Thursday, November 21, 2013
The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. The spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama's policies—and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: For as long as the charismatic moment lasts—a year, an era—the redeemer is above and beyond judgment. He glides through crises, he knits together groups of varied, often clashing, interests. Always there is that magical moment, and its beauty, as a reference point.
Mr. Obama gave voice to this sentiment in a speech on Nov. 6 in Dallas: "Sometimes I worry because everybody had such a fun experience in '08, at least that's how it seemed in retrospect. And, 'yes we can,' and the slogans and the posters, et cetera, sometimes I worry that people forget change in this country has always been hard." It's a pity we can't stay in that moment, says the redeemer: The fault lies in the country itself—everywhere, that is, except in the magician's performance.
Forgive the personal reference, but from the very beginning of Mr. Obama's astonishing rise, I felt that I was witnessing something old and familiar. My advantage owed nothing to any mastery of American political history. I was guided by my immersion in the political history of the Arab world and of a life studying Third World societies.
In 2008, seeing the Obama crowds in Portland, Denver and St. Louis spurred memories of the spectacles that had attended the rise and fall of Arab political pretenders. I had lived through the era of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul Nasser. He had emerged from a military cabal to become a demigod, immune to judgment. His followers clung to him even as he led the Arabs to a catastrophic military defeat in the Six Day War of 1967. He issued a kind of apology for his performance. But his reign was never about policies and performance. It was about political magic.
In trying to grapple with, and write about, the Obama phenomenon, I found guidance in a book of breathtaking erudition, "Crowds and Power" (1962) by the Nobel laureate Elias Canetti. Born in Bulgaria in 1905 and educated in Vienna and Britain, Canetti was unmatched in his understanding of the passions, and the delusions, of crowds. The crowd is a "mysterious and universal phenomenon," he writes. It forms where there was nothing before. There comes a moment when "all who belong to the crowd get rid of their difference and feel equal." Density gives the illusion of equality, a blessed moment when "no one is greater or better than another." But the crowd also has a presentiment of its own disintegration, a time when those who belong to the crowd "creep back under their private burdens."
Five years on, we can still recall how the Obama coalition was formed. There were the African-Americans justifiably proud of one of their own. There were upper-class white professionals who were drawn to the candidate's "cool." There were Latinos swayed by the promise of immigration reform. The white working class in the Rust Belt was the last bloc to embrace Mr. Obama—he wasn't one of them, but they put their reservations aside during an economic storm and voted for the redistributive state and its protections. There were no economic or cultural bonds among this coalition. There was the new leader, all things to all people.
A nemesis awaited the promise of this new presidency: Mr. Obama would turn out to be among the most polarizing of American leaders. No, it wasn't his race, as Harry Reid would contend, that stirred up the opposition to him. It was his exalted views of himself, and his mission. The sharp lines were sharp between those who raised his banners and those who objected to his policies.
America holds presidential elections, we know. But Mr. Obama took his victory as a plebiscite on his reading of the American social contract. A president who constantly reminded his critics that he had won at the ballot box was bound to deepen the opposition of his critics.
A leader who set out to remake the health-care system in the country, a sixth of the national economy, on a razor-thin majority with no support whatsoever from the opposition party, misunderstood the nature of democratic politics. An election victory is the beginning of things, not the culmination. With Air Force One and the other prerogatives of office come the need for compromise, and for the disputations of democracy. A president who sought consensus would have never left his agenda on Capitol Hill in the hands of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
Mr. Obama has shown scant regard for precedent in American history. To him, and to the coterie around him, his presidency was a radical discontinuity in American politics. There is no evidence in the record that Mr. Obama read, with discernment and appreciation, of the ordeal and struggles of his predecessors. At best there was a willful reading of that history. Early on, he was Abraham Lincoln resurrected (the new president, who hailed from Illinois, took the oath of office on the Lincoln Bible). He had been sworn in during an economic crisis, and thus he was FDR restored to the White House. He was stylish with two young children, so the Kennedy precedent was on offer. In the oddest of twists, Mr. Obama claimed that his foreign policy was in the mold of Dwight Eisenhower's . But Eisenhower knew war and peace, and the foreign world held him in high regard.
During his first campaign, Mr. Obama had paid tribute to Ronald Reagan as a "transformational" president and hinted that he aspired to a presidency of that kind. But the Reagan presidency was about America, and never about Ronald Reagan. Reagan was never a scold or a narcissist. He stood in awe of America, and of its capacity for renewal. There was forgiveness in Reagan, right alongside the belief in the things that mattered about America—free people charting their own path.
If Barack Obama seems like a man alone, with nervous Democrats up for re-election next year running for cover, and away from him, this was the world he made. No advisers of stature can question his policies; the price of access in the Obama court is quiescence before the leader's will. The imperial presidency is in full bloom.
There are no stars in the Obama cabinet today, men and women of independent stature and outlook. It was after a walk on the White House grounds with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, that Mr. Obama called off the attacks on the Syrian regime that he had threatened. If he had taken that walk with Henry Kissinger or George Shultz, one of those skilled statesmen might have explained to him the consequences of so abject a retreat. But Mr. Obama needs no sage advice, he rules through political handlers.
Valerie Jarrett, the president's most trusted, probably most powerful, aide, once said in admiration that Mr. Obama has been bored his whole life. The implication was that he is above things, a man alone, and anointed. Perhaps this moment—a presidency coming apart, the incompetent social engineering of an entire health-care system—will now claim Mr. Obama's attention.
Fouad Ajami is a senior fellow at the Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and author of “The Syrian Rebellion.”
This article is reprinted from the Wall Street Journal with permisison from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Monday, November 18, 2013
“The White House protects their own. That’s why they stalled on the investigation into Fast and Furious, Benghazi and Obamacare. He’s intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.”
— Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, U.S. Army Retired.
Much of the information contained herein comes from e-mailing bloggers, including an article from The Blaze. Fact checking — as indicated by links below – indicates all information is accurate.
While the president is mired down in defending, justifying and practicing mendacity in the Obamacare fiasco, we are all distracted once more from other very important issues facing our nation, some of which the president might prefer we didn’t notice.
While he will not fire anyone with IRS who targets taxpayers for political reasons, or those who snoop on news reporters, or who cover-up and lie to congress about Fast and Furious and Benghazi, and etc., he has no problem firing military generals who have spent their lives in public service, often on the front lines. Imagine that, a community organizer with no background in American service, is dumping military career heroes who have been wearing the same stars and medals as Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley and Arnold Schwarzkopf?
Question is: Why?
Is this a purge of military commanders who are not lock loyal to the president? Is Barack Obama replacing these people who are more apt to do his bidding for political purposes? Is this an omen of something more sinister on the horizon?
The Nine Military Commanders Fired This Year by the Obama Administration, as follows:
Gen. Carter Ham, Army
Served as head of the United States African Command during the bloodshed in Benghazi, Libya when four American citizens, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two retired Navy Seals, were murdered by militants on Sept. 11, 2012. Senior military officials told TheBlaze Hamm was extremely critical of the Obama administration, including when reinforcements were not sent to help the U.S. citizens under attack in Benghazi. Hamm “resigned and retired” in April 2013.
Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette, Navy
Commander of Carrier Strike Group Three. He recently served as deputy commander of the U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. Central Command. He was in charge of Air Craft Carriers in the Mediterranean Sea the night of the Benghazi assault on Sept. 11, 2012. Under testimony, he told Congress there may not have been time to get the flight crews to Benghazi, but left the door open when he told Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) under cross-examination that he could have launched aircraft to the destination. He was later accused of using profanity in a public setting and making at least two racially insensitive comments. While he was cleared of any criminal violations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he still faced administrative penalties that have ended his career.
Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker, Army
Major General Baker served as commander of the Joint Task Force-Horn at Camp Lamar in Djibouti, Africa. According to several military officials who spoke to TheBlaze, he was also involved in some aspect with the Benghazi incident Sept. 11, 2012. He was relieved of command and fired for allegedly groping a civilian, but no assault charges or sexual misconduct charges were filed with military JAG officials.
Brigadier Gen. Bryan Roberts, Army
General Roberts took command of Fort Jackson in 2011. He was considered a rising star in his field and served in Iraq during his service as the commanding officer of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team. He was the deputy commanding general of the United States Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky. He was relieved of duty and fired for adultery — still on the books in the United States Code of Military Justice but rarely since President Bill Clinton’s indiscretions.
Maj. Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant, Marine Corps
Director of Strategic Planning and Policy for the U.S. Pacific Command and commander of the aviation wing at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. He was a highly-decorated Marine with two Naval and Marine Commendations, two Naval and Marine Good Conduct medals, as well as the Air Medal with a gold star. He was one of two commanding officers suddenly relieved of command and fired from the military for failure to use proper force protection at the camp after 15 Taliban fighters attacked Camp Bastion on Sept. 14, 2012, resulting in the deaths of Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible, 40, and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, 27.
Maj. Gen. Charles M.M. Gurganus, Marine Corps
Regional commander in the Southwest and I Marine Expeditionary Force in Afghanistan. Highly decorated with a Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit with Valor, and three Meritorious Service Commendations. According to several military officials, Gurganus questioned having to use Afghan security patrols alongside American patrols after two officers were executed at their desk and a platoon was lead into an ambush on the front lines.
Lt. Gen. David Holmes Huntoon Jr, Army
Served as the 58th Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He graduated from the same academy in 1973 and had served in Senior Planning and Education Services through the majority of his career. He was “censored” for “an investigation” into an “improper relationship” according to the Department of Defense. Nothing was released to the nature of the improper relationship. Nothing was even mentioned if an actual investigation even took place.
Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, Navy
Deputy Commander of the United States Strategic Command. He was commander of the Submarine Group Trident, Submarine Group 9 and Submarine Group 10, where every single one of the 18 Nuclear Submarines with Nuclear Trident Missiles of those three groups were in his command. This commander earned six Legions of Merit, Two Meritorious Service Medals, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, and several other medals and ribbons. He is under criminal investigation for the alleged use of counterfeit gambling chips, while playing a poker game at a western Iowa casino.
Major Gen. Michael Carey, Air Force
Commander 20th Air Force in charge of 9,600 people and 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles at three operational wings and served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Carry was fired October 11, 2013, for “personal misbehavior,” according to ABC News. Pentagon and Air Force senior officials have remained relatively tight-lipped about Carry’s firing.
As this blog is being prepared, I learned of another firing of Col. Eric Tilley, dismissed of his command in Japan. (Reported by Stars and Stripes)
Newsmax reports that over 200 top military command personnel have been toppled at the behest of Barack Obama in the last five years.
*** Something smells in Washington D.C. But we can’t speculate the motives. In the wake of so many scandals involving gross dishonesty from the top down, neither can we believe a word of what we’re being told. This is not the America I have always known.
This is a significant purge, the likes of which we’ve not seen outside of major war time. Those who are replacing these men do so with a clear message: Conform or kiss your careers goodbye. Independent thinkers unwelcome.
Click here: Obama ‘gutting military’ by purging generals
Click here: 9 Generals Fired, 2 Military Leaders Suspended | Ben Swann Truth In Media
Click here: 7 High Ranking Military Officers Fired By Obama, 1st Time In US History; Are These the Ones That Wont Cooperate Wi
Click here: Obama’s Purge: Military Officers Replaced Under the Commander-in-Chief | Independent Journal Review
Click here: Another Military Commander Fired —
Friday, November 01, 2013
The Benghazi murders of a year ago are sliding into distant history without anyone in the U.S. government being held accountable.
Where are the American people? Where is the outcry? We keep on blaming the media for failing to bring the truth to light, but we – the people – sit back and let each day go by while we are continually distracted with other government issues, bad and good. We’re falling for the shell game.
The only people who can truly make a difference in these disgraceful criminal acts of government commission and omission, are you and me. Don’t count on Attorney General Eric Holder. Don’t count on the President, he went to bed the night it happened and to a Vegas fund raiser the next morning. Don’t count on the Secretary of State, past or present. For two weeks, Hillary tried to convince us all it was all about a video, knowing full well it was a lie. (And some of you want her to be a president?) The primary job of these people is to protect the administration at all costs, even if it means lying to you and me.
This is not a scandal. This is a crime. The media has been complicit in allowing us all to be distracted by a myriad of other issues, putting this CRIME on the back burner, hopefully forever.
We cannot let that happen. The guilty parties at the highest of levels must be held accountable. It’s left up to us. Now it seems one media outlet is beginning to show a crack in the Obama armor system, as CBS went on a limb and aired a 15-minute program on 60 Minutes, showing in short sound bytes and brief interviews, how the American complex in Benghazi was absolutely being targeted for death and destruction by al Qaeda months in advance, and yet nothing was done to protect Americans. Washington biggies – meaning the state and defense departments – were fully informed by the Ambassador’s office and chief security personnel. They knew it, and nothing was done. In fact, security was reduced, not increased, as though someone in this administration was complicit with al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The CBS show should have been a full hour, but we’ll take what we can get.
The highest levels of personnel in Benghazi, including the heads of security, military heads and Ambassador Stevens himself, had pleaded with Washington – repeatedly – to provide more and better security to the Benghazi compound, because the writing was on the wall. Al Qaeda flags were flying all over Benghazi. They were taking over. Al Qaeda had posted threats on-line, that they would destroy the British consulate and the Red Cross units, and the American consulate. They made good those promises by attacking the Brits and Red Cross, which ushered them out of Libya. All that was left was the U.S. consulate. Greg Hicks, Deputy to Ambassador Stevens, testified to congress and told CBS how often he pleaded for added security, and how it was coldly denied. “Why didn’t you get the help you were asking for?” asked the reporter. “I don’t know. I would like to know the answer to that.”
Then came the attack, which the ambassador knew was coming and which he communicated to the state department. As the CBS program pointed out, and as testified to by the heads of security in the compound, the administration knew within an hour this was an al Qaeda attack and that the Americans were in dire straits facing certain death if forces were not sent to the area to, at the very least, TRY to intervene and protect our people there. But they were not.
Greg Hicks speaks about the feelings he had when told by the military attaché, one hour into the attack, that no help was coming. “For the people who go out on the edge to represent our country, we believe that if we get into trouble, they’re coming to get us. Our back is covered. To hear that it is not, it is a terrible, terrible experience.”
And then, the aftermath. A president basically dismissed the attack and issued no orders to military commanders to – at the least – attempt to rescue. Rather, he went to bed. The next morning, a prepared innocuous statement was read in the Rose Garden with his criminal Secretary of State standing by his side, and then Obama was off to fund raisers and talk shows. Meanwhile, though the truth is known, Hillary and her acolyte, Susan Rice, snowed the media with lies on top of lies about a dumb anti-Muslim video. Obama, himself, addressed the United Nations two weeks later with finger-pointing message about that video, KNOWING IT WAS A LIE.
Here’s a comparable scenario: You and a friend are walking to the end of a cliff. You know it’s coming, but fail to inform or help your friend. The friend slips on the edge, and holds on for dear life, pleading, “help, help.” You watch, then turn and walk away… doing nothing until the friend is down the chasm – dead. You knew he was in danger and did nothing. You could have helped, but turned your back. And you’re guilty of nothing?
Here’s the deal my friends. The government is being led by two corrupt elements, democrats and republicans. All that really matters to these people are gaining and staying in power. At this moment, with a democratic president, the democratic senators and congressmen have a primary role: To protect this democratic president, even if he might be a criminal. They ignore the role of doing what’s right and moral for America. Rather, saving the party is more important.
Knowing that, it’s time to make a major shift in Washington. If the media, or the congress, or the senate or the Attorney General, or the democrats are not going to do anything about this contemptible and perhaps criminal administration, the next best thing is to strip him of his powers by electing major majorities of republicans in the house and senate in 2014, so that his last two years are held in check. (Barring impeachment)
Perhaps, when his term is over, a new Attorney General or special prosecutor will investigate thoroughly and hold accountable those who have committed criminal acts. At the least, they should be held accountable for violating their oaths of office.
Time to put the partisan politics aside for once, and consider what’s best for Americans, not what’s best for the party. Barack Obama must be stripped of his power, and that can only be accomplished by you and me.
Here is the CBS 60 minutes show, video. CBS has constantly been an advocate for this president and for his staff. So this is an amazing step for that news organization. It’s fifteen minutes. Please take time to watch it all.
Click here: 60 Minutes: Benghazi – 60 Minutes – CBS News