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Archive for October, 2008

Frank Rich in the New York Times on “The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama“:

Until now. At McCain-Palin rallies, the raucous and insistent cries of “Treason!” and “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!” as well as the uninhibited slinging of racial epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist. They are alarms. Doing nothing is not an option.

All’s fair in politics. John McCain and Sarah Palin have every right to bring up William Ayers, even if his connection to Obama is minor, even if Ayers’s Weather Underground history dates back to Obama’s childhood, even if establishment Republicans and Democrats alike have collaborated with the present-day Ayers in educational reform. But it’s not just the old Joe McCarthyesque guilt-by-association game, however spurious, that’s going on here. Don’t for an instant believe the many mindlessly “even-handed” journalists who keep saying that the McCain campaign’s use of Ayers is the moral or political equivalent of the Obama campaign’s hammering on Charles Keating.

What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.

By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the real Barack Obama?” it’s no surprise that someone cries out “Terrorist!” The rhetorical conflation of Obama with terrorism is complete. It is stoked further by the repeated invocation of Obama’s middle name by surrogates introducing McCain and Palin at these rallies. This sleight of hand at once synchronizes with the poisonous Obama-is-a-Muslim e-mail blasts and shifts the brand of terrorism from Ayers’s Vietnam-era variety to the radical Islamic threats of today.

That’s a far cry from simply accusing Obama of being a guilty-by-association radical leftist. Obama is being branded as a potential killer and an accessory to past attempts at murder. “Barack Obama’s friend tried to kill my family” was how a McCain press release last week packaged the remembrance of a Weather Underground incident from 1970 — when Obama was 8.

The road to nowhere in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; the discourse of opposition to Obama:

The shocking political allegiances of Barack Obama, according to ISMisBAD and is wonderful website about Socialism, Marxism, Communism & Obama and the attempt to create a United Socialist States of America (especially enjoy the PLA troops marching behind Obama.  Obama, we learn, is a communist because of his association with Indie band The Decemberists (!):

15. Obama’s Opening Band – The band that opened for Obama’s Oregon rally (The Decemberists) is named after an 1825 revolt over the Imperial Russian succession (Decembrist revolt) that Meloy views as an attempted communist revolution. They also open many of their shows by playing the Soviet National AnthemSource: Jeff Johnson, OneNewsNow Source: Jerome R. Corsi, WorldNetDaily Source: Oleg Atbashian, Pajamasmedia

Say it ain’t so!!!

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The Canadian Election

If There is Hope on the aftermath of the Canadian election; the anatomy of Liberal Party failure:

The fallacy of ABC
With the media reinforcing the Tory attacks on Dion’s character and the Green Shift, the Liberals were in dire straights. This led many to believe that Harper was on the way to a majority. Midway through the election Liberals, Greens and many on the left began calling for an Anything-But-Conservative vote. The end result was probably many thousands of left votes being tossed away by backing the Liberals. The left-wing ABCers tied themselves to a sinking boat and did nothing to build a left alternative. And this latter point is the main point. The left cannot be built by proposing strategic votes for a corporate party. It can’t be built during election campaigns either. And it can’t, as some have suggested to be including someone from FairVote Canada, be built through reform of the electoral system. These are all narrow, short-sighted proposals. Building the left means laying the groundwork between elections through campaigning on particular issues that are at the forefront of people’s minds – climate change, the economy, the environment.

NDPers and the rest of the left should be knee deep in local climate change campaigns that organize educational events, flyering and leafletting, and rallies. It needs to be engaged in unionization campaigns on picket lines, listening and talking to workers and building trust and solidarity. It needs to be engaged in the anti-war movement in the unions, on the campus, in the streets and in the neighbourhoods. Carrying coherent arguments into these campaigns can begin to galvanize the existing left, while attracting people to it, people who may be open to campaigning on climate change but may still think the war is the right thing to do, or that tax cuts are the way out of economic crisis. By working alongside people to the right of the self-identified left towards a common, limited goal, a friendly political discussion can be carried out that wins people to the left. It’s hard work, it takes time, but it lays a real basis for building a real left with real convictions. Changing the electoral system to PR to prevent strategic voting and distorted results is all fine and dandy but without a grassroots political campaign running all the time, such changes are largely meaningless.

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