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This blog roots for Barack Obama! October 11, 2008

Posted by dorigo in news, personal, politics.
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In case you had not realized it yet, the US presidential campaign is red-hot. And in case you haven’t noticed, Sen. Obama seems to be leading. Now, offhand I have to say that despite my sympathies with one or the other candidate, I have grown a bit disillusioned about the fact that somebody who reaches that seat be capable of changing any of the deformities of the american society.

To become a President of the United States, you have been a Senator, a Governor, a politician for a long time; you have probably grown accustomed to cohabit with those deformities; maybe you do not notice them any more, or maybe you justify them, or even look at them as virtues by now, and that goes regardless of whether you’re a republican or a democrat.

But with Obama it is different. Not only for what he is: despite his good record, and his nice speeches, I am unable to really understand whether he is different or not, and whether he will be able to put repair to the deficiencies of the american society; but for what he represents. He represents a real change in the way the United States declare to think about themselves, and the way they present themselves to the rest of the world; he represents a strong statement that America is ready for a step forward.

I do not think the United States can lecture anybody about integration and tolerance to different races and cultures, despite the multi-racial nature of their society: conflicts and inequalities are still too strong at home. But I do think that Europe does need such a clear message as the election of an afro-american US president -and one with a father born in Africa!-, at a time when immigration is causing strong imbalances, and when center-right governments increasingly leverage on their citizens’ innate fear of the stranger to strengthen their power and create a classist society. All countries in the world need such a message. The US themselves need the message they are self-delivering with Obama as president.

Of course, a new face in the oval office cannot clean the slate of two centuries of foreign politics based on oppression and imperialism by itself. But the face of a democrat from a ethnic minority may be the right one, the credible one with which to take on some of the world’s problems. World economy, famine, the palestinian question, the dialogue with arab countries, the fight to terrorism. A more democratic approach to global issues.

That, at least, is what I hope. And that is why this blog roots for Obama.

Comments

1. Andrea Giammanco - October 11, 2008

This can be of interest for the readers of this blog:
http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080924/full/455446a.html

“Barack Obama accepted Nature’s invitation to answer 18 science-related questions in writing; John McCain’s campaign declined. Obama’s answers to many of the questions are printed here; answers to additional questions (on topics including biosecurity, the nuclear weapons laboratories and US participation in international projects) can be found at http://www.nature.com/uselection. Wherever possible, Nature has noted what McCain has said at other times on these topics.”

2. Fred - October 11, 2008

Hello Tommaso,

“I am unable to really understand whether he is different or not…”

This used to be a $64,000 question. What’s it worth now?

Thanks, Andrea. Within that revealing article, a follow-up comment added a link to a similar study with an interactive grading and commentary option for each candidate’s answers:

http://www.sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php?id=42

3. anon - October 11, 2008

Dorigo: “two centuries of foreign politics based on oppression and imperialism by itself.”

Really? The US foreign policy was based on imperialism in 1808? 1922?

The last decade hasn’t been our finest, but come on… really?

4. dorigo - October 11, 2008

And slavery, of course, was fine ?

5. goffredo - October 11, 2008

Anon. Why are you suprised and I am not? Tommaso is quite predictable and the espression “two centuries of foreign plotics based on oppression and imperialism” is the usual stuff.

Tommaso shamelessly forgets the history of the last 200 years. Europe started, all by themselves, two World Wars that cost so many lives and terrible destruction. The first war was terrible and yet they were still able to concoct two horrible ideologies where human lives were worthless and entirely expendable. I’ve said this before and will continue to do so everytime the europeans forget their own damned and shameful violent history. Humans are mortal, Socrates is human, Socrates is mortal. Europeans are hypocrites, Tommaso is a european, Tommaso is a hypocrite. The conclusion would be certain if the presmise were solid, but it isn’t. Of course not all Europeans are hypocrite. So maybe Tommaso is not a hypocrite. But he sure knows how to simulate one.

Regards Obama. Of course there are people that will not vote for him because he is black. But that does not mean that those that do not vote at all or those that vote McCain will have done so because Obama is black. An american lecture about integration: the fact Obama is black is NOT a reason to vote for him. One should vote for him if you think is presidential, vote for him because he is superior to McCain, vote for him because you fear McCain is a continuation of Bush, vote for him because McCain is old, vote for him because you believe Biden is a better choice than Palin, vote for him because he will set the economy on the right track, BUT DO NOT vote for him because he is black.

6. dorigo - October 11, 2008

Hi Jeff, sure – my sentence on the US foreign politics is biased, the world is an ugly place, and I should not forget communism, or the crusades, or whatever. Still, I think you got the gist of my post, leaving aside our different judgements on that topic.

I do concur with what you write, if only in part. True, a rational evaluation of the politics of the two candidates is the most important thing, but it is not the only one. In fact, I insist: if one were to value both candidates equally, and were undecided for whom to cast one’s vote, a wise choice would be to vote for Obama based only on his looks. Because the means is the message, as you know. Yes, voting for Obama because he is black is certainly not such a stupid thing. The message the US would convey would be one of pacification, for once.

Cheers,
T.

7. Tony Smith - October 11, 2008

Here in Georgia USA early voting is allowed, and I have already voted for Obama,
and
I also hope that he will be “.. a new face in the oval office … with which to take on some of the world’s problems …[including]… World economy …”.

As to the World economy, a DEBKA web article said:
“… The only Western leader to address this problem head-on was Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
At a government session in Rome, Oct. 10, he revealed:
“The idea of suspending the markets for the time it takes to rewrite new rules is being discussed.”
Berlusconi added: “They can’t just be for one country, or even just for Europe, but global.”
This remark was quickly retracted after a phone call from the White House in Washington, according to our sources, because it opens up the even more problematic question of who is competent to lead the rewriting of the rules …”.

Berlusconi’s proposal of suspending the markets is just what Franklin Roosevelt did – according to a history.com web page:
“… When Franklin Roosevelt started his first term in the White House in 1933, he inherited a nation in the depths of the Depression. A record 13 million Americans were unemployed and businesses were drowning in red ink.
Perhaps even more pressing was the head-spinning string of bank failures which had triggered a frantic run on the nationÝs savings vaults. The wave of withdrawals by panic-stricken depositors further dried up banks’ already-depleted supply of liquid assets and pushed the nation’s banking system to the brink of disaster.
On March 5–the day after being sworn into office–Roosevelt stepped into the breach and declared a “bank holiday,” which, for four days forced the closure of the nation’s banks and halted all financial transactions. The “holiday” not only helped stem the frantic run on banks, but gave Roosevelt time to push the Emergency Banking Act through the legislative chain.
Passed by Congress on March 9, the act handed the president a far-reaching grip over bank dealings and “foreign transactions.” The legislation also paved the path for solvent banks to resume business as early as March 10. Three short days later nearly 1,000 banks were up and running again. …”.

It is interesting that Berlusconi is the only head of state who has stated the obvious – that a Roosevelt-type approach is needed to reconstruct the financial system.
It is also interesting that he backed down when the people to whom he answers (big-money New York financiers and their Washington puppets) told him to shut up.

Unless Obama is able to do what Roosevelt did,
I am afraid that the New York-based financial system is broken and gone, to be succeeded by a Shanghai-based system.

Tony Smith

8. dorigo - October 11, 2008

Tony, thanks for this interesting comment. The situation now is probably different from what it was in 1933, despite many similarities. Berlusconi is of course no Roosevelt, but if there is one thing he knows very well, that is the market. He may have had the right idea, but he is not the person who can start it, although I would admit he is quite influential, having managed to befriend both Bush and Putin.

I think Berlusconi is irresistibly attracted by the idea of being omnipotent, because he behaves accordingly -only to be brought feet down by events. As anybody who feels omnipotent, he thinks at solutions to problems, and can’t stand still and acts. Sometimes he even succeeds. After he suggested to close the markets, he suggested also to his countrymen to avoid selling -which is a good idea- but went over the top, adding that people should buy Enel and Eni stocks -a clear case of auction ingerence [unsure if this is the proper translation of “turbativa d’asta”, i.e. when somebody alters the prices of goods being sold].

Cheers,
T.

9. goffredo - October 11, 2008

Ha ha.
“Turbativa d’asta” = bid rigging or collusive tendering. The funny thing is that “turbativa” come from “turbare” which means agitate, bedevil, bother, derange. Why do I find it funny? The world’s economy is going berserk, people are agitated, and panic might break out and…. Berlusconi is accused of “turbativa d’asta”. Amazingly funny

goffredo

p.s.
Tommaso wrote: “The message the US would convey would be one of pacification, for once.” It is a matter of fact that the US has sent messages of pacification many a times in its history while others were insistently intent on warlike and deadly behaviour. The last expression “peaceful message … for once” is just a bunch of CRAP.

10. Doug - October 11, 2008

Hi Tommaso,

This former US NAVY, in-country Vietnam veteran, is going to vote for Obama primarily because the republican party or GOP has become the epitome of incompetence thanks mostly to the W administration.

McCain is genaerally a decent individual, but he has been using disgraceful, recently typical republican tactics.

I do wish that you were a US citizen because Obama could use your vote.

11. island - October 11, 2008

I hate politics, but right now we need another republican about as much as we need another financial institution.

12. JG - October 11, 2008

I’m a US citizen. Obama is not that easy to vote for but McCain and the Republicans are really easy to vote against. McCain’s hate rallies must strike a chord in the memories of all Europeans, and the complete bankruptcy of ‘conservatism’ and the Reagan legacy is writ large in the world’s news lately.

And don’t believe the polls, this year especially. If Obama does win the GOP will sue in as many states as necessary to muddy the waters. Even an Obama administration would only stop the bleeding, we need some sort of international movement towards sanity. I’ll get back when I have more than ‘some sort’.

13. island - October 11, 2008

http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080924/full/455446a.html
“Barack Obama accepted Nature’s invitation to answer 18 science-related questions in writing

Do you believe that evolution by means of natural selection is a sufficient explanation for the variety and complexity of life on Earth? Should intelligent design, or some derivative thereof, be taught in science class in public schools?

Please don’t let be be confused with someone who supports ID or creationism, or the supernatural, whatever, but If by “derivative thereof” the author is referring to academic freedom, then he is naively spreading more LEADING bogus hype from the antifantics of the culture war.

The question was not honest.

14. Marco - October 11, 2008

“Of course, a new face in the oval office cannot clean the slate of two centuries of foreign politics based on oppression and imperialism by itself’

This from the country which gave us Mussolini and his fascist forces, invaded Ethiopia, joined Hitler in declaring war on democracy, sent Italians Jews to certain death in German concentration camps, spread Black Hand of corruption, and which currently treats Albanians as trash.

I love Italy, but that statement was so over the top. We should withdraw our military protection which the EU has prospered for the last 60 years. It time for your convictions of our oppression and imperialism to face the Russian Bear, Iranian Mullahs, and Chinese expansionism on your own. Good Luck!

15. dorigo - October 11, 2008

Hi Jeff,

I am not accusing your beloved puppy of anything😉 rest assured. He technically did just that, but of course you are right, nobody even cared to notice, nor is it worth underlining it.

Hello Doug,

well, as I was saying in the post, once you get there, it’s tough to have remained different. If he’s playing dirty I think he’s justified, his opponent can’t find a better way than stopping short of calling him a terrorist.

Hi JG,

you are right, polls are deceiving, especially in this case. Many say they’d vote for a black guy but we’ll see how many do. There are past instances of overturned polls with blacks always on the receiving end (and I am not talking about the mandate).

Hi Island,

politicians are good at dodging that kind of trap. I see no problem in that question. Of course a decent answer, properly misquoted, can yield trouble.

Marco,

what do the sins of Italy have to do with the sins of the US ? Do they diminish them ? Why do you feel compelled to say you love Italy ? I do not see the point. If the US saved us from Hitler or gave us a protection from the bolsheviks, well, I am grateful, but that does not change the facts.

The US have indulged in slavery, oppressed other countries, and practiced ingerence in other nations for decades. Latin American fascist dictators, the war in Korea, the Vietnam War, and now Iraq -only to mention a few of the facts that speak for themselves. Only the war in Iraq has made the G.W.Bush administration responsible for the violent death of several hundreds of thousand civilians. Only marginally less than the AIDS casualties in the world, in the same period of time.

I am not proud of Mussolini and the side Italy took in WWII. Are you proud of your president’s choices in foreign politics ? Take your time to answer.

Cheers all,
T.

16. Fred - October 11, 2008

Marco,

If you are going to go down that path you shouldn’t exclude The Roman Empire, The Crusades, the Polo family, Al Capone and the paparazzi from your list as a few of those could be in the top ten of all time. And don’t you think the Chinese should have been called The Dragons? That would be one heck of a World Series.

17. goffredo - October 11, 2008

Hi Doug. The democratic tactics instead are really good and ethical. McCain cann’t use computers; McCain “doesn’t get it”; McCain is confused, cann’t remember, is disturbed, lost his hearing, etc. Obama and his supporters bring race into the picture. Already in Europe there are an increasing number of so-called intelligent people that say “If Obama deosn’t win then it is because of racism!” There are even some that are asking if america is to fear something if he doesn’t win, maybe a Rodney King nightmare to the n-th power. Obamians criticize McCain for bringing up Obama’s sympathies for Ayers (the dangerous asshole said, after 9/11, that he wished he had bombed more!), but the Obamians are lost decency in attacking Palin on family matters…. The democrats cannot teach us anything about ethics. By Doug.

Hi JG. Hate rallies? Do you really think there aren’t hate rallies against McCain and Palin? Have you been blinded beyond objectivity?

I think Obama does have a great chance to win. The only way McCain could turn the cards is if he attacks Obama far more effectively and tackles him hard. McCain’s attacks instead are too hectic and erratic and Obama is very able to shuffle his way and take the punch out of McCain. I don’t think McCain will get it right in time.

Obama is slick. I am NOT really suprised so many people let him get away with it. I really do feel it is because they are so tired of Bush and don’t percieve McCain as enough of a difference. It is also because there really isn’t much substance to Obama and that nobody seems to know details about his past. McCain instead is just too much a well known and concrete person (as opposed to vague) with all his defects and imperfections and can tick off too many people with his character. Obama is slick. Does Obama really have a presidential character? Most likely we all find out soon. I pray God that he does and that he not he be another Carter or worse.

Goffredo

p.s. Carter is a good man.

18. jimmy - October 11, 2008

I do not think the United States can lecture anybody about integration and tolerance to different races and cultures, despite the multi-racial nature of their society:

How do you like them apples? I find it odd to see Europeans lecturing about racial tolerance. Europe has been the cradle of racism, slavery and pogroms for at least three millennia. And things have not gotten any better there in XXI century, as the French know so very well.

19. dorigo - October 11, 2008

Hah Jimmy, and where do you come from ? Are you a native american by any chance ? If not, your ancestors are those who fled Europe much later than when all the stuff you quote happens. But they insisted with slavery until 1865, for instance.

These are empty statements. Let’s face it, we do not do much progress by going down this line, as Fred says. The present does matter. At present, we have a situation in Iraq to mend, after hundreds of thousands died because of the US invasion. And we have racism picking up a bit everywhere. Italy is not above it.

Cheers,
T.

20. Tony Smith - October 11, 2008

Tommaso, as you say
“… The situation now is probably different from what it was in 1933, despite many similarities …”.

My take on the present situation is set out (in pdf cartoon form) at

http://www.tony5m17h.net/SubprimeShanghai.pdf

As a cartoon, it is somewhat exaggerated/oversimplified, but the main idea is that the situation has grown into such a mess that only Roosevelt-type strong action can prevent a collapse into depression of all economies except China.

As to China,
according to a BBC web article by Quentin Somerville:
“… Unlike much of the rest of the world, China’s economy is in relatively good shape.
Its banks are very conservative:
no sub-prime mortgages or complicated derivatives for them …”
and
according to a worldtribune.com article by Willy Lam:
“… the Chinese leadership under President Hu Jintao is super-upbeat about at least one thing:
American domination over the world is about to be over …
The CCP leadership also hopes that the White House and Congress will not object when China Investment Corp. (China’s sovereign-fund investor) and other state entities go about snapping up undervalued assets in the U.S. A recent attempt by the CIC to buy a large chunk of Morgan Stanley failed to come to pass. …
Hu … the 65-year-old, Fourth-Generation leader is much closer to the aggressive diplomacy of Chairman Mao Zedong … than to the master reformist Deng Xiaoping’s conservative international agenda. …”.

Tony Smith

PS – In some ways, my pdf cartoon is an understatement, because it uses the figure of about $45 trillion for the amount of Credit Default Swap shadow-market assets,
which $45 trillion figure was taken from a March 2008 New York Times article,
whereas,
now, October 2008, it seems that the amount has grown to about $60 trillion,
which shows how fast the malignant growth is expanding,
and
demonstrates the need for fast radical strong action to correct it.

21. JG - October 12, 2008

Marco -> There’s some take it as you will evidence that there has been a ‘reverse Bradley effect’ in the primaries. My guess is there are still large portions of the US who won’t vote Democrat because of skin color or ignorance (see bellow)

goffredo ->

> Hate rallies? Do you really think there aren’t hate rallies against McCain and Palin? Have you been blinded beyond objectivity?

There aren’t. Nobody shouts about killing McCain or Palin. Nobody calls McCain a ‘terrorist’. McCain has had to ask them to tame down. Obama rallies are up with people fests with very little content, almost no negativity (except tying McCain to Bush which is understandable and kid gloves) and an occasional really good speech. Do you have any other evidence? I ask because the RNC doesn’t and they’d sure like to know.

> Obamians are lost decency in attacking Palin on family matters….

Except they didn’t. Imagine for a moment if it was the ‘liberal’ Biden whose kid got knocked up by the high school stud out of wedlock. The race would be over for Biden. The Obama campaign has stayed away, as they should. The blogs attack everyone for everything. Does Obama have to answer for the ‘truther’ idiots or ‘paper moon’ clowns too?

> Ayers (the dangerous asshole said, after 9/11, that he wished he had bombed more!), but the Obamians are lost decency in attacking Palin on family matters….

He was referring to the Weather Underground in the early 70s, McCain, and you, take it out of context to make it appear that he was advocating more events like 9/11. Please note the only people the Weather Underground actually killed were some of their own when a bomb went off accidentally. That said, they were idiots. Obama was 8, a little young for bomb making and playing revolution but Your Mileage May Vary. Does it escape your notice that Palin’s husband was a member of a fringe separatist party, whose convention she shouted out to as governor, or that McCain ‘pals around’ with Liddy who said on his radio show that people should shoot ATF agents and aim for the head (later amended to aim for the groin). If you want guilt by association, McCain is much closer to Liddy then Obama to Ayers, though Palin is married to the guy. I don’t think either charge holds water. The difference is the Democrats aren’t faking charges.

> Obama … nobody seems to know details about his past.

Another well repeated lie. What don’t you know about his past? He’s been running for President for 2 years so all of a sudden he’ll be connected to the Medellin cartel a week before the election?

As I mentioned in my original comment, I’m not a huge Obama fan, there is much to suspect about the man none of which you or the Republican’s are bringing up. I’m unclear whether you’re a Freeper troll or just ignorant.

And … I agree with you about Carter. I think he got a bad rap, as much for his own stupidity in governing and the timing of a really bad economy not of his making. I voted for him twice and I feel the current economic fiasco has it’s roots in Reagan’s gang of thieves. Democrats steal tax money, hire lots of people and maintain a working class base. Republican’s steal all the tax money and move it off shore

22. Marco - October 12, 2008

Clearly you decided to inject personal political beliefs which I thought were over the top and disagreed with. We cannot solve these problems in simple paragraphs, no one can. So why should we quarrel? I enjoyed your Blog because of its scientific viewpoint.

23. Daniel Newby - October 12, 2008

Obama is a skilled Chicago Machine politician. His associations with the scum of Chicago would have destroyed him with scandal, except that he is totally nondefensive about them and casually tosses aside those people when they become inconvenient. His campaign may be made of teflon, but you would personally want to count on his loyalty?

Obama’s saving grace is that the Republican party needs to be burned to the ground and the ashes plowed under as fertilizer. (At least the sentiment is going that way.) A Reagan or an Eisenhower would send Obama to bed without supper.

“I do not think the United States can lecture anybody about integration and tolerance to different races and cultures, despite the multi-racial nature of their society: conflicts and inequalities are still too strong at home.”

Those conflicts are strong because they have been intentionally MADE strong by professional sellers of strife. Within living memory, most children of immigrants were made into Americans. It could be so again if people were to stop looking to D.C. for national saviors.

“Of course, a new face in the oval office cannot clean the slate of two centuries of foreign politics based on oppression and imperialism by itself.”

I tend to be unimpressed by what most people call American imperialism. You want to learn about real U.S. imperialism, look up pogroms like the Trail of Tears, or Sherman’s March to the Sea. Sending a few American soldiers to one of South America’s countless many-sided insurgencies is not imperialism in any meaningful sense.

“World economy, famine, the palestinian question, the dialogue with arab countries, the fight to terrorism.”

Other than international trade, why should the U.S. spend blood and treasure on these problems? We are not the world’s keeper.

24. JG - October 12, 2008

Daniel -> His associations with the scum of Chicago would have destroyed him with scandal,

Care to be specific or are you just spouting talking points?

> A Reagan or an Eisenhower would send Obama to bed without supper.

In a Louis VS Ali sporting event kind of way, sure. Both great politicians. Reagan was a front for an evil machine, the same evil machine that has done their level best to destroy the country in the last 8 years. Eisenhower we could sure as hell use right now but I doubt he’d be with the Republican party as it has existed since Reagan.

> Those conflicts are strong because they have been intentionally MADE strong by professional sellers of strife.

What are you scared of poor people? Read about LBJ sometime.

> Sending a few American soldiers to one of South America’s countless many-sided insurgencies is not imperialism in any meaningful sense.

I take it you have only a passing knowledge of the history of Guatemala. I agree with you on the Trail of Tears reference.

I figure we should stop cluttering up this good physics blog with a sectarian thread (but he sort of asked for it with the post …)

25. goffredo - October 12, 2008

JB
I finally looked at youtube where there were people screaming hate towards Obama. I must admit it is sickening. Palin and McCain do not seem to do anything about it. But I do not think those idiots are direct responsibilities of Palin or McCain just as the swarms on internet blogging cann’t be Obama’s responsibility. But it is objectively true that McCain and Palin seem to do nothing to quench or shame those idiots. I will follow how this thing evolves; i.e. see how McCain and Palin justify why they didn’t do anything.

Regards Ayers, as I understand it Obama has interacted with Ayers as recently as 2005 and I seem to remember reading that his political adventure started with an announcement at a party held by Ayers. Obama did associate with this guy. That Ayers’ bombings date to when Obama was age 8 does not keep Obama out of political embarassment. It IS embarassing! Obama is smart so I imagine he knew who this guy was. If he didn’t know then Obama didn’t have much judgement. It is that simple. Of course McCain proved to have little judgement when he assciatied himself with the like of Keating. But in my mind Ayers is worse than Keating although I imagine that the vast majority of adult americans might vividly remember Keating and not Ayers. The Keating affair touched the pockets and minds of many people. The Ayers story sounds artificial, not that it really is, because america was and is a solid democracy and at no point during the Ayers years was democracy really at risk, quite unlike Italy during the Red-Brigade and Facsist bombing years.

The fact Ayers’ men where the only victims of the bombings does not reduce in anyway his serious responsibilities. If anything I add another adjective. Ayers and his weather undergrounds were/are not only dangerous arseholes but also stupid. But I am used to your qualifiers as in Italy there are many left wing ex-terrorists that have returned to a normal life and only an insignicant minority are sincere in saying how deadly arseholes they were in their shameful past, while the majority pay only lipservice to democracy and some (not a few, more than those that truely broke with their past) do not admit they were flat wrong but come up with all kinds of psuedo-justifications. And what is worst is that there are always many bright and influential people, that where 8 at the time, that do not vigorously condemn the past of these terrible people but buy into the psuedo-justifications so that the myth of bomb and gun uprisings persists like a dormant cancer.

goffredo

26. Doug - October 12, 2008

John McCain was a communist prisoner of war for over 5 years. He was captured and then surrendered, broken into confessions when all he had to do was give his name, rank and serial number.
Likely McCain was tortured despite denials by one of his jailers.
Was he aslo brainwashed, if such a thing is possible?
I do not want to take the chance.
McCain was a pilot, brave and bold, but wrecked two planes and ran into power lines before he was shot down. He ranked 894 of 899 in his 1958 USNA class.
This reminds me of Custer, a trooper brave and bold, but had to be rescued by Merritt at Trevilian Station before his reckless demise at Little Big Horn. He ranked 34 of 34 in his 1861 USMA class.
McCain had his military experience properly questioned by Wesley Clark who ranked 1st in his 1962 USMA class.

McCain has supported Bush and Cheney. Eisenhower warned about individuals like Cheney when he discussed the military industrial complex, yet Bush ignored this sage “republican” advice.

Obama has condemned Ayers’ past actions. This attempted association is like associating Horton with Dukakis in 1988. This tired old tactic will not work this time. Ayers tuned himself in after charges were dismissed because of prosecutor misconduct, so he did escape discipline for his actions. Ayers is no hero of mine.

Obama is the legacy of Abraham Lincoln that liberal republican called an abolishionist during the US civil war. Liberal republicans have been forced out of the GOP since the Reagan years. There remain only a few moderates like Hagel.

27. goffredo - October 12, 2008

McCain brain washed!?! McCain, the “Mancurian Candidate”! You are joking, right?

That McCain was brain-washed by the nasty viets to harm america once in power is about as stupid as to suggest that Obama was programmed as a small child while exposed to islamic teachings to harm america once in power. Admit it and this thread will be a happier place!

Goffredo

28. JG - October 12, 2008

> as I understand it Obama has interacted with Ayers as recently as 2005 and I seem to remember reading that his political adventure started with an announcement at a party held by Ayers. Obama did associate with this guy.

Ayers is a college professor who did his time and won some sort of citizen of the year thing in the 80s. Obama has condemned his actions over and over. Despite what you ‘seem to remember’ Obama’s political career did not start in Ayer’s dining room. I notice you conveniently ignore McCain’s ties, slightly less tenuous, to the wing nut ‘shoot at Feds’ right wing and Palin’s ties, close and well documented, to the gun welding extreme right. Do you see the double standard here? It’s OK to call a convicted felon ‘my friend’ (though admittedly that’s a verbal tick) while they are advocating violent resistance to the government if you’re right wing, it’s not OK to sit on a charity board years later with an English professor if you’re a ‘liberal’. Do some reading on Palin’s career in Alaska to fill in the rest of the argument. The GOP has nothing, so they smear, and if Obama wins they will sue claiming massive voter fraud.

Doug ->
> Was he aslo brainwashed, if such a thing is possible?

Stay away from the comic books, they’re starting to get to you.

29. goffredo - October 12, 2008

Hi JG
yes I see the double standard everyday. It hurts when someone applies to you doesn’t it. May the man without sin throw the first stone! I dare ya

30. Daniel Newby - October 13, 2008

“McCain’s ties, slightly less tenuous, to the wing nut ’shoot at Feds’ right wing …”

They advocate killing ATF agents, not all federal gov’t employees. Given the ATF’s long history of violence and cruelty and contempt for the rule of law, this is plausibly reasonable.

“Care to be specific [re. Obama’s associates] or are you just spouting talking points?”

People like Tony Rezko, a slumlord who took public money for running troubled apartment buildings, couldn’t find money to pay the heating bill in winter, yet somehow managed to find cash and support for Obama. People like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who taught the apocalyptic racist hatred that Obama lapped up for decades.

Just examples, mind you. McCain’s associations with censors and with the destroyers of the economy are even more treasonous.

31. JG - October 13, 2008

hey goffredo ->

> It hurts when someone applies to you doesn’t it.

I’m missing the point of your rhetoric. We’re discussing Obama and not McCain. You made some statements I took issue with. Has this thread run its course? I’m not a huge fan of Italian politics but your football rules and the best two restaurants I ever ate in were in Italy. Plus Banda Bassotti.

Daniel Newby ->

> They advocate killing ATF agents, not all federal gov’t employees. Given the ATF’s long history of violence and cruelty and contempt for the rule of law, this is plausibly reasonable.

That would qualify as armed insurrection. So if Michelle Obama were a member of a group that advocated killing LAPD, given the LAPDs long history of violence and cruelty and contempt for the rule of law, that would be OK?

> People like Tony Rezko

Rezko’s going to jail and the campaign gave the money back. It wasn’t a lot of money and there’s absolutely no evidence of undue influence (OK, Obama overpaid for a house … ) Not a very good gotcha.

> People like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who taught the apocalyptic racist hatred that Obama lapped up for decades

Are you scared of black people? (just asking). Do you have evidence that, 1) that’s all Wright preached (not ‘taught’, words actually matter when you’re not making stuff up). Wright’s rantings, from what I’ve read, don’t come close to ‘apocalyptic racist hatred’. If you weren’t so blinded by your … let me guess … populist libertarianism you might have appreciated Obama’s Philly speech on race. If you’ve followed this thread I’m not a huge Obama fan (for reasons that haven’t been discussed), I feel like his ideas are paper thin (as opposed to McCain who is incredibly wrong on just about everything) but the race speech was an admirable attempt to explain the problems the older folk (I’m old) have with people of different hues.

>McCain’s associations with censors and with the destroyers of the economy are even more treasonous.

Agree with you there. My hope is Obama wins and turns out better then he now appears. The Republican’s should go the way of the Whigs or turn the party over to Ron Paul who I don’t agree with on a lot but feel he has integrity and intelligence and would be fun to argue about.

32. Tony Smith - October 13, 2008

With respect to criticism of the financing of candidates (whether Obama or McCain),
the realities of USA politics should be taken into account.

Here is a brief summary of how it works, taken from a 21 July 2008 New Yorker magazine article by Ryan Izza about Obama:
“… media-driven politics eclipsed machine-driven politics … political consultant Don Rose … said … “It became increasingly difficult to get into homes and apartments to talk about candidates … High-rises were tough to crack, and other parts of the city [Chicago] had become too dangerous to walk around in for hours at a time. And people didn’t want to answer their doors.
Thus the increasing dependence on TV, radio, direct mail, phone-banking, robocalls, et cetera – all things that cost a hell of a lot more money than patronage workers ….”.
Instead of a large army of ward heelers dragging people to the polls, candidates needed a small army of donors to pay for commercials.
Money replaced bodies as the currency of … politics.
This new system became known as “pinstripe patronage”, because the key to winning was not rewarding voters with jobs but rewarding donors with government contracts. …
Barack Obama .. explained how the new pinstripe patronage worked:
a politician rewards the law firms, developers, and brokerage houses with contracts, and in return they pay for the new ad campaigns necessary for reelection. “They do well, and you get a $5 million to $10 million war chest”, Obama told … E. J. Dionne, Jr., of the Washington Post

Marty Nesbitt … described the first meeting in which Obama pitched the idea of running for the U. S. Senate … he [Obama] said,
if you raise five million dollars, I have a fifty-per-cent chance of winning.
If you raise seven million dollars, I have a seventy-per-cent chance of winning.
If you raise ten million dollars, I guarantee victory ….”.

Therefore, the way the USA system works, ANY successful candidate, whether Obama or McCain or anyone else, MUST raise a LOT of money from “law firms, developers, and brokerage houses”, ALL of whom expect to be rewarded with government contracts.

Both McCain and Obama have gotten their nominations within that USA political system,
so it is naive or disingenuous to criticize either of them for getting support from such sources.

Given that, the serious question raised by the current economic crisis is:
which candidate, once elected, would be better able to use the USA political system to transform its economic system into something that works.
For example, if $60 trillion of shadow-banking-system derivatives are realistically worthless,
the pain of recognizing the loss of that $60 trillion could be balanced by the simultaneous introduction of $60 trillion of government projects such as nuclear power plants, rapid rail transit, etc, construction, which could create a lot of good jobs.

In my opinion, Obama understands the system well enough to be able to do that ( by acting as the Strong Smart President at the end of my pdf slide show at tony5m17h.net/SubprimeShanghai.pdf ),
and that is why I have voted for Obama (early voting being allowed where I live).

Tony Smith

33. Fred - October 13, 2008

You’re right, Tony. Historically, our county’s critical infrastructures always seem to degenerate unless we have “the Strong Smart President.” Five of our first seven presidents demonstrated this ability (notably, the two omitted Adams’ administrations lacked this trait) and it has obviously left an indelible mark and I feel has become the Achilles heal within our national psyche. This emotional servitude will continue to have a long shelf life but the imbalance it recreates in our ability to govern effectively reminds me of the huge land fires we fight every year in the western U.S. The saving grace is that we are not alone in this regard, internationally speaking.

p.s. Your slide show does have some legs as I had received it last week via a source completely unrelated to this blog’s links.

Hi T,
I want to needle you with this very recent report:
“Berlusconi has even suggested that Bush could be a visiting professor at a university he has proposed.” Who knows? He might be coming to a school near you.

34. Doug - October 13, 2008

to goffredo and JG,

Have you not heard of the Stockholm Syndrome?

Also see Brainwashing:
1 – “In Tibet in the 1950s the invading Chinese army arrested Robert W. Ford, a British radio-operator working there. Ford spent nearly 5 years in jail, in constant fear of execution, and experienced interrogation and thought-reform. He published a book, Captured in Tibet, about his experience in Tibet, describing and analyzing thought-reform in practice.”
2 – “The methods of thought-control proved extremely useful when deployed for gaining the compliance of prisoners-of-war. Key elements in their success included tight control of the information available to the individual and tight control over the behavior of the individual. When, after repatriation, close control of information ceased and reality-testing could resume, former prisoners fairly quickly regained a close approximation of their original picture of the world and of the societies from which they had come. Furthermore, prisoners subject to thought-control often had simply behaved in ways that pleased their captors, without changing their fundamental beliefs. So the fear of brainwashed sleeper agents, such as that dramatized in the novel and the films The Manchurian Candidate, never materialized.”
3 – “The PRC had refined and extended techniques earlier used in the Soviet Union to prepare prisoners for show-trials, and they in turn had learned much from the Inquisition[citation needed]. In the Chinese context, these techniques had multiple goals that went far beyond the simple control of subjects in the prison camps of North Korea. They aimed to produce confessions, to convince the accused that they had indeed perpetrated anti-social acts, to make them feel guilty of these crimes against the state, to make them desirous of a fundamental change in outlook toward the institutions of the new communist society, and, finally, to actually accomplish these desired changes in the recipients of the brainwashing/thought-reform.”
4 – “Later, two studies of the Korean War defections by Robert Lifton[7] and Edgar Schein[8] concluded that brainwashing had a transient effect when used on prisoners-of-war. Lifton and Schein found that the Chinese did not engage in any systematic re-education of prisoners, but generally used their techniques of coercive persuasion to disrupt the ability of the prisoners to organize to maintain their morale and to try to escape. The Chinese did, however, succeed in getting some of the prisoners to make anti-American statements by placing the prisoners under harsh conditions of physical and social deprivation and disruption, and then by offering them more comfortable situations such as better sleeping quarters, quality food, warmer clothes or blankets. Nevertheless, the psychiatrists noted that even these measures of coercion proved quite ineffective at changing basic attitudes for most people. In essence, the prisoners did not actually adopt Communist beliefs. Rather, many of them behaved as though they did in order to avoid the plausible threat of extreme physical abuse.”

These 1950s studies were before the advent of so-called truth serums.

35. JG - October 13, 2008

I personally have been brainwashed by nefarious printed matter and have some serious reservations about string theory. As a total and complete amateur I tend to look more at quantum loop gravity.

If any of the regular posters on this blog want to flame please do. I wear my physics ignorance proudly (not unlike the US Republican party – admittedly in a different sphere of discourse)

36. ThereseJDanielsson - November 11, 2008

Not even a week after the president election the blond topblogger from Sweden, Linda Ekholm speaks out loud about Obama!
And I really believe this is truly written by heart. Scary!

http://www.finest.se/userBlog/?uid=30701&beid=1040511


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