“Paris was worth a march”

America’s president was conspicuously absent. Why? “Mr Obama is wholly out of sync with U.S. thinking and sentiment.”

So says Peggy Noonan in this Wall Street Journal column. It’s good reading for those fed up with fed-up-ness.

Here are the reasons the president of the United States, or at very least the vice president, should have gone [Sunday] to the Paris march and walked shoulder to shoulder with the leaders of the world:

To show through his presence that the American people fully understand the import of what happened in the Charlie Hebdo murders, which is that Islamist extremists took the lives of free men and women who represented American and Western political freedoms, including freedom of speech;

To show through his presence that America and the West, and whatever nations choose to proclaim adherence to their democratic values, will stand together in rejecting and resisting extremist Islamist intolerance and violence;

To demonstrate the shared understanding that the massacre may amount to a tipping point, whereby those who protect and put forward Western political values will insist upon them in their sphere and ask their Muslim fellow citizens to walk side by side with them in shared public commitment;

To formally acknowledge the deep sympathy we feel that France, our oldest ally, suffered in the Charlie Hebdo murders a psychic shock akin to what America felt and suffered on 9/11/01. The day after our tragedy, the great French newspaper Le Monde ran an unforgettable cover with an editorial of affection and love titled Nous sommes tous Américains: “We are all Americans.”

I’ll never forget that. I can’t say we are all Charlie Hebdo, as the trending pop slogan declares. But I can say we are all citizens of the world, virtually the same language Barack Obama used in his July 2008 Berlin address just four months before his first presidential election. Back when he wanted to identify with the masses, and embrace adoring crowds. Neither is happening now. But what is happening of import, is happening without his participation, acknowledgement or obvious concern.

Peggy Noonan concludes her piece with the historical reference to Gen. Lafayette, “our first foreign friend” who fought alongside Gen. Washington in 1776. Noting that the reference was starting to appear in social networks, she said that

…it would be good to send our friends in France, again through social media, the sentence, “Lafayette we are here, still, and with you, even if our leaders were not.” [Signed:] “The American people.”

What the Muslim outrage is really about

Power. Not a ‘dopey’ short video, which few rioters likely even saw.

That’s the sentiment of a few bold analysts I’ve heard who were willing to step outside the press corral. And the paraphrase of thoughts buried somewhere deep in this analysis piece by Andrew McCarthy at NRO.

“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” So declared the Obama State Department in a statement issued on the website of its Egyptian embassy. At the time, it was clear that another episode of Muslim mayhem was imminent.

The statement is a disgrace, just as Mitt Romney said it was. It elevated over the U.S. Constitution (you know, the thing Obama took an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend”) the claimed right of sharia supremacists (you know, “Religion of Peace” adherents) to riot over nonsense. Further, it dignified the ludicrous pretext that an obscure, moronic 14-minute video was the actual reason for the oncoming jihad.

Here is the important part, however, the part not to be missed, no matter how determined the president’s media shysters are to cover it up: The disgraceful embassy statement was a completely accurate articulation of longstanding Obama policy.

As Obama struggled to put daylight between himself and his record, the press was duly pathetic. The president, Politico was quick to cavil, had nothing to do with “the statement by Embassy Cairo.” An administration official declaimed that it “was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government.” You are to believe the Obama White House exists in a galaxy separate from the Obama State Department, which itself inhabits a frontier distant and detached from the U.S. embassy in Cairo — except, one supposes, for the $38,000 in taxpayer funds the embassy spent on Obama autobiographies, apparently thought to be craved by Egyptians, at least when they’re not ever-so-moderately chanting “Obama, Obama, there are still a billion Osamas.”

In point of fact, the embassy’s statement perfectly reflects the views of the United States government under Obama’s stewardship. It is anathema to most Americans, but it has been Obama’s position from the start.

I’ve saved a handful of good news items on this violent outburst, but McCarthy lays it out best here and the points he makes need attention. In its detail. Which is little known.

In 2009, the Obama State Department ceremoniously joined with Muslim governments to propose a United Nations resolution that, as legal commentator Stuart Taylor observed, was “all-too-friendly to censoring speech that some religions and races find offensive.” Titled “Freedom of Opinion and Expression” — a name only an Alinskyite or a Muslim Brotherhood tactician could love — the resolution was the latest salvo in a years-long campaign by the 57-government Organization of the Islamic Conference (now renamed the “Organization of Islamic Cooperation”). The OIC’s explicit goal is to coerce the West into adopting sharia, particularly its “defamation” standards.

Sharia severely penalizes any insult to Islam or its prophet, no matter how slight. Death is a common punishment. And although navel-gazing apologists blubber about how “moderate Islamist” governments will surely ameliorate enforcement of this monstrous law, the world well knows that the “Muslim street” usually takes matters into its own hands — with encouragement from their influential sheikhs and imams.

In its obsession with propitiating Islamic supremacists, the Obama administration has endorsed this license to mutilate. In the United States, the First Amendment prohibits sharia restrictions on speech about religion. As any Catholic or Jew can tell you, everyone’s belief system is subject to critical discussion. One would think that would apply doubly to Islam. After all, many Muslims accurately cite scripture as a justification for violence; and classical Islam recognizes no separation between spiritual and secular life — its ambition, through sharia, is to control matters (economic, political, military, social, hygienic, etc.) that go far beyond what is understood and insulated as “religious belief” in the West. If it is now “blasphemy” to assert that it is obscene to impose capital punishment on homosexuals and apostates, to take just two of the many examples of sharia oppression, then we might as well hang an “Out of Business” sign on our Constitution.

The Obama administration, however, did not leave it at the 2009 resolution. It has continued to work with the OIC on subordinating the First Amendment to sharia’s defamation standards — even hosting last year’s annual conference, a “High Level Meeting on Combatting Religious Intolerance.” That paragon of speech sensitivity, Secretary of State Hillary “We Came, We Saw, He Died” Clinton, hailed as a breakthrough a purported compromise that would have criminalized only speech that incited violence based on religious hostility. But it was a smokescreen: Speech that intentionally solicits violence, regardless of the speaker’s motivation, is already criminal and has always been exempted from First Amendment protection. There is no need for more law about that.

Important lesson here. Tough for some skewed cultural sensibilities, but it remains the reality.

The First Amendment permits us to criticize in a way that may provoke hostility — it would be unconstitutional to suppress that regardless of whether the law purporting to do so was civil, as opposed to criminal.

But let’s put the legal hair-splitting aside. Knowing her legal position was unsound, and that traditional forms of law could not constitutionally be used to suppress critical examination of religion, Secretary Clinton further explained the administration’s commitment “to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.” The government is our servant, not our master — besides enforcing valid laws, it has no business using its coercive power to play social engineer. More to the present point, however, the administration was effectively saying it is perfectly appropriate to employ extra-legal forms of intimidation to suppress speech that “we abhor.”

That is precisely what the Egyptian mob was about to do when the U.S. embassy issued its statement. The Obama administration’s position? The president endorses extortionate “peer pressure” and “shaming,” but condemns constitutionally protected speech. That’s exactly the message the embassy’s statement conveyed.

Mind you, what is playing out in Egypt — as well as Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia — is a charade. It has nothing to do with the dopey movie. There is as much or more agitation to release the Blind Sheikh — which the Obama administration has also encouraged by its embrace of Islamists, including the Blind Sheikh’s terrorist organization. The latest round of marauding is about power.

In spite of news outlet after news outlet, White House press conference one after another, political surrogates and strategists all over ‘mainstream media’ to the contrary, here’s how it shakes down:

In a situation that called for a president who would actually defend the Constitution, Mitt Romney rose to the occasion. The administration’s performance was, as he asserted, “disgraceful.” Further, Romney admonished,

“America will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies. We’ll defend also our constitutional rights of speech, and assembly, and religion. We have confidence in our cause in America. We respect our Constitution. We stand for the principles our constitution protects. We encourage other nations to understand and respect the principles of our constitution, because we recognize that these principles are the ultimate source of freedom for individuals around the world.”

Can you imagine the current incumbent, the guy sworn to defend the Constitution, ever saying such a thing — or, better, saying it and actually meaning it? Me neither. It will be remembered as the moment the race for president finally became about the real job of a president.

The vision of Barack Obama

After nearly four years, we should know by now. But big media either don’t care to know, or don’t want us to know what they know. Good thing they’re no longer the gatekeepers for information access.

Dinesh D’Souza did a fair and decent job of presenting the man Barack Obama came to be and what formed him along his path to political participation in the film ‘2016’, still playing in a number of theaters. One of the sources in that film is a source of mine, Dr. Paul Kengor, who had just done an hour long interview on my show before I saw the film, though he never mentioned it. The interview was on his book The Communist, sub-titled Frank Marhsall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor. Kengor’s book is well-researched, meticulously documented, and fair. But it’s getting no attention in big media. None. Why is that? Why should we not be well informed about both presidential candidates, who influenced and informed them through life, and shaped their worldviews?

Seriously, why? It’s a fair and honest question. But the media have buried this information on Obama. Why?

It is scandalous that so little attention has been paid to Frank Marshall Davis and his influence on our president. The general public knows little to nothing about this man. Liberal journalists, historians, scholars, and pundits would never tolerate such self-imposed ignorance if facing a conservative president influenced by a figure this extreme to the right.

Nevertheless, Barack Obama’s left-leaning biographers have either willfully ignored Frank Marshall Davis or seriously downplayed his influence and communist leanings. Of everything written on Obama over the years, no book has focused specifically on Frank. And now, after considerable time researching and writing on the subject, I understand why: No president has been influenced by a figure as politically troubling as this one…

Frank Marshall Davis’s political antics were so radical that the FBI placed him on the federal government’s Security Index, which meant that he could be immediately detained or arrested in the event of a national emergency, such as a war breaking out between the United States and the USSR.

However…

Obama’s memoirs feature twenty-two direct references to “Frank” by name, and far more via pronouns and other forms of reference. Frank is a consistent theme throughout the book, appearing repeatedly and meaningfully in all three parts, which are titled “Origins,” “Chicago,” and “Kenya.” He is part of Obama’s life and mind, by Obama’s own extended recounting, from Hawaii–the site of visits and late evenings together–to Los Angeles to Chicago to Germany to Africa, from adolescence to college to community organizing. Frank is always one of the few (and first) names mentioned by Obama in each mile marker upon his historic path from Hawaii to Washington.

So have you ever heard of him? Probably not. Why not? Americans traditionally want to know who and what informs our would-be leaders, especially American journalists. It’s a fair and reasonable question. Why didn’t media ask it? Or report on it once they learned, which surely some of them did? 

Kengor did, and he gathered so much information, he analyzed the influence Obama’s mentor would continue to play over the recent DNC.

Frank Marshall Davis’s politics were so radical, and so pro-Soviet, that the Democrats who ran the Senate in 1956 summoned him to Washington to testify on his pro-Soviet activities.  Even more remarkable, the FBI placed him on the federal government’s Security Index, meaning that if a war broke out between the United States and the Soviet Union, Obama’s mentor could have been placed under immediate arrest.

I’ve noted this here before.  I’ve also noted Davis’s unceasing class-based rhetoric and class warfare.

This is just one condensed article drawn out more at length in the book. But it’s very revealing.

After all those years trashing the Democratic Party, Davis, like many American communists, decided to join the Democrats.  There were two primary factors that drove this decision: 1) American communists realized that they could never get elected to national office openly campaigning as communists, and 2) when Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party collapsed in 1948, the communists who had pervaded it had nowhere else to go.  So, many American communists opted to hitch their wagon to a different star — namely, to the most viable left-leaning party in America: the Democratic Party.  Sure, this would be a challenge when they encountered old anti-communist Democrats like John F. Kennedy, Pat McCarran, Thomas Dodd, and Scoop Jackson, but overall, in the long run, they would be patient, and they would seek alliances with Democrats much closer to their collectivist thinking.

Frank Marshall Davis was among these.  This tactical move by Davis is evident in his declassified 600-page FBI file, and specifically an April 1950 report that states that “members of the subversive element in Honolulu were concentrating their efforts on infiltration of the Democratic Party through control of Precinct Clubs and organizations.”  These communist subversives, said the report, were pushing “their candidates in these Precinct Club elections.”…

This began a long march to transform the Democratic Party from the party of Truman and JFK to the party of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.  And in a quite fascinating twist of history, Frank Marshall Davis, as a “Democrat,” would go on to influence today’s Democratic Party standard-bearer: Barack Obama.

The consequences of that shift were seen in the DNC last week, which opened with an Orwellian narration of the government as the only thing we really belong to, and culminated in a platform fight over omitting a reference to God.

The two candidates for president have starkly different views of what should be the proper size and role of government, and religiously informed voices within it and in the public arena. This is the time to vet them.

The Dems agenda

Throughout the Republicans’ primary debates and into the GOP convention, that party was accused of being too focused on social issues and not the fiscal ones that matter to the country. Now, the Democrats opened their convention with a heavy emphasis on…social issues.

Which the New York Times pointed out.

On Monday night, Michelle Obama told the nation that her husband wants everyone to succeed no matter “who we love.”

If that was not clear enough, she returned to the point later in her address. “If proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love,” she said, “then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American dream.”

She was not the only one. At times it seemed as if almost every speaker on the first night of the Democratic National Convention was touting same-sex marriage.

“When it comes to letting people marry whomever they love, Mitt Romney says no,” Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio said of the Republican nominee.

“Today in Massachusetts, you can also marry whomever you love,” said that state’s governor, Deval Patrick.

Kal Penn, the actor and former White House aide, praised Mr. Obama for being “cool with all of us getting gay-married.”

And then there was ‘abortion-palooza’.

Until the Democratic convention got into prime time, speaker after speaker went to the podium to hail the Democratic Party sacrament, to the point that one would have thought that the source of most woes in America was an epidemic of conception, rather than say, oh, jobs.  The focus shifted a little when primetime coverage began…

New York Times columnist David Brooks told PBS that his one “cavil” was that voters want to hear about jobs and the economy, not taxpayer-subsidized abortion on demand:

“You know, you’re electing someone — we’re going to spend four more years with these people — and after this speech, I think a lot of people will say, ‘Yeah, I think I kind of do,’” Brooks said.

“The one cavil I will have … is this speech has — [it] reinforces something we’ve heard all night, which was how much the crowd goes crazy and how passionate they are about abortion and gay marriage and the social issues. And tonight has been about that.

“And to me it should have been a lot more about economics, growth, and debt. And that better be the job of day two and day three because they did not do it here.”

That’s not a “cavil,” it’s a legitimate — and inescapable — observation. Brooks seemed mighty pleased to have stumped the PBS panel with that word, but he chose it poorly. The point of an incumbent’s convention is to demonstrate the progress made on issues that matter to voters and assume the high ground over one’s opponent. It’s difficult to see how Democrats could have made Barack Obama more irrelevant and small last night.

Until they made him and his administration very large.

As the convention opened, this video was played in which the narrator stated: “Government is the only thing we all belong to.”

WHAT?! Seriously? Did they really say that?

On it’s face the statement “government is the only thing we all belong to” reeks with collectivism. I halfway expected the delegates to bow down and praise Obama on the spot, the current incarnation of the all-powerful progressive conception of big-government. Instead of wasting my time watching the big government love-fest play out on screen, I took a second to look at the platform for the DNC in 2012. Then everything made sense. In this years’ version of the Democratic platform, Democrats left out two important words. Those two words make all the difference. In more ways than one.
“God Given.” Those are the two words expunged from the 2012 DNC Platform.

But wait…that changed…the next day. After a lot of pressure, never mind the outside criticism but also inside the Democratic party. They brought back God, and Israel.

Democrats voted to update their party’s platform Wednesday evening at their convention to include a reference to Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, as well as the insertion of the word “God,” neither of which was included in their platform this year but was in previous platforms.

But of all the things they played up in the party convention, they’ve certainly played down the big feature that hung over the Republican convention…the debt. Which just broke over the $16 trillion mark.

Though that didn’t get a mention in the DNC.

It was classic major-party Manicheasm: Eastasians do bad things for the simple reason that their hearts are bad; Eurasians’ hearts are good, so they don’t do bad things.

In this idyllic landscape of Democratic magical thinking, there is no state and local budget crises, no unaffordable and underfunded defined-benefit public pension obligations, nothing at all standing in the way of “investing” in our public safety, except (in ex-Republican Stern’s words) “right-wing extremists.”

The thinking behind the presentation was certainly creative.

Last night’s speeches were notable less for what they contained and more for what they did not: any engagement with the issue of having a debt load (of $16 trillion) that is now larger than GDP, of having a long-forecasted entitlement time bomb marching northward toward 100 percent of federal spending, of having underfunded obligations in the trillions of dollars promised by politicians addicted to handing out “free” benefits.

The bottom line of the first day:

One of the great ironies of this convention already is that speaker after speaker denounces Republicans for being unable to tell the truth or get their facts straight. Meanwhile, one of the most important truths of modern governance—we are well and truly out of money—sits neglected in the corner.

Ahead of Wednesday’s speech by former president Bill Clinton, predictions were easy to make about his role as reshaper of the brand and image. The Wall Street Journal’s was as accurate as anyone’s.

Clinton’s speech was certainly rousing, he was in his element and enjoying every moment, and he delivered exactly what was expected on every count. Except for time. He went way over, clocking in at just about an hour.

Here’s the key to reading the transcript or listening to the streaming audio or video. This was anticipated:

Arguably the most memorable phrase (not related to a scandal) that Bill Clinton uttered during his Presidency came in his 1996 State of the Union address: “The era of big government is over.” And for a few years, it was over. By contrast, Mr. Obama’s four years have been spent expanding the government willy-nilly—with more spending, the promise of higher taxes, and intervention across the economy. His only economic plan now is still-more spending.

So as Mr. Clinton tries to lay hands on Mr. Obama and rewrite the history of the 1990s, the real story isn’t how much policy the two Democrats have in common. What matters is what they did differently. Bill Clinton learned from the mistakes of his first two years. Mr. Obama has doubled down on his—and, on all available evidence, he will double down again if he’s re-elected.

Who’s not qualified to be president

What a different election cycle this is going to be.

This news item about GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann percolated to the top tier over the past 24 hours, and I glanced over it, ready to move on to other stories I really wanted to cover. But then I noticed some remarks toward the end…

Her fellow Minnesotan, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty went after Bachmann hard on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, saying the congresswoman’s record of accomplishment was “nonexistent.”

Pawlenty bashed Bachmann again Monday on Fox News, saying that being president was more than “just giving speeches at rallies” — a clear shot at Bachmann’s ability to play to conservative crowds.

Now this is getting interesting. Here’s a thought exercise:

In the Atlantic, writer Conor Friedersdorf says Pawlenty is right.

“In many ways, Bachmann is exceptionally qualified to run a good campaign. She is telegenic, charismatic, manages to be quick-witted at times, is wily in her attacks and counterattacks, raises a lot of money, and has mastered the dog-whistle. She rose to prominence by adeptly leveraging media appearances. That she did so despite having accomplished nothing of significance in public life is impressive,” he writes. “But it doesn’t make her qualified to be president. She is manifestly unqualified to be president, as Republicans would quickly point out were someone with her resume running as a Democrat.”

Um….remember the 2008 campaign? Quite frankly, one can plug in the pronoun ‘he’ for ‘she’ in the above paragraph and it just happens to apply, explicitly, to the candidate Barack Obama at that time. In all honesty. Which must have struck a chord…

Friedersdorf goes on to note that he believes that Bachmann’s supporters, who, he says, claimed a few years ago that then-Sen. Barack Obama was too inexperienced to be president, are being hypocritical.

“Is the partisan mind so powerful that they’re now prepared to elevate someone based on the strength of her TV interviews and floor speeches?” he asks.

Seriously? Is the partisan mind so powerful that they’re now prepared to put down and demean someone based on ‘only’ the strength of her TV interviews and floor speeches?! I have no particular opinion of Bachmann at this point, but…really?! This is remarkable. What an exercise in critical thinking.