Theater of the absurd

Theater of the absurd

By Mike Allen and Glenn Thursh – Politico   Sunday, June 27th, 2010

On Wednesday, the same day President Barack Obama ousted his humiliated Afghanistan commander, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs walked into the Oval Office with more grim news: The cap on the gushing oil in the Gulf had been dislodged.

“What?” Obama replied incredulously. “Well, why did it do that?” A remotely operated vehicle had knocked the cap right off, he was told, leaving oil rushing out as furiously as ever.

“Let me get this straight,” Obama later told senior adviser David Axelrod. “A robot knocked off the Top Hat? Come on, guys. Are you kidding me?”

Welcome to what one exhausted adviser calls the “theater of the absurd,” where a White House is whipsawed by wild, almost unimaginable events that threaten to reshape the public perception of the Obama presidency at every turn.

In the week leading up to the Gibbs visit, the president had delivered an Oval Office address that was panned by liberal pundits; forced BP to cough up $20 billion for claims from the oil disaster; and watched with delight as Joe Barton apologized to BP (a company with a 6 percent approval rating) — only to learn from a PDF copy of a Rolling Stone article that he would have to fire Gen. Stan McChrystal for popping off about Obama’s war cabinet. Oh, yeah, he then replaced him with Gen. David Petraeus — the mastermind of an Iraq surge Obama did not support, and the man many Republicans want to challenge Obama for the White House in 2012.

Full story: Theater of the absurd – Mike Allen and Glenn Thrush – POLITICO.com

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/06/27/theater-of-the-absurd/print/#ixzz0s4wE3icp

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.

$7-a-gallon gas?

$7-a-gallon gas?

By BEN LIEBERMAN

Last Updated: 4:22 AM, June 18, 2010

Posted: 12:02 AM, June 18, 2010

President Obama has a solution to the Gulf oil spill: $7-a-gallon gas.

That’s a Harvard University study’s estimate of the per-gallon price of the president’s global-warming agenda. And Obama made clear this week that this agenda is a part of his plan for addressing the Gulf mess.

So what does global-warming legislation have to do with the oil spill?

Good question, because such measures wouldn’t do a thing to clean up the oil or fix the problems that led to the leak.

The answer can be found in Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s now-famous words, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste — and what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

That sure was true of global-warming policy, and especially the cap-and-trade bill. Many observers thought the measure, introduced last year in the House by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), was dead: The American people didn’t seem to think that the so-called global-warming crisis justified a price-hiking, job-killing, economy-crushing redesign of our energy supply amid a fragile recovery. Passing another major piece of legislation, one every bit as unpopular as ObamaCare, appeared unlikely in an election year.

So Obama and congressional proponents of cap-and-trade spent several months rebranding it — downplaying the global-warming rationale and claiming that it was really a jobs bill (the so-called green jobs were supposed to spring from the new clean-energy economy) and an energy-independence bill (that will somehow stick it to OPEC).

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) even reportedly declined to introduce their new cap-and-trade proposal in the Senate on Earth Day, because they wanted to de-emphasize the global-warming message. Instead, Kerry called the American Power Act “a plan that creates jobs and sets us on a course toward energy independence and economic resurgence.”

But the new marketing strategy wasn’t working. Few believe the green-jobs hype — with good reason. In Spain, for example, green jobs have been an expensive bust, with each position created requiring, on average, $774,000 in government subsidies. And the logic of getting us off oil imports via a unilateral measure that punishes American coal, oil and natural gas never made any sense at all.

Now the president is repackaging cap-and-trade — again — as a long-term solution to the oil spill. But it’s the same old agenda, a huge energy tax that will raise the cost of gasoline and electricity high enough so that we’re forced to use less.

The logic linking cap-and-trade to the spill in the Gulf should frighten anyone who owns a car or truck. Such measures force up the price at the pump — Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs thinks it “may require gas prices greater than $7 a gallon by 2020” to meet Obama’s stated goal of reducing emissions 14 percent from the transportation sector.

Of course, doing so would reduce gasoline use and also raise market share for hugely expensive alternative fuels and vehicles that could never compete otherwise. Less gasoline demand means less need for drilling and thus a slightly reduced chance of a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon spill — but only slightly. Oil will still be a vital part of America’s energy mix.

Oil-spill risks should be addressed directly — such as finding out why the leak occurred and requiring new preventive measures or preparing an improved cleanup plan for the next incident. Cap-and-trade is no fix and would cause trillions of dollars in collateral economic damage along the way.

Emanuel was wrong. The administration shouldn’t view each crisis — including the oil spill — as an opportunity to be exploited, but as a problem to be addressed. And America can’t afford $7-a-gallon gas.

Ben Lieberman is senior anal yst of energy and environmental policy in The Heritage Founda tion’s Roe Institute.

Obama administration spends $1.2 billion on cycling and walking initiatives

Obama administration spends $1.2 billion on cycling and walking initiatives

The Obama administration more than doubled spending on cycling and walking initiatives to $1.2 billion (£810 million) last year as it seeks to coax Americans out of their cars.

Published: 11:36PM BST 16 Jun 2010

 

The Obama administration more than doubled spending on cycling and walking initiatives Photo: GETTY

Spending on biking and walking projects rose from less than $600 million (£407 million) in 2008, according to the Federal Highway Administraion. Twenty years ago, the federal government was spending only $6 million a year on such projects.

The spending on biking and walking projects was scheduled to rise last year anyway, but the administration boosted it with $400 million in funds set aside under the economic recovery program.

The new focus on biking and walking represents a turnaround from the administration of President George W Bush. Mary Peters, transportation secretary under Bush, dismissed biking paths and trails as projects that “really are not transportation,” saying they had no place in federal transportation policy.

In March, Mr Obama’s transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, announced a policy “sea change” that gives biking and walking projects the same importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the selection of projects for federal money.

The new policy is an extension of the Obama administration’s livability initiative, which regards the creation of alternatives to driving – buses, streetcars and trains, as well as biking and walking – as central to solving the nation’s transportation woes.

Biking and walking is on the rise, according to the report, which is based on annual survey data. The number of reported walking trips has more than doubled since the first survey, from 18 billion in 1990 to 42.5 billion in 2009. Bicycling trips saw a similar increase, from 1.7 billion to 4 billion during the same period.

Together, the two modes account for 11.9 per cent of all reported trips by Americans. Biking is less than 1 per cent of the total.

“Americans want and need safe alternatives to driving,” Mr LaHood said in a statement. “By making biking and walking safer and more accessible, we’ll be able to provide Americans with more choices and help foster more active, liveable communities.”

Obama Failing on the Things the Public Cares Most About

Obama Failing on the Things the Public Cares Most About

Rick Moran

As Ed Lasky wryly points out in an email on this poll, “But he gave himself (modestly for him) a B+…”

Jennifer Rubin on a new poll in the Economist of all adults – not just registered or likely voters which would skew the results more toward the right:

The results show a president struggling. On the oil spill, 28% approve and 42% disapprove of his performance. On taxes, government spending, immigration, gun control, national defense, and terrorism the respondents say they are closer to the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. On gun control and national defense there is a double-digit gap. Democrats do better on regulating business (but within the margin of error), the environment, abortion (also within the margin of error), gay marriage, health care (by four points) and energy policy. In an enormous turnaround since Obama took office, the parties tie on the economy.

38 percent support the goals of the Tea Party movement; 27 percent do not. In a slew of areas (the Middle East, Afghanistan, energy policy, the environment, the economy, job security, health-care coverage, education, entitlement programs, the financial system, and Wall Street) the public thinks we are worse off than two years ago. There is no area in which the public thinks things have improved. They disapprove of Obama’s performance on Iraq, the economy (39 percent strongly so), immigration (41 percent strongly so), the environment, terrorism, gay rights, social security, the deficit ( 57 percent strongly or somewhat), Afghanistan, and taxes. On education they approve, but within the margin of error. Overall 44 percent approve of his performance and 49 percent do not.

With the exception of education and health care, the areas respondents are most concerned about (the economy, terrorism, social security, the budget deficit, and taxes) are ones on which Obama is doing very poorly and which most respondents believe have gotten worse in the last two years.

The first peg is in place to defeat Obama in 2012; people have lost faith in him as a leader and it seems problematic whether he can regain enough respect before 2012 to win.

The second peg is much more difficult; the GOP must find someone to run against him and come up with a positive agenda that the American people can rally behind. Currently, Obama leads all Republican challengers despite his lowly approval ratings. While the public appears to be souring on Obama, there is no one in the GOP field that excites them enough to defeat an incumbent president – a feat last achieved in 1992 but  rare otherwise. 

Obama is slowly being Carterized. And given the bleak outlook on the economy, the oil spill, foreign affairs, and the mid terms, the president may very well find himself with a primary challenge of his own.

White House Rejects Claim It Skewed Expert Opinion to Justify Drilling Ban

White House Rejects Claim It Skewed Expert Opinion to Justify Drilling Ban

June 11th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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Fox News:

White House energy adviser Carol Browner on Friday rejected accusations from a panel of experts who claim the administration misrepresented their views to justify a six-month ban on offshore drilling in response to the BP oil rig disaster.

The denial came after the experts alleged that the Interior Department modified a report in late May that was used as the basis for the sweeping moratorium on existing drilling and new permits.

Though the report claimed the analysts, picked by the National Academy of Engineering, “peer reviewed” the department’s recommendations, the experts say the two paragraphs that called for the moratorium were added only after they signed off on it.

To the contrary, the experts warn that such a moratorium could not only harm the economy but make the situation in the Gulf more dangerous. The April 20 oil rig explosion occurred while the Deepwater Horizon well was being shut down — a move that is much more dangerous than continuing ongoing drilling, they said.

“A blanket moratorium is not the answer,” they wrote in a letter claiming Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar’s report “misrepresents” their position. “A blanket moratorium will have the indirect effect of harming thousands of workers and further impact state and local economies suffering from the spill.”

That’s exactly the argument that Gulf Coast lawmakers and the families of oil rig workers have been making as they fight the administration’s moratorium decision.

“We do not believe that punishing the innocent is the right thing to do. We encourage the secretary of interior to overcome emotion with logic,” the experts wrote.

But while Salazar has acknowledged that the moratorium was his decision, not theirs, Browner argued that the administration did nothing wrong.

“No one’s been deceived or misrepresented,” Browner told Fox News, defending the moratorium as a safety measure. “These experts gave their expert advice, and then a determination was made looking at all of the information, including what these experts provided — that there should be a pause, and that’s exactly what there is. There’s a pause.”

The experts claimed the draft report that they looked at called for a six-month freeze on permits for new exploratory wells 1,000 feet or deeper and a “temporary pause” on current drilling.

Somehow, that was changed to call for a six-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigs and an “immediate halt” to drilling operations on 33 permitted wells.

“None of us actually reviewed the memorandum as it is in the report,” oil expert Ken Arnold told Fox News. “What was in the report at the time it was reviewed was quite a bit different in its impact to what there is now. So we wanted to distance ourselves from that recommendation.”

The experts also faxed a memo to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Louisiana Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter to clarify that they do not believe the report justifies the moratorium.

They also said that because the floating rigs are scarce and in high demand worldwide, they will not simply sit in the Gulf idle for six months. The rigs will go to the North Sea and West Africa, possibly preventing the U.S. from being able to resume drilling for years.

They said the best and most advanced rigs will be the first to go, leaving the U.S. with the older and potentially less safe rights operating in the nation’s coastal waters.

Fox News’ William LaJeunesse contributed to this report.

A Shrink Asks: What’s Wrong with Obama?

A Shrink Asks: What’s Wrong with Obama?

June 12th, 2010

By Robin of Berkeley

Obama needs a Shrink 

So what is the matter with Obama? Conservatives have been asking this question for some time. I’ve written a number of articles trying to solve the mystery.
Even some liberals are starting to wonder. James Carville railed about Obama’s blasé attitude after the catastrophic oil spill. The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd revamped Obama’s “Yes We Can” motto into “Will We Ever?”
The liberal women of the TV show “The View” have expressed sympathy for Michelle Obama’s living with a man so out of touch. Peggy Noonan, hardly a vehement Obama foe, recently pronounced him disconnected
.
Obama’s odd mannerisms intrigue a psychotherapist like me. He also…

Read More

Obama Orders Dance Classes, Movie Nights, and Bingo for Illegal Detainees

Obama Orders Dance Classes, Movie Nights, and Bingo for Illegal Detainees

Chris Banescu

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Obama administration has ordered the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department to implement multiple modifications to their facilities to make life easier, more comfortable, and pleasant for the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants (approximately 400,000) it detains annually.  An internal ICE email highlights 28 different changes the organization will have to make to soften the look of its facilities, present a friendlier environment, offer better entertainment, organize fun activities, and provide illegal immigrant detainees with free access to email and phone services, as well as better dining and training classes.
According to ICE officials all of these changes are part of broader efforts supported by Obama “to make the immigration detention system less penal and more humane.”  In reality, these changes are akin to “creating an all-inclusive resort for immigration detainees.”
Some of the changes the White House is ordering include:
  • § dance classes
  • § movie nights
  • § art classes
  • § cooking classes
  • § tutoring and computer training
  • § free and unmonitored phone service
  • § free email access
  • § bingo
  • § arts and crafts
  • § more variety in dining options
  • § self-serve beverage stations
  • § fresh vegetable bars
  • § fresh carrot sticks
  • § hanging plants
  • § recreation in natural setting
  • § robust aerobic exercise
Also, ICE is expected to eliminate pat-down searches, lockdowns, and light-out for low-risk detainees, as well as provide vastly expanded visitation rights (up to 12 hours per visit) in its facilities.
The changes listed in the ICE e-mail are planned for nine different detention centers owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) across the country.  According to the Chronicle, some of the changes “will be implemented within 30 days; others may take up to six months”
Illegal immigrant advocates are thrilled at the required changes.  They have been advocating these transformations for years.  Lory Rosenberg, policy and advocacy director for Refugee and Migrants’ Rights for Amnesty International was delighted with the promised improvements: “Many of these points are very important to changing the system from a penal system, which is inappropriate in an immigration context, to a civil detention system.”
However, ICE union leaders are appalled at the cavalier attitude towards the illegal immigrants they oversee and warn of the inherent dangers of such misguided policies.  The officials are concerned the mandates will jeopardize the safety of their guards and agents, increase the potential for harm to other detainees, and cost the taxpayers more money in order to transform detention centers into an “all-inclusive resort” for immigration detainees.
“Our biggest concern is that someone is going to get hurt,” he said, taking particular issue with plans to relax restrictions on the movement of low-risk detainees and efforts to reduce and eliminate pat-down searches.
ICE leadership also expressed concerns about safety issues inherent in lowering security standards for almost half million detainees, many of which are violent and have gang affiliations.  Tre Rebstock, president for Local 3332, the ICE union in Houston explains:
some detainees may be classified as low-risk because they have no serious criminal history but still may be gang members that “haven’t been caught doing anything wrong yet.”
He also said eliminating lockdowns will make it more difficult to protect detainees from one another.
He said reducing or eliminating pat-down searches could allow contraband into the facilities, including weapons.
These concerns are justified.  According to ICE’s own report, as of September 9, 2009, 51% of the detained aliens were felons and 11% of the illegals had committed violent crimes.  The report confirms that most common crimes committed by criminal aliens are those involving dangerous drugs, traffic offenses, simple assault, and larceny.
None of this matters to the ivory-tower elitist Obama.  He condemned the people of Arizona for passing the SB1070 law that mirrors the US federal law on immigration calling it “misguided” and “irresponsible.”  He has refused to listen to the American people, 73% of whom agree with Arizona and its stance on illegal immigration.  He stood beside Mexican president Felipe Calderon as he bashed Arizona and its people.  He then applauded Calderon’s defamation of America, while Democrats in Congress cheered and shouted their approval.  He has refused to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders.  He has continued to push for amnesty while a vast majority of the American people are against it. 
President Obama wants millions more voters who support his radical leftist ideals.  Pandering to illegal immigrants, blaming America, and continually playing the racist card is how he can get there.  This is the Democrat’s best chance to overwhelm the American electorate and they’re going for it.  Damn the American people, full amnesty ahead!
Chris Banescu is an attorney, entrepreneur, and university professor.  He regularly blogs at chrisbanescu.com.

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.

You Want Us to Believe You Can’t You Use An iPod, Mr. President?

You Want Us to Believe You Can’t You Use An iPod, Mr. President?

May 11th, 2010

By James P. Pinkerton, FOXNews

 nice iPod, too bad you can’t use it

Remember that cranky old relative, or neighbor, who told you to stop listening to crazy stuff, or to stop wasting so much time on computers? Of course you remember such a person–because they were and are everywhere. On the other hand, no doubt you also had relatives, and neighbors, and teachers, who encouraged you to try new things and think new thoughts–and that’s good, because, let’s face it, new technology is the lifeblood of our economy, and better communication is the key to our functioning democracy.

But one way or the other, we all grew up with someone who said that everything new was a bad idea. Well, now, those cranky curmudgeons have been joined by the president of the United States. He, too, thinks that new technology is dangerous, especially if it means you will pay less attention to official news.

Yup, this is the same Barack Obama who, in 2008, was the high-tech candidate of cool, whose campaign built a list of 13 million people, many of whom were “Friends of Barack” on Facebook and other cutting-edge websites. Indeed, two years ago, it seemed that in Obama we would finally get a President who was truly in tune with the rhythms of social-networking, Tweeting, and videogaming.

Sigh. That hope was so 2008. On Sunday, in a commencement speech to Hampton University in Virginia, Obama vented his anti-technology spleen to a bunch of 20-somethings, who must have been amazed at what they were hearing from the presidential podium: “With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations–none of which I know how to work–information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.” The president really doesn’t know how to work an iPod? More than 250 million have been sold around the world since 2001–and the 44th president can’t figure out how to use one?

And this is supposed to be the government that is going to overhaul federal broadband rules, and supervise the digitalization of all our medical records? Other tech challenges loom ahead, too, from figuring out homeland security intelligence to capping leaking oil wells. Maybe now we know why those efforts aren’t going so well.

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