Historical Figures

Of the 106 billion (estimated) people who have walked earth since the dawn of the human race, only 10 of them got entangled in history's textbook. Ok, there's a little more than 10, but they're still noteworthy enough for us to know by name. Rate dictators, monarchs, and "bullies," as well as pioneers, explorers, and free thinkers.

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16 days ago

None of the quantum mechanics at the Toyota dealership could figure out the source of the electrical problem with my 1987 Celica, but they wanted to charge me over $500.00 in shop time for trying to diagnose where it was.

The farmer who lived next to my brother-in-law's section solved the problem instantly by replacing the entire wiring harness for a hundred bucks.

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16 days ago

He hasn't really done anything of note since he left Public Enemy to pursue a solo career. Even Flava Flav has been more successful.

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19 days ago

A footnote in American history unless he really fucks something up in the near future.

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20 days ago

A blip on the radar, from a historical point of view. An intellectual mediocrity and elitist who's overmatched as Secretary of State. Ran a poor presidential campaign against an incumbent with many vulnerabilities.

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61 days ago

Presidents don't matter anymore, especially in a globalized, technocratic economic order. This is not a partisan issue. It doesn't matter who is president. No "ordinary American who can dream of one day becoming president" is in a position to alter the basic equation, which would involve bucking the vast military-financial-industrial-academic complex that drives the American economy, funds our political elections and keeps people in line through any means necessary. That's as true of Obama as it was of Kennedy or Nixon or any president in recent history. Those who seek to turn the presidency into an independent power base get a bullet through the head or are chased out of office.

History has shown when it comes to the overall direction of American governance, absent generally minor tweaks of foreign policy and somewhat more robust swings on certain domestic issues that rouse voting bases (notably things like gay and reproductive rights and, lately, immigration) presidents of both parties rarely deviate from a kind of "consensus" cobbled together by people in academia, media and government, a consensus that almost always serves the interests of a fairly small number of wealthy people and interests.

Obama, for all of his high words during his 2008 campaign, never matched the rhetoric to his actual governing stances. Even if he wanted to change the overall direction of our government, he would face steep institutional hurdles. As such, he has no choice but to try and keep people complacent, for he is essentially helpless. This is in part because of the power-brokers to whom he owes his political success--figures from the neo-liberal end of the same status-quo-benefiting money spectrum--bankers, investors, corporate attorneys, who always run things. He has almost no wiggle room.

When Obama has tried to assert himself, his efforts have not gone well. Notably, when he tried to reduce troop force in Afghanistan, a campaign of leaks from high-placed military sources, accommodated by their friends in the media, immediately neutered him. Once it became clear that virtually no one would actually tell the public what had happened in this instance (or bring to the spotlight the tremendous financial stakes in Afghanistan for corporate interests), Obama must have understood what history has in store for him: the legacy of a Carter or a Clinton or perhaps a Ford, followed by the rewards heaped upon Bill Clinton in the long years remaining in his life. Basically, the message is, "tread carefully and we'll take care of you and your family later." Like other recent presidents, he traded in real leadership for comfort and money.

The media, which should be in a position to inform the public about the real issues of the day, does not do so. Why do you think oligarchical interests own media outlets, or befriend or seek to influence the owners? Because they are in a perfect position to tell the masses what to worry about, what not to worry about, what they might aspire to change, and what must or will be left as it is.

The preferred and most comfortable roles of the media, Hollywood, publishing, and academia are to get us to focus on individuals and personalities, and to exaggerate their significance--not to focus us on recurring patterns that render those individuals largely irrelevant. Obama is one of those people, he's effectively just a puppet on a string.

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122 days ago

not very likeable

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175 days ago

Most importantly he is the father of the Best Sellers list.

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176 days ago

He made ideas portable on a massive scale, so he and his invention can't be overlooked.

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176 days ago

At last check, he was hawking reverse mortgages and gold coins to desperate Tea Party geezers anticipating a massive race war, followed by a hyperinflation event.

I guess that makes him very influential.

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219 days ago

I fail to see how seizing power in a military coup and then ruling an impoverished shamble of a backward and crumbling country through the use of brute, murderous force and appalling terror gets you on a list of 'leaders'.

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