Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cornel West on deception of Barack Obama

A very interesting observation of Cornel West on Barack's presidency, which I found it as fair and valid--for those of us outside the veil of presidency. He (West) might have went too far when he said that Barack is afraid of an independent black man. But in most part his criticism is on point. You can't justify electing Larry Summers over Joe Stiglitz unless you want to re-assure very powerful people that you have their backs.

Anyways, here are some quotes--

"“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West says. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation. When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother. When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man, they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. It’s a tension, given the history. It can be overcome. Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.

“He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want,” he says. “He’s got two homes. He has got his family and whatever challenges go on there, and this other home. Larry Summers blows his mind because he’s so smart. He’s got Establishment connections. He’s embracing me. It is this smartness, this truncated brilliance, that titillates and stimulates brother Barack and makes him feel at home. That is very sad for me."

On Michelle Obama

I can tell her I’m sorry it offended you, but I’m going to speak the truth. She is a Harvard Law graduate, a Princeton graduate, and she deals with child obesity and military families. Why doesn’t she visit a prison? Why not spend some time in the hood? That is where she is, but she can’t do it.

On Barack's economy team

He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”........The first announcement of Summers and Geithner I went ballistic. I said, ‘Oh, my God, I have really been misled at a very deep level.’ And the same is true for Dennis Ross and the other neo-imperial elites. I said, ‘I have been thoroughly misled, all this populist language is just a facade. I was under the impression that he might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman"

On Barack's defense, I think governing a 450 million democracy is not easy especially in a country whose political system was designed to frustrate radical changes. Edmund Burke and early thinkers thought this was a way to avoid radicals from creating fresh difficulties in their attempt to re-engineer the society. I think he could do more for progressives and moralists out there (himself is one of them) but he is governing an institution rigged with ideologue that requires compromises to get things done. The Kennedys (Bobby & Jack) were progressive and didn't last very long. Bobby didn't even made it to the presidency, maybe Barack want to enjoy his social security.

and you can read the whole interview here

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Radical Experiment in Empathy

In a wake of Osama's death. A renowned sociologist Sam Richards' timely talk on empathy is challenging you to get outside your skin and attempt to understand the other side.

Many of us still regard Mau Mau movements in fighting for Kenya's independence as heroics, but British viewed them as savaged terrorists. And they set operations to crush them, which was highly supported by majority of British people. When Nelson Mandela and ANC waged terrorist attacks against white South Africa, it was acceptable to a lot of black Africans but himself (Mandela) was viewed as a terrorists by scores of western nations. Malcolm X, infamously said that Black Americans need to speak the same language (of violence) as White Americans during the civil rights movements. And he is viewed as a role model and a hero to a lot of people in our societies.

But our standards of "acceptable violence" took different turn when judging how middle-easterners react to what they perceive as injustice against them. I'm not trying to defend terrorism, but terrorism itself is in relative to who? because Mau Mau weren't terrorist in our eyes--then maybe Hamas or Al-Qaeda aren't terrorists in Palestines' lens. Whenever a society perceive to be treated unfairly, her people will raise up, that is human nature. Social justice and social protection are the cheapest way to avoid violence. Politicians and policy makers ought get their empathy on, if the world will ever try to reduce the amount of violence that is so prevalent.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Malaysia New Economic Model

In an attempt to circumvent away from the "middle-income trap". Malaysia has put together an impressive blue print. Bold and indeed creative on paper. I hope serious politicians in Tanzania can print and read these reports. For the sake of being inspired.

Here is Part One and Part two. They are all PDFs and are downloadable links.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Deadly Collabo?

These two need to make an album together. 20 percent and Afande Sele, it would be just right on point. "Hata tembo akikonda hawezi kuwa kama ndama"..Enjoy kazi yao hapo chini.