Monthly Archives: May 2014

Obama: America is Stronger Than Ever

In his recent West Point commencement address, President Obama claimed, “America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world.” The exact opposite is true.

Arguably at the nadir of his scandal-ridden presidency, with worldwide regard for America plummeting and America’s enemies proliferating in both quantity and capability, Obama desperately tried to change the narrative.

Surely we can evaluate America’s geopolitical strength “relative to the rest of the world” by how she conducts herself on the world scene.

Obama promised swift action to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators of the coordinated terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. He quickly jailed an innocent film producer for posting a YouTube video which had absolutely no connection with Benghazi.

Hundreds of girls were captured by Nigerian terrorists, putting human faces to the worsening global terrorist threat. To rescue those girls, Obama brought the full force of America’s might, employing hashtag diplomacy.

Responding to Putin’s invasion of Crimea, Obama basically said, “Don’t do it again.” Putin is doing it again.

Obama’s notion of national strength was well articulated in his administration’s Orwellian redefinition of leadership, “leading from behind,” which was first practiced in Libya in 2011 and is employed today with Syria.

At the onset of World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill promised his people, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Churchill urged his fellow citizens to never give in, even in their darkest hour. Churchill’s statesmanship led his nation to victory.

In contrast, Obama continually claims victory (“al Qaeda is dead”) despite the reality that the terrorist threat to the world is greater than ever. His vision of the world is at odds with the reality that the rest of us face every day.

President Obama is not being honest with either the American people or himself. Moreover, his words and actions place America and our allies in ever-greater danger as he brags about non-existent successes and denies reality.

America is sorely in need of a statesman, not a partisan. Obama is no Churchill (or Reagan, for that matter).

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Putin = Hitler? Yes!

Prince Charles was recently criticized for accurately comparing Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.

Although Putin has not (yet) engaged in massive ethnic cleansing as Hitler did, even a cursory examination of Putin’s words, actions, and goals invite comparisons with Hitler.

What kind of a person as Putin proven himself to be? We know that Putin is ruthless, aggressive, and power-hungry. Putin cites the law while breaking the law, using rhetoric of peace to disguise his militaristic intentions. He has engaged in territorial expansion in the past as he seeks to re-establish the Russian Empire.

Hitler’s Strategy

As Prince Charles alluded to, Putin’s annexation of Crimea dramatically mirrors Hitler’s annexation of Austria. A recent documentary, Nazis: Evolution of Evil,[1] presents a chilling account of Hitler’s modus operandi. Consider how closely it mirrors Putin’s own approach to achieving his goals.

  1. Hitler annexed Austria peacefully – bringing Austrian Germans into the Reich – “against all international agreements, yet Britain and France do nothing. … Hitler has taken his first step to his Greater Germany without bloodshed.”
  2. Having seized Austria, Hitler entered Czechoslovakia, which had a large German population along its border, an area known as the Sudetenland.
  3. Hitler’s expressed goal was to unite all Germans in one country.
  4. The Czechs resisted. Hitler claimed the Germans were being persecuted by the Czechs.
  5. Pro-Nazi agitators in Czechoslovakia stirred up unrest.
  6. Hitler mobilized troops to “defend” Germans in Czechoslovakia.
  7. Hitler urged voting in the Sudetenland and, later, annexed the country.
  8. Hitler’s territorial acquisitions continued as he sought to rule the whole of Europe and Russia.

Putin’s Plans

Open Democracy asks an important question: “With Crimea under the control of Russia’s military forces and its Moscow-backed government voting to secede from Ukraine – all achieved under Russia’s pretext of protecting the Russian population there – the question arises as to whether, and where, President Vladimir Putin could seek territorial expansion next?”

Putin’s imperialistic designs remain unabated and, as yet, unchallenged. And the West appears resigned to defeat.

Endnotes:

[1]               Nazis: Evolution of Evil, episode 5, “Preparing for War,” American Heroes Channel, http://www.ahctv.com/tv-shows/nazis-evolution-of-evil.

Let’s Stop the Insanity Over Gun Violence

The grief-stricken father of a 20-year-old boy who was killed in a massacre in Santa Barbara yesterday asked a crucial question, “When will this insanity stop?” But his solution – gun control – cannot work because it does not address the real problem hinted at in his very question.

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Insanity, not guns, is the problem. There are ample gun laws on the books now. But for over half-a-century, political correctness has targeted guns and de-stigmatized mental illness. Over the years, the potential dangers of some forms of mental illness have been glossed over. Consequently, the liberal media and anti-gun activist groups focus on weapons and not those wielding them.

In mass shooting after mass shooting, crazy people do crazy things. That’s why they are recognized to be crazy. But the almost inevitable liberal knee-jerk response any form of gun violence is to ignore the insanity and attack the NRA.

Guns don’t kill people, insane people kill people. The 22-year-old shooter, Eliott Rodger, wrote a 141-page manifesto and YouTube videos which demonstrated his mental instability. His family and friends knew he posed a threat and informed the authorities. Of the massacre, Sheriff Bill Brown said, “It’s obviously the work of a madman.”

Let’s stop blaming the weapon and focus on evil in the human heart.

In many of these tragedies, the culprits were known to have psychiatric problems but 1) did not obtain the help they needed and 2) due to privacy laws, that information was not passed on to those who should have been informed (e.g., schools, gun stores).

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) is spearheading efforts to overhaul the mental health aspects of health care with the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Passage of this bill, which arose in response to the Sandy Hook massacre, would facilitate the treatment of mental disorders and make it easier to connect the dots between those who pose a threat with access to deadly weapons.

Let’s stop the insanity over gun violence by stopping the violently insane instead of targeting innocent gun owners exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Update: Tim Brown writes:

“compare America’s per capita murder rate of 4.7 per 100,000 resident to that of a US city like Detroit, Michigan, where socialist and communist Democrats have imposed massive gun control. In Detroit, the murder rate is 54.6 per 100,000. Consider that is Detroit was a country, it would be in second place, just behind Honduras!

“Out of 218 countries, ‘gun culture America’ didn’t even make it into the top 100 of those countries with the highest murder rates per capita. She came in 111.”

“So, consider that 4.7 per 100,000 includes these high crime areas, which have been largely controlled by socialists. Why then is the overall number of murders in America as low as it is? It’s because of largely of cities where guns are lawfully carried and used.”

Identity Politics Is the Problem

Is America destined to be forever divided along racial, gender, and class lines, or has identity politics obscured the reality that most Americans have already embraced Dr. King’s vision of a colorblind society and the Founders’ assertion that “all men are created equal?”

Are people truly defined by the immutable characteristics of race and gender (and the malleable trait of class), or does the character and conduct of the individual define who they are? Is our identity derived from our outer physical attributes or our inner being?

The following remark is emblematic of the problem identity politics plays in American politics and culture today. Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) recently said, If you call progress electing a person with the pigmentation that he has, who votes against the interest and aspirations of 95 percent of the black people in South Carolina, then I guess that’s progress.”

Clearly, Clyburn is engaging in groupthink, insisting that all members of a particular group must think alike. Groupthink is a pox on our political landscape because it 1) is prejudiced against opposing views, 2) discriminates against dissent, 3) diminishes debate, and 4) precludes progress. Moreover, groupthink ignores, and even, denies, the inner moral and spiritual dimensions of the individual.

Groupthink embraces political correctness, delights in speech codes, and denies individuals the freedom to think and speak for themselves.

Individual vs. Group Rights

Identity politics is symptomatic of groupthink and it is literally designed to divide and conquer: divide the populace into “us” vs. “them” and then destroy “them.” As identity politics divides people it creates a grievance culture built upon feelings of victimhood.

Today, we find numerous stories in which people, businesses, educational institutions, government organizations, and private enterprises are criticized for not having the right demographic composition (principally race or gender). Bean counters quantify the ratio of races and genders in a particular group and impugn those groups which fail to have the right ratio.

Our “city upon a hill” was built upon individual liberty.

The American Revolution and the establishment of our political institutions gave birth to a nation which has been a bountiful blessing to the world. Our revolution and the birth of the United States focused on individual rights, on unleashing the potential of very human being in liberty to be the best that they could be. In contrast, the French Revolution, which sought collective rights, ended in the Reign of Terror. When individual rights are lost, collective rights cannot protect the individual.

Race Card

Responding to rampant racism and institutional discrimination, the civil rights movement of the Sixties fought and won redress of grievances and inclusion of previously-excluded Americans in daily life. Affirmative action, which led to quotas, addressed those issues and, in the course of time, a dramatic attitudinal shift among Americans occurred. 2014 is nothing like 1964.

Interestingly, while every aspect of life is now seemingly subject to these quotas – using statistical analysis of the racial or gender composition of a group to determine prejudice or discrimination – that same groupthink mindset is not applied to ethnic or cultural dynamics in America (e.g., do people use those same formulas to determine whether the Irish, Greeks, Germans, or Japanese are being discriminated against?).

Race continues to remain a potential powder keg culturally because of the dynamics of groupthink and the impact identity politics plays in dividing people along racial (and other) lines.

Asserting group rights – particularly using only statistical analysis – discriminates against individual rights. Numerous court cases have emerged from individuals denied opportunities because of their race – in the name of combating discrimination. The Supreme Court appears to be recognizing the counterproductive nature of quotas and the inherent injustice of combating discrimination with discrimination.

Dinesh D’Souza’s groundbreaking book, Illiberal Education (1991), cogently addresses how the Left’s adherence to political correctness (in quotas, race norming, etc.) does incalculable harm to those it purports to help.

Class Warfare

We hear a lot today about wealth inequality and income disparity. Class warfare continually escalates every election cycle. Like the race card, class warfare is derived from groupthink. It posits an us-vs.-them model which actually maligns the successful and exalts the poor as victims of greedy oppressors. The Marxist notion of exploitation pervades that argument: the successful have exploited the poor.

Class warfare feeds on several strong (and negative) feelings. It creates a sense of victimhood, and, therefore, a sense of entitlement (victims need to be recompensed). It also urges the have-nots to envy the haves. The rich are vilified as being full of greed. But class warfare also exploits the poor, encouraging them to be full of envy for what others possess.

Class warfare appeals to the basest instincts, under the guise of redressing a perceived injustice. Again, as with race, it treats people as homogenous groups instead of distinct individuals. Survey after survey for the last several decades has shown a tremendous degree of income mobility among the rich and poor. Because of the freedom Americans possess, people are rewarded for their hard work by being able to climb the economic ladder. Today’s struggling worker or entrepreneur can be tomorrow’s millionaire.

The story of a Princeton freshman, Tal Fortgang, provides a compelling case for why he opposes the whole concept of “white privilege” (which combines both race and class). His grandfather was a penny-less Holocaust survivor who became successful, yet, groupthink charges Fortgang with white privilege.

War on Women

Like race and class, gender plays an increasingly influential role in American politics. Every election cycle, Democrats ramp up their “war on women” rhetoric as the latest struggle for civil rights. Sandra Fluke’s quest for free birth control – while trampling on the civil rights of others – is but one example. As of this writing, Fluke is running for state senator, based upon playing the victim card.

In contrast to alleged victims of a phony war on women perpetrated by conservatives, consider the pattern of attacks on women by liberals. During the Clinton administration, James Carville’s “War Room” launched a plethora of campaigns targeting specific women (the infamous “bimbo eruptions”), such as Monica Lewinsky and Paula Jones.

That pattern persists today. While the Left manufactures a phony Republican war on women in the abstract, the Left ruthlessly attacks specific women in reality (e.g., Sarah Palin). Just as conservative blacks must be attacked as inauthenticly black because of their beliefs, so too, female conservatives are attacked and treated as inauthentic women. Conservatives who are female and/or black challenge the narrative of the Left and pose an existential threat to its orthodoxy of groupthink, victimhood, and collective rights.

Left is Still Counter-Cultural

The radical, countercultural non-conformists of the Sixties – those championing the Sexual Revolution and protesting the Vietnam War – once eschewed conformism for individual freedom. Now that they are in positions of power and influence, they would require conformity at the expense of freedom (e.g., Mozilla Founder and CEO Brendan Eich).

In the Sixties, they opposed traditional, conservative values, and now they want to impose their own values on everyone else. In the name of tolerance – while employing identity politics derived from groupthink – the Left engages in intolerance to eradicate any ideas incongruent with its own.

The solution is to return to King’s vision and actually judge people by their character (not on how they fit a particular demographic) and to remember that the Constitution and Bill of Rights were designed for individuals (not groups).

Success will be achieved when we view each other as unique individuals and fellow Americans.

Obama’s America – Fundamentally Flawed

President Obama’s foreign and domestic policies often seem incoherent and contradictory to many people in America and around the world. Much of what he does is for political expediency or to reward supporters and punish foes, lending to the false impression of incoherence. Nevertheless, Obama’s national and international agendas are actually well-defined and congruent, and those related agendas spring directly from Obama’s worldview in general, and his view of America, in particular.

America = Malaysia

Just two weeks ago, many people were surprised at President Obama’s moral equivalence between Malaysia and the United States. Speaking in Malaysia, Obama declared, “I think the prime minister is the first to acknowledge that Malaysia’s still got some work to do [on human rights] – just like the United States, by the way, has some work to do – on these issues.  Human Rights Watch probably has a list of things they think we should be doing as a government.”[1]

Malaysia, remember, is guilty of horrendous human rights violations, yet Obama thinks we have “some work to do” on those issues. Issues like, “obstacles preventing opposition parties from competing on equal terms with the ruling coalition; restrictions on freedoms of speech, assembly, association, and religion; and restrictions on freedom of the press, including media bias, book banning, censorship, and the denial of printing permits.”[2]

The State Department’s 2013 Human Rights Report on Malaysia adds, “Other human rights problems included deaths during police apprehension and while in police custody; the persistence of laws that allow detention without trial; caning as a form of punishment imposed by criminal and sharia courts; bans on religious groups; restrictions on proselytizing and on the freedom to change one’s religion; official corruption; violence and discrimination against women; discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons; and restrictions on the rights of migrants, including migrant workers, refugees, and victims of human trafficking.”

America is like Malaysia? Really? (This is a clue to those who are clueless as to Obama’s view of the United States.)

American Unexceptionalism

While in Berlin, Germany, during his first presidential campaign, Senator Obama prefigured his presidential modus operandi, saying, “I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not always lived up to our best intentions.” As President, Obama launched his worldwide apology tour,[3] which, seemingly, has yet to end.

At a 2009 NATO Summit, Obama revealed, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”[4] What a shocker! We all remember his wife’s astonishing revelation, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.”[5]

Why was the soon-to-be First Lady proud of America? Because America would soon be pursuing the change that her husband envisioned. Just two weeks earlier, Sen. Obama had declared, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”[6] (“We” are our own Messiah?)

Hope and change! Days before his first presidential victory, Obama promised, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”[7] Few understood what that transformation entailed and how Obama would seek to achieve it. What has since become clear is that Obama has replaced the vision of the Founding Fathers with that of his own.

In contrast to Obama, author and columnist Norman Podhoretz wrote,

“By remaining faithful in principle – and to a considerable extent in practice – to the ideas by which the Founders hoped to accomplish these ends, we and our forebears have fashioned a country in which more liberty and more prosperity are more widely shared than among any other people in human history.”[8]

Podhoretz concluded,

“With all exceptions duly noted, I think it is fair to say that what liberals mainly see when they look at America today is injustice and oppression crying out for redress. By sharp contrast, conservatives see a complex of traditions and institutions built upon the principles that animated the American Revolution and that have made it possible – to say yet again what cannot be said too often – for more freedom and more prosperity to be enjoyed by more of its citizens than in any other society in human history. It follows that what liberals – who concentrate their attention on the relatively little that is wrong with America instead of the enormous good embodied within it – seek to change or discard is precisely what conservatives are dedicated to preserving, reinvigorating, and defending.”

America is Not a Christian Nation?

Many rightly contend that America’s Judeo-Christian heritage deeply informed its political and cultural institutions, indeed, the very fabric of the American way of life. The Supreme Court, in a series of decisions, definitively affirmed our Christian heritage.

Vidal v. Girard’s Executors (1844): “Christianity is not to be maliciously and openly reviled and blasphemed against, to the annoyance of believers or the injury of the public. … Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”

Holy Trinity v. United States (1892): “There is no dissonance in these [historical] declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. … This is a Christian nation.”[9]

United States v. Macintosh (1931): “We are a Christian people … according to one another the equal right of religious freedom, and acknowledging with the reverence the duty of obedience to God.”

But according to the President, “We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation.”[10] Says who? Despite a decline in the number of people who regard themselves as religious,[11] fully 78% of the population regards itself as Christian.[12]

Still, Obama gets it wrong. In June 2007, he said, “Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”[13]

Obama’s vision of America drastically differs from that of most Americans.

Fundamental Transformation

In The Audacity of Hope, Obama wrote, “Implicit … in the very idea of ordered liberty [is] a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or ‘ism,’ any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations into a single unalterable course.”[14]

His relativistic, multicultural perspective radically rejects the absolutist values upon which America was built and which were enshrined in its Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Those fundamental, foundational ideas and ideals created the America so many of us love and the America to which millions of people turn to every year. The Founders’ America, not Obama’s.

Obama’s counter-cultural perspective and globalist worldview informs the fundamental transformation of America to which he has devoted his presidency, perhaps even his entire life.

Remember, Obama promised to fundamentally transform America and he has, indeed, kept that particular promise, though not in the way most people anticipated.

Obama sees America as fundamentally flawed and an exploiter of the world, not as “the last great hope of mankind.”[15] It is Obama’s worldviewnot America – that is fundamentally flawed.

[Future essays will address the domestic and foreign ramifications of Obama’s fundamentally flawed vision of America: Obamanomics and the Obama Doctrine.]

Endnotes:

[1]               President Obama, 4/27/14, see http://therightscoop.com/breaking-on-human-rights-obama-says-malaysias-got-some-work-to-do-just-like-the-united-states/.

[2]               See the U.S. State Department’s 2013 Human Rights Report on Malaysia at http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/eap/220209.htm.

[3]               Regarding President Obama’s infamous apology tour, see http://spectator.org/blog/20288/conservatve-leaders-speak-out-against-obamas-apology-tour.

[4]               See http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2013/09/12/an_explanation_of_american_exceptionalism_for_vladimir_putin_and_barack_obama.

[5]               Michelle Obama, 2/18/08, see http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/blog/?p=17884.

[6]               Barack Obama, 2/5/08, see “A Chorus of Millions,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsrgYvx7KJE.

[7]               Barack Obama, 10/30/08, see http://www.nationalreview.com/article/359967/obama-transforming-america-victor-davis-hanson.

[8]               Norman Podhoretz, “Is America Exceptional?” Imprimis, Hillsdale College, October 2012.

[9]               See http://vftonline.org/EndTheWall/TrinityHistory.htm.

[10]             President Obama, 4/6/09, see http://www.redstate.com/diary/warner_todd_huston/2009/04/08/what-are-we-if-not-a-christian-nation/.

[11]             See http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/.

[12]             See http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-landscape-christians/.

[13]             Brad O’Leary, The Audacity of Deceit: Barack Obama’s War on American Values, WND Books, 2008, pg. 8.

[14]             Larry P. Arnn, “Time to Give Up or Time to Fight On?” Imprimis, Hillsdale College, December 2012.

[15]             See http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/congress.htm.