Guest Post: What Writing A Book Taught Me About Obama And Those Who Followed Him

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Brad Schaeffer

What Writing A Book Taught Me About Obama And Those Who Followed Him

My novel Hummel’s Cross takes place in pre-war (and wartime) Nazi Germany.  In the course of writing the book I became fascinated by how a nation of such highly sophisticated and astute people as the Germans—who gave us Bach, Beethoven, Luther, Goethe, Schweitzer, Einstein, Handel, Nietzsche, Kant, Wagner, (and thrown in a few Austrians like Mozart. Strauss, and Haydn) etc. could be so easily led to their own destruction – taking much of the Western World with them – by a charismatic if empty man.  I remember in the film Gladiator the observation is made that the Roman mob is fickle and easily led. Well, we have seen that in the case of this country in these times the mob is the intelligentsia in the media, the college campus, entertainment and some corners of high finance to name a few groups.  In 2008, they looked to Barack Obama and like past societies feeling the need for guidance from on high projected upon him the their own needs, desires and (let’s be honest here) need to cleanse the sense of self-flagellating white guilt they continue to carry over a perceived racism in the country that is now more prevalent as a topic of media round-tables than it is a fact in day-to-day American life. 
What gets me nervous is that they could project on him because this man Obama was and remains a mirage.  An illusion.  Someone whose greatness exists only in the minds of those who adore him for reasons they cannot even articulate because it is simply not rational. 

Never has so much power been invested in a man about whom so little was known, over whose nefarious past associations was made or even questioned, and who presented so few real-world accomplishments as to not even have a resume worth note. But he possessed two key skills that come in handy during times of economic and social upheaval: 1) His ability to speak forcefully while offering little but platitudes to whip up an audience eager to be led; and 2) a ruthless pragmatism that would compel him to say and do whatever it took to present an image that would best gain him the levers of power.  But that’s ok because Obama, knew what was best, even if the average Joe (except a certain plumber) did not, you see.   A new golden age of top-down management of our daily ives radiating out of the central state in Washington D.C. for which we would eventually be grateful.  All the people had to do was submit and get in line with the program. Many did willingly.  Blindly.  Fooled by a personality cult whose statist tendencies  remained hidden by a fawning state media/propaganda complex. 

By referencing Hummel’s Cross am I calling Obama “Hitler”?  Oh stop.  I understand the difference between an American president and a Nazi dictator so please do not belittle my concerns with such a knee-jerk accusation as you would be completely missing my point.  We still have a long way to go down the slippery slope to hitting the sandbox at the bottom of the slide as Germany eventually did. It’s the lesson on mob psychology I’m talking about here. What I am saying is that a nation's collective intelligence and level of sophistication is by no means no stop-gap to demagogues and dangerous men of all political stripes when the times are right for 'hope and change.'  

In the America of 2008, the times were right.  I know a lot of bright, successful people whose opinions and expertise on so many matters I deeply respect who were passionately in the Obama tank even wearing his buttons everywhere they went—yet I noticed that they could never quite explain to me why, beyond uttering vague touchy-feely slogans or the deflective “he isn’t Bush.”  Wow. As an independent-minded voter who grew up in Chicago and thus am aware of just what kind of pragmatic, even ruthless, ambition it takes to ascend the political ladder so rapidly there as did Obama, I needed more convincing than a cool campaign “O” emblem and Dave Matthews’ endorsement to earn my vote.  Yet I found nothing but a paper thin image as the talking points.  This vacuum of reasoning left me scratching my head. And the more I did my own research on this smooth-talking Cook County machine politician (as I would eventually conclude he was) the more anxious for my country I became.  I realized that, for all too many, Barack Obama's appeal to them was purely emotional.  Nothing more.  An exercise in collective self-actualization that may have had its place in a 1920's München brauhaus, a plaza in 1940's Buenos Aires or 1960's Havana, but certainly no place in what I once thought was the most developed and wary of Republics. 

We are a nation that should be skeptical of leaders.  It has been a part of the American character for over two centuries. The Constitution codifies this suspicion of those who seek power with checks and balances that reveal a deeper distrust in human nature…one that is justified if the history of our species is any guide.  As an American, it fills me with the greatest dread when I see
throngs of my countrymen searching for meaning to life and self-actualization not from within themselves but from a mere politician about whose biography they know far less than they do their favorite pop star’s. 

In a way, having little enthusiasm for the McCain ticket, I found myself in 2008 observing in fascination from the sidelines as the two campaigns developed.  And although he had his faults, no one could question who John McCain even was, or whether he had had served his country with honor.  Obama, however, was a mystery…and in many ways still is. One who I saw protected by a praetorian guard in a media unable or unwilling to ask even the most basic of questions about what made him tick.  That frightened me to no end.  It still does. 

In writing Hummel’s Cross I tried to throw myself into the mindset of an intelligent if detached German watching almost like a spectator as his country, indeed a member of his own family, slowly falls under the spell of a politician who says the right things at the right time and thus is given a pass on most everything else.  A man upon whom the hopes and dreams of a people are mass-projected to the point where they lose themselves.  And if it taught me one thing, it is that any people in the right circumstances can follow the wrong leaders to their own destruction—either through fiery cataclysm or, more insidious, slow economic and social decay too subtle for a populace to even realize what has taken place until it is too late to turn back. 

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sitenine's picture

What gets me nervous is that they could project on him because this man Obama was and remains a mirage.  An illusion.  Someone whose greatness exists only in the minds of those who adore him for reasons they cannot even articulate because it is simply not rational. 

I know exactly what you mean.

chopper read's picture


New Metals Trading Restrictions Posted by Lew Rockwell on June 17, 2011 04:36 PM

Writes Jason:

Just got a notice in the mail from my Forex broker. Apparently it is illegal to trade currencies against precious metals now. What a good way to show how safe the dollar is.


We wanted to make you aware of some upcoming changes to’s product offering. As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act enacted by US Congress, a new regulation prohibiting US residents from trading over the counter precious metals, including gold and silver, will go into effect on Friday, July 15, 2011.

In conjunction with this new regulation, must discontinue metals trading for US residents on Friday, July 15, 2011 at the close of trading at 5pm ET. As a result, all open metals positions must be closed by July 15, 2011 at 5pm ET.

When I got the notice I immediately thought of your blog, so I decided to share the news.

macholatte's picture

I got the same notice. This is not good. Is shuting down the paper trade the beginning of shutting down the physical trade or is there something unique about Forex that made this happen?

sitenine's picture

It means that you're gullible.

CD's picture

The reason I have no basis to be flippant is that I had no idea about this aspect either, and am sure other well-buried riders and clauses will emerge from the 2.3K page wonder that is our current regulatory regime.

But of course, they still have not gotten around to mandating position limits, or any kind of meaningful regulatory bodies...

For a more direct route to a primer on the topic:


Elimination of OTC Metals

As for OTC precious metals such as gold or silver, Section 742(a) of the Act prohibits any person [which again includes companies]from entering into, or offering to enter into, a transaction in any commodity with a person that is not an eligible contract participant or an eligible commercial entity, on a leveraged or margined basis. This provision intends to expand the narrow so called “Zelener fix” in the Farm Bill previously ratified by congress in 2008. The Farm Bill empowered the CFTC to pursue anti-fraud actions involving rolling spot transactions and/or other leveraged forex transactions without the need to prove that they are futures contracts. The Dodd-Frank Act now expands this authority to include virtually all retail cash commodity market products that involve leverage or margin – in other words OTC precious metals.

The prohibition of Section 742(a) does not apply, however, if such a transaction results in actual delivery within 28 days, or creates an enforceable obligation to deliver between a seller and a buyer that have the ability to deliver, and accept delivery of, the commodity in connection with their lines of business. This may be problematic as in most spot metals trading virtually all contracts fail to meet these requirements. As a result, although the courts’ interpretation of Section 742(a) is unknown, Section 742(a) is likely to have a significantly negative impact on the OTC cash precious metals industry. Here too, it is essential that those who offer to be a counterparty to OTC metals transactions seek professional help to discuss possible operational and regulatory contingency plans.

WaterWings's picture


Lex mala, lex nulla.

sitenine's picture



    (a) In General.--Section 2(c) of the Commodity Exchange Act (7

U.S.C. 2(c)) is amended--

            (1) in paragraph (1), by striking ``5a (to the extent

        provided in section 5a(g)), 5b, 5d, or 12(e)(2)(B))'' and

        inserting ``, 5b, or 12(e)(2)(B))''; and

            (2) in paragraph (2), by adding at the end the following:

                    ``(D) <<NOTE: Contracts.>>  Retail commodity


                          ``(i) Applicability.--Except as provided in

                      clause (ii), this subparagraph shall apply to any

                      agreement, contract, or transaction in any

                      commodity that is--

                                    ``(I) entered into with, or offered

                                to (even if not entered into with), a

                                person that is not an eligible contract

                                participant or eligible commercial

                                entity; and

                                    ``(II) entered into, or offered

                                (even if not entered into), on a

                                leveraged or margined basis, or financed

                                by the offeror, the counterparty, or

                                a person acting in concert with the

                                offeror or counterparty on a similar


                          ``(ii) Exceptions.--This subparagraph shall

                      not apply to--

                                    ``(I) an agreement, contract, or

                                transaction described in paragraph (1)

                                or subparagraphs (A), (B), or (C),

                                including any agreement, contract, or

                                transaction specifically excluded from

                                subparagraph (A), (B), or (C);

                                    ``(II) any security;

                                    ``(III) a contract of sale that--

                                            ``(aa) results in actual

                                        delivery within 28 days or such

                                        other longer period as the

                                        Commission may determine by rule

                                        or regulation based upon the

                                        typical commercial practice in

                                        cash or spot markets for the

                                        commodity involved; or

                                            ``(bb) creates an

                                        enforceable obligation to

                                        deliver between a seller and a

                                        buyer that have the ability to

                                        deliver and accept delivery,

                                        respectively, in connection with

                                        the line of business of the

                                        seller and buyer; or

                                    ``(IV) an agreement, contract, or

                                transaction that is listed on a national

                                securities exchange registered under

                                section 6(a) of the Securities Exchange

                                Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78f(a)); or

                                    ``(V) an identified banking product,

                                as defined in section 402(b) of the

                                Legal Certainty for Bank Products Act of

                                2000 (7 U.S.C.27(b)).

                          ``(iii) <<NOTE: Applicability.>> 

                      Enforcement.--Sections 4(a), 4(b), and 4b apply to

                      any agreement, contract, or transaction described

                      in clause (i), as if the agreement, contract, or

                      transaction was a contract of sale of a commodity

                      for future delivery.

                          ``(iv) Eligible commercial entity.--For

                      purposes of this subparagraph, an agricultural

                      producer, packer, or handler shall be considered

                      to be an eligible commercial entity for any

                      agreement, contract, or transaction for a

                      commodity in connection with the line of business

                      of the agricultural producer, packer, or



Yen Cross's picture

 I took the time to decipher that! Nice work!

Coke and Hookers's picture

"A black President cleaning up the white Republican mess."

And he does that how?

Republicans spent too much - Obama spends more.

Republicans falsified the economy with money printing - Obama prints more.

Republicans started fake wars - Obama continues them and starts more wars.

Republicans bailed out failing companies at taxpayer's expense - Obama bails out more companies.

Republicans cut civil liberties - Obama cuts them more.

Republicans ruined the middle class - Obama is finishing the job.

Republicans hired Wall Street oons to run the economy - Obama hires more.

Republicans were deindustrializing the country - Obama deindustrializes it more.

Etc etc etc ad infinitum.

Obama is nothing but George Bush on speed and steroids. An establishment puppet running the show on behalf of someone else than the American people.

You are either joking or you are a total moron. As such you are very representative of the population.

ATM's picture

Obama cleaned up the debt problem left by 8 yrs of Rep presidents by borrowing and printing trillions. Everyone knows that. Thank God we have such a smart person in charge because only he would know that the cure for a debt problem is debt.

The Alarmist's picture

I think you all are looking at the debt problem the wrong way.  The problem was that the Republicans, although having run up too much debt, did not run up enough debt for the right reasons, so Obama fixed that mess by running up even more debt for the right reasons.

masterinchancery's picture

You are joking, right? O/w you are in the running for biggest idiot on the planet.

TBT or not TBT's picture

It is worse than you think. Obama's true intent is to create so much debt that a debt singularity is created into which all else will be sucked in. The resulting hell will be quelled by massive increases in pervasive authoritarian state power.

janchup's picture

Hell or "Change We Can Believe In?"

Bay of Pigs's picture

Is this supposed to be sarcasm? I certainly hope so.

If not, junk this off the board please.

janchup's picture

It's not sarcasm. It's a penetrating glimpse into the obvious.

cossack55's picture

Read lead-ins on Amazon. Will probably give it a whirl.  FYI, I would contact Amazon and in Author's bio have them add that you are a frequent contributor to ZeroHedge. Add tons of viability.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Repeal of gravity soon to follow.

macholatte's picture

Thanks CD !

... This may be problematic as in most spot metals trading virtually all contracts fail to meet these requirements. As a result ... Section 742(a) is likely to have a significantly negative impact on the OTC cash precious metals industry.

AND it's especially sweet that it only applies to Americans. Is this the forthcoming pop of the PM bubble Soros warned about?

Hopefully ZH will comment.


CD's picture

Hat Tip!

It makes perfect sense -- only allow millionaires to trade... 0

...if you want to eliminate speculation. 'Cuz it was all the leveraged small investors of OTC PMs who were in fact the evil manipulators and driving prices out of all proportion. You are only allowed in this game if you are already wealthy or:

3) A director, executive officer, or general partner of the issuer of the securities being offered or sold, or a director, executive officer, or general partner of a general partner of that issuer.

I love the explicit exception put in JUST for banksters. Priceless.


optimator's picture

The Bankster's lobbiests wrote the Dudd Frank, so no surprise there.

Oracle of Kypseli's picture

Eliminate the competition. JPM runs SLV and will be able to manipulate the paper market much easier.

I am sure you have noticed suspicious up or down of gold and silver price just before and/or just after opening of SLV and GLD options trading.

There you have it.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Holy Something. Nice segway Chopper.

The restrictions begin to creep in. Banner day. Mark it. I have. And july 15th another loaded date.

Perhaps another "explosion" of irreversible nature on July 16th? It is a Saturday, a god day for dirty deeds, done dirt cheep cheep.

We are now in the lost footing starting to stumble every third step on a long, rocky, muddy, slippery down-hill run into the caldera of a supervolcano.

If you think that is too stark and sensationalist, I suggest think agian.

Only two ways to thrive this, surviving this will not be worth it.

Learn to slow down (physically, know your center, emotionally, know your center, spirit-ually knwo your center). Learn balance. I'm totally serious guys, all th eguns, gals, gammo and whatever will not help if you are unbalanced. Polish your "self".

Second, learn to fly. I'm totally serious again.

Remember, we are entering the phase of approaching maximum novelty, nto so far-fetched at all. ;-) But most here are verbo-warriors. 

Perhaps one or three might want to come and see how? Hmmmm...

So, center and flight.....


centerline's picture

Always enjoy your writings ORI.  Love the stuff on balance here.  My name here being "centerline" has nothing to do roads actually.  It is actually meant to express the same concepts of balance - and also as reference to kung fu principles which are largely the same.  I really stress the idea of balance with my family and friends - hoping to help them find peace and clarity.  This will be critical going forward so as to allow the right decisions to be made, as likely some of the decisions may be difficult.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Thanks Centerline and likewise. your avatar always gives me pause, quite the snapshot of where we are today.
And balance, it's it, you know?

No Balance No Life
Know Balance Know Life


SWRichmond's picture

We are now in the lost footing starting to stumble every third step on a long, rocky, muddy, slippery down-hill run into the caldera of a supervolcano.

Yes.  Unknown territory.  Fully expecting to be startled, even frightened.  I AM slowing down, deliberately, and quite a bit.  It's easier to stay balanced if you're not running so fast all the time.  I get it.

Al Gorerhythm's picture

Gullible? WTF? These are not the times for glib, ad hominem and worthless statements. If you have nothing else of value to add, then stop wasting time and space. 

sitenine's picture

I considered it a hoax at the time.  My appologies.  After actually reading the relevant section of the Act (which I posted above), I do realize the seriousness of matter.

Al Gorerhythm's picture

An open and investigative mind is a thing of wonder, a gift perhaps. Well done.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Decency, all around, a pleasure to see on this board. Fight club and all notwithstanding.

Well played gentlemen.


Oh regional Indian's picture

Ah, while you choke on your bile?
What is with needless needlers?

Be passersby.


falak pema's picture

His avatar is Jim is a name that sells shooms since the first Jim Roger appeared in Kentucky to groom horses...He thought you trained thoroughbreds... so don't mind his loss of focus...its a trait of the ROgers who love stable brooms as much as they enjoy selling shrooms. They are truly bewitched by broom sticks... its a family trait like shroom selling. You got him all excited climbing the indian rope...on nights they appear circling the moon on their brooms...hooting "shrooms"... to fellow broom riders.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Hah! Them hosrey Rogers, eh?


Michael's picture

I bet if you randomly introduced a white man and a black man to each other alone together in a room, those two by a high percentage would get along quite well.

Do this to a large sampling of white and black men and you will see my analysis is accurate.

i-dog's picture

Children are the only test case you need. Children have no concept of racism or fear of other races / religions ... until they are "trained" by their bigoted parents to "stay away from that chink over the road" or "that nigger next door" or "those joos", usually reinforced by a few spankings or ostracisms for disobeying.

Trav777 must have had the shit beaten out of him by his father for playing with a black as a kid (though not all of it.......)!

Michael's picture

But those same people talk to each other all day long on Facebook without a problem?

Don't know about TRAV77.

Coke and Hookers's picture

I wouldn't be so sure about that. People seem to be hardwired to have more positive attitudes towards people the more related they are to them - the  "family>tribe>race" thing. This seems to work on a subconscious level, regardless of overt attitudes. Even white liberals who believe themselves to be totally 'bias free' respond more negatively to blacks than whites in tests that measure subconscious responses. Same applies to other races - except the other way around (with some notable exceptions). The argument about kids being 'racism free' and that racism is learned is dubious too. Has a child without racial 'prejudice' been completely 'left alone' by its parents or has it been trained to override genetic programming by ignoring obvious differences? The funny thing is that these 'racism free' children show subconscious 'racism' both as children and as grown up 'unbiased' liberals. This is a minefield and a lot of research on the issue is so contaminated with idology that it's verging on the surreal.

Look at these videos. Do you believe that these children's parents are bigoted and have trained them to stay away from the "nigger next door"?


JW n FL's picture

when people fuck with kids.. it makes me see fucking red.. and I dont mean some fucking polite fucking conversation type of red.. red like I wanna chop them up and feed them to an alligator.. one fucking knuckle at a time so they can watch themselves being eaten alive.. I HATE ANYONE that would / could and / or fucking might cause Harm to ANY CHILD!! I dont care if the Child is fucking purple with green spots!


I have been tested once in an extremely public place over my feelings!


I learned a few things!

1. People who did not see what you saw will think you an attacker of the other person, not knowing why or that the other person was attacking a child.

2. Someone else did see it all and will step forward even though they may not agree with my extremely violent response.

3. Most important! I can make bail and I have the best esquires money can Buy! SO FUCK ANYONE WHO FUCKS WITH A CHILD!


In Florida.. the child molesters have to go to prison.. when they are about to be released they move the child molesters to a Pych Ward! and then hold them until they are no longer a threat.. they may NEVER! get out!


Constitution that I scream about the rest of the time.. gets a pass on that one. Evil should be kept away from children, no matter the cost!


Or.. for the cheap crowd! I am NOT against just shooting them in the head with a .22.. I am all for the Cheap way out!

AnAnonymous's picture

It is framed. Children evolve in an environment. Children have no choice other than taking into account their environment. It goes beyond racism.

In this regard, children are truth tellers. Children can be told something about the rules, but if it does correspond with reality, it is useless. They see through and play the game by the rules.


That story of racism in the US is over: for kids not to grow into racists, they should not be immersed in a racist context which it is not the case. Children see through and expose the propaganda.

And it is the same for any other field: useless to tell to a kid that hard work pays when the kid has parents who are breaking their back at work and earn very little. Children see perfectly well that it is not hard work that pays but the type of jobs you do and how it is valorized etc...

The list is long. Nothing subsconscious in that, they simply see what the world is like.

sabra1's picture

what about placing weiner and dsk in the same room?

nmewn's picture

"what about placing weiner and dsk in the same room?"

Not much of a difference on certain levels. One went around the bend given enough time in power, the other hadn't spent enough time in power to get to that stage.

Two hopelessly flawed, egotistical people infatuated with self and their positions.

The root of it is power...people with no character should never be trusted with it, as power comes with the responsibility to wield it governance it will always be a temporary thing derived by consent, not divinity. 

If it can be given it can be taken away...this should form the nucleus of consciousness for anyone seeking power and authority over others. There should be a sense of humility that you have been entrusted with something very few will ever have. Far too many take it as a personal gift that feeds the ego of self.

Sambo's picture

Most people on the top never behave responsibly. The (financial) power they exercise over others acts like an aphrodisiac. Some are able to overcome this effect on sexual behavior, others like Dsk, Weiner, Bill Clinton are led astray.

Unfortunately, some women are smart enough to see this weakness in men and are able to exploit them for their own selfish goals which in turn is a result of....



nmewn's picture

Absolute power corrupting absolutely, yes, as we know.

I don't believe there would be any difference if most of the powerful were women, the males would fawn & flatter seeking favor...the powerful (now women) in stroking their own narcissism & vanity react the same...I don't think gender has much of a part in this play.

It is quite the chuckle to see Ginger Lee (a friend of weiner's everywhere...LOL, sorry, couldn't resist) cashing in after conducting a press conference on morality & the end, they all wanted only what the powerful are entrusted with by us. I suppose now, with Larry Flint offering Weiner a job (as a lobbyist I suppose) the visable circle of prostitution is complete.

I hate the idea of term limits as we subconsciously admit we don't have the ability (as a society) to replace the clearly corrupted we see representing us.

But it may be the only way.

G-R-U-N-T's picture

Yep nm I believe you are exactly accurate. The obsession of a "personal gift" can easily springboard into a self absorbed maligned psycho/sociopathic imaginary manufactured ego. Obama is a perfect example.



InconvenientCounterParty's picture

"desires and (let’s be honest here) need to cleanse the sense of self-flagellating white guilt they continue to carry over a perceived racism in the country that is now more prevalent as a topic of media round-tables than it is a fact in day-to-day American life."

He who smelt it, dealt it.

mayhem_korner's picture

Dodd-Frank eradicated portions of the 1933 Commodities Exchange Act.  Effective July 16, 2011 (one year afte D-F was signed into law), it will no longer be legal to conduct OTC transactions (UNTIL the CFTC and SEC finalize the definitions and rules as to what constitutes a "swap" eligible for margining/clearing, etc.)

The CFTC just punted on a lot of this stuff, proposing to defer implementation of the rules until December 31, 2011.  There is a HUGE GAP in that, however, because the CEA stuff that was voided by D-F is left unresolved.  So everyone is trying to figure out what to do.  FOREX is taking a conservative approach - not going to recognize OTC transactions with the overhanging uncertainty.

That's about all I can tell you that I'm confident in.  I am not confident in the CFTC, SEC, FDIC, etc. actually resolving the definitions issue.  Their ambition to broaden the regulatory net as wide as possible is making it difficult.

gaoptimize's picture

We really should not hijack this thread, but I feel compelled to say: Capitol Controls bitchez.