Posts Tagged ‘serwer

15
Sep
11

‘the limbaugh, moore, maher convergence on obama and race’

Adam Serwer (Mother Jones): On Wednesday, I noted that Rush Limbaugh’s latest stereotypical race parody featured President Barack Obama as blaxploitation detective John Shaft, even though just about the only two things they have in common is that they’re both black.

Ta-Nehisi Coates observes that Michael Moore and Bill Maher, in expressing their disappointment with Obama, embrace the same basic idea.

Unable to limit their criticisms to Obama’s politics, on The View, Moore repeated Maher’s statement that “I went into the polls voting for the black guy, and what I got was the white guy.”

Coates writes: I know Michael Moore and Bill Maher think this is a great line…But it really isn’t. In fact, it’s racist, and Michael Moore would do well to stop repeating it. It really is no better than the Kenyan anti-colonial bit, and in fact is good deal worse ….

What Limbaugh, Moore and Maher all have in common is a common, reductive expectation of what a “black man” is supposed to be – aggressive, belligerent, intimidating – and Obama doesn’t fit the bill…..

…. If you’re president, though, it’s much easier to just brush your shoulders off—dealing with those kind of expectations when you’re an average person is considerably more difficult. Especially when the “liberals” are the ones saying stuff like this.

Full post here

Thank you ‘africa’

13
Jul
11

‘laughably bogus’

Adam Serwer (Washington Post): Republicans are touting yet another poll that purports to predict the end of the Jewish allegiance to the Democratic Party. Citing a new poll by John McLaughlin and Pat Caddell they have convinced themselves that this time, Obama really is in trouble among Jewish voters.

…. the poll is laughably bogus. Not only does their sample skew conservative, (only 64 percent of respondents voted for Obama, as opposed to the 77 percent of Jewish votes he actually got) but many questions are phrased in as leading a manner as possible. Indeed, given the wording of the questions, it’s actually surprising that 63 percent of respondents overall approved of Obama.

Here’s their phrasing for a question on Obama’s policy on Israel:

Considering what President Obama has proposed for Israel just over a year before his 2012 re-election campaign – a return to the 1967 borders, dividing Jerusalem, and allowing the right of return for Palestinian Arabs to Israel – how concerned would you be about President Obama’s policies towards Israel if he were re-elected and did not have to worry about another election?

….. Again: Obama hasn’t proposed “a return to the 1967 borders”…

What’s surprising is that only 67 percent of Jewish voters in the poll said they were concerned about Obama’s policy towards Israel should he be reelected – this, even though M&C invented out of thin air the idea that Obama supports a “right of return” for Palestinian Arabs … this question seems to have been designed to elicit panic about Obama among the poll’s staunchly pro-Israel respondents, but even that wasn’t enough to do it.

The phrasing in this poll is comically skewed …. As always, the game is to perpetuate the sad conservative meme that this time, really this time, American Jews are going to abandon their liberalism and vote Republican because Obama is a huge anti-Semite. The only thing this poll reveals is how badly some want to keep this storyline going.

More here

14
May
11

‘a liberal’s guide to why killing bin laden was legal’

Adam Serwer: ….I realize that killing bin Laden was popular, but as someone who believes that the fight against terrorism can and should be conducted according to the rule of law, it’s important to make clear why killing bin Laden was legally justified.

Assassination is illegal under U.S. law! The executive order banning assassinations doesn’t apply to the targeting of lawful military targets during wartime … the Congress of the United States authorized the use of military force against bin Laden in full view of the public in 2001….

Killing bin Laden was illegal under international law! Human Rights First Daphne Eviatar: “As the leader of al Qaeda – an armed group against whom the U.S. is at war – who appears to have had a significant role directing its fighting forces, [Osama bin Laden] is targetable. It’s similar to the targetability of the commander-in-chief of any regular armed forces at war.”

But he was unarmed! …It would be illegal to kill bin Laden if he had surrendered or been captured first … Combatants aren’t legally required to allow lawful targets to arm themselves before killing them, rather the onus was on bin Laden to surrender.

Didn’t we violate Pakistan’s sovereignty? Maybe, but Jeremy Scahill reported in 2009 on the existence of a secret deal between Pakistan and the United States to allow the U.S. to go after bin Laden if they found him in Pakistan, while Pakistan would condemn any such operation after the fact.

What about Nuremberg? The Nazis got trials! In my view, a trial would have been morally preferable to killing bin Laden, but the absence of one doesn’t make his killing illegal. … I would have preferred seeing bin Laden face a federal judge. Of course, there’s another issue to consider here: How the hell do you find a fair and impartial jury to hear the case against Osama bin Laden in the United States?

Full post here

27
Apr
11

‘an embarrassment to the country’

Adam Serwer (Washington Post): This Wednesday morning become one of the most surreal and ridiculous moments in the history of American politics when the White House decided to release copies of President Barack Obama’s “long form birth certificate,” in an attempt to quiet conspiracy theorists who believe the president was born elsewhere…

….According to Media Matters, Fox News has spent over two hours promoting false claims about Obama’s birthplace across 54 segments, and only in ten did Fox News hosts challenge those claims. This isn’t just about Trump. All he did was encourage the communications wing of the conservative movement to go into overdrive in an attempt to make birtherism mainstream.

Aside from being one of the most idiotic moments in American political history, this marks a level of personal humiliation no previous president has ever been asked to endure. Other presidents have been the target of crazy conspiracy theories, sure, but few have been as self-evidently absurd as birtherism. None has been so clearly rooted in anxieties about the president’s racial identity, because no previous American president has been black.

This whole situation is an embarrassment to the country. Yesterday Jesse Jackson described birtherism as racial “code,” but there’s nothing “coded” about it. It’s just racism….

And birtherism is only one of a number of racially charged conspiracy theories that have bubbled out of the right-wing swamp and have been allowed to fester by conservative elites. Those who have spent the last two years clinging to the notion that the president wasn’t born in the United States, who have alleged that the president wasn’t intelligent enough to write his own autobiography or somehow coasted to magna cum laude at Harvard law, are carrying on new varieties of an old, dying tradition of American racism. Similar accusations dogged early black writers like Frederick Douglass and Phyllis Wheatley, whose brilliance provoked an existential crisis among people incapable of abandoning myths of black intellectual inferiority.

….Sadly, those who fostered doubts about the president’s citizenship are unlikely to relent in the face of factual proof, because birtherism was never about the facts. For its most ardent proponents, it was and is about their inability to accept the legitimacy of a black man in the White House. Nothing about the decision to release the president’s birth certificate can change that.

Full article here




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