Barry Soetoro

Nov 6th, 2008, in IM Posts, Opinion, by

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1,046 Comments on “Barry Soetoro”

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  1. avatar Odinius says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Lairedion said:

    Here is an interesting read on a blog I regularly visit:

    To hell with the Democrats

    That illustrates what I was talking about–that Obama is not a left wing democrat and the left wing in the US is completely disillusioned with and angry at him.

  2. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Ross at RRA calls Obama a cultural marxist whatever the hell that means.

    Seriously? You don’t understand what is a rather simple political concept? I suggest you google the term as well as “Frankfurt School” and “Gramsci”, you will find that both Barack and his wife and most of his mentors and political and academic associates would have subscribed to this line of teaching.

    BB where in Obama’s writings or speeches can we find the evidence for this claim?

  3. avatar Stevo says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 11:59 am

    “birtherism” ha ha ha ha ha …………… you could not make this stuff up !!

  4. avatar rustyprince says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    There is an element of truth their Stevo and as the prievious ‘non conformists’ eg integrationists, athiests have ascended to the mainstream they have become less tolerant of those more traditional or in liberal speak, reactionaries. But maybe that is the mutation I was suggesting earlier: two incompatible ideals or genes and only one can survive. For me the inevitable result of progess will be, if we don’t self immolate, the diminution of difference. No more unique Dayak customs, international fast-food franchises found in every street worldwide and perhaps chips implanted in our brains whoes encryption will be the global lingua-franca. This is not an appealing future but the alternative is endless strife and mistrust. Can that be preferable? But as a liberal I do believe we need to appreciate the fears of white people, which are more than economic, such as the last naturally blonde-blue eyed babe will be born sometime around 2150 in Finland. But those fears should not be permitted to unleash hate and violence which I believe in the realm. Of race is sanctioned by every important creed/philosophy.

  5. avatar Oigal says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Bb, pretty sure I won’t lose any sleep or miss any great insights. :-). It was a never a debate mate! At best a mild chuckle at the things some people post and expect others to accept as facts.

  6. avatar berlian biru says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    BB where in Obama’s writings or speeches can we find the evidence for this claim?

    I’m away from my desk right now but give me a chance and I’ll dig some stuff out as well as a list of political and academic associates and mentors who could comfortably be described as fairly far left radicals, well to the left of mainstream liberal Democrats in the US.

    I have simple test; if Bush or Cheney had mixed with comparable people in the far Right, Klan or militia movements or made comparably sympathetic comments about fascists that Obama and his coterie have done with regard to the radical left can you imagine the press and commentators letting them off so lightly?

  7. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 6:14 am

    You were not just talking about leftist tendencies but, specifically, about the influence of the ‘Frankfurt School’, that new bugaboo of conservative polemicists. I bet that in most cases they haven’t got a clue about this particular mode of thought that can hardly be understood apart from its German cultural context. But the term ‘Frankfurt School’ suggests something appropriately alien and pernicious that, from outside, tries to undermine American society.

    The preoccupation of these theorists with the antagonism between ‘practical reason’ and ‘instrumental reason’, and their concerns about the latter, go back to a specifically German reaction to the Enlightenment (a reaction in which, ironically, the German ‘conservative revolution’ finds its roots as well) and the German distinction between ‘Bildung’ and ‘Kultur’ on the one hand and ‘Zivilisation’ on the other.

    The idea of Obama trying to decipher the cryptical utterances of, let us say, Adorno or Walter Benjamin, is comical at best. It is quite unlikely that he, in his legal training at Harvard, had to deal with these ideas at all.

  8. avatar berlian biru says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 8:44 am

    OK then, let’s use “cultural Marxism” in the sense that is used and accepted by most people today shall we?

    I appreciate you are indeed an erudite and much read pedant of the most sublime order but most of us normal schlubs, not as wonderfully enlightened as yourself perhaps, can conduct political debate without feeling the need to read obscure German philosophers in their original untranslated form. I’ve never read Mein Kampf or Das Kapital in German either but I can give a fairly decent stab at defining the ideologies of Hitler and Marx.

    There is no need for everyone to have parsed and analysed everything ever written by Friedman or Adam Smith for them to understand the basic concepts of free market economics, is there?

    Don’t overcomplicate what is a relatively simple concept; Barack Obama’s political ideology and that of his early associates and mentors stems from the radical Left not the mainstream of the US Democrat political party.

    Now that’s not too complicated a basis on which to conduct a debate, is it?

  9. avatar Stevo says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 8:59 am

    As you can see from my previous posts, I do not have much interest in the issue of Obama’s birth certificate. I have just had a look at the basic issue and can see what the birtherism (thanks Odinius) people are on about.

    It looks like they simply want to see the complete long form certificate. That seems reasonable and far from crackpot. I know a little about official records and what has been posted as proof falls short of the standard required, except for maybe applying for a drivers license and other such things.

    Obama has a golden opportunity here to discredit his detractors and political opponents. Its hard to imagine he would not produce the proper records and deal a stunning blow to his opponents. His could also use it to play the underdog/race card (or at least breath new life into it)

    Yet he has not done so……….. remarkable!

    Just an aside; why is it when I type in the words, birther & birtherism, a funny red line appears underneath? I can not find the terms in either an Indonesian or English dictionary………….. it’s as if someone has been making stuff up !

  10. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 9:44 am

    BB, you claimed that Obama had been influenced by the Frankfurt School – now you make it the ‘radical left’ because you obviously have no idea, as do a great many other political commentators who seek to exploit the alien character of this school, what it is all about (I am sorry that, “pedant” as I am, I have to claim some knowledge of it – as it so happened I wrote my doctoral dissertation about it and, more recently, a book on its main representative today: Habermas).

    Here is one of those commentators who obviously thinks that reading these people is not necessary to ascribe certain ideas to them. He wrote in Culturewatch an article with the portentous title:”The Frankfurt School and the War on the West”:

    http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2009/05/11/the-frankfurt-school-and-the-war-on-the-west

    According to him:

    the School recommended (among other things):

    1. The creation of racism offences.
    2. Continual change to create confusion.
    3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children.
    4. The undermining of schools’ and teachers’ authority.
    5. Huge immigration to destroy identity.
    6. The promotion of excessive drinking.
    7. Emptying of churches.
    8. An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime.
    9. Dependency on the state or state benefits.
    10. Control and dumbing down of media.
    11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family

    As to Obama belonging to the ‘radical left’ some genuine lefties beg to differ, as Odinius already pointed out. One of them, Alexander Cockburn, described him recently as “an errand boy for corporate America”.

  11. avatar David says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 9:45 am

    why is it when I type in the words, birther & birtherism, a funny red line appears underneath?

    you answered it yourself

    I can not find the terms in either an Indonesian or English dictionary………….. it’s as if someone has been making stuff up !

    speelling checker/guider/gentle reminderer

  12. avatar Stevo says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Thanks David.

    It’s very fitting that the line is RED.

    You previously advised me on how to use the quote function. Do I have to sign into the site before that option appears?

  13. avatar David says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Yes it only appears when logged in.

    Barry S, – here’s a scholarly sort of thing on the is he a Muslim business – http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bnyhan/obama-muslim.pdf

  14. avatar Stevo says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks David

    I checked out the link.

    A mischievous type of person would simply say the paper is based on a false premise ;)

  15. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Inadvertently some question marks have appeared in the sheet for the prosecution drawn up by this fellow Muehlenberg. They are not in the original text.

  16. avatar berlian biru says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Like I say Arie you’re obviously a world renowned expert on the Frankfurt school, good for you, but trust me there is nothing more mind numbingly tedious than a disputation regarding the abstruse theories of obscure German political philosophers. The rest of us can get on with broad definitions to illustrate general political principles, as I said I never read Mein Kampf but I can clearly understand what Hitler was on about.

    So let’s get the context straight shall we?

    The mainstream Democratic party, like the Labour Party in Britain, had roots in the working classes, the struggle for the working man to achieve economic justice and parity within the system. The party stood unequivocally for the little guy, Mr Ordinary blue collar America who felt he was getting a raw deal from the bosses and who by collective action through his trade union and his political party wanted to even the score up a bit.

    However since the mid twentieth century a noticeable sea change in the Left occurred whereby the pursuit of economic advancement for the working man was replaced by the desire to transform western society and culture by overthrowing the institutions which bound society together and to replace them with ideas based on gender, race, sexuality and ethnicity.

    The powerhouses of this change were the university faculties and campuses instead of the trade unions, it was in the words of one memorable commentator; the removal of the best of the working class and its replacement by the worst of the middle class.

    This quite discernible shift in left wing thinking can be traced back to a greater or lesser extent to such political theorists as Gramsci, Lukacs and, you may disagree but others assert it is so, to the philosophers of the Frankfurt School, collectively, for better or for worse, rightly or wrongly this ideology has become known as “cultural Marxism”.

    It is a handy term and can be safely used as a broad brush definition in the same way that “neo-conservatism” was used to define many of George W. Bush’s policies, even by people who have never actually studied in depth the philosophy of neo-conservatism.

    Now, I ask you, where do you think Barack Obama’s principle political opinions draw their sustenance from? Is he a product of blue collar, trade union member, rust belt, working class America with its small “c” conservative social values, patriotism and the desire for the average Joe in America to get a better deal from the elites? Or does his tap root stem from the political and ideological theorising of the radical left within the campuses of post war American universities?

    I humbly submit that simply positing the question immediately provides the answer.

  17. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Like I say Arie you’re obviously a world renowned expert on the Frankfurt school, good for you,

    Well, it is a privilege to have this conversation with an equally renowned analyst of American politics.

    as I said I never read Mein Kampf but I can clearly understand what Hitler was on about.

    Apparently your familiarity with Hitler’s ideas extends to all other domains of thought. Your ability to judge of ideas and books without actually reading them must save you a lot of time. Congratulations.

    This quite discernible shift in left wing thinking can be traced back to a greater or lesser extent to such political theorists as Gramsci, Lukacs and, you may disagree but others assert it is so, to the philosophers of the Frankfurt School,

    “others assert it is so” – you mean the other guys down the pub

    Lukacs, Gramsci, the Frankfurt School. Dropping these foreign names serves only to chase the kids to bed.

    In some nooks and crannies of American academe there might be a serious preoccupation with these ideas but the suggestion that they have anything to do with what is actually going on in the United States Congress strikes me as bizarre.

  18. avatar Stevo says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Arie Brand, I am beginning to suspect berlian buru has forgotten more about these matters than you are ever going to learn. I would suggest you listen to him.

    The positions taken by yourself, Oigal, Odinius and Co. are the same predictable lines run by mainstream western media, which is largely edited with the same slant. It is all rather dull really.

    That last post by bb is one of the best summaries I have read of the western political left. You only find it confronting because you are so effectively indoctrinated by the very influences he has highlighted.

  19. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 8:08 am

    The positions taken by yourself, Oigal, Odinius and Co. are the same predictable lines run by mainstream western media, which is largely edited with the same slant

    And you of course have privileged sources of information. It must be a pleasant surprise for BB to find himself now included among these.

    In my last reaction to BB I should have added the words “the White House” to my last sentence. About Obama’s alleged “ideology” see the conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks:

    http://patrickjonesmba.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/nytimes-the-pragmatic-leviathan/

  20. avatar Stevo says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Linking to that article sort of drives my point home, thanks AB :)

    There is nothing privileged about the information. However, it is not widely reported in the pop-media. You only need an open and inquiring mind to access it. It also helps if you try and remove any existing bias or ideology, before considering the information.

  21. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 9:21 am

    It is a propagandistic trick within the right wing blogosphere to suggest that left wing ideas have more political weight than they actually have.

    If you want to hear the opinion on this of a man who knows what he is talking about listen to this interview with Perry Anderson, the younger brother of Ben Anderson, well known to Indonesianists.

    From 27.13 onwards he talks about the decline of the left – the political decline not the intellectual one. As far as the latter aspect is concerned he mentions some outstanding more or less recent works in various fields of knowledge that all happen to be in the Marxist tradition.There is no talk of the Frankfurt School etc. He mentions Adorno and Horkheimer only in passing and then in relation to a proposition that he deems to be basically false.

    it is not widely reported in the pop-media.

    Stevo, this pop-media reader will give you a serious answer as soon as you come up with a serious argument of some sort. Scratching BB’s back does not suffice.

  22. avatar Stevo says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I don’t think bb needs my support. His comments stand on their own merit.

    “Indonesianists” what is it with you lefties and these made up words?

  23. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 11:47 am

    “Indonesianists” what is it with you lefties and these made up words?

    You obviously don’t belong to the tribe. Here are two who do:

    http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/blogs/indonesiaproject/2008/07/17/new-honour-for-anu-indonesianist-george-quinn/

  24. avatar Oigal says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Stevo, AB is trying politely to tell you politely that for the last six posts you have not saod anything except a large degree of lap dogging. I will make it easy for you, name one policy proposal or action from the White House or BO, that could honestly be construed as far left or radical. Oh, why don’t you enlighten us all on these fountains of truth you allude, I am assuming we are not talking Fox and beck meltdowns?

  25. avatar berlian biru says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    you mean the other guys down the pub

    Ah yes, they speak of little else other than linguistic intersubjectivity, anti-positivist sociology and the philosophical discourse of modernity down my local, Arie.

    Arie, like Odinius and a couple of other posters you have reverted to simply sticking your tongue out and going “nya! nya! nya!” when having your ideas confronted by someone who isn’t already tuned into your locked down mindset.

    However I have now got you at least to admit that far from these extremely influential left wing philosphers being of no concern to the development of mid twentieth century left wing thinking (if they’re so unimportant why did you feel the need to do your doctoral dissertation on them?) they might actually have a following in “in some nooks and crannies of American academe”.

    Methinks you doth protest too much Arie my friend, you know damn well how influential these writers are across a vast swathe of academic thought in the US.

    So tell me, if the ideas behind diversity, multicultutalism, gender studies, the obsession with political correctness and homophobia as well as countless other issues dear to the heart of the new Left which sprang up out of US university campuses in the sixties, seventies and eighties did not come from these influences where did they come from?

    Are you seriously suggesting that the blue collar workers of America suddenly abandoned the principles of economic advancement for their own class and instead opted to campaign on behalf of such issues as, for example, gay rights and quotas for ethnic minorities all by themselves?

    The heretofore extremely patriotic, socially conservative and in many instances deeply religious working classes of America decided spontaneously and of their own volition to abandon their traditional values and instead become obsessed with such issues as abortion and homosexuality and other causes celebre of the campus left did they?

    Why are you so reluctant to claim the credit for what must be regarded as one of the most successful political campaigns in history – the radical realignment of western left wing thinking (for it happened not just in America but across the world) – for a group of political philosophers whom you obviously admire?

    Why not give credit where it is due to the men whose ideas have triumphed so widely?

  26. avatar berlian biru says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I’ve just checked in three dictionaries in my office and five online dictionaries. Stevo is absolutely correct “Indonesianist” is a made up word, but then again making up new language out of thin air, giving it an academic slant and then presenting it as if it were always part of the English language is fairly standard operating procedure of the left.

  27. avatar Stevo says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Oigal asks “I will make it easy for you, name one policy proposal or action from the White House or BO, that could honestly be construed as far left or radical.”

    I can’t, but I never made any claim to the contrary. In fact what I did say that he is no better (or worse) than the previous president.

    You will also note I have not made disparaging remarks about Obama himself.

    What I have attempted is to point out is the double standards of his supporters. As you allude to, he has not undertaken a major move to the left. He is still busy waging war against Israel’s enemies, same as Bush.

    Yet he is exempt from the vilification, and popular media scrutiny, that the previous president was.

    AB, I checked out the link. It is not a real word just because the author is impressed by titles and funny hats. You have been misled my friend.

  28. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Ah yes, they speak of little else other than linguistic intersubjectivity, anti-positivist sociology and the philosophical discourse of modernity down my local, Arie.

    No, unless they have hastily boned up on some of the jargon as you apparently have done just now. But discourse on the Muehlenberg level (look again at his charge sheet above) does not require a faculty pub at Princeton. And, sorry, your little exercise in the history of ideas has thus far not risen far above that.

    However I have now got you at least to admit that far from these extremely influential left wing philosphers being of no concern to the development of mid twentieth century left wing thinking (if they’re so unimportant why did you feel the need to do your doctoral dissertation on them?) they might actually have a following in “in some nooks and crannies of American academe”.

    Methinks you doth protest too much Arie my friend, you know damn well how influential these writers are across a vast swathe of academic thought in the US.

    How come that “little nooks and crannies” suddenly become “a vast swathe of academic thought”? And I never said that they were unimportant in themselves (on the contrary the latter day Habermas is an extremely important thinker) but unimportant for the development of most of the ideas you take exception to.

    So tell me, if the ideas behind diversity, multicultutalism, gender studies, the obsession with political correctness and homophobia as well as countless other issues dear to the heart of the new Left which sprang up out of US university campuses in the sixties, seventies and eighties did not come from these influences where did they come from?

    So if it wasn’t the Frankfurt School, damn it, who else could have done it? This lazy style of questioning doesn’t become a would-be historian of ideas. All those notions that you apparently detest have only a very tenuous link with what Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, and later Habermas were about. Marcuse had some campus influence in the US but then again he doesn’t quite fit into the charge sheet either.

    I suggest you try a bit harder to answer your own question.

    As to your little grievance about the term Indonesianist and its possible link with leftist thought – it is too silly to further go into. You and Stevo seem to be fast developing a ‘folie a deux’.

  29. avatar Stevo says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    “folie a deux” wow it sounds fancy! (At least its a real term)

    You make a compelling argument. I am certainly convinced.

    Sorry for being so silly. ;)

  30. avatar Arie Brand says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Oh yes, BB, just as a reminder, your original point was that Obama and his wife (who were both trained in legal matters) had been influenced by the Frankfurt School. The evidence for this has not been forthcoming either.

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