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Belmont Club

The Universal Obamaphone

October 29th, 2013 - 1:37 pm

It had to come to this. Bill Greider at The Nation warns that, in addition to tapping the phones of 35 other world leaders, the NSA might be spying on President Obama.

The latest hot controversy launched by Citizen Snowden’s revelations involves the National Security Agency’s listening to the personal cellphone of Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany. Embarrassment all around and the White House now says it is “reviewing” what other foreign leaders the NSA may be eavesdroping on.

But here Is a more explosive question that needs an answer: Is the NSA eavesdropping on Barack Obama?

Officially, this will be promptly denied, of course. But can we believe opaque denials from the same intelligence officials who have previously lied to the press and misled Congress about the unlimited range of NSA snooping? More to the point, can Barack Obama believe them?

That would be terrible if it were true, almost as bad as forcing President Obama to buy Obamacare.

President Obama has shown an alarming tendency to be unaware of most everything. To begin with, he was unaware that the NSA was spying on world leaders until he read about it in the papers. Although he argued that Obamacare would let Americans keep their existing plans, his administration apparently knew all along that millions would lose — have already lost — their coverage.  How to explain this contradiction? Well, Obama was probably unaware of what Obamacare would do also.

Why, he didn’t even know there were problems with the Obamacare website until two days after it launched, despite the fact that nobody could seem to log on to it! Good thing he reads a lot of news, otherwise he might still think the consulate in Benghazi was razed because some guy in L.A. made a YouTube video.

It’s getting so that even Andrew Sullivan is beginning to doubt his word.

It is becoming clearer and clearer that one major power-broker in Washington is resisting the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s allegedly devastating report on the torture program run by the Bush-Cheney CIA. That major power-broker is the Obama administration.

You might be surprised by this, given the president’s opposition to torture and abolition of it. But the evidence is at this point irrefutable – and given extra punch by the invaluable Jane Mayer, who caught a fascinating document related to the Senate confirmation this week of Stephen W. Preston, the top lawyer at the CIA., for a new post as the top lawyer for the Pentagon. …

Why is Obama allowing Brennan to undermine Obama’s own position? Why is the president allowing the CIA to prevent the very transparency he once pledged to uphold? I don’t know. But what I do know is that it is now Obama who is the main obstacle to releasing the Senate Report on Torture. He needs to tell his CIA director to give up his struggle to keep us all in the dark. He needs to stop dithering and tell Brennan to get out of the way of the report’s release – so we can all see, digest and understand what was done, in secret, in our name.

“Why is Obama allowing Brennan to undermine Obama’s own position?” The answer is simple. There are two Obamas. The public Obama and the private Obama.  There is the Obama who pretended to be morally superior to Bush and Cheney and there is the Obama who figured he could go one better if he interrogated prisoners in secret.

There are probably also two sets of books, two sets of employment figures, and two of everything, as in some Manichean Noah’s Ark — if you will pardon the mixture of metaphors.

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Top Rated Comments   
I was reading Ed Driscoll.

Some commenter noted that "SF writer John Scalzi, then the president of the Science Fiction Writers of America, wrote an article about 'white privilege' that stated how the 'straight white male' has the easiest life in America of anyone."

Another suggested there was a reason for that. "We are far less likely to come from a broken home (OK, 'a single parent' home), to have a police record or get caught up in the drug culture, far more likely to finish high school, to get married, to get a job and keep it and work at a career rather than wasting time complaining about how much we are discriminated against."

It struck me that a lot, though not all of the the grievance industry's lament boils down to the complaint that socialism doesn't work and the explanation must be bigotry. The failures of certain projects or lifestyles cannot, as an article of their faith, be laid at the doorstep of the practices themselves. So it must be due to malevolence.

Thus we are told that the Obamacare website was "sabotaged" by bad attitudes. They were "forced" to launch it without testing or indeed much thought, because they were "rushed" into it by snarky Republicans. How did Sally Kohn put it? (see above)

"If we as a nation object to the inherent and deeper flaws within the private health insurance system in America, then we should embrace a single-payer system. But instead, because conservatives were so wed to propping up the private insurance market, we got Obamacare. It’s disingenuous to turn around and point fingers at Obamacare for faults that have always been — and will always be — pervasive in private health insurance."

But there is the danger here of confusing means and ends. Perhaps certain life styles work better because they are better. And maybe certain things fail simply because they are stupid. I took up archery some months back and noticed someone was hitting the bull's eye more consistently than I was.

So I watched and learned. Then I hit the bull's eye more frequently as well, and indeed surpassed him.

Of course I could have said: "you bigot!", broken the bow and stomped off the field. But that would have been idiotic. And life's too short to lead it as an idiot.
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I came across someone on the radio who characterized prayer as a "declaration of dependence on God". Indeed the gold standard for prayers is "Thy will be done". It was at once obvious that if you substituted the word "Reality" for God then it followed that prayerfulness was a "declaration of dependence on Reality".

The most characteristic thing about the Left is their belief in the omnipotence of human will -- the Party's will. Recall O'brien vs Winston Smith in Room 101. In the party's world reality doesn't count; mathematics doesn't count. What counts is fiat. What counts is their will. If their will is imposed, the wherewithal will come from somewhere. Maybe from the Stash. Surely from the Government. Pointing out to them that reality won't allow it only evokes a dismissive sneer.

Because their motto is simple. "Not Thy will but Mine be done."

In "How Green Was My Valley" I remember the preacher saying that "prayer was the art of clear thinking". Prayer was about asking "what does 2 plus 2 make". It does not consist in willing that two plus two equal five, or six or 3.1412 or different values on different days.

All Christ asked for was the strength to know the truth, and to follow it, for by that means you will be freed.

It seems a mystery that submission to reality should free us, literally. Yet it's obvious when you think of it.

The leftist way of creating a flying machine is willing a lump of aluminum to fly. "Fly! Fly! Oh never mind, photoshop it flying!" That's what they're doing in Obamacare. Never mind that it's a losing proposition, because if it loses enough then we'll become Single Payer and it will pay for itself.

The prayerful way to make things fly is to understand the will of God or if you prefer, the laws of Reality. And once we accept the laws we are free. Once we learn aerodynamics, mechanics and electronics why, we grasp the rules necessary to make those materials fly.

We imbue the raw materials with information, not a lies. And it flies at first at a hundred miles an hour. Then as we learn the will of reality more perfectly then we make if fly a thousand miles an hour. Perhaps one day, were we to understand the Truth perfectly enough, those lumps of metal, glass, carbn and silicon might take us to the planets.

But we fly to the stars only if we say, "Thy will be done." The Party can teach us nothing. CS Lewis once observed that “there are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." Nobody ever beat arithmetic.
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There can be no doubt that Buraq Hussein I, Lightworker of the World and Savior of the Oppressed FSA is being spied upon and monitored by those who are supposedly his own people.

We are living in a world where the omnipotent State are openly spying on EVERY American, where the coercive organs of the State are publicly used against any political opposition, and where the military command is being purged and those in the armed forces who hold to the Judeo-Christian system of morality and duty are being told that doing so is subject to disciplinary action. Simultaneously, there is a growing and unaccountable paramilitary force being raised and controlled by the Left.

The rules of the game that was conventional politics are gone, and the corridors of power are approaching levels that would be understood in the late Byzantine Empire. The scarf and dagger, figuratively or literally, are becoming far more pertinent than the caucus and the convention.

In such a world, no one can trust the rule of law or conventional protections for one's personal and professional life. If one is involved in the direction of the organs of coercion; one is at risk. For the wielder of power is going to be rightly worried about the eternal question, *quis custodiet ipsos custodes*. Those with access to surveillance data, are a risk as well as an asset to the powerful, and the powerful have to be able to purge or neutralize those assets themselves in case they get ideas.

And those with access know it, and their only defense is to establish their own independent power base and threat to those who would do the purging. The quickest and easiest source of that power base and threat would be the collection of the same sort of data that is collected on everyone. The files inside the *Lubyanka* can be aimed in multiple directions.

There can be no doubt that such information is being used by the government. Too many "opposition" figures have become tame housepets in too short a period of time. It was public knowledge from the moment the Obamacare decision came out from the Supreme Court. Up until 48 hours before the decision was announced; the deciding vote [Chief Justice John Roberts] had voted against it. His opinion, the majority opinion, was already written and filed. Without warning he reversed himself, wrote an opinion that admitted that it was unconstitutional on a number of grounds, but declared that despite the explicit text and the statements of its sponsors; it was somehow a tax which over-rode the unconstitutionality. The now minority bloc of the Supreme Court used the Roberts-authored former Majority opinion as their minority opinion, just removing his name.

People do not reverse themselves that suddenly, and that completely, after having publicly and officially [within the Court] staked out a position so thoroughly. Unless they are under external compulsion. The source of that compulsion can be reasonably surmised with more Latin. *cui bono*. And what methods have that "who" used and is still using? Spying illegally on everybody. And how does that kind of information get used in practice? Blackmail and threats.

And the only way to counter that is further blackmail in return, if actual force is not allowed.

Damn straight Obama is being bugged by his own people, and probably by several factions.

Welcome to the corridor of mirrors.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (64)
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In "A Very British Coup" (BBC TV) The recently elected Prime Minister, unpopular with the established intelligence agencies, wonders if they tap him. His adviser explains it would be wrong for his agency to so invade his privacy. The CIA taps him and shares intelligence with MI5.
The "Five Eyes" are closer to each other than to their own overlords.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
O/T, but it's Hallowe'en

Birthday wishes to all BC Clubbers who share a Hallowe'en bithday with me.

Winds and leaves dance making swishes
Time again to send you wishes
Whispered softly from the niches
Sung aloud by glowing fishes
Celebrated with knishes
Or a cake deemed most delicious!
Celebrants may seem malicious
Drawing near with fangs so vicious
Never fear, don’t be suspicious
They’re just here to lick the dishes!

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm confused.

On the one hand, Obama is "the smartest man ever to be President", "standing over the country like God" and "an Ivy League scholar and former constitutional law professor."

On the other hand, he's Sgt. Schulz on "Hogan's Heroes": I know nothing! I see nothing!

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
At this point, I suspect the real problem this administration has is all they drink is their own bathwater. He sure he knows how the world works, he's just wrong and completely blinkered against even the possibility it might be different.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I didn't have sex with that woman..."

Why not remind the LIVs that legalese "If you like your healthcare, you can keep your healthcare. Period" is the mother tongue of the Democrats.

Want a real plan to cut healthcare costs? Two words...


The outrageous antics of Democrat trial lawyers (e.g. John Edwards) have boosted medical malpractice insurance rates sky high. Cut those insurance rates and you cut both doctors fees and defensive medicine.

Want a review of Lying Lawyers Row?

Bill Clinton
John Edwards (and his war on women against his own wife).
Al (I made the movie to encourage corn to ethanol as a vote buying scheme in Iowa) Gore
John Kerry ("I still have the hat" from his Christmas 1968 foray into Cambodia on the orders of the yet to be inaugurated Richard Nixon).
Barack "I Know Nothing" Obama
Hillary "At this point what difference does it make" Clinton
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So true --and so little recalled, that the 'first crisis' that enabled the current crisis was the 'high cost of healthcare'. If you break down the inputs to that high cost, you'll find the exact same people responsible for them that are now casting themselves as reformers --via obamacare --acting now to smash the system that allowed that old 'high cost of healthcare'.

This is the Enron playbook all over again --search the names on the Enron board --the cure for Enron was Sarbox, and sarbox led to the conditions that enabled, then executed, the great crash nof 2008.

Sarbox = Obamacare, uncle sam's bones-breakers. for brevity left out a few others, such as Dodd-Frank, named after the congressional banking committee's charirmen --believe it or not.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bill Lawrence: "Truth is only "irrelevant" if you ignore it. Even that is but an appearance as truth will eventually overtake you."

Ain't that the Truth!

Sidenote -- waiting in the barber shop; guy in the chair was a government employee, massive taxpayer-funded pickup truck outside; complaining to the barber that he had been off work for 3 weeks because of the "government shutdown".

Barber was making sympathetic noises about being tough to have no income for 3 weeks. Government employee said -- Naw! I went and worked for a guy I know.

Potentially, government employee could have been paid three times for those weeks -- off the books tax-free cash payments, unemployment compensation, retroactive pay.

And they wonder why the economy is in the tank.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You should have taken a photo of his license plate and reported him for collecting unemployment while working. That is called Fraud and they lock people up for it, and toss them out of soft government jobs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Americans may care to look North and see the travails of PM Harper. For several years of minority government through all sorts of general scandals his popularity has only risen, though frankly the opposition, as in the USA are a paltry and pathetic lot. However the current scandal, a minor squall about Senate expenses and who knew what and when, seriously threatens to unseat him.

Harper, of course, is conservative and therefore must be whiter than white, less chance of such a storm in a teacup with a socialist incumbent.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Director of National Security James Clapper testified yesterday to the effect that if Obama's claims of "not knowing" about NSA tapping into phones overseas was true he wasn't reading his daily briefing book.

As a matter of fact, at least 2 years ago, it was revealed that Barack does indeed skip most of the regularly scheduled morning briefings. (don't need no stinking briefings, too smart for all that jazz)

They seem a little hot over at NSA over White House denials.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Thus we are told that the Obamacare website was "sabotaged" by bad attitudes."

Listening to Sebelius' and her sympathetic democrat questioners this morning, that theme often came up.

Apparently the débacle now known as the Obamacare rollout, the many people getting cancelled, the security breaches & the 7 individuals :) who actually got a quote getting "sticker shock" all because of those nasty republicans who "don't want this law to work" !

Who knew ?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama should have gotten The Amazing Mystico and Janet to put up the website by hypnosis. It would only have cost about 500 pounds (with a little something for Janet) and it would be guaranteed to work as long as people believed in it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama said during the first election campaign, when he was treated as a deity, that he really didn't have any views. No - he said that he was basically an object upon which people could project their beliefs. He implied that this is what the people want, and this is what they will get.

If this has been his strategy, misdirection and amusement while he sits back and watches the festival of obsession with his inscrutableness, then he has succeeded wonderfully. The opposition is in disarray, and no matter how much he is mocked, his enemies sink further..
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth or Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
To that bad eminence;
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Very impressive, and very long. I will peruse later when the gentle Med evening winds do wash the water from the air. I'm thinking Milton, an apple pastry and a double espresso as we await delivery of endless human fallibility. Is this man King/this wide-smiling cross-oceanic Barry-ster/a man-child of every land and none/his ambition soaring like eagle's wing..
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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