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.
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.
Bill de Blasio, the current frontrunner in the Democratic primary for mayor, has been running his second television commercial of the campaign, titled “Dignity,” since Monday. Fact checking the ad, Michael Barbaro of the NY Times found it quite misleading. Mr. de Blasio argues he’s the only candidate pledging to end the way the Police Department carries out the stop-and-frisk tactic. The problem with that claim is that his opponents have all, in one way or another, pledged to reform it, too.
Nor is Mr. de Blasio, per his claim, the only candidate proposing an income tax on the rich to pay for education. John C. Liu, the city comptroller, has proposed raising the city’s marginal income tax to pay for after-school programs, among other things.
“Dropping the misleading word ‘only’ from several of his claims, or using it more carefully, would do wonders for the accuracy and credibility of his commercials,” Barbaro concludes.
Bill de Blasio’s exaggerating his role as an advocate for the issues he believes are at the top of voters’ concerns is nothing new. In fact, his record of representing the outer-boroughs, as he now promises not to let down any New Yorker, is far from exhilarating.
Back in 2001, when he first ran for City Council in the 39th district, Mr. de Blasio was examined for mismanagement and controversial ties that had put in question his credentials at the time. “[Bill de Blasio] carries a lot of baggage as well,” The Village Voice wrote in a profile on the race for council.
“De Blasio was elected to School Board 15 in 1999, and his tenure has been rocky. Many public school parents charge that de Blasio was stubbornly supportive of Frank DeStefano, the former superintendent of District 15 who resigned in the winter amid allegations of overspending and mismanagement. Reports first surfaced in the fall of 1999 that DeStefano had begun to run up big deficits, taking himself and other school officials on several expensive junkets costing a total of more than $100,000. One year later the school deficit topped $1 million, leading to the cancellation of a popular after-school reading program while DeStefano maintained an expensive car service.
“De Blasio still defends his decision to stick with DeStefano for as long as he did. “He was a visionary and a great educator, but he was a horrible communicator,” de Blasio says of DeStefano. “I was deeply concerned, but I was not going to make a final decision until I saw the evidence.” In the end, de Blasio says, “he could have made better decisions, but I don’t think the spending was wildly excessive. Both of my parents were victims of the McCarthy era. I do not take lightly the idea of ousting someone. You have to have the evidence.”
“De Blasio has also been linked to the flap over New Square, the Hasidic village in upstate New York that has been mired in pardon scandals. Candidate Clinton assiduously courted the small Rockland community last year, winning the town by the whopping margin of 1400 to 12. Six weeks after the election, Israel Spitzer, New Square’s deputy mayor, met with the Clintons at the White House, where pardons for four New Square civic leaders convicted of fraud were discussed. In January, Bill Clinton commuted their sentences, leading to a probe by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in which several Hillary Clinton campaign aides were called in for questioning. At a Manhattan fundraiser for de Blasio in December, Spitzer made a $2500 donation, the largest permitted under the city’s Campaign Finance Board. De Blasio refused to comment on that matter, including the issue of whether he was questioned by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. De Blasio would only offer this comment: “I’m waiting to hear what’s going to happen with that.”
in 2007 as councilman, Mr. de Blasio was lambasted for not living up to his promises and for a lackluster performance as representative of his district. In a hard hitting piece by a local blogger named “Parden Me For Asking,” Mr. de Blasio was criticized for running a dysfunctional office and keeping himself distracted from the issues that mattered to the neighborhoods he represented, going back to his time he served on the Board of Education before his run for council.
The office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), head of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.
“[Senator Leahy’s] understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law,” said David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy.
If it’s done as required by law, why is the U.S. government keeping it a secret that it believes the regime change in Egypt was a military coup? If it is, indeed, temporarily suspending most of the military aid to Egypt, where is the public announcement that we don’t send money to governments that were installed by a coup?
After skewering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hard—through the good services of the NY Times—for his attempts to preserve stability in Egypt and the integrity of the peace treaty, now the administration is attempting to punish the naughty Egyptian generals, but without making a big deal out of it.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked on Monday about the suspended aid, and told reporters the aid is not officially suspended.
I suppose the Egyptians can use the officially unsuspended aid money the same way Israelis can live in the officially unfrozen homes in East Jerusalem…
“After sequestration withholding, approximately $585 million remains unobligated. So, that is the amount that is unobligated,” Psaki said.
I looked up “unobligated” and means funds that have been appropriated but remain uncommitted by contract at the end of a fiscal period. In other words, an I keep, you don’t get kind of relationship.
“But it would be inaccurate to say that a policy decision has been made with respect to the remaining assistance funding,” Psaki clarified.
In other words, I keep, you don’t get, but it’s not forever.
The Daily Beast quotes two Administration officials who explain it was the government lawyers who decided it would be more prudent to observe the law restricting military aid in case of a coup, while not making a public statement that a coup had taken place.
Bret Stephens, a deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote on Monday (A Policy on Egypt—Support Al Sisi):
“What’s realistic and desirable is for the military to succeed in its confrontation with the Brotherhood as quickly and convincingly as possible. Victory permits magnanimity. It gives ordinary Egyptians the opportunity to return to normal life. It deters potential political and military challenges. It allows the appointed civilian government to assume a prominent political role. It settles the diplomatic landscape. It lets the neighbors know what’s what.”
By taking the opposite approach, making it harder for the new Egyptian government to bring the internal conflict to a conclusion, the Obama Administration is promoting and prolonging chaos in yet another country. Which is why, I suspect, Senator Leahy has spoken to the Daily Beast in the first place, to stop this blind march over the cliff.
Middle East analyst Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress, told the Beast he thought the Administration was “trying to maintain maximum flexibility,” but he suggested that this horse is long out of the barn. “Egypt’s struggle has become so intense, polarized, and violent, and I worry that no matter what move the United States makes now, the competing power centers in Egypt might continue down the dangerous course they’ve headed.”
Unless, of course, the U.S. is making clear, with loud noises and a light show, that it supports stability in Egypt, and in order to hasten new elections, it will not suspend military aid to Egypt. In fact, with its financial and military might, the U.S. will do everything it can to restore stability and democracy in Egypt.
But that would require President Obama to get over the insult of the Egyptian nation ignoring his wishes and dethroning his favorite Muslim Brother president.
The Israeli government issued an unequivocal travel advisory on Monday warning Israelis to avoid visiting Turkey, a popular vacation destination for Israelis over the summer and during the upcoming Jewish holidays, Israel Hayom reported.
The Prime Minister’s Office issued its routine semi-annual travel warning, formulated by the office’s Counterterrorism Bureau, stating that all non-essential visits to Turkey “should be avoided.”
The threat issuing from Turkey is defined as an “ongoing potential threat,” a mid-level threat on the bureau’s five-level scale. Turkey is now on the same threat level as countries where jihadi terror cells are known to be operating, including Nigeria, Kenya and Azerbaijan.
The travel warning is for the upcoming Jewish holidays in September. So far, over the summer months of July and August, tens of thousands of Israelis have visited Turkey.
The Counterterrorism Bureau also recommended that Israelis avoid visiting the two countries with which Israel shares a border and a peace agreement: Egypt and Jordan. In those two countries, the threat facing Israelis was defined as a “basic concrete threat,” one level higher than the threat facing Israelis in Turkey. For Morocco, another popular destination for Israelis, an “ongoing potential threat” warning was issued.
Young Israel of Bal Harbour, located at 9592 Harding Avenue in Surfside, presents a wide array of classes and activities for the communities of Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor and Surfside. Talmud classes are held Monday through Friday before Shacharis at 6:20 a.m. Daf yomi classes are held Sunday through Friday immediately after Shacharis.
Table Talk is held during kiddush on Shabbat mornings. Ladies’ Tehillim classes are Mondays at 10:30 at the synagogue. Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Gruenstein is held on Monday afternoons at different community homes and includes a light lunch. Dr. Abramson’s popular Jewish history class is on Wednesday nights. Father and child learning programs are held Saturday night and include prizes and raffles.
Upcoming Shabbatons include: January 4-5, Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, scholar in residence; January 18, Rabbi Steven Weil, scholar in residence; February 1-2, Rabbi Berel Wein, scholar in residence.
Save the Dates: Chanukah party, Monday, December 10; melaveh malkah for young couples, January 5 at 8 p.m., guest speaker Rabbi Yaacov Salomon; annual sisterhood luncheon/fashion show at Nieman Marcus, Wednesday, January 30. Please RSVP to the shul’s office. Space is limited.
For more information phone 305-866-0203 or contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Aljazeera, Egypt’s army has deployed tanks outside the presidential palace after a night of deadly clashes between opponents and supporters of President Mohamed Morsi.
Four tanks and three armored personnel carriers were stationed metres from the front gate of the palace in northern Cairo as hundreds of Morsi’s partisans chanted slogans in support of the president early on Thursday.
At least five people have been killed and over 440 people injured in the Egyptian capital as pro- and anti-government protesters clashed near the presidential palace on Wednesday evening, the health ministry said.
Fighting continued into the early morning on Thursday with fires burning in the streets where the opposing sides threw stones and petrol bombs at each other.
“No to dictatorship,” Morsi’s opponents chanted, while their rivals chanted: “Defending Morsi is defending Islam.”
Riot police were sent in to break up the violence on Wednesday, in which about 350 people were injured.
As of 11:20 last night, bloody clashes near the presidential palace were still on and off, gunshots heard intermittently, at least 126 injured in the bloody confrontations and unconfirmed reports of two deaths, while President Morsi and the presidential office have yet to comment on the ongoing turmoil.
Thousands of pro and anti-Morsi forces clashed into the night outside the presidential palace as the Egyptian opposition forces are saying the leader’s legitimacy is in “jeopardy,” Al Ahram reported. Two Morsi aides have resigned to protest the Muslim Brotherhood’s “narrow-mindedness.” Two Islamist Freedom and Justice Party buildings have been torched.
In one of politics most recent ignominious flights from respectability, former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned his office in June, 2011, after it was exposed that he had a habit of “sexting” young women he met online with pictures of his barely clad private parts.
But if you have consigned Weiner to the bin of history or source of tasteless jokes, you may have underestimated him.
Weiner, 47, who used to represent part of the Rockaways section of New York City which was slammed by Hurricane Sandy a few weeks ago, wrote an op-ed along with Congressman Meeks, who still represents the area. The op-ed, published in the New York Daily News yesterday, Nov 28, was essentially a call for more funding, better transportation and improved protection from natural disasters – some might also describe it as a stump speech – for a community that was devastated by the storm.
This is not the first time Weiner has reared his head since his awkward exit from office less than 18 months ago. In fact, Weiner reactivated his infamous twitter account during Hurricane Sandy, when he issued a call for help for the besieged community.
Other than these few forays, Weiner has largely been mentioned in the news only as the other half of a power couple – his wife, Huma Mahmood Abedin, works as Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Abedin, an American of Pakistani descent, was the target of criticism by a small group of conservative members of Congress who were alarmed by her alleged connection to Islamist extremists, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
Cong. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and four other Republicans, including Cong. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Cong. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) sent a letter to the U.S. State Department Deputy Inspector General this past summer. In the letter, the congressmembers asked that there be an investigation into whether there has been an Islamist infiltration of the U.S. government, based upon research presented in various publications. Abedin was specifically mentioned in that letter because her mother, her late father and her brother all were allegedly members of, or had connections to, Muslim Brotherhood organizations.
Those allegations ended up doing more harm to Bachmann and her colleagues than to Abedin, as not only Hillary and Bill Clinton defended her, but prominent Republicans such as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Speaker of the House, Cong. John Boehner (R-OHIO), blasted Bachmann for conducting what they essentially called a witch hunt.
Anthony Weiner is Jewish and was widely considered one of Israel’s most ardent defenders in Congress. Weiner and Abedin had a son, Jordan, over the summer. The reception for Jordan’s bris was held in the multi-million dollar Park Avenue apartment the couple moved into after Weiner resigned from office. The apartment is owned by Jack Rosen, head of the American Jewish Congress and a huge financial supporter of the Clintons.
If Weiner is considering another political run, he already has a potential campaign war chest of $ 3.9 million.
There has been talk that Weiner might be eying the New York City mayoral seat. If so, a poll conducted this summer by NY1-Marist poll shows New Yorkers are not enthusiastic, with 58% responding that they did not want Weiner to run, and just 25% in favor.
That same poll asked New Yorkers for their take on several other potential NYC mayoral candidates, including another disgraced Jewish New York Democratic politician, Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer fared only slightly better than Weiner, with 57% opposing his run and 30% in favor. Spitzer, New York State’s former governor, was forced to resign his office in March, 2008, after his repeated liaisons with prostitutes was exposed.
More layers equals more room to hide. Bulky sweaters and loose coats give us that fake comfort and temporary ability to live in denial. I always tell my clients to have one summer outfit easily accessible and to try it on, on a regular basis. Aside from serving as a reminder that Summer is just a few short months away, it will be an accurate measurement of how your more fitted (and less layered) wardrobe feels.
Hot comfort drinks. Don’t we all associate those hot chocolates and creamy lattes with cold winter days? Did you know that these drinks could contain up to 700 calories? Many people falsely assume that “liquid calories” don’t count. This is obviously false. Try herbal teas instead, or lower calorie versions of your favorite drink. Substitute whole milk for skim, skip the whipped cream, and use cinnamon powder for flavor, instead of flavored syrup.
Feeling too lazy to exercise. Many people feel a lot less energetic in the winter months and that is understandable. The days are shorter, it gets dark sooner, and getting out of the house requires bundling up, and even warming up the car. Outdoor exercisers find it more challenging to stick to their routine with the unpredictable weather, and it getting dark so early in the day, giving them less hours of “ideal workout conditions.”
My suggestion? Adjust your schedule or routine accordingly. See what works for you. Cold weather should not mean no exercise. Whether you are used to outdoor workouts, or just get lazy with the cold season, here are some tips to help you get you heated up even when the weather is cold.
1. Stock up on fitness DVDs. Make sure you pick ones that are fun and motivating (check out the Shape Fitness kosher workout DVD).
2. Find an exercise buddy. This way the two of you help each other get the workout accomplished, whether indoors or out.
3. If you are a walker or jogger, invest in warm yet comfortable gear. This should be something that is warm enough to wear outside, yet comfortable enough (and not bulky) to exercise in. Make sure to protect your head and ears.
4. Try to exercise during daylight hours. The days are shorter but it is easier to exercise when it is light out.
Chanukah parties, office holiday parties, Chinese auctions, dinners, and fundraisers… need I say more? As always, plan ahead. Do not ever starve yourself the day of a function, planning to make up for it later on. Eat regular balanced meals throughout the day, and try drinking 2 glasses of water before the event. When you get there, scan the room and decide what you want to eat, before you fill up your plate. Treat a buffet style table as a visual menu. “see” the food there as simply a feast for the eyes, and it is up to you to make the best choices from it.
As always, having professional guidance is one of the best tools you can invest in. Whether it’s a nutritionist helping you plan your menus, or a personal trainer working out with you and measuring your results, having that professional guidance is extremely valuable.
Remember that Summer is right around the corner. With just some planning and willpower, you can avoid weight gain traps this winter.