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  • Technorati: graph / links

    John Pilger’s race baiting


    by Sunny on 14th November, 2008 at 8:14 pm    

    I’ve come in for a bit of flack for raining on John Pilger’s parade so dismissively below. So let me try and justify some of this, though I’m planning a bigger piece on Managing Expectations of Obama later anyway.
    I’m not in favour of constantly picking fights with writers on the far left, especially those who have done stellar work in the past such as John Pilger. But I draw the line at race-baiting, which is clearly what Pilger is doing.

    In his article, Pilger is concerned for the “brown-skinned” people of Pakistan under the assumption that Obama has vowed to attack the country and rain down some nukes. He hasn’t. His specific point regarding taking out Bin Laden if credible intelligence existed is perfectly sensible. Given that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are doing their best to de-stabilise Pakistan and regularly killing more people there every month than the American govt - I would suggest Pilger is directing his ire at the wrong people especially if he cares for “brown skinned” people.

    More importantly, his implication that Obama is merely a stooge of Zionists who have used “the black middle and management class” to further their own aims smacks of Uncle Tom jibes that really annoy me. You know, it is possible that black and brown people do become successful on their own talents or (horror of horrors) aspire to be rich and powerful. The far left has a real problem in dealing with ethnic minorities because it expects all of them to be revolutionary brothers and sisters. If somehow they veer away from that sterotype it can only be because their pawns of a wider conspiracy.

    This is why I think Pilger’s race baiting can’t be taken seriously, among other points.

    Quickly, on to other points, raised by David Semple:

    1) Firstly, Obama is accused of continuing Bush’s wars, despite the fact Obama has been more outspokenly against the Iraq war than most Democrats. The man hasn’t gotten into the White House yet! What is he meant to do other than passionately argue against it and vote against it (as he has done)?

    And even then, abruptly pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan without a slow exit strategy that strengthens local Afghani and Iraqi governments would be an immensely stupid strategy. It would make things worse for everyone in the long term. We went in by mistake. Now we have to at least ensure we don’t leave things worse than they are.

    2) David says “Obama is born into given material conditions” - which is flatly untrue. He was born into lower middle-class family and worked his way up by studying hard and working longer than most people around him. To say he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth is distorting history. Obama worked on many campaigns in Chicago for the poor and under-represented.

    His policies and ideas come from Saul Alinsky - the guy who was primarily obsessed with how to organise the powerless masses. These sorts of backgrounds should raise the spirits of Marxists. And yet all they can do is bicker and try to condemn the brother as an Uncle Tom. Most disappointing.

    3) David also dissmises my own point that Obama built a massive grass-roots organisation.
    Let me try and put it a different way. Marxists and socialists have a different view of society that most people in America do not subscribe to. You can blame that on the media or whatever - but people are broadly happy with the structures they have.

    If they want to challenge this, they have to build a grass-roots movement to do this. After all, they are bottom-up, are they not? The point I’m making is that Obama has done this better than they have ever managed - and managed to involve more American people directly in electing their President than any American politician ever has (from the far left to the far right). Now you can dismiss this if you want to as showmanship but I was there and I can tell you there’s more to it than that. But that point is moot.

    The point is, if the far left can’t even muster up something even remotely resembling a broad grass-roots movement then they really have no right to claim they know what’s best for the majority. After all, neither Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney nor the other socialist parties in the US managed anything useful in terms of votes. They’re all pissing in the wind. So my point is, if they can’t manage anything less than an abysmal showing in votes, then clearly they’re not convincing anyone with their rhetoric.

    4) The media. David Semple says:

    Thirdly, no one is considering that, since Obama’s grassroots movement is pretty ethereal in that it involved activists simply turning up to do what they were told, how these people might exercise any influence on Obama as President. All Obama will have to go on will be general opinion polls - which are in turn influenced by the media. As Nick Davies will tell you, our fourth estate is probably not the fairest assessor of the Left

    This may apply to the UK but not to the USA. In the United States the left-wing media is mostly the online blogs and some magazines like The Nation/Newsweek and maybe TNR if you want to stretch it. But the blogs are overwhelmingly popular and have driven the agenda more than anyone else (other than maybe Saturday Night Live, the Daily Show and Keith Olbermann). The American media is now more people driven and bottom up than ever before - one of the reasons why Obama had to fight hard to suppress damaging smears about him.

    The activists didn’t simply turn up - they organised themselves and had the ability to criticise the campaign and turn against Obama more than any other campaign.

    I’m not blinded by the Obama campaign. But if you want to criticise it, at least do so on the right points. Pilger’s article was completely expected hogwash.

    Update: Neil Robertson points out other factual inaccuracies in Pilger’s diatribe.

    Leon updates: Very thoughtful response to Sunny’s piece by David Semple here.



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    99 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. MaidMarian — on 14th November, 2008 at 9:01 pm  

      ‘I’m not blinded by the Obama campaign.’

      Presumably you have not been reading your own articles over the past month or so?

      Sunny - there is a world of difference between government and politics and there is a world of difference between being a community organiser and president of a country, including the bits that voted McCain/Palin and all points right.

      I actually think that your comments on Pilger are right. But I suspect that your expectations on Obama may need managing at least as much as anyone else’s.

    2. Sunny — on 14th November, 2008 at 10:14 pm  

      Oh, I don’t have absurd expectations of Obama. But like I keep saying, at least criticise him for the right things. I’ve sparred with Rumbold too on this. No politician is perfect. I like Obama, a lot, admittedly, but I can have a perfectly sensible discussion about failures or policies. So far all this (Pilger’s article) is just guff.

    3. Anas — on 14th November, 2008 at 10:46 pm  

      Sunny, in your hysterical drive to defend Obama’s reputation you’ve gone slightly over the top with the accusations you’ve made against Pilger.

      What Pilger actually writes in the NS article is that “[Obama]says he wants to build up US military power; and he threatens to ignite a new war in Pakistan, killing yet more brown-skinned people.”

      I assumed what he meant was that if Obama did, as he has threatened order a unilateral strike to take out “high value” terrorists, then such a violation would very probably ignite war in Pakistan. Which I think is very likely given the precarious position that Pakistan is in now and especially against the background of ever deepening outrage felt by many Pakistanis over their country’s perceived role as a lackey of the US.

      And neither does Pilger claim Obama is a “stooge” of the “Zionists”, what he’s saying is more nuanced than that: that Obama’s orientations with regard to domestic and foreign policy don’t mark any kind of major shift, not of the kind that his cheerleaders are constantly harping on about. You’re just indulging in the usual simplistic misreading designed to allow you to dismiss leftist critiques without engaging with their arguments.

      Oh and if you’re so concerned about racial politics maybe you should write a post about Biden and Emanuel’s support of Israeli apartheid — something that seems to have passed you and many of Obama’s other supporters by.

    4. Sunny — on 14th November, 2008 at 10:59 pm  

      In your hysterical drive to defend Pilger, Anas, you’re not reading what Pilger wrote.

      nd he threatens to ignite a new war in Pakistan

      He doesn’t at all. I was in Pakistan a few weeks ago, and they were broadly pro-Obama, though obviously a bit worried about that comment, which has been blown out of proportion by the left and the right. In fact I made this very point on Dawn News about a month ago.

      then such a violation would very probably ignite war in Pakistan

      No it wouldn’t, given the Pakistani govt is also quite anti-Taliban and anti-Al Qaeda.

      And neither does Pilger claim Obama is a “stooge” of the “Zionists”, what he’s saying is more nuanced than that: that Obama’s orientations with regard to domestic and foreign policy don’t mark any kind of major shift,

      Oh yes he is saying exactly that. And while you’re at it, why not tell us about Obama’s foreign policy orientations, given he hasn’t actually come into power yet. And I would love for you to explain how Obama and McCain basically have the same position on Iraq and Afghanistan.

    5. Anas — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:46 pm  

      Strange Sunny, I read this recently on the BBC site:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7715343.stm

      He told me that he was worried about the others: “I look as if I am a Taleban supporter but I am not.

      “But these clean-shaven people you see here,” he pointed to some clients and workers at his garage, “inside they are all Taleban.”

      He explained that with Pakistan coming under repeated US attacks, even people who have voted for moderate political parties were now looking towards the Taleban for deliverance.

    6. Sunny — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:59 pm  

      Erm, that doesn’t disagree with what I said? I know people in Pakistan are pissed off with US attacks. I don’t support them on the most part. But if OBL was there? Of course.

      Not sure what your point is regarding the above.

    7. Leon — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:03 am  

      But if OBL was there? Of course.

      So a super power should be able to violate international law (and a sovereign nations territorial integrity) on the basis that they could execute someone they don’t like?

    8. shariq — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:04 am  

      Anas, I think what Pilger wanted to say is that don’t get too excited simply because Obama is black/mixed race. That Obama is just another democrat and that democrats and republicans are two wings of the same party.

      I don’t agree with that, but it is an arguable point. However by invoking the killing of ‘brown-skinned people’ and the cynical use of black middle classes, he is clearly race-baiting. Same thing with Nader and his ‘Uncle Tom’ reference.

    9. Dave Semple — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:06 am  

      It’s late so I’ll come back to this tomorrow morning, but you’ve missed entirely several of the points I was making. Incidentally ‘given material conditions’ doesn’t mean I think he was born privileged - it’s a statement about how material, i.e. tangible, things are the basis for the ‘ideas’ which Obama talks about and that these material circumstances in some degree determine the resonance he gets. As I said, more tomorrow.

    10. Ravi Naik — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:20 am  

      Strange Sunny, I read this recently on the BBC site:

      Indeed. It is strange that you read the BBC, and yet you come out with such loony conclusions. Can you tell me in what order of events would a war start if the US decided to attack Al Qaeda posts hidden in Pakistan?

      Who is really hysteric here? And please stop defending Pilger, as you make him sound worse. If he thinks what you are saying, he is more than a race baiter, he is a certified idiot.

    11. Sunny — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:21 am  

      So a super power should be able to violate international law (and a sovereign nations territorial integrity) on the basis that they could execute someone they don’t like?

      Erm, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan have been playing this game all the time. You think Pakistan hasn’t infringed upon’s Afghanistan’s sovereignty for decades? You don’t think India has been doing it for ages? It’s realpolitik my friend.

    12. Sid — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:21 am  

      No it wouldn’t, given the Pakistani govt is also quite anti-Taliban and anti-Al Qaeda.

      hmmm maybe. The present Pakistani government might be anti-Taliban on paper, but the Pak military, which is far more powerful than the government is not. After all some 20 years ago they created the Taliban and continues to patronise grassroots Taliban interests even now.

    13. Ravi Naik — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:26 am  

      So a super power should be able to violate international law (and a sovereign nations territorial integrity) on the basis that they could execute someone they don’t like?

      So presumably, we should have left the Taliban, Al Qaeda and OBL in Afghanistan?

    14. Sid — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:27 am  

      I think you will find Obama will be far more hawkish *towards* Pakistan than Bush ever was. He has already intimated this.

    15. dave bones — on 15th November, 2008 at 1:25 am  

      All this is hilarious. I’ve read so many prophesies of doom about Obama from all directions it is untrue.

      I like Anjum Choudharys the best

      …Barack Obama is nothing more than a kaafir, who is vehement in violating the rights of Almighty Allah (SWT) in terms of His legislation and hence should be treated with much hostility calibrated according to the Qur’an and Sunnah…

      Bloody kaffirs. Everyone from extreme left to extreme right and everyone in between are slaughtering chickens and reading entrails. Give im a chance for fucks sake! Are we going to have this endless chewing till January?

      What are you going to eat for Christmas dinner? God knows but it will be horrible. It will be burnt. It will taste disgusting. It will make you sick. Everyone who eats it will die.

      You’d think the only people welcoming Obama were the Taliban on their website.

    16. dave bones — on 15th November, 2008 at 1:45 am  

      I don’t care about Obama. I’m glad there is a weight of Americans expecting change. I hope they all kick off if they don’t get it.

    17. Sunny — on 15th November, 2008 at 2:13 am  

      dave - LOL. best. comment. ever

    18. Jim Denham — on 15th November, 2008 at 2:54 am  

      Whatever you think of Obama’s “progressive” credentials, and whether there was a “left” case for supporting him, Pilger can never be forgiven for his racist description (in the ‘New Statesman’) of him as a “glossy Uncle Tom”.

      Pilger, once a serious and respect-worthy journalist, has lost it with his one-sided hatred of the West and Israel, his willingness to excuse clerical fascism and Islamic terrorism, and his general “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” philosophy. He’s now an empty vessel and his attcks upon Obama leave a nasty taste in the mouth, even for someone (like myself) who didn’t advocate an Obama vote,

    19. Anas — on 15th November, 2008 at 10:02 am  

      Erm, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan have been playing this game all the time.

      Yes, and it’s made the whole region the nice safe stable place that it is now.

    20. MaidMarian — on 15th November, 2008 at 10:58 am  

      Sunny (various) - For what it’s worth, I think you have got this one more or less right.

      President Obama will, sadly, have to make decisions elements of his support in the US and elsewhere wont like. Interesting times.

    21. » Pilger baiting and liberal deficiencies Though Cowards Flinch: “We all know what happens to those who stand in the middle of the road — they get run down.” - Aneurin Bevan — on 15th November, 2008 at 11:31 am  

      [...] are reaching fever pitch - not the least of which is that he’s “race baiting”. Sunny and I have been debating Pilger’s comments on the subject of Obama, though a couple of other [...]

    22. chairwoman — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:01 pm  

      Sterling work or not, Sunny, Pilger has always been a sanctimonious pillock.

      I would be more impressed with his ‘whistle blowing’if he wasn’t always so smug and delighted to have to blow the whistle in the first place.

    23. Anas — on 15th November, 2008 at 1:49 pm  

      It’s realpolitik my friend.

      So much for change ;)

    24. Rahm Emanuel: myths & legends « The Bleeding Heart Show — on 15th November, 2008 at 1:54 pm  

      [...] and my respect for his past achievements as a journalist are such that I won’t go as far as Sunny does in accusing him of race-baiting - though I do find the ‘glossy Uncle Tom‘ comment [...]

    25. dave bones — on 15th November, 2008 at 2:01 pm  

      here is the Taliban on Obama (cheers to Mr Camel)

    26. opit — on 15th November, 2008 at 2:52 pm  

      I have trouble ’staying on topic’ when a piece is concentrated on chewing apart other people’s opinions : the background upon which such ‘analysis’ is made isn’t conducive to impartial judgement.
      It sounds like you consider opinions of others biased by political orientation ( actually a point to consider - when one is familiar with it ) and ‘agenda driven’.
      I usually observe that a good indicator a person is rather enmeshed in that problem themselves.
      Re: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and on and on .
      Nobody yet has managed to convince me that assault by the largest military in the world with the most advanced and practiced techniques for killing civilians in their homes upon pretexts ranging from ‘drug control’ to ‘pre emptive strikes’ are engaged in anything like progressive policies supportive of local concerns. The NIE given to President Bush before the invasion and occupation of Iraq is a fair assessment of the general results of all such infamy ( regardless of the artfulness and deceit by which it is ‘justified’ to the US population ) : an increase in desperation felt by those subjected to such assault and an increase in hostility to the U.S.
      It’s as simple as busting a stranger in the snoot : it’s no sales technique. The idea that Obama supports more and better of the same based on past lies gives me lots to feel concern about. For that, Pilger is irrelevant.
      Evaluating the likelihood of a continuation of international murder ( ‘war’ is that ) as policy supporting indiscriminate air strikes and shelling is not premature.

    27. Boyo — on 15th November, 2008 at 3:20 pm  

      There’s plenty of people here who have done their own bit for race-baiting, so it is interesting to see your reaction when the shoe is on the other foot.

      In fact, for the likes of Pilger and others of his ilk, race has only ever been a useful tool to forward his own white, middle class Chomsky-esque agenda of self-loathing. It’s certainly a form of inverted racism - these people will use (and abuse) the race issue as easily as they have the class issue to further their own agenda, only up until now it has not bitten people like you Sunny.

    28. Ravi Naik — on 15th November, 2008 at 3:59 pm  

      The idea that Obama supports more and better of the same based on past lies gives me lots to feel concern about…

      The “past lies” were WMDs in Iraq or that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 attacks. Obama clearly was against the Iraq War, but not against removing the Taliban from Afghanistan, and eliminating Al Qaeda and OBL. So, when you say “based on past lies”, I am wondering what exactly are you talking about.

      People here have expressed horror at the fact that US would attack Al Qaeda in Pakistan, yet say little about removing Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Are we saying that the US should have engaged in diplomacy with OBL after the attacks?

    29. Leon — on 15th November, 2008 at 4:04 pm  

      There’s plenty of people here who have done their own bit for race-baiting, so it is interesting to see your reaction when the shoe is on the other foot.

      Well you know as they say, what’s good for the goose…

      Are we saying that the US should have engaged in diplomacy with OBL after the attacks?

      Jesus, you’re lack of appreciation of the notion of international law and the dynamics of power is staggering!

    30. shariq — on 15th November, 2008 at 4:39 pm  

      Leon, I’ve argued before that under international law you can make a perfectly arguable case that America (with the consent of Afghanistan) has the right to attack bases which the Pakistani govt is unable or unwilling to control, as these bases are used as launching pads for attacks against Afghanistan.

      Whether this is a good political or diplomatic strategy or not is another matter altogether. I discussed this in a previous post.

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/2301

    31. opit — on 15th November, 2008 at 4:41 pm  

      Thank you Leon.
      The notion that one nation can unilaterally impose cooperation and cordial relationships between nations by force of arms does not have broad international support. Odd, that.
      Were you not struck by the rapidity with which Bush family friend and funneler of CIA funds to Afghan fighters bin Laden was purported to have staged an ‘attack against America’ without publicly disclosed supporting evidence - not to mention time for such to have been gathered ?
      Al Qaeda is today working for the CIA trying to murder Iranian government and military officials. Small wonder that the largest online movement I have ever heard of constantly shrieks 911 was a fake ! ( I have lots of links noting them BTW )
      I won’t bother with a detailed list when from the very start people were questioning all of the particulars. Please also note alleged Saudi non-pilots were also part the basis for invasion of Iraq ( bullshit from start to finish ) after the CIA officer involved in identifying potential WMD threats to the US was ‘outed’ by Cheney. Those are some credentials for establishing oneself as a supporter of international law and order !
      Now then. Is it too much to ask that the actual participants be identified beyond dispute and their connections targeted and publicly tested in court where evidence can be carefully scrutinized?
      (This would not include ‘confessions’ induced by torture of kidnapped foreigners held in conditions guaranteed to have them sing like canaries to the most ridiculous propositions.)
      Apparently so. Debris was immediately taken away without forensic analysis. I haven’t seen better evidence of meddling with publicly available information since the murder of JFK.
      This from the Pentagon which established dozens of retired military officers as impartial analysts for the media. Information control is writ large.

    32. Don — on 15th November, 2008 at 4:57 pm  

      …911 was a fake ! ( I have lots of links noting them BTW )

      With respect, I don’t think it will be helpful to go down that road.

    33. Leon — on 15th November, 2008 at 5:14 pm  

      Indeed, neither do I.

      America’s response to Sept 11 was bad judgement. I mean the first thing they did was fly members of OBL’s family out of the country, not call them in to take statements. They should have responded by way of a criminal investigation. Although, we know they wanted war, and the Neo Cons had their plans for the ME….such is the actions of the powerful.

    34. Ravi Naik — on 15th November, 2008 at 5:29 pm  

      Al Qaeda is today working for the CIA trying to murder Iranian government and military officials.

      Do you really believe everything written on the Internet? Doesn’t it strike you odd that Al Qaeda would work with the CIA, or that the CIA would work with Al Qaeda? And why would either of them need to work together to accomplish that goal?

    35. Boyo — on 15th November, 2008 at 5:31 pm  

      “Small wonder that the largest online movement I have ever heard of constantly shrieks 911 was a fake !”

      Heh-heh!

    36. Jai — on 15th November, 2008 at 5:44 pm  

      Thirdly, no one is considering that, since Obama’s grassroots movement is pretty ethereal in that it involved activists simply turning up to do what they were told, how these people might exercise any influence on Obama as President. All Obama will have to go on will be general opinion polls

      Incorrect. Anyone can contact Obama directly via his new post-victory website at http://www.change.gov

      The website actually invites members of the public to submit ideas.

    37. Ravi Naik — on 15th November, 2008 at 7:18 pm  

      David Semple finishes his article saying: The Right will have an easy time making mockery of the Left - any section of it - whether through political correctness jibes or liberal do-gooder jibs or anti-communist jibes. The role of the Left with regard to itself should be sober introspection, not adding to the list of superficial right wing merry making.

      So, on one hand he says that the Left must engage in introspection, on the other, he makes a list of issues that should not be debated, discussed or mentioned because otherwise you are engaging in right-wing mockery.

      Personally I think the Left must do some soul searching, and and see whether it is well served by radicals and the hard Left (communists, marxists).

    38. opit — on 15th November, 2008 at 7:36 pm  

      i would rather have a look at the idea that this nonsense about the Left is just that…along with racism and all other forms of discrimination. I find a hard time distinguishing between anarchists and libertarians, for instance. Divide and Conquer.
      The police state and overwhelming government control of individuals and robbery of all freedom from government spying and interference with news gathering is not a left-right question : it is one of government extremism and oppression. Fascist or Communist I don’t care : it boils down to the same thing.
      Who am I afraid of ? The ones with guns, jails, torture,secrecy, money and more : the government. Not some arabs rowing across the Atlantic to plant bombs.

    39. Anas — on 15th November, 2008 at 7:52 pm  

      Sunny,I’m sorry but your criticism of Pilger’s point about Pakistan/Obama (i.e., that he was writing under the (histronic) assumption that Obama was likely to nuke Pakistan) is on shaky ground given that your dismissal of the prospects of a wider conflagration erupting in Pakistan as a result of unilateral action by the US — which was more likely Pilger’s actual point- is completely unconvincing.

      As for his using “brown people”; in an election where race has so clearly been an issue I think he can be forgiven for bringing it into play.

      Another point. re your critique of Semple’s post, I think that in the quote “Obama is born into given material conditions”, Semple was using “material conditions” in a technical Marxist sense. I don’t think he meant it in the sense that Obama was born into privilege.

    40. Jim Denham — on 15th November, 2008 at 7:52 pm  

      Opit: Like you, I care about “racism and other forms of discrimination”. So do most people reading this, I’m sure. Unlike you, I do not identify “communism” (as opposed to Stalinism, which *is* comparable to fascism) and fascism as “the same thing”. But I *do* regard Islamism as a form of fascism, that should be fought as we traditionally fight all forms of fascism.
      What’s your attitude to Islamism and clerical fascism?

    41. Boyo — on 15th November, 2008 at 8:53 pm  

      Ooh, watch it Jim - in some circles aligning Islamism and Clerical Fascism is shorthand for racism. How dare you call Muslims Nazis ;-) Of course I’m talking about non-Muslim Stalinist shit-stirrers like Bob Pitt of Islamophobiawatch (for it is he!), who share the same agenda with the Islamofascists - ie to promote anti-Muslim prejudice by stirring up a climate of hate and polarization between the working classes. I don’t mean any lovely Picklers…

    42. opit — on 15th November, 2008 at 8:59 pm  

      When I first saw the term ‘Islamosfascism’ I laughed ; thinking nobody would buy into such obvious schtick.
      Communism is what the followers of Jesus did : communal living. Bolshevekism is a whole ‘nother animal.
      Much more revealing to my mind is something I rather fell into - as I know almost nothing about Islam ( although King John of England, Defender of the Faith, was into talks with Suleman the Magnificent about establishing Islam as the formal religion of England ! ) : it seems that perverting government by bribes is a strongly punished offense against the faith.
      http://www.u4.no/pdf/?file=/helpdesk/helpdesk/queries/query137.pdf
      Damn. I can see why our leaders would have problems with that. It’s a shame we don’t have more grief to give them.
      ‘Clerical Fascism’ : sounds like ‘Christianism’ or Theocracy ( what the story of Jesus should alert us to the evils of )to me. It could be time to look for ‘the beam in our own eye.’
      Have you seen this ?
      http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERchristianity.htm
      But it’s likely time I made a contribution to the nominal topic of the thread
      http://www.ushrnetwork.org/files/ushrn/images/linkfiles/CERD/1Structural_Racism.pdf

    43. Ravi Naik — on 15th November, 2008 at 11:20 pm  

      As for his using “brown people”; in an election where race has so clearly been an issue I think he can be forgiven for bringing it into play.

      I hardly think that the narrative where a candidate won because among other things, the electorate decided to overlook race, gives any excuse for people to engage in race-baiting and racism.

      Worse than “Obama wants to blow-up brown people”, in my opinion, is where he brings up Powell and Rice. Here is what David said about Pilger’s article: “Obama has voted to continue the war, Rahm Emmanuel is very much of the neoliberal school of economics, the record of black men and women in government has not been stirling thus far - Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell being named in the piece.”

      See what Pilger is saying, and David is somehow defending? That one of the reasons to be cautious about Obama’s presidency is… that previous black men and women in government have been bad. Can you imagine someone saying the same about Clinton, had she won the presidency? That she could follow Bush’s path because she is white? I can’t.

      Racism, the last time I checked, is to attribute a behavioural trait to a group of people because they share the same race or belong to the same ethnic group. Besides race and the fact that they are Americans, there is nothing that suggests that on those virtues, that they think the same, that have the same competencies, that they are controlled by the same unscrupulous people (wealthy white men - as the article points out).

      The hard-left reaction to Obama’s presidency has been an eye-opener.

    44. Leon — on 15th November, 2008 at 11:32 pm  

      The hard-left reaction to Obama’s presidency has been an eye-opener.

      Seriously?? It’s entirely predictable imo.

    45. El Cid — on 15th November, 2008 at 11:35 pm  

      “As for his using “brown people”; in an election where race has so clearly been an issue I think he can be forgiven for bringing it into play.”

      Anas, Ravi has you bang to rights.
      But enough of the point scoring.
      Don’t you wish to reconsider what you said? Don’t you feel a tad shameful?
      Hey, we all make mistakes, say things we might regret. It doesn’t look good at the moment.

    46. MaidMarian — on 16th November, 2008 at 12:47 am  

      Leon (44) - That’s not a good thing in and of itself.

      And to be honest I would not really call it predictable. Why would you believe it is predictable out of interest?

    47. Leon — on 16th November, 2008 at 1:31 am  

      Ok, put simply, if you understand what terms like Anarchist, Liberal Reformer, Socialist, etc mean you can quite normally predict what people of those viewpoints will think about any given political situation or outcome.

      For example, you can bet that an Anarchist will not be as thrilled by Obama’s election as the Liberal Reformer.

      Nader’s comment weren’t intended, from what I can see, to be racist but to grab a headline, shape a narrative etc. It was an appalling tactic but still a tactic none the less. As much as one as Sunny calling Republicans scum for example.

      This is politics, this is how it works.

    48. MaidMarian — on 16th November, 2008 at 2:00 am  

      Leon (47) - Say what?

    49. dave bones — on 16th November, 2008 at 3:26 am  

      Someone who has spent their “transition time” a bit more constructively than doom forecasting is John Stewart. Both these shows “point the way” answering a “Yes we can” with a “do what”

    50. dave bones — on 16th November, 2008 at 3:26 am  

      I do hope its not just comedy..

    51. Sunny — on 16th November, 2008 at 4:53 am  

      is on shaky ground given that your dismissal of the prospects of a wider conflagration erupting in Pakistan as a result of unilateral action by the US

      Obama never advocated war in Pakistan, nor that he would take unilateral action that would have widespread negative impact. In fact, he’s unwilling to get into the Kashmir issue precisely because of that. Thinking that just because he wants to take out OBL means he’s willing to risk a full scale war (who’s going to attack US if OBL is killed, Pakstan?) is rather silly. Get over it.

    52. Leon — on 16th November, 2008 at 5:03 am  

      Say what?

      You asked how I could predict the far left reaction to Obama, I explained in the simplest way I could think of. I’m sorry but if you want it any simpler you’re going to have to go back to infant school and start you’re whole understanding of the world from scratch. Then we’ll talk. ;)

    53. Leon — on 16th November, 2008 at 5:09 am  

      (who’s going to attack US if OBL is killed, Pakstan?)

      I didn’t realise anyone post Sept 11 was still thinking of attacks/conflict/wars in such old terms…

    54. douglas clark — on 16th November, 2008 at 7:10 am  

      Good grief.

      I cannot see where all this vituperation is coming from. Barack Obama has broken, smashed even, the true glass ceiling, in getting a majority of Americans to vote for him. That is truly remarkable, and suggests to me at least, that John Pilger is prejudging what he might do.

      I’d have thought that Pakistan has to control it’s NWFP, for it’s own good, though given Pakistans’ internal instability - an apparent acceptance that cross border terrorism is OK, it is entirely reasonable for a foreign politician to say, no. That is ridiculous.

      The inability of Pakistan to mind it’s own borders, suggests it is not the state it likes to think it is.

      This vacuum of statehood leaves a US President with little option, other than to address the matter.

      And, a state, whether it is a pretendy state like the NWFP or not, ought to be held responsible for it’s actions.

      It is not acceptable for Pakistan to pretend that it has jurisdiction, and borders, when it clearly has not.

    55. Boyo — on 16th November, 2008 at 8:12 am  

      The election of Obama was an almighty blow against the Empire of Grievance - from its monarch Sheik Osama to useful idiots like Pilger.

      This is why OBL has had the wisdom to stay silent - he realised that, despite the whining of some of his acolytes, to the ordinary Muslim or ethnic minority person this was a massive affirmation of Western democracy and the opportunities it provides to the individual. This was a 9/11 on extremism, and if played right could be decisive.

    56. El Cid — on 16th November, 2008 at 10:07 am  

      “This is politics, this is how it works.”

      I am concerned by your complacency Leon. It is indicative of an intermittent PP tendency that has occasionally made my blood boil.
      You might find it surprising, given my previously stated support for pragmatism and compromise, even realpolitik. But I believe one must have some moral standards.
      Racial politics is not like party politics because the “means” can loop back into society in a way that undermines the long-term “end.”
      Playing both the race card and the racist card is a socially divisive tactic and hugely irresponsible. It is not the same as calling someone “scum.” The drip drip effects are counterproductive.
      If a white person is smeared purely for tactical reasons by a brown person playing the race card, then the impact on other white people could be “there but for the grace of God go I (and my children)”. More generally it can undermine the credibility of the cause.
      Similarly, if a white person smears a black/brown person for being an Uncle Tom, then the message that comes over is a very patronising one that that race cannot be trusted with power.
      I once called Dianne Abbott a choc ice for sending her son as far away from her low income BME community as possible to an overwhelmingly white and highly priviliged private school and neglecting her parliamentary duties in order to pay for it. As much as I still dislike her, I now regret it. Shit happens. I was angry.
      Similarly, calling Obama an Uncle Tom is just unacceptable.
      We should not tolerate it, or explain it away as mere politics.

    57. douglas clark — on 16th November, 2008 at 12:30 pm  

      Yup.

    58. fugstar — on 16th November, 2008 at 1:12 pm  

      sunny is this the first election you have been involved in in a physical way?

      does strange things to people. i think theres something more intriguing here though, that you see yourself in obama.

    59. Leon — on 16th November, 2008 at 2:38 pm  

      I am concerned by your complacency Leon. It is indicative of an intermittent PP tendency that has occasionally made my blood boil.

      It’s an observation of reality. Are you saying I should lie to people about what I see and know?

    60. El Cid — on 16th November, 2008 at 2:41 pm  

      Just as long as you don’t succumb to it.

      Maybe it should be part of PP’s mission statement — a commitment to progressive post-racial analysis and debate, where neither race nor racism is treated as a political football.

    61. Anas — on 16th November, 2008 at 3:08 pm  

      I hardly think that the narrative where a candidate won because among other things, the electorate decided to overlook race, gives any excuse for people to engage in race-baiting and racism.

      No, I think the point Pilger is making (clumsily) is this: race has figured insofar as Obama’s election has signalled a change in the attitudes of America’s electorate — it’s hard to imagine him being elected even a decade ago; but it’s also the case that many of Obama’s liberal enthusiasts are operating under the (perhaps unspoken) assumption that Obama’s experience of being black in America will play an essential role in shaping his presidency — especially in his foreign policy. It must play a factor in how people like Sunny view him since his words and actions so far do not warrant the all out optimism he has elicited amongst many liberals.

      I agree Pilger was being provocative with the “brown people” line, but here he is challenging this idea that Obama’s presidency will signal a change in the previous American attitude, at least in the press and among the political class, towards foreign casualties where the fact that thousands maybe hundreds of thousands of “brown people” will end up as casualties barely registers at the onset of every new misadventure — precisely because they are so foreign and brown. The dehumanisation of the Palestinians which has allowed Obama’s supporters to disregard tough questions about Emauel and Bidens attitude to Israel’s aparthied strongly supports Pilger’s line of attack here.

      That one of the reasons to be cautious about Obama’s presidency is… that previous black men and women in government have been bad. Can you imagine someone saying the same about Clinton, had she won the presidency? That she could follow Bush’s path because she is white? I can’t..

      No. It seems clear that what is in fact being claimed is that Obama’s race is no reason not to be cautious and wary of his forthcoming presidency, that a certain attitude among Obama’s supporters is being addressed. Pilger and others on the left would I am sure that, had she been elected, have attacked Clinton savagely on her record as well as pillorying anyone delusional enough to assume that her foreign policy would have marked a significant change on the basis of her past actions prior to assuming the presidency.

      With Obama a lot of activists on the left feel uncomfortable about the immunity Obama seems to have acquired in which his race may well play a part. The fact is that Obama has been cosying up to the same banking and industrial elites, the same foreign policy interest, putting on the same postures as other prominent American politicians, and Pilger and others are suggesting that Obama’s race is doubtlessly playing a role in blinding his more fervent supporters/apologists to this fact.

    62. Anas — on 16th November, 2008 at 3:15 pm  

      The comparisons of Obama with Rice and Powell I see this way: It’s like if a female candidate had been voted in and to counter the assumption that a female head of state would be less prone toward beligerence and would in fact be more compassionate, critics brought up the example of Margaret Thatcher.

    63. Leon — on 16th November, 2008 at 3:56 pm  

      With Obama a lot of activists on the left feel uncomfortable about the immunity Obama seems to have acquired in which his race may well play a part.

      There may well be something to that. It’ll be interesting how many times racism is brought up if a white person dare criticise Obama for anything.

      I can see parallels to Palin where if you said anything critical or negative about her you had to first negotiate a mindfield of sexism accusations just to land a [political] blow…

    64. Don — on 16th November, 2008 at 4:02 pm  

      It was good that the UK was able to elect a female PM, as it broke down a barrier between a particular group and the highest office. No longer could it be argued that a candidate was unelectable or incapable of the attendant pressures because she was a woman. So, that was and remains good.

      Unfortunately, the woman in question was Thatcher. I’d have preferred Barbara Castle. But that does not negate the fact that a barrier was broken.

      It is good that America was able to elect a black president and thereby break a barrier which was arguably even more shaming.

      I was and remain delighted that Obama won, partly because the prospect of a McCain/Palin victory was too ghastly to contemplate but also because his speeches did manage to generate some enthusiasm im my weary old soul. The passion combined with iron self-control, the optimism and inclusivity which he projected may prove to be illusory and I am prepared to be disappointed. But even if he turns out to be a bit rubbish the barrier remains broken.

      That Obama was elected was, I believe, a good thing.

      That America put a black man in the White house is, I am certain, a good thing.

      But I see them as two seperate things.

    65. shariq — on 16th November, 2008 at 5:15 pm  

      Anas, its worth remembering that at the beginning of the campaign a lot of, if not most left wing activists and bloggers loved John Edwards and were skeptical about Obama. Maybe what you are referring to is a residue of that.

      I think we really dodged a bullet with Edwards as if he had been the nominee it seems almost impossible that he would have recovered from his affair being uncovered.

    66. douglas clark — on 16th November, 2008 at 7:58 pm  

      I cannot understand this debate.

      It seems to me that Barak Obama was elected, mainly, by white folk. And he was elected on a post racial ticket. In other words, he was expected to rule the USA on the basis of sense rather than prejudice.

      What that means in terms of US foreign policy is moot.

      He has said this:

      That he will go after OBL, and kill him.

      That he will go after Al Quaida, and kill them too.

      That he will exit Iraq as soon as reasonably possible.

      What’s to disagree with here?

      Sure, events will overtake him. That is the nature of governance rather than electioneering. But, it is my genuine belief that his heart is in the right place.

      It would be perfectly ridiculous to expect the next POTUS to agree exclusively with either John Pilger or the collective that is Pickled Politics. (Were he able to discern quite what our overall viewpoint actually was!)

      Which means I think he is our last, great, hope.

      An intelligent US President! Who’d have thought it possible?

    67. Sunny — on 16th November, 2008 at 8:30 pm  

      Oh but you see, unless the POTUS agrees entirely with John Pilger, he’s a traitor. And if he happens to be black, then its worse - he’s an Uncle Tom. Welcome to far left thinking.

    68. leon — on 16th November, 2008 at 8:57 pm  

      Sigh…some of the comments on this thread are depressing as hell to read…

    69. douglas clark — on 16th November, 2008 at 9:12 pm  

      Sunny,

      Point.

    70. douglas clark — on 16th November, 2008 at 9:17 pm  

      Leon @ 68,

      I hope that wasn’t directed at me. :-(

      Please elaborate if it was.

    71. Indrak — on 16th November, 2008 at 10:11 pm  

      This thread should be permanently advertised for the benefit of any with a minimal[-ly acceptable] level of intelligence and affection for objectivity:
      it serves as a template defining the merits or otherwise, of so many commenters,
      demonstrating the conceits and yet vapidity of so many small minds

      -perhaps in the form of a glossary for easy reference, damningly indicting of most, albeit by their own petard;
      some vie even with the thread-starter.

    72. douglas clark — on 16th November, 2008 at 11:06 pm  

      Indrak,

      Thanks for sharing….

      WTF does this mean?

      -perhaps in the form of a glossary for easy reference, damningly indicting of most, albeit by their own petard;
      some vie even with the thread-starter.

      I am no further forward. Do you think Pilger was guilty of race baiting or not?

      Do you have an opinion, other than to slur other commentators with whom you appear to disagree? Which ones? Perhaps by addressing them directly, you could make your own arguement, if that is what it is.

      Perhaps you disagree with me. Frankly there is no easy way of telling….

    73. Indrak — on 17th November, 2008 at 1:07 am  

      #71:
      Think of it as a meta-comment.
      If you need it further spelled out, eg the part you replicate: -it’s for a hypothetical new reader to PP; upon reading a comment, they look up said person on this thread, and there’s a good chance they’ll be bear in mind “what a twat”.

      Here’s a little bit to help: 40 years after a being from here walked on the moon, a fellow being, somewhat better adapted to the less attenuated solar radiation incident nearer the equator [a genetic adaptation reckoned to occur in c. 10,000 years] got elected to the White House.
      Cue hysteria, as seen amongst establishment media [the more self-regarding sections of which already bestowing their wisdom in the from of 'managing expectations'] as well as SWP-types currently indignant at comparisons with the hysteria after a princess with a £20million settlement on her 5th holiday of the year failed to use her seatbelt when joy-driven by an intoxicated lackey.

      Anas did a good job of trying to clarify for the sakes any so, basically, dumb,.. to which the Ravi Naik claims that would render Pilger as certifiable.
      btw, his #13 is a classic exemplar of my point; reminds me of Geldof’s masculine shrieking to Jacqueline Rose I believe “!-but don’t you want Al Kader fucking murdered?!!” [paraphrased].
      -She shat on him, exquisitely. And, btw, the Taleban had offered to impart bin Laden to be tried, albeit in a moslem country.

      Or how about #22, a Chairwoman projects, as though occluded from any notion of subjectivity: this says much about her, rather than him.

      re such facile ascriptions of ’starting a war with Pakistan’, why do even establishment flunkies talk about it having 170 million people? Currently the war in Afghanistan is supplied through P-stan. They’re well on the way to losing: [ when was the last time the USA on its own prevailed over an adversary bigger than Panama? About a century?]
      I shan’t go further: any one with a brain knows the nature of conflagrations. Next door to India.

      Not least Mr Sunny, it’s not the ‘far’ left that has a problem with minorities.
      To have the experience of any form of discrimination affords the opportunity to recognise it as not predicated on a particular sex, race or sexuality or any such factor, ie to transcend it, grow up and become a marxist [or an avowed reactionary]. Capitol itself doesn’t give a fuck about these issues, it never did. Yet as societal discrimination eases in certain strata [invariably on the backs of radicals], under a glaze of hypocritical and groundless liberalism -for upon examination of any significance it collapses from its contradictions-, it smooths the passage for lick-spittles to scoff as they reach their accommodation with capitalism.
      That’s why the problem is, yours, with the ‘far’ left.
      And why ‘uncle tom’ wrankles so many.

    74. Ravi Naik — on 17th November, 2008 at 11:20 am  

      No. It seems clear that what is in fact being claimed is that Obama’s race is no reason not to be cautious and wary of his forthcoming presidency, that a certain attitude among Obama’s supporters is being addressed

      That “disclaimer” from the hard-Left, the one that warns us that Obama being black means you still need to be cautious, only makes sense if you are delusional and think Obama supporters also believe this silly “black-and-white” narrative. A narrative that emphasises that minorities are oppressed by rich white men, and obviously when minorities get to power, they are just puppets/sold outs to the same villains.

      It must hurt the hard Left that Obama is not only a minority, but also from the center-Left. This not only breaks their narrative, but also breaks the Left coalition. The days of unity in the Bush era are over.

      It is an aberration and an insult to suggest that people who wanted Obama to win are somehow incapable to criticise him or even admit he might be wrong on some issues because he is black. I mean, this is utter rubbish. You want to criticise Obama’s foreign policies? Fine. You want to criticise Obama’s domestic policies? Fine. But don’t bring race into it - he is a freaking individual capable of his own thoughts, which makes him different from every other African American, white, Asian politician.

      Even the founder of DailyKos is tired of these clowns.

    75. Indrak — on 17th November, 2008 at 12:00 pm  

      #74: your delusions disqualify you from pronouncing on any left other than a pathetic liberalist one that may suit you.
      To do so, you’d be required to have a spine. and a brain less satisfying of self.
      It would also put an end to your whining.

    76. El Cid — on 17th November, 2008 at 2:43 pm  

      Indrak,
      It would help if you could write.

    77. Ravi Naik — on 17th November, 2008 at 4:25 pm  

      Indrak’s sentences suggest (and I am not being snarky)that he using an automatic language translator from Google or some place else.

      “A brain less satisfying of self” is clearly a local idiom in his native language that does not translate well in English.

    78. BenSix — on 17th November, 2008 at 5:01 pm  

      “Even the founder of DailyKos is tired of these clowns.”

      Heh, what do you mean “even”?

    79. Ravi Naik — on 17th November, 2008 at 5:12 pm  

      Heh, what do you mean “even”?

      Just say it, will you? :)

    80. BenSix — on 17th November, 2008 at 5:15 pm  

      Kos is as blue as the skies, bless ‘im. Doesn’t mean that he hasn’t got most things right throughout the past eight years, it just means that he’s likely to be rather more forgiving throughout the next four.

      Ben

    81. bananabrain — on 18th November, 2008 at 9:00 am  

      it’s not the ‘far’ left that has a problem with minorities.

      well, not as long as they look oppressed by people of whom the far left disapprove. once they start getting, well, assertive, the far left tend to go off them. it’s a version of the issue whereby people like ken livingstone, may he never return to politics, approve thoroughly of jews as long as they are bookish, powerless and preferably dead, or at any rate being murdered. the minute they is confronted with assertive jews with loud voices, suntans and an air force they get twitchy. the far left prefers to commemorate jews rather than engage with us, the exception of course being the sort of histrionic dissassociative jews who are also on the far left, of whom jacqueline rose is one.

      it’s the same with brown and black people, they’re much easier to sympathise with when they’re starving in africa or south asia than when they’re middle-class pillar-of-the-community types who might just vote tory if not kept thoroughly aware of imperialism and racism.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    82. Anas — on 18th November, 2008 at 10:25 am  

      Naik:That “disclaimer” from the hard-Left, the one that warns us that Obama being black means you still need to be cautious, only makes sense if you are delusional and think Obama supporters also believe this silly “black-and-white” narrative. A narrative that emphasises that minorities are oppressed by rich white men, and obviously when minorities get to power, they are just puppets/sold outs to the same villains.

      It must hurt the hard Left that Obama is not only a minority, but also from the center-Left. This not only breaks their narrative, but also breaks the Left coalition. The days of unity in the Bush era are over.

      It is an aberration and an insult to suggest that people who wanted Obama to win are somehow incapable to criticise him or even admit he might be wrong on some issues because he is black. I mean, this is utter rubbish. You want to criticise Obama’s foreign policies? Fine. You want to criticise Obama’s domestic policies? Fine. But don’t bring race into it - he is a freaking individual capable of his own thoughts, which makes him different from every other African American, white, Asian politician.

      No, the “disclaimer” made makes sense if as the ‘hard left’ argue many of Obama’s supporters are eager to blind themselves to all the evidence pointing to their saviour’s willingness to keep to the same unjust and imperialist assumptions in his foreign policy, and to pay undue heed to the same business interests in his domestic policies. The left certainly do criticise his attitudes toward domestic and foreign policy, very successfully. But the fact that many ‘liberals’ refuse to pay attention has made critics on the left wonder.

      And like I said above since Obama’s race does play a significant role in how he is viewed, maybe not by you, but certainly by other Obama supporters, why does it suddenly become taboo, an abberation or insult to argue it may be a factor in his relative immunity to criticism from some quarters? Obama is an individual indeed, but in a country with a history of race politics like America’s, it’s hard not to conclude that his heritage is a significant factor in peoples’ attitudes towards him: we are not post race quite yet.

      bb:confronted with assertive jews with loud voices, suntans and an air force they

      an airforce they use to bomb marketplaces and residential districts to smithereens and to maintain a brutal and bloody 40 year occupation all in the name of an racially defined state — yeah it’s weird the left would have a problem with that.

    83. bananabrain — on 18th November, 2008 at 10:44 am  

      as you well know, anas, that’s not the point i’m making. honestly, to hear you speak, you’d think they wake up in the morning and think “oooh, who can we bomb today who’s just going down the shops?” when we both know i could respond with “hamas, kassams, suicide bombers, blah blah blah” or “and clandestine nuclear reactors”. we’re in no danger of forgetting your opinions, we’ve all heard them a million times, you’re not saying anything new (or relevant) - it’s the equivalent of barging into any conversation about islam yelling “muhammad, paedophile, terrorism, blah blah blah”. after a while it becomes dreadfully tedious and not at all helpful.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    84. soru — on 18th November, 2008 at 11:48 am  

      ‘willingness to keep to the same unjust and imperialist assumptions in his foreign policy’

      The hard left, for the most part, isn’t some kind of racial group that you remain a member of whatever your political views are. If you believe the essence of the issue is that marketplaces are being bombed by imperialists, then you are hard left, and Obama, not believing that, offers you little or nothing. There would be little room for disappointment, unless you were seriously expecting him to get into office and open up the secret files on 9/11, start the war crimes trials on his generals, or whatever.

      In order to have the potential for disappointment in Obama, you have to be liberal or soft left. In that case, which you choose comes down more to personal temperament than anything else: the norm is probably to be guardedly optimistic until such time as proved otherwise. But others people are exuberant, or prefer to get their disillusionment in early.

      None of that means much in terms of political prediction: everyone involved is just talking about themselves.

    85. Anas — on 18th November, 2008 at 12:46 pm  

      bb:as you well know, anas, that’s not the point i’m making.

      Well it seemed to me the point you were making was that the left had lost its sympathy for Jews simply because they’d become more assertive. Whereas in fact most of the left has not lost its sympathy for Jews as an ethnic group, but it has lost what little it ever might have had for Israel — although this lack of sympathy for a state is often equated with anti-Semitism for propaganda purposes.

      It has lost sympathy for Israel NOT because it’s a Jewish majority state but because of its actions in repressing the Palestinians and in occupying the West Bank and Gaza.

      soru:If you believe the essence of the issue is that marketplaces are being bombed by imperialists, then you are hard left, and Obama, not believing that, offers you little or nothing.

      Sorry to burst your bubble soru, but it’s not just the far left that believes this. A large number, if not the majority, of people across this planet tend toward that analysis. The views of this relatively small clique of self-righteous ’soft left’, ‘liberals’, these self appointed guardians of moderacy, seem to drift further and further to the right of the spectrum on many issues when you take a wider perspective

      There would be little room for disappointment, unless you were seriously expecting him to get into office and open up the secret files on 9/11,.

      Huh? I think you’ll find 911 conspiracy paranoia is just as common among those on the right (Alex Jones?) as those on the left, nice try though.

    86. Anas — on 18th November, 2008 at 1:14 pm  

      OK concrete example of why liberals should be more critical of PE Obama. Take this excerpt from a counterpunch article examining Obama’s appointment of Rahm Emanuel, who is after all the son of a terrorist:

      In his first executive appointment as president-elect, Obama chose Chicago congressmen Rahm Emanuel to be his chief of staff. In case there was any question as to who claimed him as one of their own, the headline in the Israeli paper Haaretz (6 Nov. 2008)said it all:

      Obama’s first pick: Israeli Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff.

      The vulgar and boorish Rahm is son of Benjamin Emanuel, former arms smuggler to Irgun, a pre-Israel terrorist group which carried out numerous attacks on Palestinian civilians in addition to the 1946 bombing of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. His statement to Ma’ariv above remains consistent with Zionism’s historically racist overtones.

      As many have since come to learn, Rahm Emanuel left the U.S. during the 1991 Gulf War for Israel. There he became a civilian volunteer responsible for servicing military vehicles near occupied southern Lebanon. As chronicled by Ali Abunimah in the Electronic Intifada, Emanuel has a track record on Israel well to the right of George Bush. This includes signing a 2003 letter justifying Israel’s policy of political assassinations and amazingly criticizing Bush for not supporting Israel enough. After throwing his weight behind a resolution backing the country’s vicious bombing of Lebanon in the summer of 2006, Rahm called on his own government to cancel a planned speech to Congress by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki because he had condemned Israel’s actions.

      There are conflicting reports as to whether Emanuel is a dual American-Israeli citizen (Haaretz evidently thinks so). That, however, is far less important than Emanuel’s dual loyalty. As one of the most powerful positions in the executive branch of government, the chief of staff has the ability to control access to the Oval Office and play a key advisory role on policy matters. Emanuel has already demonstrated he places Israel’s interests on par or above that of the U.S., as he did in opposition to the proposed 2006 Dubai Ports deal, claiming it could harm Israel.

      How would those on the soft left allay any fears us nutty hard leftists have about Obama’s choice here (one of many worrying appointments/statements he’s made)? And if you’re under any doubt about the underlying racism still affecting American politics, imagine if Obama had appointed a Palestinian to this post, or in fact any Muslim — I mean he wouldnt even allow two women with hijabs to be photographed behind him at a rally. My point is Obama might be a decent intelligent man, but he has to prosper in a political culture which is still deeply unjust.

    87. Leon — on 18th November, 2008 at 1:59 pm  

      Should the sins of the father be visited upon the son?

    88. bananabrain — on 18th November, 2008 at 2:03 pm  

      it seemed to me the point you were making was that the left had lost its sympathy for Jews simply because they’d become more assertive

      no, the point i was making was that the left lost its sympathy for the jews because they didn’t require the patronage of the left. it happened (by extraordinary coincidence) about the time that the soviet union decided to back the arabs because the americans were backing the israelis.

      Whereas in fact most of the left has not lost its sympathy for Jews as an ethnic group

      oh, pull the other one. when did the left ever bother with the jews of ethiopia, iraq, iran, the soviet union, or yemen?

      It has lost sympathy for Israel NOT because it’s a Jewish majority state but because of its actions in repressing the Palestinians and in occupying the West Bank and Gaza.

      rubbish. that merely provides a convenient cloak of moral outrage which is absent from its positions on, say, left-wing dictators such as castro or dictators who are supported by ethnic groups whose support they need. i don’t see the hard left complaining about assad, or ahmedinejad, or the chinese leadership, or even kim jong-il. far easier to point at jews if they seem pushy or have american accents, because that’s what this is really about; this is just the class war wearing sunglasses.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    89. Sunny — on 18th November, 2008 at 2:06 pm  

      Anas - Firstly, Rahm isn’t responsible for foreign policy. Secondly, the president is more responsible for FP, and Rahm has always been close to him as well as a seasoned operator on Capitol Hill.

      You would be crying Islamophobia if someone chosed a Muslim because of their skill, but others said because he was a Muslim he didn’t merit trust - the same applies here.

      This also smacks of the people who says Tariq Ramadan should not be trusted because his grandad started the Muslim Brotherhood, regardless of what he says now. Hypocrisy mate - you’re full of it.

    90. Anas — on 18th November, 2008 at 7:26 pm  

      Should the sins of the father be visited upon the son?

      No, but I doubt that it would be a non-issue if his father had been in eta or the IRA — especially as I’m not aware of his ever criticising his fathers past. In fact Emanuel has plenty of sins of his own to keep us all going.

      Anas - Firstly, Rahm isn’t responsible for foreign policy. Secondly, the president is more responsible for FP, and Rahm has always been close to him as well as a seasoned operator on Capitol Hill

      So the apologetics come thick and fast. For his chief of staff Obama chooses someone whose views on I/P — one of the most critical FP issues Obama has to resolve over the next four years — are to the right of Dubya, especially when it comes to the 2006 Lebanon War (after Iraq and Afghanistan one of the most shameful episodes in America’s recent overseas history), and this merits no criticism. As the article mentions the chief of staff has an extremely important advisory role which should be cause for concern on an issue on which Obama needs to be seen to be as nonpartisan as possible. As Emanuel’s father rightly said:”Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn’t he be? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.” And we shouldnt forget that Joe Biden has also declared his allegiance as a zionist.

      This also smacks of the people who says Tariq Ramadan should not be trusted because his grandad started the Muslim Brotherhood, regardless of what he says now. Hypocrisy mate - you’re full of it.

      Except I’m not saying this at all. a) I brought up Emanuel’s heritage to contrast it with the hysteria that even the slightest whiff of Obama’s associating with Palestinian ‘radicals’ brought with it. Fuck even compare it to Tariq Ramadan who u mention. if youll recall he wasn’t even allowed into the country. Personally I don’t think anyone should be judged on what their forebears did or didnt do — that’s not how realpolitik works tho. b) I’m not saying Emanuel shouldnt be trusted because of who his dad was, I’m saying he shouldnt be trusted because of what he has done and said.

    91. Sunny — on 19th November, 2008 at 4:51 am  

      Heh. Anas, you sound like Melanie Phillips more and more every day. Nice one son.

      I brought up Emanuel’s heritage to contrast it with the hysteria that even the slightest whiff of Obama’s associating with Palestinian ‘radicals’ brought with it

      Which was by the nutbag loony right. Who you increasingly sound like.

      Personally I don’t think anyone should be judged on what their forebears did or didnt do — that’s not how realpolitik works tho

      Right… you don’t like it, but you’ll do it anyway if the person involved is Jew. Clearly then, you don’t see a problem with people demonising Ramadan on that basis. All is fair in love and war, innit?

      I’m saying he shouldnt be trusted because of what he has done and said.

      You haven’t actually pointed out a single example of Rahm’s specific policy views on I/P, nor even demonstrated how this will affect Obama’s plans (who is going to appoint other foreign policy people).

      Basically, you’re just pasting Counterpunch’s smears, which sound suspiciously like Frontpage these days, except with people switched around.

    92. » Comment on John Pilger’s race baiting by Anas Joe Biden On Best Political Blogs: News And Info On Joe Biden — on 19th November, 2008 at 7:31 am  

      [...] on John Pilger’s race baiting by Anas Posted in November 18th, 2008 by in Uncategorized Comment on John Pilger’s race baiting by Anas He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.” And we shouldnt forget that Joe Biden [...]

    93. bananabrain — on 19th November, 2008 at 8:52 am  

      Personally I don’t think anyone should be judged on what their forebears did or didn’t do

      and, in the same post:

      As Emanuel’s father rightly said

      i struggle to reconcile these two statements. and, for the record, i think what the father said was a quite disgusting comment, but just shows you what i am faced with sometimes. hardly surprising from an ex-irgun-nik, i suppose.

      And we shouldnt forget that Joe Biden has also declared his allegiance as a zionist.

      “allegiance” would mean that he had sworn to serve “zionism”. i’m not sure that’s the case. who would he swear it to, anyway, aipac? there isn’t a monarch, which is what you need for allegiance. and what sort of zionism do you mean? labour zionism? mizrachi? revisionist? it’s all zionism to you, though, ain’t it?

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    94. Anas — on 19th November, 2008 at 11:56 am  

      Sunny:Right… you don’t like it, but you’ll do it anyway if the person involved is Jew. Clearly then, you don’t see a problem with people demonising Ramadan on that basis. All is fair in love and war, innit?

      I don’t like it, and yes I have a massive problem with it. But what I was getting at was the fact that it hadnt been widely discussed when anyone with any connection with the Palestinian cause was quickly labelled a terrorist and Obama HIMSELF moved to distance himself was an important statement on the current political climate — something which passed you by eager as you were to paint me as a hypocrite.

      Which was by the nutbag loony right. Who you increasingly sound like.

      Yeah, it was the nutbag loony right that forced Obama to move the two women wearing hijabs out of the frame? that drove Obama to disassociate himself from Rashid Khalidi. Seems like they have a lot of influence on the man’s actions.

      You haven’t actually pointed out a single example of Rahm’s specific policy views on I/P, nor even demonstrated how this will affect Obama’s plans (who is going to appoint other foreign policy people).

      I haven’t pointed out any of Emanuel’s “specific policy views on I/P”, but it’s clear that someone with such hardline views on Israel is unlikely to be impartial on the conflict. Emanuel, who also volunteered to support the Israeli army in 1991, has positioned himself to the right of Dubya on I/P. For example he was a signatory to a letter which a group of democrats sent to Bush in 2003 accusing him of being insufficiently supportive of Israel and he also supported a house resolution backing the terrorist Israeli bombing of Lebanon in 2006 — among many other acts that make his clearly manifest his staunchly pro-Israel bias.

      How will this affect Obama’s plans? Well if one of his closest advisors and allies is an unapologetically anti-Palestinian, pro-Israeli hardliner, then you’d have to be extremely naive think it’s not going to influence his thinking — let alone that it won’t influence how Obama is perceived in the Arab and Muslim world. As for the power a chief of staff can potentially wield, I don’t think the bearer of the post is called “The Second-Most Powerful Man in Washington” for nothing.

      bb:i struggle to reconcile these two statements. and, for the record, i think what the father said was a quite disgusting comment, but just shows you what i am faced with sometimes. hardly surprising from an ex-irgun-nik, i suppose.

      Don’t struggle with it, I was merely agreeing with the point he was making: that Emanuel is bound to influence Obama’s decicion.

      bb:“allegiance” would mean that he had sworn to serve “zionism”. i’m not sure that’s the case. who would he swear it to, anyway, aipac? there isn’t a monarch, which is what you need for allegiance. and what sort of zionism do you mean? labour zionism? mizrachi? revisionist? it’s all zionism to you, though, ain’t it?

      Errr..Biden made the statement “I am a zionist”. Seems pretty straighforward to me. Maybe I should have referred to him as a self-proclaimed zionist.

    95. bananabrain — on 19th November, 2008 at 1:26 pm  

      well, i’m a zionist too. pat robertson probably also calls himself a zionist. so does ilan pappe. however, our views have virtually nothing in common. there’s nothing wrong with being a zionist per se, either. moreover, that’s the trouble with political obfuscation. biden can’t just say “i’m a zionist”, it’s ridiculous. that’s like saying he’s a “conservative” or a “democrat” it can mean almost anything depending on context, company and specific content. it oughtn’t to be used by you and others as a catch-all term of abuse, that’s just stupid and alienates people who might otherwise consider themselves somewhat sympathetic to some of your opinions.

      i am reminded of the time two soviet-era state councils accused each other of “zionist activities”. both were in mongolia.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    96. Anas — on 19th November, 2008 at 1:39 pm  

      Ilan Pappe calls himself a zionist?

    97. El Cid — on 19th November, 2008 at 2:14 pm  

      How unexpected:
      http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D94I1LA80&show_article=1

    98. Rayyan — on 19th November, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

      John Pilger and Ralph Nader are joined by Osama’s number 2 in using racial epithets to describe Obama:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/19/al-qaeda-no-2-calls-obama_n_144827.html

    99. bananabrain — on 21st November, 2008 at 9:27 am  

      even a “post-zionist” is still a “zionist” of sorts. that’s what i mean about it being a pointless label without some sort of hyphenated qualification.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain



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