Sunday 30 June 2013

Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music

So, B.O., what happened, bro? We all had so many hopes, and dashed them you have so far and left us against the ropes.

Let’s talk about you, B.O. No, not the stench one normally has to put up with on the London Underground when pushed up against a fellow passenger’s armpit. No, the B.O. I want to discuss today has capital letters and rules – apparently – over the richest country of the world.

Do we need to change the caption?
Let’s talk about Barack Obama.

We were all there, weren’t we? Well, some of us were. November 2008. That historic night is still seared in my memory, despite the fact I am not American and it’s unlikely I will ever get to vote in a general election there. But, I, too, left my cynical pragmatism aside and for one night allowed myself to dream.

How wrong I was. I don’t mean to say that getting behind Obama was a mistake. I don’t mean to say either that the US would have been better served by the McCain/Palin axis of evil/stupidity. What I really, really mean is that I should have been less idealistic and more reality-rooted. Presidents, like prime ministers are not subjected to normal laws like us, earthlings. Their line-managers are not the teachers, doctors and community leaders who put them in pole position. No, presidents and prime ministers report to Mr Power. And Mr Power sits a healthy distance away from the rest of us, Mr and Mrs Powerless.

When Mr Power coughs up, he (for it is usually a “he”, although there are some “shes”, too) doesn’t just cough up for the privilege of electing whom he thinks will respond better to his interests. He will also pay for the candidate-turned-president/prime minister’s transformation from a moderate to a demagogue.

Obama the candidate was a firebrand. Notice the past tense. Obama the president is a hawk. True, dressed as a dove and more articulate than former Hawk-in-Chief George W Bush, but a hawk nonetheless. He has not closed Guantanamo as he promised during his election campaign and the drone attacks he has ordered on suspect terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan have caused untold civilian casualties.

Small wonder, then, that Obama’s approval ratings have taken a dive. And along with it public trust in him has also collapsed. What makes it harder to bear is that he was the candidate sporting the “Yes, we can” motto. Now that “Yes, we can” stands more for “Yes, we can spy more, bomb more countries and still torture people in Guantanamo”.

Am I being unfair? What do you reckon? After all, Obama did not force anyone to jump on his “hope” bandwagon. Remember, he never claimed to be a radical, we turned him into one. Furthermore, the “hope” he came to symbolise could only be translated into success if the change that was supposed to come with it was shared equally and not entrusted just to one single person. From that point of view we should take ownership of our collective disappointment in Obama. We might have projected a utopia on a person whose top priority on taking office might have been to distance himself from his predecessor by adopting a more moderate agenda. We ought to also take into account Republicans’ opposition to some of Obama’s reforms, like his Health Care Plan known as Obamacare.

However, that does not excuse his support for Mr Power. Obama was elected to change the lives of Mr and Mrs Powerless. It is fair to say that many Americans are still waiting for that change.

From the serious to the absurd. You have to hand it to certain celebrities sometimes. Just when you think they cannot get any more ego-centric and stupid, they... well, they carve their names in the Guinness World records as the thickest beings ever to populate planet Earth. I would happily trade a Kanye West and Kim Kardashian for a couple of dinosaurs. Preferably the cute, herbivore type. Diplodocus, anyone?

The latest act of idiocy comes from, he of hip-hop combo The Black Eyed Peas and one of the judges on BBC’s The Voice. Apparently he’s got into a verbal spat with Pharrell Williams, one half of hip-hop duo The Neptunes. The latter has just come up with a new brand, i am OTHER. has allegedly claimed that he owns the copyright to the phrase “

Don’t look at me like that. I kid you not. Forget Waterloo in 1815 and Moscow in 1942. This is the mother of all battles, ladies and gentleman! And it’s happening right here, right now, in front of our very eyes.

Just a message for Forget Pharrell for a second, son. You have bigger fish to fry. Here are some of  the people who came before Pharrell and whom you are going to have to fight if you want to have your way:

Kirk Douglas (I am Spartacus)

Dr Seuss (I do not like green eggs and ham/I do not like them, Sam I am)

God (I Am that I Am)

The English language (latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary or equivalent)

The list goes on, but you know what? I am done with stupid celebrities for today. Have a great week, folks.

© 2013

Next Post: “Pieces of Me, Pieces of Havana”, to be published on Wednesday 3rd July at 11:59pm MT)


  1. I followed the 2012 Republican primaries, it was very interesting, to watch the working of the powers. I do not know of any news now as I do not watch tv or read the newspapers.

  2. They'll always be waiting for change because they rely on such idiots in office. Same everywhere, want change people have to stop whining about it and do it themselves.

  3. I, too, am disappointed in B.O.'s use of drones, of his reluctance to close Guantanomo, but I disagree that he has been relegated to the dustbin. Much has changed for the better in this country since the man was elected President, and I believe that his legacy will be a positive one, albeit disappointing on some fronts. Perhaps my continued support of him has to do with not having illusions that he was some sort of messiah back in 2008 but, rather, a man among men. Here's to a woman for the next round.

  4. Although I have not only heard of but actually heard the Black Eyed Peas perform, I will refrain from commenting on the "music men" involved in this scrap.

    As for Barack Obama, my opinion always has been that he was the wrong man at the wrong time in the wrong place. He was the Pied Piper of his era, with unrealistic plans and an Olympian hubris. On the other side of the coin, a U.S. senator recently described John McCain as "A man who has never seen a war he didn't like." I tend to agree with that, and am glad he was not elected in 2008. Conversely, I do think Mitt Romney might have started the U.S. marching uphill again had he been elected last year, which would be good for any number of other nations, as well.

    I could write and write and write about this, but I will be kind and stop now.

    Sunday greetings, CiL. I enjoyed your post today.

  5. My father always said 'It doesn't matter who you vote for - a politician will be elected.' Which I thought was cynical. And sadly now believe to be true.

  6. never got into celebrities for that very reason but maybe I'm missing some cute human antics.

    Obama though, it seems as if the office of the president has it's own agenda regardless of a poster child.

    but people don't realize they can't rely on some central figure to make the change rather that to do it themselves

    good reflections, always invigorating the blog life left

  7. ha. he owns I am...he will have plenty to contend with on that one...i am disappointed in BO...i voted for him....both times...and perhaps i was nieve in thinking we might actually get someone a bit different...the sad thing is we have a du-ocracy here in the states...its not democracy...the people get to vote on who the two groups put forward...this is still controlled by those in power and with deep pockets...

  8. You speak so eloquently of all our sadly dashed hopes for Mr Anti Power - but I quite like that we lacked cynicism for a night, all together.
    And yes, funny that we, who aren't Americans, forgot that too for one night!

    As Elizabeth says, here's to a woman for the next round. But what pressures and expectations will we place on her shoulders, I wonder?

  9. Haha! pretty sure the Will i am thing is just a publicity stunt. Sure lawyers are expensive but probably more effective than a PR company....:D

  10. I was so inspired by Obama - still am when I consider the alternative... But yes, disillusioned with his hawk attitude.

  11. i'm certainly not as informed about us politics as i should be, but personally, i like obama, he is a president that i think has good ideas but gets much opposition as well and still he's on course - it's the system i think, if he could do what he wanted to do, things would change for better me thinks

  12. problem is that noone can do what they want as tehre is always a lot of others wanting other things. I think BO had gret intentions but, as everybody else, failed to convince ALL OTHERS.

  13. Have to confess, I've lost interest in politics and politicians recently...all those broken promises and corruption issues kept under wraps!
    Doesn't seem to matter who we vote in, they all end up feathering their own nests.
    As for B.O., I think he was the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

    Oh, to live in a World where politics was no longer necessary!

    A thought-provoking post, as ever.
    Many thanks:)

  14. So often we have to defend the bad against the worse. Referring to Egypt, my paper this morning makes the point that politicians may be rogues, but generals kill people.

  15. Hey Cuban, your musings on BO hit a particularly tender spot on this American--only because I was just saying the same thing to a friend the other day. I'm deeply disappointed in the hawk I see. And how he has pandered to another BO--Big Oil-- consider the Keystone pipeline IF there's no apparent harm? Has he not read the thousands of petitions against it? Argh. Yet, the Americans need to own their part too. They can't elect a House of Representatives whose sole agenda is kill every bill Obama supports and then be angry because he's not getting things done.

  16. Many thanks for your comments.

    We make our own bed and lie in it. As far as I know I enjoy the right to vote for whoever I want. But I would also to have the right to hold that person accountable. The latter doesn't suppress the former. However, sometimes people think they do.

    Would I have voted for Obama last year if I'd been an American? Yes, but not because his record was good but because Mitt Romney didn't seem to me like a person I could trust. Neither does Obama, by the way, but he was the lesser of two evils.

    I agree that some of his decisions are outside his control. But closing Guantanamo isn't, halting the use of drones isn't and holding big business to account isn't. Even if big business put him there in the first place. It's not about being ungrateful but about being fair.

    Once again, thanks for all your comments, I really appreciate them. And hello to those who have reappeared after such a long time! :-)

    Greetings from London.

  17. Siempre hay esperanza en el cambio cuando hay disilución sería una suerte que cambiara el 7 de julio,suerte...yo espero en Chile que siga el gobierno que lo ha hecho muy bien,abrazos mi querido cubano.

  18. I still like BO and happy to have him as president

  19. Wow...Elephant's Child hit it on the head: 'It doesn't matter who you vote for - a politician will be elected.' How sad, and true that is across the see it so often from small town positions on up.
    {for the record, we're sick of stupid celebrities as well!}

  20. I Obama and I a good man, Nobody is perfect CIL.
    And Guantanamo you know is from a lot of time a Bush gift. I think Bush begin all this horrible war that never stop.



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