L. Gordon Crovitz: Liberals Mugged by Obamanet

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When Google’s Eric Schmidt called White House officials a few weeks ago to oppose President Obama ’s demand that the Internet be regulated as a utility, they told him to buzz off. The chairman of the company that led lobbying for “net neutrality” learned the Obama plan made in its name instead micromanages the Internet.

Mr. Schmidt is not the only liberal mugged by the reality of Obamanet, approved on party lines last week by the Federal Communications Commission. The 300-plus pages of regulations remain secret, but as details leak out, liberals have joined the opposition to ending the Internet as we know it.

The Progressive Policy Institute said: “There is nothing progressive about the FCC backsliding to common carrier rules dating back to the 1930s.” The Internet Society, a net-neutrality advocate, said: “We are concerned with the FCC’s decision to base new rules for the modern Internet on decades-old telephone regulations designed for a very different technological era.” Former Clinton official Larry Irving wrote in the Hill: “Most of today’s proponents of a utility model for the Internet either have forgotten or never knew the genesis of the ‘regulatory restraint’ model that helped spur and continues to support Internet expansion. 


Verizon poked fun at the FCC’s retrograde move by issuing a news release in Morse code and in an old-fashioned typewriter font, dated “February 26, 1934,” the year Congress passed the Communications Act to regulate the telephone monopoly—the law the FCC is now applying to the Internet….(read more)

WSJ

 


GLOBE Front Page: Diagnosis Confirmed!

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Twitter via @ItsJustJill 


John Fund: Comrades for Net Neutrality

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The powers behind the FCC’s muscling of the Internet

John FundJohn_Fund_via_National_Review writes: Today’s vote by a bitterly divided Federal Communications Commission that the Internet should be regulated as a public utility is the culmination of a decade-long battle by the Left. Using money from George Soros and liberal foundations that totaled at least $196 million, radical activists finally succeeded in ramming through “net neutrality,” or the idea that all data should be transmitted equally over the Internet. The final push involved unprecedented political pressure exerted by the Obama White House on FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, head of an ostensibly independent regulatory body.

“At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”

– Robert McChesney, at the website SocialistProject in 2009

“Net neutrality’s goal is to empower the federal government to ration and apportion Internet bandwidth as it sees fit, and to thereby control the Internet’s content,” says Phil Kerpen, an anti-net-neutrality activist from the group American Commitment.

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“Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.”

– Robert McChesney, in an interview with the Marxist magazine Monthly Review

The courts have previously ruled the FCC’s efforts to impose “net neutrality” out of bounds, so the battle isn’t over. But for now, the FCC has granted itself enormous power to micromanage the largely unrestrained Internet.

[read the full text of John Fund‘s article here, at National Review]

Back in the 1990s, the Clinton administration teamed up with Internet pioneers to promote a hands-off approach to the new industry and keep it free from discriminatory taxation. Many still prefer that policy. Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab and the charity One Laptop Per Child, says that net neutrality “doesn’t make sense” because “the truth is, not all bits [of data] are created equal.”

“To cast things in neo-Marxist terms that they could appreciate, they want to take control of the information means of production.”

– Adam Therier of the blog TechLiberation

Will Marshall, head of the Progressive Policy Institute (which was once a favorite think tank of Clinton Democrats), issued a statement that net neutrality “endorses a backward-looking policy that would apply the brakes to the most dynamic sector of America’s economy.”

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But such voices have been drowned out by left-wing activists who want to manage the Internet to achieve their political objectives. The most influential of these congregate around the deceptively named Free Press, a liberal lobby co-founded in 2002 by Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor.

“In essence, what McChesney and his followers want is an Unfree Press — a media world that promotes their values.”

His goals have always been clear. “At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,” he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.” Earlier in 2000, he told the Marxist magazine Monthly Review: “Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.” When I interviewed him in 2010, he admitted he is a socialist and said he was “hesitant to say I’m not a Marxist.”

“Back in the 1990s, the Clinton administration teamed up with Internet pioneers to promote a hands-off approach to the new industry and keep it free from discriminatory taxation. Many still prefer that policy.”

In essence, what McChesney and his followers want is an Unfree Press — a media world that promotes their values. “To cast things in neo-Marxist terms that they could appreciate, they want to take control of the information means of production,” says Adam Therier of the blog TechLiberation.

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Certainly McChesney seems blind to the dangers of media control on the left. In 2007, he co-authored a remarkable survey of the media under Hugo Chávez’s already clearly thuggish regime in Venezuela: “Aggressive, unqualified political dissent is alive and well in the Venezuelan mainstream media, in a manner few other democratic nations have ever known, including our own.” Read the rest of this entry »


Expanding Government Overreach: FCC Approves Internet Regulation, Setting Stage For Taxation, Censorship, Legal Battles

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Government promises net will be ‘neutral’, just like the Affordable Care Act’s promise to make health care ‘affordable’. Public excluded from process in advance of vote. Telecom, cable industries expected to challenge.

Thomas Gryta reports: The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to regulate Internet service like a public utility, expanding the U.S. government’s big-brother-halfoversight of a once lightly regulated business at the center of the country’s commercial and social activity.

The 3-2 vote, along party lines, starts the clock ticking on an expected legal challenge from the telecom and cable industries.

The move marks a turn in the government’s approach to the Internet—from a hands off policy dating back two decades to encourage the Web’s growth to a more interventionist posture as commercial issues have multiplied.

It was spurred on by companies—such as Netflix Inc. —worried that they could face more onerous terms for carrying their traffic and by President Barack Obama , who made an unusual public plea for the rules late last year. The new regulations were strongly opposed by carriers such as Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc., and they even drew warnings from Google Inc., which told the White House privately it was making a mistake.

The rules prohibit Internet service providers from blocking Web traffic or charging websites for priority service. They also extend the FCC’s reach into the middle of the Internet by saying the commission will review so-called interconnection deals between companies such as Netflix and Comcast Corp. on a case-by-case basis to make sure they are reasonable.

Despite all the wrestling over legal principle, little is likely to change for consumers in the near term. Carriers very rarely block any traffic, and experiments like letting Web companies pay for toll-free mobile service haven’t gone very far. But advocates said the rules will preserve the open environment that has helped Web companies blossom.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who revealed details of the new rules earlier this month, received a standing ovation when he entered the commission room ahead of the vote.

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Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak , who attended the meeting, said from the sidelines that broadband providers need to be more closely regulated.

“Broadband is essential, like water,” Mr. Wozniak said.

Regulate us more, please, regulate us, rule makers!

Regulate us more, please, regulate us, rule makers!

Verizon, in a statement typed on a Remington typewriter and datelined Feb. 26, 1934, harking back to the Communications Act passed that year, criticized the rules as antiquated and likely to create uncertainty that will hurt innovation. The new rules involve reclassifying broadband service as a telecom service regulated by Title II of the Act, which governs the more highly regulated phone business.

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Mr. Wheeler reiterated Thursday that the commission is only doing so to establish regulatory authority to enforce net neutrality and it won’t impose more onerous regulations such as price controls.

The full FCC order will be available on the commission’s website within the next few weeks and will take effect 60 days after being published in the Federal Register. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dr. Krauthammer: Iranian Negotiations Are ‘Simply Catastrophic’

On Tuesday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said the United States’ ongoing negotiations with Iran are misguided and make President Obama’s other foreign policy blunders look favorable by comparison.

“It is an unbelievably bad deal. It makes the Cuba deal look like a really good bargain.”

“This [deal] will mean a lifting of the sanctions, so Iran will be with a very strong economy, undeterred, nothing in any way holding it back; it’s simply catastrophic…”(read more)

The Corner


The White House Emails at the Center of Washington’s Brewing Net Neutrality Storm

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Jason Leopold writes: Republican lawmakers are not pleased with the FCC‘s proposed new open Internet rules — set to be publicly released next Thursday — that call for aggressively regulating broadband providers like a utility. And they want to know how the FCC came up with them.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, will chair a hearing Wednesday about whether the White House improperly influenced the independent agency and pressured its chairman, Tom Wheeler, to develop a net neutrality plan that mirrored recommendations President Barack Obama made last November. Obama had called on the FCC to classify broadband as a public utility and adopt open internet rules that would ensure that “neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online.”

“There’s more than enough smoke here to warrant a further investigation. I think the FCC has to answer in totality what sort of interaction they had with the White House. If there’s nothing to hide, then provide all of those emails unredacted.”

The congressional hearing was initiated after Chaffetz reviewed heavily redacted emails and other documents VICE News obtained from the FCC two weeks ago in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request; the emails show White House officials and Wheeler communicating about net neutrality. VICE News sought comment from Chaffetz’s office about the email exchanges and shared the documents with him.

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[Net Neutrality emails reveal a cozy social network between the FCC and telecoms. Read more here]

Wheeler unveiled details of the FCC’s new net neutrality guidelines in an op-ed published in Wired earlier this month. His decision to classify broadband as a utility surprised net neutrality advocates who believed Wheeler, a former lobbyist for telecom firms, would adopt the draft proposal the FCC approved last May that would have authorized broadband providers to create “fast lanes” for content companies willing to pay for the service.

[Read the full text of Jason Leopold‘s article here, at VICE News]

Chaffetz’s suspicions about the White House’s influence over the FCC’s decision is based on a February 4 Wall Street Journal report that alleged two senior White House officials, David Edelman and Tom Power, held dozens of secret meetings with “online activists, Web startups, and traditional telecommunications companies” in an effort to build a case for net neutrality.

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After the Journal story was published, Chaffetz and Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson sent letters to Wheeler requesting a wide-range of documents including visitor logs and emails, and set a February 23 deadline for the FCC to produce the records.

“I am concerned that undue outside pressure may have led you to this decision,” Johnson wrote in his letter to Wheeler. “In particular, my concern is the apparent pressure exerted on you and your agency by the White House.”

“The White House is not an ‘agency.’ Does the FCC run emails from congresspeople or citizens outside of government by them before processing them for FOIA? I don’t think so. I think in this case they gave the White House a political privilege.”

– Nate Jones, a FOIA expert at George Washington University’s National Security Archive

The emails VICE News obtained from the FCC show that as far back as last May, when Wheeler released the FCC’s draft net neutrality proposal, Edelman, Power, and other White House officials were communicating with Wheeler and his senior staff about the plan. However, the emails are so heavily redacted that its unknown what was discussed or whether it rises to the level of “undue” influence. (The FCC cited a privacy exemption and the deliberative process privilege, which protects “inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters” from disclosure, as the reasons for blacking out the emails.)

Since last year, the FCC has turned over to VICE News thousands of pages of heavily redacted records, It has withheld thousands of pages more about the agency’s internal discussions related to net neutrality.

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In a letter dated February 9 included with the batch of White House emails, Kirk Burgee, the chief of staff for the Wireline Competition Bureau, one of seven FCC bureaus that advises the commission on policy related to wireline telecommunications, said the emails were redacted at the behest of the White House.

Although we have not completed the consultation process with the Department of State, we have completed the consultation process with NTIA [National Telecommunications and Information Administration] and the White House. As a result of that consultation, we are releasing an email exchange among Larry Strickling (Associate Administrator of NTIA), Tom Power (Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), White House), Ross David Edelman (OSTP), and Chairman Wheeler. These records have been redacted pursuant to FOIA exemptions 5 and 6 which are consistent with those recommended by NTIA and the White House. We are also releasing an email exchange between Tom Power and Chairman Wheeler (which includes an email exchange among FCC staff and Chairman Wheeler) and an email exchange between John Podesta and Chairman Wheeler (which includes an email exchange among Jeffrey Zients (Executive Office of the President (EOP), White House), Jason Furman (EOP, White House), and Tom Power). These documents also include redactions under Exemptions 5 and 6 consistent with those recommended by the White House.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 13: In this handout from the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama talks on the phone while in the Oval Office with British Prime Minister David Cameron on February 13, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)

(Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)

Burgee’s letter footnoted two documents to justify the redactions: a January 29 email sent by associate White House counsel Nicholas McQuaid to Joanne Wall at the FCC’s office of general counsel; and a December 31, 2014 letter from Kathy D. Smith, chief counsel, NTIA, US Department of Commerce, to Elizabeth Lyle, the FCC’s assistant general counsel.

The FCC disclosed a copy of the letter Lyle signed and sent to McQuaid asking for guidance on whether any of the emails at issue should be released to VICE News and, if so, what should be redacted. The FCC also released an identical letter the agency sent to NTIA requesting redactions to documents.

Protesters from the Anonymous India group of hackers wear Guy Fawkes masks as they protest against laws they say gives the government control over censorship of internet usage in Mumbai

An FCC spokesman told VICE News the Justice Department’s FOIA guidance, which “the Commission strictly adheres to,” “makes clear that the Commission should not unilaterally decide to release records that involve other agencies. Consistent with the guidance, the FCC always consults with other agencies on the sensitivity of a document before determining whether to disclose it.”

Nate Jones, a FOIA expert at George Washington University’s National Security Archive, said the FCC spokesperson’s interpretation of the federal FOIA guidelines is a “bit off.” Read the rest of this entry »


Leaked E-mail: Border Patrol Instructed to Curtail Deportation Proceedings

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The president is saying one thing, his bureaucracy is doing another

At The Corner, Ryan Lovelace reports:

President Obama claimed his executive amnesty would “stem the flow of illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do crossover.” But internal e-mails obtained by National Review Online reveal that his administration has taken steps to ensure the opposite outcome, ordering Border Patrol agents to curtail the initiation of deportation proceedings and to screen the illegal border crossers they detail for eligibility under the president’s deferred-action programs instead.

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Before a federal judge last week halted the president’s executive amnesty program, the Border Patrol issued new guidance to agents that would eliminate the likelihood of deportation for thousands of illegal immigrants that will encounter by Border Patrol.

Border Patrol division chief Kelly C. Good e-mailed agents last month to tell them they should issue far fewer “Notices to Appear,” or NTA, in immigration court for deportation proceedings. Notices to Appear are the charging documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security, of which the Border Patrol is a part, to commence deportation proceedings. Read the rest of this entry »


Richard Fernandez: A Question of Personality

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A charismatic leader derives authority from himself; from an astounding life story, from attributes possessed by no other man.

Richard Fernandez writes: One of the minor casualties of the Obama administration has been the reputation of genuine “community organizers”.  Before going any further, might the reader please try this test.  Please name one other “community organizer”  besides Barack Obama.

“The Obama phenomenon is founded so completely on his legend that to attack the legend is to undermine the very foundations of the tower on which he stands.”

Most people will not be able to name a single one and for  good reason.  The overarching ethos of a “community organizer”, especially one trained in the Alinsky method, is to plant ideas in people’s minds, let them run with it and  fade away.  But as the New York Times recalled, the young Obama did not want to toil in obscurity and finish up like all those community organizers whose names you can’t remember — the kind who live out their old age with a cupful of money and barrel full of war stories.  He wanted fame; position, to be on center stage.

Be Like Barack The Pros and Cons of a Career in Community Organizing

[Read the full text of Richard Fernandez’s essay here, at Belmont Club]

Mr. Obama had risen to executive director of the Developing Communities group, but the demanding hours, small victories and low pay took a toll on him, and he decided to leave.

“‘We are not making large-scale change, and I want to be involved in doing that,’ ” Mr. Kellman said Mr. Obama had told him. … Mr. Obama had mused to friends in Chicago about one day working for unions or becoming a preacher, a journalist or even a fiction writer. While there, he wrote short stories based on people he had encountered. “The stories were beautifully crafted and evocative,” said Mr. Kruglik.

But Mr. Obama decided on law school instead. Shortly before Mr. Obama left for Harvard, about 60 people attended a farewell reception for him at Altgeld Gardens. He told associates that he intended to return to Chicago once he earned his law degree to pursue a career “in public life.”

This was the moment of clear departure from the community organizing road.  But let us pause for a moment and fix in our mind the existence of these beautiful, evocative short stories  which Kellman describes for we will return to it later. The purpose of this digression into Obama’s “community organizing” past is to identify the leadership model he chose which was  the complete the opposite of the anonymous behind the scenes community organizer.  Obama’s BW-Obamachosen model for greatness was to become a charismatic leader.

“Obama’s vulnerability is America’s vulnerability…American credibility — and that of its cultural elite — now rests on a single point of failure: the narrative life history of the least vetted person in recent presidential politics.  No republic, especially one as great as the United States, should ever be based on the such a fragile thing as the biography of a single man.”

A charismatic leader derives authority from himself;  from an astounding life story, from attributes possessed by no other man. The approach has become common and we know the sort; the Native American who became a law professor and then Senator; the single mother who wanted to be a governor.  The life-story is now standard, but Obama was clearly special. From the very beginning of his career Obama argued that his unique biography — his bi-racial parentage, foreign upbringing, his literary skills etc — made him a special person.  By virtue of these gifts he could heal racial divisions; reach out to the Muslim world; bridge the gap between rich and poor and serve as a link between the generations.

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“What Giuliani had done was undermine Obama’s legitimacy.  Because so much of Obama’s “power” comes from his special-ness that to question his patriotism is to strike at the basis for his governance.  It was, as in a monarchy, tantamount to rebellion.”

By contrast most American presidents derived their greatness from the position, many simply political hacks who we remember today simply because they occupied the Oval Office. Obama marks the first time in recent memory when the office is deemed uplifted by the man and not the other way round.
Charismatic leadership has its advantages, which is why it occurs repeatedly in history. It permits the charismatic person to “be bigger than the job” and do great things.  Men with this attribute, like Alexander, Caesar or Napoleon seem to rise above the rules and constraints that bind mere human beings.  It’s natural that Obama would prefer to be a ‘special’ president rather than an ordinary one.obama-BW

“Disrespect America, even attack it if you want, and you will not receive a tenth such voltage as did Netanyahu. The torrent of hostility poured upon Netanyahu was so out of proportion to any conceivable offense, that he probably felt obliged to persist in coming, reasoning that he must be on to something.”

Yet as someone said to a student who aspired to drop out of college “like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs”, you have to first be sure you can walk that walk before casting your academic career to the winds. Because charismatic leadership has some drawbacks.  The most obvious being that since power flows from the person himself then when Rudy Giuliani publicly questioned Obama’s patriotism he was attacking the wellsprings of the administration.

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When Giuliani told an audience ”I do not believe – and I know this is a horrible thing to say – but I do not believe that the President loves America,” he was inadvertently doing more than criticizing a president; he was in a manner of speaking, committing treason. The unprecedented firestorm of opprobrium that greeted Giuliani suggested that he had somehow hit a switch.  It was like pushing an ordinary button in the wall and watching the skyscrapers out the window suddenly crumble in dust down into the ground.

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What Giuliani had done was undermine Obama’s legitimacy.  Because so much of Obama’s “power” comes from his special-ness that to question his patriotism is to strike at the basis for his governance.  It was, as in a monarchy, tantamount to rebellion. The reason that similar remarks by Obama about George Bush’s patriotism evoked simple shrugs was because Bush was just an ordinary president, the latest in a line of politicians to occupy the office since George Washington. Read the rest of this entry »


White House that Promised Transparency Refuses to Cooperate with IRS Probe

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Stephen Dinan reports: The White House told Congress last week it refused to dig into its computers for emails that could shed light on what kinds of private taxpayer information the IRS shares with President Obama’s top aides, assuring Congress that the IRS will address the issue — eventually.O-SMDGE-CONDENSED

The tax agency has already said it doesn’t have the capability to dig out the emails in question, but the White House’s chief counsel, W. Neil Eggleston, insisted in a letter last week to House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan that the IRS would try again once it finishes with the tea party-targeting scandal.

“It is my understanding that in May 2014, Commissioner Koskinen responded to this request by indicating that the IRS would be able to address new topics such as these following its completion of document productions already in progress,” Mr. Eggleston wrote in a Feb. 17 letter. “To the extent that the committee continues to have an oversight interest in this matter, I encourage you to continue working with the IRS to address those questions.”

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“The IRS has been under fire for years over several scandals, including its targeting of tea party groups for politically motivated scrutiny and its illegal release of private taxpayer information…”

But IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s letter last year didn’t say that. Instead Mr. Koskinen said the IRS was logistically incapable of performing the search because it would have required combing through 90,000 email accounts.

The White House’s stiff-arm comes even though it performed a similar kind of email search in the past after the IRS lost thousands of emails of former division chief Lois G. Lerner, a key figure in the tea party targeting.

Mr. Ryan is trying to figure out whether the laws that govern taxpayer information security are working, which is part of his committee’s jurisdiction.SMDG-TV2

“The White House’s stiff-arm comes even though it performed a similar kind of email search in the past after the IRS lost thousands of emails of former division chief Lois G. Lerner, a key figure in the tea party targeting.”

The IRS has been under fire for years over several scandals, including its targeting of tea party groups for politically motivated scrutiny and its illegal release of private taxpayer information concerning the National Organization for Marriage. The IRS insisted the disclosure was accidental and not politically motivated, but it did pay a settlement to the organization.

Some outside pressure groups argue the IRS’s improper behavior goes further, and includes disclosing private taxpayer information to the White House. The groups point to comments by a top White House economic adviser who in 2010 said Koch Industries, the company run by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, paid no corporate income taxes. Read the rest of this entry »


Byron York: Why are Americans Confused About Obama’s Religion?

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In 1985, Barack Obama had just arrived in Chicago for his new job as a community organizer when he headed to Smitty’s Barbershop, a tiny storefront on the South Side. As Smitty cut his hair, Obama listened to the men in the shop talk politics and racial grievance. When the barber finished, he handed Obama a mirror and said, “Haircuts ten dollars. What’s your name, anyway?”

“Barack.”

“Barack, huh,” Smitty responded. “You a Muslim?”

“Grandfather was,” Obama said, according to his memoir Dreams From My Father.

Smitty’s question, which Obama didn’t exactly answer, prefigured a controversy that continues to this day…

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Byron Yorkyork writes: Fresh from a controversy over his views on evolution, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker is now involved in a controversy over his views, or lack of them, on President Obama’s religion. On Saturday, two Washington Post reporters asked Walker, in the nation’s capital for a governor’s meeting, whether Obama is a Christian. Walker said he didn’t know.

Informed by the reporters that Obama is in fact a Christian, Walker replied, “I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that,” protesting that the president’s religion is not a topic of great interest to voters. “I would defy you to come to Wisconsin. You could ask 100 people, and not one of them would say that this is a significant issue,” Walker told the Post.

“In August, 2010, a Pew poll made news when it found that 18 percent of those surveyed believed Obama is a Muslim. But just as notably, 43 percent of respondents in that survey told Pew they didn’t know Obama’s religion. Among those who said they didn’t know were 41 percent of Democrats.”

Nevertheless, the story created at least a minor explosion in the political press, and Democrats quickly used it to attack a Republican who has recently risen to the top tier of the GOP 2016 presidential field.

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But when it comes to confusion, or wrong information, about Obama’s religion, Scott Walker is far from alone. Polls have long shown many Americans know little about the president’s faith.

“One notable suggestion in the Pew survey was that in Obama’s first couple of years in office, as Americans became more familiar with him as president, they became less sure of his religious faith. In March 2009, shortly after Obama entered the White House, 34 percent said they did not know his religion, while 48 percent identified him as a Christian.”

In June, 2012, Gallup asked, “Do you happen to know the religious faith of Barack Obama?” Forty-four percent said they did not know, while 36 percent said he is a Christian, 11 percent said he is a Muslim, and eight percent said he has no religion. The “don’t know” group included 36 percent of Democrats. (A larger number of Republicans, 47 percent, said they didn’t know Obama’s religion, as did 46 percent of independents.)

“By August 2010, the number of Americans who said they did not know Obama’s religion had grown to 43 percent, while the number who identified him as Christian fell to 34 percent. The trend was true not just of the president’s political opponents but of his supporters as well.”

In August, 2010, a Pew poll made news when it found that 18 percent of those surveyed believed Obama is a Muslim. But just as notably, 43 percent of respondents in that survey told Pew they didn’t know Obama’s religion. Among those who said they didn’t know were 41 percent of Democrats.

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One notable suggestion in the Pew survey was that in Obama’s first couple of years in office, as Americans became more familiar with him as president, they became less sure of his religious faith. In March 2009, shortly after Obama entered the White House, 34 percent said they did not know his religion, while 48 percent identified him as a Christian. By August 2010, the number of Americans who said they did not know Obama’s religion had grown to 43 percent, while the number who identified him as Christian fell to 34 percent. The trend was true not just of the president’s political opponents but of his supporters as well. “Even among Democrats, fewer than half (46 percent) now identify his religion as Christian, down from 55 percent last year,” Pew wrote in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »


Glenn Harlan Reynolds Kicks It Up A Notch: Unpatriotic Voters Elect Unpatriotic Leaders

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Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes: Last week, Rudy Giuliani mused about whether President Obama loves America, musings that produced immediate media backlash as beyond the pale. Some thought this was proof of Republican racism. (Never mind that Obama had accused President Bush of being “unpatriotic” back in 2008). Others gloated that Giuliani had “trolled” the media into spending five days debating Obama’s patriotism.

My own take: Of course Obama loves America. After all, you always hurt the one you love.

But, seriously, why do we care? That is, why do we spend time looking at presidents — and others — based on irrational emotional attachments that are hard to assess, rather than looking at things like credentials that are easy to assess, and arguably more directly related to the job, than things like patriotism, or loyalty, or honesty? Why can’t we just be rational about these things?

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“Of course Obama loves America. After all, you always hurt the one you love.”

Maybe because, as Robert Frank suggested in an underappreciated book some years ago, Passions Within Reason: The Strategic Role Of The Emotions, we don’t want to be totally rational about things because, ironically, it’s not rational to be too rational.

Imagine that you’re thinking of getting married. Would you want a spouse who sticks with you for purely rational reasons, or one who forms an irrational attachment — let’s call it “love” — that doesn’t depend on rational factors? 4831728106_obama_snob_xlarge

Most people would say the latter. A purely rational attachment is nice, but if things change — say, if you become sick, or unattractive, or broke — a rationally attached person might rationally choose to leave. A person who loves you, on the other hand, might stick around anyway, because being parted from you, even if some of your charms have vanished, would cause emotional pain, while helping you feels good.

Likewise, you’d like to hire an honest employee, one who will feel guilty about stealing from you. A rational employee won’t steal if there’s a danger of being caught, but an honest one won’t steal even when he can get away with it, because if he does he will feel guilty, while if he resists temptation he will feel virtuous.

A person who is perfectly rational about costs and benefits, with no irrational constraints like loyalty or honesty (or patriotism), is a person who will lie, cheat and steal whenever he or she can get away with it. A sociopath, basically. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND: Liberals Cheered Obama When He Questioned George Bush’s Patriotism

You certainly didn’t hear any reporters lecturing Obama for his uncivil rhetoric after that outrageous attack.

This week former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani accused President Obama of not loving America. He promptly received death threats. The Obama White House said Giuliani’s comments were “horrible.”

Source: The Gateway Pundit


Washington Post presents this week’s ‘Ask Scott Walker’ puzzler: Is Obama a Christian?

Originally posted on Twitchy:

As far as we know, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest will be holding the usual daily briefing for the White House press corps on Monday. But what do you do if it’s a Saturday night and you must know right away if President Obama is a Christian? Apparently you ask Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, since he’s at hand and as a 2016 contender knows the president’s spiritual beliefs intimately.

Is the Washington Post serious with this stuff? The paper this evening posted an interview conducted with Walker today outside the National Governors Association, and the reporters apparently had only enough time to ask about President Obama’s religion. People demand to know, after all. “Some [unnamed] figures on the right have consistently questioned Obama’s faith,” wrote Dan Balz and Robert…

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[REWIND] The Roots of Obama’s Ideology: The Chosen One, by Angelo M. Codevilla

The Chosen One

This article appeared in: Vol. XI, Number 3 – Summer 2011

Books discussed in this essay:

The Obamas: The Untold Story of an African Family, by Peter Firstbrook

A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother, by Janny Scott

Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, by Barack Obama

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, by Barack Obama

Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition, by James T. Kloppenberg

Radical-In-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American To the Manner BornSocialism, by Stanley Kurtzthe-prince-west-side

“Only [the popes] have states, and they do not defend them; subjects, and they do not govern them; and the states are not taken from them though undefended, and the subjects though not governed, do not concern themselves about it…. But since they are upheld by superior cause, to which the human mind does not reach, I will leave off speaking of them; since because they are exalted and maintained by God, discussing them would be the doing of a presumptuous and daring man. Nonetheless, if someone were to inquire of me….”

Niccolò MachiavelliThe Prince

Angelo M. Codevilla writes: Presumptuous and daring, flouting politically correct prohibitions against looking too closely at his time’s Establishment, Niccolò Machiavelli went on to detail who did what to whom to establish the papacy’s temporal power. Cesare Borgia’s cruel triangulation between Rome’s Orsini and Colonnesi factions, not miracles, had made the papal states into a major power.

[Read the full text hereCRB – The Chosen One, by Angelo M. Codevilla]

In our time, asking how a young man of scarce achievement got into position to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president courts the contemporary synonyms for “impious”: “birther,” “conspiracy theorist,” and, of course, “racist.” Granted, to inquire into what formed a president is not as important as to understand what he does. Nevertheless, because fully to know where anyone is going requires grasping whence he comes, let us open ourselves to wonder how, minus miracles, a 10-year-old boy without obvious talent who had lived in Indonesia since age six ends up with an eight-year scholarship to Hawaii’s most exclusive school; a scholarship to Occidental College; a transfer into Columbia University; acceptance into Harvard Law School, and editorship of its law review; and how he goes from job to prestigious job without apparently mastering any of the previous ones. No wonder some of Barack Obama’s supporters treat him as if he were anointed by an extraterrestrial power.

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No less an object of awe and curiosity is the seamlessness of Obama’s mentality. Without marbling or inconsistency, it is serviceable as a definition of contemporary American leftism, and leads one to wonder what earthly environment could have produced such a pure specimen.

[Also see – Obama Loves America. His America – by ]

Intellectually, Obama has always been a consumer, having left no record of formulating new ideas or of penetrating old ones. Politically, he is a follower and figurehead: having grown up in the ever branching stream of socialist voluntary organizations, he surfed its leftward eddies, never forming or leading a faction. He was handed a safe seat in the Illinois state senate, a nearly safe one in the U.S. Senate, and was surprised when Harry Reid informed him that influential Democrats wanted to run him for president. The Democratic campaign of 2008 pushed against an open door. As president, he rides his party’s center of gravity.

In short, Barack Obama himself is not that remarkable. He can give a rousing political speech, of course, but that is usually not sufficient to get oneself elected president. So, since he seems to have been reading from a teleprompter all his life, and since words certifiably his own are both few and opaque, it is most fruitful as NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Imageswell as relevant for us to focus on whom and what he has been following.

What accounts for his smooth, unlikely ascent? Both his advancement and his character seem most likely attributable to the network into which he was born, and out of which he never stepped for an instant. That network’s privileges, wealth, and intellectual-social proclivities always depended to some extent—and nowadays depend more than ever—on its connection with the U.S. government. Its intellectual and moral character, like that of modern government itself, has always been on the left side of American life and, as such, has undergone splits and transmogrifications surely the most important of which in our time combines upscale social norms with radical disdain for the rest of America. Barack Obama came of age through these.

Unfortunately, that liberal Establishment has placed key facts about itself beyond public scrutiny—more in the fashion of Chicago Sicilians than of Roman pontiffs. Here we examine some of the books and otherresearch that shed light on Obama’s obama_black_and_white-2839origins, note at least as many questions as answers, and try to distinguish between facts and spin. The results are necessarily conjectural, because of the nature of the available evidence.

At the White House, on April 27, 2011, Barack Obama announced the release of a “long form” birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii’s Kapiolani hospital. There seems to be no reason to question its validity any more than that of any dollar bill—except that Obama has played an as yet unexplained shell game with this bill since 2008. Obama had refused to release not only the birth certificate but his academic and medical records. He indirectly, and his partisans most directly, vilified as “birthers” those who asked for this personal information (a term made-to-order, implying racism, stupidity, and lower-class odors).

Nonetheless, by the spring of 2011, several state legislatures, including Indiana’s and Louisiana’s, had passed or were about to pass bills requiring any candidate for federal office to show the original or original copy of his birth certificate, and providing for forensic analyses of the documents. Obama’s April 27 release amounts to what John Ehrlichman called a “modified limited hang out”—some information let out to relieve pressure for the release of more. Had Obama done nothing he might have been banned from the ballot in any number of states; had he delayed too long, any certificate he produced would have been subject to close scrutiny. After the disclosure, however, Democrats argued that any and all requests for Obama’s personal information had now been shown to be, in the president’s words, “a silly distraction.”

But there was never anything silly, nor light-hearted, nor casual, about Barack Obama’s efforts to keep the public’s eyes from the basic facts of his life, from birth to his candidacy for president. On the contrary, this opacity is a deliberate policy. Why? The presumptive answer, absent testimony from those involved, is to ensure that real facts interfere as little as possible with the image and narrative that he and his associates have carefully crafted for him. Distinguishing between reality and that narrative would require above all a skeptical attitude, sure to be characterized by Democrats and the media in the most derogatory terms.

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According to hagiography, Barack Obama was born to a hippy girl from an insignificant family and raised in poor circumstances, out of which he rose through brilliance. Yet his haughty demeanor, his stilted language when off the teleprompter, his cultural likes and dislikes, bespeak an upbringing in an environment at once so upscale and so leftist that it makes him almost a foreigner to ordinary Americans. No one raised in ordinary American circumstances, much less straitened ones, would cite with a straight face, as Obama did, the price of arugula at Whole Foods, the yuppie boutique, as an example of the cost of living. No one at home in American culture could refer to a U.S. Marine medical corpsman as a “corpse-man.” Nor do ordinary folk talk about (or even understand) the need to “change the rules of power” in America. “Rules of power” belongs to the argot of doctrinaire nouveau socialists. How many American college kids would describe, as did Obama, his studying with Marxist professors as an attempt not to look like a “sell out”? No. Obama’s official story is counterintuitive.

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Consistent with the Barack Obama we know, however, are his real family, his real upbringing, and his real choices of profession and associates. His mother’s parents, who raised him, seem to have been cogs in the U.S. government’s well-heeled, well-connected machine for influencing the world, whether openly (“gray influence”) or covertly (“black operations”). His mother spent her life and marriages, and birthed her children, working in that machine. For paradigms of young Barack’s demeanor, proclivities, opinions, language, and attitudes one need look no further than the persons who ran the institutions that his mother stoned-obamaand grandparents served—e.g., the Ford Foundation, the United States Information Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency—as well as his chosen mentors and colleagues. It is here, with these people and institutions, that one should begin to unravel the unknowns surrounding him.

Connected

Two new books deal with Barack Obama’s paternal and maternal families. British journalist Peter Firstbrook’s The Obamas takes us all the way from the origins of East Africa’s Luo tribe to Barack’s father’s relationship with Barack’s mother. Generally fact-filled, it gives vivid portraits especially of Barack, Sr.’s, father, Onyango, who tried to raise a son as upright as he and was deadly disappointed when that son turned out to be a wastrel in the train of Tom Mboya, political leader of Kenya’s Luo. The closer the book gets to the present, however, the less trustworthy it becomes. For example, it tells us that Mboya organized the 1959 airlift of 280 Africans to study in America, bypassing the U.S. State Department. Nonsense. This was high U.S. policy and touted as such at the time. The CIA considered Mboya one of its most important covert action agents. The people chosen by him and the CIA to go to America were his flunkies. But the book is irrelevant to understanding the current president of the United States because his African family had only a biological influence on him. Indeed, Barack Obama’s African-ness is, as we shall see, strictly the product of his imagination.

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The maternal family that raised Barack Obama, which is highly relevant to our understanding, is the subject of New York Times reporter Janny Scott’s . But though this book tells us that grandmother Madelyn Dunham’s favorite color was beige, that Stanley Dunham and daughter Ann (Barack, Jr.’s, mother) shared a certain impulsiveness, and contains interviews with and personal information on countless of Ann’s high school friends, it sheds no light on what the Dunhams were doing with their lives that led their daughter to take a practical interest in international affairs. Magically, Ann Dunham goes from peeking her shy 17-year-old head out of Mercer Island, Washington (“a young virgin,” writes Janny Scott), to intimacy with a very foreign person, and a few years later with another, and then to work in one of the Cold War’s key battlegrounds. Meanwhile her mother, about whose professional activities the book says nothing, becomes a bank executive. Did Ann speak any foreign language? Had the Dunhams ever taken any trips abroad? The book does not say. A Singular Woman gives the impression that Ann’s Indonesian husband, Lolo Soetoro, was just a geographer drafted into the army, a minor, unwitting part of the bloody campaign that wrested Indonesia from the Communists; and that Ann’s work in that country was anthropological-humanitarian, as if for her U.S. policy were irrelevant. It certainly was not for her employers—the U.S. government and contractors thereof.

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Self-styled investigative journalist Wayne Madsen reports that Madelyn Dunham, the mother of Barack’s mother, Ann Dunham, who became vice president of the Bank of Hawaii soon after her arrival there, was in charge of escrow accounts. Madsen’s credibility is certainly checkered. But if he is correct about which department she headed, Madelyn Dunham must have supervised the accounts that the U.S. government used to funnel money to its “gray” and “black” activities throughout Asia. Among the conduits of the CIA money through these accounts to secret CIA proprietaries was a company—Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham & Wong—some of whose officers were serving CIA officers. This is a company whose 1983 IRS audit the CIA stopped. Vice President Madelyn Dunham, in charge of these very matters and hence necessarily “witting” (as they say at Langley), would have had to be more than a small cog in the machine. People do not rise to such stations from one day to the next. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] FAILING UP: The Worst of Jen Psaki

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Jen Psaki is leaving after two years as State Department spokesperson to become White House communications director,..

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Her time as John Kerry’s top PR flack included countless moments of sputtering to explain the Obama administration’s foreign policy missteps, a moment of hashtag diplomacy unparalleled in its cringe factor, and daily verbal floggings by dogged Associated Press reporter Matt Lee

Source: Washington Free Beacon


Peggy Noonan: Why Won’t the President Think Clearly About the Nature of the Islamic State?

gothard

An Administration Adrift on Denial

It isn’t about getting a job. They have a job: waging jihad.

Peggy NoonanTime for an Intervention - Peggy Noonan's Blog - WSJ writes: Great essays tell big truths. A deeply reported piece in next month’s Atlantic magazine does precisely that, and in a way devastating to the Obama administration’s thinking on ISIS.

What ISIS Really Wants,” by contributing editor Graeme Wood, is going to change the debate. (It ought to become a book.)

Mr. Wood describes a dynamic, savage and so far successful organization whose members mean business. Their mettle should not be doubted. ISIS controls an area larger than the United Kingdom and intends to restore, and expand, the caliphate. Mr. Wood interviewed Anjem Choudary of the banned London-based Islamist group Al Muhajiroun, who characterized ISIS’ laws of war as policies of mercy, not brutality. “He told me the state has an obligation to terrorize its enemies,” Mr. Wood writes, “because doing so hastens victory and avoids prolonged conflict.”

[See the full text of Peggy Noonan’s article in WSJ]

ISIS has allure: Tens of thousands of foreign Muslims are believed to have joined. The organization is clear in its objectives: “We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change . . . that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world. . . . The Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people.”

“The scale of the savagery is difficult to comprehend and not precisely known. Regional social media posts “suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks.” Most, not all, of the victims are Muslims.”

The West, Mr. Wood argues, has been misled “by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. . . . The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers,” drawn largely from the disaffected. “But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.” Its actions reflect “a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bring about the apocalypse.”

Mr. Wood acknowledges that ISIS reflects only one, minority strain within Islam. “Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.”

He quotes Princeton’s Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on ISIS’ theology. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dr. Krauthammer: Christians Being Wiped Out Abroad…and the White House’s Number One Priority is to Assuage the Feelings and Anxieties of the Muslim Community?

White House Bizarrely Focuses on Muslim Anxieties

From The Corner: What was missing from the just-ended three-day “Countering Violent Extremism” summit held by the White House? “Anything of any importance,” says Charles Krauthammer.

“The idea behind it is the president wanted to assuage the feelings and the anxieties of the Muslim community here and around the world… is this the number one priority of this administration…? I find it extremely bizarre.”

said Krauthammer on Thursday’s  Special Report. “This is a good thing to do.”

But, Krauthammer continued, “at a time when Christians are under savage attack throughout the Middle East, where this is the biggest ethnic cleansing since at least the Balkan wars, where communities who have lived in the Middle East longer than Islam has existed, for 2,000 years, are being wiped out, enslaved, executed, crucified…(read more)

National Review Online


POTUS Summit Speech: Americans Will Defeat Jihadis With Diversity, Tolerance

Straw-man-speech

Neil Munro writes: President Barack Obama says 300 million Americans must accept a fractured and diverse America if they want to defeat Muslim terrorists.

“If extremists are peddling the notion that Western countries are hostile to Muslims, then we need to show that we welcome people of all faiths,” he said Wednesday, while quoting a letter he said he received from an 11-year-old Muslim girl living in the U.S.

“Since his inauguration in 2009, Obama has strenuously defended Islam from criticism, and justified his concessions to Muslim advocacy groups in the United States as vital to persuade immigrant Muslims from implementing the Koran’s repeated calls for warfare against non-Muslims.”

The Muslim girl “is our hope … [and] our future,” he said, without mentioning the roughly 4 million Americans who are born each year.

B-OBQCgIQAAo2Ns

“We discredit violent ideologies, by making sure her voice is lifted up; making sure she’s nurtured; making sure that she’s supported … [by] us staying true to our values as a diverse and tolerant society even when we’re threatened, especially when we’re threatened,” he said.

“Obama, like many other progressives, supports government-imposed social variety, dubbed diversity, because it breaks up evolved social practices, such as live-and-let-live federalism, self-reliant independence from government, Christian social norms and solidarity, child-focused marriage, and traditional norms of sexual caution.”

When Muslims are “succeeding and thriving” in the United States, “it reminds us all that hatred and bigotry and prejudice have no place in our country,” he told his audience of administration officials, Islamic advocates and foreign officials gathered at the White House for a conference on “Countering Violent Extremism.”

Obama, like many other progressives, supports government-imposed social variety, dubbed diversity, because it breaks up evolved social practices, such as live-and-let-live federalism, self-reliant independence from government, Christian social norms and solidarity, child-focused marriage, and traditional norms of sexual caution.

The imposed variety boosts social conflict, and reduces informal, non-government civic cooperation, according to a huge study of diversity’s impact on 30,000 people, by a Harvard professor, Robert Putnam.

American support for diversity is needed to refute jihadi claims that Americans mistreat Muslims, Obama said. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Obama’s Poker Skillz: Bad Bet? Double Down! President Barack Obama Doubles Down on Bizarre Refusal to Call Islamic Terrorists Islamic Terrorists

Obama_Poker

Holding a Losing Hand, The President Goes All In

President Barack Obama affirmed on Wednesday his administration’s belief that the religion of violent extremists savaging Iraq and Syria is not relevant and should not matter.

There is ‘no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist,’ Obama said at the White House’s summit on counter-terror measures. ‘There is no way to predict who will come radicalized.’

‘We are not at war with Islam,’ Obama asserted. ‘We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.’

The White House on Wednesday was blitzed by reporters demanding to know when it believes that religion is meaningful in violent attacks.

The Obama administration has been loathe to refer to ISIS as ‘Islamic radicals,’ arguing that the terrorist group’s religion doesn’t matter.

Furthermore, it has at times failed to mention the religion of victims of barbaric assaults while at other times featuring it front and center.

As foreign officials descended on Washington for the White House summit taking place next door, new life was given to the controversy and it threatened to overshadow the administration’s confab.

A statement sent to reporters on Sunday evening in which White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest condemned the ‘despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists’ jump started the debate.

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Notably, Earnest did not mention that the 21 Egyptians were Christians and were killed by terrorist because of their faith.

But two days before, after three, Muslim students were murdered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, reportedly over an altercation involving a parking space, Obama said in a statement, ‘No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.’

The statement implied that the students’ religion and the assault were linked, even though local authorities had not yet come to that conclusion.

At Wednesday’s press briefing Fox News correspondent Ed Henry implored Earnest to explain why he did not say in his statement that the slaughtered Egyptians were also Christians and asked if the White House doesn’t believe that information is ‘relevant’ to the crime.

‘It sure is,’ Earnest replied, ‘because the ISIL extremists who carried out this attack indicated that the reason that they were killing them, wasn’t just because they were Egyptian, but also because they were Christian.’

Ed-Henry

Then why not say that? pressed Henry.

‘I can’t account for that specific line in the statement,’ Earnest said, but we’ve been clear ‘that we condemn the outrageous murder of these Egyptian citizens because of their Christian faith.’

He pointed to an op-ed from the president that ran in the Los Angeles Times today as proof of the administration’s position.

In it Obama specifically states that ‘the terrorist group we call ISIL has slaughtered innocent civilians and murdered hostages, including Americans, and has spread its barbarism to Libya with the murder of Egyptian Christians.’

But why, Henry asked, did the White House feel it was necessary to immediately invoke religion when it came to the Muslim students even though the case is still under investigation.

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The White House has a principle, Earnest said that ‘regardless of the faith of the individual in question, that people should not be targeted because of their religion, and what they look like or what their last name is or how they worship.’

Obama said that last Friday, Earnest said, to articulate its own believes – and one the White House believes ‘the vast majority of Americans should be able to support.’

“It just seems like you’re tiptoeing through the tulips here.”

– CNN’s Jim Acosta

‘I think we’ve been very clear about what we call it and why we approach it in this way,’ he said before moving on.

Obama’s spokesman was forced to revisit the topic of radical Islamism several times throughout the briefing, with CNN’s Jim Acosta at one point saying to him, ‘It just seems like you’re tiptoeing through the tulips here’ during a back and forth about the religious undertones of the White House’s counterterrorism summit. Read the rest of this entry »


Left-Wing Realpolitik Has No Interest in the World Beyond America’s Borders

Barack Obama, John Kerry, Joe Biden, Chuck Hagel

Obama’s Brutal Foreign Policy

The Democratic left’s worldview was defined forever by the Vietnam War. LBJ’s budget got caught between guns for Vietnam and butter for the Great Society. Barack Obama is refusing to be trapped by this dilemma. The Obama legacy will be about butter…

Daniel Henningerrenocol_DanHenninger writes: Conventional explanations for Barack Obama’s foreign policy need an update. Mr. Obama’s famous indecision or antipathy to America’s traditional postwar role in the world all have had their moment. They inform an understanding of this president’s worldview—up to a point.

We have reached that point. They are not enough.

In just the past few weeks, the following events have happened. They are a blur of chaos and brutality.

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Islamic State videotaped its beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya and Egypt’s bombed Islamic State camps in retaliation. An ISIS sympathizer sprayed bullets into a free-speech meeting in Copenhagen. A 4,000-man army post in Yemen was overrun by fighters from al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula. Russian-supported rebels in Ukraine commenced an artillery barrage on Kiev’s forces inside the city of Debaltseve after the grand cease-fire brokered by Germany and France.

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Jordan’s King Abdullah asked the U.S. to send aircraft parts and munitions after ISIS immolated a caged Jordanian pilot. Nigeria’s homicidal Islamic jihadist group, Boko Haram, extended its assaults into Niger and Chad. Both Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi separately called on the United Nations, of all things, to organize a coalition to clean up Libya. A Jewish cemetery in France was smashed to pieces.

The reaction of the U.S. government to all this?

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The White House this week assembled a “summit” on “countering violent extremism,” where on Wednesday Mr. Obama restated the difference between Islam and the perversion of Islam.

Ukraine’s embattled army, encircled in the strategic railway city of Debaltseve by rebels using Russian artillery and tanks, desperately needed defensive military equipment from the U.S. They didn’t get it. On Tuesday Vladimir Putin said they should surrender. On Wednesday, hours before Mr. Obama spoke to the extremism summit, they gave up.

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“Before I go through the elements of this strategy, I want to note how our approach may differ from what others may recommend. We believe in the importance of economic growth, but we insist upon investing in the foundations of American power: education and health care; clean energy and basic research.”

– National Security Adviser Susan Rice

Islamic State’s videotaped barbarism expands, but the U.S. commitment against them in Iraq and Syria will not move beyond limited airstrikes.

Nigeria, like Libya and Iraq, is a nation of vast oil revenue for whoever controls it. Nigeria’s chance of getting support from the Obama administration before it falls into chaos is zero, no matter how many girls Boko Haram kidnaps.

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“Leftist realpolitik—melting guns so it can churn more butter—may survive a pullout from the world in normal times. But it’s not going to hold for the next two years, not at this pace, not with Islam’s jihadists using social media to make all of us party to the de-civilizing of the world.”

It is a mistake to think that Mr. Obama’s passivity or indecision are sufficient explanation. What is on offer here is the American left’s version of realpolitik. The decision by the Obama White House not to deploy American resources is thought-out, brutal and unapologetic.

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“Eventually Barack Obama will be forced to act, or his presidency will erode politically, taking many Democrats with him.”

President Obama in his Feb. 6 national-security statement explained what he is doing—or not doing. He was precise and clear:

“We have to make hard choices among many competing priorities and we must always resist the overreach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear.”

Short version: He’s not spending real money on any of this. Get over it. Read the rest of this entry »


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