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Friday, 28 August 2009


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". . . President, himself, admitted in his book, Dreams from my Father, that his youthful mentor was someone called 'Frank'."

I beg to differ. Obama never said that Frank was his youthful mentor. Although Obama's book indicates "Frank" was a family friend who offered him advice on racial issues, Obama wrote that Davis "fell short" and his views were "incurable." Obama did not even visit Davis for three years before going to college. Obama's book, itself, proves that Obama did not consider Davis to be a "wise and trusted counselor," which is the definition of "mentor." By what creative definition can Davis be considered his "mentor"?

Further, it never "came out that Davis was a sex pervert." That is also an unsubstantiated allegation. Calling Davis a sex pervert based on his novel makes no more sense than calling David Letterman a pedophile based on his joke. Both misrepresentations are widespread in the blogosphere, and reflect the pinnacle of intellectual dishonesty. Both misrepresent the core values of artists by spreading falsehoods that gullible readers accept as truth, and who then spread further in good faith.

Such misrepresentation exploits mainstream unawareness of literary styles such as the semiautobiographic novel (see, memoir-novel (see and the first-person narrative (see, by claiming that the artist actually experienced fictional events when it serves their disinformation purposes. Deliberate misrepresentation is the foundation of disinformation campaigns, such as the campaign against Barack Obama and Davis.

All memoir-novels, whether pornographic (e.g., John Cleland's "Fanny Hill"), satirical (e.g., Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels"), or other genre (e.g., Daniel Defoe's "Moll Flanders"), are allegedly true but nevertheless fiction. The fictional authors of memoir-novels, such as "Bob Greene," claim that such incidents actually occurred although they, too, are fictional. In a broader sense, ALL first-person narrative novels, such as Nabokov's "Lolita" and Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn," claim authenticity despite obviously being fiction. To claim that some memoir-novels are literally true (if convenient for one's political agenda), while acknowledging that other memoir-novels are truly fiction, is intellectual dishonesty.

The pornography disinformation against Frank Marshall Davis is just as heinous as the political disinformation. At a minimum, it indicates a cognitive disorder manifested by an inability to distinguish fact from fiction, in the manner of soap opera fans who blame actors for their characters' misdeeds. Further, it suggests that those making such false accusations may be projecting their own libidinous psychological disorders onto Davis. Do those spewing such nonsense also believe that John Cleland personally experienced the erotic adventures of "Fanny Hill"?

As a retired Air Force Intelligence Officer with specific training in Deception Analysis by the C.I.A. in 1989, I am researching political disinformation. I am familiar with disinformation campaigns, including Pope Gregory's misrepresentation of Mary Magdalene, Russian and German misrepresentation of Judaism, Operation Fortitude protecting the D-Day invasion, Operation Left Hook protecting the coalition drive into Kuwait, and the misrepresentation of the Iraqi threat this century. This disinformation campaign fits the pattern epitomized by "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," where a target is smeared through deliberate misrepresentation.

Thanks for your consideration.

Mark, welcome to D&N. Alas, you catch me at a disadvantage in that I am on wedding duty call today and thus lack time. Suffice to say quickly that Davis is but one of a multitude of 'friends' and 'influencers' who surrounded Obama - and with whom he has mostly remained on terms - consider the 'Rev'd' Wright, for example.

I'm away until tomorrow and will take up your points then.

The blunt blade of Occam's Razor suggest a rather more mundane conclusion to your "Obama is secretly a Commie revolutionary" thesis - that Glenn Beck is a lunatic and you, sir, are an idiot.

Christopher: Nothing is gained by ad hominem attacks, because they only tend to polarize. When people with opposing viewpoints are willing to engage in honest debate, we all benefit.

"The way to combat noxious ideas is with other ideas. The way to combat falsehoods is with truth."
- William O. Douglas

Gentlemen, happily I am returned from my wedding duty call.

Mark, you mustn't concern yourself about the odd ad hom, we are made of stern stuff, here, at D&N, and anyway they add a little spice to the rice, as they say!

Christopher, I'm not sure you understand the nature of Occam's Razor but setting that aside, if you have an opinion by all means put it but don't expect it to be treated as anything other than a dog turd unless you back it up with some facts. In that way, we can have a conversation, your way usually fizzles out with some version of 'yah-boo-sucks' and is thus a waste of everyone's time!

Mark, back to you! I take your point that one must be careful of extending the subject matter in the text to the writer, himself; but that is not to say that it cannot be done, and done accurately. In all cases, judgement needs to be applied. I, for example, have frequently bemoaned, and warned, that writing a blog says more about you than you realise. (I'd blush if I was embarrassable!) Van Jones wrote a novel (which I have not read) in which his married 'hero' and his fictional wife seduce a 13-year-old girl and maintain a sexual relationship a trois with her over some time. Jones's fictional 'hero' refuses to acknowledge any guilt for this claiming that the child received the best of sexual educations. Now, my question to you, Mark, is quite simple: knowing that would you let this author babysit your daughter? Take that as a 'no', shall I?

I should add, in fairness, that 'over here' we have recently, er, 'enjoyed' the services of a former pornographer sitting at the right hand of our previous prime minister. Perhaps it is a co-incidence that his administration will go down in history as the most venal and corrupt since the 18th century!

As for dis-information, I (and Glenn Beck, come to that) are still waiting for a refutation concerning the history, past actions and current sayings of the unelected, and unchecked by Congress, executive advisers he, Obama, has appointed. I stress 'executive' because these people do not just whisper in his ear, they have real power of action and immense budgets with which to re-enforce their aims and objectives. Perhaps I could urge you to undertake a study of information to run alongside the disinformation!

Anyway, we shall see. If anything does happen in the next 12 months expect it to be an attack on Obama with the blame firmly fixed to Right-wingers which will be all the excuse that Rham Emanuel et al will need to impose emergency measures - like for instance, switching off all internet connections (read today's papers)!

While it may be true that pornographers do not make the best babysitters, it is an unconscionable exaggeration to say that it "came out" that he was a sex pervert. That is classic disinformation. There are other factors that should shield the author (Davis, not Van Jones) from literal attribution of this novel:

Please note that Jonathan Swift (writing as fictional character Gulliver in memoir-novel "Gulliver's Travels") described various encounters with Lilliputians and other characters, and Vladimir Nabokov (writing as fictional character Humbert Humbert in memoir-novel "Lolita") described various encounters with Lolita and other characters. Upon what basis can anyone believe that Davis's story is history, while other first person narrative memoir-novels are fantasy? To literally attribute memoir-novel character Bob Greene's encounters to Davis, but not attribute the encounters of memoir-novel characters Gulliver and Humbert Humbert to their respective authors, indicates a flagrantly biased double standard to smear Barack Obama through guilt-by-association.

Scandalous memoirs such as "Sex Rebel: Black (Memoirs of a Gash Gourmet)" have been a literary genre for centuries. According to Wikipedia, such scandalous memoirs are allegedly factual, but are largely invented. The title, alone, qualifies it as a "scandalous memoir." It is the epitome of dishonesty to claim, without empirical evidence, that fictional characters' experiences actually occurred in their author's real life.

Edgar Tidwell, the expert on the life and writing of Frank Marshall Davis, says the book is "semiautobiographical," which (according to means "1. pertaining to or being a fictionalized account of an author's own life. 2. pertaining to or being a work of fiction strongly influenced by events in an author's life." "Sex Rebel: Black" is therefore a fictionalized account of events in Davis's life.

In an honest evaluation, any of these disclaimers should protect the author from literal interpretation. The combination should provide absolute protection from any culpability. Unfortunately, Davis's accusers are dishonest. Like Mike Nifong, the disgraced ex-D.A. in the Duke lacrosse case, their campaign to demonize their target ignores exculpatory evidence in their reckless rush to judgment. In order to smear Barack Obama through guilt-by-association with Frank Marshall Davis, they are virtually lynching Davis by grossly misrepresenting his character and influence. Such misrepresentation may be symptomatic of the accuser's own psychological disorder, indicated by projection of the accuser's own pedophilic fantasies onto the author.

In "Sex Rebel," Davis's Bob Greene (not unlike Nabokov's Humbert Humbert) hesitates at a pubescent girl's sexual invitation, but foolishly relents. Like "Lolita," this faux foreword is written by a Ph.D impersonator who details the psychological significance of the memoir. Like Nabokov, Davis wanted to write under a pseudonym to shield his reputation, but felt compelled to reveal his authorship. As a result, however, Davis has been posthumously accused of pedophilia, while "Lolita" is "considered by many to be one of the finest novels written in the 20th century." In 1998, it was named the fourth greatest English language novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library," despite also being initially dismissed as pornography, according to Wikipedia.

For objective articles on this issue, please see and

Mark, it is not possible for any of us to, as it were, climb inside another and excavate to the bottom of their soul. (That conceit is, of course, possessed by the psychiatry trade, an activity that makes the second-hand car trade - of which I was once a proud member - look positively respectable!) In this rough and ready world in which we live, we must accrue such facts as are available and make a judgment. We are not concerned here with Swift or Nabakov but with Davis, a self-admitted (although he tried to hide it earlier in his life) pornographer with a taste for describing sex with children. Call me 'Mr. Heardheart' but that is enough for me, I do not need to know more. I can only repeat my question to you which you wittily avoided: would you allow a man like that to babysit your children? If not, are you comfortable with the fact that such a man was, to some degree, a childhood influence on your president?

If that's all I know of him, probably not. If I had a more balanced description of Frank Marshall Davis, then indeed I would. The goal of disinformation is to present a counterfeit illusion of a target through misrepresentation. This was done to Davis with masterful skill, second only in recent history to the misrepresentation of the Iraqi threat after 9/11.

A counterfeit illusion of Davis was created only last year through a disinformation campaign. Until the publication of "Obama's Communist Mentor" in February, there were virtually zero negative comments about Davis on the Internet. In order to smear Obama, however, bloggers made a straw man out of Davis through flagrant fabrication.

Let us evaluate the empirical evidence with dispassionate objectivity, rather than accepting unsubstantiated accusations and deliberate misrepresentation from pundits of questionable integrity.

It is indeed regrettable that so many honest people have been hoodwinked by a skillful disinformation campaign led by Cliff Kincaid's ironically named "Accuracy In Media" (AIM). Fraudulent memes, unwittingly propagated by well-intentioned bloggers, have spread throughout the blogosphere, which proves the effectiveness of viral disinformation campaigns. Even the title of Kincaid's initial attack, "Obama's Communist Mentor," is itself a masterful deception. Through the "fallacy of equivocation," it implies three enduring falsehoods:

- That Davis was an avowed or known communist who advocated collectivist principles. The evidence, however, indicates that Davis was a closet communist who never advocated communism.

- That Davis had a continuing mentorship with teenage Obama, "almost like a son." The evidence, however indicates that Davis was an occasionally visited family friend whom Obama did not even see for three years before college.

- That Davis taught communism to young Obama. The evidence, however, indicates that although Davis offered advice on racial issues, Obama did not even trust that advice.

The AIM disinformation campaign consisted of a series of small lies fabricated to support the big lie that "His values, passed on to Obama, were those of a communist agent who pledged allegiance to Stalin" (see A painstakingly documented analysis of Kincaid's falsehoods is posted as "specific misrepresentation" at I invite any person of integrity to refute this evidence against his body of lies. If he had authentic evidence of Davis's radical influence, he would not need to fabricate such evidence.

"Truth is generally the best vindication against slander."
- Abraham Lincoln

Jesus! I am flabbergasted by this post, Mr. Duff. Glenn Beck?!?! I do appreciate your political leanings, but Glenn Beck is a moron, for want of a better word. Once you bring him into an argument, you lose credibility, sir. To see him blubbering about eugenics is to see shameless hucksterism at its worst.

Mark, whoever you are, I salute your intelligence and persistence.

Mr. Duff, concede your mistakes or risk looking even more delusional!

Mark, I am not unsympathetic to your campaign for accuracy in this age of internet gossip but in this case I think you are straining at a gnat. Let me take your points in order:

1: "Davis was a closet communist who never advocated communism". Sorry, Mark, but that is a nonsense. Davis might have tried to keep his CPUSA membership quiet but in his daily actions he made no secret of his leanings which is why it was so easy for the FBI to build up their dossier. Gerld Horne should know, he is/was on the editorial board of the CPUSA magazine. He wrote this in 2003:

"In any case, deploring these convictions [of strikers] in Hawaii was an African-American poet and journalist by the name of Frank Marshall Davis, who was certainly in the orbit of the CP – if not a member – and who was born in Kansas and spent a good deal of his adult life in Chicago, before decamping to Honolulu in 1948 at the suggestion of his good friend Paul Robeson. Eventually, he befriended another family – a Euro-American family – that had migrated to Honolulu from Kansas and a young woman from this family eventually had a child with a young student from Kenya East Africa who goes by the name of Barack Obama, who retracing the steps of Davis eventually decamped to Chicago. In his best selling memoir ‘Dreams of my Father’, the author speaks warmly of an older black poet, he identifies simply as "Frank" as being a decisive influence in helping him to find his present identity as an African-American, a people who have been the least anticommunist and the most left-leaning of any constituency in this nation ..."

2: Neither you or I, Mark, can be absolutely certain how much influence Davis had, and we have to bear in mind that it is in Obama's interest to minimise it today. It is sufficient, to me at any rate, that the influence was important enough for him to mention it in a book and I note without comment that even then he took steps not to identify the person concerned, merely calling him "Frank".

3: I have never heard of a communist, except those secret double agents who used to be employed by the KGB and who were under instructions to keep their beliefs silent, who failed to proselytize, like fundamentalist Christians, they simply can't help themselves and it beggars belief to suppose that a committed Marxist like Davis would not have spead 'the word' to anyone and everyone, particularly a very young, impressionable mixed-race youth in Hawaii.

You ended your last comment with a very fine sentiment from Lincoln but, alas, you failed to live up to it in full yourself! You signed on as "Mark" with no link to your own website in which it is clear that you are the son of Frank Davis. That, in itself, is no crime but it would have been useful to know at the outset of this exchange so that I and my reader could set your remarks in context. If I may say so, you do honour to your father by defending him but you wil understand that a disinterested observer like me will remain unconvinced by your protestations.

Now come along, 'Sis', I don't wish to appear po-faced but this isn't a fashionista slagging match about some celeb wearing the wrong accessories. Beck is histrionic, as I made clear in my post, but that does not alter the fact that he has made a very damning case that Obama has deliberately surrounded himself with Left-wing extremists - and I don't mean soppy, "peace 'n' love" types, I mean hard-eyed, Marxist revolutionaries with a purpose in life. Van Jones stands as a prime example. So stop with your own histrionics and offer some evidence that it ain't so!

YOU WROTE: ""Davis was a closet communist who never advocated communism". Sorry, Mark, but that is a nonsense."

RESPONSE: Your disbelief is understandable in today's context, but things were a lot different back then. Although he sympathized with communists who were being treated unfairly, this does not mean that he ever advocated communism. His writings reflect this truth.

Frank Marshall Davis rejected collectivism. He was a capitalist. He owned two paper companies, and sold advertising specialties, in Hawaii. He joined the CPUSA because of the professional and social opportunities it presented. He joined the CPUSA during WWII, just as the United States joined the Soviet Union during WWII, not because they shared the delusion of a communist utopia. Each was a marriage of convenience. He joined because membership had its privileges, such as professional and social opportunities. He considered membership in the CPUSA as a "vehicle and tool" because, according to "The New Red Negro" (cited by AIM's Cliff Kincaid as a source):

"ONLY the Communist left had any significant institutional impact on African-American writing during the 1930s and 1940s. This support was crucial as the institutions that had maintained the New Negro Renaissance faded. And for better or for worse, the leading CPUSA functionaries involved in "Negro work" took a direct interest in African-American cultural production in a manner that was unusual, if not unique.

Vilifying a writer for continuing to publish in CPUSA-supported publications, when they provided his only significant institutional support, is completely unfair. Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and Frank Marshall Davis all took advantage of this institutional support.

Further, as The New Red Negro makes clear, there was no monolithic Stalinist doctrine within the CPUSA: "This is not to say that the impact of the Communist Left on African-American writers in the 1930's and 1940's flowed from absolute unity of ideology and practical application of that ideology. As mentioned before, the CPUSA itself, despite the claims of both the party leadership and its most ardent detractors, contained various, often conflicting tendencies. This conflicts appeared within top leadership, where Earl Browder and William Z. Foster and their supporters were frequently at odds. They also surfaced in the regional leadership of important districts that were occasionally, and in the case of southern California frequently, in opposition to the national leadership. Finally, at the rank-and-file level, when leadership debates broke out into the open (as they did in 1929, 1956-1946, and 1956), the were replayed in almost every CPUSA unit, often serving as the vehicle for the expression of a wide range of "unorthodox" political beliefs (ranging from social democratic to anarcho-syndicalist."

"A huge proportion of African-American poets (and writers and intellectuals generally) remained engaged with the Communist Left and cultural institutions from at least the early 1930's until at least the early 1950's. With the partial exception of the period from the German invasion of the Soviet Union to the end of the Second World War, the CPUSA placed the issue of race and the fight against Jim Crow near the center of all its work."

The bottom line is that communist ties were common for African-American poets and civil right activists during that period. Such ties did not mean that they internalized Marxist values, much less Stalinist values, even if they were aware of the distinction. To them, the CPUSA provided safe harbor from the ravages of Jim Crow America.

For those who question whether anyone would join the CPUSA without internalizing collectivist values, examples abound in more recent developments. Russians and Chinese joined their respective Communist parties because membership was important to professional advancement. Mikhail Gorbachev rejected these values in dismantling the Soviet Union. Leaders of the PRC's capitalist boom are nevertheless pro forma Party members. According to CNBC's "The People's Republic of Profit," the PRC now has over 100 billionaires - second only to the United States. Some Communist Party members are VERY successful capitalists!

Even today people join some organizations, such as churches and the YMCA, without internalizing their core values because membership has its advantages. I believe everyone will agree that many so-called "Christians" have not internalized Christian values. Some could argue that Stalinism perverted the core values of Marxism, just as the Spanish Inquisition and pedophile priests perverted the core values of Christianity.

"The way to combat noxious ideas is with other ideas. The way to combat falsehoods is with truth." - William O. Douglas

Concerning your "rebuttal" to Mark's points:

2. If neither you or Mark can be certain, why do you then go on to state your theory (i,e, guess) which has no more validity that Mark's, even according to you?

3. Meet my brother in law, who was a communist and grew up in a communist household in London, but went on to receive an OBE from the Queen herself. He never proselytized once about politics in the 35 years I have known him, althouth since turning to Christianity it has been bla bla bla bla (the scriptures.)

Finally, I have just read the link Mark provided, and agree with his position. I will see if I can find you more "evidence," although I have little hope that you will accept it as such, even if it is notarized by Jesus, Joseph, Mary, my brother in law and Her Majesty.

Thanks, Sister Wolf!

Dave: It may not be common knowledge, but mentioning people by their first name is common in memoirs. Obama mentions numerous people by only their first names in "Dreams." Nothing unusual there.

As far as Frank's influence on Obama goes, anyone can speculate. As they say on CSI, however, "follow the evidence"! The fact that Davis did not indoctrinate his son, with whom he had much more influence, strongly suggests that he did not indictrinate family friend Obama.

Although “I'm hardly interested in proving my research to Kincaid or any of those whose work is a travesty to scholarship," University of Kansas Professor Edgar Tidwell, whom AIM's Cliff Kincaid cites as "an expert on the life and writings of Davis," dismisses misrepresentation of Davis's influence in one simple paragraph:

"Although my research indicates that Davis joined the CPUSA as a "closet member" during World War II, there is no evidence that he was a Stalinist, or even a Party member before WWII. Further, to those attempting to make the specious stand for the concrete, there is no evidence that he instructed Barack Obama in communist ideology. Frank Marshall Davis did NOT believe in overthrowing the USA. He was committed to what the nation professed to be. For him, communism was primarily an intellectual vehicle to achieve a political end-a possible tool for gaining the constitutional freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL Americans" (see ).

The AIM disinformation campaign consisted of a series of small lies fabricated to support the big lie that "His values, passed on to Obama, were those of a communist agent who pledged allegiance to Stalin" (see A painstakingly documented analysis of Kincaid's falsehoods is posted as "specific misrepresentation" at I invite any person of integrity to refute my evidence against his body of lies. If he had authentic evidence of Davis's radical influence, he would not need to fabricate such evidence.

BTW: Nice catch on the relationship. I have found it's better to debate anonymously. It tends to reduce the tendency to "shoot the messenger."

"Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee."
- Immanuel Kant

Mark, it has been a fascinating and pleasurable exhange on an esoteric topic the exact details of which none of us can be absolutely certain but in which you have, so to speak, the inside track. In view of that I have added a note to my post pointing readers to this thread and your rebuttal so that they can read both sides of the story.

In general I would add this; communists, like any other collective of people bound by a cause, are still individuals and take to their cause in different ways and for different reasons. Unfortunately, the cause they espouse is malignant and in the end deadly because it can only lead to totalitarianism and with the sort sardonic humour which gives the Gods (and me) such glee it is usually the most idealistic who are the first to be put up against a wall and shot! Thus, if one believes that, for all its rough and ready construction, parliamentary democracy is probably about as good as you are going to get by way of government,then it behooves us all to beware of those who would destroy it. My contention, aided and abetted by Glenn Beck, is that the Obama administration is riddled with just such people.

'Sis', your brother-in-law reminds me of a book that had an 'influence' on me in my youth (not having a father virtually all my influences were from books, God help me!). It was 'Battle for the Mind' by William Sargant (almost certainly out of print now) who studied the psychology of conversion with particular regard to PoWs in Korea who were put under sustained pressure by their communist captors. The main point he made, as I recall it, was that some people are just more psychologically wired to accept idealistic beliefs than others. The problem was that they could just as easily drop those beliefs and pick up another.

Oh, and by the way, 'Sis', please do not take the name of Her Maj in vain, I may have to send the Yeoman of the Guard to arrest you!

God, it's gratifying to see you nearly concede defeat! And yet, you persist in seeing commies everywhere. Do you check under the bed at night? You really can't be too careful!

I did bother to do some research on Mr. Kincaid and AIM. Did you not detect a certain, ahem, bias there???

As to my brother-in-law, I see you are harder to please that Her Maj. You deplore communists, but then denigrate them if they have a change of heart! Does it help his case that he plays the bagpipes? Or is that worse?

Ah, 'Sis, you'll never make a lawyer - or a politician - thank God! I conceded nothing, I merely left it open to my readers to decide - always read the small print! As for Kincaid 'et al', I can only repeat the nostrum: your 'bias' is my honest opinion. (And remember Kruschev's wise words once spoken at the UN: "There are no neutral men!")

As for your brother-in-law, I certainly did not mean to denigrate him, I was just struck with the memory of Sargant's book and in this case the confirmation of his theory. Sometimes I wish I believed in something, life would be so much less complicated. Even so, I cannot bring myself to look kindly on his bagpipe playing. That is a vicious assault on one's family, friends and neighbours, and moreover, can lead to early blindness - er, but not unfortunately, deafness!

Just to annoy you, I will run for public office and apply to law school. The bagpipe playing, that I cannot offer. You haven't heard me sing, though!

Although there may be legitimate objections to Obama, just as there may be legitimate objections to health care reform, my problem is with people like Cliff Kincaid who lie with impunity regarding such important issues. AIM pretends to be "for fairness, accuracy and balance in news reporting," yet deliberately misrepresents their targets. This is flagrant misrepresentation, like George Orwell's Ministry of Truth.

Once again: A painstakingly documented analysis of Kincaid's falsehoods is posted as "specific misrepresentation" at I invite any person of integrity to refute my evidence against his body of lies. If he had authentic evidence of Davis's radical influence, he would not need to fabricate such evidence.

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
- Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968)

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