Barack Hussein Obama

Gør et mellemnavn den demokratiske præsidentkandidat Barack Obama til en mindre pålidelig person, end han ellers ville have været? Forfatteren Khaled Hosseini bemærker, at Obamas mellemnavn kun adskiller sig fra hans eget efternavn ved to vokaler, men sætter herefter hårdt og brutalt fingeren på det rigtig ømme punkt:

The real affront is the lack of firm response from either McCain or Palin. Neither has had the moral courage, when taking the stage, to grasp the microphone, turn to the presenter and, right then and there, denounce the use of Obama’s middle name as an insult. Instead, they have simply delivered their stump speeches, lacing into Obama as if nothing out-of-bounds had just happened. The McCain-Palin ticket has given toxic speeches accusing Obama of being a friend of terrorists, then released short, meek repudiations of some of the rough stuff, including McCain’s call Friday to “be respectful.” Back in February, the Arizona senator apologized for the “disparaging remarks” from a talk-radio host who sneered repeatedly about “Barack Hussein Obama” before a McCain rally. “We will have a respectful debate,” McCain insisted afterward. But pretending to douse flames that you are busy fanning does not qualify as straight talk.

What I find most unconscionable is the refusal of the McCain-Palin tandem to publicly condemn the cries of “traitor,” “liar,” “terrorist” and (worst of all) “kill him!” that could be heard at recent rallies. McCain is perfectly capable of telling hecklers off. But not once did he or his running mate bother to admonish the people yelling these obscene — and potentially dangerous — words. They may not have been able to hear the slurs at the rallies, but surely they have had ample time since to get on camera and warn that this sort of ugliness has no place in an election season. But they have not. Simply calling Obama “a decent person” is not enough.

Is inaction tantamount to consent? The McCain campaign certainly thinks so when it comes to Obama and incendiary remarks from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. By their own inaction, then, are McCain and Palin condoning these slurs? Or worse, are they willfully inciting the angry and venomous response that we have been witnessing at their rallies? If not, then what reaction are they hoping to evoke by their relentless public suggestions that Obama is basically an anti-American liar who won’t put “country first” and has an affection for terrorists? Do they not understand the kind of fire they are playing with?

Svaret er nok desværre, at de kun er alt for godt klar over, hvilken ild, det er de leger med. Alt for sejren, kan man sige.

Link: McCain and Palin are playing with fire

Keating: McCains ven, bedrageren

Palin og McCain er begyndt at gå meget hårdt til Obama, blandt andet fordi Obama vist har haft en vag, organisatorisk tilknytning til en person, der blev dømt for terrorisme begået mens den unge Barack var otte år gammel.

Så grimt går de til den, at nogen sågar taler om fascisme. Men skal der være gilde, så lad der være gilde. Obama-kampagnen er kommet i tanker om, at McCain var et fremtrædende medlem af Keating 5, 5 senatorer, der i 1991 fik en påtale for at intervenere og forsinke undersøgelser til fordel for Charles Keating, CEO for Lincon Savings and Loans Bank, der senere brød sammen og måtte reddes af den amerikanske regering. Redningen kostede skatteyderne 3,4 milliarder dollars, og Keating blev idømt først 10, senere 12½ års fængsel.

McCain havde til gengæld modtaget forskellige økonomiske “begunstigelser”, herunder kampagnebidrag og en ferierejse med alt betalt. Siger denne gamle historie noget om mandens dømmekraft i dag?

Hvis det skal handle om mudderkastning, lader Obama  i alle tilfælde her til at have fundet noget lidt mere relevant at kaste sig over. Som Lawrence Lessig skriver på sin blog:

It has surprised me that this, the tremor before this recent financial disaster, the Keating Five scandal, has not been at the center of this campaign before. But now, apparently in response to Palin’s suggestion that the fact Obama knows Ayers is relevant to whether he should be president, the Obama campaign has released this very strong 15 minute documentary about the Keating scandal.

For those not old enough to remember, here’s the outline: 5 Senators, all of whom had received campaign funding from Charles Keating, intervene with regulators to get them to overlook criminal behavior by Keating, leading to the collapse of Lincoln Savings, leading to a $3.4 billion bill for Americans. The only one of those 5 Senators to receive both personal and political benefits from Keating: McCain.

Fair? Totally relevant to the question whether the judgment of this candidate is the sort that’s needed at this time. Totally relevant to the basic question whether his philosophy — deregulate — is what this sector needs at this time.

Wise? Not sure. I’m not sure Americans distinguish between hard-hitting-and-fair criticism (which this is) and hard-hitting-and-unfair criticism (which Palin’s is). One might worry that they’re “burn[ing] down the house to roast the pig” but I assume they’ve reckoned that.

Link: and then things got ugly (via Boing Boing).

Sarah Palin – professionel løgnhals

Rolling Stone har samlet en liste af 11 myter om Sarah Palin, suppleret med de hårde, verificerede fakta.

Det er lidt af en øjenåbner, især hvis man stadig har en eller anden forestilling om, at McCain er en gentleman, hvis ord man på nogen måde kan regne med:

1. THE MYTH: “She took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay. And made a profit!” — John McCain, at a campaign stop in WisconsinTHE FACTS: No one bought the jet online. It was eventually sold through an aircraft broker — at a loss to taxpayers of nearly $600,000.

2. THE MYTH: “I told the Congress ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ on that Bridge to Nowhere.” — Sarah Palin, convention speech

THE FACTS: Supported the infamous pork project in her 2006 run for governor, even after Congress had killed the bridge; derided its opponents as “spinmeisters.” Reversed her stance a year later — but kept the money, doling out the $223 million in federal funds to other pork projects throughout the state.

3. THE MYTH: “We … championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.” — Sarah Palin, convention speech

THE FACTS: As mayor, employed a lobbyist who also worked for Jack Abramoff to secure $27 million in pork spending for Wasilla — more than $4,000 per resident. In her two years as governor, requested $453 million in earmarks. Alaska ranks first in the nation for pork, raking in seven times the national average.

Take note, punditokrater og andre!

Link: The Truth About Sarah Palin (via Boing Boing).

Kvinder i Alaska siger nej til Sarah Palin

Jeg har modtaget nedenstående i en mail fra en bekendt i USA:

Alaska Women Reject Palin

Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was to be held outside on the lawn in front of the Loussac Library in midtown Anchorage. Home made signs were encouraged, and the idea was to make a statement that Sarah Palin does not speak for all Alaska women, or men. I had no idea what to expect.

The rally was organized by a small group of women, talking over coffee. It made me wonder what other things have started with small groups of women talking over coffee. It’s probably an impressive list. These women hatched the plan, printed up flyers, posted them around town, and sent notices to local media outlets. One of those media outlets was KBYR radio, home of Eddie Burke, a long-time uber-conservative Anchorage talk show host. Turns out that Eddie Burke not only announced the rally, but called the people who planned to attend the rally “a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots,” and read the home phone numbers of the organizers aloud over the air, urging listeners to call and tell them what they thought. The women, of course, received some nasty, harassing and threatening messages.

I felt a bit apprehensive. I’d been disappointed before by the turnout at other rallies. Basically, in Anchorage, if you can get 25 people to show up at an event, it’s a success. So, I thought to myself, if we can actually get 100 people there that aren’t sent by Eddie Burke, we’ll be doing good. A real statement will have been made. I confess, I still had a mental image of 15 demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of menacing “socialist baby-killing maggot” haters.

It’s a good thing I wasn’t tailgating when I saw the crowd in front of the library or I would have ended up in somebody’s trunk. When I got there, about 20 minutes early, the line of sign wavers stretched the full length of the library grounds, along the edge of the road, 6 or 7 people deep! I could hardly find a place to park. I nabbed one of the last spots in the library lot, and as I got out of the car and started walking, people seemed to join in from every direction, carrying signs.

Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage. The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was
absolutely stunned. The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn’t honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute. This just doesn’t happen here.

Then, the infamous Eddie Burke showed up. He tried to talk to the media, and was instantly surrounded by a group of 20 people who started shouting O-BA-MA so loud he couldn’t be heard. Then passing cars started honking in a rhythmic pattern of 3, like the Obama chant, while the crowd cheered, hooted and waved their signs high.

So, if you’ve been doing the math Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin’s rally that got all the national media coverage! So take heart, sit back, and enjoy the photo gallery. Feel free to spread the pictures around to anyone who needs to know that Sarah Palin most definitely does not speak for all Alaskans. The citizens of Alaska, who know her best, have things to say.

Hvor er racismen?

Læserbrev sakset fra Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

How racism works

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said “I do” to? What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama were a member of the “Keating 5“?
What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election
numbers would be as close as they are?

USA – torturens spydspids

Leftist scumbag Andrew Sullivan opsummerer, hvordan USA nu står i spidsen for torturens globale revival:

A new survey of global public opinion [PDF] reveals the appalling truth. Americans are now among the people on earth most supportive of government’s torturing prisoners. The United States is in the same public opinion ballpark as some of the most disgusting regimes on the planet:

Support for the unequivocal position was highest in Spain (82%), Great Britain (82%) and France (82%), followed by Mexico (73%), China (66%), the Palestinian territories (66%), Poland (62%), Indonesia (61%), and the Ukraine (59%).   In five countries either modest majorities or pluralities support a ban on all torture:  Azerbaijan (54%), Egypt (54%), the United States (53%), Russia (49%), and Iran (43%).  South Koreans are divided.

So America’s peers in the fight against torture, in terms of public opinion are Azerbaijan, Egypt, Russia, and Iran. This is what America now is: a country with the moral values of countries that routinely torture and abuse prisoners, like Egypt and Iran.

Gad vide om diverse Hollywoodfilm af den slags, hvor den heltemodige cop tæver det levende dagslys ud af skurke, som herefter straks kryber til korset, spiller ind – jeg holder selv meget af Hollywood-film, men har det ikke altid helt godt med den konstante legitimering af politivold.

Eftersom tortur stort set altid rammer folk, som senere viser sig at være uskyldige, er det i alle tilfælde knap så hensigtsmæssigt; er voldelige overgreb virkelig altid helt fjong, når bare de bliver begået af folk i uniform?

Sully runder af:

The only other countries where support for torturing terror suspects has grown are India, Nigeria, Turkey, South Korea and Egypt. In all other developed countries, support for an absolute ban on torture has actually risen in the past two years. America is now leading the way in legitimizing and celebrating torture as a legitimate tool for governments.

This is the Bush-Cheney legacy – to be continued under McCain-Palin. McCain was once a torture victim, but since 2006 has supported the torture of prisoners by the CIA. In fact, prisoners across the world who have been tortured by the CIA in the last two years can, in the terror of their cells, know that John McCain made it possible, by caving into the war criminals in the White House in 2006.

How can the country that pioneered the Geneva Conventions now be a nation more supportive of torture than any other developed nation on earth? Of course, it matters that we have had a president and vice-president actively endorsing and campaigning for the use of torture, and torturing prisoners routinely in jails where there is no escape and no due process. But the key segment of the pro-torture enthusiasts are evangelical Christians. Yes: evangelical Christians are now the greatest supporters of doing to prisoners what was once done to Christ.

Det er dem, vi følger som en hund sin herre: de torterende, krigsførende amerikanere og deres gale kristne evangelister. Men selvfølgelig holder vi dem skarpt op på vore egne standarder for menneskerettigheder! – der er endda set eksempler på, at CIA-hold er blevet nægtet kaffe, når de tanker op  i Kastrup  på vejen fra Guantanamo til Damaskus.

Se blot, hvordan vor egen standhaftige Fogh viser den frie verdens leder, hvor skabet skal stå.

Obama, McCain … er der forskel?

I Michigan er man ved det igen – ved at finde på krumspring og krummelurer, der kan forhindre sorte i at stemme. I Florida vil man afvise 85.000 nye vælgerregistreringer, skriver Greg Palast. Jeg gætter på, det er et mønster, vi vil se gentage sig i de nærmeste måneder.

Men gør det egentlig en forskel, når det kommer til stykket? Hvor stor en forskel kommer til til at gøre for den gennemsnitlige Joe American, hvem der sidder i det Ovale Kontor?

På den amerikanske venstrefløj kan man finde mange forskellige bud:

  • Obama har solgt så meget ud, at det faktisk kan være lige meget: “How can I or any progressive vote for a presidential candidate who goes from opposing a war to saying he not only supports the idea of keeping troops in Iraq for another five years?”
  • Dette er et aldeles afgørende valg, som vi aldrig kommer til at se magen til i vore liv: “The cascading effects of right-wing control over most of the federal government have been cumulative and devastating. After the election in early November, it’ll be President McCain or President Obama. We’ll never pass this way again.”
  • Obama og McCain er i virkeligheden begge marionetter for det samme militær-industrielle kompleks drevet af økonomiske hensyn mere end af almindelige amerikaneres ve og vel, som John Pilger skriver:
    “John McCain may well be a media cartoon figure – the fake “war hero” now joined with a Shakespeare-banning, gun-loving, religious fanatic – yet his true significance is that he and Obama share essentially the same dangerous prescriptions.”
  • Jonathan Freedland skriver i The Guardian, at hvis USA nu vrager Obama og håbet om forandring efter otte år med Bush, vil verden vende sig væk fra USA i væmmelse, og den “anti-amerikanisme”, vi kender i dag, vil kun være en bleg skygge af, hvad vi vil få at se. Republikanerne kan nok vinde USA, men de vil miste verdens opbakning i en tid, hvor USA i forvejen taber terræn til Rusland, Indien, Kina og Brasilien.

Hvis folk på den amerikanske venstrefløj er desillusionerede over Obama, er det ikke svært at forstå. Richard Stallman udtrykker det meget godt, i en kommentar til republikanernes valgsvindel:

I don’t hold any enthusiasm for Obama; at best he will be like Clinton but even less liberal. However, systematic destruction of democracy is dangerous even if there is no good candidate is likely to win this year.

And you can be sure that if Obama loses because of this disenfranchement, Democrat activists will blame it on the Green candidate.

Men hvor godt man end kan forstå denne desillusion, er der en forskel. Det er rigtigt, at Obamas snak om “change” til en vis grad er fluff og candy floss – som om, Obamas retorik reducerer “change” til et indholdsløst mantra og “feel good”-ord, som man kan lægge i, hvad man vil.

Men samtidig er Obama en repræsentant for meget af det, der er godt i USA, og han er især indbegrebet af en moderne, kosmopolitisk amerikaner. Hvilket vil sige: Han er ikke nogen stupid redneck, og han forsøger heller ikke at kapre stemmer ved at lade, som om han er en stupid redneck – han appellerer slet ikke til det segment.

Obama er med andre ord en intelligent og veluddannet mand, der ikke skammer sig over at være intelligent og veluddannet – og det har, med forlov, været en sjældenhed i omegnen af Det Hvide Hus i en alt for lang årrække.

Mona Eltahawy, som med sin ægyptiske baggrund selv er et skoleeksempel på en kosmopolitisk “orientalsk” amerikaner, håber således på at slippe af med den evindelige, selvcentrerede amerikanske stupiditet, der især rammer folk fra fjerne og eksotiske lande:

I remember a dinner-table conversation in Mumbai a couple of weeks ago when Sanjay — an architect and businessman — turned to me quite earnestly to proclaim, “Americans are inherently stupid.”

“How do you live with them?” he asked.

There we were — an Indian and an Egyptian — discussing America over dinner at the Royal Yacht Club, built by British colonialists for the enjoyment of white privilege and off limits to us brown people back when they ruled India.

Then Manique, a Sri Lankan woman, joined the conversation to tell us that during a visit to the United States a few years ago, someone actually asked her if they had bread in Sri Lanka. I asked her, half-jokingly, if it was the same American who asked my dad at an Athens hotel over dinner years ago whether we had fruit in Egypt.

More than just shocked amusement, these incidents show why all of us would vote for Barack Obama if we could. He would never ask us if we had bread or fruit in our countries. Why, Obama is much like us. He has traveled. He has lived abroad. And he has family in several countries. He has a different script for what an American is. He is an American who is comfortable as a citizen of the world – with or without his lapel pin.

Og som sådan ville en præsident Obama gøre en kolossal forskel for resten af verden. (Obamas fingre ville også være bedre placeret ved den termonukleære knap end Sarah Palinsjust sayin’).

Men måske det bedste i virkeligheden ville være en gentagelse af miseren fra 2000: Obama har vundet valget – på en hårsbredde. Men så begynder rapporterne at rulle ind om valgsvindel i Florida,  Michigan og andre svingstater, og efter en omtælling i tre counties i Florida og Michigan ender McCain med at vinde med 327 stemmers overvægt. Det er også klart, at optællingen af de 327 stemmer er forfusket, og at vi i alle tilfælde kun er så langt nede, fordi republikanerne har frataget på den grimme side af 500.000 sorte deres stemmeret.

Obama har vundet valget, men det er McCain der bliver præsident. Amerika var klar til forandring, verden var klar til forandring, men valget er stjålet. Igen. Og en kolossal vrede løfter sig, gør det umuligt for McCain at komme nogen som helst steder med kongressen de næste, og efter i fire år at have trådt vande, drevet USAs fattige længere ned og givet flere skattelettelser til de rige, skylles Obama 2012 ind i det Hvide Hus på en bølge af vrede, der denne gang har tvunget ham til at tale med en klart venstreorienteret, antiimperialistisk retorik.

Eller måske ikke. Og ja, måske det vitterlig ikke er en stjålen McCain-sejr vi skal håbe på. Men … hvem ved? Det er ikke altid det mest oplagte, der er det rigtige.