We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“Colonialism today is a dead issue. No one cares about it except the man in the White House. He is the last anticolonial. Emerging market economies such as China, India, Chile and Indonesia have solved the problem of backwardness; they are exploiting their labor advantage and growing much faster than the U.S. If America is going to remain on top, we have to compete in an increasingly tough environment. But instead of readying us for the challenge, our President is trapped in his father’s time machine. Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father’s dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost.”

Dinesh D’Souza.

Those mid-term elections in November should be interesting.

32 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Finally someone makes sense of this man. I shall go forth and read the whole thing.

  • Laird

    A thought-provoking article indeed. Thanks for posting it. I’d be interested in reading Paul Marks’ comments.

  • My thought exactly, Laird.

  • RAB

    Never ever forget how fuckin weird almost all of our leaders turn out to be, in retrospect.

    Blair and Brown are still on the loose, no straight jackets on them yet. Why not? They have given us all the evidence we need to get them sectioned, by their own fair hand!

    Obama is President of a country he never understood, didn’t like, and if you take his early years as formative, barely lived in.

    He certainly doesn’t believe in it, and it’s future, on the contrary, he wishes to destroy it, and replace it with…
    Ah sumthin! We’ll think about that later.

    The Man gets bored easily. He has never done any job or held a position that he kept for long or followed through on.

    He was a Community Organiser, then he was a local Senator, then he’s a proper Senator, then he’s President! all without breaking breath. Shit, how’d that happen?

    Well it happened because like all the crap managers I have ever had, he moves on before he gets found out.

    Promoted to the point of implausibility.

    He’s bored with the details folks. He thought being Prez was gonna be much more fun than this. Shit people actually have contrary opinions? And I have to listen to them? What? explain the nuts and bolts and costs of my Health Care Crusade?? Are you fuckin kidding me? I have no idea myself!

    So now, within two gut wrenching, economy crunching, years, he will be looking to find higher ground for his Messianic Crusade.

    He wants to join Blair and Mandala on the World Peace Gig Circuit, I swear.

    Dont ask about how many votes were cast for me, I am beyond that now, just see what I tell you to see!

    And er… rant over. Over to you Paul. ;-)

  • Laird

    The Peter Principle personified, eh, RAB? OK, I’ll grant you that, but I really think there’s more at work here, much more. Obama is the Perfect Storm of a series of larger forces; the confluence of some major psychohistoric trends.

    Scientists have finally come to understand that there really are huge rogue waves in the deep ocean, rare anomolies which form when several ordinary waves come together in precisely the right manner so that they amplify rather than cancelling out each other. Obama is a rogue wave of American politics. Hopefully his energy will dissipate before he causes too much damage.

  • Jacob

    I don’t agree with D’Souza that Obama’s way is some sort of special African anti-colonialism. It’s rather standard lefty fare taught and believed in all colleges and universities in the US. I don’t think he got more of his personal views from the father he never knew, than from his mother (a standard hippie and lefty), and the schools and universities he studied in. (There sure are also some foreign influences from the years he lived and studied in Indonesia).
    His book sounds made-up, insincere, contrived. Of course, he would glorify his father (whom he didn’t know), and make him into some legendary figure. It’s more romantic this way, it’s also fashionable.

    No, Obama is a standard lefty, product of a standard American university education.

  • Pat

    I would add to the article that Obama senior’s absense inevitably means that Obama jr lacked a full understanding of his father.
    Children are normally very keen to get to know their parents- absent direct experience they will make do with what others tell them and failing that they simply invent stuff to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.
    Hence Obamas dreams are inevitably those he dreams come from his father- and lacking direct knowledge of the man he is incapable of recognising his shortcomings.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Jacob, yes, socialism obviously has a lot to do with Obama’s policies – and the author I quote does not deny this as such. But as his article sets out, some of the policies of Obama make no sense as such in terms of a strict socialist policy; rather, the unifying theme seems to be, he argues, that the policies are seen as hitting America as some sort of colonial oppressor. Hence the support by Obama for offshore drilling in other nations but not the US, etc.

    I really hope he’s a one-term POTUS. I dread to think about the damage that he could cause if he gets in again, although a lot depends on Congress and external events.

  • The point Pat makes is a very good one.

  • Paul Marks

    It should be remembered that Obama Senior hated the moderate socialism in Kenya.

    To him it was fake – and had a point, as although there was a lot of socialist talk and a lot of government interventionism, the economy still had lots of private companies and farms.

    It was the Soviet Union (proper socialism) that Obama Senior wanted.

    Although, in the meantime, he demanded an attack on private landownering and “free” (i.e. tax financed) education, health care (and ……).

    The pro Soviet socialism is the “Dreams from my Father” that Barack Obama supports – as much as he may look down on the man his father became.

    However, when anyone (such as Glenn Beck) tries to point any of this out the left just screams abuse.

    For example, when has “Jon Stewart” (do not underestimate him – he is the most important leftist on television, John Gibson is correct about that) ever dealt with the EVIDENCE against Barack Obama?

    He just attacks anyone who tries to point the truth about Obama (i.e. that he is and has always been an America hater and a pro Soviet Marxist) as crazy. And, of course, the Mr Stewart launches some “attack” on Obama (over some minor thing such as Barack Obama tripping over some words) in order to cover himself.

    Such is the way of the left – at least of leftists who are clever.

    Do not attempt to refute EVIDENCE (just attack the messenger – Saul Alinsky outlines why this is the way to respond) and do not be too slavish in your support for socialist leaders – launch playful little “attacks” in order to seem independent.

    By the way – as a previous post noted (and as Glenn Beck pointed out some time ago) the new Kenyan Constitution is disguised socialism – the word is not used, indeed “private property” is formally supported, bu the detail both undermines private property and established bankupting “rights” to every nice thing Obama Senior suggested.

    Indeed the Constitution would have deeply gratified Obama senior – he would have known how it will be used.

    And, of course, the campaign to get it pased (supported by Obama’s kinsman – the East German trained person who named his children after “Che” and Winnie Mandela, and who is now Prime Minister of Kenya) was part financed by the American taxpayer – thanks to Obama jr.

  • renminbi

    His “Dreams…” was likely ghosted by Bill Ayerss,but since it is over his name,it reflects what he “thinks,” or rather, feels. We have elected ourselves an emotional basket case, who has a grudge against the world and the US in particular.
    Also there have been rumors the man is on the down low.The more secrets one has the worse it is. A life based on lies.

  • His “Dreams…” was likely ghosted by Bill Ayerss

    And that this has been denied doesn’t disprove this assertion, but arguable further demonstrates the dishonesty of the man. After all, the books are the work of an experienced writer, but what else has he written? Nothing at all bar the autobiographies…..

    Frankly, the man is constructed and has a great deal of support behind him. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’m not so stupid as to think that conspiracies don’t happen on occasion.

    Obama has been on an extraordinary political trajectory for years, doing all the standard jobs his career needed, but not staying in them long enought to actually do them. In his current role tho, I don’t think that Obamas backers meant for him to become prez so soon. I suspect he was meant to give Hilary a run, but be adopted as her running mate, get a stint as VP under his belt, and aim for Prez next time around.

    Or I could be wrong, and his career is just a freak statistical outlier.

  • Jacob

    “America as some sort of colonial oppressor.”

    That is standard socialist dogma, it’s the communist and Soviet propaganda (brain-washing) line, since forever. All lefties believe and parrot it. For example: Noam Chomsky, who has no African father.

    Eisenhower condemned the Anglo-French Suez invasion in 1956 just because he felt a strong urge to disprove the Soviet propaganda about American colonialism.
    You don’t need and African father to believe this, especially as there is a grain of truth in it (See the 1898 American conquest of Cuba and the Philippines).

    That’s why I say that D’Souza’s claim that you need Obama’s African father in order to understand Obama Jr doesn’t make sense.

  • grumpy old man

    Dear Jonathan.
    “I really hope he’s a one-term POTUS”. Look in the long grass. there’s a rake labelled “Hilary for 2012″ waiting to be stepped on. The GOP doesn’t have a hope in 2012, and if you consider Barak bad, what do you make of the mispeaking junior senator from NY? At least Barak is too idle, ignorant and ineffectual to get much past the hostile House he will have to work with come November. Keep Barak until 2016 by which time the Republicans should have a viable candidate.

  • I agree with Jacob. Still, the value of the article in that it simply analyzes the man’s psyche in a way that actually makes sense (and one’s parents are always an important part of it) should not be overlooked. Yes, the man is a socialist, but he is not a standard socialist. The article clearly explains why, and makes sense of some of his actions that do not make sense otherwise. I think that the major point to take from this analysis is this: O is a socialist, and all socialists hate America. However, his hatred is much stronger and deeper, and mere socialism cannot explain this.

  • Mike Lorrey

    The reason Obama has a hate for America that exceeds your standard university academic socialist is that he lived this between worlds existence: Hawaii, then Indonesia, then Hawaii, then Kenya, then Hawaii, NYC, Chicago. He has continuously, through his childhood, been shown a living contrast between the lifestyle and attitudes of his American (white) relatives versus his Kenyan and Indonesian relatives, and taught that the distinctions in lifestyle and attitudes had to do with a history of colonialism and oppression. He had this history rubbed in his face every day of his childhood in a way that your typical guilt ridden rich American leftist can never comprehend, whether or not the facts of this history were true or not.

  • Millie Woods

    Let me put on my linguistics prof hat to support the view that Obama was not the author of his memoir. Obama is a native speaker of what I joshingly refer to as Sloblish. Sloblish speakers – and remarkably most American lefties are users – routinely elide medial t’s so that international becomes innernational, interaction – inneraction and so forth. You get the picture. New verb forms – coulda, shoulda, woulda, hafta etc, – proliferate in Sloblish as do glottal stops. Obama can read standard English from a teleprompter but he and Michele, who has announced in perfect Sloblish that she is cenered on her family, are native speakers of the other tongue.

  • Laird

    I fail to see your point, Millie. Granted arguendo that Barack and Michelle are native Slobish speakers, that’s a matter of pronounciation, not spelling. Just because you don’t pronounce the medial “t” doesn’t mean that an educated Slobish speaker doesn’t spell the word with that “t” in its proper place. What relevance does this have to his putative authorship of the memoirs?

  • Jacob

    It doesn’t matter who wrote the memoir. We have to assume that it represents his thinking.
    The fact is Obama didn’t know his father. So it looks that what influenced him is an imaginary father, not the actual one. Whether it was his own imagination that created this father, or the portrait was composed of fragments of legend he gathered from his mother and other relatives – I don’t know.
    Obama’s socialism and hatred for America seems to me a standard feature of lefty academia and Obama’s circle of friends – Ayers, Wright. The invoking of a dead and unknown father to explain Obama is not required in order to understand him.
    I’m no great Obamologist, but his opinions look very common and familiar to me, I’ve heard them millions of times, from people everywhere, who had no African fathers.

  • Millie Woods

    Laird, it means that their linguistic competence is low and therefore their capacity to produce eloquent written work is subject to appraisal. As for writing and spelling and pronunciation just check the gonnas and wannas now appearing in print sent to you by the cognoscenti trend setters. If it were not for mass literacy English could degenerate into a form of Sloblish certainly in the USA. Does it matter? Well in my other language, French, in Canada a form of the language known as joual – deterioration of cheval – is the norm for a significant part of the populace. The same thing is quite possible in the USA with Sloblish.

  • Paul Marks

    Do not underestimate the hatred for America (or rather for the principles of limited government, private property and traditional society that the word “America” represents) in the education system (not just the universities) and the “mainstream” media – Barack Obama is not that far outside the norm.

    Also do not underestimate the capacity for self deception among even the moderate left – the new “Lexington” at the Economist magazine is a classic example. The Barack Obama he writes about has no connection to the real man – and any evidence about the real man is dismissed as “propaganda”. The delusion of Barack as a nice man who loves America is too pleasing to be rejected just because it is contradicted by facts.

    However, Barack Obama is indeed not quite in the mainstream of the American left (even of the extreme left) – for example the complex mixture of influences described in J.B.s ‘Liberal Fascism” has little connection to Barack Obama (it is far more relevant for Hillary Clinton). Barack really is much closer to a simple Marxist – although one of the modern Frankfurt School, and with “Third Worldism” attached.

  • Jacob

    I think “Third Worldism” is part and parcel of standard leftism, it is not an attachement.

  • I am not so sure that it is as much part of the standard American leftism though, Jacob.

  • Laird

    “their linguistic competence is low and therefore their capacity to produce eloquent written work is subject to appraisal.”

    I’ll take your word for that, Millie, but even granted the point it’s certainly not dispositive of the issue. Frankly, I think CountingCats’ point about Obama’s lack of writing experience (not having written anything else) is more persuasive.

  • Let me put on my linguistics prof hat to support the view that Obama was not the author of his memoir. Obama is a native speaker of what I joshingly refer to as Sloblish. Sloblish speakers – and remarkably most American lefties are users – routinely elide medial t’s so that international becomes innernational, interaction – inneraction and so forth. You get the picture.

    Oh Jesus Christ. What you’re calling “Slobbish” is actually “Standard American English.” The medial /t/ pronunciation you’re referring to has an official Linguistic name, in fact – the “Flapping Rule.” It is an example of a Linguistic phenomenon called “neutralization,” in which a distinction between two phonemes is blurred or even eliminated (as is the case in the American example under discussion) in well-defined phonological environments. In this particular case, the “environment” is when a /t/ or /d/ follows a vowel and comes before an unstressed syllable (in the same word). The “flapped” pronunciation is systematic, and it’s EVERYONE. ALL native speakers of American English do this (with one or two dialectal exceptions, as there always are – call them Pittsburgh and Boston). Including, in fact, every President of the United States in living memory (naturally, since they’re all native speakers of American English), so Obama is absolutely no exception here. Nor is American English even remotely exceptional here: every language I’m aware of has some kind of neutralization process. So what we have here, I’m afraid, is yet another example of Millie Woods’ shocking ignorance of Linguistics, a subject she frequently claims to, but cannot possibly have, studied in detail. Honestly, the flapping rule is first semester Phonology stuff. If you’ve cracked a Phonology textbook, you’ve heard of it. And if you’ve cracked a Sociolinguistics textbook, you understand why expecting literacy to change unconscious speech habits is vain. But don’t take my word for it – go to the library, check one out, and see for yourself.

  • OK, well, I deserve this for posting in haste out of annoyance: of course I got this wrong. It isn’t the flapping rule that accounts for the /t/ deletion in the examples Millie cited, but it’s still a neutralization rule that’s common to nearly all North American dialects. It just says that /t/ deletes after /n/ when preceding an unstressed syllable. Details, should anyone have an interest in this, can be found in section 6.2.2 (p.130) of Bruce Hayes’ “Introductory Phonology,” a standard textbook. It’s published by Wiley-Blackwell; my citation is from the 2009 edition (I don’t think there are any others).

    The main point stands: there is nothing even remotely uneducated about Obama’s elision of post-nasal /t/ – this is in fact common to all native speakers of Standard American English regardless of level of education.

  • Phil Mill

    Joshua wrote: “the flapping rule is first semester Phonology stuff…OK, well, I deserve this for posting in haste out of annoyance: of course I got this wrong”

    No you deserve it for being a twat.

  • Millie Woods

    Poor Joshua he believes his ill-researched textbooks in intellectual guff 101. In fact the medial t is not elided only after an n – check out important. Furthermore Sloblish is not standard AE. It is spoken by language slobs – who can’t take the time to articulate coherently. Joshua probably thinks the misquote on the presidential rug deserves a pass because everyone gets the facts wrong. It’s standard American behaviour after all dontcha know especially in liberal arta faculties.

  • Chuck6134

    I think the whole rationale is just too pat. The President is simply a man with little understanding of anything outside of academia and “law” having never done a real job or much of anything for that matter in his life.

    He became a “cause” for white liberals with their shouldered load of guilt and for blacks a symbol of time changing. He was a tabla rosa for everyone angry at Repub stupidity and for all leftists who thought he’d be a knight in shining armor.

    I think it’s pretty obvious he’s disappointed many even among his ardent supporters. Despite media efforts, he’s come off as ignorant, often a player with “facts”, confuses words with action, still failing to see how poorly Keynesian tactics are failing him (and his country), has single handedly revived a morbid (deservedly so) Repub party from near death, and has much of the world’s leadership laughing at him in private while paying him little or no mind in public.

    If God is kind, enough Repubs/quasi libertarians will get elected this fall to at least give us some form of deadlock. 2 more years of unfettered Obama would have Canada and Mexico squabbling over the survivors/territory of this once great land.

  • Millie Woods

    Alas Jacob, you’ve forced me to do this. Actually I mentioned in my first post that I was putting my linguistics prof hat on. And while your professor may be an admirable creature he is like so many of his ilk in the liberal arts – full of it. So here’s a bit from one of my grammars to lighten the burden of your misguided days. I have found that students appreciate a bit of levity in a text after having waded through a lot of heavy duty high octane cerebral stuff – so here it is.

    This unit is loaded with new terms and concepts. That’s in keeping with the role verbs play in English. Before summing up what’s been covered, here’s a break for you.
    THE COULDA WOULDA SHOULDA GOTCHA RAP
    Folks think you’re cool and know where it’s at
    But you do strange things for a know-it-all cat
    Like getting sucked into the gotcha trap!
    With your coulda, woulda, shouldas and all that pap,
    Plus your gonna, wanna, haftas all over the map,
    Looks like your tongue’s been taking a nap,
    Creating an articulation gap!
    So give your brain’s resources a wakeup tap!
    Get rid of your liking for the dunce’s cap!
    And you’ll take the checkered flag on the winning lap,
    Of the good pronunciation of verb forms rap!

  • Poor Joshua he believes his ill-researched textbooks in intellectual guff 101

    The fact that you evidently don’t know who Bruce Hayes is amply demonstrates that you have no formal training in Phonology. I don’t know what you’re a professor of, but it certainly isn’t Linguistics.

  • Paul Marks

    Chuck6134 Keynesian tactics (wild government deficit spending) are not “failing” Barack Obama (he WANTS de facto bankruptcy) – he is NOT an ignorant man like George Walker Bush.

    Bush really did believe in Keynesianism (remember the first “stimulus” antics were his, as was TARP), just as he really believed in spreading democracy around the world (Obama allowed the Afghan election to be rigged last year – and most of the left did not bat an eyelid).

    The left were supposed to be in favour of things like No Child Left Behind and the Medicare extention (and more money for AIDS care in Africa and …..) just as they were supposed to be in favour of spreading democracy and opposing mass murdering military dicatorships.

    Bush (at home and overseas) actually did not follow conservative polices (non intervention) – he followed social democratic polices. And the left….. passionatly hated him (not what he expected at all).

    They hated him because the main people on the left are not the moderate social democrats they pretend to be – any more than they were in LBJ’s time (a man who did not even pretend to be a conservative, he was a social democrat in policy and in word).

    Obama is no more a moderate social democrat than I am (he is just off the other side of them in relation to me). Nor is he a Keynesian (I repeat he is not Bush) – he is just using that as an excuse to spend America to bankruptcy.

    Barack Obama does not need to be told by the ghosts of Maurice Dobb and Pierro Straffa about how Marxists can use the doctrines of Lord Keynes to their advantatge (remember Karl Marx mocked the doctrines of what came to be called Keynesianism, long before Keynes was even born, see Hunter Lewis “Where Keynes Went Wrong”).

    Barack Obama would have been told this by (among others) the husband and wife team of Cloward and Piven – speakers at the various Marxist conferences he went to whilst a Post Grad at Columbia.

    Sorry but “Barack Obama, well meaning just wrong” does not fit the facts. He is not well meaning.

    “But if he collapses the country – even to fundementally transform it, he will not be reelected”.

    Believe me – he can live with that. As long as the objective is achieved.