Existential Threats

[The following is slightly adapted from a comment written for a Facebook post, based on this article about President Obama’s December 6, 2015 speech, which for some reason Facebook would not allow me to post. Possibly because, at nearly 3,500 words, it’s too long. What can I say? I felt inspired. The comment that inspired me basically expressed doubt that Obama has put as much thought into “ISIS and the implications of radical Islam” as the article’s author thinks. I have adjusted some formatting and added some links.]

You may be right about Obama not thinking through the full implications of radical Islam, but the exact same can be said for people on the right who posit radical Islam as a threat to “Western civilization” (a fluid and undefined term if ever there was one) on a par with German fascism or Soviet communism. Lest this seem like a tu quoque argument, I’ll even concede that Obama might underestimate the short-term threat posed by radical Islamism, but only because I believe the proponents of the radical-Islamism-as-mortal-threat viewpoint drastically overstate its dangers—furthermore, by arguing for such an aggressive stance against it, they paradoxically serve its aims. Continue reading


Birther Pheromones

John Sununu doesn’t think President Obama should go to Kenya for the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Why? Because to do so would incite the people who still cling to the suspicion that Kenya is the president’s true birthplace, and the most important thing for the president to do, at least in Sununu’s mind, is placate the people who hate him (h/t Jason):

President Obama is “inciting” the passions of so-called birthers, who believe he was born in Kenya not the United States, by planning a trip to the African country, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R) said Monday.

“I think his trip back to Kenya is going to create a lot of chatter and commentary amongst some of the hard right who still don’t see him as having been born in the U.S.,” he said during an appearance on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”

“I personally think he’s just inciting some chatter on an issue that should have been a dead issue a long time ago.”

Steven Benen adds:

Oh, I see. There’s a Global Entrepreneurship Summit coming up this summer, and many world leaders will be in attendance, but President Obama should sideline himself, on purpose. Why? Because, in the mind of John Sununu, the president will “incite” ridiculous people to say ridiculous things.

Since when is this how any sensible White House is supposed to function?

Now, remember, Republicans tout themselves as champions of “personal responsibility.” As one state party organization says: Continue reading


The Chicago Way

Ever since 2008, I have heard people decry President Obama as a “Chicago politician,” as though that in and of itself is enough to condemn him to historical ignominy (yeah, I’m using $0.50 words today). I have never really been sure how Obama’s actions in office so far can have such purportedly obvious parallels to the erstwhile corruption of Chicago’s municipal government, but then I am not psychologically predisposed to dislike everything this president says, does, likes, touches, or looks at.

Here’s the problem, at least as I see it, with describing Obama as a “Chicago politician” without much in the way of context: it makes me think of Jim Malone in 1987’s The Untouchables, Sean Connery’s Oscar-winning performance:

You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way! And that’s how you get Capone.

If the rhetoric against the sitting president puts people in mind of the greatest speech of Sean Connery’s film career, or really any role ever played by Sean Connery (except maybe Zardoz), you’re probably doing it wrong.

Put another way, Republicans should not assume that they are Elliot Ness in this analogy.

Also, you might consider not calling it “Chicago-style politics,” because the only other thing to which the descriptor “Chicago-style” applies, to my knowledge, is really, really, really good pizza. Think about that.


You Can’t Argue With Folks Who See a Different Reality Than You

The following is an excerpt from a conversation between Washington Post reporter Jonathan Capehart and Belmont, NC resident David Jackson:

Capehart: [Y]ou — and correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve been listening to you these last few minutes — you don’t think President Obama loves this country?

Jackson: Not at all. Not one bit, not one breath that comes out of his body.

Capehart: So why would he run for president of a country that he doesn’t love?

Jackson: Because he wanted to change it.

Capehart: And change into what?

Continue reading


This is How We Know Obama is Capable of Mind Control

Mind_Control_by_ang_kaikIt turns out that the IRS bureaucrat mostly directly responsible for the IRS scandal is actually a self-described conservative Republican. This blows Darrell Issa’s purported scandal out of the water, as it would seem to demonstrate that this was not some campaign of persecution against conservative organizations orchestrated from on high by the White House, right?

Of course not!

As any good conservative in the year 2013 knows, Barack Obama is guilty of many, many crimes. We just have to figure out what they are.

If the individual who drove the IRS activities in Cincinnati is actually a conservative Republican, that just shows how powerful Obama’s White House really is—they can get Republicans to do their bidding for them!!!

Obviously, the White House is using some sort of mind control device on IRS bureaucrats. Possibly in connection with HAARP.

(Of course, despite Obama’s near God-like powers to control our very thoughts, he is also profoundly incompetent. If you don’t understand why these two viewpoints are entirely logically consistent with one another, you hate America.)

Photo credit: “Mind Control” by ~ang-kaik [CC BY-SA 3.0] on deviantart.com.