Category Archive 'Barack Obama'
06 Mar 2017
Andrew McCarthy explains why Obama’s spokeman’s lawyerly denials are far from conclusive proof of innocence.
[R]eporting indicates that, prior to June 2016, the Obama Justice Department and FBI considered a criminal investigation of Trump associates, and perhaps Trump himself, based on concerns about connections to Russian financial institutions. Preliminary poking around indicated that there was nothing criminal involved. Rather than shut the case down, though, the Obama Justice Department converted it into a national-security investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). FISA allows the government, if it gets court permission, to conduct electronic surveillance (which could include wiretapping, monitoring of e-mail, and the like) against those it alleges are â€œagents of a foreign power.â€ FISA applications and the evidence garnered from them are classified â€“ i.e., we would not know about any of this unless someone had leaked classified information to the media, a felony.
In June, the Obama Justice Department submitted an application that apparently â€œnamedâ€ Trump in addition to some of his associates. As I have stressed, it is unclear whether â€œnamedâ€ in this context indicates that Trump himself was cited as a person the Justice Department was alleging was a Russian agent whom it wanted to surveil. It could instead mean that Trumpâ€™s name was merely mentioned in an application that sought to conduct surveillance on other alleged Russian agents. President Trumpâ€™s tweets on Saturday claimed that â€œPresident Obama . . . tapp[ed] my phones[,]â€ which makes it more likely that Trump was targeted for surveillance, rather than merely mentioned in the application.
In any event, the FISA court reportedly turned down the Obama Justice Departmentâ€™s request, which is notable: The FISA court is notoriously solicitous of government requests to conduct national-security surveillance (although, as Iâ€™ve noted over the years, the claim by many that it is a rubber-stamp is overblown).
Not taking no for an answer, the Obama Justice Department evidently returned to the FISA court in October 2016, the critical final weeks of the presidential campaign. This time, the Justice Department submitted a narrowly tailored application that did not mention Trump. The court apparently granted it, authorizing surveillance of some Trump associates. It is unknown whether that surveillance is still underway, but the New York Times has identified â€“ again, based on illegal leaks of classified information â€“ at least three of its targets: Paul Manafort (the former Trump campaign chairman who was ousted in August), and two others whose connection to the Trump campaign was loose at best, Manafortâ€™s former political-consulting business partner Roger Stone, and investor Carter Page. The Times report (from mid-January) includes a lot of heavy breathing about potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia; but it ultimately concedes that the governmentâ€™s FISA investigation may have nothing to do with Trump, the campaign, or alleged Russian efforts to interfere in the U.S. election by hacking e-mail accounts.
Trumpâ€™s tweets on Saturday prompted some interesting â€œdenialsâ€ from the Obama camp. These can be summarized in the statement put out by Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis:
A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.
This seems disingenuous on several levels.
First, as Obama officials well know, under the FISA process, it is technically the FISA court that â€œordersâ€ surveillance. And by statute, it is the Justice Department, not the White House, that represents the government in proceedings before the FISA court. So, the issue is not whether Obama or some member of his White House staff â€œorderedâ€ surveillance of Trump and his associates. The issues are (a) whether the Obama Justice Department sought such surveillance authorization from the FISA court, and (b) whether, if the Justice Department did that, the White House was aware of or complicit in the decision to do so.
Read the whole thing.
02 Mar 2017
Narrator: “Something had happened. A thing which, years ago, had been the eagerest hope of many, many good citizens of the town, and now it had come at last; Barack Hussein Obama had got his comeuppance. He got it three times filled, and running over.”
24 Dec 2016
One normally would avoid politics on Christmas Eve, but it is impossible to overlook Barack Obama’s hopefully last characteristically spiteful gesture of radical leftist partisanship. Americans overwhelmingly support the state of Israel and despise the Palestinian cause. Only members of the extreme left like Obama reflexively oppose European colonialism.
The United States on Friday allowed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction to be adopted, defying extraordinary pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in alliance with President-elect Donald Trump.
The Security Council approved the resolution with 14 votes, with the US abstaining. There was applause in the chamber following the vote, which represented perhaps the final bitter chapter in the years of antagonism between President Barack Obama’s administration and Netanyahu’s government.
Richard Fernandez responded well on Facebook:
The most instructive thing about Obama’s Security Council abstention is he didn’t have the guts to do it earlier, when he stood to lose something by doing it. Only after he calculated there was nothing more to squeeze from that particular quarter did he run up the Jolly Roger. Had it cost him it would have meant something, even as a gesture.
But even more interesting was his willingness to damage the Democratic party who he’s leaving with political bill, not to mention the fact that the policy his abstention represents makes little sense.
Israel is likely to emerge as a linchpin in the region, after Obama’s power vacuum bomb reduces the nearby countries to waste. If Turkey and Iran fall apart, which is not inconceivable, then Obama will have antagonized the last man standing.
It was bad timing and pointless, like a punch thrown by a fighter lying on the canvas — at the referee. That would leave his legacy a consistently dysfunctional whole: conceived in delusion, executed in incompetence.
21 Dec 2016
Liberals love pouring money in federal program, except for the worthwhile ones. Douglas MacKinnon calls on Donald Trump to reverse Barack Obama’s retreat from Space.
[John] Kennedy [said]: “â€¦We mean to be a part of it â€” we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond â€¦ Our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us â€¦ to become the world’s leading space-faring nation.”
Well, look at us now. The United States of America has no manned space program, and we are reduced to paying the Russians more than $70 million per seat â€” and sometimes begging them behind closed doors â€” to transport our astronauts to a space station built primarily with American tax dollars.
Both the first man (and American) to walk on the moon and the last man (and American) to walk on the moon heavily criticized the shortsightedness of Obama.
Said the late Neil Armstrong in part: “â€¦ For the United States, the leading space-faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second- or even third-rate stature.”
Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, wrote in an Orlando Sentinel guest column in 2012, regarding Obama’s “abdication of leadership”: “â€¦[O]ver the past four years, Obama has resorted to leading from behind and asks Americans to settle for a new normal that diminishes our position in the world. Not only is he willing to sacrifice the United States’ pre-eminence in space exploration, but he seems unconcerned that our economic and national security might falter as well.”
As we close out 2016, the leaders of the People’s Republic of China and Russia â€” with both nations announcing plans to establish manned bases on the moon â€” know that no nation on Earth is more dependent upon their satellites in low and geosynchronous orbit for their national and economic security, than the United States. And that is why both of those nations continually war-game how to destroy the very satellites that ensure our safety.
Talk of spending well more than $100 billion in American tax dollars to send astronauts to Mars to plant a flag may sound worthwhile, or even romantic to some, but it’s wasted talk and certainly wasted money for now.
Job one has to be to restart an American manned space program and then to protect our interests from low Earth orbit to the surface of the moon.
To do otherwise would not be in the best interest of the national security of our nation.
Read the whole thing.
18 Dec 2016
He read Vogue.
Maya Singer has penned for Vogue the sixth of a twelve-part series celebrating the legacy of Barack Obama. This installment focuses on the hermeneutics of Obama’s “mom jeans.”
Picture Barack Obama and what comes to mind is an elegant man, immaculate in a suit, or Old Hollywood suave swanning into a gala in a tuxedo with Michelle on his arm. Heâ€™s a guy who comprehends the fit and flair of clothes. But heâ€™s also a guy who wears mom jeans. What Iâ€™m trying to say is: The genius of Barack Obama is that he contains multitudes.
Iâ€™ve always liked listening to Obamaâ€™s press conferences. In that setting, taking questions on the fly, you can observe his mind working. He turns the queries over, inspecting each one for opportunities and traps, and then, crafting his replies, carefully considers every word. Each one. Words you hear a lot from Obama are â€œprocessâ€ and â€œsystematicâ€ and â€œmethodicalâ€â€”and no matter what heâ€™s talking about, those words have generally brought me comfort, for they reassure me that the ship of state is in a rigorous manâ€™s hands. But Obamaâ€™s rigor has occasionally brought me frustration, too. There have been times Iâ€™ve wanted him to let loose, lose his cool, shout back at those people who have made it their mission to delegitimize and stymie him. And on policy grounds, too, I have wished at times that heâ€™d chart a more radical course. But wishing isnâ€™t the same as knowing what that would look like, or how or whether it would work. And thatâ€™s stuff I have no doubt Obama has thought through.
And not just thought through, but thought through in a particular way. Obamaâ€™s is a sympathetic rigorâ€”warm and encompassing, rather than clinical. In a recent interview, Zadie Smith reportedly spoke about relating to Barack Obama not as a politician, but as a writer, and that statement clarified for me what I like about how he thinks. Obama governs the way the great humanist novelists of the 19th century wrote, drawing back to see the whole large canvas and the historical and structural forces converging on it at a particular time, then zooming in for close-ups on the people buffeted by those forces as they try, the best way each of them knows how, to lead meaningful, honorable lives. I imagine that Obamaâ€™s pragmatism is born out of his desire to soften the worldâ€™s blows for as many of those people as possible, knowing all the while that there are things even he, the most powerful man in the world, canâ€™t in an instant change.
He sees big and he sees small. He sees compassionately, and in order to do thatâ€”in order to think like a novelistâ€”you have to contain multitudes.
My own view is that nobody over 30 who is not engaged in real manual labor ought ever to be seen wearing blue jeans, the Mom variety or otherwise.
It is also, I think, alarming evidence of the dominanting influence of the LGBT subculture on the thinking of the community of fashion that the ironical appreciation of the dear leader’s transgressively unappealing denim trousers can be spun out into a grand encomium for his philosophy of governance. The sexually perverse have a penchant for irony and for the facile promotion of the insignificant and trivial to the plane of high cultural discourse.
16 Nov 2016
Kevin D. Williamson, with a certain unholy glee, predicts that the Left will not love living with its own precedents.
For eight years, Democrats celebrated the aggrandizement of the already inflated presidency left to Barack Obama by George W. Bush. You remember the greatest hits: â€œIf Congress wonâ€™t act, I will.â€ â€œI have a pen and a phone.â€ â€œElections have consequences.â€ And, my personal favorite: â€œI won.â€
Somebody else won this time around. The pretensions of the imperial presidency are going to haunt Democrats for the immediate future, but theyâ€™ll quickly rediscover their belief in limits on the executive. While theyâ€™re rediscovering old virtues, they might take a moment to lament Senator Harry Reidâ€™s weakening of the filibuster, an ancient protection of minority interests in the less democratic house of our national legislature. They might also lament Senator Reidâ€™s attempt to gut the First Amendment in order to permit the federal government â€” which in January will be under the management of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and â€” incredibly enough â€” President Donald Trump â€” to regulate political speech, deciding who can speak, about what and when, and on what terms. Perhaps theyâ€™ll thank those wicked â€œconservativeâ€ justices on the Supreme Court for saving basic political-speech rights. If they are smart, they will rediscover federalism, too, and the peacemaking potential of a school of thought that says in a diverse nation of 320 million souls, there is no reason that life in rural Idaho must be lived in exactly the same way as it is in Brooklyn or Santa Monica.
Read the whole thing.
15 Oct 2016
A leaked email from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clintonâ€™s campaign Chairman John Podesta referenced a 2015 BuzzFeed article in which Sen. Mark Kirk predicted nuclear war in the Middle East in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal.
Podesta’s email, which was released Friday by WikiLeaks along with a cache of documents from the Clinton campaign chair, was in response to a message from John Anzalone of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research that bore the subject line, “you call it.” In his email, Anzalone included a link to the BuzzFeed article and a quote from Kirk.
â€œThis agreement condemns the next generation to cleaning up a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf,â€ Kirk told BuzzFeed at the time. â€œThis is the greatest appeasement since Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler.â€
â€œYup,â€ Podesta said in response to the email.
Quite an admission.
Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted
in the 'Barack Obama' Category.