Daily Archives: July 15, 2008

The Politics of FEAR – Barack and Michelle Portrayed As Militants « E Pluribus Unum

obama-and-michelle-militants The Politics of FEAR takes as its starting point the satirical cover of the latest New Yorker. The post goes on to cite the Huffington Post on the matter:

The illustration, by Barry Blitt,is called “The Politics of Fear” and, according to the NYer press release, “satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.” Uh-huh. What’s that they say about repeating a rumor?

Presumably the New Yorker readership is sophisticated enough to get the joke, but still: this is going to upset a lot of people, probably for the same reason it’s going to delight a lot of other people, namely those on the right: Because it’s got all the scare tactics and misinformation that has so far been used to derail Barack Obama’s campaign — all in one handy illustration. Anyone who’s tried to paint Obama as a Muslim, anyone who’s tried to portray Michelle as angry or a secret revolutionary out to get Whitey, anyone who has questioned their patriotism — well, here’s your image.

The companion article by Ryan Lizza, who has written extensively about the campaign, is very long (18 pages!) and probably won’t thrill a lot of Democratic party faithful, either, since it advances the image of Obama as a skilled and calculating politician who advanced by becoming a master of the game:

“[P]erhaps the greatest misconception about Barack Obama is that he is some sort of anti-establishment revolutionary. Rather, every stage of his political career has been marked by an eagerness to accommodate himself to existing institutions rather than tear them down or replace them….he has always played politics by the rules as they exist, not as he would like them to exist. He runs as an outsider, but he has succeeded by mastering the inside game.”

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Channel 4 – News – Dispatches – Undercover in Tibet

This is the documentary shown last night on Four Corners on ABC: Undercover in Tibet.

As Tibetan protesters take to the streets in the biggest and most bloody challenge to Chinese rule in nearly 20 years, Dispatches reports on the hidden reality of life under Chinese occupation after spending three months undercover, deep inside the region. Dozens are feared dead after the recent clashes and crackdown by Chinese troops, but with reporting so rigidly controlled from the region little is known of living conditions inside Tibet.

To make this film, Tibetan exile Tash Despa returns to the homeland he risked his life to escape 11 years ago, to carry out secret filming with award-winning, Bafta-nominated director Jezza Neumann (Dispatches Special: China’s Stolen Children). Risking imprisonment and deportation, he uncovers evidence of the “cultural genocide” described by the Dalai Lama.

He finds the nomadic way of life being forcefully wiped out as native Tibetans are stripped of their land and livestock and are being resettled in concrete camps. Tibet reveals the regime of terror which dominates daily life and makes freedom of expression impossible. Tash meets victims of arbitrary arrests, detention, torture and “disappearances” and uncovers evidence of enforced sterilisations on ethnic Tibetan women.

He sees for himself the impact of the enormous military and police presence in the region, and the hunger and hardship being endured by many Tibetans, and hears warnings of the uprising taking place across the provinces now.

There is no doubt about it. What the Chinese government is engaged in is colonisation, and a systematic and ruthless colonisation at that. What else in all honesty could it be called?

Watch this for yourself and make your own judgement.

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Posted by on July 15, 2008 in Chinese and China, current affairs, TV


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ENOUGH ROPE with Andrew Denton – episode 176: Bob Hawke

Last night’s Bob Hawke interview was certainly worth a look, and now you can read, hear, or see it too from that link. Hawke was PM of Australia for nine years.

ANDREW DENTON: How intoxicating is the excitement of being in office, of having the Prime Ministership?

BOB HAWKE: I think it’s probably like when you start drinking. I mean you get more easily intoxicated in the beginning and it’s more exciting but certainly on that first day when you wake up and say, “I’m Prime Minister” it’s an exhilarating feeling but the reality is Andrew that the weight of work, the sheer intensity and volume of the things that you have to deal with doesn’t leave much room for exhilaration.

ANDREW DENTON: How do you deal with the actual and emotional intensity of a position like that?

BOB HAWKE: Well by making sure it’s not the work of one man. Look at the duration with Carter, President Carter. Insisted on supervising who was going to be using the White House tennis court. Come on. I mean it’s a question of prioritisation and delegation and if you haven’t got that capacity for prioritisation and delegation then you’ll be on the road to the bin.

ANDREW DENTON: What in your view is the essence of power?

BOB HAWKE: Well the essence of power is the knowledge that what you do is going to have an effect not just an immediate but perhaps a lifelong effect on the happiness and wellbeing of millions of people and so I think the essence of power is to be conscious of what it can mean for others. One of the great things about being Prime Minister was that hardly a day would go by at the end of which you didn’t have the knowledge that you’d been able to do something. It may only have been from one person or may have been from the country as a whole or even might have been an international thing but you’d been able to do something which you thought was going to make someone or a lot of people better off or happier.

Could that be a message to Kevin Rudd?

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Posted by on July 15, 2008 in Australia, Australia and Australian, History, inspiration, Kevin Rudd, Political, politics, TV