Friday, May 30, 2008

Know a Pundit: Zakaria's Post Reality Revision of the "Rise of the Rest"

Since his new book and new Sunday morning talk show came out this week, Another Pundit figured Fareed Zakaria would be the first to get skewered.


Dr. Fareed Zakaria PhD (born January 20, 1964, Mumbai, India) is a journalist, columnist, author, editor, commentator, and television host specializing in international relations and foreign affairs.

He was named editor of Newsweek International in October 2000. He writes a weekly foreign affairs column for Newsweek, which appears biweekly in the Washington Post. In 2003, his book The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad (Norton) was published.

On television, Zakaria hosted the weekly Foreign Exchange with Fareed ZakariaPBS. From 2002 until 2007, he was a regular member of the roundtable of ABC News's This Week with George Stephanopoulos and an analyst for ABC News. In the fall of 2007, he joined CNN to host a weekly show, called Fareed Zakaria - GPS (Global Public Square), on international affairs that premiered worldwide on June 1, 2008. news show for

Estimated Net Wealth: Shit, I don't know. It's in the millions, no doubt. It's a great question, though.

So you wanna' be a corporate pundit, and make the big bucks? Fareed's story is a great lesson in how to do it. As corporate media's go-to brownie on "why they hate us," he's the quintessential "good cop" neo-liberal propagandist, known to many as a "pundit" for the fourth estate.

He's semi-famous for his participation in a not-so-secret meeting set up by Paul Wolfowitz that was to set the tone for the Bush Administration's middle east policy post 9/11.

His pundistyle? It's a pretty formulaic mix of simple metaphors, fake gravitas, unauthentic provocation, and, of course, the requisite kneel to those in power.

(A confession: I watched and liked his first show today. He's not a bad interviewer. It's about the rest of the world. He had Blair thinking and choosing his words carefully. Yet I doubt he'll have Hugo Chavez or Evo Morales on soon ;)

Fareed's latest:

The Future of American Power: How American Can Survive the Rest

And a new book, The Post American World.

An excerpt, "The rise of the rest," was published in last week's Newsweek.

(Another confession: No, I haven't read the book. Probably won't read the whole thing - especially with an excerpt with the thesis out there!)

"Let them drink Coke." J. Gauna

His central basis for the rise of the rest:

...The world has shifted from anti-Americanism to post-Americanism.

...We are living through the third great power shift in modern history. The first was the rise of the Western world, around the 15th century. It produced the world as we know it now—science and technology, commerce and capitalism, the industrial and agricultural revolutions. It also led to the prolonged political dominance of the nations of the Western world. The second shift, which took place in the closing years of the 19th century, was the rise of the United States. Once it industrialized, it soon became the most powerful nation in the world, stronger than any likely combination of other nations. For the last 20 years, America's superpower status in every realm has been largely unchallenged—something that's never happened before in history, at least since the Roman Empire dominated the known world 2,000 years ago. During this Pax Americana, the global economy has accelerated dramatically. And that expansion is the driver behind the third great power shift of the modern age—the rise of the rest.

More proof that, as a friend of mine recently told me when I passed him this article, that these neo-liberals don't have a clue of what's happening out there.

The only power shift I see is slight. While the elite class is growing, it's still an elite class. It's not as if the PEOPLE of "rest" of the world are benefiting from this so called power shift (yet the latest code for neo-liberal economic policies that have become the conventional wisdom solution to globalization).

The message is still the same:

...hunger for the (people), "investment" as charitable hand-outs and visits to (the rest of the world) as propaganda for consumerism and the unsustainable way of life behind it.

That's right. Let them eat cake. Let them drink coke. And let them watch corporate news.

Oh yeah, and thanks for the natural resources.

Another Pundit is Necessary

Thanks to Free Press for this one...

Monday, May 26, 2008

10 Questions for Obama from the World's Most Influential Blogger

Another Pundit is in awe of the most recent piece from who he considers the "pound for pound" (by population, resources and square miles of land) most influential political leader (whether you agree with him or not) of the last 50 years - Fidel Castro.

An excerpt (but folks should really read the whole thing):

It would be dishonest of me to remain silent after hearing the speech Obama delivered on the afternoon of May 23 at the Cuban American National Foundation created by Ronald Reagan. I listened to his speech, as I did McCain’s and Bush’s. I feel no resentment towards him, for he is not responsible for the crimes perpetrated against Cuba and humanity. Were I to defend him, I would do his adversaries an enormous favor. I have therefore no reservations about criticizing him and about expressing my points of view on his words frankly.

...Presidential candidate Obama’s speech may be formulated as follows: hunger for the nation (Cuba), remittances as charitable hand-outs and visits to Cuba as propaganda for consumerism and the unsustainable way of life behind it.

...What did he say in his speech in Miami, this man who is doubtless, from the social and human points of view, the most progressive candidate to the U.S. presidency? "For two hundred years," he said, "the United States has made it clear that we won't stand for foreign intervention in our hemisphere. But every day, all across the Americas, there is a different kind of struggle --not against foreign armies, but against the deadly threat of hunger and thirst, disease and despair. That is not a future that we have to accept --not for the child in Port au Prince or the family in the highlands of Peru. We can do better. We must do better

....I am not questioning Obama’s great intelligence, his debate skills or his work ethic. He is a talented orator and is ahead of his rivals in the electoral race. I feel sympathy for his wife and little girls, who accompany him and give him encouragement every Tuesday. It is indeed a touching human spectacle.

Nevertheless, I am obliged to raise a number of delicate questions. I do not expect answers; I wish only to raise them for the record.

1) Is it right for the president of the United States to order the assassination of any one person in the world, whatever the pretext may be?

2) Is it ethical for the president of the United States to order the torture of other human beings?

3) Should state terrorism be used by a country as powerful as the United States as an instrument to bring about peace on the planet?

4) Is an Adjustment Act, applied as punishment on only one country, Cuba, in order to destabilize it, good and honorable, even when it costs innocent children and mothers their lives? If it is good, why is this right not automatically granted to Haitians, Dominicans, and other peoples of the Caribbean, and why isn’t the same Act applied to Mexicans and people from Central and South America, who die like flies against the Mexican border wall or in the waters of the Atlantic and the Pacific?

5) Can the United States do without immigrants, who grow vegetables, fruits, almonds and other delicacies for U.S. citizens? Who would sweep their streets, work as servants in their homes or do the worst and lowest-paid jobs?

6) Are crackdowns on illegal residents fair, even as they affect children born in the United States?

7) Are the brain-drain and the continuous theft of the best scientific and intellectual minds in poor countries moral and justifiable?

8) You state, as I pointed out at the beginning of this reflection, that your country had long ago warned European powers that it would not tolerate any intervention in the hemisphere, reiterating that this right be respected while demanding the right to intervene anywhere in the world with the aid of hundreds of military bases and naval, aerial and spatial forces distributed across the planet. I ask: is that the way in which the United States expresses its respect for freedom, democracy and human rights?

9) Is it fair to stage pre-emptive attacks on sixty or more dark corners of the world, as Bush calls them, whatever the pretext may be?

10) Is it honorable and sound to invest millions and millions of dollars in the military industrial complex, to produce weapons that can destroy life on earth several times over?

Before judging our country, you should know that Cuba, with its education, health, sports, culture and sciences programs, implemented not only in its own territory but also in other poor countries around the world, and the blood that has been shed in acts of solidarity towards other peoples, in spite of the economic and financial blockade and the aggression of your powerful country, is proof that much can be done with very little.

The only form of cooperation the United States can offer other nations consist in the sending of military professionals to those countries. It cannot offer anything else, for it lacks a sufficient number of people willing to sacrifice themselves for others and offer substantial aid to a country in need (though Cuba has known and relied on the cooperation of excellent U.S. doctors). They are not to blame for this, for society does not inculcate such values in them on a massive scale.

We have never subordinated cooperation with other countries to ideological requirements. We offered the United States our help when hurricane Katrina lashed the city of New Orleans. Our internationalist medical brigade bears the glorious name of Henry Reeve, a young man, born in the United States, who fought and died for Cuba’s sovereignty in our first war of independence.

Our revolution can mobilize tens of thousands of doctors and health technicians. It can mobilize an equally vast number of teachers and citizens, who are willing to travel to any corner of the world to fulfill any noble purpose, not to usurp people’s rights or take possession of raw materials. The good will and determination of people constitute limitless resources that cannot be kept and would not fit in a bank’s vault. They cannot spring from the hypocritical politics of an empire.

Fidel Castro Ruz May 25, 2008 10:35 p.m.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Clinton's comments on sexism ring hollow

The real upsetting thing about this is not that she didn't attempt a "major speech" on race, class and gender like Obama did.

CNN - Clinton chastises press for ignoring sexism: "There should be equal treatment of the sexism and the racism when it raises its ugly head," Clinton told the Washington Post in an article published in the paper's Tuesday edition. "It does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments by people who are nothing but misogynists."

"…I believe this campaign has been a groundbreaker in a lot of ways. But it certainly has been challenging given some of the attitudes in the press."

And then tonight in her speech following Kentucky primary results:
I'm paraphrasing, but: 'I want you to join me to break the hardest glass ceiling.'
It's that it's a mixed message. If it's the hardest glass ceiling to break, then how to you square the other argument that Obama's "unelectable" because he can't win white working class voters in the "big" swing states?

Smacks of yet more pandering, not raising the issue or suggesting solutions.

As the story plays itself out, I think we’ll find that Obama’s nomination and ultimate presidency (and the primary race itself with Clinton) will only shine a spotlight on the well documented race, gender and class disparities and inequalities - what I call *democracy divides* - that exist, and force folks to really have a debate about solutions.

If you take Jesse Jackson's generalization in the Sun Times today and, yes maybe overly simplistic, narrative to it’s end, the solutions are still the same. Bridging the democracy divides of race, class, region, religion, gender, access to public space, institutions and airwaves, etc. is about correcting the disparities and (this is a little yucky, cause I know it ain’t true) continuing the arc of justice that is (yes, it’s been an ebb and flow of setbacks and victories and it’s more f-ed up than ever right now, but…) "perfecting the union."

The point is racial, gender and economic justice solutions have been the driving force behind what Jackson called “…an America that keeps growing, keeps renewing itself, keeps getting better.”

That’s the framing that needs to happen. Well, that and who’s responsible and what role civil society and government have to play in those solutions.

ElectionLandia08: Behind the Curtains

My read on what's happening today behind the curtains in ElectionLandia08.

Obama's team is playing chess, not checkers.

Not even going to Oregon or Kentucky, but to Iowa to claim victory without claiming victory.

It will be a similar speech to the one he made following Iowa primary.

But today he takes on Bush and McCain on Iran, Cuba. Going to Florida tomorrow.

It is general election time.

The question the media will want to dwell on is how much it alienates Clinton base. Saw this national poll, though, so it's not the worst time to not quite claim victory, but, you know, claim victory.

On Iran, Cuba. Tells Wolf Blitzer the policies of the past 50 years on Cuba have failed, like with Iran and also during the last 8 years of Bush.

It's gutsy, but strategic to play good cop vs. bad cop cowboys. It, of course, ties McCain to Bush. But it also takes on what is a perceived Obama weakness and McCain strength while advancing a diplomacy agenda - even if it's blurry and, yes, a good cop - but a cop nonetheless - diplomacy agenda.

It's at least 10 moves ahead if it were a chess game, at least two months ahead in the election process. When the republicans try to play this card over and over, he'll just say it's old news, old politics and that he's addressed it. Under that scenario, polls don't change even in an arena of debate that's supposed to be McCainLandia.

Anything that McCain says that sounds like the same debate Obama had with Clinton, he'll call "old." That makes another pundit Laugh Out Loud!

I'm assuming that the Dem nominee will have about an 8-12 percentage point advantage following convention - that, along with all the other perceived advantages for Dems ($, saliency, organization, etc., etc., etc.) places this in the

Strategy Prepare Influence Neutralize


Some of the best of all time.

Electoral map will be still be interesting as November approaches. Clinton, Rove, Bush and McCain think so anyway.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Travis Childers' win more important than Clinton's

Clinton put her best argument forward in her speech tonight following her win in W. Virginia. No doubt.

At the same time, unfortunately for her, she's a month or so late and a few million dollars short.

And her argument was severely undercut by Childers' win in a Republican stronghold where the democrat was hammered with ads tying him to Obama.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Karlos is trippin on the doppler effect of the 24 hours news cycle

...and how hard it is to focus on what's happening out there.

If Henry Adams, whom you knew slightly, could make a theory of history by applying the second law of thermodynamics to human affairs, I ought to be entitled to base one on the angle of repose, and may yet. There is another physical law that teases me, too: the Doppler Effect. The sound of anything coming at you -- a train, say, or the future -- has a higher pitch than the sound of the same thing going away. If you have perfect pitch and a head for mathematics you can compute the speed of the object by the interval between its arriving and departing sounds. I have neither perfect pitch nor a head for mathematics, and anyway who wants to compute the speed of history? W. Stegner, Angle of Repose.
The following are two articles that just may cut through the noise of the corporate media train coming at us full speed.

First, Gingrich spells disaster for republicans in November without what he calls "real change."

Newt says...
My Plea to Republicans: It's Time for Real Change to Avoid Real Disaster

The Republican loss in the special election for Louisiana's Sixth Congressional District last Saturday should be a sharp wake up call for Republicans: Either Congressional Republicans are going to chart a bold course of real change or they are going to suffer decisive losses this November.

The facts are clear and compelling.

Saturday's loss was in a district that President Bush carried by 19 percentage points in 2004 and that the Republicans have held since 1975.

This defeat follows on the loss of Speaker Hastert's seat in Illinois. That seat had been held by a Republican for 76 years with the single exception of the 1974 Watergate election when the Democrats held it for one term. That same seat had been carried by President Bush 55-44% in 2004.

...These two special elections validate a national polling pattern that is bad news for Republicans. According to a New York Times/CBS Poll, Americans disapprove of the President's job performance by 63 to 28 (and he has been below 40% job approval since December 2006, the longest such period for any president in the history of polling).

A separate New York Times/CBS Poll shows that a full 81 percent of Americans believe the economy is on the wrong track.

The current generic ballot for Congress according to the NY Times/CBS poll is 50 to 32 in favor of the Democrats. That is an 18-point margin, reminiscent of the depths of the Watergate disaster.

Then David Brooks opines in the NY Times about a "Conservative Revival" from the other side of the pond.

David Brooks says...
The Conservative Revival

Today, British conservatives are on the way up, while American conservatives are on the way down. British conservatives have moved beyond Thatcherism, while American conservatives pine for another Reagan. The British Conservative Party enjoyed a series of stunning victories in local elections last week, while polls show American voters thoroughly rejecting the Republican brand.

The flow of ideas has changed direction. It used to be that American conservatives shaped British political thinking. Now the influence is going the other way.

The British conservative renovation begins with this insight: The central political debate of the 20th century was over the role of government. The right stood for individual freedom while the left stood for extending the role of the state. But the central debate of the 21st century is over quality of life. In this new debate, it is necessary but insufficient to talk about individual freedom. Political leaders have to also talk about, as one Tory politician put it, “the whole way we live our lives.”

Newt's article is interesting for it's insight into the disarray of the Republican party. Especially as the corporate media has fixated on divisions within the Democratic party.

Brooks' article is plain fascinating. British conservatives go to the left, and he calls it insight into the central political debate of our time? And what happened to T.I.N.A.? This dude's world view is so narrow it's scary, hasn't he heard...Another World is Possible?

But put together, along with Obama (almost but not quite yet) winning the Dem nomination with center-left messaging, the articles are more proof that it's a center-left political arena out there - at least in terms of US politics.

At the same time, they could also be more proof that the days of superpowers are over, but I digress.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Karlos is feigning surprise at Clinton's latest remarks

From USA Today: Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed Wednesday to continue her quest for the Democratic nomination, arguing she would be the stronger nominee because she appeals to a wider coalition of voters — including whites who have not supported Barack Obama in recent contests.

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.

Clinton's blunt remarks about race came a day after primaries in Indiana and North Carolina dealt symbolic and mathematical blows to her White House ambitions.

Somewhere in a plane from Iowa to New Hampshire, in the middle of the night, a plan was hatched. Turn Obama into the "black candidate."
And the following analysis is a little stale, for me at least 'cause I've been saying it since, well, Iowa, and friends have heard it ad nausea, but...

Somewhere in a plane from Iowa to New Hampshire, a plan was hatched. Turn Obama into "the black candidate."

Post Iowa: Steinem, with some of the worst foreshadow messages I've ever heard, says women are never front-runners, despite AND because he's black. But the underlying message is still, you guessed it, HE's BLACK.

NH: Fairy tale. (He's Black.)

SC: Jesse Jackson. (He's Black. )

Super Tuesday: I don't remember. But I bet it was...wait for's more second...he's black!

...Ferraro... (again, bad foreshadowing...)

...3 am...

...Reject and denounce Farrakhan...

...He wouldn't be my pastor... get the picture, right. I don't have to go on, and I don't even have to source it. We all know the narrative.

But Clinton got a little off message with the manufactured obligatory fake outrage over the bitter comment.

Elitist. Yet, I guess, yes...still black - if only because by now the narrative is completely ingrained in the psyche of the intended audience.

But that one was tricky and Clinton paid for it...that and the gas tax laugher.

Now she's back on message, but not underlying or understated. Out front. In the open.

And it shouldn't be a surprise.