Saturday, March 29, 2008


A few posts ago, I wrote "The most interesting puzzle I've come across for a long time is Barack Obama ... I haven't figured out what Obama is loyal to, except to himself. ... What he is I've long suspected. Who he is, I've yet to make up my mind about." I had made up my mind that Obama was a hustler; but not who he was a hustler for. If that sounds pretty vague, its comforting to know that Mark Steyn is thinking along the same lines. But he supports his thinking with extracts from Barack Obama's half-fictional autobiography. Describing Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance Steyn writes:

It’s not the usual political memoir in which the guy retells a dull story of how he got the airport parking lot extension bill passed. It’s actually, it actually feels as if Barack Obama is an invented character. ... I think in a sense, he decided to invent a novelistic character called Barack Obama. I think it reads like, instead of an autobiography, it reads like a sort of Gatsbyesque tale of self-invention.

Steyn plays audio extracts from the book to record the process of how Obama constructed himself. Obama was driven by a need to define himself as one thing and not another. If anything is demonstrates his belief in the impossibility of truly being all things to all men, his autobiography must be Exhibit A. Obama said:

Only Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me. The blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will. All the other stuff, the talk of blue-eyed devils and apocalypse, was incidental to that program, I decided. Religious baggage that Malcolm himself seemed to have safely abandoned toward the end of his life. And yet, even as I imagine myself following Malcolm’s call, one line in the book stayed with me. He spoke of a wish he’d once had, the wish that the white blood that ran through him, there by an act of violence, might somehow be expunged. I knew that for Malcolm, that wish would never be incidental. I knew as well that traveling down the road to self-respect, my own white blood would never recede into mere abstraction. I was left to wonder what else I would be severing, if and when I left my mother and my grandparents at some uncharted border.

I wondered whether his mother and grandmother ever knew, those who at first glance should know him best of all, if and when they had been left at "some uncharted border" as excess baggage on his way forward? Or that their white blood would always weigh on Barack like the poison which ran through Malcom X, impregnated "by an act of violence"? Over and over again the theme that exclusion is the key to belonging emerges.

To avoid being mistaken for such a sellout, I chose my friends carefully: the more politically active black students, the foreign students, the Chicanos, the Marxist professors and structural feminists, and punk rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Frantz Fanon, Euro-centrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet, or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting Bourgeois society’s stifling constraints. We weren’t indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated.

That last line -- "we were alienated" -- is too wrong to have been written in literary error by a man as smart as Obama. Surely what he meant to write was "we were resisting". Choosing. Choosing Frantz Fanon, Marxism, structural feminism, black political activism instead of choosing the other. Alienation was the flip side of realization; leaving was the other half of joining. But joining what? Here Steyn seems to agree with my belief that Obama found the Sharpton/Jackson narrative too cheesey for his own liking. The closest he comes to a hypothesis is to suggest that Barack saw himself as a member of the "club of disaffection".

I spent the last two years of high school in a daze, blocking away the questions that life seemed insistent on posing. I kept playing basketball, attended classes sparingly, drank beer heavily, and tried drugs enthusiastically. I discovered that it didn’t make any difference whether you smoked reefer in the white classmate’s sparkling new van, or in the dorm room with some brother you’d met down at the gym, or on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids who had dropped out of school, and now spent most of their time looking for an excuse to brawl. Nobody asked you whether your father was a fat cat executive who cheated on his wife, or some laid-off Joe who slapped you around whenever he bothered to come home. You might just be bored or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection. And if the high didn’t solve whatever it was that was getting you down, it could at least help you laugh at the world’s ongoing folly, and see through all the hypocrisy and bullshit and cheap moralism.

But that was the Obama of many decades ago. The Obama of Hawaii. Where had his limitless invention taken him since, after Harvard, Chicago and Democratic politics? Here the dialogue between Mark Steyn and his interviewer, Hugh Hewitt gets speculative because they are trying to figure out the same puzzle I've been wrestling with. We know what Barack is. But who is he now?

Hugh Hewitt: "It’s all sort of, piece by piece, he’s putting himself together."

Mark Steyn: Yes, and the interesting thing about it is, which strikes you when you see Obama live, there’s a reserve about him, and a remoteness about him when you see him on stage at one of these rallies, as if he is, in some sense, unknowable. And I think that’s true when you listen to this book, too, that he’s talking about neocolonialism and patriarchy and Euro-centrism. And there’s a kind of air of amused detachment about it. He’s using the terms ironically. But it’s never clear, and never swims into focus what it is he really believes. And it’s an interesting contrast with his wife. If you listen to Michelle Obama, and she was using words like Euro-centrism and patriarch and neocolonialism, you would feel for sure that she meant that for real, and meant it seriously. With Obama, again, there seems to be something empty deep down inside him. What is it that he really believes? Who is he really?

Of course one could ask why it should it matter. There are those who will argue that a man who constantly reinvents himself is in a process of growth. His supporters want Barack Obama to grow, to keep reinventing himself because "our more perfect union" depends on it. Some might even maintain that Barack Obama's constant reinvention proves him the existential superior of a stick in the mud like John McCain. But that's not entirely true. It is perhaps deserving of more notice that the title McCain's own biography is uncannily similar in name to Obama's. And in Faith of My Fathers McCain's grandfather and father come to him in dreams too: perhaps not in so literary a fashion, in his moments of hell-raising; and in the darkest holes in Hanoi. In truth John Sidney McCain III reivented himself too, from a Naval Lieutenant Commander into what he is today. A Republican with many liberal positions except in matters of national defense.

But maybe the key to decoding the problem lies in looking away from Obama and McCain and into ourselves. What are the dreams of our fathers; what is the faith of our dreams? The elections of 2008, like all elections, is about what the country wants to be; what it wishes reinvent itself into. Who Barack and McCain are, we can all guess. John LeCarre, writing the only words he will always be remembered for, said "love is whatever you can still betray." Who in their heart of hearts, after the last deal has been cut; the final compromise made, do Barack Obama and John McCain still love? What is it that they will not betray? Can we ever know? Perhaps not. Maybe all we can figure out is who we are, and by implication, who we want. And ah, there's the hard part.

The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.


Blogger RWE said...

Obama sounds like the Bill Murray of Groundhog Day, long before the point where he decided to take joy in learning how to carve wooden animals with a chainsaw and fixing little old ladies' flat tires.

And I don't think he is close that that point, even yet.

3/29/2008 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

The question assumes that Barack Hussein Obama himself knows the answer.

It ain't necessarily so.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

(I would be overjoyed if I thought Obama's Spirituality were as deep as that of "Ground Hog Day.")

3/29/2008 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger F said...

I was reading this I was reflecting: what were my father's dreams? Which makes me wonder -- is the title of Obama's book to be interpreted as "dreams my father passed on to me" or "dreams I had that were caused by my father's uniqueness"?

I have always thought my father was unique. The word "special" doesn't capture his wisdom, breadth of skills, understanding and ability to teach. And though my dad was flawed, I don't think he was anywhere near as flawed as Obama's dad.

And I too went through the period of searching, trying to understand, and occasionally rebelling against "the establishment". (No, I'm not telling this to establish my qualifications for the presidency.)

And I know a little of Africa, having spent 20 years there, including five in Kenya. The entire continent is a special place, and a boy growing up in America with an African parent could very understandably grow up with many questions of his identity, his African roots, and his place between two cultures in the US at the end of the Twentieth Century.

So I find myself a little curious about some of the choices this man made: becoming a part of the ward-heeler politics of Chicago when he could have easily migrated to the national political scene in Washington; joining a church that celebrates victimhood at the hands of white culture when he could have pursued his African roots or moved comfortably into the circles of upper-crust African-America; calling for a dialogue on race when he could so easily have transcended race and perhaps moved America beyond its dark history of racism, then turning the dialogue on race into a lecture on tolerating the rants of people like Jeremiah Wright.

When first I heard of Obama I thought he might bring a breath of fresh air to the national political scene. Now I think he can only teach us about dysfunctional familyhood, celebration of victimhood, and repitition of the divisive politics the Clintons brought to such a fine art. John Kennedy he is not. Martin Luther King he is not. I'm thinking he's more of a snake oil salesman steeped in vitriol.

I can no longer ignore the refusal to wear a flag lapel pin or salute Old Glory. The more I learn of him, his parents and his growing up, the less I like him. F

3/29/2008 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Reminds me of The Catcher in the Rye. It's like Art imitating Art and calling it autobiography. Ironic distance is maintained not only in the writing about the life but in the life. And in the politics. And against the crowds. And between the preacher man and his mini-mouth.

Holden Caulfield will soon be President. We have met the Phonies and they are us! Thank god we don't have to be real anymore.

3/29/2008 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

After all the hatred and ill feelings, I still felt this 3 minute clip of the Rev endearing. Good Message Also.
Specially since the scrub brush scene fits right in with other people's description of his mom as being a fearsome disciplinarian at the elite school where that was her job, as well as in their neighborhood.

Such types used to produce great citizens, probably did for her charges at school.
Wright the rebel had to turn out to be the bastard of the bunch.

3/29/2008 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Once you "get" Obama, listening to him becomes unbearable since you are now conscious of the infinite narcissism and self-reverence that seeps from every pore.
I may know him better than anyone here:

I had a roommate in college that was very close to identical.

His folks were both teachers, dad becoming a principle, mom a uber liberal Christian Scientist.
Dad married 5 times, son was on number 4 when I lost touch.
Classic line:
"Since I had no brothers or sisters, I consider everyone to be my brother."
He was the one who was a surfer and had a surfer girlfriend we both knew before I got drafted.

When I got out, he was a hippy grad student living with a hippy chick.
It took me sitting at a table drinking wine with them for me to realize it was the same girl, and neither of them had discovered that yet!
She was rather shocked when I mentioned that he got a nice neighbor of mine pregnant, married her, and left her before I got back from the Army!

Said her dad was an FBI agent.
She took up dropping acid daily in the mountains w/ a famous actor's kid!

3/29/2008 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Oh yeah, just before I went in the Army he was having an affair with the wife of the nicest guy I met in college!

3/29/2008 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

I got into a discussion about Carla Bruni and argued that what set apart all real femme fatales wasn't their great beauty or intelligence (which she has in spades) but the ability to suggest a drama in which the targeted man was unwittingly recruited into casting themselves. I think Carla Bruni has the ability to frame her lover's universe.

The most powerful sorcery is that of suggestion. A real magician can create a mythical world in which you are willing, almost eager to participate in. Looking at Carla Bruni, I get the sense that she can cast herself in many roles. But her most powerful talent is being able to pull you into a drama of her own scripting. She is in my view a real femme fatale; one in which the man will always in some sense be a victim, yet ever afterward have been grateful for the chance to have been stomped all over.

Barack Obama's great power is the story he has written not only for himself; but for us too. And many find this drama so compelling that he has gently led them onto the stage and given them speaking parts. Someone who analyzed Obama's speeches noticed that his rhetorical universe was peopled with losers who are about to be redeemed. The lady who ate mustard and relish sandwiches. The woman who couldn't sleep nights thinking of her nephew in Iraq. We feel we know these people; but we put out our hand and touch only the things that Barack has painted for us.

It is his universe which attracts. The man himself is the spellbinding playwright who sustains the magic. We don't want him to go away; we don't want to wake up. Obama is a very powerful politician in that way. He leads us to a land of myth and in case you think I consider that a bad thing, let me say that Winston Churchill was that sort of conjuror too. He made people imagine they were different from themselves. And he led them through the nightmare. When they woke up, it was to a ruined, but victorious England.

If knew what Obama was; in whose service his magic was employed I might be tempted to throw in. But there is in him a secret self, which may better or worse than the one I see. If I knew, but then I don't.

3/29/2008 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/29/2008 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Carla bedded just about everyone, including Mick Jagger, I believe, and several actors.

3/29/2008 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Not trying to be too technical but this was Thursday's Hugh Hewitt show. It was a conversation between HH and Mark. It can be listened to at: He plays, and they react to several clips from the audio version of the book.

3/29/2008 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

It feels like you're looking in the wrong place for an explanation of the Obama phenomenon. Hustlers don't need to be explained - they come along, talented and less talented, in an endless stream.

What requires an explanation is why so many people on the left, particularly in the media, academia and on the ideological extremes, appear to treat presidential elections as a source of orgiastic experience and meaning.

The rest of us are looking for a responsible person to be President, and they are driven instead to buy something closer to a ticket to a new Woodstock. Nothing else, in the realm of experience or policy, is assigned any weight by them. Their desire to get dizzy trumps every other consideration. Hillary (or maybe Nader) was fine with them precisely until she was no longer the most intoxicating option available.

3/29/2008 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

On Saturday, March 29, 2008, Earth Hour invites people around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – from 8:00pm to 9:00pm in their local time zone.
On this day, cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Chicago, Melbourne, Dubai, and Tel Aviv, will hold events to acknowledge their commitment to energy conservation.

3/29/2008 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"What requires an explanation is why so many people on the left, particularly in the media, academia and on the ideological extremes, appear to treat presidential elections as a source of orgiastic experience and meaning. "
Same reason they do all their other "show" liberal tricks:
It makes them look good to other liberals, and feel good about themselves.
It's all good!

3/29/2008 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's the Audio link to Steyn, also some other Obama topics, and perhaps Tarzana Joes best poem.
(for a liteweight poetry guy like me, at least)
Mark Steyn
Hugh Hewitt Hour 1 - Hugh and Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn, dissect the Barack Obama reading of his 1995 book, Dreams From My Father.

3/29/2008 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pajamas Media should report in from around the World on Earth Hour, plus Starling from Dubai!

3/29/2008 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Valentine Smith said...

There is no secret self in Obama. It's not hidden, it's gone. He murdered it.

3/29/2008 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

I don't get the attraction of a Carla Bruni. She's a professional mistress of famous and powerful men. A high class mistress is still a whore. She's one that promises very little in exchange for a lot. But then I never understood Monica Lewinski, young, fat and stupid, and her attraction for Bill Clinton who could have had any far more attractive and discreet actresses at his beck and call.

A woman, yes. Those particular women, I don't get. From a face that launched a thousand ships to ... a farce that launched a thousand lawyers I suppose.

And I don't understand why anyone would fall for Barack Hussein Obama. Other than fetishized weakness, victimhood, status, and a gigantic case of Munchausen by Proxy. To me he's the inexplicable Lindsay Lohan, Jake Gyllenhall, Tobey McGuire, Reese Witherspoon, Kiera Knightly, Kate Burton, and Ryan Phillipe. Man-boy pretty boys and messy wreck girls to anorexic stick-girls. Fodder for the tabloids but not anyone I or anyone I know would pay money just to see.

Nothing like stars even from the 1980s. When the presence of Harrison Ford, or Bruce Willis, or Gene Hackman, or Kevin Costner *meant something* ... now it's just tabloid fodder and hype for those who read gossip mags or watch E! TV.

My guess is that VDH is right. He's noted all he spoke to in Fresno knew about Rev. God Damn America, and despised Obama for it. Across race, gender, and party lines. What does the Merlot candidacy of Obama have to offer beer and chips people like a trucker in Milwaukee, a carpenter in Toledo, or real estate agent in Nashville?

I know what he offers Hollywood and the Media. The same Kabballah-Scientology-Crystal Channeling-UFO-ology trendiness and nuttiness that sweeps across people with too much time and money and not enough sense.

Obama by all accounts really believes in nutty, insane Marxism and racial resentments. If he believed in nothing but himself he would have dumped Wright so artfully that Wright would still be wondering how that knife got stuck in him. Ask Gennifer Flowers, Web Hubbell, and so on how that goes. Bill and Hillary he's not. He's stuck by Wright when all he got was trouble for it and it would cost him nothing to cast him aside.

What Obama reminds me of is Charlie Manson. Not in murderous physical intent towards others, but in persuading rootless, intellectually immature, and emotionally needy people that insanity is a plan for the future. Jim Jones, that Waco nutball, are other good examples of that. Other than the Media/Hollywood, and Blacks, who are Obama's supporters? What platform pander does he offer. Which chicken, who's pot?

He peaked too early and has bet too large on the Media. As VDH says, he's a McGovern again.

3/29/2008 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

I found Obama from the start to be a hustler and said so over and over again at another site, Maggies Farm.

I find fully agreeing with Nomenklatura that hustlers come and go all the time. Obama took his brain power, went to the "Community" to get legit on his blackness and hone his hustle listening to Wright, Farrakhan, and reading Cone. But he's slicker than most hustlers because he does have brains and is smooove.

The media, seeing this and living or dying by their access to people are fawning this guy, believing he will be the next POTUS. Whomever does the best sweetheart piece on Obama now gets a ticket to the WH IF he makes it..that access will make a reporters career. No access means they are back writing about the local school board meetings.

But Obama can't win without the white male vote and he's not going to get it. McCain will be the next POTUS.

3/29/2008 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

deepinjuncountry said...
"There is no secret self in Obama. It's not hidden, it's gone. He murdered it."
There was that Auzzie guy that rigged the "robot" suicide gun, left a note.
A commenter mentioned that the "suicide" note might have been forged by the robot, covering up the murder.

3/29/2008 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"What Obama reminds me of is Charlie Manson. Not in murderous physical intent towards others, but in persuading rootless, intellectually immature, and emotionally needy people that insanity is a plan for the future."
The guy I wrote about attracted groupies like flies, and they'd all give up there given names for nicks known by the other flies.
He gave his 2nd wife a real cute name, a fruit with an anatomical reference.

3/29/2008 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

I like the hustler image for Obama. It fits. Lawyers do tend to be erudite, smart hustlers. But, serious thinker he is not. A leader he is not. In the times we live in we need leadership with a brain that thinks about more than the next stump speech. I had him (Obama, and all hustlers)figured out a long time ago. Hell, even if I were still a Leftist today I would be unimpressed with the man. Nevertheless, I would still like to have a couple of hours with the guy in conversation, because I think his college and law school professors overestimated the depth of his mind and I would want to try to get him to drop the mask and start to think a little more deeply. He apparently does not know a secret most of us already know: the Great Society social programs failed. Their equivalents in Western Europe are failing and bankrupting the place.

Oh, hell, maybe I should just skip my two hours with the guy and recommend that he spend some time with Thomas Sowell.

3/29/2008 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

What I find fascinating is that he does hint at knowing the failures and flaws of the great society, but it appears he just doesn't care. So long as he can get elected and then, perhaps, we will find out. Then..., is too late for me.

3/29/2008 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'll have to listen to Steyn again, some ethereal narrator or something that says all the right things, to include the flaws of liberalism, but carries right on as if he never said it.
Whatever sells, but the bottom line is always doing good with other people's money.

3/29/2008 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Stop The Housing Bailout said...

Along with and, I invite you to join our efforts to stop the planned government bailout of the housing industry. We believe that it is not the government's role (i.e., not the taxpayer's burden) to bailout irresponsible lenders, brokers, and borrowers.

Accordingly, we have created a website (currently hosted on NationalBubble) that is designed to be a clearinghouse of information for a movement against the bailout. The website is in its infancy, but currently consists of a statement why the bailout is wrong and several links to efforts to stop the bailout (e.g., a petition, a pledge, anti-bailout apparel, links to contact political representatives, etc.).

We ask that you consider joining forces with us to stop the bailout. A band of bloggers against the bailout can be a powerful political weapon. Moreover, a united front will present a newsworthy story for the media. By banding together against this ill-advised bailout, we can be heard beyond the readership of our collective pages and make a difference. Together, we can present a stronger message than the sum of our individual voices.

Please consider joining the effort. Below are some buttons that you can use to link readers to the main website. It would also be great if some folks wrote about this effort. And of course, pass this message along to anyone who you believe would be interested. Also, forward any good ideas that you have that have not been covered on the website.

We need a groundswell of support to have an impact on the bailout freight train bearing down on taxpayers. Please consider joining the effort!

- Stop The Housing Bailout (STHB)

3/29/2008 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

The more I learn about Mr. Obama and his wife, the less I like what I see. I think most of middle America will have the same reaction as the general election campaign unfolds. Which in a way is sad as I had once high hopes that Mr. Obama would be someone that I could accept as President should he win the election. Now I distrust him as much as I distrust Mrs. Clinton. Good 'ol John McCain is not looking more and more attractive with each passing day (and I never thought I'd be saying that).

3/29/2008 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

For me, the biggest question about Obama isn’t what he is or even who he is. What place does his dream have for dissenters?

The place for dissenters in a dream is important, for this shows the character of a man. What is Barack Obama prepared to do when both the image and the facts show that he is the oppressor, that by attaining the power he seeks, he becomes the worst caricature of the “white man” of his fevered imagination? The wheel turns. History is replete with stories of the aggrieved victim of oppression becoming an oppressor as soon as the whip is in his hand.

Barack Obama and his favorite pastor may look to South Africa as an example of oppression. True enough. Yet, the Afrikaner Nationalists who instituted the Apartheid State saw themselves as aggrieved victims of British imperialism, especially the blunders and atrocities of the Boer War. What keeps Barack Obama from following in the footsteps of aggrieved victims who later become tyrants?

Haiti once had a great hero. He was a boy when his nation was invaded by Woodrow Wilson and grew up when his nation was under occupation by the United States Marines, whose 1920’s era racism was especially shocking to a poor yet proud nation founded as a successful slave revolt. This man became a medical doctor who studied public health and went into remote villages to save many lives. He later served as the minister of health, but resigned in protest against a military coup. He later ran for President on a platform of noirisme, the “black consciousness movement” of Haiti. His name was Francois Duvalier and he was reverentially called “Papa Doc”. Yet, far from being a liberation, his reign became a nightmare. His very sane fear of coups and assassinations led him to create a secret police, use voodoo ritual, create a feared militia called the Tonton Macoute. Today, the name “Papa Doc” is not synonymous with the miracles of modern medicine but with poverty, misery, and dread.

When has Barack Obama ever dealt with a situation where he is judged as the oppressor, where he is branded as the tyrant? How does Mr. Obama handle it when the tables are turned, when he is seen as “the white man” and there is nothing he can do to stop the seething resentment against him? He claims to bring people together, yet what does he have to say to those who do not accept his moral authority? What will he do when the architecture of his mental universe comes crashes down around him? Can he hold his temper when events spin out of his control?

These questions need to be answered.

3/30/2008 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

As long as courtesanship and pimping remain strong industries that cater to human emotion, it ought to be no surprise that politicians use skills little different from those used by the sex industry.

If all a john wanted for his money were a professional socket, a john could pay for a woman on Craig’s List. Yet, most johns seem to crave illusion, especially an illusion of sophistication. That’s why vidalias (out-of-towners) preferred Norma Wallace’s house during conventions in New Orleans. The greater the illusion, the greater the price.

The essential conceits of public men (politicians) and public women (prostitutes) are the same, principally the illusion that paying for the access doesn’t mean paying the favor. A politician doesn’t sell votes; he sells access. Likewise, a prostitute doesn’t sell sex; she sells access. Although the prostitute may sell access to more of her anatomy than a politician typically does, the fate of our republic rarely hinges upon the payment of a courtesan’s tariff. However, the fate of our republic does hinge upon the… (ahem) well-placed campaign contributions to worthy political candidates.

3/30/2008 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger Benj said...

Wretch - If you were truly puzzling over OBama, you wouldn't be relying on Mark Styne's reading of his book/character (courtesy of a GOP progagandist Hugh Hawkins - the shill who once objected to the Danish Cartoons because they made
W. and Mushareff's (!)life more difficult). Isn't it past time for you to go check O's book for YOURSELF. If you did, you'd find that Obama explictly answers the question(s) you/Styne pose - what did he come to believe in? What sort of politics did he come to affirm. I don't have the book in front of me - and it's time you stopped depending on other readers anyway! - but directly after the Pomona college passage you quote, his narrative builds toward set-pieces that underscore how he came to realize the limits of his academic feints at "resistance." One key moment flows from a time when he ego-ed off after giving a speech calling for South AFrican divestment - A Sister calls him on the fact that he seems to think the whole protest is about him!! And then another buddy shames him again by recalling (in front of that Sister) how he and his boys once made a mess in their dorm that daunted a Mexican cleaning woman...In the book, it's the realization that he's done dirt from a great height on a working class woman (and by extension ALL women, of whatever race, out their slaving for their families LIKE his mom and grandma) - that shows up the limits of his bourgie "alienation" and poseur's politics. It points him forward toward an ethic of solidarity. He specifically invokes the example of SNCC and the Southern Freedom Movement. The model of those young heroes who crossed the border, closed the gap between themselves and everyday people informed O's own decision to become an organizer himself (as he explicitly spells out in DREAMS).

Issues of Class and Race were all mixed up for SNCC. And they still are for OBama, though, in the end, class trumps race for him. Still he didn't just lock on to nicely liberal popular fronting (i.e. 30's visions of "black and brown and white unite and fight.")
O's own history has helped him understand that in America, you can't simply will yourself past race matters. You gotta WORK your way through em... His aim is - go back to his passage on his conversion experience - to get to Universals but he often finds his way there through particulars - facts of feeling that have racial as well as class dimensions. And sometimes in this country - because the past is never quite past, race will trump class. (That, of course, was the subject of his great speech last week.) In DREAM's chapters about his work as an an IAF-sponsored community organizer, O touches on issues/experiences that don't quite fit a class-based template In my first post here, I quoted his account of how he once took a black woman with self-image issues (blue contact lens etc.) to see the play "For Colored Girls... Obama himself allowed his experience with this woman shook up his own predisposition to erect a wall “between psychology and politics, the state of our pocketbooks and the state of our souls.” Obama’s body and soul talk here shows he recognizes that class consciousness is necessary but not sufficient to comprehend the life of desire in America. Obama’s responsiveness to the varieties of urgency (and suppression) in our culture isn’t a sign that he can't make up his mind if class comes first. It’s a testament to the range of his sociological imagination and his his capacity for solidarity...

Now Styne isn't stupid. So it's pretty hard to see how he could have missed the answer(s) that are right on the pages of DREAMS. Then again, maybe the principle of solidarity is so ALIEN to him that he can't even comprehend it. There's another characteristic note that may also be beyond Styne. Though I hope it's not beyond you Wretch. As I've mentioned before, Obama's "politcal" growth is founded on shaming experiences. (On this score he shares something with McCain, who is pretty open about his own failings in his recent book.) But proud conservatives (and proud liberals?) are often too in love with their selves (and their opinions) to hear anything new. That perfect ender that finished off (and that is the phrase) the Belmont Club's recent hagiographic thread on Bill Buckley is to the point here - I'm quoting from memory - "My pop turned to me as we were watching Buckley on FIRING LINE - "That's the most self-satisfied son of a bitch I've ever seen."

Obama is often said to be "comfortable in his own skin." The Chicago Tribune made a big deal of that aspect of his persona in their endorsement. But he doesn't preen like Buckley (or Noam Chomsky!). I'm reminded of his own line on DREAMS - Reading it over 10 years after the first publication, he thought it was pretty good, though it was about 50pages longer than it needed to be.

A quick note on "Malcolm X:" A teacher gave me the Autobiograhy when I was in 5th grade - it became the book of my life. Even shaped my romantic experiences! It is a great All-American story. (Or to use the Albert Murray's phrase - an Omni-American story.) Given that I was a white kid with an intact and loving family, O's difficulties with Malcolm's blood-injunctions seem like light(!) stuff to me. Further evidence of America's great mullato culture? And - just so you're clear - O didn't LEAVE all of Malcolm's felt Afro-centrism behind. He writes nicely about how his time in Kenya spoke more to him than his experience as a tourist in Europe. Nothing inauthentic or forced about that. Doesn't necessarily have anything to do w/ phenotype! Nobody would mistake me for a White Negro. (Cept maybe Elijah! - Pace Cobb!) But I remember the first time I went to AFrica. Got lost one time in Ouagadougou - capital city of Burkina Faso. (Never had much sense of direction!) Ran into a cat selling sculptures and nescafe on the street - AS I was taking my time, shooting the breeze and getting my bearings, turned out the cat had recently sold a sculpture to someone from my tiny hometown in New England...Doubt that'll happen if I ever make it to London or Paree..

NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF GUYS - OBAMA's not deeply conflicted and he IS an, ah, open book...

3/30/2008 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" It points him forward toward an ethic of solidarity. He specifically invokes the example of SNCC and the Southern Freedom Movement. The model of those young heroes who crossed the border, closed the gap between themselves and everyday people informed O's own decision to become an organizer himself (as he explicitly spells out in DREAMS)."
Don't forget how the Selma March inspired his immaculate conception!
"This young man named Barack Obama got one of those tickets and came over to this country. He met this woman whose great great-great-great-grandfather had owned slaves; but she had a good idea there was some craziness going on because they looked at each other and they decided that we know that the world as it has been it might not be possible for us to get together and have a child. There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don't tell me I'm not coming home to Selma, Alabama. "
Problem was, he was born a few years BEFORE the Selma march, but Obama, like benj, just spins the tale anyhoo.

3/30/2008 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

" great great-great-great-grandfather had owned slaves;"
I wonder if he's got any record of that, not that it MATTERS to him and his supporters, of course.
Grandma got gratuitously thrown under the bus, why not the great-great-great- if it furthers the storyline?

3/30/2008 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Obama gives me the creeps.

3/30/2008 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What great purpose was served by painting Thailand as a paradise for a young "black" kid, and Hawaii a nightmare, when the OPPOSITE was true?
Likewise for painting friend Ray as the race-obsessed black from LA, when Ray Arakawa (don't remember his real JAPANESE name) says the opposite was true, as do others.

Or the point of spinning the sad DRAMA of his days at Punahoe, when others remember him as old fun-loving dope smoking Barry, who would invite the typical Hawaiian racial stew of friends over to grandma and grandpa's house?

Like I said, our son's roommate's mom was also white and his dad black, but he won't be writing some heavy duty DRAMA about the time a bunch of Tongans beat him up, or some such.
Shit happens, esp if you happen to look crosswise at your "typical Tongan Guys."
What drek!

3/30/2008 01:07:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Then there was the "dream" he reported to the assembled masses about hate crimes toward Latinos "skyrocketing" when Newsweak found the very Govt figures he cited to show a DECLINE!
--- Blacks are systematically ethnically cleansed and murdered in LA and elsewhere by the illegal invaders.

3/30/2008 01:25:00 AM  
Blogger kepa poalima said...

barama is a con-man, a hustler, a racist, he's quite powerful with a script, a teleprompter, but take him away from the teleprompter or get him into a non-scripted situation and he is less impressive, often very much so, similar but not to the same extent of an accomplished actor, who, when impromptu is an incoherent, babbling airhead. all this is very obvious to me. what i don't know and what i'd very much like to know is who are the puppet masters pulling barama's strings, who has been behind the scene, grooming, shepherding, plotting barama's path? as scary and dangerous as i find barama, these unknowns have me worried, much more so. and its not just fear of the unknown. these behind-the-scenes plotters, these schemers seem to be organized, well financed, far thinking capable managers and i fear they don't have America's best interests in their designs.
who is behind barama, the master-minds, the puppeteers, who really would be calling the shots in the event the unthinkable happens and barama pulls this off?

3/30/2008 02:25:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

You know as well as I do that Soros has only the best intentions for this country.
Like Ted did for Mary Jo as he spent time getting his stories "straight" rather than alerting authorities ASAP.

3/30/2008 02:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

His Pro Palestinian Advisors aren't really behind the scenes.
That must please plenty of folks with big bucks that are.

3/30/2008 02:39:00 AM  
Blogger probus said...

wretch-- man, u are 'spot on' with ur take on Carla Bruni-- a guy that don't 'get' what u have to say about her allure will never understand the beauty and terror of standing on the very edge of the cliff-- as some philosopher once said, and i'm paraphrasing: "it's not so much that u'r afraid u'll fall off it's more of a feeling that u'll throw urself off willingly"-- a siren like that comes along only once in a great while-- nice allusion to Barry-- Regards, probus

3/30/2008 02:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Queen was honored by her presence.

3/30/2008 03:04:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

One plus two plus one always equals one in a Plutocracy. In a Plutocracy all roads lead to Rome, where the stupid and hungry beasts of the Colosseum are waiting to be fed (and the emperors to be amused).

3/30/2008 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/30/2008 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

All I need to know about Barrack Obama:

Chicago machine politician...urban cousin to Arkansas machine politician, the mid-American variant of Georgia machine politician.

3/30/2008 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

In 'Heinz Kohut & the Psychology of the Self,' "Kohut feels that these idealizing transferences reflect a defect in the ability of the child's early caretaker to protect the child ... to help it settle down when upset." Barack's father abandoned his mother and and he and has been described as a drunken philanderer. Nevertheless, he has sought him as an idealized object, being careful to have friends, identifications that reflect his father's rage his whole life that thus he might exist mirrored of that 'great person.'

3/30/2008 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger mr_oni said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/30/2008 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger mr_oni said...

See Shelby Steele's five part interview at NRO.

Obama and the Politics of Race

3/30/2008 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Benj said...

Doug - I'll take you're point re O's bridge too far...Now ya'll take mine. O gently mocked the political sensiblities he shared with other college students. His book then describes the process - moments of shame, moments when he learned about Movement days, years of community organizing etc. - by which he transceded those sensibilities. Is it honest to offer an account of his own version of his personal/political growth which implies that his college sensiblity is the End Game? As I say there's been a pattern here of half-truthing about O - It's dishonorable.

3/30/2008 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

What's so great about this Carla Bruni switch?

3/30/2008 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

For the benefit of Mr. Steyn, (no doubt) a short primer on "the principle of solidarity"

The Principal of Solidarity
is based upon the "Golden Rule". We know the "Golden Rule" as this neat compact bit of wisdom,
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Except it isn't golden it is the following vague form of lumppy undigestible oatmeal gray--MUSH--

-"This (principle of Solidarity)is the most important of all. Applying this principle leads to positive interaction with other people. It complements the previous principle, which recommends "Do not harm others," but there is a big difference between them. The question that comes up with this principle is "Who are the others?" The others are the people closest to me, my family, my couple, my work co-workers, my neighbours, and my friends. It is true that all the world is my neighbour, but this "all the world" is so broad that in practice it has no face. This is why this principle must be understood with reference to the people closest to me. It is useless to worry about the problems of people I do not know, if I never help or move in a positive way toward the people right around me. If I truly take into account the people in my daily life, on the other hand I am also sincere in my concern for those far away.
--Chicago Humanist--

Which explains how a certain pol could be for something before he was against it, I think.

MUSH--with raisins--

“ a. Meaning and value:

Solidarity highlights in a particular way the intrinsic social nature of the human person, the equality of all in dignity and rights and the common path of individuals and peoples towards an ever more committed unity. Never before has there been such a widespread awareness of the bond of interdependence between individuals and peoples, which is found at every level ( Mater et Magistra )."

by Leela Ramdeen,
Chair of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice--

Is this a way too late argument for letting AT&T Ma Bell et al remain as on e big happy familial unit? I can't be sure?

And finally with cinnamon, raisins, and nuts.

Deformed Spacetime.
Geometrizing Interactions in Four and Five Dimensions

In 1955 the Italian mathematician Bruno Finzi, in his contribution to the book “Fifty Years of Relativity” [1], stated his “Principle of Solidarity” (PS), that sounds “It’s (indeed) necessary to consider space–time TO BE SOLIDLY CONNECTED with the physical phenomena occurring in it, so that its features and its very nature do change with the features and the nature of those. In this way not only (as in classical and specialrelativistic physics) space–time properties affect phenomena, but reciprocally phenomena do affect space–time properties. One thus recognizes in such an appealing “Principle of Solidarity” between phenomena and space– time that characteristic of mutual dependence between entities, which is peculiar to modern science.”

And peculiar to modern Democrat Pols too.

More options? I'll take the last definition, with "nuts" it has a solid substantive aspect I can relate to along with allowing for diversity..., Almond, Brazil and Hazel.

Time for MR. "O" to get real. Or at least create a newer, improved, more powerful, unambiguous self.
Sorry, the defining act you reference lacks the clarity to be understood as holding the same meaning or form, from one intellect to another, one person to another.

3/30/2008 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I don't want to have to listen to Michelle as First Lady for four years, lecturing me on the guilt I should be feeling and what she thinks I owe her.

3/30/2008 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger jeyi said...

Yo, Benj...

You losing your mojo, or what? That last posting was only one paragraph! Pretty brief for yet another auto-da-fe to the Obamaprinzip.

Anyway, who's Styne's mysterious enabler "Hugh Hawkins"? You wouldn't be thinking of Hugh Hewitt, would you?

3/30/2008 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Imagine Barack Obama does win the Presidency. Then imagine some unjust, immoral, and intolerable situation where a racial minority is abused. Yet, the perpetrators of the outrage are not conservative Republicans, but liberal Democrats – specifically his own supporters in the Senate! A mass movement starts, demonstrations occur, and fiery speeches are made, all calling upon our government to remedy a racial injustice perpetrated by FDR’s administration in the name of progress. Then, Barack Obama would be caught between making enemies out of a powerful faction of Senate Democrats or being branded as an oppressor by this mass movement.

As a rule, one who idolizes his own status as “victim” is not well equipped to deal with situations where he is cast as the villain. What will Barack Obama do when the label “sellout” sticks to him? What will Barack Obama do when the label “oppressor” sticks to him? Can he stand up to the pressure of seeing himself vilified and then still bring people together?

Barack Obama may be willing to forgive other people for their trespasses, but is he willing to accept forgiveness for the trespasses he has committed against other people? Is Barack Obama prepared to admit that he did something wrong when he ran unopposed for the Illinois Senate because he questioned the signatures of his opponents’ petititions? Considering his own political record, Barack Obama is hardly in a position to cast judgment on anybody else.

3/30/2008 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

Wretchard, at first I was puzzled by your Carla Bruni reference; in retrospect, utterly brilliant.

Archetypes exist because of the power given to them by the beholder. They fit a narrative which exists in the collective unconscious of us all.

Barack Obama seems a blank slate to some, but a Messianic Redeemer of our collective political and historical sin to others. It isn't what he says, per se, which attracts his followers, it the archetypal narrative he represents which, to me, explains his rapid rise on the political scene.

3/30/2008 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A psychologist once wrote a book called
"Scripts People Live"
...many complex and twisted tales.

3/30/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Scripts People Live

Transactional Analysis of Life Scripts
Claude Steiner

3/30/2008 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

When Claude Steiner and the late Eric Berne developed the theory of Transactional Analysis, their basic belief that people were "born princes and princess, until their parents turned them into frogs" countered the fundamental principle of psychiatry which asserts that emotional and mental distress comes from within.

This theory was further developed in Steiner's book Games Alcoholics Play.
Dr. Berne, in What Do You Say After You Say Hello?, acknowledged Steiner's important role in the analysis of "life scripts" which we choose at an early age and which rule every detail of our lives until our death.

3/30/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Martin McPhillips said...

Who is Obama? Well, he is first of all someone who expects to get away with it. In that respect, if Bill Clinton was the first black president, Obama is the first black Bill Clinton.

The big item he expect to get away with is being a 20-year and counting member of a black supremacist cult.

Jeremiah Wright says straight up that if you want to understand his church, you need to read James Cone on "black theology." I took Wright up on his advice and have been reading James Cone.

Cone is a vicious, hare-brained, racist crank, and that's for starters. For instance, from the closing pages of Cone's Black Theology and Black Power, (p.150):

[I]f [white people] are going to be in a relationship with God, they must enter by means of their black brothers, who are a manifestation of God's presence on earth. The assumption that one can know God without knowing blackness is the basic heresy of the white churches. They want God without blackness, Christ without obedience, love without death. What they fail to realize is that in America, God's revelation on earth has always been black, red, or some other shocking shade, but never white. Whiteness, as revealed in the history of America, is the expression of what is wrong with man. It is a symbol of man's depravity. God cannot be white, even though white churches have portrayed him as white. When we look at what whiteness has done to the minds of men in this country, we can see clearly what the New Testament meant when it spoke of the principalities and powers. To speak of Satan and his powers becomes not just a way of speaking but a fact of reality. When we can see a people who are being controlled by an ideology of whiteness, then we know what reconciliation must mean. The coming of Christ means a denial of what we thought we were. It means destroying the white devil in us. Reconciliation to God means that white people are prepared to deny themselves (whiteness), take up the cross (blackness) and follow Christ (black ghetto).

So, who is Obama? For purposes of someone who wants to be President of the United States, the first thing he is is a member of a church based on the ideology of a vicious, hare-brained, racist crank.

Would a white candidate who belonged to a Christian Identity church be long for consideration as a presidential candidate?

Would a candidate who attended Klan rallies get off with the excuse that "I just go to the rallies, I don't buy into all the racial stuff"?

Who is Obama? He's someone disqualified from seeking the presidency; he's someone who belongs to a black supremacist cult.

What more needs to be known about him?

3/30/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The easiest ones to see are those, unlike Barry's which are not based fundamentally on a lie:

Like the many examples of accomplished people that decided they wanted to be a Doctor, Fireman, or whatever at an early age.

3/30/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Obama is the first black Bill Clinton."

3/30/2008 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"What more needs to be known about him?"
---'s a stage:
Twisted Creatures like Wright and Obama acting out in public afford us insight into the human condition.
...and untold grief to the extent that they attain power and control.

3/30/2008 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/30/2008 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Is it honest to offer an account of his own version of his personal/political growth which implies that his college sensiblity is the End Game? As I say there's been a pattern here of half-truthing about O - It's dishonorable."
I get it benj:
It's "dishonorable" to point out the LIES
(even to include devoted loved ones, or entire states and countries!)
Senator Obama chose to read again outloud in *2005*.
(to make some bucks on an audiobookoflies.)

...always with the best of intentions, of course.
Half-Truths Indeed!

3/30/2008 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Kepa poalima said:

"what i don't know and what i'd very much like to know is who are the puppet masters pulling barama's strings... these behind-the-scenes plotters, these schemers seem to be organized, well financed, far thinking capable managers and i fear they don't have America's best interests in their designs."

Kepa poalima has touched upon my deepest fear concerning Barack Hussein.

Hussein is too slick, too well funded and receives too much fawning adulation from the MSM. The whole thing stinks.

Who is behind it? Maybe(?) George Soros or some cabal that includes Soros. Very scary stuff....

3/30/2008 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

VIDEO: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee booed at Dem convention...
My, my, princess Sheila's put on a few pounds!
...all filled with happiness and hope, and promise of change, of course.

It would be "dishonorable" to mention Pali Funding and assaulted security guards, no doubt!

3/30/2008 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Who is behind it? Maybe(?) George Soros or some cabal that includes Soros. Very scary stuff....

One day,rumor mongering Michael Savage said in the beginning it was 'the L.A. homosexual mafia', whatever that is..or isn't. Kept my ears open for days afterwards, and never heard another word about it.

3/30/2008 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mrs Sarkozy has nothing to do w/the
".A. homosexual mafia'"
farmer al-Bob Al!
Get your stories straight!
...with a name like that, we should be looking into who's funding YOU!

3/30/2008 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

At what age did you choose to become a Muslim Wheat Farmer, if I may ask?
(Rumor is, you used that English Degree in your spying activities in Moscow Idaho.)

3/30/2008 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Isn't a better question : who is George Soros? If he is the puppeteer with his greasy palms in every campaign as well as Daily Kos, Democratic Underground,, et al; shouldn't we be more concerned with him and his motives than Obama?
Soros is an atheist vehemently opposed to Israel, Bush's faith and any public display of Judeo-Christian values. He is not above manipulating American currency to serve political ends. He is a ideological sewer rat who crawled out of the nihilist, post communist cesspool of Europe. He is far more of a threat than a heater smoking pseudo hipster like Obama.

3/30/2008 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright grew up in the Germantown section of Philly, in what used to be one of the nicest neighborhoods in the city when he was living there. His father was a pastor for 62 years at Grace Lutheran Church there, and his mother was a teacher and vice-principal at Girls High School, a top Philly school.

Rev. Wright himself went to the most prestigious high school in Philly, Central High. This was a merit selection school, the most elite and exclusive of all of Philly's public high schools.

After Central, Rev. Wright went to college for a couple of years before dropping out and joining the Marines, where he spent six years in the early Sixties. At that time, our military was by far the least racist and most determinedly unprejudiced institution in the US, the armed services having led the way in integration and fairness from the 40's onward. The military was "politically correct" for decades before that term was invented.

To explain Rev. Wright's widely proclaimed hatred for white people and America in general, Senator Obama put it in context for us in the "The Speech" this way: "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. ... 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."
- From "The Speech" at HuffingtonPost

And now Obama and his fellow Yale Law School grad wife are raising their children in Rev. Wright's church, to perpetuate these "memories of humiliation and doubt and fear" even though they, like Rev. Wright, have enjoyed lives of exceptional privilege, success and personal freedom in America.

3/30/2008 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I was a poor poppy grower in the Land of the Two Rivers, when the Mukhabarat, noticing my industriousness, recruited me, and sent me to Idaho, a member of a wheat exchange study group being my cover, in hopes of infiltrating me somehow into Hanford, Washington, and obtaining nuclear materials. Knowing a good opportunity when presented to me, I jumped ship, had a facial and a name change, and settled in Opportunity, Idaho, now that you ask.

3/30/2008 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

His father was a pastor for 62 years at Grace Lutheran Church there

Lord no! Say it ain't true! Jeremiah's daddy was a Lutheran?

3/30/2008 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger F451-2.0 said...

Doug and Lesley

I wonder if either or both of you are familiar with the two-part documentary "Century of the Self" and if so what your thoughts are regarding same.

Partcularily as they relate to the techniques applied to the populace in order to elevate a virtual unknown to a position where he serves as the the focus of messianic fervour.

3/30/2008 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'm an addictive personality type that can't just pick and choose the good stuff, so I had to Jetison the TV 30 years ago, or I'd be regaling you with Paris and Britney's latest exploits!

3/30/2008 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...


Thanks for pointing me in the direction of "Century of the Self."

I'm going to look for this 4 part BBC series. My interest in Jung (archetypes) is primarily literary and the Freudian approach rather bored me as a tool of literary criticism, thus I never spent much academic focus on it. This Freud business as a tool to control mass consciousness is fascinating stuff.

Thank you, thank you.

3/30/2008 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"At that time, our military was by far the least racist and most determinedly unprejudiced institution in the US, the armed services having led the way in integration and fairness from the 40's onward. "

That's what I loved best about the Army!
That and the uniform, ...spared me those angst ridden sessions of deciding my sartorial persona.
...of course I could have written an autoadvertorial if I had gone through that trauma in my early 20's!
My bunkmate in basic was a little black guy who just happened to be the most athletic kid in the Battalion.
His choosing to beat me about the head and shoulders had nothing to do with race, just a little wake up call about being a smart-mouthed jerk!
Luckily, fairness prevailed, and they pulled him off me fairly quickly.
...but the 2nd Lieutenant wouldn't let me forget it for the next four weeks!
There was a WWII vet that I met here that related how they were not about to put up with risking their lives, and losing friends, only to come back here and be treated like second class citizens or worse.
...and graduates of the 442nd came back to gain all the positions of influence and leadership in Hawaii.

3/30/2008 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

The story of how the 14 year old Georgy Schwartz (George Soros)in Budapest helped the Nazis find Jews in hiding should say something about what kind of person he is. I grew up a Catholic with a good grounding in morality, and I can tell you that a fourteen year old DOES know that helping to round up people is evil. So, Soros is, at the very least, a coward, and, at worst, a very bad human being. Especially when he has publicly stated that he has no regrets collaborating the way he did. Not a twinge of guilt in that man.

He is an American citizen and he has all his personal wealth tucked away in the tax shelter of Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, in a banking system that is a known washer for drug cartel money.

Let me say this about the puppet master that is George Soros - and I say it without reservation or shame: HE IS A MAGGOT. The thought of major politicians in this country like Obama and Clinton agreeing to take his money and also accommodate him in his choices of policy advisers is chilling.

So, as more pieces of the puzzle that is the identity of Barack Obama fall into place I become more repelled by the man. Anyone who chooses to let his bread be buttered by the likes of George Soros has to have gutter morals.

3/30/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

Here is the link to the BBC series f451-2.0 mentioned.

Century of the Self

Check it out!

3/30/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger kepa poalima said...

FRED said :

So, as more pieces of the puzzle that is the identity of Barack Obama fall into place I become more repelled by the man. Anyone who chooses to let his bread be buttered by the likes of George Soros has to have gutter morals.

that needs to be said often and loudly, soros is an enemy of what is good and great about America. but soros isn't the only puppeteer pulling barama's strings. soros is well known and pretty out-in-the-open and up-front. he is a great danger to our future, but who else is behind the barama mask?

3/30/2008 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger F451-2.0 said...


Googling the title may allow you to watch it on your computer.

I saw it as an expat when it was originally broadcast in the U.K. ten years ago.

I doubt if it has ever been broadcast in N.A. but I'm more than willing to stand corrected.

I realize four hours on select theories related to the origins and application of progaganda techniques and psychological influence/control and indoctrination throughout the last century would to some be four hours of their life they'll never get back, but if so inclined I believe its accessible.

Parental warning: It is after all the BBC, salt accordingly.

3/30/2008 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger F451-2.0 said...


The pleasure is mine. Thank you.

It is one piece of a larger puzzle.

It becomes all the more curious when discussing archetypes and collective consciousness that its possible to note from a syncophantic interview with guru to the elites Joseph Campbell(PBS) that when asked as to what it was he learned during the the years he had disappeared into Germany for a goodly portion of the 1930's his answer was a patrician...don't go there.

Perhaps we very much should. Given that if you've seen Star Wars, you've seen Joseph Campbell.

3/30/2008 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger felix said...

An unprofound comment.

Listening to Barak Obama read from his book on the tapes (on Hugh Hewitt's program) and seeing him yesterday on the TV show "The View", I was thinking he could be a good motivational personality, or perhaps a novelist or English teacher, or even a prominent sociologist. But I can't picture him as President of the United States. I can't imaging him negotiating (as he wants to do) with leaders of hostile naitons. In other words, while admiring his personal atributes, he is the wrong person for the job.

And I'm thinking this may occur to much of the electorate as the campaign wears on.

3/30/2008 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Wretchard said...
I got into a discussion about Carla Bruni and argued that what set apart all real femme fatales wasn't their great beauty or intelligence (which she has in spades) but the ability to suggest a drama in which the targeted man was unwittingly recruited into casting themselves. I think Carla Bruni has the ability to frame her lover's universe.
This is good.

What happens when a whole society is framed thusly by women. The argument by some on the left since WWII has been that the men have totally botched the civilization. Therefor women should take over.

I would argue that it is less confusing for everyone when men wear the pants so the role and the clothes go together. (In just the same way you would want a policeman to wear a policeman's uniform or a prostitute to wear clothes that showed cleavage)

I don't think that gender is what plays the decisive role in success or failure of civilizations.

Rather success or failure hinges on ideas that guide decision making of the leaders and the character of the people. The latter is true because, really, leaders can't be a whole lot better than the people they govern.

3/30/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

He also traveled to California for a year (1931-32), continuing his independent studies and becoming close friends with the budding writer John Steinbeck and his wife Carol (Larsen and Larsen, 2002, chapters 8 and 9). Campbell also maintained his independent reading while teaching for a year in 1933 at the Canterbury School during which time he also attempted to publish works of fiction (Larsen and Larsen, 2002:214) [2].

Campbell's independent studies led to his greater exploration of the ideas of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, a contemporary and estranged colleague of Sigmund Freud. Campbell edited the first Eranos conference papers and helped to found Princeton University Press' Bollingen Press. Another dissident member of Freud's circle to influence Campbell was Wilhelm Stekel (1868 - 1939). Stekel pioneered the application of Freud's conceptions of dreams, fantasies of the human mind, and the unconscious to such fields as anthropology and literature.

Sarah Lawrence College
In 1934, Campbell was offered a position as professor at Sarah Lawrence College (through the efforts of his former Columbia advisor W.W. Laurence). Campbell married one of his former students, dancer and dance instructor Jean Erdman, in 1938. He retired from Sarah Lawrence College in 1972, after having taught there for 38 years.


3/30/2008 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger F451-2.0 said...


Could not then our current west versus islam dilemma be reduced to:

She who controls the women controls the men


He who controls the men controls the women

3/30/2008 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Blogger Doug said...

I'm an addictive personality type
ummmm me too.

But I couldn't give up the tv. There's some interesting stuff on. Just got finished watching a show on the Mysterious Hittite civilization of Turkey.

They were a very powerful empire in the second millennium bc. And yet they vanished without a trace. Only in the last century has their capital been discovered and only in the last 20 years have their language and libraries been discovered and deciphered. Turns out they were a indo European people. Their language was Indo-European. At their height they ruled much of asia minor and the fertile crescent. However, their downfall was not from the outside. Rather, their downfall came from internal civil war. Their fate is in the same time period and as well -- resembles the Myceneans after the fall of Troy in +-1200BC.

Hittite temple records say that they won the the Battle of Kadesh against Ramses II in 1275 BC. (Ramses stella propaganda says he won.)

Trouble was the Hititte general who won the battle took over the Hittite kingdom from his nephew. He took the Hittite kingdom to its zenith. However, 30 years after his death--because of the rivalries his userpation caused -- the Hititte empire was destroyed by internal division and civil war.
Their capital was destroyed by its inhabitants.

In both cases these look to be examples of tower of babel stories as told in the book of Genesis.
Genesis 11
1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, [a] they found a plain in Shinar [b] and settled there.

3 They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."

8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel [c] —because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

3/30/2008 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Hmm the link above lays the end of the Hittites to combined defeats by the Assyrians and the "Sea Peoples". However, the tv show lays the destruction of the Hittite capital on civil war. Wikipedia says the empire was weakened by losses to the sea peoples and the assyrians. And then destroyed by civil war. All accounts say it happened quickly. The capital city looks like an impregnable fortress high up in the mountains.

3/30/2008 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger F451-2.0 said...


I do indeed stand corrected, and I'm a better man for it.

I do however remain firm in my recollection that in the interview he, in no uncertain terms refused to speak of his time in Germany and in the context of the interview would not discuss it.

On re reading my post it could be taken to imply a sympathetic connection between himself and a nascent political movement. Not my intent.

However, that nascent political movement was somewhat obsessed with the self-same psychological underpinnings of cultural mytholology and formulated a methodology based on it that when applied saw an accelerated rise to power.

Bill Moyers question was essentially, hey, you went to Germany,what did you learn?

Seems innocuous enough. Any insights into a movement bent on world domination are always welcome one would think.

3/30/2008 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

F451-2.0 said...

"Googling the title may allow you to watch it on your computer.

I saw it as an expat when it was originally broadcast in the U.K. ten years ago.
I hope so.

3/30/2008 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

It does not surprise me in the slightest that Barack Obama would take money from George Soros.

Here is an interesting biography of Ann Dunham, Barack Obama’s mother.

His white grandparents went to the East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue. Unitarian Universalism is known for its politics; if it’s “politically correct” on a college campus, chances are the Unitarian Church is in favor of it. A “typical white person” would not go to a Unitarian Church.

Barack Obama’s paternal grandfather was furious at his parents’ marriage. To quote Barack Obama, “He didn’t want the Obama blood sullied by a white woman.” What if Barack Obama truly believed he was poisoned by the moral stain of white blood? If he really thought this, his membership at Jeremiah Wright’s church and his allegiance to the theology of James Cone would be understandable. His rhetoric of racial atonement would also become understandable. If Barack Obama actually regards his mother’s blood as a moral stain, he may see himself as a guiding light bringing white America out of the wilderness and into the promised land of James Cone.

3/30/2008 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

The very name “Barack” could influence the psychology of any person who takes the meaning of one’s name seriously. “Barack” means “blessed” in Arabic, but it also means a bit more than that. One cognate is the Hebrew Berakhah and the Hebrew equivalent of “Barack” is “Baruch”. In Arabic, “baraka” is a blessing, while “baraqa” refers to lightning. Either way, it’s about power. Hamilcar and Hannibal both had the surname Barca – it was a reference to the spiritual power of that Carthaginian family.

The etymology of the name “Barack” may not seem important on the surface, but the symbolism of such a name may have strong meaning for a man who is searching for meaning in his life. Although the name “Barack” is unlikely to turn a man into a modern version of Shabbatai Zevi, it may lead a superstitious man to believe he is amazingly lucky and amazingly wise. Barack Obama’s luck has been very good – so far.

Luck can be a curse, especially when it is the luck of fools. Those who are truly accursed can go through life without reaping the consequences of their actions. Because they can get away with that which others cannot, they do not learn from experience. But later, all of that bad luck catches up with the fool and it hits him all at once, and he doesn’t know what hit him. He can rail against his bad fortune all he wants, but he will receive little sympathy or pity, for his true misfortune didn’t come from his bad luck. His problem was that his good luck was so good that he didn’t comprehend just how lucky he was.

Barack Obama may be too lucky for his own good.

3/30/2008 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Soros was not involved with Obama until recently, same with the Hollywood Jews of the homosexual/Marxist orientation. They made the wrong pick early on with Hillary, drifting over to Obama slowly, then their mountains of money flooding in faster when they saw how lame Hillary was and how malleable Obama would be to their purposes.

The early benefactors of Obama were the Chicago crowd of ultrarich Jews and 60s radicals in town, at law firms, and on U of Chicago faculty. His bigger struggle was getting the Black Machine on his side in matchups with native blacks.

There is a certain amount of teflon coating his Black Messiah media followers are layering Obama with. Within 4 days of the Reverent Wright Affair, 80% of the media were pronouncing it a "stunning victory" based on the sheer magnificence of Obama's eloquent "Throw Grandma Under the Bus, Its Not About Me or Anything I Did, But Our Collective Racial Problem", speech.

With this latest one on Law Professor vs. actual Senior Lecturer of Law status, the press and the Obama worshippers are all over themselves to dismiss the "title" controversy as silly and irrelevant. Since the students call him Professor. And because the media deeply believes he is A Great Legal Mind despite never ever submitting a formal law review article - all because fellow students once named him "editor". So somehow, in his early 30s, he gets the August Legal Position, normally given only to Appellate Judges or scholars holding tenured profesorship and advanced legal degrees who honor U of Chicago or places like Yale with guest residencies - besides his student editor past, media swallowed completely that "Senior Lecturer" was merited on him being a newly elected state senator when U of Chicago gave it to him in 1996.
(Joining as state senator status with other brilliant legal minds in that part-time job who came from backgrounds as downstate farmers, carpet store owners, reverends, bail bondsmen, commodities trader, activist housewife, municipal sewer worker)

An example of the "this is all silly that people think him listing himself as a constititional law professor matters":

David said...
"Childish" was just the word that came to my mind, Amba.
This only hurts Hillary and helps Obama. It reminds that Obama--says he--wants to get beyond these silly attacks.

I believe people are missing the obvious:

Both Obamas were sponsored from over 10 years ago by powerful, immensely wealthy benefactors to U Chicago that vaulted Michelle Obama from a 70K job with Mayor Washington's staff to a 319,000 dollar job at U of Chicago she did while raising kids. Obama joined 3 senior appellate judges with immense reputations in the law as the only 4 people honored with the title "Senior Lecturer" despite a legal background in no way commensurate with such a Top 10 Law School title.

To figure out why, look at the circle of Leftists Jewish billionaire and mega millionaire sugar daddies and sugar mommas Obama attracted early on that contribute 10s of millions to U of Chicago and no doubt wanted some quid pro quo for the buckets of treasure shoved U of Chicago's way for dear Michelle and dear Barack.
Penny Pritzger, the Crown Family, Bettelu Saltzman. (Why was Michelle not PROUD of America when she was awarded meteoric rises in salary while at home a good part of the time with her chilluns?)

Add in possibly Hamzdi Auchi, his Oil For Food Iraqi billionaire benefactor, slipping a little biz or favors to U of Chicago or people they favored....Add in his cultivations of radicals like former SDS member Marilyn Katz aid to Mayor Washington and the wealthy ACLU lawyers, SDS terrorists Bernadette Dorn, Bill Ayers who have close ties with U of Chicago Faculty.

The real story is U of Chicago rewarding both Obamas with jobs and titles far beyond what their resumes justified, back when Obama was just a young politician with potential. And likely breaking the conventional rules, particularly with Obama's prestigious academic appointment - as someone who had done nothing significant in Law since being voted editor at a big school - because those with the money wanted it so.

The fact that it is dismissed with Hillarys rank fibbing on Bosnian snipers is a case of the Pot (Hillary) calling the Kettle (Obama) a black liar. But that does not mean that the absence some underhanded business at U of Chicago involving influential people promoting the Obamas past other better-qualified employees, faculty, or outside applicants.

U of Chicago touts its Senior Lecturers as "distinguished members of the Bar" with extraordinary backgrounds in legal specialty or Gov't jurisprudence careers - brought to law students to experience some of the best, in their chosen fields. I defy anyone to show another freshly elected state senator, even one with black skin and tasty student accomplishments - also made such an offer, at any prestigious school.

3/30/2008 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Benj said...

Yo jeyi - You're right re lack of inspiration (proof is in lack of proofing)...It's hard to get it up to respond to Wretch (again) on this front. I'm sure now that even if Wretch actually read Obama's book, he'd find reasons to contemn. (After that episode where Wretch couldn't keep from trashing the writing of that priest-doctor who'd saved hundreds of lives/children over 20 years in Haiti (and Fred, you punked out there too!), it's clear that the spectre of solidarity ('specially tween races) gives Wretch the willies.) If I'd known Wretch was a Buckley man before I started posting here, I might have bought out at the top. Which would have been MY loss. The fact is, just as OBama learned when he broke out of Schoolish circles where he dealt only with people who shared class-bound ideolgoical assumptiona, you LEARN stuff by trying to - sorry Les Fiedler is on my mind right now - cross the border...I've surely learned about my boy Obama - Doubt I would have read those Trib pieces that dealt with his hard-ball campaigning and/or their recent editorial that let him off the Rezko hook (pretty definitively). More importantly, Alexis set me straight re farm state senators' complicity in American/Euro trade policy that screws Africans. But, beyond approaches to the big O, what's been most interesting is to see who/how minds move (or don't)...No illusions - never had any - that I was a light-bringer. Just somebody with a very different angle on the subject at hand (and maybe some unobvious information). I'm not even sure I believe in "converting" people. But I have done some calling and responding here that suggested the "left" and "right" in America might consist of more than walls and fantasts...Course there are Clubbers who are just GONE - conspiracy theorists, "realists" (i.e. stone fucking racists) etc. But what the hey - It's America - Be grateful to everyone as a great man once said...

3/30/2008 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

Cedarford predictably looks for a Jewish Conspiracy where that of the Daley Machine needing a South Side representative will do.

Obama's rise is part and parcel of the Daley Machine and it's ability to harness South Side Chicago racial agitators inside it's coalition.

Hidden in the Obamamessiah frenzy by those well known Jews and Scarlett Johansson, Amber Lee Ettinger (Obama Girl) is the threat Obama poses to the Daley Machine.

The Daley Machine has survived by burying under patronage the contradictions of white ethnics, mostly Catholic, and the Black Racialists. Now that everyone can see how Black Racialists act and speak (when whites are not around) that burying is questionable. It's likely that long-term the intense media scrutiny will destroy the Daley coalition.

What Cedarford misses for typical Jewish conspiracy mongering is that Obama supporters find Obama himself irrelevant. It's all about them. Obama girl, aka Amber Lee Ettinger, released another video all about Her. Which ticked off pretty much everyone, men and women. So too the black and white Obama video by with various Hollywood pretty boys and such talking about ThemSelves. Again.

Obama is an excuse for one giant narcisstic party. About how wonderful his supporters are and how cool and hip and such like.

Hillary's supporters by contrast are more interested in exercising power to concrete ends: patronage, policy, etc.

Obama's rise in Presidential Politics is due to the Daley Machine's sound-ness, and secondly the desire to throw a giant party about themselves by his backers. A giant fantasy. In the belief that any candidate can defeat the Republicans.

3/30/2008 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

C-fudd, you're alienating the people you need to help you! But you just can't help spewing, C-fudd, because you're a weak sister with less discipline and self-control than a junkie crawling through the gutter for a fix of heroin.

3/30/2008 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How 'bout responding to all the *malicious* lies I've pointed out in Obamas autoadvertorial, which Senator Obama read aloud in *2005.*
I'll list them again, w/links if you vow to answer them one by one, devoting less than 2 normal paragraphs to each.
Your Call.

3/31/2008 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(2 or less, I'm feeling generous)

3/31/2008 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

WaPo version of the Selma Lie

(minimize it on the second page after burying it in Kennedy trivia)

3/31/2008 06:14:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's my first Reconquista submission, Pascal:
Roots of Latino/black anger

Longtime prejudices, not economic rivalry, fuel tensions.
By Tanya K. Hernandez, Tanya K. Hernandez is a professor of law at Rutgers University Law School.

THE ACRIMONIOUS relationship between Latinos and African Americans in Los Angeles is growing hard to ignore.
(except for ex gang member Mayor Tony Villar, and Political Whore Chief Bratton.)

Although last weekend's black-versus-Latino race riot at Chino state prison is unfortunately not an aberration, the Dec. 15 murder in the Harbor Gateway neighborhood of Cheryl Green, a 14-year-old African American, allegedly by members of a Latino gang, was shocking.

Yet there was nothing really new about it. Rather, the murder was a manifestation of an increasingly common trend:
Latino ethnic cleansing of African Americans from multiracial neighborhoods.

Just last August, federal prosecutors convicted four Latino gang members of engaging in a six-year conspiracy to assault and murder African Americans in Highland Park. During the trial, prosecutors demonstrated that African American residents (with no gang ties at all) were being terrorized in an effort to force them out of a neighborhood now perceived as Latino.

For example, one African American resident was murdered by Latino gang members as he looked for a parking space near his Highland Park home. In another case, a woman was knocked off her bicycle and her husband was threatened with a box cutter by one of the defendants, who said, "You niggers have been here long enough."

At first blush, it may be mystifying why such animosity exists between two ethnic groups that share so many of the same socioeconomic deprivations...

3/31/2008 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger Benj said...

Tony - quickie - I was reminded of your definitions of solidarity for the benefit of Mr. Steyn when I saw this line in a New Yorker piece about Trinity Church & Black Lib Theo...

"Cone was careful to explain that a black-centered Church need not be a black-separatist Church. And even the simplest phrases—“black people,” for instance—turned out to be slippery. It wasn’t about being “physically black,” he wrote. “To be black means that your heart, your soul, your mind, and your body are where the dispossessed are.” In his view, blackness was as radically inclusive as Christianity itself, and just as demanding."...

Cone teaches up the block from me at UTS where I believe Bonhoeffer is a hero. (What can I say - not very pious myself.) - Here's B.'s version of his Church's call to solidarity - "The church has the unconditional obligation to the victims of any order in society even if they do not belong to the CHristian society."..It's call is "not just bandage the victims under the wheel, but to jam a spoke in the wheel itself." You can hear an echo of B.'s lines in Mario Savio's fine early 60's Berkeley speech to Free Speech Movement...

Doug - calm down. You guys have offered up more than a few unmaskings of the devil Obama - none of em have turned out to be very damming...Doubt I've got the energy to go through another dozen...- Let's stick with the bridge. It was a Churchy exaggeration - his audience would have cut him some slack - not a fugging line on a resume...O was NOT lying when he suggested the tenor of the times - the, yup, romance of the early 60's civil rights movement (& African anti-colonial struggle) - had something to do with his parents acting on their mutual attraction. This is a no-brainer.

If you're interested in the guy's head/background as opposed to playing gotcha - he has interesting account of going to see "Black Orpheus" - French movie re Carnival - a movie his mom liked mucho when she was coming up but which bothered him a bit due to stereotypes re happy negroes. I understood O's line on the movie - but thought it might be a bit tight-assed...Maybe we all need to loosen up.

3/31/2008 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...


Why won’t Republican politicians appeal to black voters in Los Angeles by opposing the power of street gangs in Watts? It seems to me that part of the reason why the Republican Party hasn’t made inroads into black neighborhoods is because it hasn’t really tried to campaign in them, assuming that black people will vote for the Democratic Party forever. I even think there would be black support for ending racial profiling (and that means repealing affirmative action) if black people could be shown that the alternative would be an improvement in their own lives. With solid and intelligent outreach, it may be possible to reach out to Watts residents who actually want our immigration laws to be enforced for a change.

The Belmont Club keeps on talking about how counterinsurgency and making people feel safe is important in politics. That's just as true in Los Angeles as it is in Baghdad. Wherever a street gang controls a neighborhood, that neighborhood necessarily becomes hostile to good government.

There is a big difference between espousing a true belief in equality of opportunity and using the exact same rhetoric as code words to convey racial animosity. If Republicans can’t even promise to repair the roads and help get the garbage off the streets in black neighborhoods, let alone deliver on those promises, Republican talk about opposing racism is just talk.

3/31/2008 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Whoops - Rev. Wright's Dad was pastor of Grace BAPTIST Church for 42, not LUTHERAN and 62 years as I mentioned in my post. Sorry for the bad data. I still consider my post much more accurate and honest than "The Speech" by Obama.

3/31/2008 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Martin McPhillips said...

Quoted above from The New Yorker:

"Cone was careful to explain that a black-centered Church need not be a black-separatist Church. And even the simplest phrases—“black people,” for instance—turned out to be slippery. It wasn’t about being “physically black,” he wrote. “To be black means that your heart, your soul, your mind, and your body are where the dispossessed are.” In his view, blackness was as radically inclusive as Christianity itself, and just as demanding."...

I'm sure that The New Yorker remained willfully innocent of the context of that comment, which is that whites are invited to submit to blackness and blacks are threatened with being declared "acting white" (Cf. Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Condi Rice), but then The New Yorker wouldn't care much about that.

James Cone's presence at a legit theological seminary says more about the theological seminary than it does about Cone, who is, again, a vicious, hare-brained, racist crank.

3/31/2008 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger George Bruce said...

What is to get?

It is a hustle.

3/31/2008 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

Who's Scrubbing the Trinity United Church of Christ Website?

3/31/2008 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger always right said...

As much as I disagree with C-4 on just about everything, one word caught my attention. That is Obama being "malleable".

It is not necessarily Obama the man is malleable, only that so far his candidacy SEEMED to be. So much so that it appears any side (any person) can have "significant influence" on the future POTUS.

3/31/2008 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"If Republicans can’t even promise to repair the roads and help get the garbage off the streets in black neighborhoods, let alone deliver on those promises, Republican talk about opposing racism is just talk."
To that I would add responding to black parent's fervent desire for school choice. LAUSD has a miserable record of not educating it's students, Detroit schools even worse, with a 60 to 70% dropout rate before graduation.
Unfortunately, the elected elite seem to live on Mars, judging by their response to this disaster, and of course the Dems are entirely owned by their biggest supporter, the NEA.

benj's hero Obama favors open borders and catering to the unlimited immigration crowd, which is ruinous to the vast majority of blacks.

3/31/2008 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Seems we just disagree on the importance of telling the truth occasionally.

No politician is completely truthful, but telling lies that unfairly trash his home state, the country, and the grandmother that worked to support and raise him, is a bit too far for me.

...more important than the Selma Fib IMO.

3/31/2008 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Benj, dude,

I didn't mention "solidarity" let alone any "definitions" of such.

You must have cut'n'pasted this from some whack blog: Tony - quickie - I was reminded of your definitions of solidarity for the benefit of Mr. Steyn when I saw this line in a New Yorker piece about Trinity Church & Black Lib Theo...

As a rule, we don't bicker here in the Belmont Club.

We don't need fine-toothed philosophy to understand America-hating. For most of us, it's right out there in living color, like American Idol.

3/31/2008 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Obama's tutu a Hawaii banking female pioneer
Sam Slom was a Bank of Hawaii economist at the time and was married to a Korean-Chinese woman. Slom remembers looking at housing ads that openly expressed racial preferences.

The landlords' ads read, "'No haoles,' or 'AJAs (Americans of Japanese ancestry) Only,' or 'No Japanese,'" Slom said.

"That's the way it was," said Slom, who is now a Republican state senator representing Kahala and Hawai'i Kai.
"Did people talk about race?
We had local jokes ... like that 'pake' (Chinese) guy or the 'yobo' (Korean) who did this or that.
I certainly got my share of haole jokes.
But I never heard Madelyn say anything disparaging about people of African ancestry or Asian ancestry or anybody's ancestry."

3/31/2008 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Most of Dunham's close friends who knew her best are now dead, Soetoro-Ng said.

But several current and former Bank of Hawaii executives — some of whom were mentored by Dunham and knew her after she retired — said they were stunned by Obama's comments about his grandmother.

"I was real surprised that he indicated that," said Dennis Ching, who was a 23-year-old management trainee under Dunham beginning in 1966. "I never heard her say anything like that. I never heard her say anything negative about anything. And she never swore."

Bank of Hawaii — or Bankoh as it's known locally — was the No. 1 bank in the Islands in the late 1960s and early 1970s in terms of assets.

So Dunham's rapid ascension as one of the two highest female executives in 1970 was especially notable.

"It was a very big deal — oh my gosh," Ching said.

Ching succeeded Dunham as head of the bank's escrow department when she retired in 1986. He is now president of Honolulu-based Integrity Escrow and Title.

While then-No. 2 First Hawaiian Bank was considered the "local" bank for ethnic minorities at the time, Ching and others said Bankoh was "the haole bank."

3/31/2008 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger kepa poalima said...

howzit doug, where you stay? i stay kauai.

3/31/2008 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

"Tony said...

"Benj, dude,

"I didn't mention "solidarity" let alone any "definitions" of such.

"You must have cut'n'pasted this from some whack blog: Tony - quickie - I was reminded of your definitions of solidarity for the benefit of Mr. Steyn when I saw this line in a New Yorker piece about Trinity Church & Black Lib Theo...

"As a rule, we don't bicker here in the Belmont Club.

"We don't need fine-toothed philosophy to understand America-hating. For most of us, it's right out there in living color, like American Idol."

Tony, who? Benj, what? can't we all just get along? Huh?
No worries, I've done my share of inappropriate misappropriations.

3/31/2008 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger watimebeing said...


"Cone... wrote. “To be black means that your heart, your soul, your mind, and your body are where the dispossessed are.” In his view, blackness was as radically inclusive as Christianity itself, and just as demanding."...

"- Here's B.'s version of his Church's call to solidarity - "The church has the unconditional obligation to the victims of any order in society even if they do not belong to the Christian society."..It's call is "not just [to] bandage the victims under the wheel, but to jam a spoke in the wheel itself." You can hear an echo of B.'s lines in Mario Savio's fine early 60's Berkeley speech to Free Speech Movement..."

Of course Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony seems in some literary circles to suffice for defining solidarity, too. :).

As a visitor to the site, I have to admit at being a little nervous about how the First Principles are applied. You know the ones about the underdog, the mad dog and the bullet. I sweat especially Knowing, well, we would be using someone else's definition of a mad dog...and other Century of Self-isms like being humanism in extension. So I will spend some time examining the question posed by Goodwyn: "Is there a graceful and constructive device by which we can come together and, in ways that enhance all parties, disagree?" I don't know if I can agree to disagree with his stance, just yet.

Meanwhile I stand firm on the idea that economic and cultural equity is impossible, implausible and eventually leads to impotence. Opportunity is omnipotent.

Meanwhile don't get run over by that newly spoked wheel.

4/01/2008 03:47:00 AM  
Blogger Benj said...

Hey Wade - Thanks for dispensation! (And Sorry Tony!) Glad you checked And particularly juiced you picked up on Larry Goodwyn's line. Try his big histories of American populism and Solidarnosc some one of these days - amazing books. No-one on the official american Left knows how to assimilate G.'s visions of democracy...Not to say that his stuff is easy for the right to swallow either... By the way, I thought the back and forth between you and Wretchard on Sadr/Maliki/Iran was very helpful. Hard to see why folks believe Maliki will end up in Iran's pocket. My understanding is they pushed hard against him back when Khalizad was helping form the gov. (I remember seaching for anything that might give me a sense of Maliki's politics - found out he'd founded the equiv of the Iraqi ASPCA - so how bad could he be? Though of course Hitler was a vegetarian!)

Here's a preview of a future FIRST post on Obama's speech by a young writer named Ben Kessler. Good stuff I think...

Jesus taught me to love the hell out of my enemies.
--Jeremiah Wright

It takes an extraordinary faith in Barack Obama to believe, in early April of 2008, that Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president is somehow doomed. We can recite primary results and rattle off probable scenarios all we like, but the truth is that the media are running this show. No idiocy should be deemed impossible.

Four years ago, the young, idealistic Left flipped for Howard Dean—and then he flipped, so they really flipped, and filled the internet with techno remixes of his Scream. He went from our nation’s potential healer to howling mental patient, before he even had time to catch his breath. His supporters’ wide-eyed admiration turned seamlessly to hilarious disdain, almost as if the change had been orchestrated by an expert DJ.

Puff-up-and-puncture: It’s a trick the media excel at when it comes to Left candidates. I am not claiming that there’s a conscious conspiracy here, just trying to trace some inevitabilities of capitalism. The end of the Hollywood writers’ strike did little to end early-’08 Obamania. The media practically willed the backlash into being by prematurely accepting Obama as the “presumptive nominee” while hailing him in absolutely hysterical terms. Then they lurched in the opposite direction, ostensibly in response to overwhelming popular demand. As of this writing, media pros can say they’re doing the people’s will when they dig up dirt on Obama.

Some words now on the dirt that stuck: No one who has spent a considerable amount of time in any humanities department at a private university in the U.S. has any right to dis Jeremiah Wright. At his worst, he only states more concisely, if less politely, than most the fundamental principles of the academic Left. No professor at NYU, though, got my gooseflesh rising as Wright did when I watched on YouTube the famous Christmas sermon where he rails at “a country, and a culture, controlled by RICH WHITE PEOPLE!” Some media folk have defended Wright by praising only the part of him that would seem to overlap with Chomsky. The plain truth in that sermon goes unsung.

I didn’t vote for Obama over Hillary when I had the chance, and I’m more cautious than some people I know about making more of the man than his achievements appear to warrant. But I feel that Obama’s March 18 speech was a great Improbable Moment in American political culture. It could easily have gone a different way. Obama had a Scylla: the Dean Scream, a loud self-loving flameout, and he had a Charybdis: Bill Clinton, Sister Souljah, ‘92. He not only avoided both, but he also—finally!—used the moment as a mirror and held it up to some of Rev. Wright’s rich white people.

Make no mistake: The Speech was primarily aimed at the media. Look at the language: “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.” Seen up close, the word choice is odd. “We can play”: Well, no, “we” can’t. We can’t control what is played on national news broadcasts, and neither can Obama. Here he’s addressing those who do make those decisions, drawing them close with a first-person plural so he doesn’t have to shout as Howard Dean did. If Obama’s guess is right and these folks still have some normal human susceptibility to shame, they might not even realize that they’ve been humbled until his words have done their work.

Even among Obama’s supporters and advisors, there is insufficient understanding of how radical this “we” can be. Empathy, when it’s real, isn’t far from epiphany. There should be a shock of recognition in it that gives it a kick. Identity politics as it’s understood in contemporary American media/academia, however, is practiced from behind the mirror. From that privileged position, the “smart” set delivers its judgments on fairness, history, and social justice. Obama’s speech probably could have done more to underscore the political sophistication of the unprivileged…but if the last 50 years (at least) of pop music hasn’t demonstrated that, then what will?

One line in the speech in particular got to me: “Your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams.” Democracy’s contradictions made Dean flip out and Kerry flip-flop, but Obama seems to quaff them. He drinks them in so deep, they’re even in his dreams. I wouldn’t classify what I’ve got as “Obama fever,” exactly, but I’m more than a little hopeful that we’re witnessing the beginning of a new phase of identity politics, one that dispenses with the pseudo-scholarly shibboleths in favor of the following principle:

Either everyone’s pain matters to you, or no one’s does.

4/01/2008 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, Kepa, Maui here.
We neighbor islanders should form a committee to draft apologies and arrange restitution for Barry for all the racial insensitivity visited upon him at that White Ghetto School, Punahoe, by our Oahu brothers.

4/01/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I feel the pain Rev Wright must feel for leading his flock astray all these years 'bout desertin the 'hood and mingling w/the white folk, now that he's movin on up to his 10,000sq/ft hovel in a gated community on a GOLF COURSE that is

Maybe Barry can console him with his own tales of wo when he went to all-white Punahoe, w/his "brother," "Ray," Keith Kakugawa.

4/01/2008 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

If you want to see what really happened in the Clinton Library files, here's a rather amusing take:

I call that a lot more genuine than Obama, sadly.

4/01/2008 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

“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.”
That's why we sent our son to 18 years of public school indoctrination that we didn't believe in, knowin it wouldn't have any effect on his young mind as he matured...
(never spent a DAY in a public school, or elite pricey private school like Punahoe)
But Barry and Michelle can justify somehow sending their little ones to that hate house.
...and just 'cause Michelle is on tape spouting the same destructive drivel don't mean either of them BELIEVE any of that Shit.
Obviously Wright doesn't, 'cause he's doin the exact opposite.
...all in the pursuit of better relations amongst ALL Americans, of course.

4/01/2008 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Funny how Barry never took it upon himself to comment on those offensive words for TWENTY YEARS, but he does so today in all sincerity, of course.
...since he "has" to.

4/01/2008 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger watimebeing said...


I'm glad my posts were helpful, but just a warning, My posts are guided by a limited experience, Wretchard has lived it, and therefore his opinion has earned both my trust and respect.

But I have a problem with this kind and measure of solidarity,

Either everyone’s pain matters to you, or no one’s does.

Why? That makes little practical sense, and gives no direction as policy much less a principal.

Nope, I still favor the golden rule.

Kharma counts too. Is Ugly skin deep or down to the bone? Were the Rev's words ugly? Is there some measure of kharma that must be accounted for by those who listened but did not object? Is there not some holicaustic measure for not speaking out?

Forty years ago in parts of America I think I would have been more aggressive and more urgent in caring for or about others pains, including my own, not today. Today, there is a confusion between prejudice that is personal and that which is institutionalized. The harder institutional prejudice is held onto the more personal it gets to the point where this becomes an exercise not of justice but of revenge, not of getting even (equal?) but of satisfying a darkened heart. It works both ways but never in the way intended, and drives a wedge between those intending to unite.

4/01/2008 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Well said!
More general description:
Poisoning the Waterhole.

4/01/2008 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tell me when Barry takes on the NEA Mafia in a righteous quest to regain decent schools for Black Kids, Benj:
I'll lend my support.

Study: Only 1 of 2 students graduate high school in US cities...

4/01/2008 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Benj said...

Hey Wade (and Doug?) - Doubt my man Kessler thinks he said the last word on solidarity - but, in the context of his critique of the devolution of identity politics, it's a nice line... Here's another goodie/passage from Kessler's contribution to a FIRST roundtable on 9/11..

The Gray Lady’s 9/11/06 editorial was equally illuminating. As with most New York Times editorials, every sentence in this piece has its own undertow of dishonesty that threatens to carry off the unresisting reader to…we-know-not-where. Some moral wasteland, anyway. Consider this passage about the Iraq war: “Without ever having asked to be exempt from the demands of this new war, we were cut out. Everything would be paid for with the blood of other people’s children, and with money earned by the next generation.” Did you see that? More than 2,500 American mothers—“other people”—just winced...

...the Times editors assume they hold the copyright on a communal suffering. This petulant assertion of privilege is couched in a narrative that sentimentalizes the period immediately following the 9/11 attacks, in which, apparently, “sorrow was merged with a sense of community and purpose.” In this story, less saccharine emotions such as fear and anger are confined to a later time, beginning (one assumes) with the invasion of Iraq and encompassing the present day.
Remember the smell that hung in the Manhattan air in the weeks after the attacks? To the decision-makers at the paper of record, that was the aroma of “community and purpose.” Similarly, the Gray Lady groans at “an invasion that never would have occurred if every voter’s sons and daughters were eligible for the draft.” Uncomfortably aware of its current irrelevance, the Times casts a wistful eye at some of recent American history’s worst moments—through a rose-tinted gunsight..."

Kessler is only one of many FIRSTers who are less than enthralled with MSM - There are certain clarities here which seem to me to provide a basis for democratic discourse among folks on the "right" and "left" who might usefully agree to disagree w/o shutting down the possibility of shared understandings/knowledge/history/(patriotism?). Snuck that last one in!

Quick word on Wretch - I began reading this blog because I shared your sense that he had a feel for what was happening on the ground in Iraq. Based on his analyses, it's easy to imagine he's been (somehow/some way) experienced. W/o rubbing it in again, I don't sense that his take on OBama is as, ah, reality-based.

Let me end by getting real about Iraq War quandaries. I've spent a lot of time over the last few years arguing with people on the left who were against the war...It's been interesting being on the margins here - but my angles on the American Dilemna have prepared me to, ah, go it alone some times. Still it do buck you up when you find a worthy ally out there. One of my (occasional) allies/inspirations in Iraq War arguments has been a guy named Charles O'Brien. You can check his pieces such as "The War" at the FIRST website. I'm not the only one, though, who has been taken by his stuff. (Though more people have been enraged!) Back around the time of Danish Cartoons, I sent O'Brien's piece on all that to Mark Steyn. O'Brien appreciated Steyn's stuff and figured S. might go for his argument that the Cartoon thingy had been wrongly played as a free speech issue. For O'Brien - the issues were force and sovereignty.

No word back from Steyn. But a couple days later, he makes the same argument in his next column. Now Steyn is sharp. And he could've got there on his own. But he definitely KNEW there was somebody who was right there with him. And that somebody's politics were, well, strange. (Let's put it this way - O'Brien wasn't going to end up on Hugh Hewitt anytime soon, even though he made the case for W. in FIRST before the 2004 election.) If I was in Steyn's shoes I would've gone out of my way to point up the agreement - in solidarity! But we heard not a peep from Mr. S. It's incidents like that that make me wonder if the REASON why the TIMES' Imperial Middle Muddle rules is because egos trump intelligence on both the left and right. And it's just easier to pretend that everyone on the Other Side is dim or devilish.

One more thing - Don't share your disbelief in the imperative of socio-econonic equality - but I do agree that it's silly to pretend there's an equality of sensibility. It's not that some pigs are more equal than others, but...
Some girls mothers are bigger than other girls mothers...

Best, b. PS Cut and pasted the O'Brien piece as it remains apt in the age of Fitna...

Weapons of Criticism, Criticism of Weapons
By Charles O'Brien

Most times, the words, he’s got a gun, will redirect the conversation pretty effectively. Not this time, it appears.

The uproar over the Jyllands-Posten’s cartoons of Muhammad has been framed as a free speech issue. The real issue is force. People have recalled the Salman Rushdie fatwa, from almost twenty years ago, and it’s worth recalling. Since Rushdie is still alive, many people think the fatwa never went beyond threat. But Ruhollah Khomeini’s death sentence extended to all those “involved in [Satanic Verses’] publication who were aware of its content.” The translators and others connected with the book who were killed all over the world were not killed as spillover, misunderstanding, rogue operations, frustration. These killings were exactly what the supreme law-giver for the Islamic Republic of Iran had ordered. The Rushdie fatwa was not a free-speech question. An Iranian in Iran shot for blasphemy by the government of Iran is a free-speech issue. A Salman Rushdie sent to prison under Tony Blair’s proposed blasphemy law, recently defeated by a hair, is a free-speech issue. The Rushdie fatwa was about sovereignty. Do subjects of the United Kingdom, resident there, get to live under the U.K.’s laws? Hundreds of millions answered no. To sentence a novelist, of all things, to death for a book you haven’t even read will strike us as small. In truth, the enemy was thinking big. And the enemy still stands uncorrected. People were killed because of the fatwa, that assertion of dominance over the entire world. Most of the dead, you’d think, would be Iranian officials. Their death toll stands at zero.

The earlier hostage crisis also involved a question of sovereignty. The exiled Shah was dying of cancer and was admitted to the United States for treatment. The new Iranian order was sure that there was a plot to restore the Shah, and so the American embassy was seized, and its staff kidnapped. It would have been prudent for the United States to say before the world,

There is no plot. It is as we say. We have no interest in restoring the Shah – we just got through ushering him out – and he’s too far gone for political aspirations. You may ask that he be extradited, but we, like every other country, will say no. He – or anyone – may face justice, but not in your Iran. He is here with our permission. Borders define countries. We, and not you, control our borders. Deny that, and you deny our sovereignty, you deny our right to a national existence. You are arrogant. You are intolerable. In the name of not only America, but all humanity, we will cut off this “Islamic Republic”, this chimera, at its birth.

It didn’t happen. Instead, the Shah left his American hospital – better for everybody, it was supposed – bounced briefly around among countries, and was soon dead. Iran, with its trademark absurdity, said, “The death of the Shah changes nothing,” and continued to threaten the hostages with death. The fact that Iran had gone to war against the United States and was in occupation of American soil was overlooked. The hostages’ release was bought, and the embassy building abandoned to the enemy. In war, soldiers taken prisoner are counted as casualties. It is expected that they will be protected by the applicable conventions. If they are not, any feasible attempt at rescue should be made, and failing that, the captors should be hunted down, at the end of hostilities, and killed. The lives of protected persons are not legitimate counters for the enemy’s political purposes. Iran’s atrocity was rewarded. And it paid no price, as it paid no price for the Rushdie affair.

Salman Rushdie was taken unawares. He was an adept of the Standard International Style. His writing was ordinarily transgressive – and then this. He had every right to wonder, with Nancy Kerrigan, “Why me?” The fatwa looked then like singularly bad luck. And where are we today? The Rushdie oddity has become the general rule. The sword is over everyone’s head. At the Durban Conference, the week leading up to 9/11, a sign held up by a participant said, ISLAM WILL DOMINATE THE EARTH. Will?, you wonder, how’d that weasely word get in there? (And then you realize, ah, this was a moderate Muslim.)

It’s not helpful to see the cartoons as just free speech, although they’re also that. Some--few--have championed them as free speech. (Honor to the staff of New York Press, who walked out as a group in solidarity with the Danish cartoonists.) Others have been grudging – “They’re not very good cartoons? (How many political cartoons are good?) But often, the talk has been of "provocation", "offensiveness","responsibility", "lit matches". Bill Clinton – in Qatar! - called the cartoons "appalling" and "totally outrageous". I write what I like? Not this day and time.

Let me add my two cents of criticism. Here’s how the cartoons came to be commissioned. A children’s book, a biography of Muhammad, was written by a Danish author, Kaare Bluitgen. He wanted pictures for this children’s book. Nobody could be found to do it. In a Europe so noisily proud of not having a death penalty, illustrators went in fear of their lives. Since the cartoon news has broken, we have seen that, for instance, pictures of Muhammad do exist, pretty uncontroversially, done by Muhammadan hands, and the twelve Danish cartoons were published without comment a few months ago in an Egyptian newspaper. It is not qur’anically forbidden to portray Muhammad [See note below]. For Europeans, and probably for Americans too, it is a capital offense. The sword is out, and there is blood on it. Against this regime of terror, with bodies piling up regularly, Jyllands-Posten commissioned a page of cartoons. Here, then, is my criticism: the cartoons are, for their purpose, inadequate. It’s not the cartoonists’ fault – they have no armies, and their call for support has gone largely unanswered. And apart from the nine deaths the cartoon war has - so far - produced, there are many people in Europe either in hiding or under heavy guard.

Blogger Hugh Hewitt, enamored of expediency as any Leninist, has condemned the cartoons. They are distinctly unhelpful. Where do they leave a Musharraf? Well, first, Musharraf is our “ally” only faute de mieux. Second, Musharraf had to be threatened into cooperation after 9/11, and any putatively worse alternative to Musharraf would be subject to Bush’s refusal to take no for an answer. And third, how does a Western hard line hurt Musharraf’s position? The plug uglies in Pakistan who want to take over have an idea of the world, that to yell a lot is to get your way. In the long run, that isn’t true. Musharraf knows that, but to convince them, he could use evidence, facts in the ground. Those who have so heedlessly drawn the sword should be shown, and quickly, the unfunny things that happen in the final panel.


1 To gauge the “pain” and “outrage” caused by the portrayals of the “Prophet”, we should recall Mel Gibson”s The Passion of the Christ. Before the movie could be shown in the Gulf States, it had to get past the censors. The problem was that it portrayed a prophet on screen. Such a portrayal is deemed shirk, kin to idolatry and polytheism. But if a film might add to the store of jew-hatred in the world, what’s a little polytheism? When the lights went down, the idol stayed in the picture. The justification offered was not the struggle against Zionism, but - free speech!

And of course, the notion of Jesus as one among the prophets strikes Christians as heretical at best, and the notion of Jesus as precursor to Muhammad is repugnant to them. But objections - let alone noisy demonstrations, burnings, lynchings - would be unseemly.

February 12, 2006

4/01/2008 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

"One more thing - Don't share your disbelief in the imperative of socio-econonic equality - but I do agree that it's silly to pretend there's an equality of sensibility. It's not that some pigs are more equal than others, but...
Some girls mothers are bigger than other girls mothers..."

Sensibility, it appears to me, has different meanings at different times to different people in different shoes. My reasons for not trusting "O" are different than W's hesitation to call it thumbs up or down. I imagine his nose sleuthing through the air to capture some molecular whiff of whatever it is that just ain't right. able to ignore the obvious flaws of humanity. I don't even know what he's looking for, and reality is I hope he is wrong. But I won't cast judgment on his gut or nose till he is satisfied.

Steyn is well, a regular guest on HH's show. Hugh seems to me to be an unapologetic conservative who can negotiate the give and take of compromise. I understand his take on the cartoons, as I recall he was unaware of the age of the sketches when he made the "unhelpful" comment, and restated his views accordingly once discovered. I may be wrong.

Steyn, I don't know, I don't read, I don't think about. I guess that sums it, but my reference was transitory, a bridge between ideas.

I don't know how socio-economic equality can be measured. On a cultural racial plane they are just meaningless numbers. It is individuals who give the numbers meaning, and effects on communities that allow for extrapolations. (It works the same for Shi'ah as for Sunni), for brown as for black and white people have no monopoly on any of it, unless the monopoly is given and willfully maintained.

Yeah, hear ya on the pain filled solidarity statement. I still don't see the other side, and wonder if there is anything is there to see. No emperor and no wardrobe anywhere.

4/01/2008 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

Benj, Pardon me if my takes appear scattered. There is just too much to absorb and I only have only two eyes, one pair at my disposal.
Okay, I listened to the MS cuts on HH again, only to find I'd heard them before again. Except as I listened before I heard "O" and not Steyn. SO I read MS comments and realize the effort is hopeless.

There is a certain amount of give and take, push and pull, that is missing from Steyn's analysis. From the snippets I've seen/heard the push and pull is evident in the book, as "O" examines his thoughts, and occasionally his acts. (I get the part on "X", BTW.) But rarely his thoughts about his acts, or the acts of others, just his thoughts about thoughts projected on others. The most telling statement of the whole thing was HH description of sentiments. "It sounds like home ownership."

Compared to burning, lynching and other objections.., it sounds as though O is looking for something to complain about. If not in his own life then in the lives of others, (Ray?). I intend to pick up a copy today, just because I get the feeling there is much that has been missed and maybe some should not be dismissed. But I will diss O (and my own damn self at a certain age) for trying to define himself on the back of a complaint.

Compare what happened here in America to what is happening in Iraq? Why is it that in some areas we seem to be making progress at warp speed, yet here at home we can't get past our own biases without the assistance of a court order?

Lincoln-esque reconstruction put the power into the hands of those who would wield it within communities. Black communities and black business establishments flourished despite the temptations of revenge. True too, in spite of the federal troop support graft and corruption were allowed to weaken and undo the positive things that were done. The blood of all of those who died in deciding the nations fate, seems a stain. It is not right. Yet now having undone the carpetbagging, Jim Crow and separate but unequal desecration's of their efforts, we have arrived with a great society package that re-enslaved, and separated further the sensibilities of Black from white, human from human. Two generations from Malcom X, two generations from MLK, and the bonds of welfare have been loosened, but the NEA has placed a new kind of bondage upon the nation. Dragging not only people of color but now enslaving all kids whose parents are foolish enough to give over total control of the raising of their children. It may (or may not) take a village, but it requires a father and a mother to un-complicate things.

In the zeal for change, what pain has been wrought, what lives ruined, what fortunes lost for generations. We are human, and the lessons learned about family structure and family life since the dawn of our sense of history, cannot be successfully engineered and replaced with something inhumane, certainly not in a generation. The wounds of Saddam like the wounds of Jim Crow take time to heal. They are not overcome in a generation, but maybe we can go a little faster than what we have if we can resist the Siren song of Change.

4/02/2008 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Benj said...

Wade - quickie - Given how inconsecutive my posts have been, I'm not the the one to give YOU dispensation. Hear you re dangers of building identity on plaints. I think you just nailed the direction of O's DREAMS. The movement of the book is (back and forth) from a sense of personal/familial/racial injury to larger forms of, sorry, solidarity...From Nego to Affirmations of Faith. A little too pat to make a great book, but there it is. Given O's peculiar life story and his politics (received admittedly like my own - and most folks?) he "progresses" toward an expansive but I think felt sense of American (and Human)identity.

Back in the 90s' Kristol and Brooks complained about Newt/Norquist conservatives because they refused to appeal to American Greatness. - I figure Obama means to be an American Greatness liberal. What that means in policy terms is still to be determined. What there is on record is not in DREAMS but in AUDACITY. Even there though, O is wary about getting to specific - Ready to take leads from others, he means to revive liberalism and that means creating a context for NEW ideas/approaches. But, as he says, he'll be there to set parameters. I don't think anyone has to worry that he's going to encourage a politics of race-based revenge. And he ain't going to sell THIS country out to Islamists either.

Your sadness about how LONG and how hard things have gone since slavery days here is well-taken - but O is right to underscore that stuff aint static. That lousy movie re Bobby K. was interesting to me on this score. One character in it is a young brother-man. A functionary in the Kennedy campaign who dreams of becoming...Secretary of Transportation! Not believable of course, but his supposed ambition does underscore how far we've come. (Pace Wretch.) I remember watching the Foreign Affairs Committee hearings last year - It was moving (to me) when Condi faced off with Barack. It seemed to me the mutual respect between the two of them was absolutely apparent. The human relations in their calls and responses were simply different than what down when Kerry or Clinton held forth and it was back to foxholes...

CHange and Fam - What can I say, I 'm a fam man and I come from a strong one. (Lived down the block from my bro for 30 years in NYC.) One of my fave analysts of American culture was Christopher Lasch - Known best for his book The Cultire of Narcissism. (Not his best.) Lasch was a Big defender of the Fam (enraged rad feminists) - Big critic of late capitalism too. It's the money-men who helped fuel assaults on communities and families. (Got to get those women working to take care of a working class family now, no?)_

Back to O - and then I'm out (promise) - Adolescents need to say NO as they find their ways forward. One way of going there is to identify with society's Outs, right? I don't think that's the worst impulse. And I don't think Obama does either. Tbat's why he's not too hard on his younger self. I'm reminded, just now, of how Bill Buckley's kid said NO. I remember an annecdote about him tatooing - F - You on his fist fingers. Christopher B. turned out ok - writes humor books that I hear are funny. Obama's teenaged nihil moments were a little more "political" - maybe he was just more full of himself. Or maybe - down the line - it enabled him to remind us that our impulse to identify with others is no joke.

4/02/2008 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger twostrangers said...

I'm not a deep thinker like most of you who have replied, but I am familiar with hustlers having played pool for longer than I care to admit. An average hustler has your pockets empty before you realize you have been hustled. A good hustler has most of the money in the room before people realize he is a hustler. A great hustler has everybody's money and they don't realize they have been hustled, and when the hustler leaves town nobody knows his real identity.

In the pool world these guys are called road players. Not every great pool player is good on the road because a lot of them can't hide their true speed and they don't know the moves, or they are too well known.

Obama is a hustler, or at least that is what he is trying to be, and it is working for him at the moment because he doesn't have enough of a public record for people to have figured out who he is yet. Rev Wright blew his cover but he assured people that the Rev was just his crazy uncle, don't pay him no mind. Still, there is some doubt in a lot of people's minds that Obama is who they thought he was when he first walked in the room and grabbed a cue. He isn't out the door with the money yet.

4/09/2008 08:55:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger