September 15, 2010

Obama the Yankee

With all the brouhaha over Dinesh D'Souza's Forbes article about President Obama's father, a reader comments on the most overlooked facet of the President's heritage. Consider his maternal grandfather:
... Stanley Armour Dunham, who was the son of Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham, born in Sumner Country, Kansas. Sumner County is named after the Abolitionist senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner. Sumner county is so puritanical in origin that it was "dry" until 1986.

Of course, eventually, Stanley Dunham moved his family to Hawaii, which was civilized by missionaries described by Mark Twain as "pious; hard-working; hard-praying; self-sacrificing; hospitable; devoted to the well-being of this people and the interests of Protestantism; bigoted; puritanical; slow; ignorant of all white human nature and natural ways of men, except the remnant of these things that are left in their own class or profession; old fogy - fifty years behind the age..."

Up from Hawaii, Obama managed acceptance to Harvard Law School (college transcripts?), named after the puritan minister, John Harvard.

There seems to be a pattern developing. It's obvious that Obama's big secret, even though it's right there for everyone to see, is that Obama's a Yankee, through and through (though he does play basketball and listen to Jay-Z!).

His silence on his Yankee heritage and, instead, his complete focus on his African heritage is puzzling. Or maybe not, considering how George W Bush became a born again Texas good ol' boy. Were those just cynical moves by each man to appeal to his base or indicative of something deeper?

Obama reminds me of Charles Bon the mulatto, illegimate son of a Mississippi plantation owner in Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom." Obama actually quoted Faulkner during his big race speech following Pastor-gate, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." Hopefully the future will be better for Obama than it was for Charles Bon.

Meanwhile, I hope Steve will write more about Obama's family and the CIA. another organization that Obama shares in common with the Bush's, other Yankee elite, and Mormons (Yankees once removed.) I'm not going to hold my breathe in anticipation of D'Souza's follow up article on the story of Obama's Yankee inheritance.

That the Obama family engaged in favor-banking with the CIA is pure speculation on my part, but the more I've thought about it over the last 14 months, the less crazy it sounds.

Obama's mother and father, while on the left ideologically, may have been minor players on the American side in the Cold War. The CIA, among other American government and quasi-governmental agencies, liked to recruit non-Communist leftists of cosmopolitan / academic orientation. I'm not sure what the implications would be, but it makes Obama more interesting, and his life story makes a little more sense.

What about his mother's second husband, Lolo Soetoro? Obama writes: "With the help of his brother-in-law [a millionaire muckety-muck in the national oil company], he landed a new job in the government relations office of an American oil company." In other words, he got a great job because he knew people.

These people seem connected.

Think about the President's mother: a girl from Kansas (of solid Yankee family on her mother's side) who keeps marrying politically well-connected men from decolonized countries on the very frontlines of the Cold War in the Third World, Kenya and Indonesia. She keeps showing up at places like the East-West center in Honolulu, the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, and in Pakistan. How incompetent would the CIA have to be not to notice her? (Granted, I may have just answered my own question: as bad as they gotta be.)

For example, consider this excerpt from the Wikipedia account of the President's mother's life (I've added descriptions of the various organizations in brackets):
Dunham studied at the University of Hawaii [where she met Obama Sr. in Russian class] and the East-West Center [proposed by Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1959 and signed into law by President Eisenhower as part of the Mutual Security Act] and attained a bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. in anthropology. ... To address the problem of poverty in rural villages, she created microcredit programs while working as a consultant for the United States Agency for International Development [U.S. government agency, often linked to CIA]. Dunham was also employed by the Ford Foundation [flagship of WASP elite, worked closely with the U.S. government in Indonesia after the 1965 coup] in Jakarta and she consulted with the Asian Development Bank [15% owned by the U.S. government] in Pakistan. Towards the latter part of her life, she worked with Bank Rakyat Indonesia [owned by the Indonesian government, which was run by General Suharto, victor in the 1965 coup], where she helped apply her research to the largest microfinance program in the world.[4]

That's a pretty cozy career. At every stop along the way, she likely knew people who knew people who were CIA.

Obama describes in general terms some of his mother's CIA contacts in Dreams from My Father in the chapter on his years in Indonesia [1967-1971]:
She found herself a job right away teaching English to Indonesian businessmen at the American embassy, part of the U.S. foreign aid package to developing countries. ... The Americans were mostly older men, careerists in the State Department, the occasional economist or journalist who would mysteriously disappear for months at a time, their affiliation or function in the embassy never quite clear [i.e., Obama is implying that they were CIA]. ... 

In Obama's account, his mother, a future Ph.D., hadn't paid attention to the world-historical events happening in her fiance's/husband's homeland in 1965-1966 until she heard about them from American diplomats and CIA guys at the American embassy in Jakarta:
These men knew the country, though, or parts of it anyway, the closets where the skeletons were buried. Over lunch or casual conversation they would share with her things she couldn’t learn in the published news reports. They explained how Sukarno had frayed badly the nerves of a U.S. government already obsessed with the march of communism through Indochina, what with his nationalist rhetoric and his politics of nonalignment-he was as bad as Lumumba or Nasser, only worse, given Indonesia’s strategic importance. Word was that the CIA had played a part in the [1965] coup, although nobody knew for sure. More certain was the fact that after the coup the military had swept the countryside for supposed Communist sympathizers. The death toll was anybody’s guess: a few hundred thousand, maybe; half a million. Even the smart guys at the Agency had lost count.

Innuendo, half-whispered asides; that’s how she found out that we had arrived in Djakarta less than a year after one of the more brutal and swift campaigns of suppression in modern times. ... And with each new story, she would go to Lolo in private and ask him: “Is it true?”

I dunno. It sounds very 1968 to me. More likely, Mrs. Soetoro, rather than being totally clueless about her husband's country, had an Agonizing Reappraisal during the Vietnam War.

As for Barack Obama Sr., almost certainly the CIA knew his name from that American Cold War ploy, the Tom Mboya Airlift of young African elites to America, Obama Jr. being on the first one to the U. of Hawaii.

Although he attacked from the left Tom Mboya's pro-American economic policy in his 1965 article Problems of Our Socialism, Mboya, a fellow Luo, didn't seem to hold it against him. David Horowitz's new left magazine Ramparts alleged that Mboya was on the CIA payroll. I don't know about that, but Mboya was well-funded by anti-Communist Americans such as the AFL-CIO. The Kennedy family contributed to the second Tom Mboya Airlift

In anticolonialist terms, Mboya represented the Kenyan center. President Jome Kenyatta was on the side of the British ex-masters, Mboya was in bed with the the Americans, and in the mid-1960s, the other Luo leader, Kenyan vice-president Oginga Odinga, made a deal with the Soviets for aid in return for Kenya joining the Soviet side, sending his son Raila Odinga (the current prime minister) to college in East Germany. At President Jomo Kenyatta's request, Mboya maneuvered Odinga into resigning. But with the Luo Left out of the way, Kenyatta was free to turn on the Luo Center.

Mboya mentored Obama Sr., until Mboya was assassinated by a Kikuyu gunman in front of Obama Sr.'s horrified eyes in 1969, the great crime / conspiracy in Kenyan history. Obama Jr. left this out of Dreams from My Father, but his father claimed to have been the chief witness at the trial of the hitman, who was probably hired by Kenyatta's Kikuyu associates to rub out the most obvious successor to Kenyatta. He claimed to have been persecuted until Kenyatta's death for having testified to the identify of the assassin.

In Dreams from My Father, it's apparent from certain understated details that the Obama family in Kenya hates the memory of Kenyatta.  Overtly, though, Obama's retelling (through the mouth of his half-sister Auma) is bland and leaves out the more fascinating details:

“Then things began to change. When Ruth gave birth to Mark and David, her attention shifted to them. The Old Man, he left the American [oil] company to work in the government, for the Ministry of Tourism. He may have had political ambitions, and at first he was doing well in the government. But by 1966 or 1967, the divisions in Kenya had become more serious. President Kenyatta was from the largest tribe, the Kikuyus. The Luos, the second largest tribe, began to complain that Kikuyus were getting all the best jobs. The government was full of intrigue. The vice-president, Odinga, was a Luo, and he said the government was becoming corrupt. That, instead of serving those who had fought for independence, Kenyan politicians had taken the place of the white colonials, buying up businesses and land that should be redistributed to the people. Odinga tried to start his own party, but was placed under house arrest as a Communist. Another popular Luo minister, Tom M’boya, was killed by a Kikuyu gunman. Luos began to protest in the streets, and the government police cracked down. People were killed. All this created more suspicion between the tribes. “Most of the Old Man’s friends just kept quiet and learned to live with the situation. But the Old Man began to speak up. He would tell people that tribalism was going to ruin the country and that unqualified men were taking the best jobs. His friends tried to warn him about saying such things in public, but he didn’t care. He always thought he knew what was best, you see. When he was passed up for a promotion, he complained loudly. ‘How can you be my senior,’ he would say to one of the ministers, ‘and yet I am teaching you how to do your job properly?’ Word got back to Kenyatta that the Old Man was a troublemaker, and he was called in to see the president. According to the stories, Kenyatta said to the Old Man that, because he could not keep his mouth shut, he would not work again until he had no shoes on his feet."

What's the real story? I don't know. Maybe his hard-drinking father was making up the part about being the chief witness to the Mboya slaying (which would be like being the chief witness to the JFK assassination in the U.S. in terms of undying interest in Kenya, although Mboya was more like RFK in 1968, the heir apparent).

Or maybe it really did happen, making Obama Jr. something of an heir to massacres in Indonesia and Kenya. The word "power" comes up over and over in Dreams from My Father, and Obama implies that, for him, the word has bloody connotations.

If so, that Obama then chose to devote his life to the pursuit of power frightens and impresses me.

46 comments:

Chris Anderson said...

"I'm not sure what the implications would be, but it makes Obama more interesting, and his life story makes a little more sense."

One implication that comes immediately to mind is Obama Jr's acceptance at Harvard Law despite an undistinguished college record.

Also, does it strike anyone that his father's bitterness about tribalism has had exactly zero impact on Obama regarding race, immigration and affirmative action in the USA?

James Kabala said...

For what it's worth, this site traces Obama's genealogy (on the American side) back to his great-great-great grandparents, many of whom (including the Dunham surname ancestor) turn out to be white Southerners! There does seem to be a Yankee strain, however, including a great-grandfather named Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham.

http://genealogy.about.com/od/aframertrees/p/barack_obama.htm

anony-mouse said...

'even though he plays basketball'

Basketball was invented in Boston.

(by a Canadian doctor named James Naismith)

Dahinda said...

Most of the presidents are distantly related to one another. The only exceptions are Reagan and Kennedy. FDR is distantly related to about 15 other presidents and Obama is distantly related to Cheney. Most of the presidents are from a narrow group of Yankees and southerners that first settled this country. Many people who voted for Obama thought that he was a break from that group but he is just one of them as well!

Anonymous said...

Kind of off-topic, but if Ernest Withers was a spy for Hoover, I can certainly swallow the Obamas' CIA connections:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20100914/pl_yblog_upshot/famed-civil-rights-photographer-doubled-as-fbi-informant

Too bad I'm sure we'll all be long gone before the full story about Obama comes out.

Coojie said...

“... Most of the Old Man’s friends just kept quiet and learned to live with the situation. But the Old Man began to speak up. He would tell people that tribalism was going to ruin the country ..."

We could use a few old men like that.

Anonymous said...

Best post ever.

n/a said...

"Sumner county is so puritanical in origin that it was "dry" until 1986."

What does this make the areas in the South that are dry down to the present?

"It's obvious that Obama's big secret, even though it's right there for everyone to see, is that Obama's a Yankee, through and through"

Obama has much more Southern ancestry than New England ancestry (as does his grandfather). His grandfather's paternal line may ultimately trace back to Massachusetts, but it spent more time in New Jersey and Virginia.

Of his grandfather's great-grandparents, three were born in Ohio, two were born in Missouri, one was born in Kentucky, one was born in Virginia, and one was born in Ireland; the Ohio and Missouri ancestors appear to trace back to Southern or mid-Atlantic antecedents, for the most part.

Obama's grandmother's ancestry apears to be almost entirely Southern and/or Scotch-Irish and German.

Chicago Correspondent said...

Remember, Obama got to be senator through the use of dirty tricks. His opponent, who was ahead, was forced to withdraw due to allegations he wanted to go to sex clubs with his ex-wife. The court records of his divorce, which were closed, were made public and caused controversy. This shows Obama had quite a research department at his disposal. Later, as he campaigned for president, it seemed to me to be similar to the so-called color revolutions run by the CIA in the former Soviet allied countries. Coincidence? He seems like a real pre-packaged product in retrospect. Seems to be more there in the making of brand Obama than has been let on, too many gaps in the biography.

Kylie said...

Steve Sailer said..."The word 'power' comes up over and over in Dreams from My Father, and Obama implies that, for him, the word has bloody connotations.

If so, that Obama then chose to devote his life to the pursuit of power frightens and impresses me."

I think Obama thinks of himself in every way as exceptional. So I imagine that Obama saw the bloody acquisition of power and how little it did for "his" people and thought he could be the exceptional black leader who would transfer power from whites to the blacks in a bloodless (i.e., legislative and executive) way.

That Obama chose to devote his life to the pursuit of powers frightens me, yes, but it doesn't impress me. That's what hollow people do--look outward to fill the emptiness within, to get the affirmation from others that they cannot find within themselves.

Obama doesn't identify with blacks because he thinks they're cooler or more vibrant or authentic. I agree that he's essentially a Yankee whose natural inclination is to identify with whites. But his ego, enormous and enormously sensitive, wouldn't permit it. As a mulatto identifying with whites, he would have been subjected far more frequently to those slights like the one in Kenya, which apparently made more of an impression on him than all the beauties of Europe. But as a mulatto identifying with blacks, he'd be a voluntary outsider to whites and instead of the disdain shown to one of their own who didn't really belong, he'd get the esteem clueless whites give to NAMS seen as high-achieving. I imagine his mother made sure he knew how much of that esteem his father had garnered and that impressed him as much as all those early lessons about Harry Belafonte's handsomeness.

In other words, I don't think he made himself over (dropping the "Barry" for "Barack", traveling to Africa, etc.) in pursuit of power. I think he pursues power because it gives him a way of looking at himself that he desperately needs. A more secure Barack or Barry would not have looked at that affluent white girlfriend's environment and thought, "This can never be for me" and subsequently "pushed" her away. He would have thought, "I've already got her, I can have the whole package if I want" and resolved to have a manly chat with her father.

As I said earlier, Obama's socialism is really just narcissism writ large.

Anonymous said...

It's innuendo, but it would seem Bill Clinton had an early link to the CIA, too. And W.'s father ran the outfit in the 70's. So the past four US presidents have worked or grown up within the penumbra of the CIA. That's sorta interesting.

As commander in Chief I wonder if Obama amuses himself by sitting in a Langley bunker and operating the joystick controls for a UAV flying over Yeman or Pakistan.

Omnivore said...

His grandfather was Obama's real father. Stanley Dunham was an angry failure, an alcoholic, who resented his wife's success. He named his daughter STANLEY. Despite the fact that he didn't support the family he was a tyrant.

This is the man who Obama had as a male role model. Although I believe in the decisive role of genes in human development, I also believe that our parents shape how they were expressed.

His relationship with his "father"-grandfather is the primary relationship in his intellectual development. We should look into this more closely.

Anonymous said...

These are really fascinating speculations.

Remember though, that in all of this, we are grossly encumbered by our duty to separate Obama's scrawlings [on the various notecards in his shoebox of a rough draft] from the final product of historical revisionism as served up by William Ayers.

How much of this is truly Obama - and how much of it is merely Ayers's view of what Obama ought to have been - will determine the extent to which we gain any deeper insight into what makes Obama tick.

Of course, there's another possibility here, which is that the Ayers-Obama relationship was so intimate [many have wondered whether the two bisexual men did indeed consummate their affair physically, and surely they must have often used illegal drugs together] that, for the emerging young mulatto psyche of that era [circa 1983 to 1993], Ayers was Obama.

I.e. it could very well be that their relationship - beginning when Obama transferred from Occidental, to Columbia, in search of succor to replace the affection lost from the ending of the Chandoo affair, and when Ayers was only a few blocks away, at Bank Street College - that their relationship was so intense that it was Ayers himself who ordered Obama to embark on the journey to Kenya in search of his Luo roots.

[Roots? Published in 1976, only about seven years before Obama and Ayers probably first met, circa 1983? Can anyone connect Ayers (or Frank Marshall Davis?) to Alex Hailey, whose grandmother was the mulatto daughter of a slave-master?]

PS: I was just listening to Dinesh D'Souza's radio interview with Glenn Beck this morning, and Dinesh made a comment about how Obama's youth was not the typical experience of an American black, a descendent of slaves [but rather was more akin to the experience of an African black, "tyrannized" by British colonialists] - and I was thinking to myself: Yeah, not only that, but on the Dunham side of the family, Obama is actually the descendant of Kentucky slave owners!!!

And is a distant cousin of Dick Cheney, no less!!!

That sort of thing is just about as cosmically ironic [and hilarious, in a gallows-humor sort of a way] as this new research which provides some very strong evidence that Adolph Hitler's father was indeed the bastard son of a Jew [see also here and here, with the Flemish (?) here].

/4096 CHARACTERS

greenrivervalleyman said...

Personally I like Steve's psycho-therapeutic approach to "Who is Obama?" My theory is that his weird upbringing (as a conspicuously mixed-race child in a world of well-meaning whites walking on eggshells) led to his rebelliousness which in turn led to his fixation with power. As The One has said in his own biography, he did not want to be seen as sucking up to whites, which is understandable for any growing boy with a modicum of self-respect. In order to avoid a fate worse than Cuba Gooding Jr. (and just look at the derision white liberals heap on blacks seen as insufficiently oppositional- e.g. John Stewart calling Clarence Thomas "Scalia's hand-puppet") Obama rejected his white identity and sought to seize and then wield power as a black man.

Now that he's gotten his heart's content, though, Obama is feeling strangely empty. He's the most powerful man in the world now, so issues of "sucking up" or "selling out" no longer faze him. So what's there left to do but revert to his own true self?- i.e. the nerdy introvert interested in big ideas and social engineering as a form of mental entertainment. Yet the office of President has turned out to be a shockingly bad place from which to indulge these proclivities- all those checks and balances, all that stubborn resistance from an ornery public too thick-headed to appreciate the benefits of nationalized medicine, cap & trade, immigration "reform". Those town hall meetings he held during the passage of ObamaCare must have seemed like particularly hellish remedial summer school sessions.

And so Obama has naturally become more passive, withdrawn, and lethargic. Unlike Clinton he is no political animal. His thing is coming up with new ideas and refining them in heated intellectual debate; actually implementing the details, let alone demonstrating their brilliance to Joe Sixpack, is a real downer for big-brained Barry. I wouldn't be surprised if he declined running for a 2nd term.

Anonymous said...

Yankee shmankee. Those people are so long ago: his influences were his grandparents and his mother and stepfather. I see them as coming from the Birkenstocks-and-muu-muus liberalism common in the SF area, Boston suburbs, Hyde Park, DC burbs. To the extent that he has an ethnicity from his upbringing, I think that's it. The rest of it he has grafted on with careful effort. dave.s.

Peter A said...

"I wouldn't be surprised if he declined running for a 2nd term."

Really? I don't think it's an option for a modern President. To many debts incurred and favors to repay. The men behind Obama won't let him quit even if he wants to. I think a common thread between Clinton, Dubya and Obama - for future historians - will be how little real power and control these men personally had over anything.

Anonymous said...

Kylie said...

That Obama chose to devote his life to the pursuit of powers frightens me, yes, but it doesn't impress me. That's what hollow people do--look outward to fill the emptiness within, to get the affirmation from others that they cannot find within themselves.

That describes every Alpha Male leader since the Bronze Age. The Men who make civilization don't tend to be content with their inner lives.

A man who is 'content' with himself and thus lacks any drive moves to or remains in a small town or quiet suburb, gets a wife and kids who will quickly annoy him, gets a monotonous dead end job that will slowly kill him inside and will ultimately go unrecorded by History.

That's the difference between Alpha and Beta.

Omnivore said...

"These people seem *connected*."

So Steve are you saying that "being connected" is the new black?

Joking aside, are you saying that "being connected" is better than being rich?

The rich have a crushing responsibility: to remain rich and to maintain social status.

Folks with connections must only worry about maintaining their connections.

Whiskey said...

Now you are getting it Steve. I called this back in 2008, that Obama would if thwarted engage in "Revolutionary Suicide" ala Jim Jones. Because he has the same dream of remaking society without an army to do it.

My guess is Obama, if thwarted with a Republican House, will simply engage in a "self-coup" like Peru's Alberto Fujimoro, and it will all end in disaster.

Obama is not a very smart man, does not understand (or even like) America or Americans much, and overestimates his power of command of the media and Rich White Liberals. Much of the military thoroughly hates him. A "rule by decree" with Obama suspending the Constitution and election, would touch off the "cold civil war" ala Ed Driscoll among Whites (Rich Whites vs. Working-Middle class ones) into a hot one.

Obama's not even trying to win the House, or at least stem losses. He's just sitting there in the White House. In his mind, Kenya = America.

Dutch Boy said...

James Kabala said...
... this site traces Obama's genealogy ... many of whom (including the Dunham surname ancestor) turn out to be white Southerners! There does seem to be a Yankee strain, however, ...

Maybe his daddy was from Northern Kenya?

Avatar Box Office said...

Now you are getting it Steve. I called this back in 2008

Stop lying. You didn't call anything.

Anonymous said...

(from http://www.wargs.com/political/obama.html)
Several of Mr. Obama's maternal ancestors owned slaves. Mr. Obama's slave-owning ancestors include George Washington Overall (number 110, above, husband of Mrs. Louisiana Duvall Overall and father-in-law of the Christopher Columbus Clark mentioned above) and Mrs. Mary Grable Duvall (number 223, above, mother of Mrs. Louisiana Duvall Overall and grandmother-in-law of Christopher Columbus Clark), both of whom are enumerated in the 1850 Federal Census as slave owners. George Washington Overall is also enumerated in the 1860 Federal Census as a slave owner. Other slave-owning ancestors of Mr. Obama include John P. Childress (or Childers, number 212, above), who was enumerated in the 1860 Federal Census as a slave owner.

Kylie said...

Anonymous said..."The Men who make civilization don't tend to be content with their inner lives.

A man who is 'content' with himself and thus lacks any drive moves to or remains in a small town or quiet suburb, gets a wife and kids who will quickly annoy him, gets a monotonous dead end job that will slowly kill him inside and will ultimately go unrecorded by History."

I wasn't talking about contentment at all. I was talking about a lack of inner confidence, a lack of belief in oneself so that one looks outward to compensate. I think Bill Clinton has the kind of confidence I'm talking about. However uncertain and trashy his background, he doesn't seem to have agonized over it much. The man has a genuine belief in himself that comes from within. Ditto Ronald Reagan. That didn't mean they weren't interested in power, only that they didn't need the power for self-affirmation the way Obama does.

By contrast, I think Obama only feels confident when basking in the warmth of approval and even adulation. That's why he's so often seemed so passive and almost lethargic since taking office. I don't think he ever really realized that once he was President, he'd be subject to the same attacks every other POTUS has had to face.

History is full of men who were confident but not content. In my opinion, left to his own scant inner resources, Obama is neither.

travis said...

Brillant post, Steve. You're thirty years ahead of all other Obama commentators.

Yankee shmankee. Those people are so long ago: his influences were his grandparents and his mother and stepfather.

To quote Obama quoting Faulkner, "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

If you're unclear who is and isn't a "Yankee," watch this clip from The Aviator.

n/a said...

Travis, are you being intentionally dense out of some sense of regional or ethnic animus, or do you genuinely believe your keen ability to spot (label those you dislike) "Yankees" gives you special insights? We've established that Obama's mother's ancestry is far from Yankee. re: the dramatization you recommend, Katherine Hepburn's father was a Southerner:

Hepburn was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the daughter of suffragette Katharine Martha Houghton (1878 – 1951) (an heiress to the Corning Glass fortune and co-founder of Planned Parenthood) and Dr. Thomas Norval Hepburn (1879 – 1962), who was a successful urologist from Virginia with Maryland roots.

Yankees (unlike most of the rest of the country) did not vote for FDR.

James Kabala said...

Travis: A big problem with that clip is that most Yankees actually opposed FDR. If the real Hepburns were socialists, they were not typical. The economically leftist Yankee is a relatively recent product. (But Hepburn is actually a Scottish name, isn't it?)

The "we read books" part rings true, however.

Based on that clip, Blanchett's Oscar seems undeserved. (Granted, she had hardly any lines, but they were both stiffly delivered and not very much like the real Hepburn.)

Anonymous said...

, the occasional economist or journalist who would mysteriously disappear for months at a time, their affiliation or function in the embassy never quite clear [i.e., Obama is implying that they were CIA]. ...

I'm no expert but my impression is that CIA people normally travel under diplomatic cover (i.e., they carry diplomatic passports) for protection. Journalists etc. are not CIA people. They are useful people who are paid for their info, etc.

elvisd said...

If you're unclear who is and isn't a "Yankee," watch this clip from The Aviator.

Classic example of unskilled libs sneering at the skilled.

travis said...

A big problem with that clip is that most Yankees actually opposed FDR. If the real Hepburns were socialists, they were not typical.

It's my belief that Scorsese's intention is to drive home the point that, regardless of his money, accomplishments, and political affliations, Hughes simply wasn't a member of the tribe. As Scorsese presents it, the real villians were not socialists but, instead, members of the Republican establishment: Senator Owen Brester (Harvard Law), played by Alan Alda, and the president of Pan Am, Juan Trippe (Skull & Bones), played by Alec Baldwin.

All I'm suggesting is that we not lose sight of the fact that Obama's bona fides for admission into the the Yankee tribe are better than most white folk.

Anonymous said...

Far from being the mere ‘son of a goat herder’ (as he deceptively paraded during and even before his candidacy), strong evidence has emerged that President Barack Obama is the product of the intelligence community. Investigative reporter and former NSA employee Wayne Madsen has put together an extensive three-part (and growing) series with conclusive proof and documentation that Barack Obama Sr., Stanley Ann Dunham, Lolo Soetoro and President Barack Obama himself all hold deep ties to the CIA and larger intelligence community. And that’s just the beginning.
After his election, President Obama quickly moved to seal off his records via an executive order. Now, after two years of hints and clues, there is substantial information to demonstrate that what Obama has omitted is that his rare rise to power can only be explained by his intelligence roots. However, this is more than the story of one man or his family. There is a long-term strategic plan to recruit promising candidates into intelligence and steer these individuals and their families into positions of influence and power. Consider that it is now declassified former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was recruited into MI5 before becoming a labour leader, or that George H. W. Bush not only became CIA director in 1976 but had a deeper past in the organization. While we may never know many pertinent details about these matters, one thing that is certain is that the American people have never been told the truth about who holds the real power, nor who this president– and likely many others– really is.

Hans said...

Steve, doesn't your argument have to change if Obama's biographies were ghost-written? There seems to be a fairly strong argument for that being the case for at least, IIRC, Dreams of My Father (including a potentially tantalizing Bill Ayers connection). As I'm sure you know, ghost-writing isn't uncommon in the sphere of political memoirs, and for such a prepackaged product as Obama, should we expect any less? If this is indeed the case, what can we really glean about Obama's psychological profile from his books? Presumably he at least had to sign off on the material in the books, but beyond that, I'm not sure we can be confident the author is speaking in Obama's voice.

Reg Caesar said...

Obama's New England ancestry totals a whopping 0.6 percent, all on his father's side.

The first Dunham in America was actually named Singletary. His son left Massachusetts in disgrace, changing his surname and settling in Woodbridge, N. J., where a lot of other disgruntled Puritans ended up. Later Dunhams kept moving farther south, then west. They're a long line of nuts, for sure, but Yankee they're not, not for many generations.

Another interesting Woodbridge clan was the Ayers family. Bill's line has been traced to the adjacent county to the south, so he may also have a Woodbridge connection. But there's no evidence of that, yet.

Reg Caesar said...

"...Obama is distantly related to Cheney..." --Dahinda

And to Richard Nixon (and me), as well, through one George Allen, a Massachusetts Quaker whose sons-in-law were jailed for practicing that particular faith.

James Kabala said...

Travis: Valid point. The FDR issue was only a smart of the clip, even if overemphasized by the man who wrote the YouTube summary of the clip.

A more valid objection: Maybe I haven't spent enough time among true Yankees, but stereotypically they are very cold and reserved; the talking-so-no-one-can-get-a-word-in-edgewise style seems much more "ethnic." Is this based on a real disastrous dinner later described by Hughes or Hepburn, or is it an invention of Scorsese?

James Kabala said...

Reg Caesar: If the ancestor was originally named Singletary, does anyone know why he later adopted the pseudonym "Dunham?" Or is that lost in the mists of time?

Wanderer said...

re Obama's CIA connections:

The animated Pastor Manning has been hitting on this for over a year.

[See especially 2:50 to 4:15 in this video for a summary of the allegations of Obama being a longtime CIA asset].

Anonymous said...

A more secure Barack or Barry would not have looked at that affluent white girlfriend's environment and thought, "This can never be for me" and subsequently "pushed" her away.

"That affluent white girlfriend" was based on Ayers's memories of Diana Oughton.

PS: I often wonder whether Bernardine "Dohrn" Ohrnstein intentionally rigged the townhouse explosion so as to remove Diana Oughton from the competition for Ayers's hand in marriage.

Kylie said...

Anonymous said..."'That affluent white girlfriend' was based on Ayers's memories of Diana Oughton."

I've read that elsewhere but has your assertion been substantiated? I know Ayers knew Oughton but did he graft memories of his own romance onto the story of Barry's life?

In any case, I think my theory stands. Others have noticed Obama's nerdish qualities. I think he decided to identify with blacks rather than whites to avoid racial slights (which might seem outlandish till you recall how he goes on and on about the perceived slight by a Kenyan waiter who preferred serving white diners). Given a choice, I suspect Obama would have preferred to go the route of the exotic but acceptable biracial guy in white society. He never really seems comfortable getting down with his people.

Anonymous said...

"That affluent white girlfriend" was based on Ayers's memories of Diana Oughton.

I've read that elsewhere but has your assertion been substantiated?

Click on "was based on".

James Kabala said...

Kylie: A while back a commenter reported that the identity of Obama's white former girlfriend was well-known in the Connecticut town where her family still lives and that the details given in Obama's account matched the details of her family and their summer home. He (the commenter) used no names in order to protect her privacy, but he seemed convincing.

And I agree with you - even if we were to accept the Ayers ghostwriter theory as true, I can't imagine why he would import his own ex-girlfriend into someone else's life story.

Simon in London said...

"the Obama family in Kenya hates the memory of Kenyatta"

I guess this explains why Obama hates us Brits so much - he was from the pro-American tribe, and their enemies were the pro-British tribe. I often forget how the US and UK were frequently opposed at leasr up until the '70s, when British power had declined sufficiently.

Truth said...

"He (the commenter) used no names in order to protect her privacy, but he seemed convincing."

an anonymous poster on a chatboard fabricate something, you're right, James, the odds of that are slim.

Kylie said...

James Kabala said..."Kylie: A while back a commenter reported that the identity of Obama's white former girlfriend was well-known in the Connecticut town where her family still lives and that the details given in Obama's account matched the details of her family and their summer home. He (the commenter) used no names in order to protect her privacy, but he seemed convincing."

Yes, I remember reading that but forgot where I read it. Thanks for the reminder.

Frankly, the particulars of Ayers's and/or Obama's romances don't interest me. My larger point is that given a choice, Obama would rather have identified with being white. But that would have meant running the constant risk of racial slights, something his "healthy" ego wouldn't permit. So he chose to identify with being black. After all, it's a lot easier being an outsider than an interloper.

I suspect for that reason and others that his first serious relationship was with a white woman. I could be wrong but the psychology of it seems right.

And all of that means (to me, at least) that Obama has a real sense of racial grievance and entitlement. We would do well to bear that in mind.

James Kabala said...

Truth: You do realize I'm defending Obama's veracity against implausible attacks, right?

OpenEyes said...

“Of course, there's another possibility here, which is that the Ayers-Obama relationship was so intimate [many have wondered whether the two bisexual men did indeed consummate their affair physically, and surely they must have often used illegal drugs together] …”

Whoa! So that means Sasha and Malia might actually be the daughters of Ayers x Obama- And the Michelle is just there as a CIA plant to monitor Obama? But then Ayers would have to be at least half of another race too, to get kids so dark- He is a muslim sympathizer, so maybe he actually is Saudi since they are the ones who put up all the oil money that runs the CIA (see Bush Sr.) - So really it was all just a way for the Saudi royal family to get their family into the White House so that it would become part of Dar al-Islam “House of Islam” so that they could then de facto rule the US… So now they will have to paint the space shuttle a different color… Dick Gregory said it was white so that white people would know to get on it when the earth explodes but if the Saudis run things now they will paint it sand colored for their reference- or maybe they already are doing that, which is why suddenly NASA decided to “quit using space shuttles”- had to recall them for the new paint job, takes a while… And that would explain all the controversy in Arizona- they need to hide the sand-colored space shuttles somewhere so they cook up this illegal alien stuff so that they can have alot of government guys out there in the desert to pretend to be patrolling around for illegals but actually guarding the sand-colored space shuttles.

Anonymous said...

Title speaks for itself:

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/08/18/wayne-madsen-obamas-cia-connections-part-i-and-ii/