“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another POTUS daddy issue? The disturbing truth about the late Barack Obama Sr.

Mark Ndesandjo, the once intensely private half-brother of President-elect Barack Obama talks to the Telegraph in China.

Remember the treatise from Maureen Dowd on the relationship of George W. Bush, to his father?

Recall the vigor in which the press seized the chalice from her dowdy hands and carped and analyzed about GWB and George the elder. Theories and speculation shuddered through the media and nary a leg tingled.

The daddy issue may be back.

Our alcoholic father beat me, says Barack Obama's half brother, Mark

As President Barack Obama begins his China visit, his half brother who lives there reveals that when he was a child their father was a violent drunk

By David Eimer in Guangzhou Telegraph
Published: 5:17PM GMT 14 Nov 2009

The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen is a world away from Washington DC.

The booming border town and the staid American capital are both home to members of the Obama family. That, though, is where the similarities end, because while Barack Obama resides in the splendour of the White House and is perhaps the most recognisable person on the planet, his younger half-brother Mark lives anonymously in a rented two-bedroom flat in Shenzhen's suburbs.

Now, on the eve of his older sibling's first-ever visit to China, Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo has emerged from the shadows to reveal the disturbing truth about the late Barack Obama Sr, his and President Obama's father.

Last week, Mr Ndesandjo published an autobiographical novel, Nairobi to Shenzhen: A Tale of Love In The East. It paints a shocking picture of his abusive and alcoholic father, one that is at odds with the man portrayed in Dreams From My Father, President Obama's best-selling 1995 memoir.

"I can remember my father hitting my mother and me. They're memories I don't like to dwell on because it's very painful for me," said Mr Ndesandjo, who has lived in China for seven years.

"I had a very difficult early childhood and there were things that happened to me that really hardened me."

In his book, Mr Ndesandjo describes a father who was a heavy drinker and who began to abuse his wife, verbally and physically, soon after they were married. Their son witnesses his mother running, screaming, into the night to escape being beaten.
"There were some thumps as of someone falling," reads one passage. "His father's angry voice raised itself... He didn't remember what they were fighting about, but his stomach felt sick and empty.

"His mother was being attacked and he couldn't protect her. 'You bastard!' he remembered her screaming out. And that was just one night. There were many more."

The novel gives a new insight into President Obama's dysfunctional family. His father was married four times and had eight children. The 43-year-old Mr Ndesandjo was born in Kenya to Mr Obama Sr's third wife Ruth Nidesand, a Jewish-American whose parents were originally from Lithuania. They met in Boston, where Mr Obama Sr had gone to study at Harvard after divorcing his second wife, Barack Obama's mother. The future President was just two years old when his father left him, and they would meet again only once, in 1971.

That lack of contact may explain the very different views the brothers have of their father, who became a government economist but died in a car crash while driving drunk in 1982.

President Obama's image of his father came from stories told by his relatives. In Dreams From My Father, the young Barack describes crying over his father's grave because he had ended up back in Kenya and "could not outlive a mocking fate".
Present throughout his memoir is a tone of regret that is in sharp contrast to Mr Ndesandjo's pointed portrait, in Nairobi to Shenzhen, of a troubled and violent man.

Unlike President Obama, though, he stayed with his father until he was eight, when his mother left her husband to return to the United States. "The things I've said about him are based on what I knew, my own personal experiences. I'm not speaking for anybody else. But I lived with him," said Mr Ndesandjo.

"My mother used to say he was a brilliant guy but a social failure. This was a guy who was a goat-herder, but he still achieved. He went to Harvard and had a very respected position in Kenyan society. But then it sort of crumbled away."

His mother has since returned to Kenya, where she runs a kindergarten in Nairobi, but raised Mr Ndesandjo in Boston, where he took his stepfather's surname. "It was a huge culture shock for me to go to America. It was very, very difficult because I had no support structure. The only thing I had to pull me through was my mother," he said.

Nairobi to Shenzhen is dedicated to her, as well as to his younger brother David, who died in a motorcycle accident.
Mr Ndesandjo has only met his famous sibling on a few occasions, the most recent being at his inauguration as President in January. With his shaven head, red bandana and a gold stud in his left ear, his style is very different from President Obama's. But they share the same slim build, as well as a vague facial resemblance. Mr Ndesandjo was also as elusive as any politician, refusing to be drawn on whether he has discussed his father with his brother, or anything concerned with US-China relations, when he met The Sunday Telegraph in a Guangzhou hotel.

He denied that the release of his novel, which he is self-publishing via a small "vanity press" in California, had been timed to coincide with his brother's four-day visit to Beijing and Shanghai, which starts today.

"I've been working on this book for a number of years. It just happens to be coming out now. I did have publishers who were interested in it, but they wanted me to write about my brother and I didn't want to do that," said Mr Ndesandjo, who is now writing his autobiography.

There is no doubt, though, that the timing is beneficial because of the huge interest in President Obama's debut trip to China, the first state visit by a US President since 1998. Climate change, trade and further co-operation to rein in North Korea's nuclear programme are expected to be top of the agenda when Mr Obama sits down with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao.

Both the Chinese and the Americans have stressed the importance of the US-China relationship in the run-up to the talks, but there is plenty of potential for disagreement. President Obama has said he will raise China's unwillingness to allow its currency, the yuan, to float freely, something which makes US exports more expensive. The Chinese would like President Obama to make a statement acknowledging their sovereignty over Tibet.

But Mr Ndesandjo is more concerned that his brother meets his Chinese wife. "My plan is to introduce my wife to him. She's his biggest fan," he said.

He married Liu Zuehua, from central Henan Province, last year. "She's the focus of my life, but I really want to keep that private," he said.

They live a modest existence in Nanshan, a district of Shenzhen close to the border with Hong Kong, in one of the high-rise apartment blocks that house the millions of Chinese who have flocked to the province in recent years, to work in the companies and factories that have made it a boom town.

Mr Ndesandjo is not obviously wealthy, though. "I took advantage of a promotion and got cable TV installed for a few days so we could watch the election night last November," he said.

With degrees in maths and physics, as well as an MBA, he spent 11 years working for telecommunications companies in the US. Made redundant after 9/11, he decided to move to China in 2002. "I didn't want to go back into the corporate world; I wanted to do something different. I liked the idea of the intellectual challenge of learning the language," said Mr Ndesandjo, who now speaks and writes fluent Mandarin.

Since being in Shenzhen he has been involved in an online communications company and was a partner in a chain of barbecue restaurants. Now, he spends his days practising Chinese calligraphy, writing and teaching piano at a local orphanage. A keen jazz and classical pianist, he occasionally gives concerts for charity and is donating 15 per cent of his novel's proceeds to a fund for disadvantaged children.

More than anything, living in China seems to have helped him come to terms with his traumatic childhood. He will be passing on what he has learned to President Obama when they meet. "I'd encourage my brother to understand that China is really about family," said Mr Ndesandjo. "Families here have a tremendous bond. That's why people in China work so hard and have the goals they do. You have to understand that if you want to understand China


  1. The timelines in 'Dreams' may be off a bit. Some of the more or less informed speculation has Barry's momma leaving Barry's papa, and not the other way around, practically immediately, and heading back to the U of W. Michelle says Barry's momma was 'very single' when she delivered Barry, another twist, making Barry a bastard, which we all know he is, anyway.

    My farming friend Wayne is a bastard. He told me so. He was born in Gene Settle's place, before Gene had it (Gene was a black farmer out this way) a couple weeks before his mom and pop got hitched. I told Wayne, everyone in high school always said you were a bastard, and, we were right. hahhahhah Wayne's one of the best guys I know. And Jesus seems to have been a bastard, too, so it can have its advantages.

    Obama on the other hand really seems to need a shrink but probably not a muslim one.

    I think the guy has 'issues'. If Barry was mistreated by some man in his life, it may have been by that mentor, Frank whatshisname.

    O is one scary, freaky dude.

    Like they say, you can't make this shit up.

    Rufus is beginning to worry that we've elected a 'madman' and he may well be right.

    We've certainly elected a world class con man, that we can say with 'confidence'.

    Donofrio has pretty well established that the records in Hawaii were 'amended' in some way, which may be the reason O doesn't want them to see the light of day.

  2. As it was said in the article, Obama's "father figure" is a fantasy, a series of stories told to him. It has little basis in the reality of who his father was, in real life.

    Same as can be said for movie stars, those whose private lives do not match their public persona's, but whom everyone "knows".

    That does not mean, though, that the stories of Obama senior and their impact upon a young boy are not consequential, just that the impact does not have to relate to any reality of whom the father was.

  3. AS we all know, from our Jewish lessons, it is the mother that carries thee genetic line, the father is inconsequential.

    Or that poor boy, who was conceived when his mother was raped by a Cossack, while his mother's husband hid in the rain barrel, he'd have been a Russian Orthodox Christian, not a Jew, upon birth.

    The female line, that is what the Arabs consider primary, when they breed horses, too.

  4. It's an Abrahamic cultural thing, as well as science, aye.

  5. Perhaps not Abrahamic, but Semitic cultural standards are what make the female line primary, to Middle Easterners and those that trace their lineage to that area of the whirled.

    Northern Europeons tended to believe the male line was primary, many still do, even today.

    Despite the evidence presented by biological science and the beliefs of some of the Sons of Abraham.

  6. Doug said...
    Obama declares self 'America's first Pacific president.'

    TOKYO — Trying to reassure allies and rivals, President Barack Obama billed himself Saturday as "America’s first Pacific president," promising the nations of Asia "a new era of engagement with the world based on mutual interests and mutual respect."
    Obama spoke extensively of his own roots in the region – his birth in Hawaii, living in Indonesia as a boy, his mother spending nearly a decade working in the villages of Southeast Asia. “The Pacific rim has helped shape my view of the world,” Obama said, speaking in front of 14 alternating U.S. and Japanese flags.
    So much for History,
    Let's talk about me.

  7. One could argue it was the damned Italians that started all these problems, when imperially they invaded Judea and occupied it, finally kicking all the Jews out of Jerusalem, and dispersing them, even renaming the city.

    It's the Italians that are clearly at fault here, for the all disasters continuing even to this day.

    And these weren't your Christian Italians, but the pagan ones.

  8. What a jack ass. Too bad Michelle wasn't there to curtsy. That would have been priceless.

  9. Then please blame the Etruscans, the true source.

  10. And where did the Etruscans come from?

    bout 800 BC, in central Italy, a mysterious culture flourished.

    These people, called the Etruscans, are today regarded as the real founders of Rome.

    They spoke a non Indo-European language, so they cannot be connected to the neighboring Indo-European Italic tribes, which spoke Latin.

    But this technologically advanced civilization, which was subsequently incorporated at the end of the 4th century BC by the Romans, brought a rich heritage to the Roman culture.

    The origins of the Etruscans are a vivid and unsolved subject of debate amongst archaeologists, geneticists

    and linguists for centuries.

    Ancient Greek historian Herodotus claimed in the 5th century BC that the Etruscans had come to Italy from Lydia, modern day Anatolia in Turkey and some historians assimilate them to the mysterious "People of the Sea", seafaring raiders that warred with the Egyptians in the 12th century BC.

    A new study made by a team led by Marco Pellecchia at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Piacenza, Italy, might have found an answer. To see where the Etruscans came from, the researchers have analyzed mitochondrial DNA in modern herds of cattle (Bos taurus) in the north, south and central regions of Italy. The mitochondrial DNA is always passed down from the mother to offspring, so it tracks a maternal line.

    The results revealed that almost 60% of the mitochondrial DNA in cows in the central modern day Tuscan region (ancient Etruria), where the Etruscan civilization is believed to have emerged or entered the peninsula, matched with mitochondrial DNA from cows of Anatolia and the Middle East. "There was little or no genetic convergence between cows from the north and south of Italy and those from Turkey and the Middle East", researchers say.

  11. Obama just needs to give 'em the old fist poppin' high five!

    Yeah, the damned Etruscans, font of all evil.

  12. Perhaps, bob, but by the time the Romans made it to the Levant, the King of Babylon had already replaced all the real Jews, with Babylonians that then called themselves Jews.

    Or so go some stories that are told, the myths of their fathers, so to speak.

    Stories that will be denied by the sons of whomever came to the Levant, from Babylon. The myths of their fathers contradicting those of their cousins that reside near Babylon, now.

    The truth is in Sodom, but no one can find that geographic spot, either.
    Both Sodom and Gomorrah, more myths from the mill.

  13. The Etruscans continued...

    The researchers note that between Asia Minor (Turkey) and Italy, archaeologists have not found remains or genetic traces of the Etruscan culture. This data, combined with the Etruscans' famed sailing skills, led the team to conclude that the Etruscans and their cattle reached Italy by sea, and not by land. "The European cattle tend to be genetically very similar, so the study's conclusion is plausible", said Mark Thomas, a human geneticist at University College London in the UK.


  14. Could the Etruscans be one of the "Lost Tribes".

    Then the Jews would have to blame themselves, for the destruction of their Temple, back in the day.

    Isreal destroyed by another of their own Misplaced Tribes, there are 11 or so of them, unaccounted for, are there not?

  15. Which would mean, that I have a valid title claim to the lands of the Levant.

    Praise be!

  16. I better go stake my claim to my apartment on the beach.

  17. hmmmm, that's interesting all right.

    Well, maybe we should say, it was a combination of arabic or other and Romish genes that kicked the Jews out.

    At any rate, they didn't leave voluntarily.

    On the other hand I'd have said the Sea Peoples were early Greek area folk, pushed out by folks coming down from the north.

    Interesting questions.

  18. rat farts: desert rat said...
    AS we all know, from our Jewish lessons, it is the mother that carries thee genetic line, the father is inconsequential.

    that only applies to Jews...

    Muslims use the father's line..

  19. It's the God of Abraham's will that I have an apartment near the beach, I'm sure of it!

  20. No, no, no, the Lost Tribes are the Native Americans, every Mormon knows that, you ninny.

  21. Rat Farts more:

    Isreal destroyed by another of their own Misplaced Tribes, there are 11 or so of them, unaccounted for, are there not?

    You are getting dumber by the day...

  22. Not in their horses, where it really counts.
    Where the rubber meets the road, the Arabs follow the dam line.

  23. You have to really love political correctness.

    Current historians ad deathly afraid to use BC ( before Christ) or AD (Anno Domini). They had to sanetize it to CE (current era).

    You ask, current to what? What event is CE current to?

    Shhh..."Anno Domini" CE literally means Christian era.

    You can appreciate the problem when you consider "colored people." That causes liberals to stutter. It is solved with linguistic gymnastics and the euphemism, "people of color"

    The logic leads us to a "nation of white and color" which pretty much describes nothing and everything depending on your point of view.

  24. The Romans may well have been real Jews, "misdirection".

    There is some biological science to back up that claim.

    If being Jewish is based upon genetics and not beliefs.
    Is it a religion or a race?

    If it's a Race, I well could be one!

  25. More seriously, I imagine the 'lost tribes' just got assimilated into the surrounding populations.

  26. Rat's combined knowledge of the Jewish people's history and thoughts couldnt fill a thimble...

    and yet he pretends so well (not) that he has a clue..

    making subtle slurs, sad attempts at discreditment of Israel, a nation he refuses to spell correctly...

    No rat's pearls of wisdom concerning everything Jewish and Israel can be summed up with 2 words...

    "rat farts"

  27. desert rat said...
    The Romans may well have been real Jews, "misdirection".

    sure just as likely as you have a soul....

  28. mat thought the Kurds were one of the "Lost Tribes".

    The Etruscans, if coming from that region, certainly could have been, too.

    No one knows, fer sure, but the idea can be assimilated into our common myth, now that science is pointing the way.

  29. Well, not a Jew, but an Isreali!

    Another tribal member found!

    DNA doesn't lie!

  30. 2164th said...
    You have to really love political correctness.

    Current historians ad deathly afraid to use BC ( before Christ) or AD (Anno Domini). They had to sanetize it to CE (current era).

    It aint "PC" 2164th it reality... If you visit many museums around the world you will still see "israeli" glass artifacts dated 164 BC..

    Jewish historians have requested (and have been denied) to have the standard CE BCE (Common Era and Before the Common Era) used when discussing these artifacts.

    No one says that our calendar is not based on a certain Jewish guys supposed birthday but from a historic and academic pov it does reflect a more tolerant pov to those of use that existed before Miriam's birth...

    If we were being PC we'd would have adapted the islamic year of 1430 AH....

  31. desert rat said...
    I am a JEW!
    Rejoice !!!!

    Your as Jewish as my fecal matter...

  32. desert rat said...
    Well, not a Jew, but an Isreali!
    Another tribal member found!
    DNA doesn't lie!

    You are a disgrace... If i could I would travel back in time and give your pappa condom i would

  33. You cannot "misdirection" travel in time and you cannot counter the claims I make to title, either.

    They have as much standing, to title, in the Levant, as the Eastern Europeons who migrated there, after WWII.

    God's will, you know.
    It was written.

  34. Yasir desert Rat said: cannot counter the claims I make to title, either.

    They have as much standing, to title, in the Levant, as the Eastern Europeons who migrated there, after WWII.

    Only in your mind, Yasir, only in your mind.

  35. desert rat said...
    You cannot "misdirection" travel in time and you cannot counter the claims I make to title, either.

    Oh Rat Fart, you are correct that I cannot travel in time to give your pappa a condom...

    However I can counter your false claims to tribal rights..

    As a member of the tribe, I do have a voice in preventing fecal matter claims, such as yours, REGARDLESS of whatever bullshit you may invent, from joining the tribe...

    NO MATTER what a DNA test says....

  36. I think rat is hitting the juice early this am....

  37. desert parasite would like nothing more than to be accepted into this tribe, gain trust and then commit acts of sabatoge and discreditation against it. the stars were really eligned when this sour grape was formed!

  38. Deuce: You can appreciate the problem when you consider "colored people." That causes liberals to stutter. It is solved with linguistic gymnastics and the euphemism, "people of color"

    Liberals aren't color-blind, they're blinded by color.

  39. The essence of being the chosen remnant of G-d is that you have an unbroken tradition. Lots of people claim to be descended from the lost tribes of Israel, genetically, but this is as meaningless as the CoJCoLDS claiming to be the "restored" Church when Catholicism can trace their pontiffs right back to Peter. Do any of these lost tribes observe Passover or make copies of the Torah? No. Then forget them, they are truly gone.

  40. So am I correct in saying that my granddaughter is part Israeli and not Jewish, from her father's side?

  41. My daughter the text book genius confuses me everytime on this subject.

  42. MeLoDy, I believe you are a Jew only if your mother is a Jew, except that Reform Judaism takes converts (like the late Sammy Davis Jr.)

    People of Illinois—sorry about those new Gitmo neighbors.Consider it part of the penalty for sending us Obama.

  43. "2164th said...
    You have to really love political correctness..."

    In keeping with the theme of your post, the one that drives me up a wall it the term "elite" when used as a noun. (I would have responded to Ash' mutterings on the subject yesterdays but I had a patio door to repair.)

    In Quirk-world there are no "elites" as nouns, only as adjectives. As in Tiger Woods is an elite golfer. Calling a jounalist or a politician (or an actor, businessman, or general, etc.) an elite is typically an oxymoron.

    As pointed out by Orwell, words have meaning. That's why when "healthcare reform" didn't work it was changed to "insurance reform".

    In the real world the word "elitism" has more application than the word "elite".

  44. Po Ol' Rufus only wishes he was "half-Jew."

    At least, half of me would have money.

  45. Thanks, T, that's correct, I do know that much. But why? This subject is argued every other day you would think that I would get a better explanation.

  46. From what little I know of the period, the only group back then that were truly interesting were the Minoans. They had it rockin'.

  47. I just don't trust this man's judgment:

    SINGAPORE – President Barack Obama said Sunday the United States and Russia would have a replacement treaty on reducing nuclear arms ready for approval by year's end, an announcement designed as an upbeat ending to a summit with Asia-Pacific leaders.

    Until we have a fuller understanding of the Russian oligarchy, we should proceed very cautiously.

    While publicizing progress with Russia on arms control — part of Obama's agenda to advance nuclear disarmament — the president and other leaders bowed to the obvious on climate change. They discussed a compromise agreement for a 192-nation gathering next month in Copenhagen, indirectly admitting that the meeting would not produce a new global treaty to reduce the heat-trapping carbon emissions that are warming the planet.

    OMG!!! How could they dither while our planet dies? Did not the prophet, Gordon Brown recently warn us that we only have 55 days to save the whirled? We must be down to 30 days now and these clowns fiddle while Gaia burns...

  48. So the book title should have been "Nightmares of My Father"

  49. BTW - For your Sunday morning consideration:

    From wikipedia: Gaia hypothesis

    The Gaia hypothesis is an ecological hypothesis proposing that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis. Originally proposed by James Lovelock as the earth feedback hypothesis,[1] it was named the Gaia Hypothesis after the Greek supreme goddess of Earth.[2] The hypothesis is frequently described as viewing the Earth as a single organism. Lovelock and other supporters of the idea now call it Gaia theory, regarding it as a scientific theory and not mere hypothesis, since they believe it has passed predictive tests.[3]

    How does this square with the theory that "nothing plus time = life." How could random evolution produce a "complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis."?

  50. Deuce link:
    Mark Levin on how Roosevelt and his Attorney General dealt with saboteurs.

    Take a few minutes, it's good stuff.

  51. I wonder how the Minoans were thinking about Gaia as Santorini was blowing sky-high?

  52. You all got me to thinking, so I went back and took a look at Anatolia. One thing just keeps oozing into your consciousness: The world as we know it developed in Mesopotamia.

    6,000 years, ago, the Sumerians did it all. The Semites, supposedly, came up out of the South, and conquered them, and things got kind of scattered out from there; but, in the beginning, it was the Sumerians (at least, on That side of the World.)

  53. The Mediterranean Coast of Turkey is so damned beautiful, you can't help but want it to be the "genesis;" but, it weren't.

    During the "rise" of Mesopotamia the coast of Turkey was just sleepy little villages. And, the Greeks, and Italians were not much more than hunter/gatherers.

    Iraq is where it started.

    Funny, that.

  54. And we were going to reform Mesopotamia.

  55. My take-away on the Mesopotamians has always been: They had everything but an effective army.

    Ya gotta have an "effective" Army.

  56. Of course, to have an "effective" Army you, almost, have to have a "Large" Government (I say, "Almost" because the *13 Colonies didn't have a "large" government) and the Sumerians were, definitely, small-guvmint type people.

    * We had one thing the Sumerians didn't have; we had mountains, and other "tough terrain."

    The poor old Sumerians had "flat-land," and it was hard to defend flatland with the weapons of the day.

  57. Rufus, J. Campbell was big on the Sumerians. Always talking about the Sumerians. They had some odd habits though. Least what we would call odd.

    No one seems to know where they came from.

    From 'the gods', to civilize us, I quess.

    From Andromeda.

  58. 432,000

    Other curiosities present themselves in the numbers from the Sumerian lists. In Norse mythologies the "War of the Wolf" was the recurrent cosmic battle between the gods and the antigods. In the Icelandic Poetic Edda we are told that in Odin's heavenly warrior hall were 540 doorsMOG:

    Five hundred doors and forty there are, I ween, in Valhalla's walls; eight hundred fighters through each door fare when to war with the Wolf they go.
    Curiously 540 doors times 800 warriors is 432,000, that magical number from Berossus.

    But, I've mentioned this before. What's odd is how ideas spread around.

  59. That's right, Bob. I've never read anyone say, "they came from . . . " They had to come from somewhere, didn't they?

    IIRC, our earliest knowledge of them was around 6,500 to 7,000 years ago. The "climate" had been pretty good there for quite a while prior to that, I believe.

    We know there were some people rumbling around up in E. Europe (Ukraine, etc) prior to that. They might have hit a spell of nasty weather that sent some of them South.

    Or, just as likely, probably, is that they were "just there."

  60. Sumer (Sumerian: 𒆠𒂗𒂠 ki-en-ĝir15 "Land of the Lords of Brightness"

    Bright folk, they knew how to farm, good at irrigation.

    Time's Up, Time To Go

  61. Has Obama left Japan yet? Without apologizing for Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

  62. The legion's Afghan contingent consists of 750 men of more than 80 nationalities. Some have joined up for high-adrenaline life, some are dodging the law, some have come from poor countries simply to earn a decent wage.

    If anything bothers them about the Afghan mission, it's NATO's rules of engagement, which stress the need not just to fight the Taliban but to befriend the local population.

    "We're meant for fighting. There's too much chatting around here," said Chief Sgt. Alex, downing beers in the legionnaires' clubhouse at Tora base, an open-air shed whose large flat-screen TV was showing hard-core porn videos to the music of "Viagra," a Ukrainian techno band.

    More complaints about ROE.

    Foreign Legion

  63. What a great idea the foreign legion, was. It has served France well.

  64. Janet Napolitano indicates that the Obama administration will not delay pushing for immigration reforms that include provisions providing a pathway to citizenship for illegals. One would think that they might delay pushing for this legislation until after the 2010 elections. But it doesn't look like it.

    You have to admit they have hutzpah.

    Immigration Reform

  65. Has anyone heard how al-Mahagri is doing over in Libya? It's got to be close to three months since Scotland sent him back there.

    Scots Outraged Over Bombers Release

  66. Zero is in a lot of damned if you do, damned if you don't situations.

    Pushing for immigration reform now might cost a lot of votes in 2010, unless all these new people can suddenly vote in a year, but waiting past 2010, well they might have fewer votes in Congress then to support the idea.

    Afghanistan is a good DIYD, DIYD situation too.

    Poor guy, what's a fellow to do?

  67. Q, as of Nov 3, 2009, we may we witness to a miracle:

    Lockerbie bomber defies doctors' prediction of death

    "Officials in Libya on Monday reported that Megrahi had been discharged from Tripoli Medical Centre, the country's most advanced public clinic, where he had received treatment since late August.

    In August, doctors gave Megrahi just three months to live in a judgement that secured his release from a Glasgow prison. But he entered the Tripoli hospital to undergo an aggressive chemotherapy programme just days after Libyans celebrated his triumphal return.

    Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime publicly declared its hope that "a miracle from God" would preserve his life.

  68. "Lockerbie bomber defies doctors' prediction of death"

    If he lives, perhaps we should be looking at the Libyan healthcare system while we try to improve our own.

  69. Islamic medicine forges ahead of the west. They have this advantage, allah is on their side.

  70. "What a great idea the foreign legion, was."

    It's easy to romanticize the Foreign Legion. Beau Geste was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. The Viking funeral. Sgt. Markoff at Beau's feet while the brothers light the bier. Good stuff.

    For classic movie lovers; Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston, and especially Brian Donlevy as Sergeant Markoff, it doesn't get much better than that.

  71. People of Illinois—sorry about those new Gitmo neighbors.Consider it part of the penalty for sending us Obama.

    Thanks, T. I knew as soon as I read it that it had to be Thomson, a blink-your-eyes-and-you're-by-it little hamlet on the Mississippi that prides itself on being the self-proclaimed melon capital of the world.

    The maximum security prison was finished but empty before I first saw it in '04. What a boondoggle that was, the butt of many a joke to my friends who live there.

    Even with the muzzies from Gitmo, there'll still be rooms at the inn for victims of Holder's political trials yet to come. I always suspected the Dems were keeping it available for storing those found guilty of war crimes c. 2001-2008.

  72. That terrorist was redeemed.
    Saved by his God.

    Told you all that, before he got to Libya.

    It's another Abrahamic miracle!

  73. Hey Rat. Looks like you attract them.

  74. Well i think they should just bag off and let Obama do his thing so far so good. Who care's if he don't twitter it's not like it matters anyways..