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U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, a Hebron Republican, compared Obama and his message for change similar to a “snake oil salesman” [at a Northern Kentucky Lincoln Day dinner].

He said in his remarks at the GOP dinner that he also recently participated in a “highly classified, national security simulation” with Obama.

“I’m going to tell you something: That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button,” Davis said. “He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country.”

Are you serious? Did this fool really just…? Did He…?


For the record, Senator Obama is all of three years younger than Representative Davis.

If a president’s finger is “on the button” he’s already failed at his job. But it’s telling that in a country where so many don’t have health care, the economy is tanking, and we’re mired in a stupid war that never should have been started, this jerk is most concerned about nuking someone.

I will be spending the rest of the day listening to Dead Prez. The End.

UPDATE: Marc Armbinder has Davis’ apology. Thanks, to D. for the heads up. 
Dear Senator Obama:
On Saturday night I gave a speech in which I used a poor choice of words when discussing the national security policy positions of the Presidential candidates. I was quoted as saying “That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button.”
My poor choice of words is regrettable and was in no way meant to impugn you or your integrity. I offer my sincere apology to you and ask for your forgiveness.
Though we may disagree on many issues, I know that we share the goal of a prosperous, secure future for our nation. My comment has detracted from the dialogue that we should all be having on legitimate policy differences and in no way reflects the personal and professional respect I have for you.
Geoff Davis
My problem with this apology is that it acknowledges disrespect, but it doesn’t acknowledge WHY what he said was offensive. It’s not like calling someone a “jerk”. “Boy” has been used to insult, degrade, and disrespect black men for generations. It is an insult precisely because it is an attempt to dismiss the humanity and manhood of black men, it is not an attack on Obama’s “integrity”. Rep. Davis should have made clear he understood that, not just that he made a general boo-boo because his face is on CNN for the first time. All I get from this apology is that the man understood he messed up. 

It is one of the primary arguments of my other blog, Too Sense, that “black problems” don’t really exist, that issues in the black community are an exacerbated microcosm of larger American issues. So there is something to be learned from the flare-up of white identity politics over Obama’s “bitter” comments.

Hillary and McCain’s attempts to cast Obama as “elite” is a classic example of what Taylor Branch called the “inversion of history,” wherein the privileged become the oppressed. Obama was raised in a single parent working class home and despite his recent success, you don’t get much more elite than earning 16 million a year from making speeches and a family of high level military officials.

The way this works on a racial level cannot be ignored. Hillary’s supporters have worked for months to cast Obama as the recipient of some magical form of affirmative action, through proclaiming that his only appeal comes from his blackness and that Hillary “should be winning.” These further invoke the myth of the unqualified black masses stealing jobs from hardworking whites. The twist of the knife is in the subtext, which is simply, “this black guy thinks he’s better than you.” Whether this is deliberate or not is irrelevant, this is the emotional level at which this argument resonates.

All of this resentment serves to obscure the obvious: That we want our presidents to be elite. We want them to be extraordinary, not ordinary, and Obama shouldn’t have to apologize for being “elite” any more than any black kid should have to apologize for getting good grades.

These kinds of identity politics are based on a racialized premise of American identity, that “real Americans” are working class white people who own guns and don’t like gay people or immigrants. I cannot stress the degree to which this is a prime hustle, a path to power for the most irresponsible and self serving of politicians.

Black folks know this better than anybody. We’ve been bamboozled by generations of black elected officials like Marion Barry, Sharpe James and Kwame Kilpatrick, whose ties to the hood were supposed to make them effective mayors. They didn’t, and it was only by invoking those ties that they managed to stay in power as corrupt, greedy, and self-serving as they were. Only now are black folks beginning to recognize that privilege has not inured the Cory Bookers and Adrian Fentys of the world from their responsibility to the community. (James famously said on national television that Booker was not black, but Jewish, As though that made James any less corrupt or ineffective as Mayor.)

Cultural dominance of the media has worked to effectively shield white people from the same kind of self-examination. While the flagrant identity politics of black elected officials has been a topic in the media for years, the same kind of white identity politics from people like George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan has gone unnamed.

Yet, the phenomenon is the same. A politician uses his/her cultural currency to distract from issues of substance, he uses whatever connection to a community he has to appeal to their sense of familiarity, which serves to obscure his competence and priorities. Hillary Clinton and John McCain are attempting to do this now; to appeal to America’s basest senses of cultural intolerance, defining “American” and “middle class” in such culturally and racially exclusive terms, and the media has for the most part embraced these definitions.

But this is how white folks “keep it real,” by demanding that Rhodes Scholars tell folksy stories to hide their intellect, by rewarding New England blue bloods for wearing cowboy hats and talking in affected southern accents, by punishing C students as elite because they ordered Swiss on a cheesesteak. Prioritizing cultural norms at the expense of a substantive debate is no less a hustle for Clinton and McCain than it was for Marion Barry.

If there’s a lesson working class white folks can learn from the black community, it’s that these people are hustlers, and just because they look, talk, or act like you, doesn’t mean they will do a thing for you.

It bears mentioning that any sociologist or historian will tell you Obama is factually correct. There is a reason the Ku Klux Klan’s rise and rebirth occurred during the two most economically depressed moments in the history of the American South, Reconstruction and the Great Depression. There is a reason radical Islam appeals to the destitute, and there is a reason Louis Farrakhan and Chuck Colson find so many converts in prison.

Not that it matters, this is not an issue America is ready to confront itself on, and Obama has already asked much of the United States. He should know how to play the game better than this. And if he doesn’t begin to play better, he will lose.

An experiment.

What’s going down in your media, world, life that is not about Obama, Clinton or McCain?

It’s a big planet out there. Have at it.

This is just badass.

And then, a more laid back response for the CNN forum (h/t natthedem for clipping this):

I only saw about 10mins with Obama talking about abortion. Surprise, surprise, I liked his response :)

Seriously though. Chime in here with your take on Obama, Clinton and the event overall. How were the questions? Is it appropriate for candidates to answer for their “faith” like this?


South Park is one of my favorite joints. I remember when it first came out on the bootleg Internet of the late 1990s. NPR has a new show called “In Character,” and they recently interviewed Cartman, James Lipton style.

Here’s the page for the entire segment on Cartman.

cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK

It’s a simple question. All these old, white millionaires on TV are saying Obama made a big mistake. That he chose poor words. That he offended small-town Pennsylvania.

How do they know?

They all live in Los Angeles and Manhattan. They eat sushi and drink mad lattes. They read the NY Times. None of these commentators owns a gun. I bet most don’t go to church. I bet most don’t know financial hardship because their town wasn’t decimated by the end of the industrial era in this country.
It’s all bullshit. Almost everything you see on TV is just bullshit. These idiots have big ass microphones and cameras and soapboxes. They are in the top percentile of wage-earners.
Yet somehow they know the hearts and minds of a rural voter?

It’s a complete farce.

They waited all of 30 seconds to say his comments were wrong, but they didn’t ask any of these allegedly-0ffended voters. They just made it up. They pulled political analysis right out of their buttholes. And yet, their uninformed opinions dominate the news and dominate the discussion.

Just look how much time we’ve spent on this topic, and we’re supposed to be new media. Granted, I think we serve a useful purpose in these distraction-debates when we call bullshit. When we counter with information. When we don’t simply amplify or get baited (like Hillary) into a meaningless conversation. However, it’s not easy.

So do I have special insight? Not much, but I have family that’s lived in rural PA and post-industrial Michigan. I also think I use my brain more than these TV people. And I still live in the real world.

The dangerous part is that if PA voters were not offended before, they might be now because they don’t hear the context of Obama’s statement (a reaction to a question about what they might face as volunteers going to PA). They only hear “elite” and “out of touch” and “condescending.” Thus Obama gets defined beyond his control. If it could happen to Max Cleland, of course it can happen to a half-black dude who grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia and graduated from Columbia and Harvard.

It’s so frightening and certainly not isolated to this candidate or this event.

So, can anyone point to actual — and I know this is crazy — evidence that rural or post-industrial small town voters would be offended by Obama’s comments? If not, then just realize we’re all being bamboozled and distracted.

Meanwhile, there are food riots in the developing world due.

In the last year, the price of wheat has tripled, corn doubled, and rice almost doubled. As prices soared, food riots have broken out in about 20 poor countries including Yemen, Haiti, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, and Mexico. In response some countries, such as India, Pakistan Egypt and Vietnam, are banning the export of grains and imposing food price controls.

Are rising food prices the result of the economic dynamism of China and India, in which newly prosperous consumers are demanding more food—especially more meat? Perennial doomsters such as the Earth Policy Institute’s Lester Brown predicted more than a decade ago that China’s growing food demand would destabilize global markets and signal a permanent increase in grain prices. But that thesis has so far not been borne out by the facts. China is a net grain exporter. India is also largely self-sufficient in grains. At some time in the future, these countries may become net grain importers, but they are not now and so cannot be blamed to for today’s higher food prices.

If surging demand is not the problem, what is? In three words: stupid energy policies.

I’ll be writing more about energy and food policy later.

Update: 6:12pm ET

The first sign that small town PA isn’t buying this elitism and bitterness b.s. comes from a Kos diarist who checked the local town papers in PA. They’re hardly acknowledging it.

Update 6:34pm ET

via YouTube:

From The Los Angeles Times.com


Bill Clinton, China linked via his foundation
Eugene Hoshiko, Associated Press

IN HANGZHOU: President Clinton gave the keynote address at a 2005 conference organized by Alibaba, hailing the Internet as “an inherently cooperative instrument.”
A firm that has donated to the president’s charity is accused of collaborating with the government in its crackdown on Tibetan activists. Hillary Clinton has spoken out against China’s actions.

By Stephen Braun, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 13, 2008

NEW YORK — As Chinese authorities have clamped down on unrest in Tibet and jailed dissidents in advance of the 2008 Olympics, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has taken a strong public stance, calling for restraint in Tibet and urging President Bush to boycott the Olympics opening ceremonies in Beijing.

But her recent stern comments on China’s internal crackdown collide with former President Bill Clinton’s fundraising relationship with a Chinese Internet company accused of collaborating with the mainland government’s censorship of the Web. Last month, the firm, Alibaba Inc., carried a government-issued “most wanted” posting on its Yahoo China homepage, urging viewers to provide information on Tibetan activists suspected of stirring recent riots.

Alibaba, which took over Yahoo’s China operation in 2005 as part of a billion-dollar deal with the U.S.-based search engine, arranged for the former president to speak to a conference of Internet executives in Hangzhou in September 2005. Instead of taking his standard speaking fees, which have ranged from $100,000 to $400,000, Clinton accepted an unspecified private donation from Alibaba to his international charity, the William J. Clinton Foundation.

The former president’s charity has raised more than $500 million over the last decade and has been lauded for its roles in disaster response, AIDS prevention and Third World medical and poverty relief. But his reliance on influential foreign donors and his foundation’s refusal to release its list of donors have led to repeated questions about the sources and transparency of his fundraising — even as Hillary Clinton has talked on the campaign trail about relying on him as a roving international ambassador if she is elected president.

Foreign contributions to American-based charities are allowed under U.S. law, but political and philanthropy ethics advocates worry that Bill Clinton’s reliance on international businesses and foreign governments to finance his worldwide charity campaigns raise issues of potential conflicts of interest if he were to take an active role in his wife’s administration.

“This is a perfect example of why it’s critical for both Clintons to provide prompt and complete disclosure of all their sources of income, not just personal sources but also his foundation,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director for the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, a government reform advocacy group.

The Clinton foundation and the former president’s library in Little Rock have received millions of dollars in donations from the Saudi royal family and the Middle East sheikdoms of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar, along with the governments of Taiwan and Brunei.

Fueled by such cash, the foundation has grown into a worldwide philanthropic dynamo, using its financial clout and influence with business leaders to streamline solutions for logistical logjams that have long plagued charity operations. The foundation has pressed to lower the price of expensive AIDS medications and set up long-term projects across the Third World.

But like many charities, the Clinton foundation maintains a strict policy of keeping its donations confidential to protect the privacy of donors. Still, partial lists have emerged in the foundation’s tax filings and in press accounts, leading to growing scrutiny of the activities of some contributors.

Some human rights activists suggest that the Clinton foundation’s contribution from Alibaba undermines his wife’s outspoken stance on China’s internal crackdown.

“A former president of the United States received a donation from a Chinese firm that is involved in censorship, and now his wife is running for president. This is a shame of the U.S.,” said Harry Wu, an exiled Chinese activist based in Washington.

Rest of article at link above.


See, while the MSM obssesses over Obama’s so-called ‘Elitist’ comments,

They still havent gotten the list of Donors to
1. Bill Clinton’s Charity
2. Bill Clinton’s Library

I wanna know how much the Chinese have given him, as well as others.

It’s called TRANSPARENCY…something The Clintons don’t want any parts of this election season…just exactly WHERE are those 2007 Tax Returns? And what’s up with that partnership with Ron Burkle? What did you do to earn those millions?

What’s up? What links have you found to share?

In the sidebar, we’ve just posted a poll. Please weigh in.

Should we allow anonymous comments?
+ No, people should at lease use a pseudonym
+ I don’t care
+ Yes, there may be good reasons.

We’ve had a recent flood of anonymous commenting. I personally can see good reason for folks not to ID themselves. Most of the writers on this blog use pseudonyms. However, it makes reading comments really confusing to have a long list of “anonymous.”

Again, please vote in the poll on the left side of the page. If you have extended commentary, throw it here.

Poll closes Monday 11:15AM ET.

Update: 12:40 PM ET
I’ve made a screencast video tutorial showing how to use the commenting system. Here’s the direct link. I used a service called Jing to make it. Let me know if it’s helpful

Within days, someone has set up this website, and it’s reached the front page of Digg. Talk about rapid response. Not from a campaign, but from a citizen.

That’s incredible.

What would we do if all we had were cable news yappers and Clinton backstabbers to explain what was going on?

Read the entire thing. Here’s an excerpt:

Imagine my surprise to see an article in the Huffington Post by Mayhill Fowler describing his answer as “a problematic judgment call in trying to explain working class culture to a much wealthier audience.” and his answer being like “explaining the yawning cultural gap that separates a Turkeyfoot from a Marin County.” I guess Ms. Fowler thought that, unlike herself, the other attendees had never gone outside the large house in Pacific Heights where the event was held.

I grew up working class in Texas. I thought it ironic that Ms Fowler, was attempting to paint Obama as a condescending elitist, while at the same time she was stereotyping everybody at the event with her omniscient insight. In any case, her agenda was clear. Despite Ms. Fowler talking about the people at the fundraiser being middle class in an earlier post, the “rich man poor man” theme fit better with the “Obama as a judgmental elite, talking to judgmental elites” spin. This also seemed to fit with some of her earlier articles where she had described Obama as cocky, arrogant, and even “flirty”.

What a coincidence that she now writes an article putting another twist on Obama’s personality. All she had to do was a sneak a recorder in an small event for Obama supporters and do a little bit of crafty writing and out of context editing. Now Fox News and Lou Dobbs are having a field day.

I say again, the people moderating our political discourse are dangerously unqualified and irresponsible. I’m amazed this country still functions at all with the amount of well-financed ignorance that passes for media coverage. Amazed.

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I don’t have much to add except to say that Tavis’s departure from Tom Joyner looks petty and childish.

(for some of our past coverage of Tavis/Obama, check here, here, and here)

Now, I’ll pass the mic to Black Snob and AAPP.

Democratic Primary Spoiler Hillary Tonya Harding Sniper Fire Clinton fails yet another test. She’s like a rat, and the opportunity to distort and attack Senator Obama is her cheese. I really think she doesn’t know any better.

Again she proves that her criticism of Obama is really self-hate. “People don’t want a president who looks down on them…” Mrs. $109 million says Obama is elitist. Mrs. “Let’s Pit Latino Voters Against Black Voters” says Obama is trying to divide the nation.

I can’t wait for this to be over.

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