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Sunday, January 1, 2017
Obama: A Political Corpse
My mother's almost ninety-eight years old. While in relatively good physical and mental health considering her advanced age, she has in recent years developed a very strong denial of death and its effects, infusing a level of irrationality to some exchanges with her.
On a recent visit, we had this conversation:
Mother: "I can't understand why your father doesn't call."
Me: "Mother, you know he's been dead for eleven years."
Mother: "Yes, I know that, but I still don't understand why he hasn't called."
Me: "Dead men can't call."
Mother: "He could call collect."
Obama's political death -- the Russians have tagged him "a political corpse" -- is spurring him and his administration to deny it by undertaking a series of ever more outrageous acts to preserve what he considers his "legacy." Michael Walsh summed up Obama's week: "Stab Israel, provoke Russia, grab land -- even the nuttiest Leftist has to admit Obama is out of control."
Obama hopes his party's diminished power over his two terms will be without effect. President-Elect Trump and those who support him see it differently -- the corpse is spewing toxic pathogens, which will not survive a thorough cleansing.
As a culmination of his eight years in office in which he was unsuccessful in persuading Israel to commit suicide by caving in to further Palestinian demands to give up yet more land for no peace or even a recognition of its right to exist, hemanipulated a UN resolution which would have the same effect.
In his remarks, he may finally have donewhat eight years of Obama's anti-Israel acts have failed to do -- made clear the anti-Semitic basis of this animus, thereby weaning more Jews from the Democratic Party.
In this context of claiming that Israeli policy was "leading toward one state, or perpetual occupation," Kerry admonished: "If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic. It cannot be both." Presumably, Kerry was referring to the fact that Israel has a significant Arab-Muslim population. He conveniently did not mention, since it must never be mentioned, the vow of Mahmoud Abbas (the Palestinian leader Kerry sees as Israel's "peace partner") that, "In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli -- soldier or civilian -- on our lands." Implicitly, of course, if Kerry is saying that a country with a Muslim minority cannot maintain its Jewish character and still abide by democratic principles, then neither can the United States maintain its Judeo-Christian character and still abide by democratic principles -- notwithstanding that our Judeo-Christian character is the basis for our belief in the equal dignity of all men and women, a foundational democratic principle. It is a principle one does not find in classical Islam, the law of which explicitly elevates Muslims over non-Muslims and men over women.
As the author makes clear, the Department of State had no problem when it oversaw the drafting of the constitutions of Iraq and Afghanistan as democratic Islamic states.
Democratic Party efforts to defeat Trump through ginned up riots, slanderous accusations of racism, homophobia, sexism and anti-Semitism having failed to schlep the unappealing Hillary Clinton into the winner's circle, moved on to Obama's efforts to delegitimize his successor. Electoral College intimidation, riots, pointless recounts weren't enough to do that job. This week, Obama claimed that Russians "hacked" the election. No proof of this has been offered up, nor can it. Even Rolling Stonewas not persuadedand found that the joint FBI/Homeland Security report released by the administration didn't make that case.
This report is long on jargon but short on specifics. More than half of it is just a list of suggestions for preventive measures.
But we don't learn much at all about what led our government to determine a) that these hacks were directed by the Russian government, or b) they were undertaken with the aim of influencing the election, and in particular to help elect Donald Trump.
Nothing quite adds up.
Nevertheless, ignoring how unsecure were Hillary's and the DNC communications systems, using this pretext, Obama decided to expel 35 Russians with diplomatic standing and shut down two of their compounds.
Rolling Stone called this "an oddly weak and ill-timed response"
Tom Lipscomb had a stronger characterization: "Never in the diplomatic history of the United States have 35 members of any diplomatic mission been sent home while our nations were not at war. Obama is clearly insane. There was no consultation with any other branch of the government on this, I would have him interned in Hawaii pending mental examination and swear in Biden for the duration."
David Goldman was more temperate but not the least bit less critical: "Let's see: John Podesta and the DNC rig the Democratic primaries to favor Clinton against Sanders, which is blatant abuse of power if not outright criminality. Someone leaks the emails and exposes Podesta's misdeeds. This makes the DNC look bad. And now Obama et. al. claim that LEAKING the evidence of DNC misdeeds was the crime, rather than the misdeeds themselves. That's a better (if less economical) definition of Chutzpah than the fellow who kills his parents and asks for leniency on the grounds that he's an orphan."
Iowahawk also had some thoughts on this.
John Podesta, like 100% of everyone who has ever had a email account, received a password phishing email. He fell for it.
According to some accounts, the phishing email had Russian fingerprints/characteristics in its metadata.
Whatever the case, the password purloiners downloaded his emails, which eventually got into the hands of Wikileaks, who made them public.
The emails were mildly embarrassing, revealing frequent circle jerking between the DNC and journalists. Mostly embarrassing to media.
At the time of their release (Oct) they were hardly covered by any media, and largely dismissed as a big fat nothingburger.
Not one of the people whose emails were revealed has ever disputed their authenticity or provenance.
Fast forward to December. The October nothingburger has now magically transformed into "vote hacking" and "election hacking."
New narrative: treasonous Trump operatives conspired with Putin to hypnotically mesmerize Clinton voters into pulling the wrong lever.
This is not Alex Jones or angry conspiracy kook Facebook uncles, it's the NYTs, the WaPo, our beloved State Radio.
How effective has this been? If polls are to be believed, 50%+ of Democrats believe the Russians literally modified vote tallies.
Vladimir Putin swatted away the administration's response, and in this statement from the Kremlin clearly refused to be baited by this untoward provocation:
We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship. This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people. Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as a whole.
As it proceeds from international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind. Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible 'kitchen' diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.
The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year's holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year's holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children's parties in the Kremlin.
It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner. Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.
My season's greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people.
President Obama's lame duck administration poured on thousands more new regulations in 2016 at a rate of 18 for every new law passed, according to a Friday analysis of his team's expansion of federal authority.
While Congress passed just 211 laws, Obama's team issued an accompanying 3,852 new federal regulations, some costing billions of dollars.
When you think of a national monument, you probably think of a beautiful statue or some stately structure that honors a former president. They're nice to have, nice to go look at. You probably don't think of a "national monument" as 1.5 million acres of land that contains crucial natural resources the nation needs, but thanks to the national monument designation, can't touch.
Welcome once again to the final days of the Obama presidency, in which the whole point is to take abuse of executive power to new and, Obama hopes, irreversible new heights. Screw your neighbors. Screw your own country. You've got nothing to lose at this point, and you think you've come up with a way to do it that leaves your successor helpless to reverse your abuses once you're gone. One day it's drilling in the Atlantic and the Arctic. The next it's the de facto declaration of war against one of your best allies.
Now you've decided to make official what you've long believed -- that all property ultimately belongs to the state, whose primary interest in said property is to prevent said land from ever benefiting the people in any way. And if that means you're seizing 1.5 million acres on the thinnest of premises, hey, you're Barack Obama. At this point, it's what you do:
Obama sees governing as a form of ideological combat. However much he may pretend he wants to help Trump get off to a good start, his actions say exactly the opposite. This gigantic federal land grab is only the latest example of Obama cleverly abusing executive powers in his waning days to hamstring the incoming administration, while structuring his actions in such a way that Trump can't simply revoke what Obama has done.
President-elect Trump is cutting short the usual inaugural parade and limiting the number of balls so he can hit the ground running. He'll need to if he is to purge these toxic actions.
Happy New Year to you all. It's going to be a new day here in the nation's capital and, I hope, around the country and world.