A Surreal Presidency Obama revives the theatre of the absurd….

A Surreal Presidency

 

Posted By David Solway On June 21, 2010 @ 12:01 am In FrontPage | 24 Comments

 In thinking of Barack Obama’s presidency, I can’t help recalling the Comte de Lautréamont [1]’s definition of Surrealism as the quintessence of the Absurd: “the encounter of an umbrella and a sewing-machine on a dissection table.” For this is certainly the most surreal presidency since Jimmy Carter’s, or even Andrew Jackson’s—or, more likely, the most implausible and Absurd administration in the entirety of American history.

Let us see how Lautréamont applies. It is raining debt and joblessness on the United States, but Obama and his crew are protected by an umbrella so vast it resembles Muammar Gaddafi’s tent. Obama enjoys the top job in the country and avails himself lavishly of all its perks, posting as well an annual income in the millions of dollars [2], over five million [3] in 2009 alone. His cohorts and backers are doing quite proudly too, not to mention Democratic godfather George Soros, one of the world’s richest men. Home foreclosures and job terminations are not an issue for these people, who are good at theoretical empathy and not much else, apart from making the situation even worse than it already is. As for the sewing-machine, it is busy at work stitching a fabric of lies and subterfuges, from global warming to Green energy to cap-and-trade to socialized medicine. And on the dissection table an entire nation is being cut to shreds to the jubilant disbelief of America’s dedicated enemies. The borders are porous, military spending is being reduced, terrorists are Mirandized, geopolitical adversaries are regarded as aggrieved friends-in-waiting and real friends are given the cold shoulder. On the domestic front, genuine popular movements seeking beneficial change are slandered as an army of thugs and seditionists. All this is Surrealism with a vengeance.

Carter and Jackson serve as theatrical analogies. Jimmy Carter, as we all know, was (and is) the archetypal wimp who never met a theocrat he didn’t like and gave us the Iran we know today while eventually selling out to the Saudis, the principal funders of his misnamed Peace Center. Carter was conceivably the worst president in POTUS history until the present incumbent appeared to bring the highest office in the land into turmoil and disrepute. Andrew Jackson, according to his biographer James Parton [4], was a bundle of contradictions: “A democratic aristocrat. An urbane savage. An atrocious saint.” Founder of the Democratic Party, Jackson was one of the most interesting and selectively dynamic in the almanac of presidential characters, but also one of the most problematic, especially with respect to the institution of slavery. Both Carter and Jackson, each in his own unique way, were spectacles that almost defied credence. Both were made for the Theatre of the Absurd, one a grovelling clown without an iota of reason to his credit and the other a blustering commander who dominated the political proscenium with his personal eccentricities.

They have now been pre-empted by Barack Obama, aided and abetted by an apostolic media that refused to examine his tainted past [5] and divinized him as someone rather more than merely human. One remembers that old joke about the media’s relation to George W. Bush. If he had walked on water, the headlines would have read: “Bush can’t swim.” But with Obama it’s exactly the other way round. If he went for a swim, the headlines would read: “Obama too modest to reveal messianic powers.”

What many have failed to recognize until recently is that Obama is no wonder-worker, no farsighted statesman, no honest broker, no competent chief executive, no bipartisan healer—and in point of fact, he is simply not presidential material at all. Obama has absolutely no idea of how to go about running a country. But it would be a mistake to assume that he is nothing more than an untalented bungler, for he is blessed with thespian aptitudes that none of his predecessors could have mustered. Obama is a man with a résumé so thin it would look sideways head-on, but he is unexcelled as a performer.

Obama is essentially an actor in a kind of Brechtian drama promoting a neo-Marxist ideology, say, The Caucasian Chalk Circle [6], mixed with robust elements of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot [7]. As with Brecht, Obama believes in the redistribution of income as the central program of the welfare state—although Brecht, who wrote in the service of the East German regime, deposited [8] his substantial profits in West German banks, a rather salient item in the current context. At the same time, there is a sense in which Obama resembles Beckett’s elusive Godot who is eagerly awaited but never actually arrives. He intends to show up later in the day, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, but the promise is never realized. Similarly, Obama doesn’t “show up” in any meaningful acceptation of the phrase, as his tardy response to the BP oil spill makes pretty obvious. But it’s more than that: he just doesn’t seem “there” to meet the major challenges of the time with insight, knowledge, intelligence and courage. Obama also mirrors the character Estragon whose trousers fall to his ankles without him noticing it, a fitting end to the play in which the character’s naked ineffectualness and perpetual dithering is finally exposed.

America is now living under the simulated presidency of an impressive actor for whom all the world’s a stage and all the people in it merely suckers. Displaying the quirkiness and ostentation of the inveterate ham, he soliloquizes in Cairo, postures in Copenhagen, preens in Oslo, orates in Washington, warbles “Hey Jude” [9] with a merry singalong gang in the White House, awarding Paul McCartney the Library of Congress Gershwin Award for Popular Song “on behalf of a grateful nation” while the real, neglected nation groans, looks fetchingly troubled when examining oil slick on the Gulf coast, relishes photo-ops and relies on a teleprompter the way actors depend on the souffleur beneath the planks. As president, he manifests on the one hand the futility and ineptitude of Jimmy Carter taken to the nth degree, in particular with regard to the Iranian threat, and on the other the idiosyncratic behavior of Andrew Jackson—though it must be acknowledged, without Jackson’s native gumption and profoundly held convictions.

Indeed, Obama is a weird bird. To be fair, he does bring a parcel of convictions with him, albeit of a distinctly socialist stamp, which he seems determined to impose on a once-largely unsuspecting public. These convictions, however, seem like a kind of ideological stuffing without which he would fold, buckle and collapse on himself. It is as if he needs to have something controversial, something startling to say in order to convince himself, as well as others, that he exists, and requires a platform on which to exercise his repertoire of roles. An utter prima donna, he is so consumed with his own histrionic self, and his ability to adopt whatever pose the situation demands, that he seems nothing so much as an absence made concrete, a flamboyant nullity inadequate to the problems he confronts, adept only at speeches, monologues and striking gestures. As a result, the time inevitably comes when he begins to look inauthentic and faintly ridiculous, and ultimately as unreal as a typical character in an Absurdist play who faces alarmingly incomprehensible predicaments before which he remains helpless and unbuttoned. Such, of course, is the nature of the genre, as it is of this presidency.

The long and the short of it is that Obama’s tenure in the White House will be remembered as a national aberration, a piece of avant-garde theatre and a surreal installment in the far more serious drama of unforgiving realpolitik. Meanwhile, the umbrella is open wide, the sewing machine keeps humming away and a country is laid out flat on the dissection table.

Obama finally meets with BP brass—-20 MINUTE MEETING?!

Obama finally meets with BP brass
By: Carol E. Lee and Glenn Thrush
June 16, 2010 12:19 PM EDT
Oil giant BP has agreed to finance a $20 billion escrow fund to pay claims to people who lost income in the Gulf Coast oil spill, an administration source told POLITICO Wednesday.

Lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who was in charge of payments to families of victims of the 9/11 attacks, will oversee the fund, the source said.

The news came as President Barack Obama finally had his showdown with top executives of BP Wednesday. The White House had announced over the weekend that it would press the company to set up a fund, which would be administered by a third party, to pay what is expected to be billions of dollars in damage claims from people and businesses up and down the Gulf Coast.

It was Obama’s first face-to-face meeting with BP CEO Tony Hayward and board chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, despite his four trips to the Gulf Coast. They met as the White House demands that BP create a third-party administered compensation fund to pay out claims filed by residents and business owners in the region.

The six BP executives arrived at the White House around 10 a.m. and were still inside after noon.

The oil giant brought its top brass, and even came armed with a top Clinton administration Justice Department official, Jamie Gorelick, whose name was floated as a possible attorney general pick for Obama. The White House side of the conference table in the Roosevelt Room was stacked: Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, five Cabinet secretaries, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, Attorney General Eric Holder and top presidential advisors. Both sides had their lawyers on hand.

Obama was scheduled to spend 20 minutes in the meeting. He entered the room with an entourage: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and her coordinator for claims oversight, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Commerce Secrertary Gary Locke, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett.

The White House gave the executives a bit of cover, allowing to arrive on the side of the West Wing and walk past reporters from a distance, rather than forcing them to come through the main entrance for visitors that would have made it impossible for them to ignore the press.

But ignore the press they did, refusing to respond to shouted questions about the size of the proposed compensation fund and whether they had met with the families of the 11 workers who were killed on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig when it exploded on April 20 and sank off the coast of Louisiana.

Hawaii elections clerk: Obama not born here

Hawaii elections clerk: Obama not born here

June 10th, 2010

By Joe Kovacs, WND

 Tim Adams was a senior elections clerk in Honolulu, says there was no birth certificate on record

A college instructor who worked as a senior elections clerk for the city and county of Honolulu in 2008 is making the stunning claim Barack Obama was definitely not born in Hawaii as the White House maintains, and that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Obama does not even exist in the Aloha State.

Tim Adams, a former senior elections clerk for Honolulu, now teaches English at Western Kentucky University.

“There is no birth certificate,” said Tim Adams, a graduate assistant who teaches English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky. “It’s like an open secret. There isn’t one. Everyone in the government there knows this.”

Adams, who says he’s a Hillary Clinton supporter who ended up voting for John McCain when Clinton lost the Democratic nomination to Obama, told WND, “I managed the absentee-ballot office. It was my job to verify the voters’ identity.”

He says during the 2008 campaign when the issue of Obama’s constitutional eligibility first arose, the elections office was inundated with requests to verify the birthplace of the U.S. senator from Illinois.

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Obama’s invisible Islam–Democrats refuse to admit who the jihadist enemy is

EDITORIAL: Obama’s invisible Islam

Democrats refuse to admit who the jihadist enemy is

By THE WASHINGTON TIMES

During questioning before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, a visibly nervous Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. tried valiantly not to utter the expression “radical Islam.” The twisting began when Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, asked whether the men behind three recent terrorist incidents – the Fort Hood massacre, the Christmas Day bombing attempt and the Time Square bombing attempt – “might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam.”

Mr. Holder said there are a “variety of reasons” why people commit terror attacks. That can be true, but in these cases there was one reason: radical Islam. The attorney general said you have to look at each case individually. That’s fine, but when that is done, one comes face to face with radical Islam every time. He said that of the variety of reasons people might commit terror, “some of them are potentially religious.” Yes, like radical Islam. When pressed, what Mr. Holder would finally allow is, “I certainly think that it’s possible that people who espouse a radical version of Islam have had an ability to have an impact on people like [Times Square bomber Faisal] Shahzad.”

Mr. Holder mentioned Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born radical cleric now holed up in Yemen who has been mentioned in connection with all three attacks. Mr. Holder said that Mr. al-Awlaki “has a version of Islam that is not consistent with the teachings of [the faith].” Mr. Holder did not go into details to back up his assertion that Mr. al-Awlaki, an Islamic scholar, is somehow at odds with his own faith, nor did he pinpoint exactly what Muslim teachings he was referring to.

The Obama administration seems to have issued an internal gag order that forbids any official statements that might cast even the most extreme interpretations of the Islamic religion in a negative light. The “force protection review” of the Fort Hood massacre omitted any mention of shooter Nidal Malik Hasan’s openly radical Islamic worldview or the fact that he made the jihadist war cry “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire. Initially, the Obama administration refused to even call the massacre an act of terrorism, much less radical Islamic terrorism.

Last year, the Department of Homeland Security Domestic Extremist Lexicon, which was pulled out of circulation in the wake of controversy with other department publications, listed Jewish extremism and various forms of Christian extremism as threats but made no mention of any form of Muslim extremism. The Feb. 1, 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review discusses terrorism and violent extremism but does not mention radical Islam as a motivator, or in any context. The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review likewise avoids any terminology related to Islam.

The Obama administration may not like to think of being at war with radical Islam, but the jihadists are definitely at war with the United States. Rather than running from the expression “radical Islam,” the administration should be openly discussing the ideological motives of the terrorists and finding ways to delegitimize them. Instead of hedging, obfuscating and ignoring, these Democrats should confront the challenge frankly, openly and honestly. Pretending that a radical, violent strain of Islam does not exist will not make it go away. To the contrary, it will make the situation much worse.

President Obama’s continuing solicitude toward the faith of Muhammad is inexplicable, and as these acts of denial continue, it is becoming dangerous. The United States will not defeat an enemy it is afraid to identify.

Who Will Bail Out America?

Who Will Bail Out America?

May 13th, 2010

By Peter Ferrara, American Spectator

 

Social Security, Medicare and the retirement of the baby boom generation wasn’t enough of a burden for the American taxpayer. We will now be paying as well for the generous pensions of Greek bureaucrats retiring in the warm Mediterranean sun at age 55, thanks to the foresighted leadership of our very own international statesman, Barack Obama.

Just last year President Obama proposed, and his overwhelmingly Democrat Congress approved, an additional $100 billion line of credit from the USA to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). On Sunday, the IMF approved a contribution of $40 billion to the Greek bailout, with America voting yes for yet another raid on its own taxpayers.

But this is only the beginning. What the trillion dollar Euro bailout fund has done is to create the perverse incentives of Too Big to Fail for fiscally irresponsible Eurostates. Do those literally murderous Greek rioters look ready to accede to austerity budgets with massive tax increases and massive benefit cuts? Political leaders in the Mediterranean states in particular, faced with short-term financial and political pressures, will be too tempted to put off the pain a little longer, hoping that EU bailouts will save them in the end. Indeed, voters in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and elsewhere may well think they should get their share of those bailout funds too, voting out leaders who try to be responsible, and voting in the worst demagogues trying to take advantage of the situation to gain political power.

Imagine if each of the American states could run deficits with a federal bailout fund to back them up. Could we count on the voters of California, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Illinois to support candidates promising crippling austerity budgets, with draconian benefit cuts and skyrocketing taxes, so they can do the responsible thing? This is the system the EU has just adopted. What that means is get ready for still more IMF bailouts financed by American taxpayers.

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Enough Already — Just Move the UN to Iran

Enough Already — Just Move the UN to Iran

The UN’s Economic and Social Council has just elected Iran to a seat on the UN’s women’s rights commission. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ship the entire UN, lock, stock and seating arrangements, to Iran?

596 immigrants convicted of crimes nabbed in South

596 immigrants convicted of crimes nabbed in South
Apr 30 12:51 PM US/Eastern
By GREG BLUESTEIN
Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA (AP) – Federal agents say they have arrested 596 immigrants with criminal records during a three-day immigration enforcement sweep across the Southeast.U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Friday that the operation, dubbed Operation Cross Check, was the largest ever conducted by the agency targeting foreign nationals convicted of crimes. They said the immigrants have already served their sentences and authorities will now seek to deport them.

Atlanta ICE Field Director Felicia Skinner says that “communities around the Southeast are safer than they were before” as a result. She said three of the people arrested this week had been convicted of murder and 144 were convicted on assault charges.

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On the Net:

http://www.ice.gov