Saturday, 8 November 2008

More thoughts on Obama

The impact of Obama is still sinking in, and for many good reasons. And there are two issues i would like to just focus on:

1. He serves as the ultimate role model (at the moment) for kids that feel or are told that they are disadvantaged. Any ethnic minority kids, or kids with a single parent need to realise that with hard work and talent they can achieve anything they set their mind to do. It may at times be tougher than for some others, but nothing is impossible, and the harder they work the luckier they will get.

2. The greatest stumbling block to an Obama event in the UK is Parliament. I believe that Parliament is in need of reformation. This has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with how our democracy is organised. It is extremely unlikely in the current system that an MP having just served a few years (as in Obama's case) could campaign and win the job of Priminister. WE DO NOT CHOOSE our most senior and powerful political position - we leave it in the hands of Parliament. I say it is time for change. The job of Priminister is far to important to the Nation for us to leave it to a few hundred MP's. I want to have a say in who runs this Country, and in this modern Britain it is about time we joined the rest of the world in being able to all cast a vote for our political head of state. Now that I would like to see in my lifetime.


Anonymous said...

Yes, any role model that is better than scum like Jonathan Ross and rap artists who promote violence has to be welcome, but who is Barack Hussein Obama?

We have seen the rock star concerts, but what actually lies behind the man?

All US presidents since WWII have pursued the Grand Imperial Strategy, with Britain tagging along as the junior partner. Bill Clinton was prepared to use military force to safeguard resources and markets for the US. The only difference with George W Bush was that he arrogantly flaunted these ambitions in the face of the world. The War with Iraq, was the start of a New Imperial Grand Strategy, though it has not gone as well as its architects would have wished.

Why does anyone think Obama will be any thing different? If we look at the people who surround him, it will be business as usual. It is increasingly looking like a Clinton White House without Hilary. Obama keeping the house warm until Chelsea comes of age?

The wave of euphoria is because Obama is not Bush. We saw the same when Tony Blair kicked out the dreaded Tories. And what did we get, policies that even Maggie Thatcher would not have dared push through. We now live in a police state, where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. We have seen our civil liberties and freedoms eroded. We have been dragged into illegal wars.

When the Black Panthers took to the streets, they were infiltrated and destroyed by the FBI under the Cointelpro programme. The gangs in LA were tolerated when they stayed in the ghettos. When the Latin Kings, the largest street gang in New York, renounced criminal violence, morphed into the Latin King and Queen Nation and became political and took to the streets, they were attacked by the New York cops in the biggest crime bust ever seen in New York.

From the day he steps into the White House, President Obama has two years to dismantle the military-industrial-corporate complex and bring in participatory democracy. Only then can we say he is truly a man of the people.

- President-elect Barack Obama

The UK is not US, we do not hold presidential elections, we have a cabinet system of government, we do not elect a supreme leader. The problem is not Parliament, but that Parliament is not exercising the powers that it has.

We have supine, spineless MPs and each year the intake gets worse. They should hold the government to account, but they do not. We need far more powerful select committees. What can be less democratic than a whip system where MPs are bullied into toeing the party line?

At local level, it is far far worse. Councillors who jockey for committee position to maximise their allowances, who dare not say boo to a goose, who fail to scrutinise anything put before them. Nor is there any scrutiny by the local comic that pretends to be a newspaper.

Anonymous said...

democracy - Order-in-Council

One of the most significant steps to increase democratic accountability would be to abolish Order-in-Council. Like something out of the Middle Ages, this is where a group of Privy Councillors stand in a semi-circle before the Monarch, one shouts out the title of an Order and nothing more, the Monarch shouts Agreed!, and the Order is passed into law!

This is how the Chagos Islanders were barred from returning to their islands, another sorry chapter in the shameful saga of British foreign policy as junior partner to the Yanks, that started with the forced removal of the islanders from their islands in order for the US to build their military base at Diego Garcia. What today is seen as ethnic cleansing, a crime against humanity and a breach of Article 7 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

For more on this shameful act by the British and how an Order-in-Council circumvents and overrides democratic accountability read the excellent Freedom Next Time by John Pilger (Bantam Press, 2006).

democracy - freedom of the press

The second reform would be a reformed press, a press that is prepared to tell the truth not regurgitate government and corporate propaganda and call it news.

It is a probably pulling the definition of 'press' to the limit to call the local comic a paper, but nevertheless an example culled from the latest edition makes the point. [Farnborough News, 21 November 2008]

We are told the town centre redevelopment is on course, lots of new shops. The local comic has been running this story four times a year for the last five years. Omitted from the puff piece for St Modwen is that they have trashed the town, that retailers are still pulling out. With most retailers on their knees, few are likely to wish to open up shop in a town centre that has been killed dead by St Modwen. The best St Modwen can do is one new retailer selling tat for the Christmas market. No mention of the hoardings that had fake names to give the false impression of the retailers moving in.

- Starbucks v cowboy developers

Had our juvenile scribblers looked to Camberley or even read their own letters column, they would see that although it has a brand new shopping centre, retailers are not exactly queuing out the door to get in. All it has done is spread the existing retail around a little thinner.

Coupled with this puff piece on the new shops is another puff piece on how well the non-existent yuppie flats are selling. This follows on from similar puff pieces in the summer. Look a little closer and you will see that only four yuppie flats have been sold. Four fools who were easily parted with their money.

With the St Modwen share price in free fall it is a race as to which will occur first, St Modwen collapse or completion of the Farnborough project. The only reason the Farnborough project is going ahead at all, compared with their other projects that have been axed (leaving Hatfield with a derelict town centre) is because Farnborough is financed with Kuwaiti money.

- St Modwen financial meltdown

In a talk in Chicago last year by John Pilger on the corporate and government lackeys (otherwise known as journalists) who promote the official corporate and government agenda, he tells the tale of a group of Russian journalists who toured the US during the Cold War. They had a question, they were puzzled. They had read many newspapers, watched TV. What had them puzzled was that no matter what they read or watched, it always seemed to be of the same opinion, carried the same party line. They wondered how this was achieved, as back in the Soviet Union it was necessary to send journalists to the Gulags.

Another recent example was in The Observer claiming that Earth First!, a radical direct action group, were planning to kill millions of people. At best shoddy reporting at worst doing the state's dirty work for them. Had anyone, let alone a decent journalist, bothered to check out Earth First!, they would have spiked the piece as utter crap.

- Fifth Columnist
- SchNews Front Page - Fifth Columnist
- Civil Disobedience is a Terrorist Threat

The German Nazis in the 1930s planted in the public mind that Jews were a threat. Then when a cull was carried out of Jews, few voiced complaint.

It was once Reds under the Beds, now it has become everyone is a terrorist. Freedoms, what Freedoms?

- The surveillance state
- police stop students filming in parliament square
- MPs seek to censor the media
- photographing coppers could get you 10 years in jail soon if were not careful
- Big Brother targets the school run
- Farnborough Airport 'terrorist' plane spotters
- Passports will be needed to buy pay-as-you-go mobile phones

During the lead up to the illegal war with Iraq, MI6 was planting stories in the media of weapons of mass destruction. The irony is they did not have to, the media was more than capable of doing this all by themselves.

The sad thing is the gullible fools believe the drivel that they read and hear in the mass media. That is when they are not partaking of the opiate of the masses and watching trash like Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing.

Meanwhile real news goes unreported, let alone unquestioned, unchallenged. Where were the reports that the government had overturned a century old policy and decided to recognise Chinese sovereignty over Chinese occupied Tibet, condemning the people of Tibet to arbitrary arrest and torture?

- UK recognises Chinese sovereignty over Tibet

Or locally, a Rachman landlord evicts a mentally disturbed, vulnerable adult out of his home.

- Disabled man kicked out of his home

Or, the councillors once again compliment Pavilion on what a good job they are doing. 'Heaped them with praise according to a report in the local comic. Try asking the tenants or touring the slum estates.

Thank God for Media Lens, that opens up the mainstream media to a little critical scrutiny.

And of course this blog, the only place where we see any scrutiny of the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor!

participatory democracy

Elites do not hand over power, it is seized from them by the proletariat.

Did local people say they wished to have their town centre destroyed? Did they have a say in what would take its place?

In Latin America we have several examples of participatory democracy in action. The semi-autonomous region of Chiapas in Mexico, Porto Alegre and Curitiba in Brazil, workers seizing abandoned factories in Argentina, Hugo Chavez and Bolivarian Circles in Venezuela. Different solutions for different places.

When Coca-Cola has links with para-military death squads in Colombia, it is easy to see why the US fears the spread of democracy.

- Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola by Mark Thomas

If we set aside that Barack Obama bought the US election with $700 million, then yes, he was elected by the people. For the people is a moot point. Worrying is the people around him.

- Obama's Intelligence Agenda
- Barack Obama: The Empires New Clothes
- President-elect Barack Obama
- Barack Obama- War Criminal in Waiting
- Obama Mania

A Clinton White House with Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State?

Anonymous said...

Do we not have history repeating itself? Did we not read the same with Blair?

In 1997, the British media filled with talk of "historic" change. Blair's victory that year "bursts open the door to a British transformation," the Independent declared. (Neal Ascherson, 'Through the door he can begin to create a freer land,' The Independent, May 4, 1997)

And lots more gushing from our mealy-mouthed press.


Anonymous said...

A better link