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The other kind of birther

1234I’ve talked about Birthers, Twofers and Proofers. There is another kind of Obama Conspiracy theorist and I don’t know whether to call them “birther” or not. Those are ones that believe that Obama is a natural born citizen, but that his father was Frank Marshall Davis, someone who wrote for publications that were listed as “communist front organizations” (for what that’s worth).

It’s a conspiracy theory (some say involving the CIA) for sure and it has something to do with Barack Obama’s birth. Beyond the fact that Davis was a family friend of the Dunham’s in Hawaii and Barack Obama mentions him a few times in  his book, Dreams from My Father, as giving him advice, there’s not much more to the facts. Nevertheless a film titled “Dreams from my real father” claims to be proof of it.

Now, reports the Mobile Press Register (my local newspaper growing up) the Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead, speaking to Eastern Shore Republican Women in Fairhope, Alabama,  says that he endorses the film:

I’ve seen it. I verified that it is factual, all of it.

I should note that Fairhope is on the “right” side of Mobile Bay.

You can read the story at the Register’s AL.COM web site.

Early on in the history of this site, Davis’ son Mark left some comments here about his  father and the accusations that he was a communist. Mark has a 2008 article about what he describes as “red baiting” and his father.

I hasten to add that if Davis were Obama’s father, this proves that not only that birthers are wrong, but they are liars to boot (hmm, that’s true no matter who Obama’s father was). In any case, I saw Obama’s birth certificate and Davis’ name is not on it and without something more than lurid innuendo, that’s enough for me.

Back in 2008 when Jerome Corsi was hawking his book, The Obama Nation, the Obama campaign put out a response, “Unfit for publication,” that talks about the relationship between Obama and Davis.

52 Responses to The other kind of birther

  1. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Alabama GOP chairman goes birther (sort of):

    http://www.salon.com/2012/09/20/alabama_gop_chairman_goes_birther/

  2. avatar
    donna September 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Alabama GOP Chair Goes Birther, Says Obama’s Communist Upbringing ‘Verified’

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/09/alabama_bill_armistead_birther.php?ref=fpb

  3. avatar
    Z September 21, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Of course, he did go to kindergarten. Nothing new there. 😉

    donna:
    Alabama GOP Chair Goes Birther, Says Obama’s Communist Upbringing ‘Verified’

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/09/alabama_bill_armistead_birther.php?ref=fpb

  4. avatar
    ASK Esq September 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    I’ve considered them simply a curious subset of birthers, simply as an example of those who will accept any lie about Obama as long as it seems to make him look bad. I have yet to see any evidence of what they consider established facts of the FMD scenario, first, that Davis was a Communist (I have even seen some give his CPUSA card number, without attribution), second, that Davis was Obama’s mentor. Neither of these seem to have any supporting proof, but that, of course, is par for the course for birthers.

    Also, while I won’t argue with your attempting to categorize birthers, I always just say that anyone who says the circumstances of Obama’s birth make him ineligible is a birther. As there is intermingling between the sects, it seems fruitless to try to pigeonhole them.

  5. avatar
    Arthur September 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Birthers who peddle the FMD nonsense still believe that Obama is ineligible because of the “massive fraud” he would have had to commit in order to hide his true identity.

  6. avatar
    Mary Brown September 21, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    This is another reason to get out and vote and not for the crazy people.

  7. avatar
    G September 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    Here’s the thing about the FMD birthers. I would lump them in as part of a whole subset of Birthers who claim alternative parentage for Barack Obama. Let’s not forget that we had a whole crop of “Malcolm X is his father” nonsense awhile back too.

    The common denominator between the two – SBM syndrome “Scary Black Man”. Plus, it fits right in with their “muslim” (Malcolm X) and “commie/socialist” (FMD) fear-smears.

    So that is what I would call that crop of Birthers – the SBMs.

    Then again, if we widen the pool of sleazy parentage rumours, certain Birthers have gone off on all sorts of twisted and sick tangents of alternative parentage for Obama – not just who his father was, but sometimes even who his mother was.

    As typical, many of the Birther memes completely contradict one another, yet a lot of Birthers grasp on to any and all of them at the same time…the cognative dissonance there is astounding.

    So maybe in a broader context, these folks who don’t care about any details, but who just want some sort of ugly smear to deny Obama his real origins, should be known as Spaghetti Wall Birthers – as they just want to throw anything against the wall, desperate for something to stick and bring him down…

    So those are my two suggestions for naming this Birther subset.

  8. avatar
    G September 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    Well said!

    Mary Brown:
    This is another reason to get out and vote and not for the crazy people.

  9. avatar
    Greenfinches September 22, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    Why would FMD being Obama’s father matter – if it were true? In law, it couldn’t be relevant, surely – Obama is still a US natural born citizen, and even were he illegitimate (and concealed the fact for years), he’d still be qualified.

    I suppose that a father who is a communist would freak out the right wing, but they are not noticeably in Obama’s fan club anyway. Up to the voters, what they think about it.

    Is the argument just ‘fraud’ – but what fraud? Any desperate argument or reason to dislike the guy, that’ll do, right? But I would have thought that this is what elections are for, voting out the candidate you don’t like………………silly me.

  10. avatar
    foreigner September 22, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    even Corsi is against that Joel Gilbert story

  11. avatar
    Lupin September 22, 2012 at 4:26 am #

    This uniquely American obsession with “communism” is (as more and more time passes) increasingly absurd and delusional.

    It would be as if we had a segment of the French population worried about Huguenots in our midst.

  12. avatar
    bovril September 22, 2012 at 5:24 am #

    This caste of birfoons are what I call General Denialists and bigots.

    They have at least sufficient grasp of reality that they can’t go Full Metal Birfoon, Kenya, forged BC’s etc but they still can’t get over a (and I have heard this exact phrase) “A F**KING N**GER DEMONRAT IN OUR WHITEHOUSE”.

    These scum suckung fecwkits are typically more openly closet racist with major entitlemnet issues. They usually add how the President only got anywhere by affirmative action and usually add how he’s a commie and a queer etc etc.

    Basically they latch onto a subset of Birerism to act as a “beard” for outright racism.

    IMHO….YMMV

  13. avatar
    Jules September 22, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    The suggestion that Frank Marshall Davis was Obama’s father is clearly baseless.

    Some, even in respectable media sources, have drawn attention to the fact that Obama had apparently encountered Frank Marshall Davis in his youth: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/2601914/Frank-Marshall-Davis-alleged-Communist-was-early-influence-on-Barack-Obama.html

    In any event, any link between Obama and Davis is tenuous. He is described as having met Davis on “several occasions”. Several means more than two but fewer than many.

    Obama’s recollection of these encounters indicates that Obama was exposed to provocative ideas, but Obama’s subsequent life choices indicate that he did not ultimately agree. Davis was less than admiring of higher education, whereas Obama decided at the relevant time that he ought to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies. The fact that Obama is not mentioned in any of Davis’ known papers suggests that Davis never regarded any encounter with Obama as particularly significant.

    Dr C references “proofers” in his post. I assume that there are not any more true proofers left. After all, Obama has received a certified copy of the original, allowed journalists to inspect it, and put a scan on the Internet. The Hawaii Department of Health has confirmed that the scan on the Internet shows the document that it issued.

  14. avatar
    Paper September 22, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    At the moment, at least for all the people I know and have met in passing here, I wouldn’t quite call it delusional. It’s more like muscle memory. I should know the better term, but right now I can’t think.

    When I grew up, the Cold War was a huge, huge deal. We grew up with the sense that nuclear war could happen anytime. It was a real presence in my life. This was well after the communist witch hunts of McCarthy.

    So my mother’s obsession with communism explains a lot to me about her politics. (Of course, that never kept us from exasperating “discussions.”) People I know recently from Poland also show extreme reaction to anything smacking of communism, and an over-enthusiastic embrace of capitalism. One such relatively recent immigrant was recommending Ayn Rand to me.

    One of the big feelings in the 90s was relief. The 90s were heady for a few reasons. While I always worried about the bounce back of becoming the only superpower, I did experience relief from the underlying dread.

    It is understandable that some who went through the Cold War hold unto their views about communism and over-react.

    Lupin:
    This uniquely American obsession with “communism” is (as more and more time passes) increasingly absurd and delusional.

    It would be as if we had a segment of the French population worried about Huguenots in our midst.

  15. avatar
    Norbrook September 22, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    One of the indicators of the “aging” of the Republican Party is that they’re constantly trying to use the scare tactic of “socialism!”, or “communist!” While they have connotations for people of my generation, people who were born after 1980 really have none of those reactions. To them, it’s an abstract, something that was “long ago,” so they’re not giving the reaction that most Republicans seem to think they should have.

  16. avatar
    Paper September 22, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Exactly.

    Norbrook:
    One of the indicators of the “aging” of the Republican Party is that they’re constantly trying to use the scare tactic of “socialism!”, or“communist!” While they have connotations for people of my generation, people who were born after 1980 really have none of those reactions.To them, it’s an abstract, something that was “long ago,” so they’re not giving the reaction that most Republicans seem to think they should have.

  17. avatar
    Lupin September 22, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Paper: It is understandable that some who went through the Cold War hold unto their views about communism and over-react.

    Absolutely. I get it. But as I said, it is increasingly absurd.

  18. avatar
    Paper September 22, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I’ll give you increasingly absurd. Just not delusional.

    Lupin: Absolutely. I get it. But as I said, it is increasingly absurd.

  19. avatar
    Paper September 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Well, except for Orly Taitz. But she is worse than delusional; she’s boring.

  20. avatar
    J.D. Reed September 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    Don’t you just love the level of proof cited by the producer of the film that the Alabama GOP chief buys into:
    ” A disclaimer for the film notes that many of the scenes are ‘re-creations of probable events, using reasoned logic, speculation, and approximated conversations.’ ”
    I’d say the producer was being honest in his own way. Although his definitions of “probable” and “reasoned logic” are about 179.9 degrees off from the way ordinarily intelligent and and educated people understand the terms. The meaning of “approximated conversations” is “We just made all this BS up.” I can believe speculation.

  21. avatar
    G September 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Well said! I agree.

    The problems with rigid conservatism is that they have difficulty with change and adaption. So their bogeyman fears are always outmoded and stuck in the no-longer-relevant past…

    They have an extreme difficulty with moving on and moving forward…

    Lupin: This uniquely American obsession with “communism” is (as more and more time passes) increasingly absurd and delusional.
    It would be as if we had a segment of the French population worried about Huguenots in our midst.

  22. avatar
    G September 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Yeah, it has become increasingly obvious that much of it is really that. It isn’t all of it, of course. But it sure is a lot of it.

    bovril: Basically they latch onto a subset of Birerism to act as a “beard” for outright racism.
    IMHO….YMMV

  23. avatar
    G September 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    The Cold War was definitely a shaping factor of my youth too. So I get what you are saying, but I can’t be that sympathetic to people who are so stuck in the past that they can’t move on from it twenty years later.

    Other than those who lost their lives in Korea or Vietnam, most of the American experience of the Cold War amounted to nothing more than a palpable sense of fear an paranoia…but no actual harm.

    So for folks to still be clinging to the scars of merely feeling threatened and frightened… when everything happened to turn out okay in the end… and after two additional decades have past….

    Sorry, I just can’t have sympathy there and don’t view that as legitimate scarring to hold onto.

    It certainly is not the same thing as those who lived under the banner of oppressive Communist dictatorships, no any who experieced war up close and personal… nor the very real deep emotional scarring that Holocaust survivors have to live with…

    All those groups I can understand their scars. The ones that turned out to be nothing more than living through unrealized fears – not so much. I lived through that too and felt that fear at the time. But it was easy to get over it.

    Again, it comes down to the personality of how different individuals handle change and are able to adapt and move on with their lives. Some folks are just wired to not be able to adapt well in these regards…nor do I think they put much effort into actually trying to move on and accept that the world has changed and will always continue to change.

    Paper: At the moment, at least for all the people I know and have met in passing here, I wouldn’t quite call it delusional. It’s more like muscle memory. I should know the better term, but right now I can’t think.
    When I grew up, the Cold War was a huge, huge deal. We grew up with the sense that nuclear war could happen anytime. It was a real presence in my life. This was well after the communist witch hunts of McCarthy.
    So my mother’s obsession with communism explains a lot to me about her politics. (Of course, that never kept us from exasperating “discussions.”) People I know recently from Poland also show extreme reaction to anything smacking of communism, and an over-enthusiastic embrace of capitalism. One such relatively recent immigrant was recommending Ayn Rand to me.
    One of the big feelings in the 90s was relief. The 90s were heady for a few reasons. While I always worried about the bounce back of becoming the only superpower, I did experience relief from the underlying dread.
    It is understandable that some who went through the Cold War hold unto their views about communism and over-react.

  24. avatar
    G September 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    I would go further and argue that much of their rhetoric is still stuck in the mindset of the heated period of turmoil of the 1950’s and 1960’s. I was born in 1971. So I missed out on all that social unrest and change that deeply wears on the generation before me. I am not impressed at all with the silly Saul Alinsky bogeyman that the RWNJ throw around all the time. To me, he too is a dusty and outmoded relic of events that took place before my time and have no real tangible connection to anything in the world I grew up in or live in today.

    The Cold War was still a big deal growing up…but it came to a close while I was finishing up High School and my college years were defined by the impact of Desert Storm and Saddam Hussein, “the wacky Iraqi”.

    So I would say that much of the rhetoric we hear on the right only truly appeals or makes sense to folks who are much older than I am. For anyone younger than their mid-50’s, most of the RWNJ’s current bogeymen are merely tall tales passed down from an even earlier generation…

    Norbrook:
    One of the indicators of the “aging” of the Republican Party is that they’re constantly trying to use the scare tactic of “socialism!”, or“communist!” While they have connotations for people of my generation, people who were born after 1980 really have none of those reactions.To them, it’s an abstract, something that was “long ago,” so they’re not giving the reaction that most Republicans seem to think they should have.

  25. avatar
    G September 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    In thinking about it, what all this shows is how much the Baby Boomer generation has really been critical in influencing American thought patterns and policy for decades.

    They were the soldiers, protesters, rebellious youth, hippies, etc. of the 1960’s. They drove all of the social influences and fads in music and culture of the 1970s. They became the materialistic Yuppies of the 1980s. They achieved the Presidency in the 1990s.

    And their views still cast a long shadow on perceptions and attitudes here in the 21st century…even though the realities of today’s world and actual makeup of today’s political parties are vastly different than they were fifty years ago…

    They are now a generation that is increasingly moving into their retirement years. So soon, their policy will have a huge impact on issues of long term health care and benefits and how we take care of our elderly…

    …But hopefully, the rest of their stranglehold on the politicaland social zeitgeist of America will finally fade away….

    My generation (Gen X) and the one below me (Gen Y) are not that fond of the Baby Boomers. We feel like we’ve been forced, for decades now, to live in a world shaped to their outdated perspectives, which don’t match up with our own experiences much at all. It has been quite chafing, to say the least. So I think that the glacial pace of poltical change will experience quite a dramatic seismic shift, once the Boomers and their controlling influence are finally out of the picture.

    G: So I would say that much of the rhetoric we hear on the right only truly appeals or makes sense to folks who are much older than I am. For anyone younger than their mid-50′s, most of the RWNJ’s current bogeymen are merely tall tales passed down from an even earlier generation…

  26. avatar
    G September 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Just to clarify what I mean by “out of the picture”, I’m not talking about when they pass away.

    I’m referring to a point in time when enough of them simply don’t have a controlling power in workplaces and pubic offices AND as a voting block, that is all.

    Many of them will still be around and enjoy up to several decades of life, even after that critical tipping point is reached. So no, I don’t want to see my parent’s generation die out, I just want to see them finally step aside and enjoy their retirement years and let us younger generations take over steering the wheel.

    G: So I think that the glacial pace of poltical change will experience quite a dramatic seismic shift, once the Boomers and their controlling influence are finally out of the picture.

  27. avatar
    Paper September 22, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    I wouldn’t use the word “scarred.” More like they developed an absolute attitude toward communism/socialism during those decades. So, with my mother, she embraced Reagan, including his notions of government involvement in healthcare as socialism, with resulting loss of freedom to come. Believe me, I disagree and had many arguments when I was younger. It’s a philosophy formed in that context, I would say. And most if not all people rarely change their fundamental philosophies of life established at a young age. Of course, the Polish immigrants I know have more recent reasons and experiences.

    Nowadays people growing up have less reason to establish such black/white views, whereby every social expense gets framed in the starkest communistic gulag perspective. That is good.

    I’m just saying this attitude is not delusional. Many other things, perhaps.

    G:
    The Cold War was definitely a shaping factor of my youth too.So I get what you are saying, but I can’t be that sympathetic to people who are so stuck in the past that they can’t move on from it twenty years later.

    Other than those who lost their lives in Korea or Vietnam, most of the American experience of the Cold War amounted to nothing more than a palpable sense of fear an paranoia…but no actual harm.

    So for folks to still be clinging to the scars of merely feeling threatened and frightened… when everything happened to turn out okay in the end… and after two additional decades have past….

    Sorry, I just can’t have sympathy there and don’t view that as legitimate scarring to hold onto.

    It certainly is not the same thing as those who lived under the banner of oppressive Communist dictatorships, no any who experieced war up close and personal… nor the very real deep emotional scarring that Holocaust survivors have to live with…

    All those groups I can understand their scars.The ones that turned out to be nothing more than living through unrealized fears – not so much.I lived through that too and felt that fear at the time.But it was easy to get over it.

    Again, it comes down to the personality of how different individuals handle change and are able to adapt and move on with their lives.Some folks are just wired to not be able to adapt well in these regards…nor do I think they put much effort into actually trying to move on and accept that the world has changed and will always continue to change.

  28. avatar
    ASK Esq September 23, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    G: Here’s the thing about the FMD birthers. I would lump them in as part of a whole subset of Birthers who claim alternative parentage for Barack Obama. Let’s not forget that we had a whole crop of “Malcolm X is his father” nonsense awhile back too.

    Don’t forget those who say that his real father was Stanley Armour Dunham, and his real mother was an unknown black prostitute in Hawaii. As far as pure head-scratching crazy, i think that one takes the cake.

  29. avatar
    Lupin September 23, 2012 at 4:03 am #

    I have to add to the above that I totally understand being scared of “communist Russia” (or China) with nuclear weapons in the 50s, 60s, etc.

    Heck, I wouldn’t criticize someone scared of Russia today, even though it’s no longer communist.

    But including “socialism” in the same scare is being delusional, or let’s say ignorant. Don’t Americans realize that most European countries allied to the US have at various times been led by socialist (or labor) regimes: the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, etc.?

  30. avatar
    Paper September 23, 2012 at 5:08 am #

    Yes, and these particular Americans don’t like it. They know a variety of European countries are socialist and say that is a problem and like to blame that for Europe’s troubles, even when in a specific instance there is no trouble, even when a particular country is doing well. I have been told more than once to move to Europe. I like to point out that providing for the general welfare is part of the constitution, and is a socialist idea, so blame the founders.

    I would just say their perspective is incorrect and inadequate.

    But this goes back to resistance to FDR. It’s not particularly new.

    My point about the Cold War is that it aggravated and imprinted a certain idea of socialism as leading to tyranny and failed states/economies. In other words, Europe is on its way to the same fate as the Soviet Union, more or less. It is at best a flawed perspective. For one thing, it conflates democracy and freedom with capitalism.

    This Cold War legacy seems why Americans, or some number of Americans, hate the word socialism but actually like socialist policies, such as Social Security and Medicare. At its most ridiculous, we find someone saying: ‘I don’t want government-run health care. I don’t want socialized medicine. And don’t touch my Medicare.'”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/get-your-goddamn-governme_b_252326.html

    Lupin:
    I have to add to the above that I totally understand being scared of “communist Russia” (or China) with nuclear weapons in the 50s, 60s, etc.

    Heck, I wouldn’t criticize someone scared of Russia today, even though it’s no longer communist.

    But including “socialism” in the same scare is being delusional, or let’s say ignorant. Don’t Americans realize that most European countries allied to the US have at various times been led by socialist (or labor) regimes: the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, etc.?

  31. avatar
    foreigner September 23, 2012 at 5:47 am #

    Germany not communist (half-left). But Italy (in coalition) during cold war
    Also France

  32. avatar
    G September 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    I would argue that absolutism is absolutely delusional. And yes, pun intended.

    Paper: I’m just saying this attitude is not delusional. Many other things, perhaps.

  33. avatar
    G September 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    I did address that group, under what I called the Spaghetti Wall Birthers:

    G: So maybe in a broader context, these folks who don’t care about any details, but who just want some sort of ugly smear to deny Obama his real origins, should be known as Spaghetti Wall Birthers – as they just want to throw anything against the wall, desperate for something to stick and bring him down…

    My characterization might have come across as too subtle, as I simply referred to ugly smears about his origins, instead of wanting to wade into the muck and dignify the reprehensible slurs and even incest charges that some slimy Birthers have slung…

    ASK Esq: Don’t forget those who say that his real father was Stanley Armour Dunham, and his real mother was an unknown black prostitute in Hawaii. As far as pure head-scratching crazy, i think that one takes the cake.

  34. avatar
    G September 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Well said!

    A number of folks here are smart enough to grasp the spectrum of differences between communism and socialism and how they have been applied differently in different countries.

    But sadly, you are correct – there is a lot of insular ignorance in America about the rest of the world and about what either of those terms mean. Particularly on the right these days, which has been infested with the RWNJ bogeyman rhetoric and negative sentiments towards the rest of the globe…

    Lupin: But including “socialism” in the same scare is being delusional, or let’s say ignorant. Don’t Americans realize that most European countries allied to the US have at various times been led by socialist (or labor) regimes: the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, etc.?

  35. avatar
    G September 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Neither Italy nor France were ever communist countries. However, during the Cold War and pre-reunification, East Germany was.

    foreigner:
    Germany not communist (half-left). But Italy (in coalition) during cold war
    Also France

  36. avatar
    Paper September 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    I might very well agree, but I am uncertain that for many it approaches absolutism as much as allergic reaction. There of course are some extreme Orly Taitz-like examples, but they aren’t the ones I am discussing, because they are too boring. (I generally skip Orly Taitz references here, for example, for that reason.). I’m just talking about everyday people who have different political views, sometimes for some overlapping into birtherism.

    Also, there are everyday uses of the word absolute that may not be 100% absolute in some Absolute Reality Sense but are treated as such for practical purposes: murder is wrong, for instance. The exceptions to that absolute escape by not being labeled murder. Birthers are absolutely wrong about Obama’s birth and eligibility, for yet another example.

    Those two examples are not delusional. So in some everyday senses, we can state some relative absolutes (ha!).

    G:
    I would argue that absolutism is absolutely delusional.And yes, pun intended.

  37. avatar
    Keith September 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Lupin: I have to add to the above that I totally understand being scared of “communist Russia” (or China) with nuclear weapons in the 50s, 60s, etc.

    Actually, I was more scared of France with nuclear weapons in the 90’s.

    Even though I grew up in Tucson Arizona, which was surrounded by ICBM’s aimed at Moscow and Beijing (and therefore on the ‘first strike’ list), and half the city was packed up ready to clog up the highways to Mexico during the Cuban missile crisis (fat lot of good that would have done), at least the Russians and the Chinese weren’t blowing up ships in our harbors, let alone those of their friends.

  38. avatar
    Keith September 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    foreigner:
    Germany not communist (half-left). But Italy (in coalition) during cold war
    Also France

    Germany is much more ‘left-leaning’ than America under Obama.

  39. avatar
    Keith September 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    G:
    Neither Italy nor France were ever communist countries.However, during the Cold War and pre-reunification, East Germany was.

    Turin, Italy at least had a communist local government for many years (I’m not sure about now). My understanding is that they did quite a good job reviving a badly decaying economy and community environment, but I could be corrected about that.

    edit: I sort of corrected myself. Looks like the commies resigned after 10 years in control under scandal.

  40. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    I visited Germany earlier in the year, and this is the strong impression that I got. Their biggest problem? A labor shortage.

    Keith: Germany is much more ‘left-leaning’ than America under Obama.

  41. avatar
    G September 23, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    Good points. 😉

    Paper: Also, there are everyday uses of the word absolute that may not be 100% absolute in some Absolute Reality Sense but are treated as such for practical purposes: murder is wrong, for instance. The exceptions to that absolute escape by not being labeled murder. Birthers are absolutely wrong about Obama’s birth and eligibility, for yet another example.

    Those two examples are not delusional. So in some everyday senses, we can state some relative absolutes (ha!).

  42. avatar
    G September 23, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    Interesting. That is something I was not aware of.

    Keith: Turin, Italy at least had a communist local government for many years (I’m not sure about now). My understanding is that they did quite a good job reviving a badly decaying economy and community environment, but I could be corrected about that.
    edit: I sort of corrected myself. Looks like the commies resigned after 10 years in control under scandal.

  43. avatar
    Lupin September 24, 2012 at 5:00 am #

    Keith: at least the Russians and the Chinese weren’t blowing up ships in our harbors, let alone those of their friends.

    You’re referring to the Greenpeace incident? I have to agree that it was a shameful moment illustrating what happens when military and spooks get too much of a free hand.

  44. avatar
    Lupin September 24, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    In France — and I would tentatively add Italy — the Communist party was the backbone of the Resistance against the Nazis, so it came out of WWII with a fair amount of prestige, despite its then-pro-Stalinist leanings.

    I encourage folks to read the DON CAMILO books or watch the movies with Fernandel about the friendly rivalry between the local priest the the communist mayor in a small village of Northern Italy.

    The Communist were also the only party actively defending the workers, since they’d been present at the birth of the trade union/labor movements.

    Eventually as the news of Stalin’s crimes became known, plus the invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, they lost much of their appeal — and membership — in the 70s.

    Interestingly some of their members eventually gravitated towards the Far right National Front party.

    Today,m they’re mostly political dinosaurs.

  45. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny September 24, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    Lupin: Interestingly some of their members eventually gravitated towards the Far right National Front party.

    Today, they’re mostly political dinosaurs.

    Actually, the communists also had and have a number of Don Peppones, communist mayors of little rural towns, where the communists took power just after the war and continued to be elected because they were good administrators. On the national level, the party has virtually disappeared. Most communist voters are now maoist, trostkyite or nostalgic 68ers.

    Their decline is a bit like the that of the Roman Catholic church in Belgium. One generation ago, almost half the population went to mass, now of the 6% who say they go to church, the majority is probably protestant or orthodox.

    As for the swith to the far right, that thing also happened in East Germany, which is now the high ground of various ultra right parties who will never pass the five percent hurdle nationally because they cannot agree amongst themselves.

    Like National Front voters cannot be depended on to vote for the right-wing candidate in a presidential run-off in France, East German extreme right voters had a funny way of using the hybrid German electoral system on the national level. While giving their party vote (the one that actually counts) to their favourite right-wing party, they very often gave their first-past-the-post candidate vote to the communist candidate. While they might have been tempted to do that because they knew the guy from before 1989, there was also another, anti-democratic purpose behind that one: German electoral law says that only parties who get 5% nationally participate in the proportional apportionment nationally, with two exceptions: parties who represent a linguistic minority are not subject to the 5% hurdle (but only once did the Danish minority party get enough votes for a seat nationally) and parties who get three candidates elected directly, participate anyway. The right-wingers were trying to double the impact of their vote as they saw it, by helping the communists to get three direct seats.

    It saved the PDS in 1994, but not in 2002, when even with a stronger candidate vote locally, the PDS just missed out on their third seat, with christian democrats and liberals voting for the socialist candidate to block the PDS. Ironically, they were doing that to increase the chances of toppling the socialist government of Schróder. Did not work.

  46. avatar
    Lupin September 24, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    What Paul said is / was very true in France too: we had a number of cities which elected communist mayors — especially in what the Brits would call “labor constituencies” — who did a good or at least average job of running them, without freaking out anyone.

    Again, you have to look at the French or Italian communists as you would labor unions in the US.

    On my mother’s side of the family, my great-uncle grew up dirt poor in Corsica and moved to Toulon before WWII to work in the shipyards. (For LES MIZ fans where Jean Valjean served his sentence.) His wife was a cleaning woman. They worked long and hard all their lives and the French Communist Party was the only giving them support, standing up for their interests and opposing fascism.

    Later, the Party helped defray the costs of education of their four children — my cousins. Two went on to go to University and had pretty successful careers. None of that would have been possible without the Party’s help.

    The picture my great-uncle and aunt had of the USSR in the 60s was of course a naive propaganda lie, not unlike Christians might have of the Pope or the Vatican. When the truth began to seep out, it was a blow, of course, but they never turned their back on the party.

    I understand how poor and somewhat uneducated people were, and still are, driven to join populist opposition movements such as the Communist Party then, or the National Front today; what I don’t quite understand (but I do accept it as fact) is why the same people in the US willingly embrace and support the plutocrats who fleece them.

  47. avatar
    foreigner September 24, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    maybe USA should once try a coalition, just to see how it works (what it is) ?!
    ———————————
    one of my ideas was to found a coalition-party, with no own program,
    just coordinating the powers according to the votes.
    It would form a government in coalition with any other parties and adopt
    their policy to the amount of their votes.

  48. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 24, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    Lupin: What Paul said is / was very true in France too: we had a number of cities which elected communist mayors — especially in what the Brits would call “labor constituencies” — who did a good or at least average job of running them, without freaking out anyone….

    except in the United States.

  49. avatar
    Northland10 September 24, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    The us does not have a parliamentary system where the head of government is an MP.

    foreigner:
    maybe USA should once try a coalition, just to see how it works (what it is) ?!
    ———————————
    one of my ideas was to found a coalition-party, with no own program,
    just coordinating the powers according to the votes.
    It would form a government in coalition with any other parties and adopt
    their policy to the amount of their votes.

  50. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 24, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    I think the answer is fear. Most people have something, and they are afraid that what little they have will be taken away if they allow to the advocates of change to get control.

    Lupin: understand how poor and somewhat uneducated people were, and still are, driven to join populist opposition movements such as the Communist Party then, or the National Front today; what I don’t quite understand (but I do accept it as fact) is why the same people in the US willingly embrace and support the plutocrats who fleece them.

  51. avatar
    Keith September 24, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Lupin: You’re referring to the Greenpeace incident?

    Yes.

  52. avatar
    Sudoku September 24, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I sent an email to the Mr. Armistead at the Alabama GOP website and asked about this:

    “If you haven’t seen it, you should,” he said. “But I’m going to tell you about another movie. The name of it is ‘Dreams From My Real Father.’ That is absolutely frightening. I’ve seen it. I verified that it is factual, all of it. People can determine.” I asked
    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/alabama-gop-chairman-promotes-fringe-birther-movie-calls-it-factual-and-frightening

    I said if he was misquoted, he should make a public statement addressing it. If the quote was accurate, he either should air his verifications or swiftly and publicly retract his vile comment.
    http://algop.org/about-us/leadership/welcome-statement-from-chairman-armistead/