The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

Month: March 2013

“Democracy” vs. “Republic”

Decades
before Plato wrote The Republic and
his Socratic dialogues, (in fact, when he was a babbling infant), Herodotus,
the father of history, recorded the first known political debate. It was between
three Persian princes about what was the best form of government: democracy,
oligarchy, or monarchy.

Otanes,
the wealthiest prince, argued for “democracy.” The monarchy should be
abolished, and replaced with the people, for “the state and the people are
synonymous.”

“Democracy,”
countered one prince, Megabyzus, was dangerous. “The masses are a feckless
lot – nowhere will you find more ignorance or irresponsibility or
violence.” After all, he emphasized, what was the difference between
“the murderous caprice of a king” and “the equally wanton
brutality of the rabble”? He was all for oligarchy, the rule of “the
best.”

Darius,
the third debater, argued hotly for monarchy, for only a strong man could keep
the empire intact, quash rebellious factions, and foil internal plots against
it.1  

They
submitted their positions to other princes, who voted for monarchy. Darius won,
and became sovereign, but only after some kingly legerdemain and horseplay. It
was Darius who led the first Persian invasion of Greece. He forgave Megabyzus’s
desultory words about kings, and made him a general of his invading forces. His
plans for conquering all of Greece were ruined at Marathon in 490 B.C. He died
shortly after that disaster, leaving his son Xerxes to try again.

That
history lesson leads us to the absolutely crucial issue of the fundamental
distinctions that must be made between democracies and republics, that is, between
“mobocracies” and constitutional
republics that preserve and protect individual rights. Armed with hindsight not
available to Herodotus or the Persian princes, the Founders of the American republic debated the differences between
a democracy and a republic.

Dictionary
definitions of the two political systems are of little help. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary defines democracy as:

1. Government by
the people; that form of government in which the sovereign power lies in the
people as a whole, and is exercised directly by them (as in the small republics
of antiquity) or by officers elected by them. In modern use often more vaguely
denoting a social state in which all have equal rights, without hereditary or
arbitrary differences in rank or privilege.

The
O.E.D.’s definition of republic more or less seconds its
definition of a democracy.

1.  The state, the commonweal (obsolete).  2.
A state in which the supreme power rests in the people and their elected
representatives or officers, as opposed to one governed by a king or similar
ruler; a commonwealth.

The
1969 edition of Webster’s Seventh New
Collegiate Dictionary
offers a definition of democracy that isn’t much of an improvement:

1
a:

government by the people; esp: rule
of the majority.  b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people
and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation
usually involving periodically held free elections.

As
for the Webster‘s definition of republic,
it simply abets the vagueness of its definition of democracy.

1.
a (1):

a government having a chief executive who is not a monarch and who in modern
times is usually a president. (2) a
nation or other political unit having such a form of government b (1) a government in which supreme
power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by
elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing
according to law. (2) a nation or
other political unit having such a form of government.

Other
dictionary definitions of these terms to be found, for example, in Funk and Wagnalls and American Heritage, simply replicate the imprecision,
especially in the context of the meaning of “supreme power” that
allegedly “resides in the people.” So, no fundamental distinction has
ever been made by any dictionary between a democracy
and the republic as it was
established by the Founders. And the meaning of “supreme power” and
it “residing in the people” is the nub of this column.

The
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
repeats the same vagueness, but adds this qualification to its entry on democracy:

The concept of
representative democracy arose less from ancient Greek practice than from ideas
and institutions that developed in medieval Europe, during the Enlightenment,
and in the American and French Revolutions. Today democracy has come to imply
universal suffrage, competition for office, freedom of speech and the press,
and the rule of law.2

“Freedom
of speech” and “rule of law” are elements of a more exact
definition. But Britannica‘s entry on
republic again repeats the fogginess
of its entry on democracy, however,
and adds this qualification:

Republics may
also be distinguished from direct democracies [i.e., systems in which “the
people” directly participate, sans
representatives], but representative democracies are by and large republics.

The Columbia Encyclopedia‘s entries on democracy and republic are much longer than Britannica‘s,
and make an attempt to specify their meanings. Aside from a précis on the concept of democracy and
its evolution from the ancient Greek practice, it offers this evaluation:

In this larger
sense democracy is essentially a philosophy which insists on the right and, in
the long run, the capacity of a people, acting either directly or through
representatives, to control their institutions for their own best ends. Such a
philosophy of necessity exalts the individual and would free him as far as
possible from restraints not self-imposed.

Because
Columbia does not define what the restraints
on the individual should be, the gratuitous qualification which follows that
opinion is eminently “democratic”:

It recognizes,
however, that complete individual freedom, which in the political sphere would
be anarchism, is practically impossible, but insists that restraints be imposed
only by a majority and that they be erected on the principle of equal
opportunity for all.3

Those
“restraints” could take the form of censorship or property theft through
eminent domain. But majorities do not impose restraints; courts do, and
legislators, with or without the leave of a majority. Columbia‘s entry on republic
is even less illuminating than its entry on democracy,
except for this observation:

The United
States is an example of a federal republic, in which the powers of the central
government are limited and component parts [i.e., the states] exercise a
considerable measure of home rule.

In
the time of the Founders, while most of “the people” were certainly
better read in their rights and in the politics of the age than are most
Americans today, the Founders, acting as intellectuals or political
philosophers, devised and honed the Constitution not on what “the
people” thought, but on their own
knowledge and first-hand observations of what “rights” should be and
mean. In the context of current American politics, the “state and the
people” are not synonymous, but mutually
antipathetic, if not mutually estranged. 
If this were not so, it could not account for all the publications and
weblogs that exist now that are critical of the government and politicians.

But
Americans are ignorant of the true meaning of the terms democracy and republic.
The Founders were not. Let’s hear from them.

Thomas
Jefferson freely used the terms democracy
and republic interchangeably. This
frustrates any reading of him. For example, in his letter to Phillip Mazzei of
April 24th, 1796, he writes:

….The aspect of
our politics has wonderfully changed since you left us. In place of that noble
love of liberty and republican government which carried us triumphantly through
the war, an Anglican monarchical aristocratical party has sprung up, whose
avowed object is to draw over us the substance, as they have already done the
forms, of the British government. The main body of our citizens, however,
remain true to their republican principles….4

Jefferson,
elsewhere and all through his writings, when he used the term democracy or democratic, meant a republican government whose constitution
limited its power and guaranteed the freedom and liberties of “the
people.” Like many of his generation, he used the term democracy loosely, and it may be that
such carelessness has allowed his successors in politics to adopt it without
thought or reservation. “We are all republicans – we are
federalists,” he said in his first inaugural address in 1801. He did not
say, “We are all democrats – we are the mob.” 5

James
Madison, who was the subject of the last column, “Madison vs. Obama,”
in No. 14 of The Federalist,
penned in November 1787, delved into the distinctions
between a republican form of government and a democratic one:

The error which
limits republican government to a narrow district has been unfolded and refuted
in preceding papers. I remark here only, that it seems to owe its rise and
prevalence chiefly to the confounding of a republic with a democracy….A
democracy…must be confined to a small spot. A republic may be extended over a
large region.

To this
accidental source of the error may be added the artifice of celebrated authors,
whose writings have had a great share in forming the modern standard of
political opinions. Being subjects either of an absolute or limited monarchy,
they have endeavored to heighten the advantages or palliate the evils of these
forms; by placing in comparison with them the vices and defects of the
republican, and by citing as specimens of the latter, the turbulent democracies
of ancient Greece and modern Italy. Under the confusion of names, it has been
an easy task to transfer to a republic observations applicable to a democracy
only, and among others, the observation that it can never be established but
among a small number of people, living within a small compass of territory.6

In
distinguishing between the systems, Madison was clearer in his treatment of
republics and democracies.

John
Adams, writes C. Bradley Thompson in John
Adams and the Spirit of Liberty
, was a stickler for precise language,
especially when discussing or writing about politics.

In his own mind,
one of the primary reasons for the retarded growth of the political sciences in
modern thought and practice had been the failure of philosophers and statesmen
to develop a uniform lexicon and syntax for the science of legislation….[I]n
the political sciences, Adams lamented, “there is a confusion of
languages, as if two men were but lately come from Babel.”7

Quoting
Adams, Bradley notes that

The term republic was being used to describe
things “in their nature as different and contradictory as light and
darkness, truth and falsehood, virtue and vice, happiness and misery”; the
word king, “like magic, excites
the adoration of some, and execration of others”; the words virtue and patriotism were “enumerated among those of various and
uncertain signification”; and the word aristocracy
has “been employed to signify any thing, every thing, and
nothing.”….It was imperative, then, that his student lawgivers develop and
employ a political language that was “governed more by reason, and less by
sounds.”8 

Further
on, Bradley underscores Adams’ dissatisfaction with the sloppy usage of the
term republic.

The most abused
of all words in the political sciences, for instance, was republic. In fact, Adams thought that it was not only the most
“unintelligible word in the English language” but also the most
abused word “in all languages.”….[I]ts advocates defined republic as
signifying “nothing but public affairs,” which meant that any and every
form of government, including despotism and a simple monarchy, was a republic.
When used in this way, the term had been “applied to every government
under heaven; that of turkey and that of Spain, as well as that of Athens and
Rome, of Geneva and San Marino.”9 

What
is troubling, or at least is too often misunderstood with disastrous
consequences, at least today, is the gratuitous usage of the term the people and the ubiquitous notion
that “the people” have some species of authority or power over what
they consider to be rights, whether they are divided into majorities or
minorities.

“The
people” do not possess a collective brain or consciousness. “The
people” are not some creature with 600 million eyes that perceive reality
as a single consciousness, and then an interlocking, computer-like system of
300 million brains that can process data and reach a conclusion and spit out the
answer. The Founders knew this. They used the phrase “the people” in
the most benevolent sense, as an abstract group of men with whom they shared an
important value, freedom, and liberty. There might be a commonality of agreement on what things are or are not –
see Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence or his seminal work, A Summary View of the Rights of British North
America
(1774), which helped to articulate and consolidate the knowledge
that an injustice was being committed by the British Crown, and which was an
overture to the Declaration.

Consciousness,
however, does not change or rearrange reality, it cannot alter facts.  Neither a majority nor a minority of one can
establish a truth; collectively, or singly, the truth can only be recognized by
and as individuals. Only individuals can distort, twist, ignore, or dismiss a
truth, not singly nor as a bloc of 300 million.

“The
people,” Otanes’s assertion to the contrary notwithstanding, are not
“synonymous with the state,” not even in the best of times when the
relationship between citizens and their government is harmonious and
conflict-free. And we are not today living in the best of times.

1 The Way of Herodotus: Travels With the Man
Who Invented History
, by Justin Marozzi. Philadelphia: De Capo Press, 2008.
pp. 211-213.

2 2002 edition.

3 Second edition,
1950.

4 The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas
Jefferson
. New York: Random House/Modern Library, 1944. Eds. Adrienne Koch
and William Peden.  p. 537.

5 Op cit., p.
322.

6James Madison:
Writings.
New York: The Library of America, 1999. Ed. Jack N.
Rakove.
 pp. 168-169.

7 C. Bradley Thompson, John
Adams and the Spirit of Liberty
. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of
Kansas, 1998. p. 186.

8 Op cit., pp. 186-187.

9 Op cit. p. 187.

Madison vs. Obama

Reacquainting
myself with The Federalist Papers (or
The Federalist) and
James Madison’s contributions to them, I came upon a speech of his that struck
me with its ominous prescience. Keep in mind that political discourse in
Madison’s time was of a caliber that makes today’s political dialogue seem like
infantile prattling. Madison, who represented Virginia during the
Constitutional Convention of 1787, whose purpose was to draw up a stronger
political document to replace the Articles of Confederation, was later the
author of the Bill of Rights and the country’s fourth president.

Originally
opposed to a “bill of rights,” which he viewed as redundant and
possibly dangerous, Madison changed his mind while the states were embroiled in
the ratification process and campaigned to secure a Bill of Rights that would
be inserted in the Constitution
as an additional check on federal powers and a guarantor of individual
liberties. We owe him.

On
June 20th 1787, in the sweltering summer heat of Philadelphia, he spoke
before the Convention and made these observations (spellings, punctuation, and
abbreviations corrected for clarity):

Mr. Madison
thought it indispensable that some provision should be made for defending the
Community against the incapacity, negligence or perfidy of the chief Magistrate
[later to be called “President”]. The limitation of the period of his
service was not sufficient security. He might lose his capacity after his
appointment. He might pervert his administration into a scheme of peculation or
oppression. He might betray his trust to foreign powers. The case of the
Executive Magistracy was very distinguishable from that of the Legislature or
of any other public body holding offices of limited duration. It could not be
presumed that all or even a majority of the members of an Assembly would either
lose their capacity for discharging, or be bribed to betray their trust.

Besides the
restraints of their personal integrity and honor, the difficulty of acting in
concert for purposes of corruption was a security to the public. And if one or
a few members only should be seduced, the soundness of the remaining member
would maintain the integrity and fidelity of the body. In the case of the
Executive Magistracy which was to be administered by a single man, loss of
capacity or corruption was more within the compass of probable events, and
either of them might be fatal to the Republic.*

When
I came upon the terms peculation, oppression, corruption, and betray, I
could not help but be reminded that these terms best describe the
administration of Barack Obama. Of course, Obama is not alone. Presidents have
been guilty of committing one or another impeachable offense, and even all of
them and more in one sitting, since at least Lincoln (who employed the income
tax and the draft to prosecute the Civil War). Contending for the rank of worst
administration in terms of theft, malfeasance, and corruption are Warren G.
Harding’s and Bill Clinton’s.

Obama
is in a class of his own. He is the culmination and climax of a succession of
acts of perfidy and betrayal that stretch back over a century and a half. It is
hard to imagine how his record could be bested by a successor in the White
House. He is acting to surpass the record of his first term. While he has
declared war on the country in conformance with a Marxist ideology, and has
acted to cripple and bankrupt the country’s economy, stack the judiciary with
ideological bedfellows, enfeeble and literally emasculate the military, and
erase America’s exceptionalism, his first term was riddled with corruption,
scandal, and hubristic arrogance. Need any reader be reminded of TARP, or the
bailout of General Motors, of Solyndra, the Affordable Care Act, and other
highlights of Obama’s first term? Not to mention his de facto alliance with this country’s enemies, represented by the
Muslim Brotherhood, and his ostensive foreign policy failures, especially in
the Mideast?

I
say “ostensive,” because, in the final analysis, they were meant to
fail. That is, the “Arab Spring” was intended to be taken over by
this country’s enemies. His foreign policies “failures” and
“miscalculations” are part and parcel of his malice and the contempt
in which he holds this country.

An
American president now has vastly more executive power than did George III in
Madison’s time, and more influence on Congress than had the British monarch on
Parliament. Madison and others of his generation struggled to erect a legal,
constitutional wall between the executive and legislative branches, specifying that
neither branch should have any power or influence over the other. On July 17th,
Madison spoke on the separation of powers:

If it be essential
to the preservation of liberty that the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary
powers be separate, it is essential to maintenance of the separation, that they
should be independent of each other. The Executive could not be independent of
the Legislature, if dependent on the pleasure of that branch for reappointment
[the idea was proposed during the Convention to grant Congress the power to
appoint the President]. Why is it determined that the Judges should not hold
their places by such a tenure? Because they might be tempted to cultivate the
Legislature by undue complaisance, and thus render the Legislature the virtual
expositor, as well the maker of laws…and then tyrannical laws may be made that they
may be executed in a tyrannical manner….**

On
July 19th he remarked on the election of the President:

If it be a
fundamental principle of free Government, that the Legislative, Executive and
Judiciary powers should be separately
exercised, it is equally so that they be independently
exercised. There is the same and perhaps greater reason why the Executive
should be independent of the Legislature, than why the Judiciary should: A coalition
of the two former powers would be more immediately and certainly dangerous to
public liberty.

It is essential
then that the appointment of the Executive should either be drawn from some
source, or held by some tenure, that will give him a free agency with regard to
the Legislature. This could not be if he was to be appointable from time to
time by the Legislature….Certain it was that the appointment would be attended
with intrigues and contentions that ought not to be unnecessarily admitted….The
people at large was in [Madison’s] opinion the fittest in itself.

The substitution
of electors [i.e., the Electoral College] obviated this difficulty [in a
popular election of the President] and seemed on the whole to be liable to the
fewest objections.***

Madison
and other Founders viewed the Senate as a bulwark against populist movements
originating in the House of Representatives, movements that would undermine
liberty and deprive minorities of their rights and freedom. He was adamantly opposed
to populating the Senate with as many seats as there would be in the House.

The use of the
Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system, and
with more wisdom, than the popular branch. Enlarge their number and you
communicate to them the vices which they are meant to correct.****

Obama’s
cabinet and government appointments without exception came and continue to come
from the radical left. He has alienated our allies, and befriended our enemies.
He has overseen with demonstrable negligence and encouragement the infiltration
by this country’s Islamic enemies of all the branches of government charged
with the defense of the country. He has endorsed policies that prohibit
those branches from even identifying by name this country’s committed enemies.

Coolness?
Wisdom? Has anyone noticed these virtues in operation in the Senate over the
last four years? The Senate has behaved like a handmaiden of the House in
virtually every piece of statist, liberty-obviating legislation sent from the
House, legislation contrived and passed at the behest of the Executive branch.

At
this point in our history, all three branches are in philosophical collusion –
that philosophy being collectivist in essence and ultimately totalitarian in
end – something neither Madison nor Patrick Henry nor
even Alexander Hamilton could have imagined could befall this country.

At
this point in our history, it is James Madison versus Barack Obama. And it is incumbent
upon those who value their freedom to rediscover Madison. We owe him.

*James
Madison: Writings.
New York: The
Library of America, 1999. Ed. Jack N. Rakove.
 p. 128.

**Madison,
op cit., p. 126.

***Madison,
op cit., p. 127-128.
****Madison,
op cit., p. 98.

We the People? Or, We the Slaves?

The Preamble
of the Constitution reads:

We the People of
the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,
insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the
general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our
Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of
America.

“We, the
People” – What does that mean? Who are “the people”? Should
“the people” be trusted? Should we include as “the People”
those among us who advocate and actually prefer and enjoy their servitude,
those who are hostile to and fear the “Blessings of Liberty”? What is
their conception of “domestic Tranquility”?  Of “Justice”? What is ours?

“What is a
slave?” asks Daniel Greenfield
in his Sultan Knish column of March 24th, “From Freedom to
Slavery.”  

A slave is complicit in his own
oppression. His slavery has become his natural state and he looks to his
master, not to free him, but to command him.

How many Europeans
are complicit in their own slavery? A mental slavery that automatically defers
to the authority of the state of their individual nations, and then to the
authority of the behemoth of the European Union? How many Americans today are
complicit in their own slavery? Americans who were not seeking a master and an
icon of authority, an authority who fraudulently boasted of possessing the
magical means to correct all their problems and satisfy their every want, would
never have ever voted for Barack Obama, not the first time, and certainly not a
second time, after having available to them ample evidence of the enslaving and
destructive consequences of his policies and his multifaceted intention to
diminish their freedom.

Like their European
counterparts, American slaves may grouse about their masters about promises
made and broken, but still obey their masters’ commands. They continue to hope
for change. And if the “change” is for the worse, they will still
obey and follow, and blame the free for the failure.

Men who reject the
evidence of their senses are voluntary slaves. Being voluntary slaves, they can
only envy those who are free, free in the literal sense, and free of the slave
mentality, and vigorously and viciously clamor for the enslavement of the free,
as well. Superficially, they believe that only when all men are slaves, the paradises of milk and honey will magically
come about. They blame the free of obstructing the creation of that paradise.
Fit the free with fetters, they say, and all will be well, and the paradise
will work smoothly and effortlessly. All will be equal, and none shall move
forward unless it is with all.

The slave’s notion
of a “more perfect Union” is compulsory servitude for all. His notion
of “Justice” is an enforced egalitarianism in which
no one is “above
anyone else in wealth, income, abilities, or even physical appearance. His notion
of “Domestic Tranquility” is not a civil society, but a mutually
shared stasis and immobility, with no ripples of dissension permitted that
would disturb the calm. And, to a slave, liberty has no blessings.

This is the
alchemist’s dream that all willing slaves share, to turn gold into lead.

The advocates and tolerant
of universal slavery – the enslaved and their spokesmen in government and
academia and the non-profit foundations and the unions – are moved by a
malignity that is proof against reason. They hate and fear freedom, for others’
freedom robs them of power, the power to remake men at the point of a gun, at
the levy of a tax, of the imposition of a regulation, of a proclamation of prohibition.
And they hate freedom because they know they are guilty of submitting to slave
masters when they could have said “No.”

A slave’s mind is
insulated against emancipation, against reason, against reality. He does not
wish to be manumitted, not from his delusions, or his fantasies, or from his
actual servitude. A slave’s mind is comfortable in its bondage. In such a state
it is relieved of the responsibility of thought, of effort, of the requirements
of self-preservation. A voluntary slave wishes to be preserved, to exist without
reason or purpose.

Herodotus relates
that when a storm destroyed the bridge over the Hellespont over which the
Persian tyrant Xerxes
planned to invade Greece, as punishment, Xerxes ordered the Hellespont to be
whipped three hundred times, that fetters be cast into its waters, and that it
be branded with hot irons. When a “democracy” of slaves fails to achieve
its ends by force, the slave’s demagogic leader will scream that his slaves should
blame the rich and the able and anyone else suspected of not “giving
back” to society, and that they should be lashed and put in fetters.

Barack Obama is more
Persian in that respect than he is Islamic or Communist. But the consequences are
the same, regardless of his ideological calibration.

The willing slave
knows that slavery is not a badge of self-respect and dignity. In the self-induced
lethargy of his mind, he wishes to vanquish the free, so that should he and all
his brothers who savor slavery, they the enslaved, perish from their own
slavery, the free will perish, as well. Such minds, in their slang parlance, don’t
want to “go there.” And that is their secret, unexpressed desire, a
motive they dare not reveal to their victims, nor even discuss among themselves.
To paraphrase the motto of the Three Musketeers: All for one, or none at all. Should we slaves perish from our own
folly, the free shall not inherit the earth.

They know, in the
darkest corners of their minds, that should men reach the edge of the cliff
they suspect lies ahead in the fog of their consciousnesses, the fettered free
and slave alike will plummet en masse
over it. There will be pushing, and shoving, and the gnashing of teeth, and
anyone who pushes back, will be stomped to death.

“We the People”
should not include men who wish to be slaves. The Preamble to our Constitution
was not written for them.

It was written for us.

Our Imploding World

We can envy the men
who lived in the 19th century, and even those who thrived in the
first half of the 20th. The future lay before them, promising
unimaginable wonders in science, technology, medicine, and industry, in man’s
mastery of the world. There were, of course, wars and political scandals, and a
few economic twists and bends that inconvenienced everyone. But, overall,
despite the occasional impediments and transitory anxieties, the future lay
unobstructed before men and that was a mood taken for granted.

In 1876, several
months before Custer and his 7th Cavalry rode to their end at Little
Big Horn, Alexander Graham Bell was granted Patent No. 174,465 for his working
telephone. By 1883, Britain’s Gilbert and Sullivan were “corresponding”
by telephone over what to do about the kinks in The Mikado.

The infant strides
of telephony led ultimately to the Internet. Western civilization in this
period had the hallmarks of a confident extrovert, a “reaching out”
phenomenon that led to the moon-landings and the robotic exploration of Mars
and other planets, not to mention unparalleled advances in medicine,
agriculture, and leisure time.

In the beginning of
the latter half of the 20th century, the sobering residue of the
Depression and World War II was tenuously offset by the prosperity-induced
complacency of the 1950’s. In books, newscasts, and movies, nay-sayers and
doomsters virtually cornered the market in heralding man’s malaise and predicting
his ultimate demise. The optimism began to change into a cloying trepidation,
an indistinct but very tangible uneasiness, marked by a loss of faith in what
the future would bring and a tendency to wallow in guilt-ridden introversion.
While science and technology seemed to bound forward at breathtaking speeds,
unaffected by the change in mood, something was left behind to wither and
gesture limply at the future.

The world seemed to
be out of focus, and to grow fuzzier by the year, inebriated on some kind of alcohol
that allowed people to see pink elephants and candy-striped zebras and
shimmering Cities on the Hill surrounded by palm and date trees. But the pink
elephants were wreaking havoc in china shops, the candy-striped zebras turned
out to be anti-American academicians and intellectuals and vociferous but venal
politicians, and the shimmering Cities on the Hill were being characterized as
dehumanizing dystopias. Too many Americans developed a kind of cultural
claustrophobia for which there was no apparent cure.

As the century
progressed from the 20th to the 21st, the world seemed to
be imploding, bursting in on itself, with institutions, political and moral
norms and even science collapsing in on what seemed to be a vacuum.

This was nowhere
better dramatized than in the opening pages of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, when Eddie Willers is shocked to learn that the
seemingly imperishable oak tree he had once revered was indeed perishable.

…He felt safe in the oak tree’s
presence; it was a thing that nothing could change or threaten; it was his
greatest symbol of strength.

One night, lightning struck the
oak tree. Eddie saw it the next morning. It lay broken in half, and he looked
into its trunk as into the mouth of a black tunnel. The trunk was only an empty
shell; its heart had rotted away long ago; there was nothing inside – just a
thin gray dust that was being dispersed by the whim of the faintest wind. The
living power had gone, and the shape it left had not been able to stand without
it.*

Our Western
civilization, like the heart of Eddie Willers’ oak tree, has been rotted out
for decades. We are just learning the extent and scale of that rot. We no longer
feel comfortable in our own country, and civilization seems to be the object of
numerous lightning strikes: the growth of collectivism and its various
applications of statism; a tolerance for various kinds of mysticism, from a
vengeful environmentalism to a belligerent Islam; the denigration of
individualism and the enthronement of the mob, the group, and the tribe; group
warfare for the spoils of statism, for the wealth looted from bewildered and
defenseless producers.

What is the nature
of the rot? Basically, it is the disparagement and abandonment of reason and
the substitution of its numerous antipodes: multiculturalism,
“diversity,” egalitarianism, militant subjectivism, organized envy,
moral and economic relativism, irrationalism as a protected choice; systems of
whim-worshipping non-absolutism. And an ingrained, inculcated anathema for
reason, reality, individual rights, and capitalism, an anathema taught in our
schools and flaunted in our culture from our theaters to Capitol Hill. 

The worst mistake
to make is to ascribe the incremental collapse of civilization to some
all-powerful, ineluctable, omnipotent conspiratorial force of evil. Evil is not
“satanic.” It is essentially a parasite. It feeds on weakness. Evil
possesses the cunning of a moocher. Like jackals, vultures, and hyenas, it
trails the greater predator, and moves in on the prey after it has been
waylaid. It has no plan but to consume the scraps left by a greater predator.

The greater
predator is anti-reason. Islam, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, the Muslim
Brotherhood – all the usual and numerous suspects we take for granted today,
all the villains we rail against but whose origins we remain ignorant of but
remain astounded by their callous indifference to reason – are merely the
parasitical consumers of the living and the dead.

When men begin to
grasp that the evil that has been enveloping them in stages for decades, and
which promises to suffocate them, is not the product of some mystical power
that cannot be opposed – when they grasp that their lives depend not on faith
or random happenstance or on “good intentions” – but on a fealty to
reason and the sanctity of their lives as volitional beings imbued with the
capacity for reason, then they will be able to combat the evil. Then, and only
then, will they recognize that evil can triumph only by default. It is
otherwise powerless to enslave or destroy.

I include here some
issues on which I have recently commented in response to various articles that
have appeared, or which came to my attention and address the evil but which
struggle to grasp the nature of the evil.

For example, the principal
of a Massachusetts school decided that to honor its honor students would
infringe upon or harm the “self-esteem” of students who had not made
the honors roll. So he cancelled the school’s honors night. This is scoreless
kids’ soccer games gone mad, and is an instance of how corrupting the notion of
egalitarianism can be.

A
Massachusetts principal has been criticized for canceling his school’s Honors
Night, saying it could be ‘devastating’ to the students who worked hard, but
fell short of the grades.

MyFoxBoston.com
reports that David Fabrizio, principal of Ipswich Middle School, notified
parents last week of his plan to eliminate the event.

“The
Honors Night, which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients’ families,
can also be devastating to a child who has worked extremely hard in a difficult
class but who, despite growth, has not been able to maintain a high grade-point
average,” Fabrizio penned in his first letter to parents, the station
reported.

Fabrizio
also said he decided to make the change because academic success can be
influenced by the amount of support a student receives at home and not all
students receive the same level of emotional and academic support at home.


The second instance
concerns the common moral premises shared by statist Democrats, in particular
President Barack Obama, and the morally rudderless Republican Party.

Speaking to Newsmax TV at CPAC
2013 on Thursday, [Rick] Santorum
believes the nation’s leaders currently lack the ability to persuade Americans
to aim for greatness.

“We have material wealth because
of technology, yet people feel like they’re suffering now,” Santorum said. “I
make the argument that’s because leaders and culture are leading people to
think there’s nothing to suffer for and that there’s no great aim. We have to
inspire people so they’re willing to make the sacrifices.”

However, Santorum is quick to
point out that advancing a platform that allows individuals to succeed on their
own should not mean abandoning those in need….

“If we just say we need less government and it’s everyone for himself, we won’t
win elections,” Santorum said. “We have to do what our founders did, which is
not just to take care of ourselves, but take care of our fellow Americans.”

Excuse me, but
isn’t this what Obama has been trying to drill into our heads, too? Sacrifice,
sacrifice, sacrifice? To “those in need”? But this has been the
leitmotif of the Republican Party, ever since, say, the presidential race of
1912, which the Republicans handed the election to the statist Democrats and
Woodrow Wilson because they said, “Me, too!” And I shudder to imagine
how Santorum perceives the Founders, who in his mind must have been a pack of
blithering, self-sacrificing altruists.

And what did the
Founders strive to create between 1775 and 1787? A “democracy” or a
constitutional republic? To hear it on the lips and in the words of virtually
every columnist, politician and teacher today, it was a “democracy.”
For example, one of the most prolific and perceptive conservative columnists
today is Daniel Greenfield, who also regularly falls into the trap of
advocating “democracy.” Arguing eloquently and effectively in his
March 16th column, “Democracy
Is Not The Answer,” that a policy of “exporting” democracy to
countries that have little or no history or notion of limited government and
individual rights, and in fact are prima
facie
culturally hostile to such ideas, a policy that has backfired on
America more than once, he concludes:

The belief that we are meant to
export democracy is a Cold War relic and the assumption that exporting
democracy also exports our values is clearly wrong. It isn’t democracy that
makes free people; it’s individual responsibility. Democracy with individual
responsibility makes for a free nation. Democracy without individual
responsibility is only another name for tyranny.

Democracy was never
the answer, anywhere, because anywhere it has been tried, it has lead to
tyranny. The etymological root meaning of the term is “mob rule,” as
suggested by the Oxford English
Dictionary
(“popular government – people having rule, sway, or
authority”). “Democracy” implies that no checks are made on the
power or authority of the people or their elected officers or representatives. “Democracy”
relieves both individuals and their elected representatives of individual
responsibility and political responsibility. Our Founders, conscientious and well-read
students of ancient and modern political history, understood the dangers
inherent in democracy and labored to
create a constitutional republic,
that is, one which enumerated the powers of government and protected individual
rights from populist or mob nullification. That is what our Bill of Rights –
now under attack by the left and the Obama administration and defended
haphazardly and ineffectually by conservatives – was all about.
“Democracy” and “republic” are not synonyms, although the
latter term has been largely appropriated by dictatorships (the various
“people’s republics”).

Greenfield, in the
same column, stresses that a nation’s citizens must be amenable to totalitarian
rule before a totalitarian can take over. He points out that most prominently
the Russians and Germans in the last century “democratically” elected
themselves dictators, and so have the Argentines, Indians, Venezuelans,
Chinese, and other populations (with much help from blatant thuggery). The
ancient Greeks and Romans consistently elected themselves tyrants (democracy in
action). Most recently, Muslims elected themselves the Brotherhood, an
organization which basically wishes to make its election to power the last in
Egypt. Muslims who voted against the Brotherhood ironically wanted also to
continue subscribing to Islam, but a more “benign” kind that wouldn’t
enforce Sharia to the extent that the Brotherhood proposed. Well, the Egyptians
have learned the hard way that you can’t have your Islam and eat it, too.

But what kind of a
person would vote for his own subjugation? Here is a hint, provided by Abigail
Esman in her article, “Staggering
Number of Women Converting to Islam” of March 12th.

The first
thing the Dutch girl did once she’d converted to Islam was change her name – to
Soumaya, she says, because “she was the first martyr. She was prepared to die
for Allah.”

Soumaya, née
Aphrodite, is one of a wave of tens of thousands of Westerners who convert to
Islam every year, more than 75 percent of whom, astonishingly, are women.
Equally surprising is the fact that most of these women gravitate to
conservative Islamic groups – the more misogynistic and oppressive ones –
insisting all the while that they feel “liberated” and “free.”

….That this
fact is not explained to these women and young girls is what has many feminists
concerned, not only about Muslim women in general, but particularly, about converts,
who are, as it were, handed Islam in small, attractive bites, sweetened
artificially and served up on flowered plates.

Most of
these young women display little self-confidence or ability to define their own
values and behavior – qualities that make them easily influenced by others, and
susceptible especially to those who offer up a lifestyle option that relinquishes them from responsibility for their actions,
that gives them a code of behavior and the ease of attributing what they do or
wear or eat to God and not to self. [Italics
mine.]

Esman’s description
of women who voluntarily erase their own identities as individuals and trade
them for being selfless ciphers of Islam can easily be applied to anyone who
trades the responsibility for his own life and actions for being a ward and
dependent of the state, indistinguishable from all other wards and dependents. These
are the same individuals who display little self-confidence or the ability to
define their own values and behavior; Islam, or Obama, for example, can relieve
them of any kind of moral compass but the one that points to what others say and
do, especially if that “other” is a man who hands them a Utopia in
“small, attractive bites, sweetened artificially and served up on flowered
plates,” as Obama has served up his socialist agenda to countless men
whose only ambition is to be lead and rewarded for following.

Men who are willing
to surrender their own selves and independence in the name of any collectivist
“other-ism” necessarily will call for the sacrifice of others if that
would mean “spreading the wealth” around, “a little” or
“a lot.”

What neither the
converts to Islam nor the converts to Obamaism grasp is that both systems are
nihilist in means and ends. While they may derive some sadistic satisfaction
from seeing their moral betters impoverished or extinguished, they will learn
sooner or later that their own numberless masses can also be deemed expendable
by their leader and the state.

The ongoing implosion
we are witnessing today and will witness for some time to come can be checked
only if men rediscover the role and necessity of reason that underlies our
country and Western civilization and perpetuates them if they choose to. The only
alternative is to perish from the falling debris, whether that consists of the
First and Second Amendments or the smashed dreams and shattered hopes and the
plundered wealth of the victims.  

*Atlas Shrugged,
by Ayn Rand. 1957. New York: Dutton/Penguin 35th Anniversary
Edition, 1992. p. 5

The Wonderful Wizard of OZeroland

Hollywood is so bankrupt of ideas that it seems all it can do is:

  •   “Remake”
    films from the past, altering and adapting them for dumbed-down audiences or
    what filmmakers assume are dumbed-down audiences, and make them politically
    correct (e.g., The Four Feathers, Clueless, the latter based on Jane
    Austen’s Emma, Cape Fear);

  •  Produce
    “prequels” and “sequels” to proven blockbusters (e.g., Star Wars, The Matrix, Alien);

  •   Appropriate
    characters from past films for “new” stories (e.g., any Bond film
    made after Sean Connery’s last one, including Connery’s last one, Never Say Never Again);

  •  Adapt
    literary classics or would-be classics or imaginary classics for children,
    morons, yuppies, and pubescent adults who get tingles up their legs from CGI
    effects (The Hunchback of Notre Dame,
    The Matrix, The Terminator, etc.), ensuring they are also politically correct.

  • Make
    environmental disaster films, or nuclear threat films, or anti-business films.
  • Make
    historical films that are politically correct, regardless of the era,
    mythology, legend or historical accuracy, (e.g., Shakespeare in Love, The
    Tudors
    ).

What caused me to write this was the release of the newest Oz film
(the last one, called The Wiz, was patronizingly
adapted for “black” audiences), Oz
the Great and Powerful
. I won’t bother reviewing the sorry “prequel”;
Ann Hornaday of the Washington
Post
skewers it to my satisfaction. L. Frank
Baum is
partly avenged.

Most films coming out today are said to be “based” or “loosely
based” on something else. When a studio boasts that a film is
“based” or “loosely based” on an original source, film or
book, it means that a claque of rewriters and highly paid hacks have treated
the material as their own creation and tweaked it beyond recognition.

For example, The Big Clock
(1948), a fairly well-done suspense
thriller,  stars Ray Milland as a crime magazine editor
who fools around with his boss’s mistress (Rita Johnson) and subsequently is enmeshed
in a cover-up of her murder by his boss (Charles Laughton). It is based on
Kenneth Fearing’s confusing, multi-first-person
novel (1946) of the same
name. The film is superior to the novel because its scriptwriters essentialized
the plot elements in the novel and still told the same story. Otherwise, the
novel would have been impossible, and, indeed, impractical, to project on the
screen as a straight narrative.

The film was “remade” as a piece of Cold War intrigue in No Way Out in 1987, in which Soviet
agents activate a sleeper agent in the person of Kevin Costner as a Naval
officer who fools around with the Secretary of Defense’s mistress (Sean Young)
and subsequently becomes enmeshed in the mistress’s murder by the Secretary
(Gene Hackman). Apparently all this was planned by the infallible and
omniscient Soviets (the Soviet Union would collapse two years later). The film
made no sense, nor did it make sense for Harper Collins to republish Fearing’s
novel with a picture of Kevin Costner and Sean Young canoodling on the front
cover, when inside is Fearing’s novel with no references in it to Soviet
sleeper moles or Naval officers, untouched by editor or screenwriter. A reader
expecting torrid sex scenes between Costner and Young would be sorely
disappointed, if not confused.

I perused the novel
in a bookstore the same year it was republished as part of the remake’s
promotion, and mentally noted that Kenneth Fearing, his name featured
prominently at the bottom of the front cover, died when Hackman was an
unpromising actor at the Pasadena Playhouse, and while Costner and Young
presumably were in kindergarten having their diapers changed and their hands
messy with finger paint. It was like having ordered a Gevalia coffee maker and
opened the box to find an hourglass made in China. Deceptive packaging supreme.

But this column is not about citing Hollywood for lascivious
solicitation on a public street. It is about the new Emerald City, Washington
D.C., the metropolis of OZeroland. I herewith present a précis of my own
“remake” of The Wonderful
Wizard of Oz
.

In this version of Oz, Dorothy is anyone who believes that Emerald City
is a magical place where every wish can be granted, every desire fulfilled, and
where faucets run with milk and honey. Toto in a basket is an optional feature.
I’ve left out the dog because any movie that features a cute dog is angling for
the sympathy vote.

Dorothy arrives in a town in OZeroand with the odd name of Detroit because
her house was swept up in the tornado of the subprime mortgage collapse, and
deposited unceremoniously on the Wicked Witch of the Gay/Lesbian Fiscal
Magicians Alliance, Barmy Cranks. Grateful Munchkins remove his ruby slippers
and present them to Dorothy. The sparkling slippers have no magical powers;
they are just nice-looking fashion accessories.

Dorothy is not sure she wants to remain in OZeroland, and asks the
Munchkins how she can get home. She is told by the Munchkin spokesman, Karney
the Geek, that she will need to ask the Wizard in the capitol, Emerald City. “Just
follow the Paper Money Trail…I mean Paper Money Road,” says Carney the
Geek as he adjusts his ill-fitting glasses on his nose, “and you can’t
miss it.”

Dorothy, in this version, does not encounter The Cowardly Lion, the
Scarecrow, and the Tin Man on her way to Emerald City. The Tin Man and the
Scarecrow are already there and part of the political establishment. The Cowardly
Lion is a rogue predator forbidden to enter the great metropolis. He will be
introduced later.

The Wizard, of course, is Barack Obama, an ordinary man smitten with
visions of sugar plums and cheeseburgers and fairies who flit about making
dreams come true with flicks of their magic wands. The Wizard hides behind a
giant fold-out changing screen where he uses an amplifier to sound like James Earl
Jones, and changes between his swim trunks, golfing shorts, and suits. He also
sneaks in a Marlboro behind the screen because nobody is allowed to look. The screen
bears in flashing neon lights the Wizard’s famous “Two Steps Forward, Two
Steps Back” emblem, a disc showing serrated rows of red poppies and a
rising run.

The Wizard is an elective office. He has been voted Wizard repeatedly
by his electorate of Munchkins, the chief residents of Emerald City. The
Munchkins vote for him early and often every Election Day, because otherwise
they will be rounded up by the Winkies to be carried off by the flying monkeys
and dropped into the Tidewater and washed out to sea. The Munchkins know where
their bread is buttered – what little bread and butter are covered by their
ration cards – so they vote for the Wizard and hold mass Wizard Appreciation
Days to show their undying loyalty. Many Munchkins have actually died of that
loyalty, but there is a “gentlemunchkin’s agreement” to never discuss
such things. It’s not good for morale.

The Scarecrow alternates between being head of the Felonious Reserve
Bank system and Secretary of the Treasures Department, and wishes he had a
brain, at least one that isn’t made of sawdust. The Tin Man, with whom he
shares a sumptuous office, starts up Ma and Pa shops that receive felonious
subsidies, or wishes they received felonious subsidies, or could benefit from laws
that would protect them from competition so they couldn’t be accused of having
accepted felonious subsidies after having failed anyway. The Tin Man regards
himself as an entrepreneurial farmer, although an unlucky one, because all the
“seed” money vanishes into the earth, coaxed there by nefarious Jinns
and poltergeists, strange creatures over which even the Wizard has no power.

The Cowardly Lion wishes for nothing, because it isn’t tame, is an unrepentant
meat-eater, and stalks Dorothy on the Paper Money Road on the way to Emerald
City, waiting for the right moment to pounce. The Cowardly Lion has been asked
by auto unions, the SEIU, the NEA, and the Honorable Society of Sloths to be
their king because he can terrify Tea Partiers, gun-owners, wrong-headed patriots,
and other recidivist enemies and creatures who roam the Forest of Poppies and
despoil it. He will get around to that once he’s had Dorothy for lunch.

All the witches in Emerald City are wicked. The most important one,
Mighty Joyoung, is the consort of the Wizard. She urges Munchkins to plant and
subsist on organic gardens, although it is rumored among the Munchkins that she
gorges herself during secret banquets paid for by the Munchkins, who receive in
exchange, to keep them quiet, rations and food credits and extra bonus
teaspoons of sugar and spice when the Wicked Consort is in a good mood. Emerald
City’s nutrition policy is, “To each according to his appetite, to each
according to his stomach size.”

The Wizard Consort often puts on competitions of strength for the
amusement of the Munchkins. Once she hefted a three-hundred pound pumpkin and
tossed it fifty feet. It landed with an indecorous plump on the person of Manuel
Ramses, mayor of Emerald City. Ramses, an ambitious and respected Munchkin,
felt offended and left Emerald City to become mayor of Rotgut Town, a metropolis
in OZeroland terrorized by the Wicked Witch of Weathermen and the Warlock Ayers.
The Munchkins were not so much impressed as made afraid by the Wizard Consort’s
display of physical prowess.

There was once a good witch, Glinda, but she was trapped by the Wizard
and sold into sex slavery to the King of the Musselmen Empire to the East, with
whom OZeroland maintains an uneasy truce. She shares an ornate hall with a bevy
of renewable virgins, and little word of her fate reaches the Munchkins, who
miss her.

Other witches are at the beck and call of the Wizard. One wicked witch,
the Wicked Witch Who Would Be Wizard, dislikes the Wizard and is always
plotting to take over Emerald City. Her machinations occupy the pens and quills
of the Royal Scriveners of Emerald City’s official newspaper, the Emerald City Blather.
The Royal Scriveners, whose managing editor is Munchkin George Stepinfetchit, ceaselessly
speculate on this Witch’s plans and intentions without ever reaching a conclusion.

There is the Wicked Witch, Sybil Alias, who oversees Health and
Munchkin Services, and disallows all Munchkin ailments but death. She is
constantly ringing a golden bell when a Munchkin dies, and to let the Munchkins
know that another zinc penny has been saved for the greater good. Sybil Alias
employs a panel of cheerleading Munchkins who jump up and down in Emerald
City’s Silinsky Square at the sound of the bell, yelling, “Cost Savings!
Cost Savings!,” performing extraordinary back-flips and thrilling
pyramids.

Another is the Gatekeeper Witch, Jalerie Varlet, known for her nasty
temper and sharp tongue.  It is rumored
that she, too, possesses enormous strength, and arm-wrestles the Wizard over
what new policies and decrees he should make. Mantha  Sunshine, the Be Happy While You Labor Witch,
is the least popular among Munchkins, because even though she is responsible
for the morale of her minions, she forces them to work under terrible
conditions and at odd hours, even after the sun has gone down and the cows have
come home. All the Munchkins smile when she conducts snap inspections because
they know what will happen to them if they don’t.

The last most important Witch is Prancy the Ageless, known as the
Wicked Witch of the Magic Gavel. She constantly patrols the streets of Emerald
City, striking unsuspecting Munchkins on their heads to see what’s in them. She
is always smiling because her bright, shiny face has been stretched backwards by
her masseuse and pedicurist. In her sanctum is a color photograph of her idol,
the Cheshire Cat, a creature from another fairy tale.

The Wizard also commands many Warlocks. A Warlock is a man who wears
pants, a heavy Rolex watch, and usually barbered facial hair made stylishly smooth
with snake oil, although often Munchkins cannot decide whether the Presence is
of the male persuasion or a witch. The Tin Man and the Scarecrow hope to become
full-fledged Warlocks and be bestowed with their own magical powers so that the
actions they take actually work. There are almost as many Warlocks as there are
Munchkins, but, for all the Wizard’s miraculous powers, nothing ever seems to come
out right. Warlocks are always forming committees to study why very little
works, and this necessary step is a constant distraction from their
administrative duties.

The Munchkins would revolt against the Wizard and his unpopular reign,
but refrain from even whispered dissension because they know that at the first
sign of dissatisfaction, the Wizard would unleash on them his army of
carnivorous flying monkeys and other indescribable monsters. Most feared of the
Wizard’s forces are the be-goggled battalions of Winkies, formidable in their oyster
shell armor plate uniforms and ruthless when ordered to restore order with
their deadly black Munchkin swatters, even when there is no disorder.

The Winkies are commanded by the grossly overweight twins, Tweedledee
and Tweedledum, foreigners on permanent loan from another fairy tale, who speak
in echoes and often finish each other’s sentences in astounding feats of
circular logic. At the suggestion of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Wizard
ordered that Munchkins may not own swatters, because they claim that Munchkins
are safer without them. The Munchkins protested, asking how they were to take
care of flies and cockroaches. They were told that the Winkies will take care
of them, but they never arrive in time.

It is an exploded urban legend in Emerald City that in the dead of
night, Tweedledum and Tweedledee steal away Munchkin children to roast over
fires and consume them with unseemly chortles and burps, washing down their
meals with illegal poppy seed wine. The Warlock of Discredited Urban Legends,
Snopes the Snoot, works tirelessly to keep Munchkin minds on the straight and
very, very narrow.  It was he who, after
a great effort, finally convinced the Munchkins that the Winkies did not kidnap
a renegade Munchkin in the dead of night because he made an illegal, slanderous
movie called “The Innocence of the Wiz.” He proved that no such movie
was ever made, thus breaking the rule, to the Munchkins’ universal approbation,
that one cannot prove a negative, and that the dastardly Munchkin was hauled in
for littering and eight unpaid parking tickets.

The Witches, Warlocks and Wizards do not reside in Emerald City, but in
fabulous little towns on the outskirts of the metropolis. These are strange,
un-Oz-like named
towns
called Fairfax, Alexandria, Arundel, Arlington, and Bethesda. The Emerald City Blather
reported that
these
and other small
hamlets
are rich beyond the average Munchkin’s dreams, in fact, richer than any other
town or city in OZeroland, because all the dedicated, selfless, magic-making
Witches, Warlocks and Wizards and their staffs and servants, not to mention
their friends and advisors, the tenacious Lobbyguiles, ride their swift zephyrs
to Emerald City to govern and watch over the populace of Munchkins. Most of the
taxes and fees and imposts collected from Munchkins in Emerald City are
magically transferred to these legendary towns, allowing their residents to live
in unimaginably ostentatious opulence.

Dorothy, still trekking down the Paper Money Road, knows nothing of
this. Her sight is fixed on the gleaming, shimmering green towers of Emerald
City, which somehow never grows closer no matter how quickly she walks. Should
she ever reach Emerald City, she will be in for a jaw-dropping surprise. Her ruby
slippers will be confiscated because she never made them. She will learn that
the Munchkins there subsist on a diet of rice and old shoes, and that the standard
clothing of Munchkins consists of sandwich boards or wooden barrels to preserve
their modesty.

Dorothy will quickly discover that she will have a wardrobe problem,
aside from the problem of gaining an audience with the fickle Wizard, who is
often busy with affairs of state and bribing his caddy to “adjust”
his score card. He cheats at golf, not for himself, but for the greater good of
OZeroland, so that Munchkins can be proud of a Leader who is excellent in all
things. 

The End.

There’s my “remake” of The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz
. I think it’s doable as a feature film. Don’t you? Perhaps
one or two editing passes might be required. Casting should be a piece of cake.
Financing, ditto, for a studio could always dip into that $450,000 tax
break
granted to Hollywood. Salaries and residuals might be a problem, but we could
always turn to George Soros to cover cost overruns.

In Capitol Rotunda, Barack Obama Draws Disconsolate Mourners

Special New York Times report. March
9, 2014

Washington. D.C.  — The body President
Barack Obama, who on Tuesday succumbed to an injury from a golfing mishap on
Martha’s Vineyard,
was put on display in the Capitol Rotunda,
and viewed by thousands of solemn, often weeping mourners in a line that stretched
for over a mile outside and showed no signs of shrinking. Hundreds of the
mourners returned to the end of the line to view his remains again, according
to reports. “I can’t get enough of him,” said one mourner, Joanna
Beech from North Carolina, as she took her place at the end of the line again.
“I like how the embalmer guy left a smirk on his face. That was Michelle’s
touch, I heard. He was such a cheerful, outgoing man, you know.”

Hostile pundits remarked in discreetly-worded columns that the multiple
viewings reflected the means by which the late President achieved two terms of
office in 2008 and 2012.  However, Attorney
General Eric Holder quickly advised the pundits and their publications that
they were risking government action if they continued making such discourteous insinuations.

President Joe Biden, who succeeded Mr. Obama to the presidency, this
morning even attempted to open Mr. Obama’s casket to stick a pin in the
President’s body, but was stopped by Secret Service men. Mr. Biden, flustered
by the intervention, explained to reporters as he realigned his hair plugs after
the tussle with the Secret Service: “I still can’t believe he’s gone. My
pal. My friend. I just couldn’t believe it, I just wanted to make sure he’s
really gone. It’s such a f**king big deal, his passing. I hope I can just fill
his pants…I mean, his shoes.”

The serene face of the late President was visible under the glass shield of
the bullet-proof, solid burnished oak casket, resting in a gray-bluish velvet
interior. Mr. Obama seemed to be smiling at Mr. Biden’s incontinent but puckish
antic.

Although the sequestering of funds in 2013 continues to close the White
House to public tours, many visitors and mourners appeared at the White House,
thinking that the late President’s remains would be on display there. One visitor
quipped, “What did he think it was, Superman’s Fortress of Solitude?
Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair? You
really gotta give the guy points for hubris.” The visitor was immediately arrested
by Park Service police and handed over to federal speech monitors for
interrogation and possible charges of treasonous expression.

Capitol Police, augmented by National Park Service employees, drafted FBI
agents, and members of the independent Rapid Deployment Law Enforcement Force
(RAPDLEF), formed a human corridor through which the mourners passed before
ascending the Capitol steps, with a TSA checkpoint at the tail-end.

The late President’s body will remain on display for public viewing for
another two days before being taken to Graceland Cemetery in Chicago for burial
in the family plot.  Yesterday Mayor Rahm
Emanuel visited with Michelle Obama, the grieving ex-First Lady, in the White
House amidst the hectic packing of the Obama family’s personal things to make
room for President Joe Biden’s occupation. Their expletive-sauced exchanges
could not be reported by the press for reasons of public decorum. Observers of
the exchange could not determine if the widow was angry or sorrowful at the
prospect of relocating back to Chicago.

She was asked this morning what epigraph her husband wanted engraved on his
tombstone. She swept aside the bangs covering her eyes, looked thoughtful, and
answered, “‘I want to be significant.’ That’s what he’d want, that’s what
he told me years ago. It’s so simple and selfless, don’t you think?”

“She was in good form,” said one reporter, who asked not to be
named, “and could heft a fifty-pound moving carton just as easily as a
professional moving man. Goes to show what a good diet and selective chow-downs
can do, things she promoted all the while in the White House.”

Another veteran White House Press Corps observer noted that things were
missing from walls, mantles, and sideboards that are listed in the White House
inventory as government property, but he would not elaborate for fear of
repercussions.

Mr. Obama’s casket is being attended by a rotating honor guard of Marines.
For the first time, a presidential honor guard is not exclusively male. Members
of the guard are clearly identifiable with plastic badges hanging from lanyards
as being male, female, gay, or transgender. Ever since passage of the Gender
Neutral Military Recruitment and Training Act earlier this year, eagerly signed
by the late President, it has been the policy of members of all the armed
forces to “show and tell” on formal occasions.

Behind the honor guard, the Children’s Choir of Montclair, New
Jersey alternates with the Soulful Mozart Sextet of Buffalo, New York to
provide the appropriate background music. The choir, adorned in shimmering
purple and scarlet gowns, delivers a heavenly rendition of “Mmm,
mmm, mmm! Barack Hussein Obama!” swaying back and forth in time with the
perfectly synchronized snapping of their fingers, reciting all the lyrics of
the worshipful chant which once scandalized the nation. The choir also performs
upbeat numbers such Steven Greenburg’s “Funky Town” and Michael
Jackson’s “Thriller.”

After a decent interval, the sextet of classical musicians plays a
selection of compositions by John Cage,
Krzysztof
Penderecki,
and Karlheinz Stockhausen, serving as a backdrop to the energetic but subdued vocal
solo of hip-hop rapper artist Sharaqq “Big Gangsta At U” Diggins
debuting “songs” especially composed by him for the Rotunda viewing.

There were moments of
miscommunication between Mr. Diggins and the sextet. At one point, Mr. Diggins
waited a moment for the sextet to begin the next number. When he heard nothing,
he turned enquiringly to the group, whose spokesman said they were playing John Cage’s “Silent Spring
and a Urinal 4-99,” which required the musicians to simply to go through
the motions of playing their instruments without producing any sound. Mr.
Diggins, resplendent in a tuxedo made of dyed burlap and sporting an oversized green
bow tie, shrugged and launched into his next number, with the sextet performing
silently behind him.

Interviewed for this
article, Mr. Diggins said he has been invited to the White House to give a
farewell performance for Michelle Obama, her children, Marian Robinson, her
mother, Maya Soetoro-Ng, Mr. Obama’s half-sister, and his half-brother, Abong’o
Malik Obama, and guests.

A special concert will be
given that day by the All Services Military Band for the public in conjunction
with the Obamas’ last Easter Egg Hunt on the White House lawn.

A
Stellar Funeral

The heavily guarded funeral
services for the late President held at the National Cathedral on Friday were
attended by the firmament of politics, business, and the arts. All of Mr.
Obama’s cabinet attended, and almost the whole of Congress, and major
departmental, bureau and agency heads. Hollywood sent a sizable contingent
which included Michael Moore, Danny Glover, and Sean Penn. The Hollywood
Reporter noted that “Mr. Moore, dressed nattily in ubiquitous somber, wore
his regulation baseball cap, which he was obliged to remove during the
services. Sean Penn, similarly garbed, still looked scruffy, anorexic, and only
temporarily detoxed. Director Oliver Stone seemed to be preoccupied, as though
he were collecting details for a movie he has promised to make about the ‘Obama
Years.'”

Michael Moore,
interviewed outside the Cathedral as attendees left the services, said,
“Mr. Obama was a champion, a giant, a great friend of the people. I shared
a beer with him when I visited the White House.” Stone volunteered that
“President Obama’s life was the stuff of drama, and I mean to bring that
drama to life. People believed that his and my friend, Hugo Chavez, who also
died tragically young, would rise from the dead and lead his country on. I mean
to raise Mr. Obama from the dead so that at least on the big screen, he can
continue to lead.”

Sean Penn
declined to be interviewed, angrily waving reporters away as he stumbled down
the Cathedral steps, “looking like he needed a drink,” noted a writer
for the Washington Post. Danny Glover, who met several times with Obama in the
White House, said, “We all embraced Barack Obama as a social-champion of
democracy, material development, and spiritual well-being. Vive la Revolution!”

Onetime TV star Rosanne Barr accompanied her latest flame, TV talk-show
hostess Ellen
DeGeneres, to the
services. Barr said, “Our man hated the upper classes, and even though he
was upper himself, he fought to bring them down and spread the wealth taken
from the people. I hear Joe the Plumber is still plumbing, or is on unemployment.
Serves him right for trying to corner our man.” The couple walked away,
looking like a distaff Laurel and Hardy.

Former Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton also attended the services with her constant companion, Humana Abedin.
“The situation here is fluid, information is developing, and conclusions can’t
be reached yet. My condolences go to the Obama family, but I don’t want to
interfere in their grief. What difference does it make now? It’s less important
today to look back at the President’s record than to look forward to the
future.”  

Obama to be severally remembered

Yesterday, David Axelrod,
political consultant for NBC News, and Distinguished Fellow at the Harris
School of Public Policy, as well as Director of the Institute of Politics at

the University of Chicago, announced the establishment of the Saul Alinsky
Chair of Constitutional Studies at the University of Chicago Law School. The
position was made possible by a $50 million donation by a syndicate of past
Obama campaign donors, including Apple, Facebook, eBay, Goldman Sachs, Google,
Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks, and the Walt Disney
Company. Mr. Axelrod, who in the past has devoted himself to developing
“progressive” educational policies in America’s schools, and who
introduced his “neighbor” Barack Obama politics during a state senate
race, had kept in close touch with the Obamas for decades, some claiming that
he even ghost-penned the late President’s two autobiographies, a charge Mr.
Axelrod denies. “He wrote it himself,” he said years ago during an
interview with George Stephanopoulos. “I just filled in the blanks. How
many blanks there were, I can’t say.” 

Yesterday, Mr. Axelrod said, “I’m delighted to break this news about
the Alinsky Chair. It came right out of the blue, in a call from the CEO of
Google the day before. I suggested that the Chair be named after my friend,
Barack, and I talked it over with Michelle, too, and she said that her husband
wouldn’t have wanted it named after him, he was too modest. So, we’ll stick
with the Sage of the South Side.”  

From another quarter came the proposal for a different kind of remembrance:
an Obama museum
to be built somewhere in Washington, preferably in or near one of the city’s
many parks. A syndicate of George Soros-funded entities, including Think
Progress, MoveOn, Forward for Change, and Organize for America announced a
collective willingness to underwrite the project. A spokesman said that the
total costs of construction, staffing and maintenance would also be
complemented by subscription donations from loyal Obama supporters, beginning
at the top with the oligarchy created by Obama’s policies down to rank-and-file
beneficiaries of his largesse, including federal employees and union members.

The museum would collect and preserve things from Obama’s busy life: his
golfing cap, his golf clubs,
basketballs, the raincoat he wore while community organizing in Chicago, books
from his library, the blackboard he used while teaching law at the University
of Chicago, half-empty packs of Marlboro cigarettes, favorite teleprompters,
photographs and videos of defining moments of his administration, souvenirs
from his trips to Africa, the Mideast, and Europe, and numerous other artifacts
of public interest. 

Still another project that will get underway in the near future is the
Barack Hussein Obama Presidential Library, to be built in Honolulu, Hawaii, the
late President’s birthplace. It will house all the official papers from the 44th
president’s two administrations. Michelle Obama, and doubtless Mr. Axelrod and
other members of his White House staff, past and present, will guide historians
and cataloguers in organizing the daunting mountain of papers. Rumor points to
former information “czar” Cass Sunstein as the likely chief
consultant for the project or its permanent director. No date yet has been set
for the groundbreaking.

A stern rebuke and warning were issued by Attorney General Eric Holder when
Mark Steyn, the controversial Canadian columnist notorious for his Islamophobic
bias, remarked cynically in The National Review that the presidential library
will “probably wind up fitting neatly into two large storage cartons, so
much is expected to be redacted or just plain discarded. The Obama reign so overflowed
with scandal, corruption, cronyism, and embarrassing faux pas that it would a violation of the late President’s
Machiavellian principles to leave much of that sordidness open to public and
scholarly scrutiny.”

Several members of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party were also in
attendance, but declined to be interviewed and were whisked away in their
limousines for parts unknown.

The
Obama Legacy

As the endless line of mourners continues to file inside the Capitol
Rotunda for one last look at their leader in the flesh, the state of the union
was on many minds. What does the future hold for the country, they wondered, now
that its most flamboyant socialist was dead and gone? With an inflation rate of
25% and rising, unemployment stalled at 30%, and people who have lost their
homes and income filling up FEMA camps that are proliferating around the
country, the confidence index sits at zero.

The late President’s legacy will be seen by some as not a matter of
conjecture, but as a stain on the country’s history. Others will point to the
soup kitchens and ragged lines of people waiting to collect food parcels and
clothing and say, “You can’t make a nation’s omelet without breaking some economic
eggs.”

Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist 
and fellow Nobel laureate with the late President, opined in today’s
edition that “the nation can indeed spend itself into a state of
prosperity. The trick is to know when spending levels reach a critical mass and
which buttons to push when it is reached. It’s an intuitive skill and Mr. Obama
had it. We can only hope that Mr. Biden receives appropriate advice, and I’m sure
he will.” Mr. Krugman refused to comment on the speculation that he will
be tapped to head the Treasury Department. “There’ll be a Cabinet
reshuffling, of course, and I know I’m on the short list, but while you may
very well think that I ought to get that appointment, I couldn’t possibly
comment.”

As the Children’s Choir breaks into reprise of “Mmm, mmm, mmm!”
some inspired mourners leave the file to form an impromptu line-dancing performance
of their own, their voices merging with those of the Choir. Even Mr. Diggins
joins the line.

The confidence index may sit at zero, but the index of affection for the
late President may just yet overcome the travails and trepidations that now sour
the country’s mood.

Barack Obama Dies, Leaving Sharp Divisions in the Country

I naturally could not resist emulating the maudlin,
slobbering grief expressed by the MSM, and especially by the New York Times,
over the death of Hugo Chavez, communist dictator of Venezuela, and pen a
Times-style “tribute” to President Barack Obama, set a year or so
from now.

Barack Obama Dies, Leaving
Sharp Divisions in the Country

Washington. D.C.  — President Barack
Obama, injured during a golfing mishap, died Tuesday afternoon after a struggle
with an aneurism complicated by a stroke, the government announced, leaving
behind a bitterly divided nation in the grip of a political and economic crisis
that grew more acute as he languished for three days, silent and out of sight,
as American and Cuban doctors worked day and night to bring the president back
to consciousness.

Close to tears and his voice cracking, Vice President Joe Biden said he and
other officials had gone to Walter Reed Hospital where Mr. Obama was being
treated, sequestered from the public, when “we received the hardest and most
tragic information that we could transmit to our people.”

Michelle Obama, the First Lady, told reporters on Martha’s Vineyard that it
wasn’t her fault that her much-beloved husband died so quickly after what
sources said was a severe tongue-lashing of her husband after the golfing incident,
and denied any responsibility for aggravating what was already a serious
medical condition. A source on her staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
said that the First Lady “ripped into him after he was brought to the club
house, saying he should have stuck to basketball, and not took up that wussy
game of golf. Who’d he think he is? Arthur Ashe?” When reminded that Ashe
played tennis, the First Lady replied with a string of expletives and chased
the press out with a putter.

Condolences and tributes poured into the White House on news of the
President’s passing from governors, city mayors, and foreign governments.

 In short order, police officers and soldiers were highly visible in the
Capitol as people ran through the streets, calling loved ones on cell phones,
rushing to get home, some to commiserate with family and friends, others to
break open bottles of champagne. Washington, which had just received news that
the government was throwing out two British and Canadian military attachés it
accused of sowing disorder in Texas and Washington State over the smuggling of
illegal immigrants and paper and plastic bags into the country, quickly became
an enormous traffic jam, greater than it usually is in the mornings and
afternoons. Stores, cafés, and shopping malls abruptly closed from Pennsylvania
Avenue to the elite bedroom communities in Fairfax.

Senator Rand Paul, hoarse and at a loss for words, ceased his month-long filibuster
against the nomination of Chelsea Clinton as the new CIA chief, after John Brennan
stepped down last month after questions were raised about his alleged money
laundering for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Secretary of State John Kerry
cut short a vacation in Cannes to be with the President.

As darkness fell, somber crowds congregated outside the White House and Walter
Reed, with men and women crying openly in sadness and fear about what would
come next, the throngs greatly swelled by members of ACORN, the United Auto
Workers, teachers’ unions, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Islamic Society
of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim Students
Association, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the Service
Employees International Union. Busloads of well-wishers had arrived here since
Monday after first word came about the President’s accident. Now they are
crushed and dispirited.

Sobs and anguished cries for consolation mixed with the wails and
ululations of professional Muslim mourners.

“Damn, now we have that clown Biden sittin’ in the White House,”
said one mourner with bitterness. “He ain’t nothin’ but a tuna sandwich!
He got no oomph!”

In one neighborhood, Obama supporters set fire to tents and booths used by
Tea Party activists protesting the new Anti-Gun Public Safety Law signed by Mr.
Obama three weeks ago. “Are you happy now?” the Obama supporters shouted as
they ran through the streets with sticks and torches. “Obama is dead! You got
what you wanted!” UAW and ACORN mourners reportedly assaulted Tea Partiers who
tried to protect their tents and booths, pummeling them and kicking them while
they were down.

Capitol Police, cooperating with units from the newly formed volunteer Rapid
Deployment Law Enforcement Force, composed largely of ex-gang members from
Chicago and Los Angeles, acted to restrain the assailants, but several Tea
Partiers were sent to special Obama out-patient clinics where they received
minimal medical attention. The RAPDLEF contingents were initially brought in to
control crowds and to ensure civility and order as people waited to hear about
the President’s condition.

Mr. Obama’s departure from a country he had dominated for nearly eight
years casts into doubt the future of his socialist revolution. It alters the
political balance not only in the United States, the largest dependent on
foreign oil, but also in Latin America, Europe, and Mideast and the Far East,
where Mr. Obama led a group of nations intent on reducing American influence around
the globe. Pundits called it his “Humiliation Initiative.”

The President was resting from the rigors of his office in a round of golf
at one of his favorite courses, the Mink Meadows course on Martha’s Vineyard,
accompanied by Bubba Watson and Davis Love, when a freak shot and a crooked
swing sent the Wilson Ultra Distance ball flying towards a nearby oak tree,
where it immediately ricocheted back and struck Mr. Obama square on the
forehead. Mr. Watson said the ball would have been traveling at a speed of at
least fifty miles per hour, and Mr. Obama’s caddy concurred.  Mr. Obama, stunned at first, laughed off the
mishap, but later became dizzy and complained of nausea. Secret Service men
following the trio in a cart acted swiftly and drove the President back to the
club house, and then to his beach house retreat.

There the White House physician examined him and diagnosed a ruptured
aneurism caused by the blow. The President was then flown by helicopter to
Boston’s Logan Airport, where the presidential jet awaited him, engines already
revved up to fly him back to Washington.

It was while he was in transit to the Capitol that the President suffered a
debilitating stroke, causing him to remain unresponsive to verbal cues. At
Walter Reed, at the suggestion of the Cuban doctors, special teleprompters were
rushed in to aid in an effort revive the President’s communication powers, but
to no avail. “All we were asking was that he move his head back and forth
between them, or even just his eyes,” said Dr. Anna Frampton, a heart
specialist. “But he just lay there, staring into space, at the ceiling.
His speech…I mean his breathing was labored.”

 Another doctor, Franz Reich, said, “We had hoped he would respond to
something familiar, to the teleprompters, which became his trademark, sort of.
We even ran some of his speeches on them. But he didn’t seem to even notice
them.”

Aside from the staff at Walter Reed, the late Fidel Castro’s personal
doctors were flown in on a special flight to assist in the President’s
recovery. In an incident embarrassing to both the U.S. and Cuba, the doctors
almost immediately demanded political asylum. The doctors were removed from the
hospital and locked in a hotel room under guard by the Secret Service and Cuban
security.

“We’ve all grown so dependent on Mr. Obama,” cried one woman
outside the White House. “What’s the country going to do, now that our
beloved leader is gone?”

Mr. Obama leaves behind a country in a state of political and economic stasis,
wracked by an inflation rate of 25% and stalled by an unemployment rate of 30%.
Aside from the Anti-Gun legislation, passed by Congress after vitriolic and
often contentious fights and signed by Mr. Obama during a televised occasion,
the President endured stiff opposition to his proposals to make the
Transportation Safety Administration a cabinet position with greater powers of
search and seizure, not only at airports and highway checkpoints, but on the
streets and in private homes, and his endorsement of the Rapid Deployment Law
Enforcement Force, which many characterized as an American kind of Nazi Storm Troopers.

 Janet Napolitano, head of the Department of Homeland Security, would agree
to the TSA being a cabinet post but only if she had full control of it, as well
as the FBI, CIA and NSA. “The TSA has been acting like an independent
police force, and that’s not a workable arrangement.”

Wayne LaPierre, still reigning director of the National Rifle Association,
was censured by the press and most media outlets for comparing the RAPDLEF to
the notorious Hitlerian organization, saying, “We already have the DEA,
and the ATF, and FEMA. What would we need another gang of goons for who can act
without warrant or court order?” Pressured by the White House to apologize
for his remarks, Mr. LaPierre refused, and was ordered placed under house
arrest and a tracking device affixed to his ankle by Attorney General Eric
Holder. “We have taken this action for Mr. LaPierre’s own
protection,” he said at a news briefing. “He may not volunteer
statements to the press, nor the press solicit comments from him.”

Other right-wing pundits have called the RAPDLEF a “national police
force similar to the Russian Federal Police, formerly the KGB,” said a
writer in the National Review, but have tempered their criticisms of it and Mr.
Obama to avoid similar responses by the Attorney General.

Mr. Obama also was heavily criticized for replacing the image of Thomas
Jefferson on the nickel with his own likeness. Many black groups hailed the
move, saying it was about time the nickel was reminted. “I always resented
that that slaveholder’s face was on our coinage, and said the descendent of a
slave’s face should be put in its place,” said director Anita Rice, the
recently installed director of the NAACP. When reminded that Mr. Obama is not a
descendent of a slave, Ms. Rice embarked on a tirade salted with expletives and
terminated the press conference.

Mr. Obama’s political career was marked with precedent and controversy. He
came out of nowhere in July of 2004, when as a newly elected U.S.  Senator from Illinois he delivered the
keynote speech at the Democratic Convention. Beginning his campaign for the
presidency in 2007, he overcame doubts and obstacles in the form of Hillary
Rodham Clinton, who also vied for the office. Another obstacle was the
revelation that he had for twenty years attended a church presided over by the
late Reverend Jeremiah Wright, whose sermons were laced with provocative, some
would say “racist” invective. The candidate tactfully distanced
himself from the minister who had baptized his two daughters.

Obama twice defeated Republican candidates for the presidency, first John
McCain in 2008, and in 2012, Mitt Romney, victories that revealed a mood in the
country that was copasetic with his articulate “revolutionary”
political and economic agenda, which some called Progressive and others
socialist. In 2014, Mr. Obama conceded that his agenda was indeed
“socialist,” and wished publically in an interview with TV journalist
Matt Lauer that the term did not carry “such doomsday, negative
connotations.” His remarks caused a minor furor among conservative and
libertarian columnists, one which subsided after the new “czar” of
public information threatened to revoke the licenses of their publications if
they would not stop their writers from libeling the President and intimating
that he had “dark designs” on the country.

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, said of
Mr. Obama earlier today, after receiving news of the President’s death,
“The loony right kept calling him a dictator, which was a disgraceful
thing to say about him. Granted, Mr. Obama had authoritarian tendencies, but he
was not a ‘dictator.’ He was democratically elected several times. Whether or
not those elections were rigged, is irrelevant. It seems that a ‘dictator’ to
the rich and privileged is anyone who wants to cut them down to size and take
away their ill-gotten wealth and palaces, which is exactly what Hugo Chavez did
in Venezuela, and Lenin in Russia, and the Laborites in Britain, and to protect
the poor and disadvantaged, and raise them up to humane levels to make life
livable for them.”

During his first term in office, Mr. Obama endorsed the economic stimulus
package assembled by Congress in response to a devastating recession, nicknamed
“TARP,” which was intended to correct faulty legislation in the past
that gave Wall Street wheelers and dealers the leave to make quick billions on
the backs of itinerant homeowners and buyers. Although several banks and
brokerage houses fell as a result of investigations into their role in the
financial legerdemain, the country is still feeling the positive effects of
TARP.

Mr. Obama’s crowning achievement in his first term, however, was the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, nicknamed “ObamaCare,”
which he signed into law in March 2010. Although the legislation was subjected
to specious and often furious criticism by opponents – it was called
“socialist,” but that term no longer carries the “negative”
connotations the President voiced – it is today benefitting untold millions of
people who could not otherwise afford medical attention.

While the law compels all Americans to purchase medical insurance,
unforeseen consequences resulted in a drop in the number of physicians and
other medical specialists in the field. But Mr. Obama was prepared for the
reaction, and in 2014 proposed to Congress that it draft the Medical
Registration and Compensation Act, which now compels all medical personnel to
obtain federal licenses to practice, to register for national service, and to
pay a special tax if they do not register for their practices or for national
service. States were pressured to disallow or revoke existing licenses if the
MRCA was not complied with.

Mr. Obama in both terms has signed a number of laws that expand the powers
of the federal government to better fine tune and manage the economy, such as
the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Taxpayer
Relief Act, and, more recently, the Gender Neutral Military Recruitment and
Training Act of 2014. His most ambitious goal in 2014 was to see passage of the
National American Service Act, still mired in debates in Congress, which would
compel all Americans to serve in a military or civilian capacity for two years
upon graduation from high school. Mr. Obama went to great lengths to stress the
economic advantages of the Act. “The cost to the country will be minimal
in terms of room, board, and wages gauged to an individual’s skills and
enthusiasm,” said Mr. Obama in April, “but we should all agree that freely
given service in a multitude of human endeavors cannot help but be the greatest
economic boom imaginable.”

“We are in this together,” Mr. Obama said in his State of the
Union Address last January. “It’s important that Americans care enough
about our country to be willing to go out and spend time and sweat to repair
our roads and bridges, to help the elderly and needy, to help the police and
the authorities to track slackers and nay-sayers, or help to establish
democracy and prosperity in needy nations around the globe as auxiliaries and
supporters of the men and women who face the dangers and perils of
combat.”

Eugene Robertson, longtime columnist and managing editor for the Washington
Post, and now professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Florida,
was contacted today for his thoughts on the late President. Robertson, a tenacious
defender of Mr. Obama even when he conceded the President was in the wrong,
sighed plaintively. “He was a great man. A giant. There are a lot of
‘bleeding hearts’ like me who want to help the poor, but he did something about
it, often at his own risk and cost. Take that stunt he pulled with HHS and
Sebelius, asking everyone to rat on anyone who criticized him. Bad move. But he
was pioneering new territory and he was bound to trip up a few times. I think,
after all he’s accomplished, people have forgiven him his stumbles.”

Mr. Obama’s foreign policy triumphs are numerous. He ended our military
involvement in Iraq, hammered out an arms control treaty with Russia which has
seen a dramatic reduction in the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory, negotiated
a treaty with the Taliban to allow it to reacquire Afghanistan with American
military aid, forced Israel to stop building houses even in places it legally occupies,
helped  to establish friendly regimes in
Egypt, Libya, and Syria, and ordered the operation that finally terminated Osama
bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Quite a few feathers in his cap. Make that a golf cap. It’s going to wind
up in a museum.

Stung once by the charge that his policies were “anti-American,”
Mr. Obama retorted, with not a little spice in his voice, “There’s
something wrong with that kind of thinking. It’s sick. To be ‘pro-American’ is
to be for everything about America that I’m trying to correct. It’s time for
America to stop thinking it’s the center of the universe and man’s last best
hope and stuff like that. Our best hope, I have said many times, is for America
to approach the world humbly, hat in hand, and ask for forgiveness. My foreign
policy has always been based on a quest for forgiveness. To me, that’s being
‘pro-American.’ We’re just another citizen of the global village.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton, with whom Mr. Obama had had not a few conflicts, especially
over who was responsible for the Benghazi massacre of Americans in 2012, could
not be reached for immediate comment. She is preparing to run for the White
House in 2016, and her campaign headquarters in New York City promises to issue
a statement soon. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is in Dubai as a
guest speaker at a conference co-hosted by the Muslim Brotherhood and the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation about how to combat Islamophobia and police
blasphemous speech. Mr. Clinton said by phone, “I am saddened by Mr. Obama’s
unexpected passing, and my heart goes out to Michelle and their children. But
his path was righteous and shining, and I’m sure the right person will follow
it in the future.”

Outside the White House, as darkness falls, Capitol Police and RAPDLEF
personnel urge mourners to disperse and return to their hotels to escape from
the growing cold. Flakes fall on the tear-streaked faces of many of the people
here. There is an altercation in one corner of the milling crowd, when the
police arrest a man who was trying to sell what he claimed was the golf ball
that felled the President. “They outa lock him up for life, he got no
respect for our man!” shouted one mourner as the police hustled the
fraudster into a van. “That’s something else, pulling that kind of s**t on
people at a time like this!”

Another mourner, a bedraggled woman in a Trayvon Martin hoodie, could be
heard muttering to herself as she wandered away, “It isn’t fair. Struck down
in his prime. What’re we gonna do for a leader now? The love is gone. The power
is gone. What’re we gonna do now?”

Journalism’s Jihad Against Journalists

It
would be interesting to find contrasts, or similarities, between the recent White
House attack on editor and journalist Bob Woodward and the physical attack last
month on Lars Hedegaard, the outspoken Danish historian and journalist.

The
Woodward imbroglio is not just a storm in a teacup between a White House
underling and a liberal journalist. The “dust-up” reveals more about
the arrogance of politicians and political appointees, and their ambivalence
about freedom of speech. That arrogance easily translates into
authoritarianism. The danger lies not so much in a blatant threat to any
journalist that he will “regret” telling the truth. It rests in a
journalist becoming inured to such threats, regardless of their size or
implications, and leads to his regarding a flyswatter
or a truncheon as a normal way of conducting business.

The
American mainstream media has largely become inured to the threats,  much as the press became inured to the threats
issued by Hitler in Nazi Germany, or Mussolini in Fascist Italy, or Hugo Chavez
in socialist Venezuela to report only the news that fit their agendas – or be
shut down, gagged, or marched out to reeducation camps or just shot behind the
dumpster into which has been tossed the truth, the presses, and the
manuscripts.

That
Islam naturally gnashes its teeth and bashes skulls over any criticism of Islam
is to be taken for granted. It happens every time someone has the courage to
call Islam what it is and concludes that its humongous Ummah is the new “resistance
is futile” Borg that threatens to swamp the West.  That our co-opted, lickspittle mainstream
media seizes upon any criticism of President Barack Obama to defame and
denigrate its authors is also to be taken for granted. It happens every time
someone calls Obama out on the real or projected consequences of his policies
or even on his ingrained dishonesty. Apparently the MSM is okay with a White
House underling, or even Obama himself, 
baring his teeth at a journalist who won’t knuckle under and write
something more pleasantly fawning and uncritical about his feigned obsession
with the sequester, among a host of other issues.

Most
of Woodward’s feckless, sunshine friends in the media lack the gall to walk up
to Woodward’s door and take a shot at him, or at least give him a full load of
raspberries. They prefer to snipe at him or deliver their Bronx cheers via tweets
on Twitter or to mock him on screen and in print. As for Lars Hedegaard, the
MSM have largely ignored the February 5th assassination attempt on
him in Copenhagen. The New York Times, however, thought it imperative to smear
Hedegaard, and enlisted Andrew Higgins to take a shot at him in his February 27th
column, “Danish Opponent of Islam is Attacked, and Muslims Defend His
Right to Speak.”

We’ll
begin with the Higgins
article about Lars Hedegaard.

The
title of Higgins’ column is misleading and intended to counter the fact that
Islamic leaders and spokesmen adhere to the doctrinal line that no one has a
right to oppose Islam or the right to speak about how barbaric and totalitarian
Islam is. Imagine a journalist being targeted for a rub-out if he ran an
article in a Chicago paper about how much of a psychotic, murdering, syphilis-infected
thug Al Capone was. That’s Islam. Countless Muslim attacks on Christians, Jews,
and others simply do not merit the attention of the MSM. Were it not for the
Internet, most people would be left in ignorance of the menace and the
atrocities perpetrated almost daily by Islam’s killers and jihadists.

It
is beyond Higgins’ ken that the Koran
specifically instructs its followers to indulge in taqiyya, or Muslim double-speak, to say one thing for the Western
press and another to themselves. It’s the Islamic way of crossing one’s fingers
behind one’s back. Or perhaps he’s read a sanitized version of the Koran, one that could only be about
thirty pages in length and full of pleasant homilies and poetry. Higgins began
his attack almost immediately:

When a would-be assassin disguised as a postman shot at — and just missed —
the head of Lars Hedegaard, an anti-Islam polemicist and former newspaper
editor, this month, a cloud of suspicion immediately fell on Denmark’s Muslim
minority….

However, as Mr. Hedegaard’s own opinions, a stew of anti-Muslim bile and
conspiracy-laden forecasts of a coming civil war, came into focus, Denmark’s
unity in the face of violence began to dissolve into familiar squabbles over immigration, hate speech and the
causes of extremism.

So,
there. According to the MSM, everything that’s happened ever since the first
terrorist plane hijackings of the 1970’s, up through the World Trade Center
bombing of 1993, through 9/11, and the approximately 20,000 Islamic terror
incidents since 9/11, is all in our imagination, or just plain coincidence, or
can be attributed to global warming, and anyone who identifies a link between
those incidents and Islam is hallucinating a “stew of anti-Muslim bile and
conspiracy-laden forecasts of a coming civil war.” He must be a
whacked-out “Islamophobe,” or he snorts cocaine, or is a bigot and
racist. There is no civil war imminent. Never mind the fact that Islam has been
waging not a civil war, but a war against the West, and in particular against
the U.S. and Israel, for decades. Mr. Higgins must not read any newspaper but
the New York Times, so his ignorance may be forgiven.

But then something unusual happened. Muslim groups in the country, which
were often criticized during the cartoon furor for not speaking out against
violence and even deliberately fanning the flames, raised their voices to
condemn the attack on Mr. Hedegaard and support his right to express his views,
no matter how odious.

The writer, who for several years edited a mainstream Danish daily, Information,
is a major figure in what a study last year by a British group, Hope Not
Hate
, identified as a global movement of “Islamophobic” writers, bloggers
and activists whose “anti-Muslim rhetoric poisons the political discourse,
sometimes with deadly effect.”

This
is how a “journalist” like Higgins consoles himself that he isn’t
hallucinating. Danish Muslims have at last spoken out against the attack on
Hedegaard. Where were they in 2005? Higgins cites a number of Muslim groups
that have condemned the attack on Hedegaard, and their words must be soothing
to him, because they help him sustain the illusion that Islam isn’t such a bad
ideology after all. Muslims aren’t capable of lying, or deceiving infidels.  They’d never demand that infidels defer to
their faith and adapt to it, grant it exemptions and preference at the cost of
suborning secular civil and even criminal law. Here is a sample:

When the news broke on Feb. 5 that Mr. Hedegaard had narrowly escaped an
attack on his life, recalled Imran Shah of Copenhagen’s Islamic Society, “we
knew that this was something people would try to blame on us. We knew we had to
be in the forefront and make clear that political and religious violence is
totally unacceptable.”

The Islamic Society, which runs Denmark’s biggest mosque and played an
important role in stirring up passions against the cartoons of Muhammad,
swiftly condemned the attack on Mr. Hedegaard. It also said it regretted its
own role during the uproar over the cartoon, when it sent a delegation to Egypt
and Lebanon to sound the alarm over Danish blasphemy, a move that helped turn
what had been a little-noticed domestic affair into a bloody international
crisis.

Another Islamic organization, Minhaj
ul Quran International
, the Danish offshoot of a controversial group in
Pakistan that has taken a hard line at home against blasphemy, added its own
voice, organizing a demonstration outside Copenhagen’s city hall to denounce
the attack on Mr. Hedegaard and defend free speech. “We Muslims have to find a
new way of reacting,” said Qaiser Najeeb, a 38-year-old second-generation Dane
whose father immigrated from Afghanistan. “Instead of focusing on the real
point, we always get aggressive and emotional. This should change. We don’t
defend Hedegaard’s views but do defend his right to speak. He can say what he
wants.”

To
Higgins, Muslims are just plain folk who want to be left alone to practice
their faith. The trouble, however, is that while most Muslims are indeed just
plain folk, they have little to say, and have said nothing, about the murders,
rapes, and harassment of Jews and other non-Muslims in Denmark, Sweden, Norway
and just about anywhere else Muslims have immigrated and settled in large
numbers with the specific goal of either taking over the country or
establishing their own little caliphates inside it, outside the law of the host
country (the term host implies a
sustenance-consuming parasite). Higgins
goes on:

The response from native Danes has grown more equivocal over time, with
some suggesting Mr. Hedegaard himself provoked violence with his strident views
and the activities of his Danish Free Press Society, an organization that
he set up in 2004 to defend free expression but that is best known for
denouncing Islam….

The attack followed a failed ax attack in 2010 by a Somali Muslim on Kurt
Westergaard, the artist who drew a cartoon of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban,
and a foiled plot to behead journalists at the office of the newspaper that
first published that cartoon and 11 others in September 2005….

Mr. Hedegaard and his Free Press Society championed the newspaper’s right
to publish. They also railed against those in Denmark who seemed to contend
that the newspaper’s lack of respect for Muslim sensitivities deserved much of
the blame for the violent reaction in Muslim countries, which included attacks
on Danish diplomatic missions in Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

Mr. Hedegaard has also fanned wild conspiracy theories and sometimes veered
into calumny. At a private gathering at his home in December 2009, he declared
that Muslims “rape their own children. It is heard of all the time. Girls in
Muslim families are raped by their uncles, their cousins or their fathers.”

Well,
they do. If Higgins would lift his nose from the thick print of the New York
Times, and cast about for another source of news other than Politico,
Slate, the Huffington Post, and Think Progress, he’d see that it’s not only
common practice among Muslim uncles, cousins and fathers to rape their own
children, but to murder them, as well, for “honor”-violating
infractions of a barbaric, tribal system of morality, infractions specifically
sanctioned by Islam’s highest authorities.

There’s
more of this kind of evasive and delusional swill in Higgins’ article, so it
would be pointless to recount it. Also, in reporting the incident, he glossed
over the pertinent details. Douglas Murray didn’t in his February 16th
article in the London Spectator,
“Lars Hedegaard interview: ‘I may be killed if I write this’”:

The assassin
came to his home dressed as a postman. When the historian and journalist Lars
Hedegaard opened his front door, the man — whom Lars describes as ‘looking like
a typical Muslim immigrant’ in his mid-twenties — fired straight at his head.
Though Hedegaard was a yard away, the bullet narrowly missed. The mild-mannered
scholar (70 years old) then punched his assailant in the head. The man dropped
the gun, picked it up and fired again. The gun jammed and the man ran off. More
than a week later, he has yet to be found.

Higgins
insinuated dark designs in Hedegaard’s reputation. Murray reported the truth.

A well-known
figure in Denmark, Hedegaard’s profile rose after the mainstream media’s
capitulation in the wake of the Mohammed cartoons affair. He set up the Free
Press Society, an organisation which campaigns for the rights of journalists
and cartoonists to express themselves without fear of murder.

That
included foolish journalists and cartoonists who work assiduously to end free
expression without fear of murder. Many of Hedegaard’s critics wrote that he
should have expected another attack, and that he deliberately provokes these
attacks. “Well,” they say, “he ought to have known. This is what
happens if you upset or provoke people.” Murray addresses the issue and
quotes Hedegaard:

But given the
areas he has dealt in and what has happened to his colleagues, did he not guess
that something like this might -happen?

‘I never
speculated about that, because you can’t live your life that way. If every time
you sit down to your computer to write something you have this idea in the back
of your head, “I may be killed if I write this”, then of course you won’t be as
good as you could be. You’ve got to distance yourself from fear if you want to
be a true writer and a true intellectual, which is what I’m trying to be.’

Painting
a more realistic picture of the Islamic peril, Murray cites Middle East scholar
Bernard Lewis:

And why do
people keep trying to silence such defenders of free speech in Denmark, Holland
and across Europe? He paraphrases the historian Bernard Lewis: ‘The leaders of
the Ummah [Islamic nation] now evidently believe, or want to demonstrate, that
Sharia law has already gained force in places like Denmark. In other words it
has supplanted our constitution in their minds. Of course it didn’t use to be
that way, it used to be the way that you could draw Mohammed or paint him or
say whatever you wanted in the Dar al-Harb [‘The Land of War’ — as opposed to
the ‘Land of Islam’] because this was outside what Islam considered to be its
territory. Now they are implicitly claiming that we are already under Sharia
law.’

Lewis’s
later softer words about Islam are at variance with his earlier charges against
Islam. Still, Hedegaard thought it proper to paraphrase the scholar.

As
an example of the kind of blinkered, jejune reporting of the shooting on
February 5th, here is an Associated Press report, as picked up by Fox
News:

Danish media are reporting that an unknown gunman has tried to shoot a
Danish writer and historian who is a prominent critic of Islam. TV2 News and
the Politiken news site say Lars Hedegaard was not injured in the shooting. Both
say the gunman came up to Hedegaard’s Copenhagen home Tuesday on the pretext of
delivering a package, and then fired at least one shot but missed the writer. Copenhagen
police confirmed that there had been a shooting without injuries. They wouldn’t
say whether Hedegaard was the intended target. Hedegaard heads the
International Free Press Society, a group that claims press freedom is under
threat from Islam. He was fined 5,000 kroner ($1,000) in 2011 for making a
series of insulting and degrading statements about Muslims.


Understand that the item says that, even though it reports that a phony mailman
fired at shot at the writer, the police “wouldn’t say whether Hedegaard
was the intended target.” Perhaps it was the parcel he handed Hedegaard,
or an offensive, framed print of Rita Hayworth the assassin espied over
Hedegaard’s shoulder in the vestibule. No wonder Denmark is sinking under the
weight of Islam. The item noted that while Hedegaard was charged with making
“a series of insulting and degrading statements about Muslims” (re
the uncles, cousins and fathers remark), the writer did not think it relevant
to mention that Hedegaard was subsequently acquitted of the charge.

Mark Steyn,
who himself has been called on the carpet over his own “anti-Muslim” statements,
had this to say about the Associated Press item in the National Review:

Incidentally,
the slapdash hack at the Associated Press can’t even get the basic facts right,
reporting that Lars was “fined 5,000 kroner ($1,000) in 2011 for making a series
of insulting and degrading statements about Muslims,” but apparently unaware
that last year the Danish Supreme Court struck
down his conviction 7–0
.

UPDATE: From the
BBC:

Danish Prime
Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt condemned the attack, saying: “It is even worse
if the attack is rooted in an attempt to prevent Lars Hedegaard using his
freedom of expression.” That statement would be more persuasive had not the
Danish state (as noted above) spent the last three years in multiple attempts
to “prevent Lars Hedegaard using his freedom of expression”.


The
Associated Press may be populated by slapdash hacks, but that is at least
better than an MSM populated by venal scriveners who are also manage to see,
hear, and speak no evil about Islam and President Obama. Which brings us to Bob
Woodward and the cavalry that didn’t come to his rescue. 

I
am no fan of Woodward. Most of his output is as hazy, wrong-headed and
south-pawed as that of his colleagues. But on the sequestering issue, he was
spot-on, charging Obama with being the instigator behind the whole farce, one
verging on “madness.” But much as Bernard Lewis softened his stance
towards Islam and even on the Armenian massacre by the Turks in 1915, Woodward
has half-back-pedaled from his initial charge that Gene Sperling’s
email
to him was a “worrisome” threat. Sperling’s shouting at Woodward over
the phone for half an hour recalls movie Nazis shouting over the phone at an
offending newspaper editor or a wayward Gauleiter. It says much about Woodward
that he would tolerate such treatment by any president’s appointee without
complaint. But all that is irrelevant. What is relevant is how the MSM behaved
when one of their own was seen to be put in jeopardy.

That
can easily translate into any
American being put in jeopardy by the state over something he said, and the MSM
twiddling their thumbs and saying smugly, “Told you so. Didn’t you know
that the buck starts here?”

First,
some context. Susan Heavey, writing for Reuters
on February 27th:

Journalist Bob
Woodward on Wednesday criticized Barack Obama’s
handling of the automatic U.S. budget cuts set to take effect this week,
calling the president’s decision to hold back on military deployments
“madness.”

His comments
continued what has become a running dispute between Woodward, perhaps the
country’s best-known print journalist, and the Democratic White House over who
is responsible for the across-the-board cuts scheduled to begin on Friday.

Last week,
Woodward published an opinion piece in the Washington Post – where he is an
associate editor – saying the administration was “wrong” to blame the
cuts on Republicans.

I
don’t imagine that Woodward golfs as much as Obama, with or without Tiger
Woods, so he had time to put together some thoughts and write something
important.

Woodward, who
first gained fame in the 1970s from exposing the Watergate scandal during the
administration of President Richard Nixon, wrote a detailed account in his 2012
book, “The Price of Politics,” of the August 2011 deal that led to
the cuts.

On Wednesday he
attacked Obama for drawing national security into the budget debate. “So
we now have the president going out (saying) ‘Because of this piece of paper
and this agreement, I can’t do what I need to do to protect the country.’
That’s a kind of madness that I
haven’t seen in a long time,” Woodward told MSNBC on Wednesday. (Italics mine.)

It
is madness, especially when we know
that the U.S. will be sending $60
million
to the Syrian “rebels” to aid them in their war against
Syrian president Bashar Assad.  This is
besides the billions we send to the “Palestinians” and Egypt and
Libya and wherever else Islamist “freedom fighters” are waging a war
against freedom. That $85 billion sequestering will help to dent our own
defense of freedom here, but that’s irrelevant to Obama and his sycophantic
friends in the press corps. When it comes to aiding and abetting our enemies,
funds are untouchable and not open to debate or shouting over the phone for
thirty minutes.

There’s
the context. Here’s the reaction among Woodward’s colleagues, who conveniently
forget Voltaire’s pledge to defend anyone’s right to say anything. Breitbart’s
Big Journalism reported on February 28th, in “
Woodwardgate: Media Gang-Tackle Iconic Journalist to Save
Obama” that

This is an incredible case of the White House attempting to bully the most
iconic reporter of the 20th century – the reporter who, along with
Carl Bernstein, took down a president of the United States. So you might expect
the rest of the media to stand with Woodward. You’d be wrong. They’re too busy
spending time playing defense for the White House….

That meme was picked up by the White House’s favorite palace guards,
including Dave Weigel at Slate (he retweeted Smith, tweeted,
“Theory: Woodward is trolling,” then added via retweet that the whole situation
was “boring”); BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, who mockingly tweeted,
“Every reporter who deals with flacks/campaign advisors/politicos/ on a daily
basis finds that less than threatening”; Justin Green, who edits David Frum’s
blog at The Daily Beast, tweeted, “I
rarely, rarely report, and I’ve had flacks say worse. Not that rare”; Jeffrey
Goldberg of The Atlantic tweeted,
“As a reporter, I don’t think this was a threat”; Dylan Byers of Politico tweeted,
“tweets, I’m no Woodward but broadcast/cable TV PR reps use that ‘regret’
tactic a lot”; Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo tweeted, “Who
goes birther first, Scalia or Woodward?” The messaging was universal from the
leftist Obama-supporting media: Woodward hadn’t been threatened, and was an
amateur or a crazy old coot to think he was being threatened. Matt Yglesias of
Slate summed up the general Palace Guard Media take:
“Woodward’s managed to make me suspect Nixon got a raw deal.”

The gall of this is astounding. All of these reporters combined might equal
one tenth a Bob Woodward in the journalistic pantheon; the notion that their
treatment at the hands of press flacks in any way reflects the general or
appropriate treatment of someone like Woodward is absurd on its face. But the
junior varsity is all too happy to gang tackle a reportorial Hall of Famer on
behalf of their beloved President.

I don’t
share Breitbart’s esteem of Woodward, and it shouldn’t astound anyone that
liberal journalists would turn on one of their icons if he perchance told the
truth about their idol. After all, they have turned on the whole country in
lockstep with the administration. John Nolte, also of Breitbart, expressed his
disgust with the MSM in a separate piece, “Cult
of Obama: List of Journalists Throwing Woodward Under Bus”:

But when that news
hit, many in media immediately chose to protect Obama by ridiculing Woodward,
questioning his motives, and/or dismissing his reporting. Meet the members of
the Cult of Obama…(list of tweets from journalists)…

NOTE: This post
has been updated. Woodward did not claim to be threatened by the White House. That
language has been used by the media. One reference to “threat” has
been rewritten in this piece to accurately reflect Woodward’s statement…

I
wrote two columns on Netflix’s spot-on “House of Cards,” and
highlighted in it why the media plays a central role in that fictional account of
how power-politics can draft the corrupted media in its progress towards absolutism
in government. Kevin Spacey, who co-produced and stars in the series, even admitted
that these days, fiction is in competition with reality.

Marc
Ambinder,
writing for The Week, underscores that competition.

The White House threatens reporters. A lot. It is sort of a humblebrag to
say that people with titles as lofty as “Assistant to the President”
and with titles as lowly as “deputy press secretary” have used the
F-word in conversations with me. Both White House officials and journalists
tend to be arrogant and self-referential, and there is a lot of healthy and
sometimes unhealthy tension on the job. We yell at each other, and we butt
heads, and we live to work another day. Threats about cutting off access are
fairly routine. Just not if you’re Bob Woodward and used to deference.

As
to be expected, the New York Times threw its weight behind the Cult of Obama and
sneered at Woodward in its own special way, emphasizing just how much Woodward
is a trembling wuss. Christine Haughney and Brian Stelter, in “
Woodward Is New Hero for the Right (Yes, Really)” wrote:

His feud with an unnamed official, first reported in Politico, which
said Mr. Woodward clearly saw the administration’s choice of words “as a veiled
threat,” initially drew cheers from many conservative commentators and
bewilderment from many Washington reporters who wondered whether Mr. Woodward
was being a tad oversensitive.

In an interview later on Thursday, Mr. Woodward emphasized that he had not
said he felt threatened. “I never said it was a threat,” he said, but added
that he still had concerns about how the administration handled criticism. “We
live in a world where they don’t like to be challenged, particularly when the
political stakes are so high,” he said….

Other veteran reporters said on Thursday, in essence, “We’ve heard worse.”
Major Garrett, the chief White House correspondent for CBS, said that he
thought the flare-up was “a completely ridiculous story” and that conflict came
with the White House beat. “Every reporter knows when a source is angry about
something you’re working on, you’re on the right track,” he said. “Just get on
with it.”

Jake Tapper, who recently joined CNN from ABC, where he covered the White
House, recalled unpleasant conversations with both Republicans and Democrats
and called it part of the job. “In my experience,” he said, “neither side has
had a premium on tones that may not be soothing, or words that may not be
suitable for children.”

The
virtual absence of any supporting reportage on the courage and mortal peril of
Lars Hedegaard, and the virtual absence of any supporting reportage of Bob Woodward
– who is only occasionally courageous and certainly not in mortal peril – about
his conflict with the White House, points up to a state of journalism that could
only be defined as self-destructive and suicidal. The press is supposed to be
the Seal Team Six and oppose and warn us of any encroachments on the First
Amendment and on anyone’s First Amendment right to say whatever his thinks is
the truth. It is supposed to come to the defense of anyone threatened with punishment
for telling it.  

But
if the press doesn’t value the truth, and treats it as a Frisbee to toss around
in a pretend game it thinks is a matter of political expediency, then Americans
must fall back on their own resources, and become their own defenders against a
corrupted Fourth Estate and the authoritarians it lets in the front gates.
 

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén