Does One Voice Matter?

It does.

To me.

And that’s enough.

As did many observers,after the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, I felt a sense of great futility.

A president with one of the worst economic records in history, a clearly failing foreign policy, a man of no managerial or administrative skills whatsoever, had been reelected on the basis of “coolness.” Familiarity with rap and basketball, ease in the talk show guest chair and near universal adulation as a great husband and fine father were the qualities judged by a plurality essential to leading to a country of 300 plus million.

Then there was his hapless opponent, and the stumble bum Republican campaign, which, while ably and precisely aided on its disastrous course by Obama For America, would have buried Mr. Romney all on its own. With of course, plenty of assists from a phalanx of media fellatrices.

Another four years of policy based on feelings, which sounds silly and insubstantial, but is all the more dangerous for its inchoate millenarian utopian longings manifested in multiculturalism, politically correct nostrums rooted in Stalinism, all backed by the coercive power of the sate, shown only occasionally with guns, more oftenly cloaked in a phantasmagoria of regulations and impenetrable law. Lawlessness is shrugged off with a giggle or a sneer, as the opposition party has the vapors and clutches its pearls.

Across the conservative threads(libertarians were largely cheering what they see as the coming conflagration, there were repression of weary defeat, and a strange sense of relief: If it’s all over, one no longer needs to care, as often expressed in the comment threads:.

It’s over

Fuck it.

Let it burn.

And my favorite:

Burn it down

Scatter the stones

Salt the earth where it stood.

So I quit blogging, restricting my writing to outraged, or cynical tweets, far easier to do while surfing the net, reading, watching TV or doing all three.

I mean, why bother?

Yet, over these last months things, some small and obscure, some momentous and widely known lead me to believe that it is not all over. The tide of infantile leftism has not washed away everything.

While Europe and the U.S. may be turning on the economic system that made them havens where humanity is safest, richest, healthiest, and happiest, much of the rest of the world – with the exceptions of some foolishly misguided regimes in Lain America, and of course, the Middle East – even large parts of Africa, are emerging from the poverty and oppression that has been the lot of most since humans first formed governments.

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I admit to only skimming this 2000 page plus behemoth back in the 70s.

The Malthusian misery that experts saw as Asia’s inescapable fate turned out entirely wrong. Gunnar Myrdal’s Asian Diilemma of burgeoning populations and scarce resources gives way to an Asian dilemma as how best to supply the goods, services and opportunities the continents’ new middle classes demand.

While Mr Obama, fresh off diversionary feints on immigration and gun control, turns to “Climate Change,” that issue has nearly dropped out of public consciousness, as the defects in it proponents” arguments become more and more clear as they themselves cannot explain the failure of their models.

Even as, in the wakes of the Boston bombing, and the Woolich beheading, governments and media rush to assure us that these atrocities have nothing to do with Islam, public disapproval of Islam rises.

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Evil White racists just didn’t bring out the fans.

While much of American made television and film is filled with endless anti-male, anti – christian, and, dare I say it anti white –sentiments(See “White House down.” Better yet, don’t) some science fiction seems to feel freer to express sentiments not acceptable in mainstream Hollywood drama or comedy, and go beyond the Left Coast’s pet hates to address issues and ideas of real substance. Resistance to big government and constitutional legitimacy are common themes(More on this topic here).

There is of course schadenfreude in Mr. Obama’s current travails. To those who have shifted their views to give him approval ratings that would have sunk him in the election, it’s” We told you so ” time. The president’s Olympian distance( some call it cluelessness), and the dodge and weave tactics of his operators have held back the deluge so far, and while wouldn’t bet on a “Downfall” scenario, irrelevance, however, is quite possible, and more than enough.

Better yet, while the Presidents approval remains in the mid to high forties, an indicator of the truth in Romney’s 47pct remarks, there is a growing sense that something is amiss. In the “Wizard of Oz it was a diminutive nobody pulling the levers powering the illusion. Now, many have the queasysy feeling that there is no one at all behind the curtain.

Republicans can be counted on to cringe at exactly right moment, and decades of of indoctrination and propaganda from left dominated institutions will not be undone by a scattered and not yet self conscious opposition, but it may be – yes ,I understand my weaselly use of the conditional here – that a second term for Mr. Obama, even with all its costs in money and institutional damage, is what is necessary to once again discredit leftism at a time when growing numbers are not old enough to remember its previous failures.

Stay tuned.

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What’s in a Name? In the President’s Case, Quite a Bit, and Quite a Few

( I profoundly hope this will be my last post on President Barack  Obama)

                      D’oh!Bama

Remember BusHitler?  Perhaps you’ve seen Shrillery and Romoney. President Obama has inspired a naming frenzy far beyond the slanging epithets of other campaigns.

In Islamic tradition, Allah has 99 names, or more properly, attributes, such as “Allah the Merciful.”  It occurred to me that President Obama who is something of a demigod himself in some quarters might have at least as many, so I began collecting them some months ago, and the amount rose rapidly.

There are two reasons for this.

First, a large portion of the electorate, and that of core includes me, profoundly disapprove of Mr. Obama, his foundational philosophy, administration, and plans, such as they are, for our future.  This dislike appears across the internet in the nearly endless plays on the President’s name.

The second is linguistic.  Consider the huge number of words beginning with “ob” and the even vaster total starting simply with “o,” and the President is cooked.  That his name begins and ends with a vowel doesn’t help, and even more variants can be added by using words ending in those vowels, as prefixes and suffixes.

Then there is the vocative imperative s in “Oh, bite me!”

The word plays fall into recognizable categories.  Let’s look at a few.

Obamamugabe, Hugobama, Maobama  derive from the President’s  authoritarian leanings.  HoBama sounds like a ghetto epithet, but was a reference to Ho Chi Minh.

Quite a number point to the President’s  Islamophilia . Obama bin Laden is pretty obvious and is a slip of the tongue that even experience newscasters have made. My spell check must know something as it want to change “Obama” to “Osama.”  More and more writers are avoiding this by spelling the dead terrorist’s name “Usama,” which is in fact closer to the actual Arabic.

Buraq Obama is a bit subtler.  The buraq was the flying steed that transported Muhammed to Jerusalem and back one night. Then there is Obamatollah.

Some, such as Obongo( although this first one could be a reference to long time dictator Omar Bongo of Gabon) and Obango might be considered racist.  T’Won(the one) and Teh Won are reminiscent of some of the idiosyncratic spelling in names favored by some African Americans.  Not all of these names are derived directly from the president’s name.

There is “Chocolate Jesus.”  Before calling “racism,” one should consider that this is likely derived from “Chicago Jesus,” coined by David Axelrod. Others of this sort are “Captain Zero” and” “President Downgrade,” commemorating the president’s presiding over the first ever downgrading of U.S. credit.

Others refer to Mr. Obama’s performance in office: Obumble, which also produces the morphological variants Obumbler and Obumbles.

 HomObama? I don’t think so!

There are many more.

In Arthur C. Clarke’s 1953 story “The Nine Billion Names of God”  the universe comes to an end when some Tibetan monks use a super computer to write out all the possible names of God. President Obama is still a long way from nine billion names, but if he’s around for another four years he will easily garner another ninety nine or more.  In that case the stars will not fall from the sky as they did in the story, but the Stars and Stripes may well.

 

Slightly more than 99 names follow:

Obumbles Obumbler
Al-Obama
Bamster
Barack huisinsane Obama
Barpuke Ovomit
Barrack Ebola
BO
Buraq Obama
Captain Zero
Chocolate Jesus
Chicago Jesus
D’One
DuhBama
DumBama
Duoh!Bama
Farouk Obama
HoBama
HugoBama
Insane Hussein
Kim Il Bo
Maobama
Obamugabe
Nobama
NoMoBama
O-hole
O’Bama
O’bomber
Obambi
Obama bin Laden
Obama bin Lyin
Obamaa+
Obamadon’tcare
Obamamismo
Obamamuhammed
Obamanazi
Obamanocchio
ObamaMussolini
Obamanure
ObamatollaH(ps)
Obambabm
Obambi
Obamessiah
Obamoron
Obamugabe
Obamunist
Obango
Obi Wan
Obie
Obimbo
Oblame-o Oblamer
Obleeep
Oblhblah
Oblivious
Oblooper
Obloviator
Oblowme
Oblunderer
Obombya
Obomination
Obominator
Obongo
Obooboo
OBootie(Michjelle)
Obozo
Obumbler
Obumbler
Obumfuk
Obysmal
Odamnbama
Odubya
Odumass
Odumbo
OhbiteMe
OhCrap
OhNO!
OhPoop
OhShit
Olameass
OmarBama
Ososorry
Ovomit
Ozero
Showbama
T’Wan
Teh Won
Zerobama
homobama
Obamamismo
Bamster
Farouk Obama
DaONe
Barpuke Ovomit
OHDAMMMIT
Yo!Bama
hIS onE-nESS
B-hole
HoBama
Occupier inc hief
Obamocuppier
Urkel
Zerobama

Twits at the BBC Provide 21 More Reasons to Vote for Romney/Ryan

22 October 2012 Last updated at 23:21 GMT

BBC poll: Rest of world favours Obama

A Beeb poll conducted in 21 nations around the world shows President Obama the clear favorite. I can just imagine the newsroom folks cackling sententiously as they make American jokes with appallingly bad Texas accents. As an expatriate working among mostly Brits and Aussies I was constantly being condescend to, and was met with utter incredulity when I objected.  As far as I am concerned these 21 nations are 21 more reasons to vote for the Romney –Ryan ticket. Except for perhaps in his own mind, Mr. Obama is not running for President of the world, but maybe he should, as the past four years show him to be singularly unfit for the job of President of the United States.

Among a certain set in the U.S., largely the same demographic that enjoys British period drama series on PBS, this survey will serve as confirmation of their own place among the smug global elect.  After all, the rest of the world agrees with us, so we must be right.  Things are  in my view, unfortunately – changing, but historically the US hasn’t much cared what the rest of the world thought, and this may be the single most important reason why we are still here.

Let’s look at the world that so many in the Obama camp think we should emulate.

First there is Europe.  There has always been a certain summer in Tuscany set that thought the European way far superior to the disordered and rapid pace of American life. While we work long hours, they are sitting in cafes sipping fine coffee and discussing, well,

important stuff.

What one needs to remember is that, despite recent demographic shifts, a majority of

Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre in Paris on 24 August 1572. 70,000 Hugenot protestants murdered.

Americans are descended from people who thought their lives depended on getting the hell out of Europe.  This was a rather sensible outlook.  Why would thoughtful people with some gumption wish to remain on the continent that gave us Wars of Religion, and wars of succession where armies battled and looted to advance the

The alfresco cafe is now a part of the American scene. The coffee at 7-11 is pretty darn good, too.

hereditary prerogatives of whoever had married whichever princess, somewhere, sometime.

And that was the good stuff, just a warm up for the total wars of ideology.

Well, now in the US we have fine coffee, outdoor cafes and, while we still don’t have long vacations, even in the current downturn, a lot more of us have jobs than do over  on the other side. We are grateful for some of our European heritage.  After all, we gained our independence based on our rights as Englishmen, and our founders were profoundly influenced by the Enlightenment, both French and Scottish.

Thus is it is sad for us to look at Britain, where the same elite that staffs the BBC

In Britain they haven’t quite figured out thoughtcrime, but crimespeak will get you finds and/or jail. The black and white hands would seem to have anticipated the ruling multicutural ideology.

unilaterally decided to overwhelm its native people with an alien and unassimilable horde because, well, because it would be neat to have more “diversity.” This disarmed and helpless populace could do little about it if they wanted to, as under their “unwritten constitution,” which is none at all, they can be taken into custody for such Orwellian offenses as “conspiring to commit a public nuisance” or” damaging community cohesion.”  We are grateful to Mr. Orwell for providing us the language to describe this madness, but wish his countrymen had listened a little more closely. The ruling class has little fear of change as the brutal and demeaning class system remains in lace, destroying the working class’s sense of self worth from the cradle on, and anesthetizing a large part of  it with the dole.

King John signs the Magna Carta 1215. It helps when you write stuff down.

Somehow, after a promising start at Runnymede you never quite found your way.

Then there is France.  Her revolution was  the model for every bloody vanguard of the proletariat uprising since, and the monster this nation laid to rest at Les Invalides gave the world total war.  Still, the wine and cheese are great, and the movies, well, I think a lot of us were faking when we hung out, smoked and drank coffee while discussing the Nouvelle Vague.  We don’t smoke anymore and our wine and cheese have gotten pretty awesome.

From the Time of that latter Louises until now, statism has been your way of life, andt he results have been mixed to say the least. It enabled you to wage war, but not to win.

“Third of May” Francisco Goya. Napoleon’s troops shoot civilians. An archetype for countless atrocities over the next century and a half.

Germany, well while we are grateful for the industriousness of the many Germans whose descendants are still a major segment our population, the less said about you, the better.

         It’s as if Goya were clairvoyant.

Spain has been an indirect, but still major influence on our history because she bequeathed her system to our neighbors. Latin America may prefer Obama, but there is no reason to listen.  A continent yet to pull itself out of the seventeenth century feudal mercantilist economic and social structures bequeathed it by Iberia has nothing to teach us.  One has only to look at the telenovelas so popular around the world, or pictures of the ruling classes, to marvel at the almost uniformly white faces in a continent whose inhabitants are predominantly brown and black.

We’re grateful for the great food, exotic cocktails, and wonderful music, but have no interest in the dizzying and manic array of social organizations you have attempted to solve your problems.  Military dictatorships, collectivism, crypto socialists, fascist populists, race based oligarchies, messianic leaders combinng the qualities of caudillo, cacique and shaman come and go down there, but we are still here.

Asian ladies are a highlight of any trip to the symphony these days.

As for Asia, even better than the fine cuisines you’ve brought our way are the industry and success of your emigrants, who, like the Europeans before them, had to leave their ancient lands so as to thrive. We’ll take your engineers, physicists, classical musicians and entrepreneurs, but you can keep your caste systems and oligarchic collectives.

In Africa, perhaps the affection for Mr. Obama there is based on a sense of him as a native son made good.  He has certainly done nothing else of benefit for that struggling continent. We are happy to welcome arrival such as Alioune Niass, the Senegalese street vendor who helped foil the 2010 Times Square bombing plot, but want no part of the conditions that drove him across the Atlantic.

Arabian American OIl Company’s(ARAMCO) first producing well, Dammam #8, 1938.

Then there is the Middle East.  No one would pay any attention to you were it not for the fortunate placement of hydrocarbons in your region, and you would not have that had not the  British and Americans found it for you.  Please, refrain from boastful myth about inventions you had nothing to do with.  Arabic numerals came from India. What you did do was over a millennium ago, and your real thinkers and doers of that time you imprisoned or killed, as you do today.

So, you see, we don’t care what any of you think about who should lead us.  We take from you what is good, and leave you the rest.  And now, we will ignore your advice, and elect a man who looks to us, not to you.

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President Obama No Longer Promising Change, but Asking for Yours

President Obama’s reelection campaign is nothing if not consistently innovative in seeking ways to scoop up the scattered caches of spare cash remaining in his bankrupt country.  First there was the Dinner with Barack lottery, then the Obama Event Registry, and the First Lady’s suggestion that Americans give up pizza nights in support of the POTUS.

Here’s an empty chair for you to set out in your driveway when you give your Yard Sale for Obama

Now we have Yard Sale for Obama.

The Campaign is asking supporters to organize yard sales and donate the proceeds to the President’s reelection effort.

What’s next, national look under the sofa cushions for spare change for Obama day?

Many of the President’s opponents have criticized his disregard for the law as in his executive order allowing children of illegal aliens to apply for scholarships and work.

In the case of the presidential yard sale, the Chief Executive may be violating his administration’s rules. The Federal Government’s recent Resale Round Up initiative is aimed at the resale of dangerous toys.  This may sound like a good idea, but not only shady operators, but everyday Americans selling things they may not know have been recalled are subject to penalty.

As a Mcclatchy News story comments:

“Those who resell recalled children’s products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children’s lives at risk,” said Inez Tenenbaum, the recently confirmed chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The crackdown affects sellers ranging from major thrift-store operators such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army to everyday Americans cleaning out their attics for yard sales, church bazaars or — increasingly — digital hawking on eBay, Craigslist and other Web sites.

Secondhand sellers now must keep abreast of recalls for thousands of products, some of them stretching back more than a decade, to stay within the bounds of the law.

In this instance, the Consumer Product Safety Commission seems determined to protect us from ourselves.  One wonders where “Reuse and Recycle” fits in all this.  Online resale is a boon to anyone wishing to make or save a few bucks, and these days there are more and more Americans in that category.  With eBay, Amazon and other sites, garage sales have gone national, if not global, creating millions of part time merchandisers.

We’ve all seen the stories of authorities busting some kid’s lemonade stand.  Can we now expect to see Feds busting yard sales?.  Perhaps DHS could get in on this, as they have already shown their animus for informal commerce in Baltimore their flea market bust  earlier this year.

What is sauce for the goose is not always sauce for the gander.  The preening gander in the White House is now asking the geese who flock in his wake to pluck themselves.

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The US Economy 2012: All Hail the Farmers and Workers Soviets

Farmers! Workers! The Party( Which one?  Doesn’t matter.) Fight for You!

 

Earlier in the week, the President reached into his stash and produced $170 million to “help” livestock producers by directing the federal government to step up meat purchases.

The caption for this photo in Businessweek was”Pigs at the Lehmann Brothers Farms LLC in Strawn, Illinois. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.” But actually, it’s Lehman Brothers with one “N” and it’s not the Wall Street guys. Too bad, I could really have riffed on that.

As a result of the this  year’s drought –and the permanent mandate that 40% of the U.S. corn crop be turned into ethanol – feed prices are rising so that producers are selling animals for slaughter early, thus leading to a glut, and lower costs to consumers.

Can’t have that.

From Bloomberg:

Obama said he also directed the Defense Department to speed up purchases and hold the meat for later use. The buying will help farmers, and the government will get a better price on products than if they were bought later, he said.

So, the government – which uses our money, and the money it borrows on our behalf -, will get a better price, while we pay more.

Nowadays, you aren’t allowed to call stuff like this cheese. “Processed cheese food” is the correct nomenclature. Lasts forever, and rates and roaches won’t touch it.

What rally floored me about this was that the government is still buying food commodities  directly.  I thought the era of government cheese was long since over.   I know people who remember receiving a Velveeta like substance in waxed cardboard boxes( and thus the origin of the urban vernacular term “cheese,’ meaning money, but I had assumed that USG these days put its food requirements out to tender on the open market for ready to use products.

Wrong.

The President went on to say:

“We’ll freeze it for later — but we’ve got a lot of freezers,” Obama told supporters in Council Bluffs as he kicked off a three-day visit to Iowa, a swing state that is also the country’s leading producer of pork, soybeans, corn and ethanol. “That will help ranchers, you know, who are going through tough times right now.”

 

So somewhere, the Government has a whole heap of foodstuffs frozen for whenever or whatever.

Have you heard of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service(AMS)?  I hadn’t.

AMS Commodity Procurement Division purchases a variety of food products in support of the National School Lunch Program and other food assistance programs. These purchases also help to stabilize prices in agricultural commodity markets by balancing supply and demand.

I thought supply and demand balanced themselves.  One requirement for government jobs must be that one not have taken Econ 101, and this applies apparently, not only to the permanent bureaucracy but to the executive and legislative branches as well..  The hoary grail of “price stability” dates back to the New Deal, if not the Wilson war time administration.  Price stability, one could note was a characteristic of the old Soviet Union, where prices remained the same for decades, for phantom goods stocked on empty shelves.

Coming from California, I well remember periodic uproars over the high price of lettuce( we do love our salads) during seasonal price spikes that were entirely predictable. After a lot of hot air in Sacramento, during which debates I found something else for the salad bowl, $1.59 head lettuce sooner or later when down to $.59, two for a buck on coupon days.

FDR’s Agricultural Adjustment Act was not popular. Nor did it make sense: a depression is characterized by a severe drop in output. Mandating an additional reduction leads to…more depression. Nor was destroying food food popular when so many went hungry. In the previous decade, the Bolsheviks had taken a different approach, simply stealing all the food and leaving the farmers to starve. So, I guess we’ve made some progress.

I suppose this is better than buying food and destroying it, as was done in New Deal Days, although the ethanol program comes close, taking food off the market to produce a fuel with less BTU yield than the fossil fuel used to produce it.

This kind of nonsense crosses administrations, party lines and decades.  The best agricultural policy would be none at all.  Ask yourself this: have you ever gone down to the store and found that there wasn’t any food?  Yet governments remain convinced that they can get it right so that in Europe,  once known for mountains of surplus dairy products, Norway can also experience as it did not long ago, a butter shortage.

Old timers in Indonesia where I was raised, and now live, fondly recall when government employees and workers in large firms were paid in a mix of commodities and cash. A barely developed consumer economy, largely lacking infrastructure, and periodic hyper inflation made this a valuable perk.

This former “third world” country(Now classified as lower middle income by the U.N.)has largely abandoned such practices, while we seem to be a heading for a future in which a large part of the population lines up for government cheese.

It gets worse:  When I saw a link on Drudge to a story on Labor Department subsidies  for payrolls in the states, I assumed it meant state and local governments, the destination of a good deal of stimulus funds, but to my amazement when I went back and had a look, I found this:

US Labor Department announces nearly $100 million in grants available for states to implement, improve short-time compensation or ‘work sharing’

In other words, funds will be provided  so that private employers can avoid layoffs. Now, in the US economy, 100 million isn’t a whole lot, and when apportioned among the states the amounts are laughably small, as the Labor Department  graphic shows, indeed so small that one wonders if the administrative cost will exceed the benefit, as is the case for the entire US government anti poverty effort, which if simply divided by the number of poor people, and then disbursed to them, would lift all of them over the poverty line, with a bit  of a surplus to boot.

What isn’t laughable here is the principle:  In a small part, the government is going to be paying the wages of some private sector employees.  Keep going, and, one day, you have state socialism.

So, this is manifest evidence of the Obama administration’s commitment to government management of the economy, right?  Well,  it isn’t.  You will find this odd program as subtitle D in HR3630, best known for its extension of the payroll tax cut, but which contains all kinds of other little goodies like this one.

I don’t know whose idea this was.  Rep Pelosi didn’t care for the bill at all, but she doesn’t mention this part, so perhaps it was a Democrat effort. It really doesn’t matter  It’s a proudly owned GOP bill..  Republicans have quite rightly decried Federal subsidies to state and local government payrolls.  Do similar – albeit, at this stage, far smaller – subsidies to private payrolls have virtues that those advocated by democrats do not?

The only virtue the mainstream Republican party has is that it is not the Democratic party, and that, rather than being a virtue, is just smaller scale vice, and smaller only due to lack of opportunity rather than any overriding principle.

Both parties claim to work for the benefit of the middle class, want to help struggling farmers and workers, but

The old German DDR symbol has grain for agriculture and the traditional hammer of industry, but also a calipers signifying technology. This might be closer to the mark for today’s emerging collective. Perhaps an iPad substituted for the calipers.

reach for power by favoring one group over another as it suits them. Those attracted by these blandishments should remember that that icon of oppression, the hammer and sickle, was first thought to represent the tools of honest labor, but in the end were used to crush  all into a dependent class, and to cut down any who dared to rise.

Obama’s Iftar: Breaking the Fast and Shaving the Truth

The President’s relationship with truth is tenuous at best. The confabulations and inventions in his autobiography have been well documented and he has amassed a substantial collection of Pinocchios over the years..

At this year’s  iftar dinner( iftar is the breaking of the Ramadan fast, usually beverages and light snacks, but a White House dinner in  a “tradition ” going back to George W.Bush) his remarks were laced with what I would characterize as bromides, myths and lies of omission.

Mr Obama opened with:

Of all the freedoms we cherish as Americans, of all the rights that we hold sacred, foremost among them is freedom of religion, the right to worship as we choose.  It’s enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution — the law of the land, always and forever.  It beats in our heart — in the soul of the people who know that our liberty and our equality is endowed by our Creator.  And it runs through the history of this house, a place where Americans of many faiths can come together and celebrate their holiest of days — and that includes Ramadan.

Among the attendees were the ambassador from Saudi Arabia, where foreigners are routinely imprisoned and then expelled for practicing their religions,  where the penalty for apostasy is death, and where “witches” are regularly executed, as well as diplomats from many other Muslim majority nations where religious freedom is severely restricted, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Also present were ambassadors from some countries with substantial Muslim minorities  , such as Mozambique(17.9%), and Israel (16.9%). This would seem a not very subtle intervention in these nations’ minority affairs.

As I’ve noted before, Thomas Jefferson once held a sunset dinner here with an envoy from Tunisia — perhaps the first Iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago.  And some of you, as you arrived tonight, may have seen our special display, courtesy of our friends at the Library of Congress — the Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson.  And that’s a reminder, along with the generations of patriotic Muslims in America, that Islam — like so many faiths — is part of our national story.

Indeed, the President has said this before. This hoary myth is repeated every Ramadan.  Jefferson did not throw an iftar shindig, but simply and courteously rescheduled a banquet at the request of the fasting envoy from what is now Morocco.    A peace was successfully negotiated but other small states on what was known as the Barbary coast( Tunisia, a French colonial creation named after a Roman province did not yet exist) continued to seize American ships and their crews.  Hence the Marine beat down on the Shores of Tripoli, at Jefferson’s orders..  When I was a kid, we sang the Marine Hymn in school, and understood what ti was about.  Mr. Obama, with his manifest weaknesses in history and geography, clearly does not.

As for the significance of his possession of a Koran, there is little, if any.  Jefferson was a prominent bibliophile  of wide interests who sold his 24,000 volume collection to the Library of Congress to replace books burned by the British in the War of 1812.  He certainly did not regard Islam as “a religion of peace”,  having been told by the ambassador from Algiers, during unsuccessful negotiations in London in 1786,  that the hostility the Americans found baffling in a nation with which they had had little contact “was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

This evening, we’re honored to be joined by members of our diplomatic corps, members of Congress — including Muslim American members of Congress, Keith Ellison and Andre Carson — as well as leaders from across my administration.  And to you, the millions of Muslim Americans across our country, and to the more than one billion Muslims around the world — Ramadan Kareem.

Congressmen Ellison and Carson, both converts, have been vocal opponents of “Islamophobia,” opposing congressional investigation into Islamic  radicalism at every turn, and thus found themselves in congenial company..

Now, every faith is unique.  And yet, during Ramadan, we see the traditions that are shared by many faiths:  Believers engaged in prayer and fasting, in humble devotion to God.  Families gathering together with love for each other.  Neighbors reaching out in compassion and charity, to serve the less fortunate.

Islamic teaching is very specific that charity be given only within the umma, the community of Muslim faithful.  This can be borne out by reference to the activities of Islamic Relief, or the miserable record of Muslim nations in aid to Haiti for post-earthquake relief and reconstruction.

People of different faiths coming together, mindful of our obligations to one another — to peace, justice and dignity for all people — men and women.  Indeed, you know that the Koran teaches, “Be it man or woman, each of you is equal to the other.”

This can only be characterized as a lie, a lie of omission, and is the most egregious of the many untruths in the President’s short talk.  It is also evil, for it denies and devalues the suffering of women under Islam.

Here is a full text of the Koranic ayah 3:195 (verse) from which this quotation is taken

And their Lord responded to them, “Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed – I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah , and Allah has with Him the best reward.”

Clearly, this passage has nothing to do with gender  equality other than than the belief that Muslims of both sexes will be rewarded for their sacrifices in the name of Islam.  t is instructive that the words the President quoted, with its rather strange pronoun reference, appear again and again on sites pushing the notion of Islamic gender equality, such as this one, with no further context.   I have long doubted that Mr. Obama, although he might have chanted Koranic verses in his Indonesian childhood, has an real familiarity with the text. This snippet was handed him  by  someone with an agenda someone like Humeda Abdin, of whom more shortly.

And by the way, we’ve seen this in recent days.  In fact, the Olympics is being called “The Year of the Woman.”  (Laughter.)  Here in America, we’re incredibly proud of Team USA — all of them — but we should notice that a majority of the members are women.  Also, for the very first time in Olympic history, every team now includes a woman athlete.  And one of the reasons is that every team from a Muslim-majority country now includes women as well.  And more broadly — that’s worth applauding.  (Applause.)  Absolutely.

I suppose it is worth applauding, although one might ask what took so long and why returning female Olympic participants still won’’t be able to drive in Saudi Arabia.

After some talk about women’s roles in the Arab upheavals, where the President mention of bloggers seems to mean he’s still selling the “Facebook/Twitter Revolution ” euphoria of pre-Muslim Brotherhood ascendancy days, he goes unto name and praise some of his American Muslim guests,  ending with a special accolade for Secretary Clinton’s aide, Humeda  Abedin.

And that includes a good friend, Huma Abedin, who has worked tirelessly — (applause) — worked tirelessly in the White House, in the U.S. Senate, and most exhaustingly, at the State Department, where she has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear.  Senator Clinton has relied on her expertise, and so have I.

The American people owe her a debt of gratitude — because Huma is an American patriot, and an example of what we need in this country — more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace and her generosity of spirit.  So, on behalf of all Americans, we thank you so much.  (Applause.)

Ms Abedin has been the center of much attention for her familial connections and work experience in Muslim Brotherhood funded and connected organizations.  Those questioning her background are called “nuts” and McCarthyites, but anyone with similar associations to say, white supremacist organizations, would not be able to get a job as a letter carrier.

The President does not say just why we owe her so much gratitude, but he is no doubt appreciative of her support for her boss as Mrs. Clinton has worked with the OIC to suppress speech that “defames religion.”

And at times, we have to admit that this spirit is threatened.  We’ve seen instances of mosques and synagogues, churches and temples being targeted.  Tonight, our prayers, in particular, are with our friends and fellow Americans in the Sikh community.  We mourn those who were senselessly murdered and injured in their place of worship.  And while we may never fully understand what motivates such hatred, such violence, the perpetrators of such despicable acts must know that your twisted thinking is no match for the compassion and the goodness and the strength of our united American family.

He doesn’t say where thee places of worship have been targeted, but there are daily instances of such violence often taken congregants along with structures  and it is generally Sunni Muslims carrying these attacks out.  It is sickening to see the Chief Executive use the American Sikhs’ pain to whitewash Islam as a victim equal to those it in fact victimizes,

So tonight, we declare with one voice that such violence has no place in the United States of America.  The attack on Americans of any faith is an attack on the freedom of all Americans.  (Applause.)  No American should ever have to fear for their safety in their place of worship.  And every American has the right to practice their faith both openly and freely, and as they choose.

This right of course is one that the governments of much of his audience do not accord their citizens.

That is not just an American right; it is a universal human right.  And we will defend the freedom of religion, here at home and around the world.  And as we do, we’ll draw on the strength and example of our interfaith community, including the leaders who are here tonight.

This is at beast an empty boast, or an outright lie.  The abandoned Christians of the Middle East know this, as do Christians in Indonesia and Buddhists in Southern Thailand, or animists in tribal areas of Bangla Desh, among others.

So I want to thank all of you for honoring us with your presence, for the example of your lives, and for your commitment to the values that make us “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  (Applause.)

God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

Allahu Akbar

( You can find the full text of the President’s remarks here.  Unlike Mr. Obama’s,my ellipses do not create untruths.)

The Obama Campaign’s Celebrity Demand Curves

When the Obama campaign began raffling off dinner invitations to the White house, the price was 5$, although the website stated that no no donation or purchase was necessary, which was true as long as one didn’t insist on enrolling in the lottery.   Not much higher than any State Lotto game, and with better odds,  albeit offering a less appealing prize for all but the most starry eyed, who won’t mind being possibly being net losers when they get the tax bill.

The suggested donation quickly fell to 3 bucks, suggesting a radical price cut in the face of lagging demand.

Now, the price has returned to 5$.  Is this the classic mistake of raisingp rices to make up for falling demand, or a precisely calculated move based on strong sales?  Recent raffles have included attendees such as George Clooney, so that winners got two celebrities for a single price.

I like this for the 2016 series $10,000 dollar bill, or perhaps $100 first class mail stamp.

Today’s Five Dollar Special is Michael Jordan. Basketball fans can hang out with the court legend and the Prez, and shoot a bit of hoop after the presumably low cal, low fat dinner, if Michelle vets the menu..  This will be the first event of the 2012 “Obama Classic” Whatever other players’ scores and standings, the winner is predetermined.

As Mr. Obama relates “When Michael Jordan wrote a check to my campaign for U.S. Senate in 2004, I wasn’t sure whether I should cash it or frame it.”  He did, of course, cash it, and hopes to deposit many more from the celebrity obsessed.

The President acknowledges that no everyone is sports minded.  Perhaps this is just the beginning of a sophisticated niche marketing campaign.  Dinner with Spike Lee, for example, would bring in both film aficionados and black nationalists.

Snooki from Jersey Shore would appeal to an enormous and under appreciated demographic, guys who like big boobs and stupidity.

This marketing move mirrors the basis on which we now choose our Presidents: celebrity and blind chance. The 66.6% price rise in the diner lottery  is most likely far less than the inflation we will see after another four years and untold trillions of “investment” in a second Obama term.  And the profile of the Prez shooting hoop will fit nicely into the series of Obambucks that will replace the collapsed dollar.

Campaign 2012: Out of Touch and Worlds Apart

You don’t know what’s goin’ on,

you’ve been away for far too long

You can’t come back and think you are still mine

You’re out of touch, my baby, my poor discarded baby I said,

“Baby, baby, baby, you’re out of time”

The Rolling Stones, “Out of Time”

 

Both the Obama and Romney campaigns have been accusing each other of being out of touch. It’s an enduring and common ploy.  Many will remember the canard that the elder Bush was so out of touch he had never seen a supermarket scanner.

As Politico reported on May 24, the President had this to say about Romney:

There was a woman in Iowa who shared her story of financial struggles, and he gave her an answer right out of an economic textbook.  He said, “Our productivity equals our income.” And the notion was that somehow the reason people can’t pay their bills is because they’re not working hard enough.  If they got more productive, suddenly their incomes would go up.  Well, those of us who’ve spent time in the real world — (laughter) — know that the problem isn’t that the American people aren’t productive enough — you’ve been working harder than ever. The challenge we face right now, and the challenge we’ve faced for over a decade, is that harder work has not led to higher incomes, and bigger profits at the top haven’t led to better jobs.

The laughter in the report may have been at Romney, but outside the world inhabited by the President’s most steadfast supporters, world, in the world of work, trade and productive investment, the laughter was surely directed at the President. Pundits and bloggers were quick to point to Mr. Obama’s lack of private sector experience, and rather abbreviated curriculum vitae in general.

But, is this fair?

While he misunderstood the thrust of Romney’s remarks, the President was on to something: Clearly, Romney was speaking in macroeconomic terms, but macroeconomics may not be the way to connect with town hall listeners.

His  campaign makes much of his private sector experience, but a quick review of modern American presidential politics will show that such experience as many of our presidents have had was not in the manufacturing, retail and service jobs common to the work experience of most Americans.

Surprise!

Politicians typically spend a lot of time in politics.

In my lifetime, there was Harry Truman, artilleryman and failed haberdasher, yes, but for most of his life a mid-level functionary in county and state government. Ike was a soldier, and while his military successes required a high degree of organizational and executive skills, the Army isn’t the private sector.

As to JFK, the only job I can find him in outside of politics was a brief stint as a correspondent for the Hearst Chain, William Randolph Heart and Joe Kennedy being good buds. From 1947 on, it was politics for JFK.  LBJ taught school for a bit, and entered politics.

Nixon’s private sector experience was in private law practice, between his 1937 graduation from Duke and a short time as an Attorney for U.S. Office of Emergency Management, 1942, before he joined the Navy in the same year. He returned briefly to the law before his 1946 election to Congress, and again during his time in the wilderness after the 1960 election, this time a high priced New York layer rather than a storefront practice in Yorba Linda.  Gerald Ford, too, practiced law for a short time before his wartime Navy service, and for a couple of years before he ran for Congress in 1946.  And there he stayed.

Many jests were made at the expense of Carter, the peanut farmer, but he was good at it, taking a modest inheritance and turning it in to a successful concern. Reagan as a radio station announcer, actor and union leader can be said to have worked in the private sector, but not the areas familiar to most Americans. Yet his background, from a family of always modest means as his father drank and failed again and again, was the well spring for his ability to be supremely in touch, as his most critical detractors did and do acknowledge, including President Obama himself.

The first Bush worked in Texas oil and gas for a number of years. Bill Clinton worked some part time jobs in college, but was never in the private sector after graduation.  The second Bush also worked – with far less success than his father – in the Texas oil and gas industry before entering politics, first working for his father’s campaign, then on his own.

FDR, a lawyer without a law degree, having passed the bar exam before he had finished his studies, practiced law for around two years before entering politics. So, we have to go back to Herbert Hoover to find a big time businessman like Romney in the White House.  And you might ask, how did that work out? (Many argue that Hoover’s understanding of markets was defective, but that’s too large a topic for this piece)

Thus, presidents typically have had long political careers, with their private sector experience generally brief, and not in jobs accessible to most people. Nor is there any correlation in background to success or failure. Highly educated and successful farmer Carter is remembered as a failure, while Reagan, with his degree from an obscure college and second tier acting roles is considered a success.

This brings us to the incumbent.  The president held a summer job at Baskin and Robbins, which might have taught him a lesson on consumer choice that he seems to have missed.   Keith Koffler, of whitehousedossier.com put together this handy chart of Obama’s “real world experience.”

At first, I thought Mr Koffler was being kind in counting community organizing as “real world experience.”  I would have included only the stint at Business International Group, as it is the only for profit group employing Mr. Obama after his Baskin and Robbins gig.

But it occurs to me that Koffler is right.  The real world is the world we live in and we don’t all live in the same ones; some overlap, some may as well be separated by interstellar distances.   The issue goes back to being in touch: to connect, the candidate must know the worlds of those whose votes he needs.

This is essential not only to electoral success, but to success in office. In political terms, a successful presidency is defined ultimately by popular perception.  Historians, economists, ideologues and partisans will debate and revise for decades, but the people’s definition of success remains remarkably consistent over time.  Good Presidents, in tribal memory, are those who connected with the American people and addressed what they saw as their needs at the time.

Hoover will forever be a cynosure for failure, while the patrician and autocratic FDR is still beloved of memory. Truman, JFK and LBJ were successful in their connection for a time; dour Nixon managed for a while, connecting with the slightly larger fraction of the electorate that didn’t care for peace marches.  The intelligent, avuncular and gifted athlete Gerald Ford is remembered as an incompetent boob. Carter’s failure to connect, and his successor’s mastery of the art, are both legend.  The Bushes too managed for while, but never neared Regan’s bar, while one can only think that Clinton must have been his secret disciple. His presidency is recalled with longing by a broad swath of the electorate well across party lines; Clinton could travel with ease the disparate worlds of the American electorate.

President Obama seemed a rising master in 2008, but in his execution has faltered. It may be too late for him to regain the worlds he has relinquished in the single-minded pursuit of his beliefs, and it remains for Romney to seize those he has abandoned.