Obama’s Perplexing Past

There has been much talk of Presidential elections on this blog of late, so it feels strange to have not mentioned the political theatre in the United States at all.

I happened to be really enjoying the Republican race, up until Rick Perry climbed aboard. Before him, it seemed some real anti-Establishment types were the big stars in this competition. Ron Paul has to be my favourite for his long-time promotion of the Austrian School of Economics, but it was fantastic to see another great libertarian, Gary Johnson, in the running. That said, I’ve had a bit of a forbidden love for Michelle Bachmann (she reads Ludwig von Mises at the beach, you know), and it’s been heartening to see her and Ron crushing some big established names like the nasty Newt Gingrich. The American people are clearly tired of the same old Washington elites that seem to never go away, and no wonder.

Of course, whoever wins the Republican race will have to face Oh Bummer, which has been a very dangerous activity for some people to say the least. Barack Obama has a somewhat unusual electoral history that remarkably hasn’t managed to raise the eyebrows it really should.

For instance, Obama’s competition in the Democratic nomination for the Illinois Senate race in 2004 was the wealthy entrepreneur, Blair Hull. Hull is a highly intelligent man, who has an academic background in mathematics from the University of California, possesses an MBA, and he attended the Harvard Business School. His famously innovative trading company was bought by Goldman Sachs in 1999 for $531 million. Blair Hull always came off as modest, even meek to some, but he was clearly the favourite to win the nomination. His lead in the polls over Barack Obama varied between 20% and 80%.

Blair Hull, right.

Then it all went very wrong for Blair Hull.

Out of the blue and shortly before the nomination date, Blair Hull’s divorce papers leaked to the public somehow. The formerly secret papers contained details of allegations from his ex-wife of serious physical abuse against her. I have met people who know Blair Hull. Not one actually believed Hull was the kind of guy to engage in this sort of behaviour. While a lot of people in the know didn’t find the allegations at all credible, sensational stories spread and Hull could not handle it. He was cut out for equations, not the political cesspool.

Obama was.

This seems like politics as usual, but it gets even fishier when it comes to the actual race for the Senate. The GOP had elected the popular Jack Ryan, who was formerly married to actress Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager, Boston Public, Shark). Guess how Jack Ryan’s campaign was ruined? A court ordered his divorce papers to be released to the public, papers that contained some embarrassing allegations from his ex-wife, that’s how. Details and rumours of these documents had been circulating since Ryan first went for the nomination, and the media were making demands on the couple and Ryan’s campaign. The big story from the papers turned out not to be physical abuse, but pressure Jack Ryan had supposedly put on his wife to get her to perform at live sex shows with him in New Orleans, Paris and Amsterdam. Those specifically embarrassing papers were not expected to be released, due to a mutually agreed request by the couple. The courts had agreed prior to this not to release such information for the benefit of the Ryan’s only child, so the whole thing is quite perplexing. Obama ended up running against the less popular Alan Keyes after Jack Ryan resigned from the race.

Barack Obama always liked to portray himself as a person not born into money, and outside the political establishment. Some outside the mainstream media have made other suggestions. For one, there appears to be a fascinating connection between Barack Obama’s mother and Timothy Geithner’s father, Peter Geithner.

Peter Geithner was head of the Ford Foundation’s microfinance program in Asia for a period in the early 1980. The microfinance programs were developed in Indonesia by Ann Dunham-Soetoro, Barack Obama’s mother. The Ford Foundation says “they met at least once in Jakarta”. Many have claimed the Ford Foundation in Asia was historically ‘honeycombed’ by the CIA, and there is some suspicion that Peter Geithner was an agent. In a new book released this year called ‘A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother’, it is written that the Obama’s mother actually worked for a period at the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia when Barack Obama was very young, something which was not at all to her liking.

 I’m no expert in this history, but I would love to know more. There is no ‘smoking gun’ when it comes to proving an extensive relationship between Obama’s mother, Geithner and other heavyweights. I can find no evidence positively fingering Peter Geithner (or Obama’s mother, for that matter) as a CIA asset.

The question must still be asked however: was Obama being groomed for the Presidency for a very long time?

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About Cranky Notions
Reactionary. That fella from the Norris scandal.

7 Responses to Obama’s Perplexing Past

  1. Gubu World says:

    John

    I was wondering, how do you reconcile your admiration of Ron Paul’s libertarianism with his international isolationism, particularly considering he would likely withdraw most military aid to Israel.

    I assume you are hinting that the Obama campaign were behind the stories that ruined both Hull and Ryan’s 2004 campaign. If they were both true then thats just fairly standard for American political campaigns. If the Hull story was an Obama fabrication (I’m pretty sure the Ryan story is legit, I for one will never forgive him for how he treated the lovely “7 of 9”) I would be shocked if it were not exposed by 2008. Most likely there was some element of truth in it and the Obama team pushed it out, again fairly standard conduct.

    I have been astonished to find some US conservatives again bringing up Rev Wright and Bill Ayres. It didn’t work in 08, it won’t work in 2012. I very much doubt if anything of significance about Obamas past will play a big part in the election campaign. The only past that will matter will be the four preceding years. It will all be about the economy.

    The Geithner Dunham connection is interesting. It is almost funny, during the last election some on the looney right were arguing that Obama was raised in a Madrasa and could be an Al Quaeda plant. Now it seems he could be a CIA stooge.

    Ted

    • I have sparred with Ron Paul supporters and criticized Ron Paul himself with regards to Israel. That said, I agree with ending US financial assistance to Israel.

      Firstly, Israel badly needs to cut the size of its state sector and cut spending. The largely unregulated hi-tech industries have done well in Israel (its hard to regulate a field that changes so fast), but the remnants of socialism are still still strong and welfare spending is a real drain. See, for example, my piece on the land issue in Israel: https://thesystemworks.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/why-free-markets-will-make-more-room-in-israel/.

      Cash flows from outside help delay this necessity.

      US assistance has plenty of negative ramifications. For one, 75% of it is required to be spent of US military products (as per an agreement between Netanyahu’s first government and Bill Clinton, all US assistance is military in nature).

      Yet former Minister of Defense Moshe Arens estimated in 2001, that some 50% of the assistance would be spent outside of the United States were that possible. In other words, about one-third of Israel’s defense acquisitions in the US, some $750 million annually, is not economically justifiable. An additional assessment from David Vaish, former economic advisor to the Ministry of Defense, estimated that in 2001, the IDF would have elected to make some $400 million of its military product purchases within Israel, but that these potential acquisitions were tabled due to the requirement to purchase US-made products – translating into a $400 million loss for the Israeli economy. Since then, the value of those same products is 50% higher, equivalent to some $600 million in today’s terms.

      In fact, former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz admitted:

      ”We’re buying equipment of lower quality than we could get in Israel and at a higher price. One example is the American “attack pod.” Despite the fact that Rafael [Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.] offers a pod which is more suited to our needs and is cheaper (by half), without the shekel-currency budget, there was no option but to buy the US product”.

      This is all from in a Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies publication released this year, which contains even more fascinating information: http://www.jims-israel.org/pdf/PPusaidenglish.pdf

      Thanks for reminding me I need to do a post on this issue!

      P.S. The continuing attacks on Obama regarding the Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers relationships isn’t really surprising. Seems like American politics as usual. Last week’s New Yorker featured a detailed article on some of Michelle Bachmann’s evangelical influences.

  2. Gubu World says:

    John

    Very interesting indeed, I suppose the US can hardly be expected to offer that much aid without attaching some strings. Although the Israeli economy and its companies are clearly losing out, I don’t think Israel is in a position to do it themselves. Israel is a small country of 7 million. Even if every citizen were a millionaire and paying 80% tax, that still wouldn’t generate sufficient revenue to maintain the amazing Israeli military.

    Ted

    • I think the costs of an effective military could easily be covered. The American assistance is only a small fraction of total GDP.

      That said, I would like some reform in the defense forces. Israel is indeed a small country without much in the way of natural resources, so the capacity for a long war is limited. I advocate ending conscription for women (though allowing women to enlist, of course). The savings would be enormous, not to mention it would eliminate the opportunity costs involved in taking girls out of the work place or study for a couple of years. Most women do not do reserve duty after training anyway, and are not counted among the reserve personnel. Israel may benefit from a more professional, rather than conscript, army. Nevertheless, Israel should focus on developing its state of the art air force, missile defense systems, nuclear deterrent as well as intelligence.

  3. Pingback: Geithner tells everyone how to fix the problem.

  4. Paul says:

    According to Republican campaign advisors, their strategy is to frustrate Congress and the goings-on in Washington as much as possible with non-stop fillibusters, voting no to everything etc. Thus the American people will think government is useless and vote for the anti-government party, the Republicans. It’s a cyncial tactic that means US governance is at a stand still. This is why Washington appears to be full of do-nothings as you suggest. But at least the Democracts are trying to do something, while the Republicans core strategy is to stop government working. There is no question that they would even have allowed a catastrophic default to happen in order to get their way. At least the Democrats cared enough to compromise!

    • ‘Do-nothings’ was a bad insult on my part. I’ll edit that. Nine times out of ten, we are much better off if these guys do nothing. That’s a generous estimate.

      The elite Beltway insiders are what I was really going for.

      Many of the Founding Fathers would have considered ideal the kind of political deadlock that existed, for instance, during the Clinton Presidency with the Republican-controlled House and Senate. That’s what checks and balances is all about. Madison even spoke against democracy, or the tyranny of the majority as he knew it.

      There would be no need for default if spending was sensibly reigned in tomorrow. The compromise on the debt-ceiling was bullshit chump-change stuff, as I said here.

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