By Jack Cashill
“This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me – an agency assistant at the time,” Miriam Goderich, now a named partner in the literary agency, Dystel & Goderich, wrote in an emailed statement to Yahoo News, which was then picked up ABC News. “There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more.”
This confession rings false to the point of preposterous for any number of reasons. Let us start with the obvious. At the time, 1991, the Acton & Dystel agency listed 90 clients, Obama among its least significant. How likely is it that Goderich would have remembered enough about a 1991 “error” to know it was hers, especially since it went uncorrected through several revisions until changed in 2007? To make this claim credible, there would have to be an existing paper trail leading to an Obama submission in which he lists an Hawaiian birth. I am confident that there is no such submission.
Former publisher Tom Lipscomb does not buy Goderich’s explanation for a New York minute. “As someone who has run a number of top bestseller publishers, I think this is an amazing MIRACLE,” writes Lipscomb emphatically on Power Line. “It is the ONLY case I have ever heard of in which an editorial assistant INVENTED a biographical detail. I have heard of typos, wrong dates, misspellings of names. But to pick a really weird country of origin like Kenya for an author?”
The Breitbart people followed up with a piece by Steve Boman, a Jane Dystel client in the mid-1990s, who noted, “All material she used in our proposals came directly from me and my writing partner.” This is standard. In the eight books I have written under my own name, I have reviewed all biographical information sent out about me either by agent or publisher. Like most authors, I have let a little fluff pass, but not much.
The most interesting “tell” in the 1991 Acton & Dystel brochure relates to what was said about Obama’s career in the business world. Obama, the reader learns, “worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation.”
In Dreams from My Father, Obama inflated his stint at Business International even more and transformed it into a faux moment of racial awareness, one of at least a half-dozen concocted racial melodramas in the book. As Obama tells the story, a “consulting house to multinational corporations” hired him and promptly promoted him to the position of “financial writer.”
Here, he felt like “a spy behind enemy lines,” and a guilty one at that. “As far as I could tell,” he adds, “I was the only black man in the company.” He does not boast of his racial uniqueness. Rather, in full grievance mode, he considers it “a source of shame.” Indeed, the whole experience troubled him:
I had my own office, my own secretary, money in the bank. Sometimes, coming out of an interview with Japanese financiers or German bond traders, I would catch my reflection in the elevator doors-see myself in a suit and tie, a briefcase in my hand-and for a split second I would imagine myself as a captain of industry, barking out orders, closing the deal, before I remembered who it was that I had told myself I wanted to be and felt pangs of guilt for my lack of resolve.
As early as July 2005, however, former co-worker and Obama fan Dan Armstrong revealed Obama’s whole account to be a “serious exaggeration.” Obama worked at not a multinational corporation, but a “small company that published newsletters.” He was not the only black person who worked there. He did not, as claimed, have his own office, wear a jacket and tie, interview international businessmen, or write articles. He mostly just copy-edited business items and slipped them into a three-ring binder for the company’s customers.
Are we supposed to believe that Goderich not only changed Obama’s birthplace from Hawaii to Kenya, but also transformed him from a grunt filling three-ring binders into a “financial journalist and editor”?
When this discrepancy surfaced years later, pundits in either camp were confused as to why Obama would lie about such seemingly irrelevant details. There are two good, non-exclusive possibilities. For one, the exaggeration enables the reader to see Obama as he would like to see himself — “a spy behind enemy lines.” For another, Obama’s co-author, Bill Ayers, once again took the framework of Obama’s life and roughed in the details.
In Fugitive Days, Ayers’ 2001 memoir, he uses the phrase “behind enemy lines” almost literally to describe his and his comrades’ quiet infiltration of the opponent’s position. Wife Bernardine Dohrn has said the same in public. When the Weather Underground declared its state of war with the United States in May 1970, Dohrn warned that people fighting “Amerikan imperialism” all over the world “look to Amerika’s youth to use our strategic position behind enemy lines to join forces in the destruction of the empire.”
The bottom line is this: Obama has been creating and shifting identities his entire adult life. If the agency brochure was a snapshot of the 1991 Obama, Dreams captured him in his 1995 pose: hip, black, progressive, wounded by racial slights but able to overcome them, just the man to lead Chicago into the 21st century, then the extent of his and Ayers’s ambition for him.
“I met [Obama] sometime in the mid-1990s[,]” Bill Ayers would tell Salon, likely pushing the actual date back several years. “And everyone who knew him thought that he was politically ambitious. For the first two years, I thought, his ambition is so huge that he wants to be mayor of Chicago.”
Friend Cassandra Butts traced that ambition back at least to Harvard. “He wanted to be mayor of Chicago and that was all he ever talked about as far as holding office,” she would tell early Obama biographer David Mendell.
No one would have challenged Obama’s biography had he not gone beyond Chicago, but he did. And so where he was born matters, and whether he even wrote his own biography matters, too. As much as I know about Obama, I don’t know or pretend to know the answer — at least to the first of those two questions.
- Why Kenyan Birth Claim Was No ‘Fact Checking Error’ (johnmalcolm.me)
- Why Kenyan Birth Claim Was No ‘Fact Checking Error’ (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- Uh oh: Messy Detaails: A ‘Fact Checking Error’? Dystel & Goderich Ask Writers to Submit Their Own Bios (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- General Theory Explains Obama Book Catalogue, Hawaii Birth Certificate, and Cherokee Elizabeth Warren (txwclp.org)
International News — 17 November 2011
The rebel militants of Al Shabaab in Somalia said they have obtained radar equipments and other military hardware to fight against African Union and Kenyan and Somali troops battling the group in the south of the war-torn country, a pro-Al Shabaab website reported on Thursday.
Eritrea is accused of sending weapons to the group, but the country has strongly denies the accusation.
“Radar equipments have been brought to some of the Somalia Wilaayaats (provinces) to detect enemy aircraft breaching Somalia’ s airspace, “said Somalimemo, a website used by Al Shabaab.
The site quoting an unnamed official added ” other ‘modern equipments ‘were found to counter the aging Kenyan aircraft fleet”.
The Al Shabaab official did not give further details about where the group got the new military equipment or where they were installed.
Kenyan have lately been carrying out air raids against Al Shabaab targets in southern Somalia where the group controls.
Allied Kenyan and Somali government troops have since early October been carrying out a military action aimed at ousting the militant fighters from the south of the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation.
The group also asserted they have enlisted the retired senior military officials of former Somali government of Mohamed Siyad Barre to advise on and take part in the fight against Kenyan and Somali government troops.
The radical rebel group of Al Shabaab this week displayed several speedboats and dozens of newly trained fighters carrying AK-47s as well as local traditional fighters armed with spears, bows and arrows in the southern port town of Marka.
Al Shabaab reiterated threats of attacks against Kenyan for sending its troops across the border to Somalia as well as against Burundi and Uganda, two countries who are currently contributing troops to the 9,000-strong African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) based in Mogadishu.
- Kenya’s Somali raid threatens to explode into regional conflict (mb50.wordpress.com)
- War in Southern Somalia:Somalia’s Al Shabaab says “obtained radar equipments to detect enemy aircraft” + Related News (laaska.wordpress.com)
- New Somalia Attack Could Jeopardize U.S. Shadow War (alhittin.com)
- Senior Shabaab leaders rumored killed in blast (longwarjournal.org)
- Swift crisis communication management places Kenya strategically in its war on Al Shabaab (salehcomm.wordpress.com)
- Civilians flee as Kenya plans attacks on al-Shabaab (guardian.co.uk)
- Kenya warns of air strikes across southern and central Somalia (guardian.co.uk)
- Somalis fleeing Kenyan army are trapped by al-Shabaab (telegraph.co.uk)
- Kenyan troops near al-Shabaab town in Somalia (cbc.ca)