Sunday, June 22, 2008

In the words of our beloved leader, "fool me once..."

"He made a cut-throat political calculation seem like Mother Teresa’s final steps to sainthood."
David Brooks - NYT

David Seaton's News Links

In what seems to me by now another lifetime, I used to be a painter.

I took it very seriously and worked hard at it during what most people (not I) would consider the "best years" of my life.

Was bleibt? What is left of all of that?

It gave me some interesting ways of attacking problems that most other people in my line of work don't share.

I think one of the most important is a superstitious respect for intuitive flashes that come while staring fixedly at something.

Quoting from memory, I seem to recall the great documentary film maker Robert Flaherty telling of an Eskimo ivory carver caressing a walrus tusk, testing its weight, staring fixedly at it and muttering over and over, "Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?" until he saw within the virgin tusk the figure that was "begging" to come out... and then and only then, would the carver begin to cut the ivory.

George Soro's son says that his father knows when to make one of his legendary speculations, where he risks millions of dollars, when his back begins to ache horribly (boys and girls, don't try this at home).

When you paint, you learn to respect what your subconscious regurgitates when you focus on something with total intensity.

In the end the intuition of the intense observer is his or her best guide through information as thick and swarming and noisy as houseflies in a cow barn.

As my readers surely are aware of by now, I have been decrying Barack Obama for months now, ever since my "bullshit meter" started to go off the dial. Since then I have often felt a bit of a voice crying out in the wilderness.

Even when Obama, in violation of all the UN resolutions and international law, sold the Palestinian people down the river on Jerusalem, nobody, except the rest of the whole world seemed to notice.

But, I am finally beginning to see the wisdom of the endless American presidential campaigns as my "who are you? who are you?" intuitions are beginning to be confirmed by hard facts... domestic hard facts.
Democratic Senator Barack Obama's decision not to accept public funds for his presidential campaign puts the financing system at risk, said Senator Joe Biden, an Obama supporter.

``In terms of undermining the public financing idea for everyone'' the decision ``doesn't help,'' Biden, a Delaware Democrat, said today on NBC's ``Meet the Press'' program. ``It's going to be harder to make the case'' for public financing, he said. (...)Senator Lindsey Graham, a McCain supporter appearing on the same program with Biden, said Obama ``is reinforcing everything that's wrong with politics.''
And of course
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) today announced his support for a sweeping intelligence surveillance law that has been heavily denounced by the liberal activists who have fueled the financial engines of his presidential campaign.

In his most substantive break with the Democratic Party's base since becoming the presumptive nominee, Obama declared he will support the bill when it comes to a Senate vote, likely next week, despite misgivings about legal provisions for telecommunications corporations that cooperated with the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program of suspected terrorists.(...)This marks something of a reversal of Obama's position from an earlier version of the bill, which was approved by the Senate Feb. 12, when Obama was locked in a fight for the Democratic nomination with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Obama missed the February vote on that FISA bill as he campaigned in the "Potomac Primaries," but issued a statement that day declaring "I am proud to stand with Senator Dodd, Senator Feingold and a grassroots movement of Americans who are refusing to let President Bush put protections for special interests ahead of our security and our liberty." Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) continue to oppose the new legislation, as does Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). All Obama backers in the primary
All this time, while I am doing my "who are you? who are you? routine, something was at the back of brain, something that if I could just get hold of it, that would explain my entire, intuitive take on Barack Obama. I couldn't get to it... a film... a scene from a film, but I couldn't remember the film. It would come to the front of my mind and disappear...

... and then suddenly it came to me this morning.

It is a scene from Terry Gilliam's little 1981 masterpiece, "The Time Bandits".

The "Robin Hood" scene.

Watch it. DS


RC said...

Never saw the movie, and dial up and video don't work that well together.
Thus, the epiphany will have to escape my notice.
However, as the race moves slowly and inexorably toward November, the list of legislative and declarative venal and mortal sins, betrayals and finesses will grow quite large, yet the facts will have no effect upon the vote, or very little.
Also -- I am the very opposite of an intuition man in all things. I do find merit in subconscious connection of the dots however and will go along with that, but it is essentially a logical process.
I do think your facts about Obama are unassailable {as of yet a rather thin catalog}, but the complete distrust you have for the man seems rather premature. He is, after all, a politician. One may only have a certain degree of faith, and no more, in this genus.
Plainly, of the remaining viable candidates {I believe McCain is viable, but that may be an assumption} he would be be preferable under a wide range of analyses.
We are looking for the least problematic result; we are not investigating a Beatification.
Soon enough after the inauguration I am sure Obama will trip and maybe even have a bad fall. His honeymoon over, he and the country will have to deal with whatever sour realities come along. McCain would be in the same position.
I seem to remember that George Bush was adamant about the fact that HE wouldn't be caught dead doing any nation building.
Sincerely, were there a different candidate facing Obama I might be much more interested in seeing which one was the Janus. But no sense in going there with McCain.
Let's pay attention to the next big question: what do Obama and McCain know about the mortgage bailout bill and when did they know it?

Forensic economist said...

David - a great link I found on Juan Cole's blog on the ignorance of the American voter.

"One can't imagine Franklin Roosevelt being judged by how badly he bowled or how convincingly he knocked back a tumble of scotch. Indeed, studies show that the speeches presidents gave a half-century ago were pitched at the 12th-grade level - five grades above the level of speeches given by presidents over the last generation."

Obama was a professor of constitutional law. He could very well have pitched his campaign at a much higher level. He knew that would not have worked.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

All the positive energy that Bush has generated is going to be defused by Obama.

aml said...

I tend to agree. Bush and the Republican Party have fostered a "What? Me Worry?" regime that has survived two elections. What we'll see in the next decade or so is the blistering, screaming hangover, which the President-elect will inherit come January 2009. This is why I felt that Hillary was the better candidate. She is steely and politically-talented enough to right the sinking ship herself while everybody else jumps overboard or plots mutiny.