significant retreat even from the dog days of the Reagan era.
America may be integrated by law, but it is segregated by practice and perspective. Black Americans not only live parallel lives to white Americans, they also have a different understanding of what America has been, is and could be.
"This sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others," wrote scholar and activist WEB DuBois at the turn of the last century. "Of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness - an American, a negro; two warring souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."
Given the nation's racial history, such ambivalence should come as little surprise, yet invariably becomes news when expressed from a sufficiently prominent dais.
Turning your back on room 306 in the Memphis museum and walking back through the lynchings, martyrs, crosses and bombed churches, one is reminded of the words of Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay. "If the black man is a little bitter," he wrote, "the white man should be the last person in the world to accuse him of bitterness."
Gary Younge’s most recent book is Stranger in a Strange Land: Encounters in the Disunited States; he is also the author of No Place Like Home.
12 Apr 2008 @ 09:46 by jazzolog : Where Are We?
Whiling away the time at another site during this long Primary season, an online friend wandered our discussion about Obama off into an Eastertime vigil about which of the thieves was saved. He centered his concerns on St. Luke, Samuel Beckett and St. Augustine. I told him I wasn't sure about getting into the dilemma about the 2 thieves. As usual the presumably dumber Estragon eases our anxiety with obvious proofs that it's better not to think about such things...or anything else for that matter. But we're still left with which of the 2 thieves should we elect? Here's where this week's polls lead us~~~
Poll: 2008 National Democratic Primary
Barack Obama continues to lead Hillary Clinton in national Democratic preferences for the Democratic presidential nomination, now by an eight percentage point margin of 50% to 42%, the fourth consecutive day in which Obama has held a significant lead over his competitor in Gallup Poll Daily tracking. Obama has led Clinton by significant margins of between eight and 10 points in the last four Gallup reports, stretching back to April 4-6. Although the margin has varied, Obama has also led Clinton by at least one point in every three-day rolling average reported by Gallup since March 18-20.
Poll: 2008 National Democratic Primary
In the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, Obama now attracts 48% of the vote while Hillary Clinton earns 41%. That’s the first time in nearly a week that Obama’s support has dipped below 50% but the sixth straight day that he has enjoyed a significant lead over Clinton. Clinton continues to hold a modest lead in Pennsylvania while Obama holds a huge lead in North Carolina.
Poll: 2008 National Democratic Primary
Sponsor: Associated Press
Despite all the conflict surrounding Obama, the Democratic contest is unchanged from February with Obama at 46 percent and Clinton at 43 percent. But the heated primary is creating divisions among the electorate - many Clinton and Obama supporters say they would rather vote for McCain if their chosen Democrat doesn't win the nomination. About a quarter of Obama supporters say they'll vote for McCain if Clinton is the Democratic nominee. About a third of Clinton supporters say they would vote for McCain if it's Obama.
Poll: 2008 Pennsylvania Primary
Sponsor: Public Policy Polling
Pollster: Public Policy Polling
Hillary Clinton has taken back a small lead over Barack Obama in Pennsylvania, according to the newest survey from Public Policy Polling. Clinton has a 46-43 advantage in the state after trailing Obama by two points in PPP’s poll last week. Clinton’s improvement since last week comes almost entirely from her core demographics. Her lead among women improved from 10 points to 16, her lead among white voters went from 11 to 17, and her lead with senior citizens showed a gain from 16 to 21.
Poll: 2008 Pennsylvania Primary
Following a month of declining poll numbers for Senator Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, the race has stabilized for the moment. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows Clinton leading Barack Obama by five percentage points in the Keystone State, 48% to 43%. That’s little changed from a week ago, but down from a ten-point lead two weeks ago, a thirteen-point lead in mid-March and a fifteen-point advantage in early March.
Poll: 2008 Pennsylvania Primary
Sponsor: Survey USA
Pollster: Survey USA
The results are almost identical to a SurveyUSA poll released one month ago. Then, Clinton led by 19. Today, 18. In between, however, in a SurveyUSA tracking poll released last week, Obama had closed to within 12 points. What happened in the past 7 days? Some of the men who flirted with Obama at the end of March have returned to Clinton. Other men have moved to the sidelines. Last week, Obama led by 7 among men. Men were 46% of likely voters. Today, Clinton leads among men. Men are 42% of likely voters.
Poll: 2008 North Carolina Primary
Sponsor: Survey USA
Pollster: Survey USA
In a Democratic Primary in North Carolina today, 04/08/08, four weeks to the 05/06/08 Primary, Barack Obama is 10 points atop Hillary Clinton, exactly where Obama was two months ago, according to a SurveyUSA tracking poll. SurveyUSA's interactive tracking graphs show remarkable stability within the sub-populations. Among men, over the past 2 months, Obama led by 18, by 13, and today by 15 points. Among women, Obama led by 2, by 3, and today by 6 points. Among whites, Clinton led by 19, by 17, and today by 22 points. Among blacks, Obama led by 65, by 61, and today by 75 points
Poll: 2008 North Carolina Primary
Sponsor: Public Policy Polling
Pollster: Public Policy Polling
For the third week in a row, Barack Obama is leading North Carolina by 18-21 points, according to the newest survey from Public Policy Polling. Obama leads Hillary Clinton 54-33 in the state. He is making in roads among white voters in the state, trailing Clinton just 47-38, while maintaining his customary large advantage with black voters 81-10.
Poll: 2008 Presidential Head to Heads
Republican Sen. John McCain has erased Sen. Barack Obama's 10-point advantage in a head-to-head matchup, leaving him essentially tied with both Democratic candidates in an Associated Press-Ipsos national poll released Thursday. The survey showed the extended Democratic primary campaign creating divisions among supporters of Obama and rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and suggests a tight race for the presidency in November no matter which Democrat becomes the nominee.
20 Apr 2008 @ 21:18 by Janet Reno @188.8.131.52 : Like father Like Son --
Obama’s efforts to connect to the Republican Party, specifically Bush, and Dick Cheney, of the Halliburton Company, dates back to the Presidents Grandfather, Prescott Bush, and indeed Cheney was once an executive officer of Halliburton.
The American military pounds Iraq with Artillary, bombs, and the like, destroying large sections of cities, and infra-structures, then Halliburton comes in to rebuild. Halliburton and Halliburton associated companies have raked in ten’s of billions.
Obama is just like the BIG HALIBURTAN. Haliburton has contracted to build detention centers in the U.S. similiar to the one in Quantanammo Bay, Cuba. Halliburton does nothing to earn the Two Dollars for each meal an American Serviceman in Iraq eats.
Halliburton was scheduled to take control of the Dubai Ports in The United Arab Emiirate. The deal was canceled when Bush was unable to affect the transfer of the American Ports.
Now we see what some might suspect as similiar financial escapading from the Democrats.
Two years ago, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity gave a $50 million contract to a start-up security company - Companion- owned by now-indicted businessman (TONY REZKO) Tony Rezko and a onetime Chicago cop, Daniel T. Frawley, to train Iraqi power-plant guards in the United States. An Iraqi leadership change left the deal in limbo. Now the company, Companion Security, is working to revive its contract.
Involved along with Antoin “Tony” Rezco, long time friend and neighbor of Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama, and former cop Daniel T. Frawley, is Aiham Alsammarae. Alsammarae was accused of financial corruption by Iraqi authorities and jailed in Iraq last year before escaping and returning here.
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON --
Recently, Obama's campaign staff have been vetted by the IRS to disclose his connection to the criminal money generating underworld. Besides, his connections to the REZCO MAFIA types, his up-coming Tax Fraud charges — Obama needs to disclose why he is a MUSLIM "PATWANG-FWEEE" and disclose Obama's MUSLIM Farrakhan mob connection to Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama's spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright's daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said "truly epitomized greatness." That man is Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan and Chicago's Trinity United Church are trumpeting Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama as the second coming of the messiah. Obama should stop suppoting our intervention in IRAQ. It’s time to introduce this false, fake Xerox - X box Obama and invite the self-indicting thief plagiarizing pipsqueke "GLORK" Xerox - X box to meet the Buffalo "GAZOWNT-GAZIKKA" Police Department Buffalo Creek. He is MAD!!! --
OBAM YOU'RE NO JFK --
"GLORK" Obama looks like Alfred E. Newman: "Tales Calculated To Drive You." He is a MUSLIM "Glork" He's MAD!!! Alfred E. Neuman is the fictional mascot of Mad. The face had drifted through American pictography for decades before being claimed by Mad editor Harvey Kurtzman after he spotted it on the bulletin board in the office of Ballantine Books editor Bernard Shir-Cliff, later a contributor to various magazines created by Kurtzman.
Obama needs to disclose why he is a MUSLIM "PATWANG-FWEEE" and stop suppoting our intervention in IRAQ. It’s time to introduce this false, fake "GLORK" Xerox - X box Obama and invite the self-indicting thief plagiarizing pipsqueke Xerox - X box to meet the Buffalo "GAZOWNT-GAZIKKA" Police Department Buffalo Creek.
Michelle Obama should be ashamed.
"GLORK" Michelle Obama should be ashamed of her separatist-racist connection to Farrakhan and Chicago's Trinity United Church trumpeting Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama as the second coming of the messiah. Beneath that Darth-Vader-Mace-Windu-Jedi-Me ssiah Helmet Hairdo of Michelle Obama lurks a Wildabeast. If Michelle Obama new what her husband -- the Hope-A-Dope, Fonster Monster -- Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama did in Harlem, she would wash her wide-open, Hus-suey loving MUSILM mouth out, with twenty-four (24) mule-team double-cross X-boX-BorraX. The Lexis-Nexis-Albatross-Abacus-Complex of Barack and Michelle's relationship with MUSLIM "PATWANG-FWEEE" Rev. Wright, Louis Farrakhan, and black demagoguery of Obama's Stump Lines Echo Malcolm X; is about as much of a Hoax as Oxfam volunteers believe in HIV-- AIDS Witch Doctors in Africa they feed.
"God damn America" - Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama --
"God bless America" - Pope Benedict XVI and Hillary Clinton --
If Barack Obama had married the sexual Shaniqua instead of Leftist-Sexist-Racist Michelle, his Jackenapes Collegial Elitism, excitedly-fixed-dislike "Nemet oure Saxas" black rage, and "GLORK" black demagoguery of Obama's Stump Lines Echo Malcolm X; would be taken a lot more seriously. Expectations are that Obama will manage his Explosive MUSLIM JIHADI -- FATIMA EXTREMISM obsession bitter. He is a MUSLIM "Glork" It’s time to introduce this false, fake "GLORK" Xerox - X box Obama and invite the self-indicting thief plagiarizing pipsqueke Xerox - X box to meet the Buffalo "GAZOWNT-GAZIKKA" Police Department Buffalo Creek. He's MAD!!!
THE SPEECH --
The Apologia has arrived and once again the self-indicting, separatist-racist Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama, promises to heal the wounds of the world. The speech is the rude awakening of mass messianism of his campaign. Apologetically, Obama the MUSLIM double-cross X-boX-BorraX has an astonishingly empty two-prawn echelon explanation of his misjudgment.
In the first prawn: with regard to his connection to separatist-racist Rev. Wright; Obama summons voodoo and juju to express slavery as beginning and ending with the Rev. Wright.
In the second prawn: Obama's speech takes credit for Ashley's dream. A dream of unity Martin Luther King, Jr. borrowed from Ashley for his historic "I Have A Dream" speech. In Obama's speech, the connective bond Ashley, the elderly black man and Obama's grandmother share; represents Obama's self-indicting rise to the Harvard Yard. For Obama, the grand flag of language is the semi-fore of words, bestowed upon our nation by the messiah-alumni from Harvard. Obama's Swoon-Song Apologia to the nation represents a failed hymn -- a hymn that fails to heal the nation, repair the world, or make this time different than all the rest. Obama's speech is a brilliant failure.
MUSLIM LIES --
The ILLIGITIAMTE MUSLIM MESSIA has blundered yet again!!! The self-indicting, separatist-racist Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama, lied about the politics of his campaign. The danger involved with this self-aggrandizing, -a-hoop, Hope-A-Dope, Fonster Monster -- Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama is that -- "Like Father Like Son" Obama is constantly wanting to impress America with "...his incapacity for sound judgment." In 2005, Sen. Obama voted for the Dick Cheney energy bill, which Cheney wrote in secret with the oil industry. Hillary Clinton opposed Cheney's energy bill, has a plan to eliminate oil industry tax breaks, and would require oil companies to contribute to a $50 billion strategic energy fund to jump-start research and investment in clean energy technologies. On top of the horrible crime Obama executed in Harlem, the fact is, we have to hear it from Karl Rove about Obama's latest Campaign Crisis.
"GLORK" Top Ten Obama Lies:
1. Obam said his parents met at the Selma march -- Reality: He was born 4 years before that.
2. Obam said he was a constitutional law professor -- Reality: . . . Obama Made This False Claim In His 2004 Senate Race. “Several direct-mail pieces issued for Obama's primary [Senate] campaign said he was a law professor at the University of Chicago. He is not. He is a senior lecturer (now on leave) at the school..
3. Obam said he spoke fluent Indonesian as a child -- Reality: . . . Obama has claimed on numerous occasions to have become fluent in Indonesian in six months. Yet another Phi Beta Krakatau lie from Obama. Those who knew him disputed that during recent interviews. Israel la Pareira Darmawan, Obama's 1st-grade teacher, said she attempted to help him learn the Indonesian language by going over pronunciation and vowel sounds. Truth-be-told: Obama's Indonesian teachers say Kaku-Pooh.
4. Obam said he was involved in community asbestos and housing project for the poor -- Reality: . . . Didn't happen. This was the basis for Barack and Michelle's claim, that he was a community activist on the South and East Side of Chicago. Usher United Arab Emirates (UAE) A+ lie both he and his twenty-four (24) mule-team, Hus-suey loving wife Michelle Obama have been claiming in the campaign -- Reality: The Chicago Newspaper's Obelus -- Kiss-A-Cuss:...NO-MAMA.
5. Obam said in his book that he received his racial awakening at age nine reading a Life/Ebony Magazine story about a black man who was scarred trying to dye his skin white -- Reality: . . . Didn't happen. Both Magazines (Life and Ebony), and the Rev. Wright and Farrakhan MUSLIM Trumpet Newsmagazine say, just didn't happen.
6. Obam’s Campaign Didn’t Have The “Technical Capacity” To Produce The “1984” Ad:
Obama: “But it's not something that we had anything to do with or were aware of and that frankly, given what it looks like, we don't have the technical capacity to create something like that.” (CNN’s “Larry King Live,” 3/24/07) -- Reality:...The Creator Admitted All It Took Was A “Sunday Afternoon” On His Mac. Phillip de Vellis: “I made the ad on a Sunday afternoon in my apartment using my personal equipment (a Mac and some software), uploaded it to YouTube, and sent links around to blogs.”
7. Obam’s Campaign Claimed His High School Friend Tried To Extort Money From Them:
“According To The Obama Campaign, [Obama’s Punahou Classmate Keith] Kakugawa Explicitly Raised The Possibility That He Could Make Up False Stories About Obama, Implying He Would Do So If The Campaign Did Not Give Him Money.” (Maurice Possley, Kirsten Scharnberg and Ray Gibson, -- Reality: “...An Old Friend's Troublesome Return,” Chicago Tribune, 3/25/07).
8. Obam voted to bring low-cost foreign labor into New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina -- Reality: . . . This was a slap in the face against the African-Americans who were displaced in that city. Obama also voted to place Michael Chertoff, the man responsible for the Katrina catastrophe, in charge of Homeland Security. Obama voted for Senate-Bills that gave Blackwater the funding they needed to shoot the folks of New Orleans who were only trying to save their own lives. The towel head voted to allow Michael Chertoff to waive all applicable laws, including murder, torture, kidnaping, and he suppoted water-boarding.
9. Obam voted more than five times for USA-PATRIOT ACT renewal -- Reality: . . . This is a Senate-Bill patently offensive to most Americans. City after city has passed resolutions condemning USA-PATRIOT ACT. Passively or reflexively, Obama chose to side with tyranny over freedom and Bush over the folks on this issue. The Real ID Act, which would allow Michael Chertoff to declare martial law and imprison Americans, was supported by ex-patriot Obama, as noted above.
10. Obam is not a MAD MAN. Sen. Obama has not exaggerated his inextricably troublesome involvement with long-simmering sub-text of the October Surprise: "X-Files" -- The 1980 election scandal exposed....the extraneous venomous anger-driven association between Obama and aging [VX] Vietnam-era Weather Underground Radical Extremist William Ayers. Sen. Obama Is not involved along with Antoin “Tony” Rezco, long time friend and neighbor, now-indicted businessman (TONY REZKO); or Tony Rezko and a onetime Chicago cop, Daniel T. Frawley. Sen. Obama is not involved with, nor has Sen. Obama exhibited any nuclear security, bribery, money payoffs, or cronyism in the state of Illinois; or criminal activities related to the BIG HALIBURTAN and V.P. Cheney's Halliburton bribery case; or any political misjudgment in his escalating Campaign Crisis. "GLORK" Sen. Obama Is not involved with any Hoax or Oxfam volunteers and HIV-- AIDS Witch Doctors in Africa they feed. Sen. Obama is not associated with Exiled "God damn America" SOULJAH JIHAD -- Rev. Jeremiah Wright, MUSLIM EXTREMIST (MalcomX KillA) -- Louis Farrakhan, and black demagoguery of Obama's Apologia - Mea Culpa; or Stump Lines Echo Malcolm X; Sen. Obama is not a separatist-racist. Michelle Obama AKA Wildabeast is not a separatist-racist. Sen. Obama is not a self-indicting thief plagiarizing pipsqueke Xerox - X box. "GLORK" Obama executed no crime in Harlem. Obama is Not America's Poison -- Reality:...He's Radio-Active.
SOULJAH JIHAD -- OBAMA CAMPAIGN CRISIS
The Republicans' disengagement (media bias), if not disillusionment, with the economic campaign issues is borne out by the fact that many more Republicans are able to explain, extinguish, and excoriate the name Barrack Obama with the term (JIHAD), than can name Bush/Dick Cheney and McCain -- as the Big Oil -- BIG HALLIBURTAN politicians expanding GOP IRAQ WAR ideology, and Republican White House Party Elders' GI Bill of Rights for the 21st century IRAQ WAR ECONOMY. Even among Republicans, Clinton is much more visible than GOP presumptive candidate John McCain towards affecting positively the important economic issues facing America's middle class economy.
When asked who they would vote for in the general election for president of the United States, the natural pendulum swing in America is 79% of Republicans named Hillary Clinton as their choice. Reasons for Obama's Campaign Crisis "GLORK" Campaign Crisis include:
"Obama has more holes in him than Swiss-Cheese." (CNN’s “Politics.com,” 4/01/08)
Obama's presidential campaign has received $2,812,336 from firms that employ registered federal lobbyists. [fec.gov]
Obama has taken $405,747 from the Pharmaceutical industry. [opensecrets.org]
Obama has received $1,185,937 from the Commercial Banking industry. [opensecrets.org]
Obama has received over six million dollars from the Securities & Investment industry. [opensecrets.org]
Obama has taken $608,822 from the Insurance industry. [opensecrets.org]
Obam has taken $168,584 from the Mortgage Banking industry. [opensecrets.org]
"GLORK" SOULJAH JIHAD -- CAMPAIGN CRISIS
WASHINGTON — Obama’s support among Democrats nationally has softened.
"GLORK" Sen. Barack Obama’s support among Democrats nationally has softened over the last month, particularly among men and upper-income voters, as voters have taken a slightly less positive view of him than they did after his burst of victories in February, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The survey suggests that Mr. Obama, Democrat of Illinois, may have been at something of a peak in February, propelled by a string of primary and caucus victories over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, and that perceptions of him are dramatically trending downward.
Mr. Obama’s favorability rating among Democratic primary voters has dropped seventeen percentage points, to 42 percent, since the last Times/CBS News survey, in late February. While that figure is steadily declining, this dramatic decline came in a month during which he endured withering attacks from Mrs. Clinton, and responded to reports that his exiled former pastor had made politically inflammatory statements from his church’s pulpit in Chicago, and swirling questions about what Barack Obama did in Harlem.
The events of the last month appear to have fundamentally altered the race for the party’s nomination and provided Mrs. Clinton’s campaign extensive evidence of a collapse in Mr. Obama’s standing or an overwhelming preference voiced for Mrs. Clinton by Democratic and Republican voters in polls: -- perplexing developments in Obama's ongoing Campaign Crisis, that could be used to persuade uncommitted super-delegates to sign on with Hillary Clinton.
Twenty-six percent of the general electorate voters who heard of the Apologia speech that Mr. Obama the self-indicting, separatist-racist Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama gave to try to deal with the controversy over Obama's separatist-racist connection to Farrakhan and Chicago's Trinity United Church trumpeting Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama as the second coming of the messiah, said it made them dislike him. And 74 percent of Democrats and Republicans said Mr. Obama's Campaign Crisis "GLORK" Campaign Crisis "God damn America" - Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama. "God bless America" - Pope Benedict XVI and Hillary Clinton....stems from the fact that he shows continued misjudgment for even the most challenging problems. Next, the overall opinion of people in the news this year; Mr. Obama lacks the decisive capability to lead, willingness to listen, conviction and courage. Mr. Obama is no Alexander Manly when it comes to sexist-racist issues, and he uses false charges and exaggerated hate-the Saxon-race claims to play politics with national security. Mr. Obama lied about the politics of his campaign, and knew about Rev. Wright's MUSLIM Farrakhan - JIHADI -- FATIMA EXTREMIST mob connection to Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ.
Colfax: Sen. Obama on Lobbyists --
"When it comes to lobbyists, Senator Obama’s words might sound nice but voters need to make sure they read the fine print. Despite trying to give the impression that he has no relationship with lobbyists or special interests, the reality is that Senator Obama takes money from people who hire lobbyists, partners of lobbyists, spouses of lobbyists, former lobbyists and state lobbyists.” –Statement from Clinton Deputy Communications Director, Phil Singer
Sen. Obama Has Ties to Lobbyists in His Presidential Bid
Public Citizen: 10 of Sen. Obama's bundlers have been federal lobbyists. The Public Citizen report listed the following ten bundlers for Sen. Obama who have registered as federal lobbyists: Frank Clark, Commonwealth Edison; Scott Harris, Harris Wiltshire and Grannis; Allan J. Katz, Akerman Senterfitt; Robert S. Litt, Arnold & Porter; Thomas J. Perrelli, Jenner and Block; Thomas A. Reed, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP; Paul N. Roth, Schulte Roth & Zabel; Miriam Sapiro, Summit Strategies; Alan Solomont, Solomont Bailis Ventures; and Tom E. Wheeler, Core Capital Partners. [Public Citizen, 1/29/08]
Sen. Obama takes money from employees of firms that lobby and has lobbyists as advisers. "But those who lobby for a living say it's not that simple, and even Obama's stance shows some flexibility. He won't take money from federal lobbyists but accepts money from employees of firms and corporations that lobby, and he uses lobbyists and other government relations professionals as advisers... Obama has also used major fundraisers who are registered lobbyists on the state level. And he uses registered federal lobbyists such as Broderick Johnson, who lobbies for AT&T and Shell Oil, among others, as a campaign adviser. Because Johnson isn't giving money to Obama, his name won't show up in Federal Election Commission records." [Chicago Tribune, 2/10/08]
Bloomberg: Five of [Obama’s] ten biggest sources of funds are groups of employees at law firms that lobby in Washington. "While Obama doesn't accept money from registered federal lobbyists, five of his 10 biggest sources of funds are groups of employees at law firms that lobby in Washington…Among Obama's top donors were employees of the Chicago-based law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, who gave $105,750 in the first quarter. The firm was paid $4.5 million last year" for lobbying the federal government. [Bloomberg, 6/7/07]
Obama's presidential campaign has received $2,812,336 from firms that employ registered federal lobbyists. [fec.gov]
Obama has taken $405,747 from the Pharmaceutical industry. [opensecrets.org]
Obama has received $1,185,937 from the Commercial Banking industry. [opensecrets.org]
Obama has received over six million dollars from the Securities & Investment industry. [opensecrets.org]
Obama has taken $608,822 from the Insurance industry. [opensecrets.org]
Obama has taken $168,584 from the Mortgage Banking industry. [opensecrets.org]
Prior to His Presidential Campaign, Sen. Obama took Money from Lobbyists and PACs
1996-2004: $296,000 of the $461,000 Sen. Obama raised as a state senator came from PACs, corporate contributions or unions. "But behind Obama's campaign rhetoric about taking on special interests lies a more complicated truth. A Globe review of Obama's campaign finance records shows that he collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and PACs as a state legislator in Illinois, a US senator, and a presidential aspirant. In Obama's eight years in the Illinois Senate, from 1996 to 2004, almost two-thirds of the money he raised for his campaigns -- $296,000 of $461,000 -- came from PACs, corporate contributions, or unions, according to Illinois Board of Elections records. He tapped financial services firms, real estate developers, healthcare providers, oil companies, and many other corporate interests, the records show." [Boston Globe, 8/9/07]
In his 2004 U.S. Senate race, Sen. Obama raised $128,000 from lobbyists and $1.3 million from PACs. "Obama's US Senate campaign committee, starting with his successful run in 2004, has collected $128,000 from lobbyists and $1.3 million from PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit organization that tracks money in politics. His $1.3 million from PACs represents 8 percent of what he has raised overall." [Boston Globe, 8/9/07]
21 Apr 2008 @ 09:34 by jazzolog : Spammed Again
I guess there is a certain honor in getting selected by this anonymous poster. A Google search of "Janet Reno" with Halliburton reveals this same comment is showing up all over the place. "Her" machine is identified at ultraconservative C. Edmund Wright's site too. http://www.hold-your-nose.com/contributor/1852728 All the links above connect to www.halliburtonwatch.org which is a project of the Center For Corporate Policy which previously "applauded Senators Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Barack Obama (D- Ill.) today for introducing the Accountability in Contracting Act of 2006, which would crack down on cronyism, corruption and war profiteering associated with federal contracting. 'Federal contracting is a key chapter in the ongoing saga of corruption that starts on K Street and ends up undermining democracy at home and abroad,' said Charlie Cray, director of the Center for Corporate Policy." http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5554/is_200603/ai_n21866787 Charlie has been praised at HuffingtonPost, Alternet and Tom Paine. So if Janet likes Charlie and Charlie liked Obama, has something happened to bring on her current unhappiness?
2 May 2008 @ 10:48 by maxtobin : Sunny Daze
Sound like you folk are having fun with the deck chairs on the good ship Titanic
But don't panic; it don't much matter. The universal plan has other arrangements that you may align with when you are ready.
As our good friend Vax would say same ol' same ol' guys.
But good to see you are still breathing in an out.
It all looks different from a distance.
2 May 2008 @ 17:47 by jazzolog : How's The Sun In Auckland?
I always worry Yank ozone depletion is really hurting you guys...speaking of same old same old. The good news is the Titanic has much brighter prospects these daze: no more icebergs. Bon voyage! Great to hear from you Max.
6 Jun 2008 @ 15:34 by jazzolog : The Dream Today
6 Jun 2008 @ 15:52 by Quinty @184.108.40.206 : The other day marked
forty years since RFK was murdered.
Bobby and Barack
by Tom Hayden
For one who has experienced both eras, the current movement for Barack Obama has achieved a living remembrance of Bobby Kennedy's campaign in the week when RFK's murder is painfully remembered.
On June 4, 1968, I watched from a New York townhouse the murder of a second Kennedy in five years. Martin Luther King already was gone, Vietnam and our cities were burning. I was in the midst of chaotic planning for anti-war demonstrations at the Democratic Convention coming in August.
I drifted off with friends to St. Patrick's Cathedral where Kennedy staffers let us through the doors late at night. After sitting a while in silence, I found myself as a member of a makeshift honor guard standing next to his simple coffin. I was wearing a green Cuban hat and weeping. The last political hope of the Sixties vision -- a movement-driven progressive government -- was finished, whether by chance or plot, it mattered little. The violence I had resisted under white racism in the South was seeping into my veins. Like many who took their rage even farther, I was hardening, and never dared again to recover my young idealism.
"Dad, don't you recognize anything of yourself in this movement?", asked an angry email from my son Troy, nearly forty years later. He was working 24/7 with his [now] wife Simone, for Barack Obama, spreading the boundless energy of the young and an artist's flair for silk-screens. How could I share your giddy utopianism, I wanted to respond, after the murders of the Sixties icons -- John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, all of whom I had known as a young man? If those killings were not enough, we suffered the Nixon and Reagan eras of counter-revolution aimed at what our generation had achieved. Then the war and sanctions and war again for control of the Persian Gulf. During the coming decades, I was limited every day by the sordid realities, as well as the occasional modest achievements, of electoral politics.
I didn't see him coming. When I heard of the young state senator with a background in community organizing who wanted to be president, I was at least sentient enough to be interested. When I read Dreams of My Father, I was taken aback by its depth. This young man apparently gave his first public speech, against South African apartheid, at an Occidental College rally organized by Students for Economic Democracy, the student branch of the Campaign for Economic Democracy [CED] which I chaired in 1979-82. The buds of curiosity quickened. Soon I was receiving emails from David Peck, an organizer of the Occidental rally, who now is coordinating Americans in Spain for Barack Obama.
One of Bobby Kennedy's qualities, or perhaps it was a quality of the times, was an easy and growing familiarity with the New Left. He evolved from 1961 to 1963 from viewing the Freedom Riders as a dangerous nuisance to a prophetic minority. By 1967, he even wanted to copy SDS community organizing projects -- a forerunner of Barack Obama's path -- as a template for a national war on poverty.
He had a talent for engaging outsiders while trying to remain presidential. When Staughton Lynd and I met with him in late 1967, we sparred with RFK over his still-forming position on the madness of Vietnam. He mocked the Vietnamese communist position on free elections, for example, but realized there was no answer to the evidence that Ho Chi Minh would have won 80 percent of the national vote in 1956 -- in elections which France and the United States prevented. He wanted to be the anti-war candidate, but hoped for peace through negotiations, not a unilateral withdrawal. Yet his thoughts seemed free-floating, driven by curiosity.
I sensed there was no fixed version of Robert Kennedy. He was evolving, improvising, feeling his way, from former counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, to his brother's attorney general, to a dissenter from the Democratic establishment...It was unclear where he was headed, perhaps even to himself, but it was my sense that he was on some deep level, astonishingly, on our side.
For this intuition I was sharply criticized from all directions. FBI memos suggested that I was a Kennedy "agent" in the movement, though our formal positions were quite different. Many in the revolutionized [and fragmenting] SDS held the same suspicions. The Yippies considered calling off the Chicago protests for fear that Bobby Kennedy might co-opt them with his lengthening hair. The McCarthy volunteers were livid that he was stealing their dream.
But he was the only one who could bridge the chasm between the traditional Democrats and the disaffected young, the striking farmworkers, the rebellious blacks, even the utterly disenfranchised native Americans. I learned from that experience that, like it or not, a charismatic and willing candidate, not just a linear program, is needed to mold a diverse majority.
So it was with great interest that I attended a Robert Kennedy human rights event in Washington early last year, featuring Barack Obama as the honored speaker. I sat in a small audience that included Sen. Ted Kennedy, Bobby's widow Ethel, and several of her grown sons and daughters. Obama's written remarks were heartfelt, thoughtful, but not especially inspiring, at least as I recall. What struck me was how enthralled the Kennedys were, especially Ethel. He definitely was the one they had been waiting for.
There are vast differences between Bobby Kennedy and Barack Obama, owing to circumstance, though both have followed hero's journeys of the classic sort. Kennedy was shaped by his brother's murder and the climate of his times, which drove all but the most robotic towards alienation. Barack is a product of globalization, immigration, even slavery, but nonetheless a privileged inheritor of the movements for which Bobby Kennedy stood. Both have believed, with Camus, that greatness lies in touching and uniting both ends of the arc of experience. Both were painfully cautious in formulating policy positions that seemed to placate everyone while leaving little solid ground for their core beliefs. It was hard to believe this was their Way, not just calculated opportunism.
My hopes for Robert Kennedy might have been dashed by his subsequent policies if he had lived to be president, but I don't think so. The best evidence is the progressive course consistently pursued by those closest to him, Ethel and Ted Kennedy, to this day. It is hard to imagine him abandoning all those poor people, fervent anti-war activists, and early environmentalists who swarmed his rallies -- and who, like the farmworkers, carried him to victory on the ground in California.
The most impressive parallel between Bobby and Barack is the reappearance of a unified African-American community along with an inspired new generation of activists and voters. Win or lose, the Obama movement will shape progressive politics, and our racial climate, for a generation to come.
Those who denounce Obama -- and the possibilities of all electoral politics- - should ponder the effectiveness of sitting judgmentally on the sidelines while an Unexpected Future arrives through the sheer will of a new generation. They should consider whether politics and history can be reduced to a fixed determinism that is endlessly repeated, as if there are no surprises. We can have our differences with Obama's specific policies, as I certainly do, but those should be measured against the prospect that a movement might transform him even as his very rise continues to transform the rest of us.
6 Jun 2008 @ 17:22 by jazzolog : The Country Has A Chance
to redeem itself. I do not use the term redemption lightly.
6 Jun 2008 @ 23:23 by Quinty @220.127.116.11 : No doubt
And our country could use a great deal of redeeming....
Regarding the empire and war
Regarding the environment and great corporate power and greed
Regarding Latin America (our pond.)
Regarding the most needy and vulnerable among us
Regarding the legacy of slavery we continue to ignore (as evinced by the widespread reaction to Reverend Wright.)
Regarding our view of ourselves as somehow special and chosen....
(Though Obama's speech to AIPAC wasn't too encouraging. Can we on faith hope that when he's president he will work for Palestinian rights? Can we ignore this snub? His fawning talk is easy enough to rationalize away: since all politicians genuflect before AIPAC. But is that good enough? Did he really have to promise the whole of Jerusalem to Israel? Can that be seen as a crude attempt at bribery? Oh yes, Obama is a politician, to the tips of his fingers. And that's good. But who will he work for? I still think it will be for us. But how much compromise, how detached from himself can he become before he too becomes corrupt? Loses his instinct for the right?
I see now Jewish Voice for Peace has a petition.....
Dear Senators Obama and McCain,
We were disturbed by your remarks at the AIPAC conference. We implore you to respect internationally recognized Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem, to hold not just Hamas but also Israel accountable for its use of weapons against civilian populations, and to supporting including Hamas in negotiations. We believe that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve to live in safe and secure societies. Please commit to working for justice and peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.
To sign go to....
10 Jun 2008 @ 18:09 by Quinty @18.104.22.168 : More on Obama's AIPAC speech
The following arrived today from Jewish Peace News.
(I agree with the critics of the article and think that rather than share a "pioneering" spirit, as Avnari contends, the Israel lobby has instilled over the years such a powerful sense of guilt and fear in Americans politicians that few are willing to dissent. That the “anti Semitism” tar is lethal. And combine that with a general American sense of superiority over Arabs the power of the lobby has been allowed to grow. But one thing for sure: Obama’s promise of giving Jerusalem whole to Israel is a very, very bad sign. And the odor of “politics as usual” reeks high. Nor is it a step toward peace in the Middle East. Quinty.)
Here’s what came in from Jewish Peace News this morning.
In his weekly column for Gush Shalom, veteran Israeli activist and commentator
Uri Avnery wonders why Barack Obama should have given a speech at the AIPAC
conference that, as Avneri describes it, “broke all records for obsequiousness
and fawning”; in particular, he revived support for a refusal of Palestinian
sovereignty over Haram-al-Sharif /the Temple Mount.
It certainly seems to be a fact that practically every politician in the US
feels the need not to make an enemy of AIPAC. And that this feeling seems
justified by the apparent ease with which AIPAC has unseated candidates who,
like Maxine Walters, have displeased it. But why should this be? Avnery
considers the Mearsheimer and Walt thesis, which points simply to the power and
efficacy of the Israel lobby. He rightly detects some inconsistency there: after
all corporate lobbies are just as well funded, but do not seem to attain the
same identification of official US policy with their interests that AIPAC
Avnery instead suggests that there is a kind of psychic bind between the two
countries because they are both settler states that displaced their native
populations. This is certainly an interesting speculation, although it is
probably right to be dubious about inferring foreign policy outcomes (like US
support for Israel) from generalizations about national psyches. For one thing
this covers over another quite plausible explanation: US elites already support
a militarized and aggressive Israeli state as an instrument of their policy in
West Asia, and this prior identification is the underlying reason why AIPAC is
so successful: AIPAC is lobbying the government and telling it what it already
wants to hear. One of the consequences of that success (at least on AIPAC’s
terms) is that the ‘change’ candidate in the US election may be just
more ‘business as usual’.
Lincoln Shensky adds:
Avnery does not mention some of the important context of Sen. Obama's comments:
Obama was recently pilloried in Israel as an "appeaser" of terrorists by
President Bush; meanwhile, Sen. Joe Lieberman has already, it seems, thrown his
political weight behind John McCain's candidacy. In short, Obama is facing a
real problem appealing to Jewish voters, Jewish donors, and conservative (even
if Democratic) Israel supporters in general, and he rightly has his eye on the
domestic electoral ball. Whatever the reasons for the ongoing US support of
Israel's destructive hardline approach to the Palestinians (both Uri Avnery and
JPN's Alistair Welchman make compelling cases for this synergy for different
reasons), it is by no means clear that Obama's comments bear a reliable relation
to what he would do if elected. And we can hardly be surprised by this, given
the conspicuous track record of recent US presidents. Obama aims, above all, to
get elected, and evaluating his comments about Israel and
Palestine from within the politics of the region mistakes his purposes. His
comments need not, indeed should not, be seen as a simple roadmap of an Obama
Administration's future foreign policy.
Joel Beinin adds:
Perhaps it's worth remembering that after a president gets elected once, he is
then interested in getting re-elected. So if Obama thinks he has to (and
perhaps he has to) do this to get elected, and if he is willing to do it, it
indicates a either a streak of opportunism a mile wide or a strong degree of
agreement with what he is saying. This doesn't make him any worse than any other
candidate I'd be willing to vote for in this election (i.e. any Democrat). But
it doesn't make him different or better, or a personal exemplar of the "change"
he claims to advocate. It's worth remembering that Obama's personal hero is
JFK, who sold Hawk missiles to Israel to retain the Jewish vote, launched the
Bay of Pigs invasion, threatened to attack China over Quemoy and Matsu, and sent
"advisors" to Vietnam. In short, there is a long history of this kind of
politics in the US. It used to be called "Cold War liberalism." Now we need a
Judith Norman and Racheli Gai add:
Jon Stewart had a hilarious and characteristically irreverent take on the
candidates' fawning attitudes to AIPAC on the Daily Show. Without endorsing
Stewart's particular opinion on the issue (or his questionable choice of terms),
it is worth noting how remarkably blunt he is in his criticisms. Following the
great tradition that only the jester can tell the truth to the king, it seems
that only the comedian can criticize AIPAC in the mainstream media. But it is
unclear whether the comedic form serves to neutralize and defuse the criticism,
or whether it acts as a sort of Trojan horse for getting the criticisms aired at
The clip from the Daily Show is at:
No, I Can't!
AFTER MONTHS of a tough and bitter race, a merciless struggle, Barack Obama has
defeated his formidable opponent, Hillary Clinton. He has wrought a miracle: for
the first time in history a black person has become a credible candidate for the
presidency of the most powerful country in the world.
And what was the first thing he did after his astounding victory? He ran to the
conference of the Israel lobby, AIPAC, and made a speech that broke all records
for obsequiousness and fawning.
That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked.
IT WAS a triumphalist conference. Even this powerful organization had never seen
anything like it. 7000 Jewish functionaries from all over the United States came
together to accept the obeisance of the entire Washington elite, which came to
kowtow at their feet. All the three presidential hopefuls made speeches, trying
to outdo each other in flattery. 300 Senators and Members of Congress crowded
the hallways. Everybody who wants to be elected or reelected to any office,
indeed everybody who has any political ambitions at all, came to see and be
The Washington of AIPAC is like the Constantinople of the Byzantine emperors in
its heyday. The world looked on and was filled with wonderment. The Israeli
media were ecstatic. In all the world's capitals the events were followed
closely and conclusions were drawn. All the Arab media reported on them
extensively. Aljazeera devoted an hour to a discussion of the phenomenon.
The most extreme conclusions of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
were confirmed in their entirety. On the eve of their visit to Israel, this
coming Thursday, the Israel Lobby stood at the center of political life in the
US and the world at large.
WHY, ACTUALLY? Why do the candidates for the American presidency believe that
the Israel lobby is so absolutely essential to their being elected?
The Jewish votes are important, of course, especially in several swing states
which may decide the outcome. But African-Americans have more votes, and so do
the Hispanics. Obama has brought to the political scene millions of new young
voters. Numerically, the Arab-Muslim community in the US is also not an
Some say that Jewish money speaks. The Jews are rich. Perhaps they donate more
than others for political causes. But the myth about all-powerful Jewish money
has an anti-Semitic ring. After all, other lobbies, and most decidedly the huge
multinational corporations, have given considerable sums of money to Obama (as
well as to his opponents). And Obama himself has proudly announced that hundreds
of thousands of ordinary citizens have sent him small donations, which have
amounted to tens of millions.
True, it has been proven that the Jewish lobby can almost always block the
election of a senator or a member of Congress who does not dance - and do so
with fervor - to the Israeli tune. In some exemplary cases (which were indeed
meant to be seen as examples) the lobby has defeated popular politicians by
lending its political and financial clout to the election campaign of a
practically unknown rival.
But in a presidential race?
THE TRANSPARENT fawning of Obama on the Israel lobby stands out more than
similar efforts by the other candidates.
Why? Because his dizzying success in the primaries was entirely due to his
promise to bring about a change, to put an end to the rotten practices of
Washington and to replace the old cynics with a young, brave person who does not
compromise his principles.
And lo and behold, the very first thing he does after securing the nomination of
his party is to compromise his principles. And how!
The outstanding thing that distinguishes him from both Hillary Clinton and John
McCain is his uncompromising opposition to the war in Iraq from the very first
moment. That was courageous. That was unpopular. That was totally opposed to the
Israel lobby, all of whose branches were fervidly pushing George Bush to start
the war that freed Israel from a hostile regime.
And here comes Obama to crawl in the dust at the feet of AIPAC and go out of his
way to justify a policy that completely negates his own ideas.
OK he promises to safeguard Israel's security at any cost. That is usual. OK he
threatens darkly against Iran, even though he promised to meet their leaders and
settle all problems peacefully. OK he promised to bring back our three captured
soldiers (believing, mistakenly, that all three are held by Hizbullah - an error
that shows, by the way, how sketchy is his knowledge of our affairs.)
But his declaration about Jerusalem breaks all bounds. It is no exaggeration to
call it scandalous.
NO PALESTINIAN, no Arab, no Muslim will make peace with Israel if the
Haram-al-Sharif compound (also called the Temple Mount), one of the three
holiest places of Islam and the most outstanding symbol of Palestinian
nationalism, is not transferred to Palestinian sovereignty. That is one of the
core issues of the conflict.
On that very issue, the Camp David conference of 2000 broke up, even though the
then Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, was willing to divide Jerusalem in some manner.
Along comes Obama and retrieves from the junkyard the outworn slogan "Undivided
Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel for all Eternity". Since Camp David, all
Israeli governments have understood that this mantra constitutes an
insurmountable obstacle to any peace process. It has disappeared - quietly,
almost secretly - from the arsenal of official slogans. Only the Israeli (and
American-Jewish) Right sticks to it, and for the same reason: to smother at
birth any chance for a peace that would necessitate the dismantling of the
In prior US presidential races, the pandering candidates thought that it was
enough to promise that the US embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
After being elected, not one of the candidates ever did anything about this
promise. All were persuaded by the State Department that it would harm basic
Obama went much further. Quite possibly, this was only lip service and he was
telling himself: OK, I must say this in order to get elected. After that, God is
But even so the fact cannot be ignored: the fear of AIPAC is so terrible, that
even this candidate, who promises change in all matters, does not dare. In this
matter he accepts the worst old-style Washington routine. He is prepared to
sacrifice the most basic American interests. After all, the US has a vital
interest in achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace that will allow it to find
ways to the hearts of the Arab masses from Iraq to Morocco. Obama has harmed his
image in the Muslim world and mortgaged his future - if and when he is elected
SIXTY FIVE years ago, American Jewry stood by helplessly while Nazi Germany
exterminated their brothers and sisters in Europe. They were unable to prevail
on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to do anything significant to stop the
Holocaust. (And at that same time, many Afro-Americans did not dare to go near
the polling stations for fear of dogs being set on them.)
What has caused the dizzying ascent to power of the American Jewish
establishment? Organizational talent? Money? Climbing the social ladder? Shame
for their lack of zeal during the Holocaust?
The more I think about this wondrous phenomenon, the stronger becomes my
conviction (about which I have already written in the past) that what really
matters is the similarity between the American enterprise and the Zionist one,
both in the spiritual and the practical sphere. Israel is a small America, the
USA is a huge Israel.
The Mayflower passengers, much as the Zionists of the first and second aliya
(immigration wave), fled from Europe, carrying in their hearts a messianic
vision, either religious or utopian. (True, the early Zionists were mostly
atheists, but religious traditions had a powerful influence on their vision.)
The founders of American society were "pilgrims", the Zionists immigrants called
themselves "olim" - short for olim beregel, pilgrims. Both sailed to a "promised
land", believing themselves to be God's chosen people.
Both suffered a great deal in their new country. Both saw themselves as
"pioneers", who make the wilderness bloom, a "people without land in a land
without people". Both completely ignored the rights of the indigenous people,
whom they considered sub-human savages and murderers. Both saw the natural
resistance of the local peoples as evidence of their innate murderous character,
which justified even the worst atrocities. Both expelled the natives and took
possession of their land as the most natural thing to do, settling on every hill
and under every tree, with one hand on the plow and the Bible in the other.
True, Israel did not commit anything approaching the genocide performed against
the Native Americans, nor anything like the slavery that persisted for many
generations in the US. But since the Americans have repressed these atrocities
in their consciousness, there is nothing to prevent them from comparing
themselves to the Israelis. It seems that in the unconscious mind of both
nations there is a ferment of suppressed guilt feelings that express themselves
in the denial of their past misdeeds, in aggressiveness and the worship of
HOW IS it that a man like Obama, the son of an African father, identifies so
completely with the actions of former generations of American whites? It shows
again the power of a myth to become rooted in the consciousness of a person, so
that he identifies 100% with the imagined national narrative. To this may be
added the unconscious urge to belong to the victors, if possible.
Therefore, I do not accept without reservation the speculation: "Well, he must
talk like this in order to get elected. Once in the White House, he will return
I am not so sure about that. It may well turn out that these things have a
surprisingly strong hold on his mental world.
Of one thing I am certain: Obama's declarations at the AIPAC conference are
very, very bad for peace. And what is bad for peace is bad for Israel, bad for
the world and bad for the Palestinian people.
If he sticks to them, once elected, he will be obliged to say, as far as peace
between the two peoples of this country is concerned: "No, I can't!"
25 Jun 2008 @ 13:33 by jazzolog : Maureen Takes Down Rove---Flat
I love Maureen Dowd's column this morning. It's about time somebody tore into this scumbag...and her rage is just perfect for it~~~
The New York Times
June 25, 2008
More Phony Myths
By MAUREEN DOWD
Karl Rove was impressed with Barack Obama when he first met him. But now he sees him as a “coolly arrogant” elitist.
This was Rove’s take on Obama to Republicans at the Capitol Hill Club Monday, according to Christianne Klein of ABC News:
“Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”
Actually, that sounds more like W.
The cheap populism is really rich coming from Karl Rove. When was the last time he kicked back with a corncob pipe to watch professional wrestling?
Rove is trying to spin his myths, as he used to do with such devastating effect, but it won’t work this time. The absurd spectacle of rich white conservatives trying to paint Obama as a watercress sandwich with the crust cut off seems ugly and fake.
Obama can be aloof and dismissive at times, and he’s certainly self-regarding, carrying the aura of the Ivy faculty club. But isn’t that better than the aura of the country clubs that tried to keep out blacks? It’s ironic, and maybe inevitable, that the first African-American nominee comes across as a prince of privilege. He is, as Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic wrote, not the seed but the flower of the civil rights movement.
Unlike W., Obama doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder and he doesn’t make a lot of snarky remarks. He tries to stay on a positive keel and see things from the other person’s point of view.
He’s not Richie Rich, saved time and again by Daddy’s influence and Daddy’s friends, the one who got waved into Yale and Harvard and cushy business deals, who drank too much and snickered at the intellectuals and gave them snide nicknames.
Obama is the outsider who never really knew his dad and who grew up in modest circumstances, the kid who had to work hard to charm whites and build a life with blacks and step up to the smarty-pants set.
He might be smoking, but it would be at a cafe, hunched over a New York Times, an Atlantic magazine, his MacBook and some organic fruit-flavored tea, listening to Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks” on his iPod.
Rove was doing a variation on the old William Buckley line: “I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone book than by the 2,000 members of the Harvard faculty.”
Conservatives love playing this little game, acting as if the “elite” Democratic candidates are not in touch with people like themselves, even though the guys doing the attacking — like Rove, Limbaugh, O’Reilly and Hannity — are wealthy and cosseted.
Haven’t we had enough of this hypocritical comedy of people in the elite disowning their social status for political purposes? The Bushes had to move all the way to Texas from Greenwich to make their blue blood appear more red.
Everyone who ever became president was in the elite one way or another, including Andrew Jackson.
Rove and Co. are nervous because they see that Obama, in rejecting public financing, is not going to be a chump, like some past Democratic candidates.
For some of Obama’s critics, it’s a breathtaking bit of fungible principles, as though Gandhi suddenly donned a Dolce & Gabbana, or Dolce & Mahatma, loincloth.
But even as the Republicans limn him as John Kerry, as someone who is too haughty and too “foreign,” Obama is determined not to repeat what Kerry thinks was a big mistake: not having enough money to compete against the Republicans in 2004.
Charlie Black crassly argued in Fortune that a terrorist attack would “be a big advantage” for John McCain. And what’s scary is, Black is the smartest adviser McCain’s got.
It’s hard to believe that if Americans get attacked after all these years of getting strip-searched at the airport, they’re going to be filled with confidence at the performance of the Republicans on national security. And at least Obama wants to catch Osama and doesn’t think he’s getting his directions on war from “a higher Father.”
Rove’s mythmaking about Obama won’t fly. If he means that Obama has brains, what’s wrong with that? If he means that Obama is successful, what’s wrong with that? If he means that Obama has education and intellectual sophistication, what’s wrong with that?
Many of Obama’s traits are the traits that people in the population aspire to.
It looks as if Rove is on the verge of realizing his dream of creating a permanent position for the Republicans.
Unfortunately for him, it’s in the minority.
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
25 Jun 2008 @ 16:18 by quinty : Contrast
Obama with GWB.
I think that contrast has been one of Obama's strongest appeals. After seven years of the "smirking chimp" lying, giggling, ridiculously stumbling and embarrassing us, along comes Obama who's dignified, thoughtful and cool in his manner. Obama has brought dignity back to politics. And if he becomes president will at least be someone we can respect. Europe, as we know, has gone nuts over him.
Nor has Obama had to perfect his power walk. Remember that? How GW practiced once in office to create that manly CEO (Texas style) walk of his? Even there Obama displays a natural grace and, yes, the authority of a man who wears power like a glove. One can easily see him agile and domineering on the basketball court. Whereas GWB comes across as the snide one complacently snuggling up to the country club bar, offering his demeaning nicknames.
But let's see how Obama votes on FISA this afternoon. Is he dumping the progressives in his party to appeal to those same people who would react favorably to Rove's words? For whom displays of intelligence or of any natural superiority are a mark of "elitism?" Who will always cling to the view of Barrack as the dark skinned Muslim with un-American attitudes? A black Chicagoan who hates their view of America and whites? (And why doesn't Barrack knock that one on the head too? All he has to do is point out that, yes, he's a Christian, and that, no, he's not a "Muslim terrorist." Emphasizing terrorist. And ridicule the idea with his easy wit. He doesn't have to merely deny being a Muslim - so that he won't unnecessarily p'o that group too.)
But what Obama does this afternoon worries me. Let’s not forget, a few months ago he threatened to filibuster the FISA bill if it allowed the telecoms off the hook. There is much bad about that bill and if Barrack votes for it it will be a very very bad sign.
5 Jul 2008 @ 17:43 by Quinty @22.214.171.124 : Tom Hayden reconsiders
Here's what Tom Hayden is saying now since Obama has shifted toward the center/right.
No Retreat: If you Want to Win, Stop the War! Barack at Risk
stumble digg reddit del.ico.us news trust
Posted July 4, 2008 | 05:18 PM (EST)
by Tom Hayden
Call him slippery or nuanced, Barack Obama's core position on Iraq has always been more ambiguous than audacious. Now it is catching up with him as his latest remarks are questioned by the Republicans, the mainstream media, and the antiwar movement. He could put his candidacy at risk if his audacity continues to shrivel.
I first endorsed Obama because of the nature of the movement supporting him, not his particular stands on issues. The excitement among African-Americans and young people, the audacity of their hope, still holds the promise of a new era of social activism. The force of their rising expectations, I believe, could pressure a President Obama in a progressive direction and also energize a new wave of social movements.
And of course, there is the need to end the Republican reign that began with a stolen election followed by eight years of war and torture, corporate gouging, environmental decay, domestic spying and right-wing court appointments, just in case we forget who Obama is running against.
Besides the transforming nature of an African-American presidency, the issue that matters most to me is achieving a peaceful settlement of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and preventing American escalations in Iran and Latin America. From the beginning, Obama's symbolic 2002 position on Iraq has been very promising, reinforced again and again by his campaign pledge to "end the war" in 2009.
But that pledge also has been laced with loopholes all along, caveats that the mainstream media and his opponents [excepting Bill Richardson] have ignored or avoided until now. As I pointed out in Ending the War in Iraq , Obama's 2002 speech opposed the coming war with Iraq as "dumb", while avoiding what position he would take once the war was underway. Then he wrote of almost changing his position from anti- to pro-war after a trip to Iraq. He never took as forthright a position as Senator Russ Feingold, among others. Then he adopted the safe, nonpartisan formula of the Baker-Hamilton Study Group, which advocated the withdrawal of combat troops while leaving thousands of American counter-terrorism units, advisers and trainers behind.
That would mean at least 50,000 Americans, including back up forces, engaged in counter-insurgency after the withdrawal of combat troops, a contradiction the media and Hillary Clinton failed to explore in the primary debates. To his credit, Obama said that these American units would not become caught up in a lengthy sectarian civil war, leaving the question of their role unanswered.
The most shocking aspect of Samantha Powers' forced resignation earlier this year was not that she called Hillary Clinton a "monster" off-camera, but that she flatly stated that Obama would review his whole position on Iraq once becoming president. Again, no one in the media or rival campaigns questioned whether this assertion by Powers was true. Since Obama credited Powers with helping for months in writing his book, The Audacity of Hope, her comments on his inner thinking should have been pounced upon by the pundits.
Finally, it has taken the pressure of the general election to raise questions about whether his parsed and lawyerly language is empty of credible meaning. Consider carefully his July 4 statements:
The first one, promising a "thorough reassessment" of his Iraq position later this summer:
"I've always said that the pace of our withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability" -- two conditions that could justify leaving American troops in combat indefinitely. "And when I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I'm sure I'll have more information and will continue to refine my policies" -- another loophole which could allow the war to drag on.
Then there came the later "clarification":
"Let me be as clear as I can be" [not, "let me be absolutely clear"].
"I intend to end this war." [intention only].
"My first day in office I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war -- responsibly, deliberately, but decisively." [ Sounds positive, but "decisively" can mean by military threat in the worst case. And it's pure theatre, borrowed from Clinton, since the plans most likely will be drafted and finalized immediately after the November election.]
"And I have seen no information that contradicts the notion that we can bring our troops out safely at a pace of one or two brigades a month..." [but what if the military commanders on the ground assert that it is too dangerous to pull out those troops?]
Obama's position, which always left a trail of unasked questions, now plants a seed of doubt, justifiably, among the peace bloc of American voters who harbor a legacy of betrayals beginning with Lyndon Johnson's 1064 pledge of "no wider war" through Richard Nixon's "secret plan for peace" to Ronald Reagan's Iran-Contra scandal and the deep complicity of Democrats in the evolution of the Iraq War.
It is difficult to understand Obama's motivation. Perhaps it is his lifetime success at straddling positions and disarming potential opponents. Perhaps it is a lawyer's training. Perhaps being surrounded by national security advisers who oppose what they call "precipitous withdrawal", and pragmatic Democrats distinctly uncomfortable with their antiwar roots.
What is clear is that Obama is responsive to pressures from the grass-roots base of a party that is overwhelmingly in favor of a shorter timetable for withdrawal than his, and favoring diplomatic rather than military solutions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At a time that public interest in the war is receeding before economic concerns, it is time for the strongest possible reassertion of voter demands for peace.
The challenge for the peace and justice movement is to avoid falling into Republican divide-and-conquer traps while maintaining a powerful and independent presence in key electoral states, including Congressional battlegrounds, between now and November. There should be at the least:
- A demand that Obama talk to legitimate representatives of the peace movement, not simply hawkish national security advisers.
- A Democratic platform debate and plank that is unequivocal in pledging to end the war and avoid military escalation elsewhere.
- An energized antiwar voter education campaign that builds towards a clear November peace mandate to end the military occupation and shifr to political and diplomatic approraches.
- An organizational strategy to widen the base of the antiwar movement through the presidential campaign in preparation for a massive peace mobilization in early 2009.
Grass-roots people power is the only force that can keep alive the astute sense of pragmatism that led Obama to criticize the coming war in 2002. The stakes are higher now, and the enemies far more shrewd, wishing to rip asunder the Obama coalition. The peace movement assumption should be that there is no one in Obama's inner circle of advisers to be counted on, no mainstream columnist to catch his eye with a persuasive column favoring withdrawal. They never have. Only the voice of the peace voters - and the countless activists who have volunteered on his behalf - can command his attention now.
For more developments and analysis, see 'Progressives for Obama' at progressivesforobama.blogspot.com
Let's also see how his million and a half donor base reacts?
I suspect many who have given money to the Obama campaign hoped for more than he now promises. And that he may now feel the pinch if too many progressive, hopeful backers stop giving.
If Obama doesn't become more convincing, and more persuasive that he will end the war, then hold back. Don't give.
That's one way of getting their attention.
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