by Jacques Delacroix, PhD
Sunday afternoon, as I was driving from the harbor, I was listening to National Public Radio. (Yes, I am a kind of hero, that way; I do what needs to be done even if it’s repugnant.) A political commentator whose name escaped me was talking with undisguised contempt about his grossly misinformed conservative uncle. As he mentioned that the old guy got his news from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, I paid attention because, in part, that was me. Or it could be me although I don’t have a liberal nephew with a contemptuous attitude working in pseudo-journalism.
The commentator spoke of the various ways in which dumb conservatives are uninformed, including that Obama was not born in the US (Kept his good birth certificate out of the public eye for several years; allowed his lit. agent to describe him as a Kenyan when he was young; keeps his undergraduate records closed although, at this point, it’s difficult to think of anyone who would care what his grades were when he was twenty; it does arouse my suspicions). That he is a secret Muslim. (He has an Arabic first name and a classical Muslim middle name; his father was a Muslim – a very bad one – he spent a part of his childhood in a Muslim country – Indonesia – under the partial guardianship of a Muslim stepfather.) Incidentally, I don’t know if Obama is a Muslim and I don’t know how the commentator can be so sure he isn’t. Only Obama knows for sure and, by the way, good Muslims are explicitly allowed to deceive non-Muslims to serve their faith. Again: I don’t know and, I don’t really care.
Then, the commentator asserted something that really piqued my curiosity: He stated that conservatives believe that Barack Obama never published anything in the law review of which he occupied the two top positions, including Chief Editor. First a few words about pertinent facts many people don’t know, followed by a strong opinion.
The law reviews (journals) of prestigious American law schools* are normally in the hands of students with distant faculty supervision, or with zero faculty supervision. The highest posts, including that of Chief Editor are elective. Seeing a student at the head of the Harvard Law Review (and others) does not demonstrate extraordinary achievement; it’s the norm.
Now, an opinion: In the period when Mr Obama was in law school the top law review jobs went to the best looking willing male black students if no black woman was available. That happened through elections by fellow-students eager to demonstrate that they were the right kind.
Publishing in the Harvard Law Review is just about the best thing one can do for one’s future legal career (except having a well-chosen father.) Law students are very eager to get an article published in any law review, especially in the highly visible Harvard Law Review. Most students have two years total to get in there. It’s very competitive.
Now, I am one of those ignorant conservatives. In fact, I have asserted several times on my blog() that Mr Obama had hardly accomplished anything in his life aside from being elected. I always admitted two possible exceptions. First, my lawyer friends ** tell me that he passed the bar exam in Illinois. This is not nothing; it’s an achievement. Second, it’s possible that he actually wrote his two autobiographical books. (I am skeptical even on that one because he does not seem to know English much better than, say, Pres. G. W. Bush). I often took as an example of his low competence the fact that he had never published anything in the Harvard Law Review, not even something heavily co-authored, although he was for two years in a superb position to do so.
Now, I am told point blank by NPR that I was completely wrong, have been for about eight years. This is worth looking into. If nothing else, I need to correct my mistake publicly. If I was wrong, I also need to examine my BS filter. So, I did what people of low skills do with he Internet, I Googled “Barack Obama, Harvard Law Review.” What I found can be read via the link below:
That document causes me to say, ” I was technically a little wrong but I was substantially right: Barack Obama did not accomplish anything on his own, not even in the Harvard Law Review.” (Except, see above. )
I accept that my search may not have been thorough enough. I hope someone else will help. I also expect the several lawyers who read me secretly to correct any technical mistakes I may have made. Thank you in advance.
This is not beating a dead horse: We have had almost eight years of an affirmative action president. He has accomplished nothing except a national health program widely seen as a disaster. He has gone repeatedly around the Constitution for lack of political skills in persuading Congress. He has helped a terrorist state re-arm. He seems to have failed even in his promise to his Left-wing followers to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison in spite of taking big risks freeing terrorists from it. None of this is surprising. The man had accomplished nothing in his life before becoming president; he accomplished nothing afterwards. He was elected in a national spasm of affirmative action. (That’s also how he received the Nobel Peace Prize from senile Norwegian old men.). I will grant him two thing s: He looks good in a suit; his public speaking has improved. Pres. Obama’s lack of presidential achievement should not surprise anyone. Look around: Getting things done is a kind of lifetime virtuous habit. Those who don’t before they are forty-five are unlikely to begin afterwards. And Mrs Bill Clinton’s achievements thus far are : ________?
A large segment of the electorate that is normally rational is going to vote again on an affirmative action basis. I hear it all the time without trying to. They are treating the Presidency, the most powerful office one earth, as if it were a nasty old gulf club denying women membership out of sheer obstinate meanness. No one even bothers to try and make the argument that a woman president would bring something special and needed to the job. (That’s an argument that can be made with respect to the usefulness of female police officers, for example.) It will be a mind-blind vote. It will change this society to a point that we will not recognize it anymore if it happens. It will not be because the President is a woman. It will be because she is a person whose large record of ineffectiveness, of deviousness, of dishonesty, of cheating, of stealing the White House furniture, has been disregarded on purpose.
PS Some of you may wonder about the inclusion of a mention of my academic title at the head of this essay. I have never done it before. It’s just that I am gunning for a job. The Trump party is so full of illiterate, uneducated, low-life deplorables according to the media that, should Trump become president, I think I would stand a good chance for a high position in his administration. It would be because I would be one of his few supporters who can read whole sentences, including long words.
* For my overseas readers: Normally, law schools in America accepts students who are already university graduates. (There is a minute number of exceptions.) Few people in the US become trained lawyers in less than six years after high school.
** I have lawyer friends. I am proud of it. It speaks to my high level of tolerance for evil and deviousness. By the way, do you know how to save a lawyer from drowning? No? You don’t? It’s OK, don’t worry about it.
Interesting but why, “anonymous”? So, here is a sample from the list of Pres. Obama’s accomplishments “anonymous” proposes in contradiction to my assertion that Mr Obama has not accomplished anything:
“Became the first president to stream every White House event, live. http://1.usa.gov/kAgOP5”
OK, granted. He did.
This is not a fair sample, of course but the fact that the authors of this piece felt it necessary to include this item nicely makes my point, I think.
Well, sure, easy to laugh at a most powerful man on earth who’s live streaming himself like those hipster vine stars. A starking contrast with a strong, conservative figure such as former prime minister and current interim president of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who “According to a 2008 US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks, he “instructed the state-controlled media to never show him on TV” due to a belief that it would make then-president Karimov jealous.”
Ok, I’m exaggerating, and yet, why laugh at striving to make office of president as transparent as possible to the public eye? The list is of course sily and has and overall loose understanding of the word “accomplishment”, but let’s call out a few trends in Obama’s decision making as president which I would say are positive:
– civil rights, fighting discrimination, and ensuring equal rights for minorities (gay marriage, repealing dont ask dont tell, and even the bothced guantanamo closure)
– trying to do away with the dog eat dog kind of society which sadly US still is through affordable healthcare. Socialism?! Sure. Not the american way? Maybe. Observing how social security and public healthcare systems work froma safe distance make me cringe.
– I dunno, what else? Not waging large scale ground military operations? Letting dictators fail when it seems like it its their time to go? I’m surely missing something else.
This is of course coming from a 24 year old who has never lived in the United States.
Oleg: I did not laugh at live streaming. I am all for it. I think it’s better to do it than not. I was amazed to find this item in a partisan list of Obama presidency accomplishments. Did they really have to reach that far down the barrel? The fact that they did supports my general assertion. Anyway, it’s comforting to know that the American president is more transparent than the Uzbekistan president! N. S. !
He repealed “Don’t ask don’t tell.” Good but everyone knew it was a temporary (Clinton, I think) policy. There was no resistance. He did not do anything else in that paragraph, state legislatures did or it was not done.
Whatever my judgment may be of the desirability of a heavily federalized health care system, WHATEVER this, Obamacare is a failure in every respect. (Just for the human interest of it: I am familiar with the French national health system; it works fine.)
Last # : Obama is a pacifist. He only sent about 6 or 7 thousand (professional) soldiers to the Middle East. Most Americans probably like that, of course. I, personally, think that thousands of Syrian civilians and many Iraqis are paying with their lives for this new-found peacefulness. I think it’s immoral. I have written about this topic on this blog, and recently. Pres. Obama has replaced war with personal assassination based on his say-so, with no supervision whatsoever. He has even granted himself the right to assassinate American citizens abroad. That’s new in the US.
Your English is very good. Do you live in Russia? (No need to answer if you don’t feel like it.)
Syrians and Iraqis are paying for the colossal failure of their institutions. The blame is collective hence assigning it to each individual person would seem harsh at times, but fair maybe? US can easily swoop in and destroy any military force in the world, but armies are notoriously bad at creating fair courts, honest police, free press, and other things so necessary for an existence of a functional society.
I’ve only recently found this blog, but read quite a few things on it, allow me to quote:
Muslim men of military age are another story. They don’t belong here. The fact that a handful of them will turn out to be really terrorists is not my main reason to think so. Rather, I believe they should be in Syria and in Iraq fighting the butcher Assad and the savages of ISIS. At a time when more and more Americans are risking their lives there to rid of the world of those monsters, males from the area who are capable to bear arms should not be playing volleyball in American parks. The Kurds of both Syria and Iraq are showing the way. Let Muslim Arabs join them. If they don’t want to fight, against the beasts in their countries, why should we, or give them room and board?
I have no proposal regarding Muslims from countries other than Syria and Iraq who were clearly included in Trump’s ban. I believe banning them for a period would be constitutional. Whether it would good for America, I am not sure at this point, probably not.
Seems like you aren’t too fond of American soldiers doing all the busy work of fighting for countries that don’t seem to want to fight for themselves? Maybe I’m reaching.
I have lived in Russia all my life up until events of 2014 happened and convinced me that an institutional collapse is unavoidable. Elites are thoroughly corrupt, yet entrenched, the masses sing by the jingo, I really saw no place for myself there. My interests and aspirations don’t exactly overlap with political martyrdom and such. So akin to a Syrian refugee I ran, only via the route of grad school, and then employment.
Oleg: You are an astute and thorough reader. I am proud that you are reading my stuff. I buy all your arguments of course, and I am aware of the seeming lack of coherence in my positions. It’s just that in an emergency, all reasoning should be suspended in favor of simple rationality. I think Aleppo is such an emergency. That’s not “fighting for countries” as you write. I don’t give a damn about either Syria or Iraq, the countries, the nation-states. I care about the civilians who have no political ambitions at all and are just being massacred as as a by-products of the struggle against tyrants.
I am just curious: Where are you in grad school. (I am curious in part because I am an immigrant myself who traveled the academic road.)
In a socialist utopia which is the Netherlands. And I probably used the wrong term here, I just did a one year masters degree. I’ve started in a job in another European country a month ago.
Good for you! I like the Netherlands. The Dutch have a secret; find out what it is.
And sir, thank you for writing. I don’t even remember how I stumbled across this blog, but its like one of those movies that you finish watching and think “wow, that was good! is there anything out there which is similar but just as good?”, and there isn’t. Bravo!
No, Oleg, my blog is unique! Keep coming and make comments. You are also welcome to contribute.