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Passions in Poetry

Norwegian Kool-Aid?

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Balladeer
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25 posted 10-10-2009 09:48 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I'm missing your point, Brad.
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26 posted 10-10-2009 10:16 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     You overlook the fact that he managed to get elected in the United States, not a country that has had a sterling reputation in the rest of the world in recent years for willingness to be a part of the world community or to show regard for minority positions or, for that matter, for rule of law.  Taking upon itself the right to conduct a preemptive invasion, for example, was something that set a good part of the globe seriously back on its heels.

     The fact that the United States did have its defenders spoke well of the trust it had stockpiled through a long and honorable history.  The fact that its coalition was so reduced by the end of the last administration says something about how well we had managed to maintain that bond as well.

     It is not that Obama is a Democrat that made the difference.  It is the fact that he campaigned against the last administration and its policies, for the most part, and that he drew enormous support from the American people that made the difference.  If the Republicans had backed a Republican who had been willing to do the same, and had thrown the support of the party behind him, I believe the Republicans could have achieved the same result.  Colin Powell would have done well, had he not been so discredited by the Republicans themselves.  Even so, he still might have been rehabilitated.  Olympia Snow would have made a good candidate, if the Party could have gotten behind her, and if she had been willing to speak out against the things that the Bush white house had been doing.  Either one of these folks could have drawn a significant number of independents away from the the President and might have won the race.  The White House would have remained Republican, somewhat further to the right than it is now, but not terribly.  The same problems would still be there, and would still need to be solved, because they didn't flash into existence when President Obama took the oath of office.

     And Olympia Snow or Colin Powell would be getting the Nobel Peace Prize for removing the largest single global threat to peace from the table in the same way the Barack Obama has — by trying very hard to change the direction of its national policy.  I hope he succeeds in working out a strategy of cooperation rather than confrontation — at least for the most part — in the coming years.  There are times when confrontation is necessary, but it usually works best against the proper enemy, at the proper time and in the proper place.  Not against the wrong people at the wrong time and in the wrong place.  That tends simply to create new enemies, as we are seeing from having botched the last attempt to deal with Afghanistan by dropping it to deal with Iraq, which was already well under control.
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27 posted 10-10-2009 10:24 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Bush had Iraq well under control? Thank you, Bob...
Stephanos
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28 posted 10-10-2009 10:39 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad,

It seems that Obama being elected may be telltale of progress in overcoming racialism already made ... but it is not personally contributory on Obama's part (not in any serious sense).  Martin Luther King Jr. is much the benefactor in this regard, and Obama (and we ourselves) the recipients.  That's not to take anything away from the accomplishment of being elected.  Just my thoughts.

I am not an Obama-basher at all.

However I feel that the value/meaning of the Nobel Peace Prize is trivialized by the decision, based upon hopes and intentions largely unrealized.  And we've gotten ourselves in a bad way if the only rationalization for such a thing is the perceived failures the previous administration.    

Just my thoughts,

Stephen  
Brad
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29 posted 10-10-2009 11:13 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Let me put it as baldly as I can:

A black man was elected to lead white America.

You can question the the accuracy of either adjective, you can attack the presumption that America is racist, you can argue the ethics of even thinking such a thing, but that's what a lot of people think.

Hell, my first year in Korea I had more than one conversation with people who couldn't tell the difference between a termite and an ant but everybody knew what a WASP was.
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30 posted 10-10-2009 11:34 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I see. A black man elected as president qualifies him to win the Nobel Peace prize...got it.
Stephanos
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31 posted 10-10-2009 11:45 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad, I'm not questioning any of those perceptions.  What I am asking is whether Obama is primariy an agent of racial improvement, or simply a beneficiary.  I think it is the latter, though his election may inadvertently help the process along.  His role is significantly more passive and quite different than the role of say, Martin Luther King Junior.  He actively wanted to be president.  He was passively born black.  We were talking in terms of a Nobel Peace Prize.

  
See my point?


Stephen
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32 posted 10-10-2009 11:50 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Mike,

Um, why not?

It's not as if you had a lot of respect for the prize before this happened.

When Saul Bellow won the literature Nobel, he said something like, "Great, but not that big a deal."

That's my attitude. When I told my wife yesterday, she looked at me quizzically and asked, "Why?"

I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Why not?"

And when was being elected president not a big deal?
Stephanos
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33 posted 10-10-2009 11:54 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

why not?

Should that be taken seriously?  What IS the Nobel Peace Prize, on its own terms?

Its okay Brad, you don't have to speak to me, seeing I'm not a regular here.  I can hardly have earned the respect.  


Stephen
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34 posted 10-11-2009 12:05 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

It appears I can relate to your wife much better than you, Brad.

I'll respond, Stephanos. I think you raised a very valid point...which would explain a lack of response
Brad
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35 posted 10-11-2009 12:06 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Stephen,

Sure.  But in order for your point to have any salience for me, I'd have to take the Nobel prize more seriously than I do.

Mike says somewhere that it was a political move.

Of course it was.

The Peace Prize has always been political.

What's wrong with that?  To argue otherwise would be to assume that in years past it wasn't.

And I have never seen anybody argue that here.

Honestly, I find the whole thing quite humorous. It made my morning yesterday.

Brad
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36 posted 10-11-2009 12:10 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Ah, c'mon guys. I can't keep up with you.

That's all.

Oh, and Mike, after a moment's thought, my wife agreed with me. She said, "Why not?" and we started giggling together.
Stephanos
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37 posted 10-11-2009 12:11 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I would differ by saying yes, there has always been a political element to it, but in most cases some real merit/accomplishment as well.  But you are saying that it has always been merely political.  At least we can agree that this is true in this one instance.

Stephen
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38 posted 10-11-2009 12:19 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad, what was the giggle really about?  I usually giggle when something is a bit comical or absurd ... but that's just me.  (giggle, giggle)

Stephen
Brad
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39 posted 10-11-2009 12:20 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

One more thing:

I really don't see a downside to any of this.

Of course, I don't see much of an upside either.

The article from Time argued that it was bad for Obama, not bad for the country.

When 2012 comes around, will anybody bring this up? Seriously?

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40 posted 10-11-2009 12:23 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Are you referring to the Mayan prediction, or to the elections?  If the former, then its ALL gravy ain't it?  (LOL)
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41 posted 10-11-2009 12:29 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Of COURSE it will be brought up in 2012, by the Democrats, along with all of the other Obama non-achievements he will take credit for. That's a given

I'm trying to picture you giggling but it just ain't coming!
Brad
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42 posted 10-11-2009 12:49 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Mike,

If so, the audience will start giggling.  

Steven,

I thought that whole Mayan thing was a mistake. Somebody screwed up the math somewhere. Easy to do given their numbering system.  

But, seriously, I can't think of one Peace Prize recipient that wasn't controversial to somebody. It's the nature of the beast.

To think of three:

Martin Luther "communist sympathizer" King

Henry "surgical strike" Kissinger

Mother "Missionary Position" Theresa

Why did I giggle? Because like you, my first thought was 'What has he done?' And then I thought, 'Ah, a symbolic gift for a symbol.'

Bob's pretty much got the immediate history nailed down here. Few of you posting here will ever really understand the depths to which Bush and company brought America's image down.

But the bigger picture is this:

A black man is POTUS.

That's a big deal.

Bob K
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43 posted 10-11-2009 02:15 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




     Unless Mike is actually trying to appear naive on purpose, yeah, the situation in Iraq was under control before the invasion.  The country was under heavy sanction and essentially falling apart. If you want to credit a Bush for that, you're probably crediting the wrong Bush.

     But I'm not too upset.  I figure it's simply Mike's way of being friendly, and ignoring the point I made in the post before, where I pointed out that presenting the Nobel Peace Prize would have appropriate even if the new President had been Republican so long as the new administration had made a point of showing the desire to work in the interests of world harmony and peace rather than against them by pursuing some of the policies I had mentioned.  Such as saying that we no longer felt the need to respond to hostilities after they were initiated by other folks but felt we should be able to initiate them when and where we wished.

     That didn't help the peace and harmony of the world.

     By showing that we were willing to behave more clearly in a way that conformed with international law, at least in that regard, and that we were willing to give up torture as an element of national policy and were trying to shut down Gitmo — all of these very sore points for much of the world, though apparently of no consequence to my friends on the Right — all of which occurred very quickly after the President's swearing in, the President showed to the world that he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.

     The Right is simply out of touch with how disgusting the behavior of this country has been in these regards over the past two administrations.  They cannot believe that simply reversing these revolting practices — practices that they have been busy defending as though they were even remotely humane or normal international behavior — could have such an enormous effect.

     I would suggest that they have been out of touch with the norms of human conduct for so long that they have no idea how truly repugnant these practices are, and how crazy it seems to the rest of the world that a country that presents itself as a bastion of liberty could pretend to defend such practices.  

     The amount of basic acceptance and love the world bears this country shows in how quickly so many are willing to embrace our best efforts.  This may well be another set of reasons to award President Obama a Nobel Peace Prize.  It certainly makes sense as well.

     The difference between figuring why he did get the prize and why he didn't is that most folks will tolerate a more limited number of reasons to explain why Obama did get the prize.  And most folks want those reasons to be limited by a certain degree of sense.  While those reasons for explaining why Obama should not have gotten the prize are not limited to the realities "why" and "how" but are free to drift off into the speculations of "should" and "shouldn't" or "does deserve" and "does not deserve."  There is no strict criterion to judge by at the end to compare the chain of reasoning against, so it can be as florid and baroque as one can manufacture.
It doesn't have to say at the end:  And so, as a result of this, the Prize was won.  All it has to say is: So the man didn't deserve it.  

     But of course the conclusion says nothing about whether the prize was won or lost.  It's about another subject entirely, isn't it?

     It's hard to win an argument like that.

     As to whether he deserved it or not, I guess I'd be curious to know what the conditions would be for you to believe that somebody did earn it, and then compare your criteria with the winners the Nobel Committee has chosen since Teddy Roosevelt.  Do you think that Yasser Arafat qualified?  And so on.  I think you'll find overall that the qualities you want in a Nobel Peace Prize Winner are not the same as the qualities that The Nobel Committee wants.  And that the experts in picking Nobel Peace Prize Laureates are probably on the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, and that the rest of the folks are all wannabes.  That would have included me when I complained about Dr. Kissinger.


  

    

[This message has been edited by Bob K (10-11-2009 03:10 AM).]

Denise
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44 posted 10-11-2009 05:53 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

According to the U.S. Code Obama can't accept the prize as his own. It must be accepted on behalf of the United States and becomes the property of the United States:

quote:

(i) a tangible gift of more than minimal value is deemed to have been accepted on behalf of the United States and, upon acceptance, shall become the property of the United States;

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/5/usc_sec_05_00007342----000-.html
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45 posted 10-11-2009 08:41 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

by dropping it to deal with Iraq, which was already well under control.

The country was under heavy sanction and essentially falling apart.


Nice to have it both ways, I suppose.

The Right is simply out of touch with how disgusting the behavior of this country has been in these regards over the past two administrations

How can we be out of touch when we have you to constantly remind us?

I would suggest that they have been out of touch with the norms of human conduct for so long that they have no idea how truly repugnant these practices are, and how crazy it seems to the rest of the world that a country that presents itself as a bastion of liberty could pretend to defend such practices.  

Like maybe the Patriot Act, Bob? Hey, that's a question I wanted to ask. SInce those alleged terrorists now going on trial for having plans to commit terrorist bombings in the US were caught by wire-tapping, intercepted messages, and stolen computer information, should they sue Bush?

The amount of basic acceptance and love the world bears this country shows in how quickly so many are willing to embrace our best efforts.

The world loves this country now?  I had no idea.... When you use the word "world", exactly who are you referring to?

Ah, yes, the old past eight years chant once again. Let me summarize. During those past eight years, the US decided to engage in "repugnant practices",  became "out of touch with the norms of human conduct", adopted "torture as an element of national policy" and all because of the evil right wing, who has become so desensitized to the Caligula-like tactics employed under the tyrant Bush that they lost the ability to distinguish good from evil. Thank God the left is back in control to save the country...

That should cover it, I guess.....


Huan Yi
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46 posted 10-11-2009 04:05 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

“A black man was elected to lead white America.”

Who Charles Krauthammer described as possibly
the least qualified candidate in living memory
by white guilt, nurtured for at least a generation,
novelty, and an anti Bush stupidity,
(more than a third of Democrats actually believed he
consciously and knowingly allowed if not participated
in the successful attack on the United States on 9/11), worthy of
the third world we seem to be so concerned to win the approval of.


Oh, let’s break out the champagne.

.
Bob K
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47 posted 10-11-2009 05:01 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Denise,

           He gave the money to charity before he actually ever got it.  

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
Bob K
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48 posted 10-11-2009 05:56 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Mike,

          Still haven't responded to my comments above.  I believe now, as I did when I wrote the comments, that anybody who made a clear break with the policies of the last eight years, Democrat or Republican, would have probably earned the same Nobel prize.  I suggested two fine Republicans by name who might certainly have fit the bill, both of which had more experience than President Obama, and either of which might have given him a run for his money with the Independent voters who were the ones who proved to be the ones who swung the race.

     This is not a Democrat versus Republican issue, much as I believe you would like to paint it that way.  Much as I believe Ringo may see it that way.  The non-issues you would have me respond to above are pointless distractions.  I use the past eight years so often because I actually believe that this was a watershed time in American history, not because I'm trying to drive you nuts.  I don't believe that's in my power to do anyway.  There are norms and standards of action that Americans have always made at least a sincere attempt to follow.  At times we've been better at these things than other times, but at least we've made an effort.  We've always had reason to think of ourselves as the good guys, the white hats, the cowboys, much as these ideals have suffered over time.  It's one of the things that the rest of the world has found to be so appealing about us.

     During the twenties and thirties, during times of great global hardship, the thing that was the most widely read in Europe — yeah, even in Germany — were the westerns of Karl May, a German who'd never been to the United States.  The American spirit has always been appealing.  

(I was listening to NPR the other day and heard that the French had taken a poll.  Before the administration changed, the United States was apparently their 7th favorite country; now it was once again in the number one spot.  You shouldn't put any store in the poll since I can't give you a more solid reference than that, and I'm not inclined to go searching at this point, so I can't give any data about how the information was gathered or processed.  If you think it's wrong, that's fine with me.)

     It has not been so appealing over the last eight years.  Many of our long-term allies such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan have been not so thrilled with us or have outright been critical of our foreign policy, especially around issues such as torture and our claim that we now had the right to indulge in pre-emptive attacks on foreign powers.  Many of them have not been thrilled with the way we have dealt with the Geneva convention, and large parts of their populations have from time to time taken to the streets to voice their displeasure.

     This has nothing to do with Democrat or Republican.  Ike was a Republican.  I don't believe he would have tolerated behavior like this.  I am unhappy to say that I believe that Nixon might well have, but perhaps I am not giving the man the benefit of the doubt.

     The behavior is simply wrong.  

     It was wrong when we condemned it on the part of the Nazis and the Japanese during the second world war.  When the North Koreans and the Chinese did it during the Korean War, it was wrong.  The the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong did this sort of thing to our troops during the Viet Nam War, we said it was wrong.  I thought we actually meant it each time.  When we could, we put people on trial and put them in prison of executed them for waterboarding or torturing or mistreating prisoners.

     I believe yoga is good for the body.  I am not certain that this sort of flexibility of the morals is entirely healthy.
Apparently we've been lying hypocrites for the last sixty or so years when we condemned these other people; and the folks who condemned our enemies to death were performing extra-judicial executions and should then be put on trial for war-crimes for what we did to the poor Nazis and Japanese and North Koreans and Chinese and North Vietnamese and Viet Cong.  Or what we've been doing over the past eight years has been wrong.

     Perhaps there are loads of other options that I haven't yet understood.

     I keep reminding you, Mike, because you have never taken responsibility.  Because you have never said that the policies of the past two administrations have been wrong, and because when I bring it up, you act as though it's my fault that the past eight years actually happened.  If only I kept silent, everything would be fine.

      That wouldn't be a problem, except it leaves you completely puzzled when the President of The United States get The Nobel Peace Prize.  Then, because you haven't understood the history, you are completely puzzled, and you are convinced that there has been some complete rupture of logic and reality, when the train of events is actually pretty straightforward and logical.  The world is happy to welcome the United States back to the community of nations.

     When Obama made reference to paying off the debt in his speech to the U.N., that was part of what he was talking to.  He had paid off some back dues the United States has owed the U.N. for years.  That's not a bad way of rejoining the community of nations, you know — ponying up your old debts.  We've been throwing our weight around for years on other people's dimes.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
Denise
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49 posted 10-11-2009 06:44 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

The Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution, found in Article I, Section 9, was designed specifically to protect our republic against any foreign influence.

quote:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.


Is it possible that Obama is not familiar with this clause? Or does he just consider it one of those pesky irrelevent Constitutional requirements to be ignored at will?

It doesn't seem to me that it was his right to give it to anybody, if it wasn't his to accept in the first place, Bob. He should have declined it. But not having declined it, it seems it should go to the Treasury, not to Obama's favorite charities.

 
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