Some say it's premature

That's what hope is about...


  1. Well, I'm a great admirer of Obama, but I think the Nobel may be premature. Perhaps even a form of meddling. We don't know how successful his administration will be yet.

    I think we currently live under an enormous hangover from the Bush years, a time of uncertainty and zaniness. A time when the religious right made great inroads and Bush, with the complicity of the media, lied our country into an unnecessary war. And helped create a national atmosphere which encouraged widespread Islamophobia and immigrant bashing. The right sees this all slipping away and what with the 24/7 news cycle in the world of the MSM every hangnail becomes a crisis and every floppy shoelace a major event. Now here comes the Nobel Committee with the prize.

    Encouraging Obama to pursue peace and decency and respect among nations is one thing. But honoring Obama in this way before his policies have had time to mature and develop is quite another. How will this affect his thinking? I don’t think Obama is insensitive to the power and meaning of the prize. Can he retain a distance from its impact? Should he? And what if Obama decides to send another thirty or forty thousand troops to Afghanistan? Enmeshing the US in another unending quagmire? What will that say for the prize? (If you forced me to bet on it I would say he won’t. But I sure wouldn’t want to bet.)

    The Nobel Committee has tried to influence ongoing peace negotiations with the prize before. Did it pressure Henry Kissinger at all, or was it merely another high honor he could put up on his wall? Can this honor be even seen as a form of meddling? Kissinger dishonors the prize though we all know why he received it. Was awarding it to Obama a message of hope representing world opinion? Will he see it that way? As a comment on the future? Will it strengthen his resolve for peace?

    As Buddy on his site points out the right will freak out over this. Obama has been getting it from every direction partially, I think, because he is a contemplative president who likes to mull things over a while before moving. And moves when he thinks the time is right. Following 8 years of Bush we are not accustomed to any of that. After all, the right sees thoughtfulness as weakness and Bush boasted he acted upon his “gut.” The country is not used to Obama’s professionalism and seriousness. The prize arrives as a great gesture of recognition in the midst of all the doubt and criticism coming from all sides.

    But Obama receiving the prize may only confirm the right’s view of Obama to the right as “European,” effete, un American, somehow exotic. Like the French.

  2. So at the end of my comment above I contradicted what I started out with. That sometimes happens when you think a thing through. Or begin thinking it.

    As for the success or failure of Obama's policies? Who knows?

  3. That's a beautiful little flower.

  4. Here's Obama's reaction. About five minutes.

    Much of this would make a good Nobel lecture.....

  5. For Naomi Klein and Tariq Ali's response go here.... ten or fifteen minutes.

    Ali recommending Noam Chomski and Mumia Abu Jamal for the prize reminds me of some of the left's obsessions in Berkeley. At KPFA, which had both great people and the likes, say, of Mae Brussel, whom you may never have heard of, dhe was a conspiracy theorist who, yes, wove extraordinarily elaborate conspiracies which not even God Himself could have woven out without a glitch. Once another programmer on the station claimed she went far overboard so how did she respond? By elaborating on how he was a secret operative for the CIA. Now KPFA's board of directors suspects Amy Goodman is on the payroll of the CIA. Who says there aren't crazies on the left? After all, it was a leftist who originally came up with the term "PC." But the rightwing certainly holds center stage today. Not that there is anything sacred about the center, though some thoughtless people take refuge there, thinking it protects them from "extremes." That in the sacred center they can find the truth.

    As for the right, I suppose they can now link the Nobel Committee to ACORN. That takes care of that. Sorry for monopolizing the site with all this, but even if you don't touch the off button your eyes can always skip over all this, that is if you are reading, which you obviously are if you are reading this.

  6. Cleaning up after one's self... unfortunately this site won't permit you to do that

    The "of, dhe" above should be "of. She"

    Thank you for your indulgence. And boy am I abusing our Bartender's site, which as a drunk solidly fixed to the bar, on a barstool which is like a magic carpet, I can reasonably inform myself I can. Since drunks love the sound of their own voices, don't they?

    Oh, oh, I think I'm passing out. Then goodnight......

  7. That was just a quick nap. Where's my drink, covered with a bar napkin, I hope? Here's Michael Moore........

    Congratulations President Obama on the Nobel Peace Prize -- Now Please Earn it!

    Friday, October 9th, 2009

    Dear President Obama,

    How outstanding that you've been recognized today as a man of peace. Your swift, early pronouncements -- you will close Guantanamo, you will bring the troops home from Iraq, you want a nuclear weapon-free world, you admitted to the Iranians that we overthrew their democratically-elected president in 1953, you made that great speech to the Islamic world in Cairo, you've eliminated that useless term "The War on Terror," you've put an end to torture -- these have all made us and the rest of the world feel a bit more safe considering the disaster of the past eight years. In eight months you have done an about face and taken this country in a much more sane direction.


    The irony that you have been awarded this prize on the 2nd day of the ninth year of our War in Afghanistan is not lost on anyone. You are truly at a crossroads now. You can listen to the generals and expand the war (only to result in a far-too-predictable defeat) or you can declare Bush's Wars over, and bring all the troops home. Now. That's what a true man of peace would do.

    There is nothing wrong with you doing what the last guy failed to do -- capture the man or men responsible for the mass murder of 3,000 people on 9/11. BUT YOU CANNOT DO THAT WITH TANKS AND TROOPS. You are pursuing a criminal, not an army. You do not use a stick of dynamite to get rid of a mouse.

    The Taliban is another matter. That is a problem for the people of Afghanistan to resolve -- just as we did in 1776, the French did in 1789, the Cubans did in 1959, the Nicaraguans did in 1979 and the people of East Berlin did in 1989. One thing is certain through all revolutions by people who wish to be free -- they ultimately have to bring about that freedom themselves. Others can be supportive, but freedom can not be delivered from the front seat of someone else's Humvee.

    You have to end our involvement in Afghanistan now. If you don't, you'll have no choice but to return the prize to Oslo.

    Michael Moore

    P.S. Your opposition has spent the morning attacking you for bringing such good will to this country. Why do they hate America so much? I get the feeling that if you found the cure for cancer this afternoon they'd be denouncing you for destroying free enterprise because cancer centers would have to close. There are those who say you've done nothing yet to deserve this award. As far as I'm concerned, the very fact that you've offered to walk into the minefield of hate and try to undo the irreparable damage the last president did is not only appreciated by me and millions of others, it is also an act of true bravery. That's why you got the prize. The whole world is depending on the U.S. -- and you -- to literally save this planet. Let's not let them down.

  8. Paul doesn't mind drinking alone, but I know he won't mind a little company either. Here's my take on it...and it sorta goes along with the "Bush hangover" idea Quinty introduced: we have an isolationist streak that goes back to the first European dudes to step onto the Rock. After all, most of us couldn't make it where we were...and we spent the first couple hundred years developing the American lifestyle...the hell with our roots and the rest of the world. There's still a lot of that here...and so I don't think we Yanks realize how everybody else looks at the election of Barack Obama. At various places around the world there were mass celebrations just because he was elected...and I don't mean only in Kenya. Yes, it meant the end of Bush/Reagan. Yes, it was a "black man." But it was a change of outlook, of attitude. The atmosphere of the world became different. I think this honor is partly due to that. Here, we continue embroiled in the health care arguments and the latest television terrorisms of the Psycho Right. We don't see it.

    In Naomi's interview, cited above, she talks about Obama's Campaign of Hope...and of course, 9 months later, we're trying not to lose hope. Nine months to turn around 8 years...30 years really...ain't enough time. Perhaps Nobel is trying to encourage the President. Robert Naiman at TruthOut goes further. He cites a bit of history to show the Peace Prize actually can influence future world events~~~

    "The Nobel Committee gave South African Bishop Desmond Tutu the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his leadership efforts to abolish apartheid in South Africa. Apartheid wasn't fully abolished in South Africa until 1994. The committee could have waited until after apartheid was abolished to say, 'Well done!' But the point of the award was to help bring down apartheid by strengthening Bishop Tutu's efforts. In particular, everyone knew that it was going to be much harder for the apartheid regime to crack down on Tutu after the Nobel Committee wrapped him in its protective cloak of world praise.

    "That's what the Nobel Committee is trying to do for Obama now. It's giving an award to encourage the change in world relations that Obama has promised, and to try to help shield Obama against his domestic adversaries. The committee is well aware that history is contingent and that Obama might fail. It knows very well that the same country that elected Obama also gave the world George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan."

  9. Always glad to hear the mellow voice of a sensible person who takes a seat next to me at the bar. It is for sanity, after all, that many of us get drunk. Though sometimes that sanity isn't so sane after all.

    But, as any self respecting drunk knows, that sanity is up to him. And when a friend introduces it into the overall mood of the passing night, it is always welcome. At least from me.

    Now, back to the serious drinking, where we can think about it......

  10. I agree that the NPP was awarded, in part, to President Obama, because the hangover from the horror of 8 years of George Bush was beginning to lift. Curiously there are many who fault Obama for being the recipient. There is no evidence he lobbied for it, or even knew about it. Regardless, someone had to win it and I can't envision anyone who has done more to bring the world back to America than Barack Obama, 8 short months or no.....

    Finally, the graphics on this post are award winning. I congratulate the author.

  11. Yes, that flower is very moving, expressively well done. And what is lower than a gutter? (At least for me the gutter has always been the absolute bottom.)

    I think MadMike is correct. Obama did not lobby for the prize, and was as surprised as anyone else.

    What if Obama's decision making tendency, his deepest conviction, is to whump the Afghans and fundamentalists in Afghanistan? To go all out with huge American force? Believing fully in it. How would that conflict with the meaning of the prize, his very own prize, the one he won which has such great meaning? Can Obama, with all the pressures coming onto him, all the surrounding mental turmoil, all the dangers, pressures, possibilities, unknowns, chances for catastrophic error - how can his head remain clear, above it all? Can it? Will he? Has a president ever confronted such enormous questions before?



    Any president elected in a time of disaster? That is, if there has ever been a time when huge issues didn't confront the American people? Humanity?

  12. Only problem is Kissinger had to wait to get his until AFTER he had killed 4 million people in a pointless quagmire.