The Sham of Turkey Pardon

sarah-palin-turkey-slaughter-bigIt looked as if she had come out of an inferno unscathed, timely saving the life of a Turkey. That wasn’t the story, though. But, that was the gravity cable news networks gave to that triviality – Sarah Palin pardoning a turkey as a prologue to Thanksgiving. The incident, absolutely non-news, was thrust upon me by various channels repeatedly for two-three days, for reasons of their own. It’s time she became past. Instead, news people are after her as if she is the President-elect. Or the Vice-President-elect, at least. And, they are making her more present. This much I wrote in order to expose a sham, which is unduly given the status and sanctity of a great act of mercy and compassion. Sometimes, self-sacrifice.

Let’s go back to the same event which I called trifle and cheap. After pardoning the turkey, Palin was giving interviews to television channels, preening over her saintly act. And, in the background, there were turkeys being slaughtered. I felt this a sham. If she pardons a turkey and chooses to have no roasted turkey on her dinner table on Thanksgiving Day, it would be an act of mercy. What she did recently, any person with resources to buy an additional turkey, could do. And anyone who could spend hundred and fifty thousand dollars on her wardrobes just for a few days’ showbiz could certainly do. Even I could do that!

President John F. Kennedy, who pardoned a turkey first, must have done it out of compassion for that bird. Even if it wasn’t, he was at least spontaneous. But, no idea whether he abstained from eating turkey on Thanksgiving of 1963. It was President George H.W Bush who (started the Persian Gulf war for oil) made it official by pardoning a turkey in 1989, which President Clinton and Bush Jr. (addendum: whose decision killed over six hundred thousand people in Iraq, mostly women and children, going by a UN report) ritualistically pursued. There are also stories sans evidence that President Harry Truman pardoned a turkey in 1947 and Abraham Lincoln also spared his son Tad’s pet turkey on a Thanksgiving Day. Now, a tradition seems to have been set, you pardon one turkey for the public and kill another for private. You need not have genuine feelings for a bird that might be pleading for your mercy. It looks, let me be unkind to use this simile, as if Idi Amin granting clemency to a person sentenced for capital punishment.

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Barack Obama – Getting ‘Right’ People Around?

obama_mail_500px5The election of Barack Obama on Nov. 4 was not just the culmination of a prolonged presidential campaign. His victory also heralded the end of the most unpopular and derided regime in the history of the United States. Millions of Americans celebrated this victory as their own. Unprecedentedly, echoes of celebration could be heard from all over the world. All of a sudden, people became hopeful. They thought, after all, it is not a hopeless world entirely. They loved to believe that ‘change’ has finally dawned upon America, and hence the world. But, anyone who keeps a close watch on the developments in Washington might doubt, has change really come to America? Does Obama have the right people around to usher in the change he promised?

A day after becoming the President-elect, Obama ostensibly sent a wrong signal. He offered the post of White House Chief of Staff to Rahm Israel Emaneul – a move even his staunch supporters found difficult to decipher. Besides having stints in the Clinton administration and the House, his salty language and political toughness, there are things that Emaneul’s resume doesn’t want to share with the public. One among them is, of course, his strong support of the war in Iraq, a war Obama criticized throughout his election campaign. Also, the new chief writes in his book, ‘The Plan: Big Ideas for America’, “We need to expand the US Army by 100,000 more troops.” In contrast, almost all places he stumped, Obama promised to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Under him, he assured, America would be a peace-loving nation. And, he would renounce Bush’s doctrine of preventive war and Carter doctrine of military action in order to control oil in the Mideast. But, will he, when he has war-monger at the helm of affairs? Will Emaneul be a spoke in the wheel if the President diverts the ten billion burnt every week in Iraq to implement universal healthcare?

Another important aspect that is not covered by the mainstream media is his pro-Israel, orthodox Jewish views. Emaneul, nicknamed Rahmbo, was educated in a Talmudic yeshiva. He volunteered to serve in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) during the Gulf war. Elana Schore of the ‘Guardian’ wrote on Nov 6, “His volunteer service (repairing IDF tanks) in Israel during the 1990s Gulf War is no fiction, with the Jewish press hailing Emanuel’s ascension as a sign that Israel will have its own man in the Obama White House.” It doesn’t stop there. Emaneul is a dual citizen of Israel (which his office refused to deny when AFP queried). (Note: Israel is the only nation where Americans can apply for and obtain citizenship without automatically renouncing US citizenship). Not the least, his Israeli-born father Benjamin was an active member of the Zionist terror group, Irgun, during the 1940s. Along with Stern Gang, another notorious terror outfit, Irgun bombed Jerusalem’s King David Hotel in 1946, killing 96 people. Obama’s association with a man of hush-hush background might portend very serious political repercussions, especially in Middle East. (Not that significant though, the middle name of this gentleman seemed advertently omitted by the mainstream media may be due to its Zionist connotations. Remember, Barack Obama’s supporters, including a large chunk of broadcast and print media, very discreetly avoided using his middle name ‘Hussein’ lest the damage a Muslim middle name would do to his chances of winning an election in a Christian nation).

What this alliance might hold for the country can also viewed from the fact that like John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were also invitees to the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) convention on June 4, 2008. All three did attend the function. Incidentally, it was Emanuel who chaperoned Obama around at the convention and took him to organization’s executive board. (By the way, Vice-President elect Joe Biden is also an ardent Israeli supporter). The AIPAC is Israel in America. Given its history, anyone who defies the will of this formidable group will invite trouble, either politically or professionally. (Addendum: In the US, most of the media industry including entertaining Hollywood, and Wall Street are owned or controlled by Jews, a community that constitute less than two per cent of the population). Will Obama be able to bypass the most powerful expat-organization in the US to resolve the Palestine crisis – the mother of all international problems (besides Mideast oil)?

Induction of Indo-American economist Sonal Shah into the advisory board of the transition team has also caused apprehension, particularly among liberal Democrats. Like Emaneul, it is her ideological moorings that many are suspicious about. Sonal was an active member of the fascist outfit Vishwa Hindu Parishad in America (VHPA) and was its National Coordinator until 2001. (Remember the pogrom planned and executed by the VHP and its like-minded allies like RSS, BJP, Bajrang Dal and Sangh Parivar in the Western Indian state of Gujarat, in which  over 2000 Muslims were killed, most of them burnt alive, and about 200,000 driven out of their homes. This genocide was allegedly funded also by VHPA).

Sonal’s parents, Ramesh and Kokila, are volunteers of VHPA and the RSS-supported ‘Ekal Vidyalaya’ (so-called educational institutions in the tribal areas of India) and have held positions of authority in them. Ramesh Shah is also Vice President of the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party (OFBJP).  In 2004, the far right Gujarat state government honoured Sonal Shah with the Pride of Gujarat. (Be not surprised if Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat state and the brain behind the communal violence and also the one who has been denied a visa to enter the US for perpetrating crime and genocide, gets a visa issued and flies across the Atlantic soon). There are no visible differences between Sonal’s far right commitments in India and the ideological commitments of Emaneul to Zionism.

Another decision Obama took and angered his support base was the retention of Joe Lieberman as the chairman of the Homeland Security committee. Many loved to see Lieberman be stripped of his chairmanship and even removed from the Democratic caucus. For, he smeared Obama for things he wasn’t a party to, hit the campaign trail along with John McCain and Sarah Palin, who unleashed personal attacks on Obama and went even to extend of calling him a terrorist. Just before decision was taken, an outraged  Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont, said, “To reward Senator Lieberman with a major committee chairmanship would be a slap in the face of millions of Americans who worked tirelessly for Barack Obama and who want to see real change in our country,”

Even before the heat and fire of Lieberman issue subsided, Obama offered the plum post of Secretary of State to Hillary Clinton, who, during the Democratic primaries, shot all the arrows from her quiver vainly – right from ideological, political to personal- at Obama until she was thrown out of the primaries. She called him ‘naïve’ and politically immature and even mentioned that McCain was better qualified than Obama to be the President. Hillary has an agenda of her own and desires to lead, not follow. In several respects, her foreign policy contradicts that of Obama. By not choosing her as his Veep, Obama did respect the verdict of Democrats and his supporters. Now, he is reversing what he refused to do a couple of weeks back.

With all these unexpected occurring, the question now is, is Obama betraying his supporters’ mandate for change or is he trying to transcend partisan politics and becoming more bi-partisan and accommodative? Or is it a new approach to governing or a politically clever move to gag rivals with a piece of the pie? If not all the above, is he trying to convince those who doubt he is less Christian – by loving even his enemy and showing the other side of his face when he is slapped? Too early to take stock of the situation and pass a judgment. Nonetheless, one thing is for sure, not all his supporters are happy with his decisions.

Parallel Voice

This blog condemns all kinds of media bias – political, ideological, ethnic or racial, economical, etc. It fights organised propaganda of administrations, political systems and regimes through mass media. And, stands against corporatisation of news and information. It has no interests except to bring out truth. It is not our truth. Nor your or their truth. It is the truth.