Obama’s Troubling Initiatives on Both the Domestic and Foreign Fronts
by David Solway
Something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?
Bob Dylan, Ballad of a Thin Man
In a recent article for FrontPage Magazine, historian Bruce Thornton has plausibly argued that Obama’s foreign policy “blunders,” which have seriously harmed American interests and enfeebled its international presence, are not blunders at all. They are not owing to “inexperience or stupidity” but are quite deliberate, a form of “enemy action.” Given the leftist “self-loathing narrative that the United States is a force of evil in the world,” Thornton writes, “a neo-colonialist, neo-imperialist, predatory capitalist oppressor responsible for the misery and tyranny afflicting the globe…we need a foreign policy of withdrawal, retreat, and apologetic humility, with our national sovereignty subjected to transnational institutions like the U.N., the International Court of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights ––exactly the program that Obama has been working on for the last 5 years.”
In the words of Michael Ledeen, “if Obama were determined to weaken America, to favor the cause of our enemies and put our friends and allies at maximum risk, how would those policies differ from the ones he has adopted?” Clashdaily editor and author Wes Walker (see his Blueprint for a Government that Doesn’t Suck) has penned a blistering attack on Obama and his administration that consorts with Ledeen’s apprehension: “If I had to imagine a how-to scenario for the sabotage of a nation, I don’t know whether I could do a better job than the people calling the shots today.”(As he writes in Blueprint, they’re “like having a dingo as a guard dog.”) Walker’s Clashdaily article, composed in listicle form but too long to quote here, is a must-read.
Similarly, writing in the Wall Street Journal, Niall Ferguson, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, has shredded what he calls Obama’s “geopolitical taper,” responsible for America’s global retreat, a Middle East riven with shifting alliances and ablaze with sectarian violence, an Iran pursuing nuclear enrichment, and a world growing ever more “unbalanced.” As if in confirmation of Thornton and Ferguson, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is tabling a proposal to slash the armed forces to pre-World War II levels, budget-cutting the nation toward military weakness. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, identified the real issue: “It’s all being sacrificed…on the altar of entitlements.” What is called “mandatory spending” (Social Security, Unemployment, Medicare, etc.) survives at the expense of “discretionary spending” (including military expenditures); in other words, social dependency is preserved at the cost of national security, a stark discrepancy with potentially hazardous implications for the future. Arnold Ahlert tersely sums it up: “absent national security, everything else is irrelevant. There will be no victorious enemy willing to provide Americans with anything remotely resembling the massive and overly generous safety net we take largely for granted.”
Further, Obama’s campaign against the moral and physical integrity of the United States is not only carried out via his foreign policy initiatives. On the domestic scene, Obama seems equally engaged in pursuing “enemy action” against his own country. Voter fraud, for example, appears to be pandemic. It is clearly the motive behind the DOJ’s objection to voter ID, although ID is necessary for almost every other aspect of official and daily existence, including receiving government benefits and entering government premises. How else account for the statistical improbability of the combined vote of 59 Philadelphia districts giving Obama a 100% advantage (19,605 to 0) over Romney in the last election? But Eric Holder, who many believe to be the most corrupt attorney general in American history, continues to do Obama and his party’s bidding. Opposition to voter ID in favor of, say, secondary vouching is a sure sign of party politics trumping national integrity. It is only another way of “getting out the vote”—a vote, however, that is not a vote but a coupon for deception.
Adding injury to injury, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is well on its way, as The Hill phrases it, to “stunt[ing] the nation’s domestic energy boom” and shrinking the industrial economy with a torrent of counter-productive regulations, as the EPA zeroes in on power plants, manufacturing facilities, and natural gas production. 30,000 fewer coal miners than just a year and a half ago is food for thought if not for the table.
Nor should we dismiss his determined outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic world—most recently, his appointment of former Arafat flack and Hamas sympathizer Robert Malley as senior director of the National Security Council. Of course, this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Obama had already appointed to high and security-sensitive positions dubious Muslim individuals like Arif Alikhan, Mohammed Elibiary, Rashad Hussain, Salam al-Marayati, Imam Mohamed Magid and Eboo Patel, who represent or are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic organizations. And if The Examiner’s report is accurate, Obama has presented a letter of determination to Congress that allows for hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants to resettle in the U.S.
Additionally, apart from the total shambles that Obamacare has been from its very inception—a 2000-plus page founding document that no one has read in its entirety, a botched and practically irreparable rollout, the infliction of chaos on registration, insurance and medical programs, soaring costs levied on subscribers—its byproduct, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, is the loss of between two and three million jobs through disincentives introduced by insurance endowments and indemnities, which the administration and the liberal media risibly refer to as freedom from “job lock.” As a ludicrous Nancy Pelosi fantasized, “Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.” Who will pay for the ensuing orgy of lousy pictures, insipid poetry and turgid prose produced by a horde of bucolic lotus eaters is another question. Few of Obamacare proponents are willing to recognize that a fast diminishing work force will have to support those who will now profit from subsidized idleness, a situation that must lead to an increasingly strained economy and, eventually, as the number of unemployed and welfare recipients approaches or exceeds the number of tax-paying employed, to the collapse of the entire system.
One should note, too, the president’s foray in his effort to weaken the democratic fabric of the U.S., namely, the determination by the Federal Communication Commission to send government monitors into the nation’s newsrooms. The FCC plan is only the latest twist of the so-called Fairness Doctrine meant to hamper conservative talk radio and artificially stimulate leftist radio programming. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who is plainly uncomfortable with the president’s maneuver, has explained that the purpose of this incursion is to “send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run.” The FCC’s intention is “to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about ‘the process by which stories are selected’ and how often stations cover ‘critical information needs,’ along with ‘perceived station bias’ and ‘perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.’” Similarly, Federal Election Commission (FEC) chairman Lee E. Goodman has warned of the “impulses in the government to…look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers”; indeed, “The picking and choosing has started to occur.” Media regulation is a distinct possibility. Should that happen, he concludes, “then I am concerned about disparate treatment of conservative media.”
This would be a patent violation of the First Amendment, a warning authoritatively sounded in Corydon B. Dunham’s 2011 treatise Government Control of News: A Constitutional Challenge, in which he shows how a nominally democratic government can manage the news, not through “some direct order of silence,” but through regulatory intrusiveness. The result is intimidation, suppression and censorship, “the deterrence and silencing of views.” It is no secret that control of the media is one of the major prerequisites of a functioning police state, even when it is flying under the radar as an ostensible republic. Bowing to bad publicity, the FCC has now decided to delay the program pending revision of its design, a move which does not inspire confidence. As PJM Tatler editor Bryan Preston comments, “they’re going to wait a while, change a few words around, and try again from another angle.” Pai has verified Preston’s suspicion, pointing out that the program has not been shelved, only suspended, and that the original initiative “wasn’t decided by a vote of all the commissioners,” but dictated from the top.
However the agency tries to spin it, the fact remains that under Obama the U.S. has plunged from 20th to 46th on the World Press Freedom Index, ranking between Romania and Haiti—and if Obama gets his way, an already lapdog media will find itself securely chained in the government kennel. One should therefore not be surprised to learn of Obama’s intention to surrender control of the Internet managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAAN), merely one more gambit to erode adverse political commentary and degrade the one domain where freedom of speech can be said to exist unimpededly. The bruited transfer of oversight of internet domain management to a yet-to-be named “international multi-stakeholder” has left even Bill Clinton skeptical: “I just know that a lot of these so-called multi-stakeholders are really governments that want to gag people and restrict access to the Internet.” The next step, it appears, is for Internet authority to be ceded to the International Telecommunication Union, an agency of the United Nations which is heavily into censorship.
I am apprehensive that the implicit goal of the Obama administration, as others have suggested, is to provoke a crisis that could lead to the application of the revised Insurrection Act. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” said Rahm Emmanuel, formulating this administration’s motto and rallying cry. (Few are aware that Emmanuel adapted Churchill’s condemnation of Hitler, who “never let a good crisis go to waste.”) No less and perhaps more accurately, the slogan might be revised to read: Never let a manufactured crisis go to waste. The federal government would then set about devising contingency measures and preparing to meet a politically traumatic situation of its own contrivance with imperious action. The media will obviously poodle along and an army of liberal pundits will trumpet the administration’s bona fides, assuring the triumph of artifice over truth.
Consider. According to news accounts, after a previous dip in ammunition purchases, non-military federal agencies have acquired over two billion rounds of ammunition in the last two years alone. To mention a few of these agencies, the US Postal Service has put out tenders for small arms ammunition, the Department of Education and the NOAA are arming their own law enforcement divisions, the EPS operates its own SWAT teams, and Homeland Security is stockpiling massive stores of ammunition, including 141,000 rounds of long-range sniper bullets and 360,000 rounds of hollow point bullets. Moreover, according to CSN News and Appendix III of the January 2014 Government Accountability Office report, a new contract has just been floated approving DOH purchase of 704,390,250 rounds of ammunition over the next four years. And as of May 7, 2014, the Department of Agriculture has put in a tender for .40 caliber sub-machine guns. Such bulk purchases, which seem to be far more than required for training and qualification exercises, have contributed to ammunition shortages across the U.S. Ultimately, it is not only the possession of firearms and ammunition supplies in government departments, agencies and institutions that is in itself disquieting, but the recency and sheer volume of these acquisitions.
Accompanying the ammunition grab, we note the assault on the Second Amendment mounted by the president and the Democrats, presumably intended to make the country safer and reduce the number of gun deaths. But study after study has shown that this is indisputably not the case. When one considers that an armed citizenry or a state militia, as per Article 1, Section 8 of the Second Amendment, may serve as an antidote to the possible depredations of the federal leviathan, it makes sense to wonder if some other calculus is being served in the effort at gun confiscation. As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, the “militia clause” reads: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The militia clause has engendered much acrimonious debate, but an armed citizenry is the last resort against the federal usurpation of civil society. The armed standoff between the Bureau of Land Management and a citizen militia in Bunkerville, Nevada may be only a harbinger of future conflicts between a hegemonic federal agency and a private citizenry. According to USA Today, firearm applications have surged to such an extent that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been forced to suspend parts of its computerized system. Indeed, Gov. Rick Perry has warned the BLM “to stay away from Texas amid new concerns that it may be looking to claim thousands of acres of land in the northern part of the state.” More recently, protesting the federal government’s closure of public lands, a county board in New Mexico has opened up federal Forest Service gates to allow ranchers to water their cattle.
Obviously, the federal power grab predates the electoral arrival of Barack Obama. But, as with the national debt, the impetus toward what we may call “internal imperialism” has increased exponentially under this president. The expansion of executive power is one of the salient facts of the current dispensation. Anyone who defends this sorcerer’s apprentice of a president, whom Ben Carson has bluntly called “unfit for office,” will have his conscience to answer for, assuming he still has one. I am tempted to say that under the dominion of Barack Obama and an increasingly far-left oriented Democratic party, the United States, once the guarantor of Western democratic nations and institutions, is becoming a force of instability in the world and a dedicated enemy of its own founding ideals.
Of course, those who are ideologically aligned with Obama will reject my suspicions as tactical fear mongering. They will not see, as Tom Blumer sagely notes, that Obama’s presidency demonstrably lurches from “domestically disastrous to internationally dangerous.” There is “ample justification for believing,” he wryly observes, that Obama’s “real agenda” does “not coincide with an agenda consistent with the country’s security.” The recent exchange of the dubious Bowe Bergdahl, an undoubted deserter from his unit in Afghanistan and a possible jihadi, for five battle-hardened and inarguably recidivist Taliban insurgents without consulting Congress, thus breaking a law signed by the president himself, is further indication that Obama does not have America’s interests at heart. Indeed, respectable commentators like Daniel Greenfield and Richard Fernandez suspect that Obama’s real purpose was not to free Bergdahl but to spring the terrorists. The theory is that the president is intent on emptying Gitmo before he leaves office, even if it means bribing the Taliban; although, given his clear Muslim sympathies, one may assume that his motives are even more worrisome. Michael Walsh ruefully questions “What will be left by January, 2017 that we will still recognize as America?” Liberals, for their part, will refuse to consider the accumulating evidence since it would jar their self-promoting conviction of reasonableness and good sense. After all, liberals will be liberals, browbeaten by political correctness, oblivious to truth and perfectly at home with the blandishments of intellectual dishonesty.
And, obviously, low information voters haven’t been paying attention, and entitlement stipendiaries focus on immediate benefits, indifferent to the long term. As author Michael Reisig writes, “Incredibly, 50 percent of our population doesn’t care about any of this, as long as the check’s still in the mail. Even more incredible is the fact that this is exactly the plan of our present administration—to create a constituency so dependent on government that they will never vote out of the box they have built for themselves.” The general ruck of left-leaning bloggers and editors, smug and complacent as ever, will see only conspiratorial indulgence in the marshaling of data and the attendant extrapolation of feasible conclusions. They will resolutely ignore Eric Hoffer’s famous aphorism from The Passionate State of Mind: “Facts are counterrevolutionary.”
Something is happening here, Mr. Jones. The first step is to recognize it. The next step is pushback, through the ballot, the spoken and written word, and in principled refusal to comply with threat and injustice. Americans must act before the country is radically transformed and, in effect, stolen from those of its citizens who still believe in liberty.