Obama


Why Does This Not Happen More Often?

I am certain everyone has seen a clip or two or the whole video of Obama going to the Republicans for lunch and answering the questions that they had to ask. If you haven’t seen the video, watch the whole think at the post my brother wrote in “Let Obama Be Obama” but the one I have embedded, Awesome stuff by Jon Stewart through out this segment.

One question I did ask several years ago after seeing the British parliament grill the Prime Minister at the time is why something like that didn’t happen in the United States more often and hopefully this can be somewhat of a precedent set #44.

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“It’s like he’s seeing their talking points in bullet time!”


Howard Zinn: Hero and Historian

I had first heard about him back in 10th when a teacher of mine, Ms. Pfeffer (who I still consider as one of the two best teachers I had of all time), introduced our class to a chapter from a book called “A People’s History of the United States.” I had never heard of either the book or the author named Howard Zinn prior to that moment but I can safely point to that day in 2002 that changed me. Until earlier today, I don’t think I ever thanked Ms. Pfeffer for that brief introduction but I took care of that and let me thank her here again.

I think we only read one chapter for our class regarding how the farmers of the Shay’s Rebellion should be considered the real heroes in the true history of the United States of America. It certainly peaked my curiosity and I went on to read the whole book which questioned why the initial union organizers did not receive much credit over the course of history or why the founding fathers, for all the good they did, still were considered with such glamor since they were slave owners themselves.

At a time when few politicians dared even call themselves liberal, “A People’s History” told an openly left-wing story. Zinn charged Christopher Columbus and other explorers with genocide, picked apart presidents from Andrew Jackson to Franklin D. Roosevelt and celebrated workers, feminists and war resisters.

During the civil rights movement, Zinn encouraged his students to request books from the segregated public libraries and helped coordinate sit-ins at downtown cafeterias. Zinn also published several articles, including a then-rare attack on the Kennedy administration for being too slow to protect blacks.

The attached quote above and the one below is from this NPR article and a lot of the stuff about him, I am learning now but already could have figured he would have had a rich history given his take from just a single book. I plan on reading You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times some day, hopefully sooner rather than later, and most certainly it will give be an even better perspective.

One of Zinn’s last public writings was a brief essay, published last week in The Nation, about the first year of the Obama administration.

“I’ve been searching hard for a highlight,” he wrote, adding that he wasn’t disappointed because he never expected a lot from Obama.

“I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.”

His critical views of President Obama are pretty damning to say the least but it definitely brings to light the type of reality we all may be hiding from and need to wake up to. I’ll end the post with three quotes from Howard Zinn regarding what he worried about most and what he thought about politics and war.

“I’m worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel – let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they’re doing. I’m concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that’s handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers.”

Terrorism has replaced Communism as the rationale for the militarization of the country [America], for military adventures abroad, and for the suppression of civil liberties at home. It serves the same purpose, serving to create hysteria.

It’s not right to respond to terrorism by terrorizing other people. And furthermore, it’s not going to help. Then you might say, “Yes, it’s terrorizing people, but it’s worth doing because it will end terrorism.” But how much common sense does it take to know that you cannot end terrorism by indiscriminately dropping bombs?


Learn To Speak Tea Bag

A California-based political cartoonist says he is receiving death threats over a 90-second animated film he created that teaches viewers to “Learn To Speak Tea Bag.”

On his blog, Mark Fiore compares his situation to that of the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in Denmark where his cartoon depicting of the Prophet Muhammad caused rioting across the Muslim world several years ago and several attempts on his life including one last week.

Feel free to make your own conclusions but the clip which I have attached at the end of the post seems pretty harmless but there seems to be nothing good coming out of the corner from these “Tea Baggers.” As much of a satire piece this maybe, it certainly rings some truth to it which is probably why there is an uproar (or the fact that Bill-O the Clown mentioned the clip on his show last week). You take your pick.


In Obama, Muslims Trust?

(A condensed version of this article should appear in the upcoming print of The Muslim Perspective newsletter.)

Long before the ballots for the 2008 elections were cast, there was an unusual amount of optimism regarding a skinny guy with a funny name from Hawaii and what he could accomplish not only for those here in America but what he deliver for those around the globe. A large community that is going to be impacted is the Muslims not only here but around the world.

The simple rationale for the new hope behind Barack Obama could be found in his political approach to nearly every critical issue facing us today. He has been brutally honest in his assessments regarding the economic turmoil, his willingness to be patient to rally for multi-national support in determining foreign policies, bringing immediate change from the previous administration by admitting early on in the race for Presidency that he was willing to put all options back on the table when dealing with Iran.

President Barack Obama in his inauguration speech spoke to the Muslim world leaving very little to imagination. “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” he stated in his address and sought to renew a relationship built upon trust and not based on power or dissent. It has probably been a long time coming but the time is here for the Muslim world to be thrust upon the center state in a positive light by an American President.

“In Islam, there is a hadith that reads ‘None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself,” he said at a prayer service just two weeks after his inaugural address, once again showing his willingness to put asides the philosophical and ideological differences of the past administration in hope for a new beginning.

By no means has this been a smooth campaign to win over the Muslims after a tumultuous past eight years. He drew some heavy criticisms from within his own political party when in an apparent attempt to appear slightly hawkish and readiness to be commander-in-chief, he stated that he was willing to strike within Pakistan, if the Pakistani government would not align militaristic policies with him. He was quoted in saying “if we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will,” Obama said.

Plenty within the Muslim community were also troubled with the fact that throughout the campaign and through the constant baseless attacks on his religious affiliation, he rarely spoke out in favor of Islam. There were consistent photo opportunities released by his staffers and close advisers meeting with Christian and Jewish leaders but very little was done to reach out or extend an olive branch – they seemed to be in repetitive damage control mode to dispel any Obama-Muslim rumors.

There is an unrealistically high amount of expectation for President Obama to provide solutions for not only a failing economy and housing crisis here at home but also a large amount of anticipation has been built up for how he plans to handle the Middle East situation. He has become a superhero of sorts with his intention of taking charge of critical issues and attempting to solve them in these difficult times should lead us to what great uncle Ben once stated to a young Spiderman: With great power, comes great responsibility.

He has a great amount of political capital to work with in his first hundred days in office and it will certainly go a long way to defining the rest of his presidency. His initial plans on whether to be complacent with Iran or aggressive in removing the troops from the occupied areas in Afghanistan and Iraq can be a stepping stone towards proving that he has the right intentions at heart and in mind when dealing with Muslims worldwide towards achieving a better tomorrow.


Change? What Change?

So this video is a couple of days old but Jon Stewart analyzed Obama’s inaugural speech with certain speeches of our former President and it showed quite a few similarities. Not exactly the type of hope and change you were hoping would come to Washington. Also, Wired.com is reporting that Obama is lining up his administration exactly with the previous one on the issue of warantless wiretapping. 

The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants.

Take off your optimism hats folks and get ready for a good dose of reality. We can all sit here and hope for things to change but we better keep the new President and his administration honest and true to their campaign “promises”. 

 

 

How disappointing. 

Credit: Gizmodo.