‘Obama has angered millions of blacks’


by Sunny
31st July, 2008 at 5:13 am    

So says Darcus Howe in this week’s New Statesman magazine. Erm, except that none of the polling shows that. If anything, he angered Jesse Jackson and that probably helped Obama with blacks and whites. Darcus Howe refers to Obama’s recent speech:

Obama missed a step, and let fly in a rhetorical flourish his hostility to absent black fathers as the major source of the pain and suffering of the black communities in the US. Hardly any attention directed, so far, to the racism heaped upon American blacks from slavery to this day, and which accounts for the ceaseless revolt of black people internationally. I suppose he is being cautious not to alienate the white vote.

This is nothing new in the national politics of America. Every modern president has played it this way. This tendency received intellectual legitimacy as far back as 1965 in the Daniel Moynihan report, which charged black men with the failure to create a black family. There was much condemnation of this report in the black community. Martin Luther King gave his partial support, saying: “Nothing is so much needed as a secure family life for a people to pull themselves out of poverty and backwardness.” But he offered criticism, too: “The fact is that problems will be attributed to innate Negro weaknesses and used to neglect and rationalise oppression.”

ML King had it right – that a secure family is important for the development of young kids. But opression in America against blacks has changed since his time, and Darcus Howe can’t keep talking about that era as if it still exists.

This is what frustrates me about old school writers on race – they play into the right-wing stereotype that minority groups (and lefties in general) play the victim card too much. This is exactly what Darcus Howe is doing and frankly there’s no reason to buy it.

As Lola Adesioye put it brilliantly when writing about the same incident (she blogs here):

The message espoused by Barack Obama – and others such as Bill Cosby, also heavily criticized for his views on the matter – is that no matter the external circumstances facing African-Americans, they always have the choice to do the right thing.

Advocates of black self-empowerment point out that during slavery and the civil rights era, when America was a patently racist society, black people still made great advancements. In Cosby’s book Come On People, he writes: “When restaurants, laundries, hotels, theatres, groceries, and clothing stores were segregated, black people opened and ran their own….” The message is that if African Americans could succeed then, they cannot now use racism as an excuse for not succeeding.

For African Americans much more so that ethnic minorities in the UK, racism does exist and there is way more segregation there. But that alone does not explain why there is such a high percentage of single parent black families. Admittedly, it does annoy me when people like Cameron desperately jump on the bandwagon to say they same when frankly they have no right to. Lester Holloway did a good takedown of Cameron then.

There are two other themes to this. The ‘uncle tom’ theme, that Darcus Howe is implying at both Obama and Shaun Bailey, and the ‘OMG he’s a just a right-wing neocon pretending to be a leftwinger!!‘ accusation that lefties have become far too fond of throwing at people. The Judean People’s Front thing.

There’s no need for it. Both Darcus Howe and his opponents like Anthony Browne, who feed off each other, annoy me. Does this mean I still refuse to tolerate any criticism of Obama? Possibly. I just haven’t seen any good criticism of him yet. Oh there’s this good article on Why Obama has better a better foreign policy than McCain.


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  1. digitalcntrl — on 31st July, 2008 at 6:26 am  

    Obama does not need to kowtow to the black vote. He has them merely by the virtue of being black (or more correctly being percieved to be black). That added to the fact in modern America blacks vote overwhelmingly democrat makes him a shoe in for this base. Obama is intelligently targeting voter bases that could go either way (e.g. white women, centrist democrats) by moderating some of his stances (e.g. Iraq).

    As for absent black fathers. There is a strong resistance to talking about this in the black community especially with white America because of the humiliation it causes. It is far easier to retreat into the mantra of racism then attempt to face these issues.

  2. Laban — on 31st July, 2008 at 9:36 am  

    I’d imagine Darcus Howe, as the father of seven children by four different mothers, is probably not the most neutral person on the issue of whether the problems of ‘the black community’ are caused by white racism or fatherless children. After all, if he accapts the Obama/Bill Cosby/Joseph Harker thesis that the fatherless family is now a bigger problem than white racism, then looking in the mirror each day’s going to be a bit of a problem for him.

    I’m not her greatest fan, but Joan Rivers had a point :

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article580451.ece

  3. Anas — on 31st July, 2008 at 10:39 am  

    Possibly. I just haven’t seen any good criticism of him yet.

    There’s been plenty. You’ve just ignored it, Sunny.

  4. Ravi Naik — on 31st July, 2008 at 11:51 am  

    For African Americans much more so that ethnic minorities in the UK, racism does exist and there is way more segregation there. But that alone does not explain why there is such a high percentage of single parent black families. Admittedly, it does annoy me when people like Cameron desperately jump on the bandwagon to say they same when frankly they have no right to.

    What? Are you saying that a white politician does not have the right to talk about black families? That’s rich. So, Obama does not have the right to talk about white families or even speak on their behalf?

    It is a pity that you are perpetuating the old mindset of whites vs minorities and each to their own… it is about time we transcend the politics of race. It is divisive and polarising.

  5. Mangles — on 31st July, 2008 at 12:57 pm  

    Agree with Ravi Naik its naive to suggest non-Blacks can’t comment on such issues- though Cameron’s intervention was blatantly opportunistic.

    I don’t understand why the issue of the absent ‘black’ fathers faces such hostility within the same community. The longer it takes for the issue to be dealt with, naturally the more problems the community will face and for a longer period. As horrid as the shared history of slavery is, the fact that a relatively new immigrant like Obama can be a favourite for the White House is a massive development for the politics of race which could have massive influence on many Western democracies. Regardless of the political messages Obama is or isn’t putting out, ultimately if the US was still stuck in the mud-pile of red-neck racism he wouldn’t have got anywhere near the White House. Similarly in UK many African and Caribbean women have excelled in their careers, despite being single parents, and we have many Black figures who are role models in Government and headed up the Union movement- these are big wins for all BME comms, and are often spearheaded by the black or A/C community.

    For Darcus Howe to criticise Obama for showing leadership and talking about a crucial issue, which ML King decades earlier perceived to be holding back the Black community, is regressive. Its about time all BME communities started talking solutions and not just trumpeting problems. Fathers taking their responsibilities in all communities for their children will go a long way in stemming the knife crime epidemic we have on our streets.It doesn’t matter how many mentoring or other pseudo father figures we create, until this crucial issue is tackled, the social problems created by absent fathers aren’t going to be wished away.

  6. Rumbold — on 31st July, 2008 at 1:51 pm  

    “Does this mean I still refuse to tolerate any criticism of Obama? Possibly. I just haven’t seen any good criticism of him yet.”

    What about his complete lack of mangerial experience? His failure to understand economics? Threatening to bomb Pakistan? Pandering to bigots by asking Muslims to not sit near him? Promising to accept government campaign funding as a sign of ‘clean politics’, then reversing that decision after realising he could get more money the old-fashioned way? His attempts to supress any dissent or satire (see the ‘New Yorker’ cartoon et al.)?

  7. Mezba — on 31st July, 2008 at 3:13 pm  

    Obama seems to be stuck in a catch-22. Too much swing one way and he will alienate either the white or the black voters. But I think he is doing OK so far.

  8. Mezba — on 31st July, 2008 at 3:19 pm  

    Obama actually threatened to bomb fugitives hiding in Pakistan if the Pakistani forces don’t do it – something actually in policy right now. He did not personally ban Muslims from sitting near him but some volunteers did – Obama called and personally apologized. He did not “suppress” dissent, he said he didn’t like it personally.

  9. Sunny — on 31st July, 2008 at 3:42 pm  

    Ravi – read the article I linked to by Lester Holloway.

    Rumbold, that really is laughable:

    What about his complete lack of mangerial experience?

    You mean like how he’s run a brilliant campaign and managed it way better than any of his opponents?

    His failure to understand economics?

    Examples? His understanding is better than his opponents.

    Threatening to bomb Pakistan?

    See Mezba.

    Pandering to bigots by asking Muslims to not sit near him?

    Not only was that his campaign team, and not him, but he personally called them after to apologise. Is that what a bigot would do?

    Promising to accept government campaign funding as a sign of ‘clean politics’, then reversing that decision after realising he could get more money the old-fashioned way?

    Its still cleaner than old politics since he said he wouldn’t accept money from lobby groups… his money comes from ordinary people. Are you telling me you’re now in favour of state funding for elections?

    His attempts to supress any dissent or satire (see the ‘New Yorker’ cartoon et al.)?

    Rubbish. He condemned it, and most people condemned that piece of “satire”. He didn’t want to suppress anything.

    C’mon, this is rather lame.

  10. The Common Humanist — on 31st July, 2008 at 4:01 pm  

    Rumbold,
    Are you Morgoth in disguise?

  11. Ravi Naik — on 31st July, 2008 at 4:22 pm  

    C’mon, this is rather lame.

    Indeed. Rumbold is usually better than that.

  12. shariq — on 31st July, 2008 at 5:23 pm  

    Excellent post Sunny. Darcus Howe seems to be what one would call a relic.

    Its important to remember that this was a father’s day speech. It was perfectly apt to speak about the negative impact that fatherless families have had. The only thing I would say as a critique is that white working class families in the UK have also had problems with family breakdown. If one looks at the stats compared to say Europe, economic policies definitely seem to have an impact on families.

    Also worth remembering that the father’s day speech is what conservatives wanted him to give when the Jeremiah Wright thing flared up. The fact that he didn’t and gave a very nuanced speech on race, including talking about the ‘original sin of slavery’ gives him a lot more credibility.

    Finally, as Ta Nehisi-Coates has said on his blog if Obama really wanted to be seen to be betraying blacks to white voters he would come out against Affirmative Action which as I’ve said before would win him the election in a landslide.

  13. Rumbold — on 31st July, 2008 at 5:41 pm  

    Sunny:

    You mean like how he’s run a brilliant campaign and managed it way better than any of his opponents?

    I don’t think that he has run the campaign- he has people to do it for him. The reason he does so well is because he is a good speaker, and the press like him. The press narrative around Obama is overwhelmingly favourable, and this simply becomes self-sustaining. You only have to look at this country to see how it works. A year ago Gordon Brown was the greatest leader since sliced bread, while David Cameron was out of his depth. Now Cameron gets no bad publicity while every day there is another bad story about Brown. Is it the case that Brown has gone from being amazing to useless, and Cameron the other way, or is because of the way in which the press cover a story- they hunt in packs.

    Has Barack Obama ever run a business, or anything like that?

    Examples? His understanding is better than his opponents.

    Attacking NAFTA (when it has benefited America), proposing to solve America’s massive financial problems solely by raising taxes on the rich (which presumes that they wouldn’t just move).

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/02/nafta_nonsense.html

    And strangely, as you are such an environmentalist, you don’t seem to mind him criticising the high price of gas (oil). And then there was this:

    He announced that he would support expanded funding for faith-based initiatives and hemmed and hawed when the Supreme Court overturned the District of Columbia’s gun ban. Neither of those should have been a surprise, given that he campaigned on a post-partisan platform. His decision to opt out of public financing was a more egregious flip-flop. But most of the netroots, who pride themselves on raising money for candidates, give him a pass on that one.
    The cruellest cut came on July 9th, when Mr Obama voted for a new Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This gives the executive new powers of warrantless wiretapping and provides retroactive immunity for telecoms companies that worked with the Bush administration to spy on Americans. During the primaries, he had promised to support a filibuster against such a provision.

    http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11792644
    The Pakistan gaffe was an example of how he has got the media in his pocket. When Goerge W. Bush forgot the name of the Pakistani leader (the then General Musharraf), who wasn’t as well known in the West pre-Septmember 11th, the clip was replayed endlessly as an example of his stupidly. When Obama threatens to bomb the territory of an ally (whether a good policy or not), it is quickly glossed over.

    Is that what a bigot would do?

    I didn’t call him a bigot, I said he was pandering to bigots. One way for politicians to deflect criticism is to let their staffers take the blame. A campaign team serves much the same function as ministers did in the days of monarchs. A minister would be blamed for a failed policy, even if it was the monarch’s idea, so that the monarch could continue to retain the goodwill of their people.

    Are you telling me you’re now in favour of state funding for elections?

    No, but don’t you think that a complete turn around in a person’s policy for non-moral reasons deserves some criticism?

    Rubbish. He condemned it, and most people condemned that piece of “satire”. He didn’t want to suppress anything.

    It was evidently satire, and he should have stood up for that. And what about this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/15/us/politics/15humor.html?fta=y

    I think that Obama is a good candidate. But he does have flaws, and to say that there has been no good criticism of him yet is just a bit silly. All candidates have flaws.

  14. El Cid — on 31st July, 2008 at 6:18 pm  

    Sunny, you seem to be all over the place these days.
    A recent post of yours tried to damn someone else who championed the importance of taking responsibility for your own actions.
    It made YOU come across like a racial relic.
    I am beginning to wonder if the WHO is saying it is more important to you than WHAT is said.
    What would you say if the BNP liked something Obama said? I’m sure Nick Griffin and Obama might agree, for example, on the importance of lollipop ladies.
    What’s going on?

  15. kELvi — on 31st July, 2008 at 6:39 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Linking to a rightwing-nut-screw-loose site is the best you can come up with to criticise Obama? Try something else. Obama is v.v.smart, radar-smoking-smart. He’s spent 12 years at the University of Chicago as a law professor and turned in superlative student ratings, from an acknowledged heavily “conservative” student body. He turned down a tenured position to run for politics. It is true that he has not come up to the presidential race with the quantity of experience many others have – no gubernatorial assignment, or veep, or a full term in Congress. That makes him simply unconventional not inexperienced. There have been worse before – Hint, pay heed to the press – and all that is required is to offer a complete plan of action or vision for the presidency. He has done that in spades, compared to his rival who with tonnes of experience admits to knowing nothing about the economy, confesses that he has never used a computer or surfed the web, and thinks Iraq borders Pakistan! That’s experience for you! And yeah, Obama did not manage his campaign, his managers did it for him. Churchill did not lead the nation in war, his generals, air marshals, and admirals did. Yeah, right!

  16. Sunny — on 31st July, 2008 at 6:49 pm  

    Rumbold,

    that can also be taken down easily:

    I don’t think that he has run the campaign- he has people to do it for him. The reason he does so well is because he is a good speaker, and the press like him.

    Yes, and choosing people is also a very important part of managing something. Being a good speaker has little to do with running a tight campaign that is on message, that made long term plans during the Primaries (and outmaneuvered Clinton) and has been notable for lack of leaks / backbiting. That is what good management is.

    Has Barack Obama ever run a business, or anything like that?

    Running a country is rather different to running a business. McCain hasn’t either, why don’t people challenge his competence? Obama has however been a community organiser, a promising intellectual and a state senator.

    Attacking NAFTA (when it has benefited America)

    That’s not what the people are saying (that its benefited them).

    proposing to solve America’s massive financial problems solely by raising taxes on the rich

    I know, taxing the rich is sooooooo last century. Lets tax the poor instead! Because they clearly can’t threaten to move country.

    And strangely, as you are such an environmentalist, you don’t seem to mind him criticising the high price of gas (oil). And then there was this:

    Eh? Rumbold you’re all over the place! His criticism around high energy prices is that we’re fucking up the Middle East, thats why it happens. And he’s committed everywhere for renewable energy. Look out for the endorsements and marks awarded to him by environmentalist groups.

    Why should I say anything about his faith based initiatives thing? He has always been pro-religion, that wasn’t a flip flop.

    I didn’t like his endorsements of FISA, but the guy would then be hammered on security by the right-wingers. Its a realpolitik decision and I support it.

    On Pakistan you say:
    When Obama threatens to bomb the territory of an ally (whether a good policy or not), it is quickly glossed over.

    What did he say exactly Rumbold? Copy and paste exactly what he said and then tell me what you disagree with. Don’t just repeat right-wing nonsense.

    No, but don’t you think that a complete turn around in a person’s policy for non-moral reasons deserves some criticism?

    There was no complete turnaround. his point on how the Republicans will fundraise endlessly and use that (in addition to McCain’s own funding) means that by forgoing state funding, he would be able to compete better.

    As for the media living him – that’s bollocks too. A recent study showed the media was far more favourable to McCain than Obama.

    It was evidently satire, and he should have stood up for that.

    Stood up for a bad piece of satire? Don’t think so mate. You don’t have to praise it, but thats hardly the same as suppressing it.

    You’re shooting blanks :)

  17. Sunny — on 31st July, 2008 at 6:51 pm  

    El Cid:
    A recent post of yours tried to damn someone else who championed the importance of taking responsibility for your own actions.
    It made YOU come across like a racial relic.
    I am beginning to wonder if the WHO is saying it is more important to you than WHAT is said.

    No, my point is that there is a wide space between Browne and Howe. People just want to pretend its either one or the other.

  18. Rumbold — on 31st July, 2008 at 7:59 pm  

    Kelvi:

    “Linking to a rightwing-nut-screw-loose site is the best you can come up with to criticise Obama?”

    I was linking to it to show that NAFTA hasn’t destroyed the American economy. I don’t know what the political bent of the site is.

    “Obama is v.v.smart, radar-smoking-smart. He’s spent 12 years at the University of Chicago as a law professor and turned in superlative student ratings.”

    I didn’t say he wasn’t intelligent. George W. Bush had a better GPA then John Kerry, but that doesn’t mean he was the better presidential candidate.

    “And yeah, Obama did not manage his campaign, his managers did it for him. Churchill did not lead the nation in war, his generals, air marshals, and admirals did. Yeah, right!”

    Are you telling me that it is Obama who arranges interviews, books venues, knocks on doors and so on? Saying he wasn’t running his campaign wasn’t a criticism, just a statement of the obvious. Winston Churchill led the nation in war, but he wasn’t the one who supervised troop deployments, or supplies etc.

    Sunny:

    “Yes, and choosing people is also a very important part of managing something.”

    Okay, I accept that, but that means that Obama was partially responsible for the purge of Muslims in the audience.

    “Running a country is rather different to running a business. McCain hasn’t either, why don’t people challenge his competence? Obama has however been a community organiser, a promising intellectual and a state senator.”

    John McCain’s experience or lack thereof is irrelevant to this discussion, which is about the refusal of the Obamists to accept any criticism of the chosen one. Running a business, while not a prerequisite to high office, does teach you some important things- like balancing budgets, not wasting money and so on.

    “I know, taxing the rich is sooooooo last century. Lets tax the poor instead! Because they clearly can’t threaten to move country.”

    How about cutting tax? I would much rather the rich were taxed then the poor, but the rich have the ability to move or avoid taxes, so it is very dangerous to base an entire spending programme, costing trillions of dollars over a period, on being able to tax the rich more. That shows an ignorance of the economic reality. The rich should pay higher taxes than the poor, but it usually doesn’t work out like that.

    “And he’s committed everywhere for renewable energy. Look out for the endorsements and marks awarded to him by environmentalist groups.”

    So why did he vote for massive subsidies for oil and gas companies in 2005? Perhaps Senator McCain has managed to change his mind since then.

    “I didn’t like his endorsements of FISA, but the guy would then be hammered on security by the right-wingers. Its a realpolitik decision and I support it.”

    So in other words you are operating a catch-22 situation. Whenever he says anything you like you praise him for it, and whenever he says anything you disagree with you say it is necessary to win the centre ground. Politicians do have to compromise some times, but that should still leave them open to criticism.

    “What did he say exactly Rumbold? Copy and paste exactly what he said and then tell me what you disagree with. Don’t just repeat right-wing nonsense.”

    From that well known right-wing site, the BBC:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6926663.stm

    “US presidential candidate Barack Obama has said he would use military force if necessary against al-Qaeda in Pakistan even without Pakistan’s consent.”

    (And in Obama’s own words):

    The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan…If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

    Again, the merits of such a policy are debatable, but don’t you think that it warrants any criticism? Is there anything Obama has said or done that you think is wrong?

    “As for the media living him – that’s bollocks too. A recent study showed the media was far more favourable to McCain than Obama.”

    Have you opened a newspaper recently?

    “Stood up for a bad piece of satire? Don’t think so mate. You don’t have to praise it, but thats hardly the same as suppressing it.”

    He didn’t have to praise it- he clearly knew it was satire, yet believed attacking it would bring him more support.

    “You’re shooting blanks.”

    Heh.

  19. sonia — on 31st July, 2008 at 9:10 pm  

    It is a pity that you are perpetuating the old mindset of whites vs minorities and each to their own… it is about time we transcend the politics of race. It is divisive and polarising.

    well said Ravi. why aren’t more people pointing to this?

    what is polarising (and frankly racist – harking back to pre-civil liberties days) is this constant reference to blacks and whites as if they are somehow completely separate and 2 distinct groups. ( ironic again given mr. obama is both and much more)

    blacks on one side of the bus! blacks not allowed to sit under the tree! only ‘whites’ are allowed under the tree! (ooh maybe they’ll have to let mixed people ride in the middle>!! or sit halfway under the tree.) ridiculous that no one else seems to see this, in particular these sycophantic ‘race’ commentators.

    (Oh WHat would Orwell have said, he would have had such a giggle, the Irony of it all)

    Frankly i find it disgusting because it highlights how race obsessed and divisive society is. “Whites” and Blacks indeed. Such racial absolutism – where does the right to self-define come in here? and a recognition that a person is not defined by race if they don’t want to be? “white” people are not allowed to say nigger, “black” people are./ why? because ‘your’ group means it bad, and mine doesn’t. That implies people think that people in ‘one group’ or the other think exactly the same – and, that i find, incredibly racist. no more no less than ‘blacks are stupid, blacks are criminal and sub-human, only fit for slavery etc. etc. Let’s treat them differently’.

    The only problem people seem to have with what they call ‘racism’ is that someone else said their race was superior, and really, it seems people all want their ‘race’ their ‘group’ to be superior. Not many people are questioning the basis of the discourse, simply that they want their race/group to be top dog!!

    Ridiculous how short-sighted and internalising of race it all is.

    Incredible how more people dont seem to spot it. Indians love this of course because we are so fond of dividing people up and refusing to see individuality, and fully convinced of the superiority of our own groups and the ‘badness’ of ‘mixing’ in. Yes it is all racism, race-ism. As long as people feel their ‘race/group’ isn’t bottom dog, they’re happy with it.

  20. sonia — on 31st July, 2008 at 9:13 pm  

    Anyway, back to Obama.

    Funny how no one seems to spot that the man has some dodgy Chicago School types for economic advisors. Where are these so-called differences between the so-called left and right? As far as I can see, he just seems to be lining up to the so-called Washington Consensus, and not too many people seem to be bothered.

    If it weren’t for the colour of his skin,…his views might seem less palatable.

  21. kELvi — on 31st July, 2008 at 9:19 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Since you are missing he finer points about NAFTA, you shd know that there is a perfectly logical case for criticising it. It has meant the shut down of large swathes of manufacturing in the heartland of the US. It is true. Any revival – take steel for e.g., – has happened only with the aid of stiff import tariffs.

    You didn’t say he isn’t intelligent or smart. I anticipated it and shut that down. And you should check your sources again, stay clear of the sub-75 IQ Townhall.com, Newsmax.com. RCP, Worldnetdaily.com etc., Bush’s GPA is unkown since it was redacted – but yes he had a 2 item arrest record that was waivered. Kerry at Yale was a standout debater, defeating a star team from Oxford that visited in his junior year. Kerry was discharged honorably as a decorated officer of the USN. We will not go into Bush’s record.

    OK. I take your point. Churchill did not arrange troop deployments etc., he simply led the nation in war. Obama doesn’t knock on doors or scan mailing lists or slug it out on the streets campaigning. He simply manages and leads a very well organised and unprecedented 50-state campaign.

    Who gave you the idea that Obama attempted to suppress the New Yorker? He definitely took offence at the caricature, as did everyone else, including McCain, except a few hacks here and there. This is a political campaign and it is but natural for the candidate and his supporters to issue rejoinders, correct the record, defend their position, anticipate any attack or misrepresentation. Especially in this case, where the NYker was caricaturing those who doubt Obama, it missed the possibility that the subject of the caricature – ie. the ones who do not know better who do not read NYker, only see its cover, would simply see this as conforming their opinion. More so because the ignorant few believe that the “liberal types” rallying around Obama actually celebrate such a lifestyle. That is why you won’t find a piece of xxxx-in-a-silk-stocking like “National Review” caricaturing McCain on its cover, as a Sugar Daddy, living it up with his moll, while popping pills. That rag knows that.

    If anything it is McCain who is the media darling. He’s appeared on Sunday TV and other news discussions 150 times in the last 10 years! This is a man who gets a free pass for his not so insignificant peccadillos, his wife’s acts of omission and commission – surprised?

    Cutting taxes? That’s such blatant skulduggery. Remember the tax cut of 8 years ago was announced at a time of record surplus. And these right wing ignoramuses have been touting it as the cure for everything since then, recession? cut taxes, deficit? cut taxes? need growth? cut taxes. And so on. The rich can move their money out of the country so you shdn’t tax them. The poor can’t so you shd tax them? Do you see the perversity of the logic?

  22. sonia — on 31st July, 2008 at 9:25 pm  

    anyway there is not much difference in politics or views between so-called left and right in the US of A. everyone believes in the same ideology and blind patriotism. thinks they want to lead the ‘most powerful country in the world’. (ha) no one understands the concept of the right to a free education, (no one even talks about it, that’s what tuition fees does, it erodes that idea, wait till it happens here) or the right to free health care.

    It ‘s disgusting and appalling and that is what we should be pointing to and worried about, because frankly, our politicians want us to go in the same direction.

    Complain about the NHS all we like, but head to America to see what lies in store for us. I am surprised anyone who has a choice lives there at all. I’m glad i’m back and i am lucky enough to have a choice where to live.

    p.s. has anyone seen Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay? Hilarious!! Highly recommmended, especially for the bit where George Bush smokes a lot of weed, rings up his father and says Fuck yOu Daddy!

  23. sonia — on 31st July, 2008 at 9:31 pm  

    if i were an american, i’d be worried about the economy, the massive debts, the fact that military might seems to be the only thing leaders are thinking about. Obama fomama whoever shouldnt even be worrying about afghanistan or iraq, silly sods, they should be worrying about something they might actually be able to do something about. This flattering of oneself the one is a military might and can maintain that, is a myth, and needs to be burst.

    Of course, given the political system of lying and trying to force people to vote for you based on who tells the best lies that people want to believe, its no suprise no one is running on the kind of campaigns that are needed.

    im surprised the nation is not smoking more pot in their effort to keep afloat their dreams and visions

  24. douglas clark — on 31st July, 2008 at 10:33 pm  

    Oh bugger it! I am fed up with arguing with Yankee apologists.

    I think Sonia’s post at 19 and her reference to Ravi’s post at 4 sum up what I think about race. It is, frankly an excuse, and I come from the most whingeing bunch of bastards on this planet.

    It used to be that if something went right, it was down to wonderful Scottish invention, or gallantry or something. If it went wrong, it was down, inevitably, to an English failure: “Couldn’t do it mate, we were Lions led by Donkey’s”

    Which has, historically been the case, the upper class, largely English Squires fucking up anyone else.

    That is the mindset that most Scots, nowadays, are trying to get away from. In other words, blaming someone else is not healthy. It has taken us, what (?) 300 years to figure that out. 1707, I think?

    I am reminded of a similar split. If a satellite was successful, it was a ‘marvellous scientific achievement’. If, on the other hand, it blew up on the launch pad, it was an ‘engineering failure’.

    Perhaps, in that context, you can see what is going on here? One group ascribes failure to the other, and so the game goes, around and around

    I’d assume that, somewhere in my ancestry, there are people of every race, if you trace it back far enough. Frankly, I am not interested. Tomorrow is more important to me than the past. And I am reminded that if you say your Scots, you are. Which, it seems to me is the point.

    Ravi gets it. Sonia gets it. Sunny gets it.

    Who, the fuck, doesn’t?

    Falls over bottle of Pinot Noir, gets gout, goes to sleep.

    Bloody angry that so few see the issue.

  25. Sunny — on 31st July, 2008 at 11:50 pm  

    Okay, I accept that, but that means that Obama was partially responsible for the purge of Muslims in the audience.

    Dude, try sounding less like Melanie Phillips and I’d take your argument seriously.

    “purge of Muslims” indeed.

    Running a business, while not a prerequisite to high office, does teach you some important things- like balancing budgets, not wasting money and so on.

    And those skills aren’t found only when running a business. So I’m still interested in some solid criticism that shows the guy isn’t experienced.

    Otherwise it would be as stupid as argument as saying the guy hasn’t played any team sports so he doesn’t know how to do teamwork.

    How about cutting tax? I would much rather the rich were taxed then the poor, but the rich have the ability to move or avoid taxes,

    Or… how about not attacking other countries, cutting the size of Pentagon and getting rid of nukes? That would save money… which is what Obama is proposing. I’m not sure why cutting taxes is some sort of a “solution” to global problems. I’m in agreement with that policy.

    So why did he vote for massive subsidies for oil and gas companies in 2005?

    You have to provide more context and examples here. This is a blanket statement that doesn’t give any proper context.

    The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan…If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”

    Why should I criticise something I agree with? Shariq has already pointed out how the Pakistani military has been helping the Taliban. Would you do any different?

    Or you expect me to criticise him because…. I should criticise it?

    which is about the refusal of the Obamists to accept any criticism of the chosen one.

    Throw some proper criticism and I’ll bite. All you’re talking about is some “purge” that never happened. American Muslims are overwhelmingly pro-Obama. In fact the two girls later released a statement thanking him for calling and apologising and saying they still plan to support him.

    But oh no, he’s purging Muslims!

    Have you opened a newspaper recently?

    I’m sorry, I’m talking about proper research compared to… you asking your mates and your grandma about what you think is going on?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/us/politics/30ads.html

    and more importantly
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/us/politics/30web-seelye.html

    yet believed attacking it would bring him more support.

    Well, he attacked it because it was rubbish. As did most people who read / saw it online. It was rubbish. How exactly does that square up to your claim that he wanted to “suppress any dissent or satire”??

    Has he been suppressing Saturday Night Live from making fun of him to? Any complaints to Jon Stewart you know about?

    All blanks. You’re becoming as bad as Avi Cohen!

  26. Sunny — on 31st July, 2008 at 11:56 pm  

    And here’s more on that supposed media love of Obama

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/30/iwashington-posti-fans-ou_n_115861.html

  27. douglas clark — on 1st August, 2008 at 12:56 am  

    Rumbold,

    My friend, please stop reading this woman here:

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/

    Your doctor or your pharmacist can help you stop.

    :-)

    I do do smileys!

  28. BenSix — on 1st August, 2008 at 1:20 am  

    Sonia,

    “Funny how no one seems to spot that the man has some dodgy Chicago School types for economic advisors.”

    Whereas McCain had Phil Gramm of Enron disrepute. Not only that, but Robert Kagan, the co-founder of PNAC, advises him on foreign policy.

    This isn’t moving the goalposts, incidentally, it’s a simple weighing-up of bastards.

    “if i were an american, i’d be worried about the economy, the massive debts, the fact that military might seems to be the only thing leaders are thinking about.”

    Ah yes, Gramm thought that they were suffering from “mental recession”, and were turning America into “a nation of whiners”.

    And, incidentally, I will not only accept criticism of Obama but criticise him myself. His record on Iraq is far from what he claims – in July 2004, he said that he and Bush felt ‘about the same’ with regards to the invasion – while his rhetoric certainly alters sharply according to audience.

    Ben

  29. digitalcntrl — on 1st August, 2008 at 2:16 am  

    Well it looks like a case of the left vs. the uber left on this thread, yet again. Fortunately Obama has at least has drifted to a more palatable position.

  30. digitalcntrl — on 1st August, 2008 at 2:53 am  

    @26

    “And here’s more on that supposed media love of Obama”

    Here is a vid from the McCain campaign no less about Obama love.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNnauNITwGk

  31. BenSix — on 1st August, 2008 at 3:30 am  

    “And here’s more on that supposed media love of Obama”
    “Here is a vid from the McCain campaign no less about Obama love.”

    Which includes various high-profile media representatives wittering on about how terrible Obama love is.

    McCain’s promotion is terrible.

    Ben

  32. BenSix — on 1st August, 2008 at 3:44 am  

    That video has five people swooning over Obama and eleven talking about how ridiculous ‘Obama love’ is.

    *facepalm*

    Ben

  33. marvin — on 1st August, 2008 at 7:44 am  

    I would have thought that Darcus Howe would have emigrated after suggesting there would be “mass exodus of older Caribbean migrants back to our homelands” with the election of Boris.

    He’s still talking shit, then.

  34. Ravi Naik — on 1st August, 2008 at 10:54 am  

    The real point is why are we talking about Obama – most of the points brought here against Obama are peanuts and rather easily debunked compared to McCain’s – he should make people nervous. McCain looks worse than Bush – even his campaign has said that he doesn’t speak for the McCain campaign!

    So, objectively speaking, we have a younger moderate can-do candidate who seems to know the challenges ahead, and a clueless coot who knows absolutely nothing. The fact that Obama
    is slightly ahead of McCain is a reflection of the wisdom of the American people who elected Bush twice… and took them 6 years to realise how wrong they were.

    I am glad Obama ditched public finance of the campaign: McCain has been compromising and getting around every loophole there is to bypass a bill he sponsored. The whole point of public finance is not to be influenced by lobby groups – as we stand, McCain is heavily subsidised by lobbies, Obama’s campaign is subsidised by the people – not by lobbies. So why is this even an issue?

  35. Rumbold — on 1st August, 2008 at 11:13 am  

    Kelvi:

    Some American firms haven’t benefited from NAFTA, but then some firms always suffer whatever the trade agreements are. And my point about intelligence and an academic record was that it doesn’t necessary make one a good politician. By the way, I am not a fan of George W. Bush.

    “Who gave you the idea that Obama attempted to suppress the New Yorker? He definitely took offence at the caricature, as did everyone else, including McCain, except a few hacks here and there.”

    Suppress was the wrong term. Apologies. But it would have been nice if he had stood up for it rather than just joining the bandwagon. It would have shown that he had a bit of a backbone.

    “Cutting taxes? That’s such blatant skulduggery. Remember the tax cut of 8 years ago was announced at a time of record surplus. And these right wing ignoramuses have been touting it as the cure for everything since then, recession? cut taxes, deficit? cut taxes? need growth? cut taxes. And so on. The rich can move their money out of the country so you shdn’t tax them. The poor can’t so you shd tax them? Do you see the perversity of the logic?”

    I would cut spending massively, and also cut taxes. Of course the rich should pay a higher proportion of their income in tax then the poor. My concern was that Obama is basing his spending plans largely on the ability to tax the rich, and as we all know, that can be difficult, because they leave or hire tax avoidance specialists. He should try and shift the burden from poor to rich, just not base his economic plans on it- this shows a remarkable innocence about the realities of taxation.

    Sunny:

    “So I’m still interested in some solid criticism that shows the guy isn’t experienced.”

    What experience has he had outside the state-affiliated world (i.e. government, civil service, charities, academia)?

    “Or… how about not attacking other countries, cutting the size of Pentagon and getting rid of nukes? That would save money… which is what Obama is proposing. I’m not sure why cutting taxes is some sort of a “solution” to global problems. I’m in agreement with that policy.”

    I’m all for cutting spending and taxes. You really believe that he will get rid of nukes? My God. And he has already threatened to bomb Pakistan.

    “You have to provide more context and examples here. This is a blanket statement that doesn’t give any proper context.”

    http://www.citizen.org/cmep/energy_enviro_nuclear/electricity/energybill/2005/articles.cfm?ID=13980

    http://www.obamaunveiled.com/energypolicy.htm

    “Why should I criticise something I agree with? Shariq has already pointed out how the Pakistani military has been helping the Taliban. Would you do any different?”

    So you think that it is a good idea to threaten to attack an ally if they don’t do something? Fair enough.

    “Throw some proper criticism and I’ll bite.”

    I see now that anything he says or does will never trigger any criticism from you, because you have decided whatever he says or does it right. Again, fair enough, but please don’t try and defend your lack of criticism as some sort of objective assessment.

  36. Ravi Naik — on 1st August, 2008 at 11:53 am  

    Suppress was the wrong term. Apologies. But it would have been nice if he had stood up for it rather than just joining the bandwagon. It would have shown that he had a bit of a backbone.

    Considering he is spending a lot of resources fighting the underground smear campaign that he is a radical Muslim, or a radical black Malcom X, or the not-so-subtle message by Republicans that he is not patriot enough, such cover while funny and sarcastic against the wingnut characterisation, it becomes part of the smear campaign.

    What experience has he had outside the state-affiliated world (i.e. government, civil service, charities, academia)?

    Nobody has experience in being President, unless you go through the whole … experience. Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas before becoming President, had no foreign experience – but he got it pretty quickly.

    On the other hand, George W Bush has more experience in being president than most people – what does that give you? The real key is having someone who is knowledgeable in a number of areas, which can lead to good decisions, coupled with a moderate ideology that does not give way to extremist urges.

  37. Sunny — on 1st August, 2008 at 2:42 pm  

    The real point is why are we talking about Obama – most of the points brought here against Obama are peanuts and rather easily debunked compared to McCain’s – he should make people nervous. McCain looks worse than Bush – even his campaign has said that he doesn’t speak for the McCain campaign!

    Exactly right. The weak candidate here is John McCain, not Obama. On every measure including foreign policy, the man is clueless. The other day he though Iraq and Pakistan shared a border!

    And yet Rumbold is trying to convince people Obama “purged” Muslims and wants to nuke Pakistan :)

  38. shariq — on 1st August, 2008 at 4:45 pm  

    Ravi, your comments at 34 and 36 are spot on.

    Just a quick point on the Chicago school thing. His chief economic adviser was Austan Goolsbee who is pretty centre-left and clearly doesn’t belong to the Friedman school of economics.

    http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/01/31/econ_advisors_austan_goolsbee/

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/03/AR2007100302003.html

  39. Muhamad [peace be upon me] — on 1st August, 2008 at 8:28 pm  

    Man, Jesse Jackson is a hypocrite, wasn’t he the one who got his secretary or intern impregnated? He’s a darker shade of Rev. Wright. :)

  40. sonia — on 1st August, 2008 at 9:29 pm  

    Article in the Guardian by Naomi Klein: Beware the Chicago Boys

    Barack Obama waited just three days after Hillary Clinton pulled out of the race to declare, on CNBC: “Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market.” Demonstrating that this is no mere spring fling, he has appointed the 37-year-old Jason Furman, one of Wal-Mart’s most prominent defenders, to head his economic team. On the campaign trail, Obama blasted Clinton for sitting on the Wal-Mart board and pledged: “I won’t shop there.” For Furman, however, Wal-Mart’s critics are the real threat: the “efforts to get Wal-Mart to raise its wages and benefits” are creating “collateral damage” that is “way too enormous and damaging to working people and the economy … for me to sit by idly and sing Kum Ba Ya in the interests of progressive harmony”.

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