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.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel was behind last month’s military coup in Egypt.
Erdogan told a meeting of the provincial chairs of his ruling Justice and Development, or AKP, party that he has evidence that Israel was involved in the July 3 overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the Turkish Hurriyet news service reported.
“Who is behind this? Israel. We have evidence,” the prime minister said, according to Hurriyet.
He cited as proof a statement by a French intellectual he identified as Jewish, who told the Israeli justice minister during a visit to France before Egypt’s 2011 elections, “The Muslim Brotherhood will not be in power even if they win the elections. Because democracy is not the ballot box,” Hurriyet reported.
The White House condemned Erdogan’s remarks.
“Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated and wrong,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters later Tuesday.
Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and later expelled Israel’s ambassador following the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in May 2010 that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals in a confrontation with Israeli Navy commandos. The ship was trying to evade Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan in March for the incident, and representatives of the countries have met for reconciliation talks. The talks reportedly are held up over the amount of compensation that Israel is to pay to the families of the Turkish casualties and how the payments are to be characterized.
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.
President Barack Obama telephones Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday, making a front stage appearance to make sure Israel stays on the White House’s straight and narrow path for a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority.
The White House issued an announcement on the phone call, just to make sure it received major press coverage.
President Obama also called Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Details of the phone calls may be released later on Thursday, but it can be assumed that both leaders were politely warned not to say anything or take any action that might upset U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s apple cart.
The big question is whether Israel will announce new housing construction for Jews in Judea and Samaria. The Hebrew-language Maariv newspaper reported on Wednesday that Netanyahu struck a secret deal with Jewish Home’s Housing Minister Uri Ariel to announce more housing starts in return for the party’s swallowing the bitter pill of freeing 1,000 terrorists in order to resume direct talks after three years.
Abbas has warned that he will scuttle the talks if Israel goes ahead with more housing for Jews in Judea and Samaria.
The White House is set to name Matt Nosanchuk, a lawyer who has been prominent in advancing the Obama administration’s gay rights policies, as its new full-time Jewish liaison.
JTA learned Wednesday that Nosanchuk will replace Zach Kelly, who has held the job part time since the last full-time liaison to the Jewish community, Jarrod Bernstein, left for the private sector in January.
Nosanchuk was a top staffer in the Justice Department’s civil rights division from 2009 to 2012 and helped shape the Obama administration’s response to a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. That challenge last month successfully nullified the act, extending federal rights to same-sex couples.
The administration at first refused to defend the act and ultimately submitted a brief arguing that it should be struck down.
Nosanchuk also oversaw implementation of the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Act, passed in 2009, that expanded hate crimes to include those motivated by gender, gender identification and disability. Hate crimes generally mandate tougher sentences for crimes in which bias is part of the motivation.
Since 2012, Nosanchuk has worked at the Department of Homeland Security.
A third letter stating a death threat and possibly containing ricin poison was intended for President Barack Obama and bore the same postmark as two similar letters sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg last Friday and this Sunday. Both the president and the mayor favor stiff gun control laws.
The anonymous letters to Bloomberg were opened in New York on Friday at the city’s mail facility in Manhattan and on Sunday at the Washington office of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group that Bloomberg founded.
The letters bore the postmark of Shreveport, Louisiana, according to CBS.
Secret Service director Edwin Donovan said, “The White House mail screening facility intercepted a letter addressed to the White House that was similar to letters previously addressed to Mayor Bloomberg in New York.
“This letter has been turned over to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for testing and investigation.”
At least one of the letters to Bloomberg stated, “You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. The right to bear arms is my constitutional, God-given right and I will exercise that right till the day I die. What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for you.”
Mayor Bloomberg said that one of the letters “obviously referred to our anti-gun efforts, but there’s 12,000 people that are going to get killed this year with guns and 19,000 that are going to commit suicide with guns, and we’re not going to walk away from those efforts.”
The people who opened the letters were not harmed by the poison, but three police officers who examined the letter to Bloomberg felt minor symptoms. Ricin is a poison that is easily produced because it can be found naturally in castor beans.
If ingested, it can cause breathing difficulties, vomiting, internal bleeding and liver and kidney failure, leading to death.
Originally published at Rubin Reports.
“So fragile was the structure of their reality that a single unsubsumed consciousness, a solitary ripple in their little pond was enough to roil the waters into a frothing, burbling foam.” —Norman Spinrad, The Void Captain’s Tale (1985)
Consider five factors that had no effect on the very warm reception given by President Barack Obama to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan:
–While the U.S. government has pressured Erdogan not to visit the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Erdogan announced in the White House Rose Garden that he would do so. An alleged U.S. ally says publicly in front of Obama while being hosted by him that he is going to defy the United States.
This is not some routine matter. With previous presidents, if an ally was going to do something like that he would say nothing at the time and then months later would subvert U.S. policy. Or better yet the foreign leader would not do so. To announce defiance in such a way is a serious sign of how little respect Middle East leaders have for Obama—and U.S. policy nowadays—and how little Obama will do about it.
–Equally bad is the fact that Erdogan directly promised Obama that he would conciliate with Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cooperated because Obama asked him to do so. That’s what U.S. allies do. But immediately Erdogan showed he would pay no attention to the agreement he made.
His negotiators subverted it in several ways, including the demands for ridiculously large amounts of money, the delay in the promised return of the Turkish ambassador to Israel, the continuation of legal action against Israeli officials involved in the Mavi Marmara affair, when Israeli soldiers were attacked by Turkish terrorists demanding to sail to Gaza to deliver equipment to Hamas.
So a second time Erdogan betrayed Obama and make the president look foolish (that is, if anyone in the mass media pointed it out). Again, there was no U.S. criticism of the move or apparent pressure to make Erdogan keep his promise.
There are three other ways that Erdogan has subverted U.S. interests with minimal costs. In fact, the Obama Administration has usually furthered this behavior.
–Some small U.S. diplomatic protests were made about the growing internal repression in Turkey and human rights’ violations there. Increasingly, the country lives under a reign of intimidation even as the Western media mostly ignores this situation. Since the United States keeps praising him, Erdogan can demoralize his opponents, who cannot hope for foreign help, even as he carries on a policy of spreading anti-Americanism in Turkey.
The political power of the Turkish armed forces–the traditional guarantor of the republic and stability in the country was dismantled by Erdogan with U.S. approval. The Turkish media was subverted with only an occasional American squeal of complaint. Now he’s destroying the independent judicial system, the last barrier to his assault on democratic rule. The U.S. embassy in Turkey consistently warned about what has been happening; the White House ignored this information.
–With the Obama Administration’s permission, the Turkish government violates the sanctions against Iran with ever-larger trade and major bilateral cooperation projects. Erdogan’s consistent defenses of Iran’s policies (though the two countries are at odds over Syria) have been forgiven and forgotten by the White House.
–Finally, in many ways the Turkish government has been taking the lead on setting U.S. policy toward Syria. It was Erdogan who largely determined that the official opposition exile leadership would be dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, a path followed by Obama. (I can’t prove it but I’ll bet that Turkey’s regime promised Obama that if he would declare support for the rebels verbally and let them be armed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia then Assad would easily fall. I’d also bet that Erdogan assured Obama that if the president helped the rebels a moderate government would emerge in Syria.)
Meanwhile, Obama has praised Erdogan unstintingly. Obama thinks Erdogan is the very model of a “moderate Islamist” and since Obama’s strategy is to support such people in much of the Arab world, Erdogan has been his guide to the region, though this has meant supporting the radical Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood. What is especially ironic is that Obama believed that Erdogan’s goals were essentially the same as those of the United States while Erdogan was in fact following a profoundly anti-American policy designed to bring hostile Islamist governments to power. Remember this is no longer the old Western-oriented Turkey of previous decades but a radical–if concealed–Islamist regime.
The White House stated in a letter to Congressional leaders that it has reasonable evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, but Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told reporters it was only on a “small scale.”
The letter confirms a statement two days ago by Israel’s military intelligence officer Gen. Itan Brun that the nerve gas sarin was used. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry refused to accept the informant as fact, particularly since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not “confim” the information in an ensuing telephone conversation.
President Barack Obama is in no hurry to carry out his promise that if Assad were to cross the red line and use the mass destruction weapons, a horrid war crime, he would order the American military to intervene militarily in the two-year-old civil war.
He presumably does not want to take military action unless he has solid and 100 percent certain evidence to show the world. The United States has been burned enough by getting stuck into wars and paying the price with the lives of American soldiers, but this time around, it may be burned by not having intervened to stop one of the worst imaginable war crimes.
Rebels have posted on the Internet, on at least three occasions the past three months, pictures of children and adults with burns from chemical weapons.
Hagel told reporters in the United Arab Emirates that “our intelligence community does assess, with varying degrees of confidence, that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically, the chemical agent sarin.”
Kerry said that the administration believes Assad used chemical weapons twice. Only twice.
All indications are that the “red line” is actually only orange.
The problem is that by the time the American government comes up with its proof, Assad may have deformed or killed dozens, or hundreds or thousands of more of his people.
The White House letter warns, “Precisely because the President takes this issue so seriously, we have an obligation to fully investigate any and all evidence of chemical weapons use within Syria.” It was signed by Miguel Rodriguez, director of the Office of Legislative Affairs.
The letter was sent to Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., after they and other senators asked the White House for answers on the chemical weapons question.
An indication of the U.S. government’s desire to see things other than they are can be found in an editorial in Wednesday’s New York Times, which often acts as a non-official member of the Obama Cabinet.
Under the headline “Were Chemical Weapons Used in Syria?” the editorial stated that although it is easily imagine bale that Assad would gas his own people, “There is no proof that he has done so…. The case against Mr. Assad, so far, is thin.
“Experts say the best way to prove that chemical weapons have been used is to collect soil samples promptly at the site and examine suspected victims. That’s hard to do in a war zone, and, so far, Israel, Britain and France have not offered physical proof “
The editorial calls for “a coordinated investigation…to see whether the charges by Israel, Britain and France hold water.”
The newspaper is correctly worried about a repeat of history, recalling American intervention in Iraq on the wrong assumption that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear weapons program.
But there also are other lessons from history than can be noted.
The United States knew that Hitler was exterminating Jews. But did it have proof?
Are countries bound to treat moral issues as legal cases at the cost of genocide?