More Tea Party Violence?

More Tea Party Violence?

Jack Cashill

Before anyone had publicly identified the shooter of Arizona Congreswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the wire services were busily and shamelessly trying to establish a link between the violence and the Tea Party movement.

The fact that Giffords is a Democrat and that the shooter, 22 year-old Jared Lee Loughner, is a white gun owner assures that they will continue to do so in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.
To be fair, Loughner’s YouTube and MySpace pages show someone who is pretty seriously deranged.  His favorite books, however, include none that might be construed as Tea Party favorites with the possible exception of Ayn Rand’s We The Living.
The book also includes some gentle liberal favorites like To Kill A Mockingbird, hippie cult hits like Siddartha and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and that ultimate left wing classic, the Communist Manifesto.
Loughner has also produced a confused, type-only video for YouTube.  In it, he attempts to acquaint the viewer with an unexplained phenomenon called “conscience dreaming.”  Through this process he hopes to promote literacy and introduce a “new currency” to “literate dreamers.” It does not go any deeper than that.
In the next few days, the best strategy is to ignore the media noise and pray for those victims like Gifffords will survive and and for those several victims who will not.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/01/more_tea_party_violence.html at January 09, 2011 – 10:31:31 AM CST

Commander Obama “would require all communications, including ones over the Internet, to be built so as to enable the U.S. government to intercept and monitor them at any time when the law permits.”

Commander Obama “would require all communications, including ones over the Internet, to be built so as to enable the U.S. government to intercept and monitor them at any time when the law permits.”

Keep in mind that next year after the midterm elections, it will be Congress determining what the law is.

Witness the birth of self-government in this inspiring portrayal of the Constitution’s genesis, “A More Perfect Union”

If Obama’s lockstep Democrats are still in control next year, Glenn Greenwald continues, “Internet services could legally exist only insofar as there would be no such thing as truly private communications; all must contain a ‘back door’ to enable government officials to eavesdrop.”

Would this still be America?

BIG SIS BLOCKS WEBSITES WITH ‘CONTROVERSIAL OPINIONS’

TSA to Block “Controversial Opinion” on the Web

Posted by Pia Malbran

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is blocking certain websites from the federal agency’s computers, including halting access by staffers to any Internet pages that contain a “controversial opinion,” according to an internal email obtained by CBS News

The email was sent to all TSA employees from the Office of Information Technology on Friday afternoon.

It states that as of July 1, TSA employees will no longer be allowed to access five categories of websites that have been deemed “inappropriate for government access.”

The categories include:

• Chat/Messaging

• Controversial opinion

• Criminal activity

• Extreme violence (including cartoon violence) and gruesome content

• Gaming

The email does not specify how the TSA will determine if a website expresses a “controversial opinion.”

There is also no explanation as to why controversial opinions are being blocked, although the email stated that some of the restricted websites violate the Employee Responsibilities and Conduct policy.

The TSA did not return calls seeking comment by publication time

Napolitano: Internet Monitoring Needed to Fight Homegrown Terrorism

  – Associated Press

 – June 18, 2010

Napolitano: Internet Monitoring Needed to Fight Homegrown Terrorism

Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security, the nation’s homeland security chief said Friday. 

WASHINGTON — Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security, the nation’s homeland security chief said Friday. 

As terrorists increasingly recruit U.S. citizens, the government needs to constantly balance Americans’ civil rights and privacy with the need to keep people safe, said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. 

But finding that balance has become more complex as homegrown terrorists have used the Internet to reach out to extremists abroad for inspiration and training. Those contacts have spurred a recent rash of U.S.-based terror plots and incidents. 

“The First Amendment protects radical opinions, but we need the legal tools to do things like monitor the recruitment of terrorists via the Internet,” Napolitano told a gathering of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. 

Napolitano’s comments suggest an effort by the Obama administration to reach out to its more liberal, Democratic constituencies to assuage fears that terrorist worries will lead to the erosion of civil rights. 

The administration has faced a number of civil liberties and privacy challenges in recent months as it has tried to increase airport security by adding full-body scanners, or track suspected terrorists traveling into the United States from other countries. 

“Her speech is sign of the maturing of the administration on this issue,” said Stewart Baker, former undersecretary for policy with the Department of Homeland Security. “They now appreciate the risks and the trade-offs much more clearly than when they first arrived, and to their credit, they’ve adjusted their preconceptions.” 

Underscoring her comments are a number of recent terror attacks over the past year where legal U.S. residents such as Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad and accused Fort Hood, Texas, shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, are believed to have been inspired by the Internet postings of violent Islamic extremists. 

And the fact that these are U.S. citizens or legal residents raises many legal and constitutional questions. 

Napolitano said it is wrong to believe that if security is embraced, liberty is sacrificed. 

She added, “We can significantly advance security without having a deleterious impact on individual rights in most instances. At the same time, there are situations where trade-offs are inevitable.” 

As an example, she noted the struggle to use full-body scanners at airports caused worries that they would invade people’s privacy. 

The scanners are useful in identifying explosives or other nonmetal weapons that ordinary metal-detectors might miss — such as the explosives that authorities said were successfully brought on board the Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He is accused of trying to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear, but the explosives failed, and only burned Abdulmutallab. 

U.S. officials, said Napolitano, have worked to institute a number of restrictions on the scanners’ use in order to minimize that. The scans cannot be saved or stored on the machines by the operator, and Transportation Security Agency workers can’t have phones or cameras that could capture the scan when near the machine.

New Bill Gives Obama ‘Kill Switch’ To Shut Down The Internet

New Bill Gives Obama ‘Kill Switch’ To Shut Down The Internet

 

           

overnment would have “absolute power” to seize control of the world wide web under Lieberman legislation

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The federal government would have “absolute power” to shut down the Internet under the terms of a new US Senate bill being pushed by Joe Lieberman, legislation which would hand President Obama a figurative “kill switch” to seize control of the world wide web in response to a Homeland Security directive.

Lieberman has been pushing for government regulation of the Internet for years under the guise of cybersecurity, but this new bill goes even further in handing emergency powers over to the feds which could be used to silence free speech under the pretext of a national emergency.

“The legislation says that companies such as broadband providers, search engines or software firms that the US Government selects “shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed” by the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone failing to comply would be fined,” reports ZDNet’s Declan McCullagh.

The 197-page bill (PDF) is entitled Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, or PCNAA.

Technology lobbying group TechAmerica warned that the legislation created “the potential for absolute power,” while the Center for Democracy and Technology worried that the bill’s emergency powers “include authority to shut down or limit internet traffic on private systems.”

The bill has the vehement support of Senator Jay Rockefeller, who last year asked during a congressional hearing, “Would it had been better if we’d have never invented the Internet?” while fearmongering about cyber-terrorists preparing attacks.

The largest Internet-based corporations are seemingly happy with the bill, primarily because it contains language that will give them immunity from civil lawsuits and also reimburse them for any costs incurred if the Internet is shut down for a period of time.

“If there’s an “incident related to a cyber vulnerability” after the President has declared an emergency and the affected company has followed federal standards, plaintiffs’ lawyers cannot collect damages for economic harm. And if the harm is caused by an emergency order from the Feds, not only does the possibility of damages virtually disappear, but the US Treasury will even pick up the private company’s tab,” writes McCullagh.

Tom Gann, McAfee’s vice president for government relations, described the bill as a “very important piece of legislation”.

As we have repeatedly warned for years, the federal government is desperate to seize control of the Internet because the establishment is petrified at the fact that alternative and independent media outlets are now eclipsing corporate media outlets in terms of audience share, trust, and influence.

We witnessed another example of this on Monday when establishment Congressman Bob Etheridge was publicly shamed after he was shown on video assaulting two college students who asked him a question. Two kids with a flip cam and a You Tube account could very well have changed the course of a state election, another startling reminder of the power of the Internet and independent media, and why the establishment is desperate to take that power away.

The government has been searching for any avenue possible through which to regulate free speech on the Internet and strangle alternative media outlets, with the FTC recently proposing a “Drudge Tax” that would force independent media organizations to pay fees that would be used to fund mainstream newspapers.

Similar legislation aimed at imposing Chinese-style censorship of the Internet and giving the state the power to shut down networks has already been passed globally, including in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

We have extensively covered efforts to scrap the internet as we know it and move toward a greatly restricted “internet 2″ system. Handing government the power to control the Internet would only be the first step towards this system, whereby individual ID’s and government permission would be required simply to operate a website.

The Lieberman bill needs to be met with fierce opposition at every level and from across the political spectrum. Regulation of the Internet would not only represent a massive assault on free speech, it would also create new roadblocks for e-commerce and as a consequence further devastate the economy.

BIG SIS IN CONTROL: Bill would give ‘Homeland Security’ emergency cyber powers…

Bill would give DHS emergency cyber powers

June 3, 2010

Cybersecurity Update – Tune in weekdays at 30 minutes past the hour for the latest cybersecurity news on The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris (6-10 a.m.) and The DorobekInsider with Chris Dorobek (3-7 p.m.). Listen live at FederalNewsRadio.com or on the radio at 1500 and 820 AM in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

 

  • We’re learning more about the cybersecurity package forming in the Senate. Wired.com reports Sen. Joe Lieberman, (I-Conn.) wants to give the federal government the power to take over civilian networks’ security, if there’s an “imminent cyber threat.” It’s part of a draft bill, co-sponsored by Senators Lieberman and Susan Collins, that provides DHS with the authority to ensure that critical infrastructure stays up and running in the face of a looming hack attack. (Stay up to date with all the latest cybersecurity news by clicking here.)  
  • The Senate version of the fiscal 2011 Defense authorization bill scheduled to be released later this week is going to include funding for pilot programs that will explore new ways for Defense Department agencies and contractors to have greater access to cybersecurity tools and services. NextGov cites sources from the Armed Services Committee. Their completed markup of its version of the Defense bill will include funding for projects that require the department to partner with industry to track cyber threats, and speed up the acquisition of cybersecurity products and services. The funding would add to the $10 million in the fiscal 2010 supplemental appropriations bill the Senate passed on May 27 for the Defense and Homeland Security departments to conduct cybersecurity pilots. 
  • Agencies looking to establish super-secure Internet hookups under the Trusted Internet Connection program now have a vendor to turn to. The General Services Administration has issued the first certification for a TIC product to AT&T Government Solutions. The company’s Managed Trusted Internet Protocol Services are available under GSA’s Networx telecommunications contract. A spokesman says AT&T is the first provider to receive authority to activate trusted connections. 

Check out all of Federal News Radio’s coverage of cybersecurity issues here.

Sarah Palin and the Multitude of Dummies===And they name names: Sarah Palin, taxpayers, Tea Party supporters, viewers turning away from the mainstream networks, newspaper and magazine readers canceling subscriptions, those without degrees from an elite university — all dumb.

Sarah Palin and the Multitude of Dummies

By Stuart Schwartz

We are dumb. So say the folks at the top of our leadership ladder.

And they name names: Sarah Palin, taxpayers, Tea Party supporters, viewers turning away from the mainstream networks, newspaper and magazine readers canceling subscriptions, those without degrees from an elite university — all dumb.
Stupidity is the face of American exceptionalism for Barack Obama and his media and university supporters. New York Times columnist David Brooks, a graduate of the elite University of Chicago, says the nation’s a “joke,” that Sarah Palin and ordinary Americans should shut up and let the “educated class” lead. Bill Maher, who practices his contempt at HBO and honed his arrogance at Yale, labels us a “stupid people.”
Meanwhile, Woody Allen says we are so clueless that Barack Obama needs to take his Harvard law degree in hand and become a “dictator for a few years.” Allen, who does not have an Ivy League degree, nevertheless burnished his elite cultural credentials with first an affair, and then a marriage to his stepdaughter a few years back. More recently, he dismissed the rape of a fourteen-year-old by fugitive director Roman Polanski with the observation “he’s an artist.”
We do not read what they want us to read, vote the way they want us to vote, buy what they want us to buy, or believe the way they want us to believe. The United States bounded by the Hudson River and Rodeo Drive is a black hole of intellect and culture desperately in need of guidance.
They are angry that 81% of us put the nation “on the wrong track” and that two-thirds are “outraged” with what the “educated class” is doing to us. Their response, however, is pushback. The Atlantic magazine, a favorite of our political and media elites, just this month explained the growing anger on Main Street: “It’s that you’re stupid.”
Sen. John Kerry (D-Martha’s Vineyard) said this past week he and others inside the Beltway are growing impatient with the average American’s failure to grasp the superior ways of elite Washington. We the people suffer from a “comprehension gap” because of our inability to see the “amazing resurgence” that our elites have delivered to a nation afflicted by more than 220 years of what the president calls a “flawed Constitution.”
“We’ve come back,” Kerry proclaims, proudly pointing to Wall Street, the economy, and the general state of the republic. The media applauded (with the exception of the Wall Street Journal, which warned that whatever Kerry was doing, he should “stop doing it in public”). If the poet Robert Browning (dead nineteenth-century white guy who originated political incorrectness when he gave up being an atheist and vegetarian and wrote soppy love poems to an individual of the opposite, not same, sex) had been a Washington Post editor, he would have gleefully slapped on the headline “Kerry Says Obama’s in His Heaven, All ‘s right With the world!”
Blink. Oh, okay — when you’re married to the notoriously ill-tempered heir to the Heinz foods fortune, I suppose all days away from her seem sunny. Or perhaps all those years encased in tight spandex while windsurfing achieved what fellow aristocrat, Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-OxyContin), did with drugs and alcohol: cut off the oxygen to his brain.
They are smart and we are dumb. End of story. Whether conservative or liberal, our elite journalists agree with Senator Kerry and the Times’ David Brooks, who sums it up this way: We’re smarter than you. Brooks then uses an entire thesaurus to describe the relief and optimism among the cultured media at having a fellow “intellectual in the White House.”
The intelligence of this educated class stands in stark contrast to those of us who think of a thesaurus as the slavering reptile with the big teeth that ate the lawyer cowering on a toilet in Jurassic Park. And wouldn’t mind if a few of the big guys were loosed to do the same on Capitol Hill.
Our traditional media, both left and right, regard this newly aroused dummy class (us) with disdain and anger topped with a heaping helping of arrogance. The deputy managing editor of National Review, even while defending Sarah Palin from vicious, gratuitous attacks (yawn), makes sure his brothers and sisters-in-brains on the right know that he agrees “quite intensely” with attacks on her rhetoric.
Sarah Palin is the anti-Harvard. She did not attend an elite university; doesn’t have a Kennedy, William F. Buckley, or Bush gene in her body; and offers cringe-worthy thoughts such as “I love my country” and that character counts.  
As such, she displays the “gleeful ignorance” that afflicts the vast majority of Americans disgusted at the mess our elites are making of the country. So says David Frum, a member of the conservative elite media; on the other side of the aisle at the Washington Post, editorial writer Ruth Marcus piles on, insisting that the angry nation represented by Palin is dumb, incapable of learning.
And so we need the guidance of our betters. Or so goes the thought processes, the critical thinking shaped by the identical exposure of Marcus and Frum to an education provided by Yale University and Harvard Law School. Harvard, especially, is where our current leadership has been drawn.
And Harvard is up to the task. Sure, once it was an explicitly Christian university actively engaged in graduating students of great character and education. Its first honorary degrees were awarded to Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.
But over time, “transformative leadership” changed the school, much in the way Obama is doing for the United States. As later Harvard-trained historians would tell it, the Puritans who founded the college left to pursue other opportunities, such as raping the wilderness and establishing injustice. Meanwhile, university leadership realized the lack of social justice involved in honoring and thereby encouraging national leaders who believed in “God-given” rights and self-government. Besides, the latter were home-schooled, a condition that produces individuals, the Washington Post tells us, who are just not “very good at thinking.”
And now Harvard has come into its own, shaping a White House that even Yale graduate John Kerry praises for doing an awesomely “ship-shape” job. Look around you, he says proudly: This is what bringing Harvard to the White House does.
And at Harvard, the transformation just underway in the rest of the nation is complete. More representative of its values are recent honorary degree recipients that include Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), whom one London newspaper honored with the title of “the Senator of Sleaze.” On the cultural front, the university honored Ivy League art critic Dr. Leo Steinberg, who, we are told by the “most widely-read fine arts magazine in the world,” has thrilled the arts world with his studies of  “the prominent display of the genitals of the infant Christ [in art].”
From George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to Ted Kennedy and Leo Steinberg.
And they call us dummies?
Stuart Schwartz, a former retail and media executive, is on the faculty at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The FCC’s Covert Mission to ‘Balance’ Broadcast Media Ownership

The FCC’s Covert Mission to ‘Balance’ Broadcast Media Ownership

By Chuck Rogér

Should Americans be concerned about a Federal Communications Commission official having once suggested that if government doesn’t help minorities reduce white ownership of broadcast media, then only violence would assure the protection of minorities’ civil rights [1]? In the little-noticed 2007 publication “The Erosion of Civil Rights,” Mark Lloyd attempted to make a case for Washington controlling media ownership. At the time, Lloyd — now FCC Chief Diversity Officer — was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Lloyd’s contribution, “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006,” is saturated with straw man arguments.

Ideologues use two predominant straw man templates. Type I declares the existence of nonexistent problems in order to draw implications that bolster ideological talking points. Type II offers imagined evidence against imagined problems to strengthen talking points.
Mark Lloyd depended on Type I straw men in “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006.” He wrote, “Communications policy determines who gets to speak to whom, how soon and at what cost.” Bad policy “enhances one group’s ability to communicate and limits another group,” violates the limited group’s civil rights, and “perpetuates the stereotypes one group holds about the other.” There is no proof of a “communications policy” that either benefits or hurts certain “groups,” and yet Lloyd stated the contention as fact. Indeed, there’s no proof that Americans communicate according to any “policy” at all. The very idea of government-controlled communications violates the First Amendment. Lloyd’s follow-on points depend on the reader not noticing the hocus-pocus.
But all the magic in the world cannot assign value to specifics based on worthless generalities. Lloyd offered three gems.
If a white teacher believes it will be difficult to teach a brown child, her expectations for that child will be limited. If a white police officer believes black men to be threatening, he will tend to shoot first. If a white citizen believes women of color are lazy, he will be less inclined to support laws that aid the poor.
Essentially admitting the flimsiness of the claims, Lloyd then fell back on an old, reliable “The evidence to support these assertions is compelling.” But no relevant evidence was revealed. Instead, revealed was an obsession with white-bashing. Lloyd’s racial divisiveness presaged the dramatic rise in liberals’ use of the practice since Barack Obama became president.
Insistent on viewing the world through a divisive lens, Lloyd complained that because of an “important and unique role in community discourse,” broadcasters must “act as a public trustee, providing free over the air service for the public good of all segments of their community of license.” Operative phrase: “all segments.” Never has American government forced an industry to donate a product “for the public good.” Yet Lloyd wants to force broadcasters to forgo profits in order to serve the needs of racially and ethnically segregated markets.
Lloyd pushed the same kind of anti-free market, First Amendment-ignoring heavy-handedness in a more well-known 2007 Center for American Progress report, “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.” In the report, Lloyd called for legalizing racial discrimination by placing “caps” on white ownership of radio stations.
But in Lloyd’s mind, serving segregated markets is only half the battle. To make life truly fair, government must force affirmative action in broadcast industry employment and ownership. Returning to Lloyd’s “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006,” we find the czar-to-be using yet another straw man to demand the reenergizing of a 1970s “battle for rules to promote minority ownership.” The justification is that white ownership hurts minorities. Lack of proof for the claim exposes Lloyd’s prescription as ideologically motivated hysterics.
Hysterics inspire various degrees of action. In the case of the communications industry, Lloyd wanted the FCC to investigate using “race-based measures to advance equal employment opportunity regulations and efforts to increase minority ownership[.]” Lloyd now works for a government agency that could force a fix for the “diversity problem.”
To be sure, the FCC is in the process of acting on Mark Lloyd’s recommendations from both 2007 Center for American Progress documents discussed here. A new FCC program will “assess whether all Americans have access to vibrant, diverse sources of news and information[.]” Look for “diverse sources” to translate into “diverse” industry ownership.
Obama’s FCC, intent on diversifying talk radio, could be aiming to marginalize administration opponents. For camouflage, the FCC bent the truth in a reply to a CNS News FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request for records of communications “to and from” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that contained references to conservative media personalities. The FCC denied the existence of communications fitting the specified parameters, but CNSNews.com reports that in the fall of 2009, the left-wing So We Might See Coalition sent a letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski concerning “hate speech in the media” by personalities like Rush Limbaugh. And the withholding of evidence of media tampering doesn’t end with the CNS episode.
FCC Administrative Law Chief Joel Kaufman, the official whose letter didn’t report the existence of the CNS-requested document, also responded to a Judicial Watch FOIA request for information on Lloyd’s staffing and budget. Kaufman claimed that the FCC “could locate no records” showing anyone hired “specifically to support [Lloyd] in his work” and that Lloyd “has no separate budget for operation and administration.”
The mushiness surrounding Lloyd’s mission makes another portion of the FCC response to the Judicial Watch FOIA request more curious still. Kaufman’s letter containing the “no records” claim states that the FCC
… did locate internal briefing materials for the Chairman concerning “media ownership” that we are withholding in their entirety pursuant to FOIA Exemption 5,5 U.S.C. 552(b)(5). FOIA Exemption 5 permits the withholding of materials in order to encourage open, frank discussions on matters of policy between subordinates and superiors.
The FCC has basically admitted to a plan to conceal from Americans the content of “media ownership” discussions that are occurring. Mark Lloyd may fulfill a dream expressed in 2007. The Diversity Czar can now work to correct “the structural imbalance of political talk radio” without worrying about bothersome interference from the American people.
A writer, physicist, and former high tech executive, Chuck Rogér invites you to visit his website, chuckroger.com. E-mail Chuck at swampcactus@chuckroger.com.

[1] Mark Lloyd’s exact words: “Absent a repeat of the dramatic injustices that reached Americans on their television screens in the 60s it will be difficult, if not impossible, to advance a civil rights agenda on any front in the current communications environment.” From chapter titled, “Civil Rights and Communications Policy-2006” in “The Erosion of Civil Rights,” Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights and Center for American Progress, 2007, p.87.

Obama and the New Normal

Obama and the New Normal

May 22nd, 2010

By Robin of Berkeley, American Thinker

 Obama is defining our culture with his vindictive assaults on individuals

The human brain is a complicated organ. It can be infinitely pliable but also maddeningly rigid.

Humans can be slow to recognize signs of imminent disaster. While red flags are flapping wildly in the wind, the person ignores any and all warnings.

But the brain can be highly suggestible, too, easily controlled and shaped by advertisers and spin doctors. Thus, after countless ads, a person associates soda with Coke, search engines with Google. And after having “Yes we can,” burned into their neural pathways, all hope and change is connected to Obama.  

That’s why it’s crucial to notice all the “firsts.” Because once something is repeated often enough, it becomes the New Normal.

Decades ago, the first rap song that celebrated beating “ho’s” and shooting cops was shocking. But after the umpteenth song, the lyrics may no longer startle. 

But while things have been going downhill for decades, ever since Obama arrived on the scene, the assaults have come fast and furiously. First it was the trashing of Hillary. When her abuse was pooh-poohed by those who could have done something about it, like Obama himself, that just emboldened the radicals. Their getting away with (soul) murder led to even more sexually threatening behavior toward Sarah Palin.

Another example: It used to be off-limits for the president and Congress to target private citizens. Not any longer. It’s now open season on anyone who dares to disagree.

Read More:

Summing Up Obama (So Far)

Summing Up Obama (So Far)

Posted By David Solway On May 18, 2010 @ 12:04 am In FrontPage | 14 Comments

So much has been said and written about Barack Obama that, barring some shattering revelation, very little remains to be rehearsed. As columnist Barry Rubin bemoaned [1], “I don’t want to keep writing every day about the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy. There are many other topics I’d prefer, but the problem is that they keep doing things.” I could not agree more, and not  concerning the Middle East alone. Yet the issues continuing to swirl about the president need to be revisited, not only because Obama is arguably the most polarizing figure of our times, but because he is also the most potentially catastrophic.

This statement will be regarded by many as rhetorical overkill, but I would contend that the election of Obama to the most powerful office in the world is  quite possibly the most significant political—and dangerous—event of recent times. By being proactive and making informed decisions, he has the ability to create a slightly safer world. By misreading the historical text, making bad  choices, engaging half-heartedly in certain conflicts (Afghanistan, Iraq), coming down on the wrong side of another (Israeli/Palestinian), and flinching before  yet another challenge of far greater urgency (Iran), he invites retribution. This latter direction is plainly the one he has taken. As such I believe that intense concentration on the man and his compliant administration, and its public reiteration, is both warranted and necessary.

Indeed, the presidential dilemma we are facing is complex and far-ranging. Leaving aside the ongoing “birther” controversy focusing on the vexed issue of the president’s legitimacy, the “Obama problem” really has to do with the conundrum of his political identity. Is he a bone-stock socialist or a far-left radical determined to impose a neo-Marxist regime upon republican America,  or merely a “person of advanced views and reactionary feeling,” as Theodore Dalrymple says [2] of Virginia Woolf? Perhaps, as Jonah Goldberg suggests [3], coining a phrase, he is a “neo-socialist” who believes “in the power of government to extend its scope and grasp far deeper into society”? Is Obama a closet Islamist [4], as some have alleged? Is he a media artifact, the digital remastering of an epic hero enacting an ancient fantasy of salvation? Is he a volatile prevaricator, saying one thing, then saying another, making solemn promises and regularly breaking them, whose erratic behavior must leave us bewildered before an ever-widening credibility gap? Or is he a university-educated postmodernist for whom the concept of truth has been relativized beyond recognition? Is he just a political rookie whose lack of executive experience shows up alarmingly in a capricious and anemic foreign policy? An old KGB hand like Vladimir Putin must look at him and think, “What a patsy.” Ditto Hugo Chavez, King Abdullah, Bashir Assad, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Castros and a host of other shrewd manipulators and world-wise autocrats.

Who really knows? Perhaps, as Pajamas Media founder Roger Simon proposes, he is frankly deranged, meriting the title of President Weirdo [5]? Children’s author Sarah Durand concurs, diagnosing Obama as suffering from liberalomania [6],  archly defined as a “degenerative form of dementia” evidenced in his highly skilled capacity as a blame gamer, his extreme narcissism and his delusions of grandeur. Or is he merely an updated version of tall-tale artist and windy opportunist Christy Mahon in John Millington Synge’s comic drama The Playboy of the Western World [7], “the laughing joke of every woman [read: person] where four baronies meet”—the man who flies Air Force One to dinner, practices his golf swing while a national crisis is unfolding, and throws Budweiser-like parties in the White house, as if to “keep the good times going”? Or is he none of these but, quite the opposite, the “sort of god [8]” whom Newsweek’s Evan Thomas worships, “The One [9]” venerated by Oprah, Louis Farrakhan’s “Messiah [10]”? Who? What? Searching for Obama is like mining for unobtanium.

Iranian-born journalist Amir Taheri is troubled by Obama’s lack of identifiable character. Commenting on Obama’s casting himself as a bridge between America and the Islamic world (Al- Arabiya TV, January 27, 2009), Taheri notes [11] that “Obama appeared unsure of his own identity and confused about the role that America should play in global politics. And that is bad news for those who believe that the United States should use its moral, economic and political clout in support of democratic forces throughout the world.” Obama himself admitted in The Audacity of Hope [12], “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” Pretty damaging, this confession. And when it comes to Obama’s famous “hope,” among the most antiquated of imaginable pieties whether audacious or sentimental, American poet C.J. Sage [13] has it about right: “Solve for this: where x is hope/and y is your future, what is surely finite?” Something worth keeping in mind when listening to a political mesmerist.

The question remains open. Who is this guy? And what does so enigmatic a figure augur for the United States and, indeed, for the future of us all? No matter what hypothesis or conviction one espouses concerning his definitive DNA, it seems fair to say that a shadow of the clandestine—or if one prefers, the inscrutable—envelops this president.

Even Obama’s most avid supporters, if they are honest, must allow that, compared to his POTUS predecessors, unambiguously little is known about his antecedents or, for example, the salient facts of his academic career—many of his records are still under seal, his college and university transcripts have not been released and, broadly speaking, his significant documentation is rather flimsy. There is not much of a paper trail here; for that matter, there is scarcely a Hansel-and-Gretel bread crumb trail. How such a man could be elected to the presidency boasting a curriculum vitae with more blank pages in it than a Danielewski novel [14] remains a riddle [15] for the sphinx. Nor should it surprise us that it is precisely a blank page, like the blank screen Obama mentions, that solicits conjecture or projection, much of it skeptical or unfavorable.

In any event, there can be no doubt that the dossier is scanty and that this is a truly amazing deficiency. We simply do not have a clear portrait or a crisply factual biography of the president. But what we do know about his close affiliates—America-and-Jew bashing Reverend Jeremiah Wright, former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi, hysterical and racially divisive Cornel West, unrepentant Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers, unscrupulous entrepreneur Tony Rezko—is profoundly unsettling. To adapt Obama’s ringing slogan [16], borrowed or plagiarized from African-American poet June Jordan [17], are they the ones we’ve been waiting for? But on the whole, the asymmetric relation between what we know and what we don’t know must distress any rational person curious about so influential an actor on the current political scene.

That Louis Farrakhan, like millions of others, feels that Obama was “selected [18]” for our times should give us further pause. On the contrary, it may not be out of place to suggest that we are now afflicted with the worst possible president at the worst possible time, with Iran darting toward the nuclear finish line, the Palestinians as intransigent as ever, the Russians moving back into the Caucasus region, negotiating with Venezuela and solidifying ties with Iran, Syria and Turkey, terrorism (oops—“man-made disasters”) on the rise and U.S. citizens increasingly at the mercy of the jihadists, China holding massive quantities of American Treasury notes, Obama considering ruinous cap-and-trade legislation at a time when the AGW consensus is collapsing, the American debt estimated to hit 100% of GDP [19] in 2011 and its unfunded entitlement liabilities totaling over $US 100 trillion [20], leading to the prospect of monetary collapse. None of these critical issues have been substantially addressed by the president, except insofar as his actions in some cases, lack of action in others, have only exacerbated them. The collateral fact that we really have no valid and comprehensive notion of who exactly is leading us at this crucial historical juncture boggles the mind.

It should be added, however, that we do know something about the ideas which govern his policies: the redistribution of wealth, the expansion of state control at the expense of the private sector, extensive regulation of more and more aspects of quotidian life, bureaucratic bloat, a paternal administration accompanied by the leveling of individual initiative to a lowest common denominator—all very old doctrines gussied up with a defensive terminology like “social justice,” “progressivism,” “equality of outcome,” “only the people will save the people”—which have been tried before and failed spectacularly. The best that can be said of Obama is that, in the realm of political theory, he does not believe in granny dumping, though the dogmas and paradigms he embraces should long ago have been put out of their misery.

We might have twigged by now. Each new measure he introduces or intends to introduce is a camel’s nose presaging future debilities. But the president’s youthful vigor, toggle-switch charm and exotic presence seem to apply a veneer of novelty to ideological obsolescence. He is like the word “proverbial” which we insert into a tired simile in order to avoid the skank of platitude, as in “smart as the proverbial whip” or “dumb as the proverbial ox.” America is saddled with a proverbial president, a man whose principal function is to renovate clichès and make them palatable.

This appears to be as far as we can go for now, with more to come to a political theater near us. One thing, however, seems undeniable: so far, not so good.