torsdag, mars 27, 2008

Obama vill ha smarta regleringar och stöd för medelklassen


Barack Obama talade på Cooper Union i New York i morse.
                                                                             Foto: Hans Sandberg

Barack Obama talade inför 700 särskilt inbjudna gäster och ett massivt mediauppbåd på torsdagsmorgonen. Det var inget pep-rally för de redan övertygade, utan ett sakligt och resonerande tal om den ekonomiska och finansiella krisen och vad han vill göra åt saken. 

Han lade fram ett åtgärdsprogram på 30 miljarder dollar (180 mdr kr) som inkluderade stöd till dem som riskerar att bli av med sina hem och krävde mer federal insyn i hur hedgefonder och andra finansbolag utanför banksektorn opererar.


Barack Obama i New York.               Foto: Hans Sandberg

När det gällde finanskrisen lade han skulden för den både på Clinton- och Bush-regeringen. De svarade på marknadernas och globaliseringens utveckling med att avreglera istället för att modernisera systemet. Dagens finanskris visar att det inte bara är Main Street som behöver regeringens skydd, utan även Wall Street.
"Det som var dåligt för Main Street visade sig vara dåligt för Wall Street också. Smärtan spred sig uppåt," sa Barack Obama alluderande på Bush's "trickle down economics" (dvs rikedomen sprids nedåt från de rika.)

Hans Sandberg

Här är min rapport för Realtid.se

onsdag, mars 26, 2008

Obama-bruden slår till igen...

Kommer ni ihåg tjejen som sjöng "I have a Crush On Obama"?
Well, hon är tillbaks och hon är sur på Hillary som hackar på Obama.


Hillary! Stop the attacks! Love, Obama Girl (Amber Ettinger)

Rambo-Hillary röjer i Bosnien

Youtube bjussar på den definitiva rapporten om Hillarys resa till Bosnien 1996.

Hillary WASN'T LYING! Bosnia gunfire footage discovered...

Kolla in själva!


Läs mer om Hillary på min engelska blogg
The Nordic Link.

Läs också Frank Richs (New York Times) analys av Hillarys problem med sanningen:
Hillary’s St. Patrick’s Day Massacre



En "drömduo" som skulle garantera McCains seger

Skulle Barack och Hillary kunna bli demokraternas "drömduo"? frågar Aftonbladet och citerar opinionsundersökningar som säger att många av Clintons respektive Obamas väljare skulle vilja se dem på samma team.

– Om partiet är splittrat och det finns risk att förlora stödet från viktiga grupper, kan det vara så att det enda sättet att hålla samman partiet är att de två kandiderar tillsammans, säger Leon Panetta, före detta kongressman och medarbetare åt Bill Clinton i Vita Huset.
(Aftonbladet 26 mars)

Men detta är önsketänkande snarare än tänkande.

Det finns inget som talar för att vare sig Hillary eller Obama verkligen vill ha en gemensam kampanj och än mindre spela andra fiolen åt den andra.

Jag är övertygad om att summan av en sådan allians skulle bli mindre än delarna. Det är en sak att få väljarna att övervinna sina fördomar på ett område (en kvinna som president, respektive en svart man som president), men inte alls lika givet att de skulle svälja ett bete som agnats med bägge. En del i den demokratiska apparaten skulle säkert gilla idén, men tillräckligt många väljare skulle baxna för att garantera presidentskapet åt John McCain som i allmänhetens ögon verkar vara en hyvens karl av den gamla skolan.

Maureen Dowd diskuterar drömduoteorin i sin krönika på New York Times opinionssida:

"A couple of weeks ago, when Hill and Bill mentioned the possibility of a joint ticket, it was an attempt to undermine Obama and urge voters and superdelegates to put Hillary on top; the implication was that this was the only way Democrats could have both their stars, and besides, it was her turn. The precocious boy wonder had plenty of time.

But with the math not in her favor, her options running out, Bill Richardson running out and her filigreed narrative of dodging bullets in Bosnia and securing peace in Northern Ireland unraveling, could Hillary actually think the vice presidency is the best she’ll do?

One Hillary pal said she wouldn’t want to go back to a Senate full of lawmakers who’d abandoned her for Obama. And even if she could get to be majority leader, would it be much fun working with Nancy Pelosi, whose distaste for the Clintons has led her to subtly maneuver for Obama?

Maybe The Terminator is thinking: if she could just get her pump in the door. Dick Cheney, after all, was able to run the White House and the world from the vice president’s residence, calling every shot while serving under a less experienced and younger president. And Observatory Circle is just up the street from where Hillary now lives.

(....)

Could the veep talk be a red herring? A ploy designed to distract attention from the Clintons’ real endgame?

Even some Clinton loyalists are wondering aloud if the win-at-all-costs strategy of Hillary and Bill — which continued Tuesday when Hillary tried to drag Rev. Wright back into the spotlight — is designed to rough up Obama so badly and leave the party so riven that Obama will lose in November to John McCain.

If McCain only served one term, Hillary would have one last shot. On Election Day in 2012, she’d be 65.

Why else would Hillary suggest that McCain would be a better commander in chief than Obama, and why else would Bill imply that Obama was less patriotic — and attended by more static — than McCain?"

Jag var faktiskt inne på samma sak 4 mars i ett inlägg på denna blogg. 
Läs det här!

Hans Sandberg

http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/usavalet/article2124389.ab

tisdag, mars 25, 2008

Irak-retoriken till trots: McCain är ingen Bush

John McCain har åldern och sin självständiga hållning emot sig. Han försöker neutralisera de evangeliska fundamentalisterna och pratradiohögern med en retorisk och hårdnackad politik när det gäller Irak, men jag misstänker starkt att det är ett taktiskt spel.

Dagens avslöjande i New York Times om att McCain åtminstone sonderade terrängen för att ställa upp som vicepresidentkandidat vid sidan om John Kerry i valkampanjen 2004 bekräftar vad många på den yttersta högerkanten redan är övertygade om, nämligen att McCain inte är någon pålitlig extremhögerkandidat. Så det ligger kanske inte bara tjockskallighet bakom Rush Limbaughs kampanj för att få konservativa att rösta på Hillary Clinton (en kampanj som mycket väl kan ha tippat över segern i primärvalet i Texas till hennes förmån!) Men om det nu är så att McCain är en centrist eller kanske till och med en smygdemokrat, så hamnar Hillary Clintons kampanj i en väldigt knepig sits.

För om McCain inte är fullt så dålig (och det är ju ett tema som både Bill och Hillary har spunnit på för att skada Barack Obama) så är det ju ganska logiskt att många oberoende väljare kommer att rösta på McCain! McCain må ha åldern emot sig, men han har till skillnad från Hillary en gedigen erfarenhet som sträcker sig utanför de politiska korridårerna i Little Rock, Washington, D.C. och New York. Han har också en stark personlighet, som när han inte surnar till kan vara riktigt charmig.

Det har sagt att hans svaghet är att han inte kan ekonomi, men det behöver inte stoppa honom så länge han väljer sina rådgivare väl och det tal om ekonomin som han levererade på tisdagen pekar mot en mer sofistikerad approach än den han hittills visat upp.

Han drar en klar skiljelinje mellan behovet av att hjälpa familjer som råkat illa ut och riskerar att förlora sina hus å ena sidan och spekulanter å den andra. Det är en smart gränsdragning som bör gå hem hos stora delar av det amerikanska folket.

Här är ett utdrag ur talet:
"I have always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers. Government assistance to the banking system should be based solely on preventing systemic risk that would endanger the entire financial system and the economy.

In our effort to help deserving homeowners, no assistance should be given to speculators. Any assistance for borrowers should be focused solely on homeowners, not people who bought houses for speculative purposes, to rent or as second homes. Any assistance must be temporary and must not reward people who were irresponsible at the expense of those who weren’t. I will consider any and all proposals based on their cost and benefits. In this crisis, as in all I may face in the future, I will not allow dogma to override common sense.

When we commit taxpayer dollars as assistance, it should be accompanied by reforms that ensure that we never face this problem again. Central to those reforms should be transparency and accountability.

Homeowners should be able to understand easily the terms and obligations of a mortgage. In return, they have an obligation to provide truthful financial information and should be subject to penalty if they do not. Lenders who initiate loans should be held accountable for the quality and performance of those loans and strict standards should be required in the lending process. We must have greater transparency in the lending process so that every borrower knows exactly what he is agreeing to and where every lender is required to meet the highest standards of ethical behavior."

Hela talet som video.

Hans Sandberg

fredag, mars 21, 2008

Alkohol i USA och Sverige: Diet coke eller supande

Jag har bott i USA i tjugo år nu och en av de slående skillnaderna i livsstil mot Sverige, som jag minns det och som det framstår i massmedierna, har att göra med attityden till alkohol.

Min erfarenhet är att man inte super lika mycket i USA, åtminstone inte i mina kretsar. Man ska förstås se upp med att generalisera om ett land, särskilt ett så stort och skiftande som USA, men USA har inte som Sverige en supkultur.

Hollywoodbilden av USA brukade inkludera rikliga mängder alkohol (JR tog sig alltid en whiskey när han kom hem till ranchen och Sue Ellen drunknade nästan i spriten), men jag undrar om inte diet coke eller vitaminvatten har ersatt groggen som drink på film? (Jag är inte säker på hur stor skillnaden verkligen är, för det kommer då och då larmrapporter om alkohol och drogmissbruk bland unga, men jag har en känsla av att ribban ligger lägre i USA...)

I de vuxna kretsar jag och min amerikanska hustru umgås är det diet coke som gäller, kanske kompletterad med ett glas vin för damerna och en öl för männen. Dubbla det på julfesten, eller femdubbla det på St. Patricks Day då irländarna tenderar att gå överstyr.

Men överlag så dricks det väldigt lite på de icke-svenska fester jag går på oavsett om det är en familjefest med flera generationer eller ett party för vuxna enbart. Om man däremot hamnar på en svensk fest, så brukar alkoholen spela en mer framstående roll och så ska det förstås skålas och sjungas nubbevisor. Det ger oss svenskar i förskringringen hemkänsla, får oss att känna oss som svenskar. Traditionen går rätt långt tillbaks. Jag kommer ihåg att jag en gång läste i tidningen Nordstjernan hur man på 1800-talet diskuterade på ledarplats om det var så lyckat med den stora svenska invandringen eftersom de söp så förfärligt.

Min två söner Erik och Alex är snart 14 och 17 och de dricker inte alkohol. Och det är samma sak med deras kompisar. De har utsatts för propaganda mot droger och alkohol under hela sin skolgång och det har nog hjälpt, plus att de lever i ett samhälle (jag talar nu om vårt närsamhälle, familj, släkt och vänner från skolan, där alkoholen spelar en väldigt liten roll i umgängeslivet. Inte så att någon skulle säga nåt om att jag gärna tar ett glas rödvin till maten, men det är nästan som en egenhet som respekteras. De andra dricker sin diet coke om de är vuxna och root beer eller Vitamin D-water om de är unga.

Det är inte bara det att vi har ett starkt socialt tryck för att skydda ungdomar mot spriten, utan det finns hårda lagar, alltför hårda i mitt tycke, runt spriten. Det är mycket svårt för unga att komma över sprit. Du måste vara 21 för att köpa en burk öl och du måste ha legitimation. Jag har själv sett polisen komma in och arrestera en kille som verkade vara 20 år gammal sedan han försökt köpa öl. Och inför stora helgdagar kan man ibland finna poliser stående vid utgången för att se till att ingen ens försöker.

Om jag som förälder har ett party för mina tonåringar och serverar ett punchbål med alkohol i kan jag åka i fängelse.

”A 1987 law in New Jersey also goes after the adults who host drinking parties for minors or buy alcohol for a party. They can be arrested and, if convicted, spend up to six months in jail or pay a fine of up to $1,000. The law does not make it illegal for minors to drink on private property. The Legislature tried to fix that in 2000, approving a bill that allows cities and towns to bar minors from possessing alcohol on private property. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, an advocacy group, estimated that 230 of the state's 567 municipalities have enacted such a ban.” (New York Times 30 juni 2006)

Man skulle kunna tro att mina grabbar är förtvivlade över att de inte kan dricka öl när de har ett party, men det är inte fallet. De tycker inte om öl och vin och har gudskelov inte ärvt mina svenska blyg-gener, så de har lika kul utan sprit.

Det som fick mig att fundera på detta med sprit, svenskhet och umgänge var ett reportage i dagens Aftonbladet:

”Alkohol går inte ihop med min livsstil”

'Hiphop-stjärnan Adam Tensta och flera unga artister berättar att de inte dricker alkohol och hur de måste försvara sig mot misstänksamma vänner och fans. Vad är det med dig? Är du så helylle? Tråkmåns? Inte alls. Jag känner igen mina söners attityd i Adams svar:

-Jag tänker inte ens på att jag inte dricker. Alkohol har aldrig gått ihop med min livsstil.

Och han är enligt tidningen inte ensam, men det faktum att färre unga super döljer det faktum att väldigt många gör det. ”Förra året svarade var tredje niondeklassare att de inte dricker alkohol, till skillnad från var femte år 2000” skriver Aftonbladet.'

Det betyder att fyra av fem niondeklassare sa sig dricka alkohol år 2000 och bara två av tre sa samma sak 2007.

Under underrubriken ”Finns enormt tryck” kan man läsa:

-Hittills i år har Ungdomens nykterhetsförbund, UNF, värvat fler nya medlemmar än de gjort samma period under hela 2000-talet.

Vad beror det på? Det dricks ju mer än aldrig förr i Sverige. Vuxna häller i sig 30 procent mer i dag än för tio år sedan.

-Jag tror att de yngre ser alla negativa konsekvenser – misshandel, våldsbrott, alkoholism – och känner att de inte vill vara en del av det, säger Robert Damberg, ordförande i UNF.

Samtidigt ser han en tydlig trend att ungas förhållande till alkohol i stort håller på att förändras. Antingen dricker man inget. Eller alldeles för mycket.

Gruppen unga alkoholister växer.

-Det finns ett enormt tryck i dag på unga att man ska dricka. Det behövs fler alternativ än krogen på kvällarna. Som drogfria konserter och kvällsöppna kaféer.”

För min del tycker jag att det är skönt att mina pojkar slipper känna ett grupptryck att supa, men jag och min hustru inser förstås att det kommer en dag – om inte annat så när de börjat plugga på universitet – då de kommer att känna en press att supa till som deras nya kompisar. Det går knappast att undvika och jag tror att det bästa försvaret mot detta är att vi som föräldrar lär dem hur man umgås med alkohol, så att det inte ställs inför något förbjudet och mystiskt när den dagen kommer.

Hans Sandberg

Här är två länkar till artiklar i New York Times om unga och alkoholkonsumtion

The Grim Neurology of Teenage Drinking

Keeping Tabs on Teenage Drinking

onsdag, mars 19, 2008

Windows konst, eller bara konstigt...;-)



Windows upphör aldrig att förvåna....
;-)))) Hans

tisdag, mars 18, 2008

Historiskt tal om rasfrågan

"Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy."

Så började Barack Obama sitt tal i Philadelphia om rasfrågan; ett tal där han än en gång visade vilken briljant politiker och talare han är. Han tog den senaste tidens debatt om hans relation till hans pastor Jeremiah Wright och placerade den i ett historiskt och sociologiskt perspektiv som sträckte sig tillbaks till grundlagsfäderna.

Obama neutraliserade skickligt propagandan från högerkanten och oron bland sina vänner genom att klart och tydligt ta avstånd från Wrights extrema och bittra utfall, samtidigt som han förklarade varför han inte vill fördöma honom som människa och vän lika lite som han fördömer sin (vita) mormor i Kansas bara därför att hon då och då använder rasistiskt språkbruk. Han visade att han förstår varifrån fördomarna och bitterheten kommer, samtidigt som han visade att hans egen generation gått vidare och är beredda att överskrida de föregående generationernas låsta och statiska perspektiv. Det var ett modigt tal som kommer att gå till historien som ett av de stora politiska talen i USA:s historia. Han är som talare ännu inte någon Martin Luther King Jr., men han är på god väg.  

Här är talet:
1) i sin helhet som arkiverad video
2) ett 
ihopklippt urval  
3) och nedan som text.

March 18, 2008
Transcript

Barack Obama’s Speech on Race
The following is the text as prepared for delivery of Senator Barack Obama’s speech on race in Philadelphia, as provided by his presidential campaign.

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Obamas hemliga vapen (och han är inte ens demokrat)

Han är ung, smart och talför. Derrick Ashong är musiker och invandrare från Ghana i Västafrika. Och han har nästan över en natt blivit ett fenomen på Youtube. Han är ett levande bevis på hur fel Clinton-kampanjen har när de försöker framställa obamiterna som känslomänniskor till skillnad från de erfarna och kloka clintoniterna.

Det började med att han blev intervjuad utanför Kodak-teatern i Hollywood 31 januari. Det var samma kväll som Hillary och Obama skulle drabba samman i ännu en debatt. Derrick var enligt en rapport i dagens New York Times där med vännen Shaunelle Curry som bad honom hjälpa till och hålla ett plakat. Först ville han inte, men så sa han OK och rätt vad det var fann han sig framför kameran. Intervjuaren Mike var tuff och verkade ha bestämt sig för att avslöja en av dessa idealistiska ungdomar som gillade Obama, men inte hade en aning om sakfrågorna. Men det blev ingen avklädning av en ung idealist, utan en lektion där Derrick lade ut texten i detalj och svarade på varje fråga och uppföljningsfråga med stor sakkunskap och elegans. När den tretton minuter långa intervjun led mot sitt slut sa Mike att Derrick uppenbarligen var väl påläst.

Intervjun landade såsmåningom på Youtube och har snart setts av en miljon människor. Och Derrick har postat flera tal där han berättar om sig själv och vad han står för. Det visade sig att det inte alls var någon naiv idealist, utan en väldigt sofistikerad och värlsvan sådan. Han föddes i Ghana och växte upp i Flatbush
i Brooklyn, samt på andra ställen i USA och Mellanöstern. Han gick på Harvard University och jobbar som professionell talare för the Lavin Agency, samt har ett eget band.

Följ länkarna nedan till Youtube!

Obama vs Clinton Hollywood Democratic Debate 3

Why I Support Obama - The Emotional Response

ABC on the Sweet Mother Tour

Derrick Ashong Lecture

Det skulle förvåna mig om han inte rekryteras av Obama-kampanjen.
Han är obasmisk!

Hans Sandberg

fredag, mars 14, 2008

Här kan du se Carl Freers tal på Georgia Tech

Carl Freer inledde 6 mars sin "turné" på amerikanska universitet med en föreläsning på Georgia Institute of Technologys GVU-Center (Graphics, Visualization & Usability Center) i Atlanta i delstaten Georgia. Föreläsningen finns nu upplagd på GVU:s hemsida.

Klicka här för att se talet High Tech Ventures in Mobile Gaming and Media.
Du behöver Quicktime 7.0 eller högre för att kunna se den.

Om du vill läsa mina intervjuer med Carl Freer kan du söka på hans namn på Realtid.se och klicka på denna länk för Carl Freer-artiklar Sandbergs hörna.

Hans Sandberg

onsdag, mars 12, 2008

Börsoron: Krig och politisk deflation ger ekonomisk stagflation

Jag kommer ihåg när jag pluggade nationalekonomi och läste Lipsey-Steiners EconomicsStockholms Universitet i början på 1980-talet. Stagflation var det som inte fick hända och som inte borde hända enligt den keynesianska modellen, vilken ju antog att priserna skulle stabilisera sig och kanske t o m sjunka om arbetslösheten gick upp. Men 1970-talets låga tillväxt och höga inflation bröt mot modellens antaganden. En rad förklaringar angavs, kostnaderna för president Johnsons välfärdsreformer (the Great Society), Vietnamkriget, oljeprischocken, budgetunderskotten, osv. Men den kanske viktigaste förklaringen var att LBJ inte ville låta kostnaderna för kriget undergräva sina progressiva sociala reformer.

Bättre att låtsas som att det regnar och printa mer pengar.

Det var lite grand som Bush och Irakkriget, men med den skillnaden att George W Bush inte hade något ärbart socialt program att skydda, utan om att säkra sina skattesänkningar för de rika.

Effekten blev i grunden densamma: En växande del av den amerikanska produktionsapparaten styrdes över mot krigsproduktion. Det håller de ekonomiska hjulen i rullning, skapar sysselsättning och inkomster, men undergräver samtidigt landets förmåga att investera i framtiden och tillverka varor och tjänster åt konsumenterna. Så länge amerikanerna investerade i nya och större hus och Kina fyllde hyllorna på Wal-Mart med billiga produkter gick ekvationen ihop någorlunda, sånär som på den växande privata och offentliga skuldbördan och det astronomiska underskottet i utrikeshandeln, ffa med Kina.

Det var en balanskonst på högsta nivå, med en växande finansbubbla som främjats av regeringens blandning av arrogans och ignorans, men bubblor som blivit för stora spricker. Vilket den gjorde sommaren 2007. Och detta samtidigt som Kinas modernisering börjat leda till en växande press på resurssidan som väckt inflationsspöket till liv. Plus att den försvagade dollarn tvingar Wal-Mart att betala alltmer för importen. Globaliseringen och utläggningen av produktion till Kina har alltså inte löst det grundläggande dilemmat bakom stagflationen, utan bara skjutit problemet framåt en bit.

I grund och botten handlar det om att samhällets ekonomiska resurser avletts från produktiv verksamhet till förmån för krig, vilket gett oss ett överskott på pengar som tävlar om att köpa en otillräcklig mängd varor. Det är krigsekonomins dilemma som sticker upp sitt fula ansikte i form av stagflation.

Hans Sandberg

Larry David vill inte att Hillary svarar på telefon

Larry David, som skapade Seinfeld tillsammans med Jerry Seinfeld och senare Curb Your Enthusiasm, dissar Hillary Clinton 6 mars i en kort artikel rubricerad On the Red PhoneThe Huffington Post.

"Here's an idea for an Obama ad: a montage of Clinton's Sybillish personalities that have surfaced during the campaign with a solemn voiceover at the end saying, 'Does anyone want this nut answering the phone?'
...
A few weeks ago, I started to feel sorry for her. Oh Christ, let her win already...Who cares...It's not worth it. There's not that much difference between them. She can have it. Anything to avoid watching her descend into madness. So I switched. I started rooting for her. It wasn't that hard. Compromise comes easy to me. I was on board.
And then I saw the ad.
I watched, transfixed, as she took the 3 a.m. call...and I was afraid...very afraid. Suddenly, I realized the last thing this country needs is that woman anywhere near a phone. I don't care if it's 3 a.m. or 10 p.m. or any other time. I don't want her talking to Putin, I don't want her talking to Kim Jong Il, I don't want her talking to my nephew. She needs a long rest. She needs to put on a sarong and some sun block and get away from things for a while, a nice beach somewhere -- somewhere far away, where there are...no phones."


Hans Sandberg

måndag, mars 10, 2008

Obama till Hillary: Glöm det där med vicepresident!

Det är lite märkligt att kandidaten som ligger tvåa erbjuder kandidaten som ligger etta jobbet som vicepresident. Det sa Barack Obama på måndagen i en kommentar till Hillarys upprepade uttalanden om att väljarna skulle kunna få en chans att rösta på både henne och Obama (förutsatt att hon sitter på toppen). Och Bill Clinton sade att ett Clinton-Obama team skulle bli oövervinnerligt....

Saken blir inte mindre märklig av att Hillary 6 januari slog fast att en vicepresidentkandidat måste vara redo att vara president redan första dagen på jobbet! Är det Hillary som ändrat uppfattning, eller har Obama plötsligt blivit tillräckligt erfaren... men isåfall faller ju hela Hillarys argument om varför hon och inte Obama bör bli president. 

Det mesta talar för att Hillarys utspel bara är ett trick för att få Obama att framstå som nr 2 och henne själv som nr 1, med all sin påstådda erfarenhet. Det faktum att Obama genomskådat och avvisat denna fint från Clinton-kampanjens sida talar för hans goda omdöme.

Gary Hart (som fick avbryta sin kampanj för att bli demokraternas presidentkandidat i valet 1988 efter ett snöpligt avslöjande av hans affär med Donna Rice), levererade i fredags en skarp vidräkning med Hillary Clinton på den inflytelserika webbsajten The Huffington Post.
Hillary har enligt Hart brutit mot en av politikens grundregler:

"Do not provide ammunition to the opposition party that can be used to destroy your party's nominee. This is a hyper-truth where the presidential contest is concerned."

Han förklarade att Hillarys försök att framställa sig – och John McCain – som valbara till skillnad från den ”oerfarne” Obama "has broken that rule, severely damaged the Democratic candidate who may well be the party's nominee, and, perhaps most ominously, revealed the unlimited lengths to which she will go to achieve power. She has essentially said that the Democratic party deserves to lose unless it nominates her."

Hillary utspel kan inte bortförklaras som att hon är tuff. Det handlar istället om att hon uppträder skamlöst. "That is not politics. That is raw, unrestrained ambition for power that cannot accept the will of the voters."

Hart skriver att man måste ställa sig frågan om hennes primära lojalitet gäller det ”demokratiska partiet eller hennes egen maktambition.”

David Gergen sade till CNN att han tror att Bill och Hillary Clintons tal om en gemensam "ticket" ingår i deras taktik för att pressa "superdelegaterna" i partiet, vilket skulle gynna Hillary.

Hans Sandberg


tisdag, mars 04, 2008

Hillary omfamnar McCain - siktar hon på 2012?

Det vore för lätt att förklara Hillarys märkliga omfamnande av John McCain med att hon är desperat. För hur desperat kan en demokrat få vara för att det ska vara okej att backa upp sin blivande huvudmotståndare?

”Jag anser att jag har en livslång erfarenhet som jag kommer att ta med mig till Vita Huset. Senator John McCain har också en livslång erfarenhet som han kan ta med sig till Vita Huset. Och senator Obama har ett tal som han gav 2002.”

Det är ett märkligt yttrande och det kommer att skada Barack Obama om han blir demokraternas kandidat, men det kommer också att skada Hillary Clinton, för hon har förlorat det hon hade kvar av sin trovärdighet. Många Obama-anhängare som hittills sett Hillary Clinton som ett alternativ till Obama, måste nu fråga sig om de överhuvudtaget har någon anledning att lita på en person som är så kåt på makten att hon är beredd att liera sig med fienden? Säga vad man vill om John McCain, men han har råg i ryggen, vilket är mer än vad man kan säga om Hillary Clinton efter hennes kalla-krigs-annons i veckan och nu denna attack under bältet på Obama. Det är inte alls omöjligt att besvikna Obama-anhängare kommer att finna det omöjligt att rösta på Hillary efter detta. Vilket gör att den mest erfarna politikern vinner höstens val – John McCain. Kanske har Hillary redan ställt in siktet på 2012? För isåfall är det bättre att ha McCain som president än Obama.

Hans Sandberg

Negativism hjälpte Hillary 4 mars
(rapport i Los Angeles Times)


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