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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Obama’s YouTube Wars

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Last September, Barack Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly to denounce a YouTube video, calling it “crude and disgusting” and assuring Muslims everywhere that this particular YouTube video did not represent America.
Finally Obama delivered what is surely one of the most famous YouTube negative video comments ever, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

The future is still up for grabs, but the man behind the YouTube video was taken in by a crowd of armed police and locked up earning him the privilege of being one of the few movie producers imprisoned for their movies; alongside Robert Goldstein of  “The Spirit of ’76″.

As YouTube thumbs downs go, a year in jail is pretty harsh. The thumbs of American presidents historically lacked the thumbpotence of Roman emperors sitting in their Coliseum boxes and deciding if a gladiator should live or die. But when a YouTube video is passed off as the biggest national security threat since a Twitter hashtag about Biden’s hairplugs, why shouldn’t Obama take on imperial airs and drop the prison banhammer?

The trailer for a movie about the Muslim persecution of Christians did not actually lead to multiple coordinated attacks by Salafists against American embassies and diplomatic missions.

Unfortunately in an election where the incumbent was running on his claim that he had single-handedly killed Osama bin Laden in an arm wrestling match, it would have been embarrassing to admit that Al Qaeda had pulled off its second worst attack on America since September 11… on September 11.

It was easier to blame it on YouTube.

Last September, a YouTube video was blamed for several acts of war. This September, a war may be fought over a bunch of YouTube videos.

Obama addressed the nation to rally support for his Syrian strikes. As evidence that “chemical weapons were used in Syria” he mentioned the “videos, cell phone pictures, and social media accounts from the attack”.

The message was that if you want Obama’s case for war, go watch it on YouTube. And hope it isn’t as staged as Jimmy Kimmel’s Twerking fail video..

William Randolph Hearst was supposed to have told a reporter, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war”. Now YouTube and social media furnishes the videos and pictures and Barack Hussein Obama will furnish the war.

Obama didn’t even bother assembling a playlist of the top 10 WMD YouTube videos that will make a case for war; a strange omission for an administration that prides itself as the most tech-savvy organization in the room when it comes to emailing voters and reading their email.

Instead officials boasted about their high-end YouTube watching skills and their “Classified intelligence tools… used to ensure that bodies were not counted twice.” Hopefully at least one of those classified tools involved basic arithmetic.

Traditionally a case for war would be based on some kind of physical evidence, but in this new digital world where no one ever has to do anything in person, except get treated for carpal tunnel syndrome, we can blame wars on YouTube videos and fight wars over YouTube videos.

And if the whole Syrian chemical attack turns out to have been faked by Jimmy Kimmel, at least it will have been the most epic troll ever leading to a flame war with actual flames.

It’s easy to blame Obama for being too lazy to send someone out to Syria to actually check the toe tags instead of clicking through a few videos, marking the WMD box checked and then checking out the trailer for the remake of Robocop.

But it’s not like anyone else has been doing a much better job.

French intelligence released a report confirming a chemical weapons attack by Assad that killed 281 people based in part “on dozens of videos culled by French intelligence services”.

Forget James Bond. Jacques Bond dispenses with the tuxedo, martinis and the Walther PPK and equipped with a Snuggie, a swivel chair and some Hot Pockets assembles a case for war based on his unique skill of video cullings. It really is the ultimate playlist with Europe’s The Final Countdown as the soundtrack. Or maybe Iggy Pop’s Search and Destroy.

When Assad said that the accusations are based “on arbitrary videos posted on the Internet”, he kind of had a point. Or maybe he didn’t. After all they’re based on arbitrary videos posted on the internet and then culled by the crack Le Hot Pockets team at French intelligence and the best YouTube watchers our own intelligence services have to offer.
It’s easy to get confused when building a case for war based on YouTube videos.

France’s Top Secret YouTubers claimed 281 people had been killed. Our own YouTubers appear to have come up with 1,429 since that’s the number that John Kerry has been waving around on any channel willing to give him 5 minutes of airtime.

But maybe our YouTubers just watched the same video 5 times.

Across the channel, UK’s social media spooks claimed 350 dead. Maybe they watched the full video. Doctors Without Borders, which hopefully counted actual bodies instead of URLs, pegged the death toll at 355. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights went up to 502. Even that is only 1/3 of Kerry’s 1,429.

Where does Kerry get his oddly specific 1,429 number from?  No one knows. The Senate Intelligence Committee received 13 videos whose authenticity was verified by that specter known as “the intelligence community”. The intelligence community is a notoriously flexible entity. It usually knows the truth, but sometimes serves other masters.

Back when Obama was determined to blame a movie trailer for the murder of four Americans, the intelligence community, which originally pointed to a terrorist attack, was muscled by Hillary’s people into blaming the dreaded YouTube video in the Benghazi talking points.

Online videos don’t make the best case for war. It’s not just Jimmy Kimmel who can fake viral videos.

Both sides in the Syrian Civil War have filled the internet with viral videos claiming to show the other side using chemical weapons, killing babies and eating with their left hands. There’s a fake suicide bomber auction video being distributed by the regime and a fake government massacre being passed around by the rebels. And those are just some of the more notorious examples.

The pro-regime Syrian Electronic Army is hacking websites and the Syria expert whose Wall Street Journal article claiming that the Syrian rebels were moderate was cited by McCain and Kerry turned out to have faked her academic credentials while working for a Syrian rebel front group.

The best thing to believe about Syria is nothing. Both sides are engaged in epic levels of fakery. And if we are going to bomb Syria, the least we can do is sort through real life evidence.

Obama may begin wars over YouTube videos and blame wars on YouTube videos, but the people who die in those wars are all too real. In his UN General Assembly speech, he mentioned the video seven times, but never once mentioned the names of the two former Navy SEALS who rushed to the rescue.

If the future is to belong to anyone, it should belong to men like them and not to amateur YouTube reviewers who start wars.

Those who live in a virtual world, often forget that the things that matter are real. Wars aren’t really virtual; even if they’re fought with drones and reported on by Twitter accounts. The people who die in them are real and the money used to wage them has to be taken out of the monthly paychecks of families struggling to pay for winter clothing, braces and a home cooked meal.

Obama, like Hollande and Cameron, his leading Syrian War allies, slashed military spending while starting new wars. He cut military paychecks and raised the cost of military healthcare while drastically slashing the armed forces. In a debate, he sneered that objections to his policy of gutting the Navy while expecting it to fight all his wars for him were like so retro.

“We have fewer ships than we did… we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed,” Obama said. The line quickly became a trending Twitter hashtag and inspired YouTube videos; none of which, fortunately, led to jail sentences.

But now it’s not hashtags or YouTube videos steaming toward Syria; it’s Navy ships with not enough of the cruise missiles that Obama would like to fire off. And so the bayonets may have to do.

YouTube videos are great for streaming Obama’s war speeches and finding scapegoats for the terrorist attacks he wants to deny happened, but they don’t fight wars.

Men like Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who died not because of a YouTube video, but because Obama failed to provide them with armed support while they were fighting for their lives, are the ones that fight them. And they fight with whatever is left to them by a government that tried to blow $250,000 on an Afghan YouTube channel, but didn’t have enough left over to provide security for American diplomats or health care for American soldiers.

Obama is a virtual leader for a virtual nation. He has virtual solutions for all problems, none of which actually work in the real world. He can virtually do anything, but he can’t really do anything except spend fortunes on useless boondoggles in proper Silicon Valley style. Like so many dot coms, he thinks that inspiration is a substitute for a business plan and communications and social media outreach are a substitute for a strategy. They aren’t.

Like so many Silicon Valley dot coms with a huge audience and no profits to show for it, he has gotten away with it because too many are invested in the virtual pyramids of the Arab Spring, along with his other pyramid schemes, to hold him accountable.

But his Syria speech is only another reminder that he doesn’t have a plan for the war. He has a video.

Egypt: al Jazeera ‘National Threat,’ Bans Channel, Arrests Journalists

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Egyptian ministers announced that al Jazeera’s channel in Egypt is a national threat.  They have banned the affiliate and arrested four of its journalists.

In their statement, the Egyptian ministers of investment, telecommunications and information accused al Jazeera Mubashir Misr of spreading lies and rumors damaging to Egyptian national security and unity.

The statement read: “Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr does not have a legal basis for its presence in Egypt, and it has been shown that it does not possess any of the licenses and permits that it requires to conduct its operations on Egyptian territory.”

The Egyptian government took this step the day after Al Jazeera Mubashir Misr broadcast a message from the Muslim Brotherhood’s spokesman Mohamed El-Beltagy.

Beltagy, speaking from an undisclosed location, criticized the interim Egyptian government. The Brotherhood’s spokesman also emphatically denied that his organization is a terrorist organization.

While it may be fine for an American politician from the Republican party to go on the air and criticize U.S. President Barack Obama, things don’t go down quite the same way in Egypt, or, for that matter, in any Muslim country in the Middle East.

Although they cannot actually block al Jazeera from its communications satellite, Egypt’s ministers of investment, telecommunications and information issued a public statement banning the channel for using satellite transmitters without an official license.

In addition to making the announcement banning the Qatari channel, the offices of Al Jazeera’s Mubashir Misr were raided and four of its journalists were arrested. Correspondent Wayne Hay, cameraman Adil Bradlow and producers Russ Finn and Baher Mohammed were detained on Tuesday, the network said on Thursday, calling the arrests “a campaign against al Jazeera in particular,” the Guardian reported.

In addition to the detention of the al Jazeera journalists, Egyptian officers also located and arrested Mohamed el-Beltagy, as well as the  former Labor minister Khaled al-Azhari.

The arrests, in turn, prompted the Muslim Brotherhood to ramp up calls for nationwide protests against Egypt’s military-backed government. The Egyptian government immediately responded to the call by warning that live ammunition would be used against protesters who attack public institutions.

Friday will be another day of violence in Egypt.

Iran Draws ‘Red Line’ against US Intervention in Syria

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

From Al Arabiya:

A top Iranian military chief warned on Sunday that the U.S. will face “harsh consequences” if it intervenes in Syria over claims of chemical attacks, reported Agence France Presse citing a Fars new agency report.

“If the United States crosses this red line, there will be harsh consequences for the White House,” armed forces deputy chief of staff Massoud Jazayeri was quoted as saying.

A year ago, U.S. President Barack Obama warned the use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a “red line” and have “enormous consequences.”

Then again, Iran had threatened Israel specifically if it does anything in Syrian territory, but nothing happened after Israel evidently repeatedly attacked weapons en route to Hezbollah.

Visit Elder of Ziyon.

Meet the New Peace Talks, Same as the Old Peace Talks

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Alternative peace activist Baruch Widen returns! He and Yishai discuss why Israel is allowing peace talks to happen despite overtones of failed past attempts that are already beginning to appear. To prove the point, Widen and Yishai end the segment talking about two issues of Time magazine from 1974 that were brought into the studio.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Obama’s Foreign Fiasco

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.

It’s a privilege to be an American who works on foreign policy, as I have done since the late 1970s, participating in a small way in the grand project of finding my country’s place in the world. But now, under Barack Obama, decisions made in Washington have dramatically shrunk in importance. It’s unsettling and dismaying. And no longer a privilege.

Whether during the structured Cold War or the chaotic two decades that followed, America’s economic size, technological edge, military prowess, and basic decency meant that even in its inactivity, the U.S. government counted as much or more in world developments than any other state. Sniffles in Washington translated into influenza elsewhere.

Weak and largely indifferent presidents like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton mattered despite themselves, for example in the Iranian revolution of 1978-79 or the Arab-Israeli conflict in the 1990s. Strong and active presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush had greater impact yet, speeding up the Soviet collapse or invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

But now, with Barack Obama, the United States has slid into shocking irrelevance in the Middle East, the world’s most turbulent region. Inconstancy, incompetence, and inaction have rendered the Obama administration impotent. In the foreign policy arena, Obama acts as though he would rather be the prime minister of Belgium, a small country that usually copies the decisions of its larger neighbors when casting votes at the United Nations or preening morally about distant troubles. Belgians naturally “lead from behind,” to use the famed phrase emanating from Obama’s White House.

Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo was a very long time ago.

Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo was a very long time ago.

Qatar (with a national population of 225,000) has an arguably greater impact on current events than the 1,400-times-larger United States (population: 314 million). Note how Obama these days takes a back seat to the emirs of Doha: They take the lead supplying arms to the Libyan rebels, he follows. They actively help the rebels in Syria, he dithers. They provide billions to the new leadership in Egypt, he stumbles over himself. They unreservedly back Hamas in Gaza, he pursues delusions of an Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Toward this end, the U.S. secretary of state made six trips in four months to Israel and the Palestinian territories in pursuit of a diplomatic initiative that almost no one believes will end the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Doha, now more influential than Washington in the Middle East.

Doha, now more influential than Washington in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of defense called Egyptian leader Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi 17 times in conversations lasting 60-90 minutes, yet failed in his pleas that Sisi desist from using force against the Muslim Brotherhood. More striking yet, Sisi apparently refused to take a phone call from Obama. The $1.5 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt suddenly looks paltry in comparison to the $12 billion from three Persian Gulf countries, with promises to make up for any Western cuts in aid. Both sides in Egypt’s deep political divide accuse Obama of favoring the other and execrate his name. As dozens of Coptic churches burned, he played six rounds of golf. Ironically, Egypt is where, four long years ago, Obama delivered a major speech repudiating George W. Bush policies with seeming triumph.

Obama’s ambitions lie elsewhere – in augmenting the role of government within the United States, as epitomized by Obamacare. Accordingly, he treats foreign policy as an afterthought, an unwelcome burden, and something to dispatch before returning to juicier matters. He oversees withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan with little concern for what follows. His unique foreign policy accomplishment, trumpeted ad nauseam, was the execution of Osama bin Laden.

So far, the price to American interests for Obama’s ineptitude has not been high. But that could change quickly. Most worrisome, Iran could soon achieve nuclear breakout and start to throw its newfound weight around, if not to deploy its brand-new weapons. The new regime in Egypt could revert to its earlier anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism; already, important elements in Egypt are calling for rejection of U.S. aid and termination of the peace treaty with Israel.

As an American who sees his country as a force for good, these developments are painful and scary. The world needs an active, thoughtful, and assertive United States. The historian Walter A. McDougall rightly states that “The creation of the United States of America is the central event of the past four hundred years” and its civilization “perturbs the trajectories of all other civilizations just by existing.” Well not so much perturbation these days; may the dismal present be brief in duration.

Looking Back on the Life of Barack Obama

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

He Taught us to Laugh, He Made Us Believe, and then He Took All Our MoneyHe was the first black President of the United States, and he also became its last President when in 2019, after his term in office had been extended indefinitely by HR:0666 or “The Hope and Faith in Obama’s Everlasting Presidency Act” (Holo-Link), he was forced to leave office because the government had run out of money to pay for itself.

Though he lived a very public life, few could agree on even the basic facts of his life. For a man who spent most of his life in front of the camera, his death leaves us with few answers about who Barack Obama (Holo-Link) really was. Obama only added to the uncertainty swirling around him by using multiple names,  multiple birthplaces and even passports.

The bestselling Presidential biographies of Obama, from Edmund Morris’ “America’s Greatest Con-Man” to Michael Beschloss’ “Obama: Citizen of the World” cover the range of opinions on Obama’s presidency.

And long after the fall of the United States, there is still no real consensus by former Americans on who Obama really was.

Yet to many Barack Obama represents a nostalgic time in history; the last years when such diverse nations as the Confederate States of California (Holo-Link), the Republic of New Hampshire, the People’s Republic of Minnesota, the Empire of Texas, El Reino de Aztlan and the Arch-Duchy of Upper New York were all part of one single nation that stretched from ocean to ocean.

His Life

Born in a hospital in some still undetermined part of the world, Barack learned to use multiple names and identities at an early age. Traveling from country to country, the young Obama or Soetoro, would quickly become adept at blending into any culture. This skill would prove crucial in his political career, allowing him to invent new identities and win the trust of his audience. If there is one thing his biographers agree on, it’s that he had a genuine gift for sensing what his audience wanted to hear. Unfortunately like most con artists, he lacked the same ability for long term financial planning, that he did for short term schemes to extract money from a gullible American public.

There is no denying that Obama cheerfully used fraud and strong arm tactics throughout his political career, but the chief weapon in his arsenal was flattery. Many of his supporters remember the special feeling of being made to feel that he was their friend. As one former aide wrote, “He taught us to laugh, he made us believe, and then he took all our money”.

This conflicted legacy helps explain Barack Obama’s popularity, even after his corruption and abuses of power destroyed the  government, ending the era of the United States for good– he was ranked 4th on the prestigious Dow Jones’ “Most Likable Celebrities in North America in 2019″ index (Holo-Link).

It helped that Obama left the White House voluntarily after learning that there would be no more money left for his trips abroad, and that due to the failure of the Federal Reserve and the secession of 23 states from the Union, no national budget would be possible.

He did leave with everything of value in the White House that his family and associates could grab or pry out of the walls, but by then most Americans were too busy dealing with the problems of the Great Partition to notice. Even the farewell party that burned down most of the White House seemed a small thing in the wake of the Detroit Food Riots or the discovery of the Red River Gulag (Holo-Link).

His popularity afterward enabled Obama to begin several successful careers in the entertainment industry, including a long-running stint on the soap opera General Catastrope, his own line of shammy infomercials and a music career with such nostalgia singles as, “Where’s Da Money”, “Where All Da Money Go” and “What Happen to All Da Money?”

Even today viewers watching old fashioned television can still catch commercials of Obama in his older years, holding up a shammy cloth, dipping it in a spilled pool of olive oil and telling the audience to have faith that the mess would be gone. Even his famous tagline, “At a price that won’t bankrupt you, unlike me” was meant to be a good humored reference to his controversial two and a half terms in office.

Obama’s Friday Press Conf: Threats, Emb. Closures Insignificant

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Before leaving on a nine-day vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, U.S. President Barack Obama held a 53-minute long press conference on Friday, August 9.

The president spent his entire introductory remarks in his first solo press conference since late April, on proposed changes to the government’s surveillance laws.

The four specific steps he laid out were ones intended to mollify outrage both from the American people and U.S. allies to issues of eavesdropping and other forms of privacy invasion raised in the wake of damaging security leaks by Edward Snowden about secret U.S. government mass surveillance programs to the press.

Those four steps include amending the relevant portion of the Patriot Act, provide oversight to the judges who are tasked with authorizing the specific surveillance programs, increasing transparency regarding the different programs, including creating a website “hub” which will allow U.S. citizens and our allies to better understand the programs, and creating an outside panel of experts to review the entire enterprise to ensure that the U.S. government can maintain the trust of the people and our allies.  This review panel will be required to submit an initial report in 60 days and a final report by the end of the calendar year.

While he remained even-keeled throughout most of his ten minute presentation, the president allowed himself a few jabs at countries who have been harshly critical of the U.S. in the wake of the Snowden leaks.

It’s true we have significant capabilities. What’s also true is we show a restraint that many governments around the world don’t even think to do, refuse to show. That includes, by the way, some of America’s most vocal critics. We shouldn’t forget the difference between the ability of our government to collect information online, under strict guidelines and for narrow purposes, and the willingness of some other governments to throw their own citizens in prison for what they say online.

The president concluded his prepared remarks by praising domestic critics of the surveillance programs, going so far as saying, “our critics are also our patriots.”  But in responding to one of the reporters called on who queried how far this magnanimous position extended, the president made crystal clear, “No, I don’t think Mr. Snowden was a patriot.”

Of the questions asked by reporters of the president, the majority dealt with some aspect of the Snowden/Russian relations/surveillance review issues, two dealt with healthcare, one was about the next Federal Reserve chairman, one was on immigration reform, one was whether the U.S. is going to capture and punish the people who attacked the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, and one was whether al Qaeda has actually been “decimated.”

In other words, it apparently was of only minor significance that an unprecedented shuttering of the official face, presence and voice of America across a vast swath of the globe was of merely minor significance to the entire White House press corps as well as to the president of the United States.  No one asked – or was permitted to ask – what exactly led to the closure of the government buildings or when they were expected to re-open.

However, after the press conference ended, the State Department issued a statement that 18 of the 19 embassies and consulates which have been closed for a week will reopen on Sunday or Monday.  The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, will remain closed, and almost all U.S. government personnel were ordered to leave Yemen last Tuesday because of the potential for terrorist attacks from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In addition, the U.S. embassy in Lahore, Pakistan, “which closed yesterday due to a separate credible threat to that facility, will also remain closed.”

You’d think there would have been more of a focus on the real, ongoing terrorist threats to the United States than on, say, who will be the next Federal Reserve chairman or even on immigration reform, neither one of which threatens to murder, maim and savage Americans in the immediate future.

 

Erdogan Has His Ticket to Gaza Pulled by Egypt

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Due to the very close relationship between Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan and ousted Egyptian President and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamad Morsi, the Egyptian authorities have apparently canceled a long-planned visit to Gaza by the Turkish Prime Minister.

Erdogan announced he would be visiting the Gaza Strip shortly after President Barack Obama traveled to Israel and persuaded Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to apologize for the deaths of nine Turks who were aboard the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara which attempted to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010.

When those aboard the Mavi Marmara refused to listen to Israeli warnings and turn back, Israelis boarded the Turkish ship armed only with paint guns.  The Turks attacked the Israeli soldiers with lead pipes and other weapons and in response Israeli soldiers eventually shot and killed the aggressors.

Last week the Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs Hatem Seif Al-Nasr called on Turkish Ambassador Huseyin Avni Botsali to object to his country’s stance towards recent events in Egypt.

Since the most recent uprisings in Egypt and the ouster of Morsi, the Turkish government has been extremely critical of Egypt’s activities.  Erdogan gave a speech during an iftar dinner in Ankara expressing his discontent with recent events in Egypt and criticising Defence Minister Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, blaming him for violence and political unrest.

And in a widely reported interview given on July 14, Erdogan said that Morsi was the only legitimate president of Egypt.

In addition to the current Egyptian leadership’s hostility towards Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister is also saddled with ongoing political unrest in his own country.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/erdogan-has-his-ticket-to-gaza-pulled-by-egypt/2013/08/05/

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