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More on ‘President Asterisk’

April 21st, 2014 - 9:55 am

This morning, Instapundit dipped its cup into the growing current of stories about the lies and lawlessness that have characterized the Obama administration.  One story, “Barack Obama and the Politics of Lies,” is from the Washington Examiner and it ought to give anyone, Democrat or Republican,  pause. Citing the president’s recent “victory dance” over the (distinctly suspect) statistic that eight million people have signed up for Obamacare, the Examiner noted with some asperity that “a president who is viewed by most Americans as less than honest has no business crowing about a victory that remains anything but obvious.” Moreover, the Examiner continued, the president “certainly should not heap insults on people who for four years have profoundly disagreed with him on the wisdom of Obamacare”:

To put this as “less than honest” is to be charitable. What Fox News found in its most recent public opinion survey was that 61 percent of Americans believe Obama “lies” about important public issues either “most of the time” or “some of the time.” No other president in living memory has conducted himself in a manner that warranted even asking if such a description was appropriate.

“No other President in living memory,” indeed. I suspect that the flapping sound that’s emanating in ever more exigent waves from the corridors of power in and around the richest spot in the country — viz Washington, D.C. — is the sound of chickens flying home to roost. The Examiner notes that the president’s defenders have gone into attack mode about that Fox News survey. But consider this:

It was the president, not Fox News, who repeatedly and knowingly misled the American people with two infamous Obamacare lies: “You can keep your health insurance if you like it. Period. You can keep your doctor. Period.” For better or worse, Obama will forever be known as the president who chose repeatedly to propagate two falsehoods. Those two lies were profoundly significant because they were designed to hide the truth about how Obamacare would affect the daily lives and health of hundreds of millions of Americans.

And that, it almost goes without saying, is the very tip of the proverbial iceberg. Barack Obama has been lying — lying, not “mis-stating,” not somehow getting it wrong because he was misinformed, ill-advised, out to lunch — no, he has been lying to the American public since 2009. Here is a little recap of 36 times he promised that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period.” It’s less than 3 minutes long.  Watch it a couple of times. Then ask yourself — especially if you voted for Barack Obama — ask yourself, was he telling the truth?

That’s the thing about credibility. Its loss is infectious, corrosive. Lose it here, and you find that you’ve lost it over there as well. The Examiner is quite right, “it has been increasingly difficult for many Americans to continue accepting at face value his statements on other major public issues. In both the Benghazi and IRS scandals, for example, Obama claimed to have known nothing about them until they were reported in the national media.” Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! (Quoth Dorothy: “If you were really great and powerful, you’d keep your promises.”)  Flap, flap, flap: here they come!  If it it were true (don’t you love the subjunctive?), if, I say, it were true that Obama was just as ignorant as you or I about what happened in Benghazi or the IRS until the media told him then why the huge cover up? Why, as the Examiner asks,  “has the president’s attorney general and so many other of his most prominent appointees withheld thousands of documents subpoenaed by Congress and requested by journalists under the Freedom of Information Act? Are there passages in those withheld documents that make it clear Obama knew much more than he has admitted?” What do you think? (While were at it, why can’t we see Barack Obama’s Occidental College records? Are there items there that prove he applied to the college as a foreign student, thus committing fraud?  What do you think?)

Such questions bring me to the other story Instapundit scooped up this morning, “President Asterisk” in James Taranto’s indispensable “Best of the Web” column in The Wall Street Journal.  Taranto begins with an obeisance to Barack Obama’s political prowess. “No one,” Taranto writes, can deny that the president is “a highly skilled politician, at least by the measure of election outcomes.  . . . His 2008 presidential victory, after a fraction of a term in the U.S. Senate, was especially dazzling. It disproved those who said that Hillary Clinton was invincible, that a left-wing Democrat couldn’t win, and that America wasn’t ready for a black president.”

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Easter Thoughts

April 20th, 2014 - 5:32 am

Dear friends (and others),

Now that the Winter that Wouldn’t End seems finally to be vanquished (we woke up last Wednesday, April 16, to find a dusting snow — snow! — on the ground), my thoughts turn to green and budding things. And here on this glorious Easter morning, the bracing snap that accompanied the sunrise is already softening into a coaxing Spring morning. Before we toddle off to church with friends, and before we pop the champers, uncork the Vosne Romanee, and unveil the perfectly roasted lamb, I thought I would repost an updated version of what has become my traditional Easter meditation:

Yesterday, Holy Saturday, was glorious, and I am happy to report that Easter dawned bright and sunny here on the East coast of southern Connecticut.  Winter was long and brutal this year,  but Spring is definitely here now: the snow drops are behind us and everywhere the purple-lavender  crowns of crocuses announce the season.  Clumps of forsythia are beginning their yellow triumph by the roadside, and daffodils are set to trumpet the season any day.  Other buds and shoots are crowding in the wings: in just a week or two the  flowering cherries and pears will be bursting with blossoms. We are back in our house after having been evicted for more than six months by Hurricane Sandy. The apple tree outside my study window has bedecked itself with thousands of tightly wrought green promises just waiting to blossom into a glory of white and pink. In short, as Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote in “God’s Grandeur,” one of his most magnificent poems, although “all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil,” although “the soil is bare now,” yet “for all this nature is never spent.”

And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—

I have loved Hopkins’s poem since I first read it in high school — the incantatory diction, haunting music, emotion compressed, distilled, stripped bare in language that trembles to contain all it seeks to impart (“there lives the dearest freshness deep down things”).

Easter, as I noted in a post marking the holiday last year,  is the traditional time when the Catholic Church receives converts into the fold. I went back to read what I’d written a couple of Easters ago and thought some readers might like to be reminded of what I had to say then:

All souls are equal in the sight of God, but here on earth some converts elicit particular attention. The announcement yesterday that Magdi Allam, the 55-year-old an Egyptian-born Italian journalist, had converted from his native Islam to Catholic Christianity, is a case in point. Apostasy from Islam is, as my fellow PJM blogger Michael Ledeen points out, punishable by death if you happen to be in one of the many atavistic bulwarks of barbarism that make the Religion of Peace an object of obloquy among civilized people.

[UPDATE: Robert Spencer shows that, as usual, I was being too generous to the Religion of Peace. As Spencer explains, "all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that apostates must be executed. But don't take my word for it. Here's the great Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, who has been praised by John Esposito as a 'reformist':

That is why the Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-`ashriyyah, Al-Ja`fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed...]

This particular baptism is sure to arouse the ire of fanatical Muslims, but, as the blogger at Tigerhawk put it, kudos to the Pope [that would be Pope Benedict] for performing the service in public: “If the Roman church does not draw a line against Islamist intimidation, who will?” [ANOTHER UPDATE: the story of Magdi Allam does not have an edifying ending.]

Good question. While you ponder it, allow me to introduce a more meditative note. Last year at Easter, I posted this thought for the day about the mysterious subject of time; a few people have asked me about it, so I thought I would reproduce it on this chilly (but sunny) Easter morn:

“So long as no one asks me,” St. Augustine says, reflecting on the mystery of time in Confessions, “I know what it is. But as soon as I try to say what time is I am baffled”

Well, St. Augustine has many interesting things to say about time in Book XI of Confessions, and he is perhaps most interesting (if also least helpful) when he wonders whether time is somehow “an extension of the mind itself” – most interesting because it is clear that our experience of time is deeply implicated with the movements of our mind, that it differs radically from one moment, and one phase of life to the next. But St. Augustine’s suggestion is also not particularly helpful when it comes to one of life’s most awful facts: that time passes, sweeping all that it “contains” (right word?) before it.

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More Drudge juxtaposition genius

April 18th, 2014 - 7:24 am

Herewith another installment of the juxtaposition genius Matt Drudge from today’s home page of the Drudge Report:

Dems warned: Don’t say ‘recovery’…

FLASHBACK WHITE HOUSE: ‘Summer of Recovery’…

FLASHBACK TREASURY: ‘Welcome to the recovery’…

FLASHBACK HARRY REID: ‘We are in a recovery’…

FLASHBACK BIDEN: ‘recovery.gov’…

 

An evening with Simone Dinnerstein

April 2nd, 2014 - 7:12 am

Glenn Gould used to be my favorite interpreter of Bach. Since Simone Dinnerstein’s recordings of Bach began appearing, beginning with her Goldberg Variations in 2007, Gould has assumed the somewhat less exalted status as “one of my favorite interpreters” of Bach.  My absolute favorite these past 6 or 7 years is Dinnerstein. Indeed, she is not only my favorite interpreter of Bach, she is my favorite pianist, period (if one can still enjoy that now-freighted locution.)

Membership, as the AMEX people keep telling you,  has its privileges. Last night, at a semi-secure undisclosed location, members of the Friends of The New Criterion, were thrilled to have Ms. Dinnerstein perform Schumann’s haunting “Kinderszenen,” the 13 “Scenes of Childhood” that Schumann wrote in 1838, followed by Bach’s “Inventions,” the 15 short pieces Bach wrote to introduce his children and students to the mysteries of counterpoint. (Ms. Dinnerstein has just released a CD of Bach’s Inventions and Sinfonias for Sony, and she often performs one or more of the Kinderszenen.) It was a magical evening, reminiscent of the evening some of us spent at Bill Buckley’s New York apartment in 2007 where Ms. Dinnerstein performed all 32 of the Goldberg Variations for a rapt audience.

I have written about Simone Dinnerstein in the space before (here, for example, and here). Last night’s performance prompts me to repeat what I wrote in 2008 after hearing her perform at Lincoln Center:

Perhaps the most ravishing musical experience of my life was listening to Simone Dinnerstein play Bach’s Goldberg Variations’s at the home of a friend in Manhattan last autumn. In the weeks before the performance, I had listened several times to a CD of Dinnerstein’s remarkable 2007 interpretation of the work, but hearing her en famille, as it were, in the intimate setting of a living room with a dozen friends dramatically heightened the experience.

But it was the performance as well as the setting that made the evening so special. Hitherto my gold standard for renditions of this majestic piece of music was Glenn Gould’s 1955 recording. (Gould made a second recording shortly before his death, age fifty, in the early 1980s.) I especially admired the astringent clarity and architecture of Gould’s playing. Gould burrowed deep into the structure of Bach’s music, revealing its bones and sinews. His astonishing technical command allowed him to exhibit latent conversations within the music, rhythmic and emotional exfoliations that elaborated themselves with pristine lucidity, like crystals forming and dissolving in an ice-cold, light-inflected mountain stream.

Dinnerstein’s Bach is a warmer, but no less lucid creature. Like Gould, Dinnerstein commands a breathtaking technical mastery. And like him, she has made the music her own. She does not simply play the Goldbergs. She inhabits them, moving through its 30 variations like the rising sun through the rooms of a palace. Each chamber is suddenly illuminated and its distinctive character gradually revealed as the light lingers in loving dialogue with the soul’s furniture. And just as each day’s light has its own discoveries and omissions, so it was with Dinnerstein’s performances of the Goldbergs. Anyone who had heard the CD of her performing the work would have instantly recognized her stamp on the performance that evening. But what was remarkable was how distinctive each rendition was: like a familiar landscape seen at noon and then again an hour before dusk.

Dinnerstein is a master of rubato–listen, for example, to the way she coaxes Variation 4 to unfold itself before us–but also she handles the presto passages with breathtaking aplomb: her joyful unpacking of Variation 14 is a case in point. Dinnerstein’s Bach is perhaps less cerebral than Gould’s, but no less intelligent. There is an amplitude to her convocations that Gould’s austerity wouldn’t countenance.

But I revisit Dinnerstein’s Goldbergs merely as a prelude to mentioning her performance yesterday at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in New York. Her late-morning concert, part of the Center’s Great Performers series, included two preludes and fugues (numbers 9 in E-major and 3 in C-sharp-major) from book II of the Well-tempered Clavier, Beethoven’s Sonata 13 in E-flat major, and Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik, a curious, amusing and bemusing work by the contemporary American composer George Crumb. As an encore, Dinnerstein played the lovely A-major intermezzo from Brahms’s opus 118 suite of piano pieces.

It was a memorable occasion. Dinnerstein’s signature combination of technical command and patient lusciousness informed every moment. Her playing is less idiosyncratic than Gould’s, but no less distinctive. Her taste – witness the Crumb – ranges widely, yet there is a clarifying purity to her playing that inoculates it against mannerism. Her personality touches and enlivens all she plays, but one always feels that the focus is on the music, not the music maker. This is true artistry, a sort of musical midwifery in which the point is not the performer but the thing performed. I hope you’ll have an opportunity to hear her (her concert schedule is posted here). You’ll certainly be hearing a lot more about her.

And so you, if you pay any attention at all to classical music, have.  Dinnerstein’s Goldbergs catapulted her to classical musical stardom, and her several subsequent CDs — I recommend in particular “Bach: A Strange Beauty” — have consolidated that impressive debut.

 

 

Ideas Have Consequences

March 24th, 2014 - 6:02 am

The University of Chicago has just published a new edition of Richard Weaver’s quirky classic Ideas Have Consequences, which was first published in 1948. Probably, Dear Reader, you have heard of but not read the book.  Now is your chance. Let me mention a few of the book’s many attractions:

1. It is, as I say, a classic, more specifically, it is a classic in the library of modern conservative thought. Readers of Roger’s Rules should know Ideas Have Consequences.

2. Weighing in at a mere 200 pages, the book would have gratified Polonius, who rightly observed that “brevity is the soul of wit.”

3. It carries a new foreword by R. Kimball, and you would not want to miss that now, would you?

And just what does Richard Weaver have to tell us? Let me turn to a talk he gave in 1962, just a year before his early death in 1963, before the Young Americans for Freedom Foundation:

The past shows unvaryingly that when a people’s freedom disappears, it goes not with a bang, but in silence amid the comfort of being cared for. That is the dire peril in the present trend toward statism.  If freedom is not found accompanied by a willingness to resist, and to reject favors, rather than to give up what is intangible but precarious, it will not long be found at all.

How do you reckon we’re doing with that resistance, that willingness to reject the favors of a coddling state and hold fast to “what is intangible but precarious”?  To ask the question, I think, is to answer it, but Weaver has a number of useful, admonitory things to add to that central, anti-statist insight.

I just finished taping a podcast on Ideas Have Consequences with John J. Miller over at National Review Online. Look, or rather listen for, it in the next couple of weeks at John’s splendid series Between the Covers.

 

What Game Is Putin Playing?

March 23rd, 2014 - 6:07 am

David Goldman, aka Spengler, has published a thoughtful piece about Putin, Ukraine, and the future of Russia. I say “published,” but “republished” is more accurate.  It first appeared nearly six years ago, in August 2008.  But “Americans Play Monopoly, Russians Chess” is as pertinent today as it was when it was first published.

Some scene setters:

1. On the night of November 22, 2004, Vladimir Putin watched the television news in his dacha near Moscow. People who were with Putin that night report his anger and disbelief at the unfolding “Orange” revolution in Ukraine. “They lied to me,” Putin said bitterly of the United States. “I’ll never trust them again.” The Russians still can’t fathom why the West threw over a potential strategic alliance for Ukraine.

2. Demographics. Goldman reminds us of the dismal truth: “The United Nations publishes population projections for Russia up to 2050, and I have extended these to 2100. If the UN demographers are correct, Russia’s adult population will fall from about 90 million today to only 20 million by the end of the century. Russia is the only country where abortions are more numerous than live births, a devastating gauge of national despair.”

Sure, extrapolation from present trends to future realties is always hazardous. But those present trends are also present realities, and in the case of Russia’s population they pose an existential threat. Putin has tried mightily to increase natality, and has had some modest success. But Goldman provides the demographic backdrop: “demographers observe that the number of Russian women of childbearing age is about to fall off a cliff. No matter how much the birth rate improves, the sharp fall in the number of prospective mothers will depress the number of births. UN forecasts show the number of Russians aged 20-29 falling from 25 million today to only 10 million by 2040.”

Yikes.  And what does this mean? It means that “Russia has passed the point of no return in terms of fertility. Although roughly four-fifths of the population of the Russian Federation is considered ethnic Russians, fertility is much higher among the Muslim minorities in Central Asia. Some demographers predict a Muslim majority in Russia by 2040, and by mid-century at the latest.”

3. And this brings us to the Ukraine. Goldman, remember, was writing in 2008, but he might have been writing yesterday.

The place to avert tragedy is in Ukraine. Russia will not permit Ukraine to drift to the West. Whether a country that never had an independent national existence prior to the collapse of communism should become the poster-child for national self-determination is a different question. The West has two choices: draw a line in the sand around Ukraine, or trade it to the Russians for something more important.

My proposal is simple: Russia’s help in containing nuclear proliferation and terrorism in the Middle East is of infinitely greater import to the West than the dubious self-determination of Ukraine. The West should do its best to pretend that the “Orange” revolution of 2004 and 2005 never happened, and secure Russia’s assistance in the Iranian nuclear issue as well as energy security in return for an understanding of Russia’s existential requirements in the near abroad. Anyone who thinks this sounds cynical should spend a week in Kiev.

Is Goldman right?

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Mireille Miller-Young is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She teaches in the Department of Feminist Studies (“an interdisciplinary discipline that produces cutting-edge research,” offers an undergraduate major and minor, and houses “the minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer studies”). According to her university web page, Dr. Miller-Young’s “areas of emphasis” are “black cultural studies, pornography and sex work.” She appears to teach four courses: “Women of Color,” “Sexual Cultures Special Topics,” “Feminist Research and Practice,” and “Sexualities.”  She holds a Ph.D. in “American History and History of the African Diaspora” from New York University.  The title of her dissertation,  a book version of which is forthcoming from Duke University Press, is “A Taste for Brown Sugar: The History of Black Women in American Pornography.” She has contributed to such organs as $pread, “a quarterly magazine by and for sex workers and those who support their rights,” Colorlines, a magazine with “articles concerning race, culture, and organizing,” and the New York Times, a paper that — well, you know. Dr. Miller-Young, again according to her web page,  “has won several highly regarded grants and awards,” possibly for her contributions to C’Lick Me: A Netporn Studies Reader and  The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure.

In other words, Dr. Miller-Young is a typical specimen of homo academicus (or perhaps I should say, mulier academica), circa 2014. The non-stop racial grievance mongering. The anaphrodisiac obsession with gutter sex. The bad prose. The cutesy nods to pop culture. The reflexive left-wing politics. The angry, intellectually nugatory posturing. It’s all a dime a dozen in the trendy precincts of the university today. Dr. Miller-Young is as dreary and predictable a representative of the low-wattage, affirmative-action branch of that enterprise as any cultural pathologist could wish for.  Would you let her loose on your delicately brought-up daughter?

While you ponder that question, let me repeat that there is nothing out of the ordinary about Dr. Miller-Young.  She is exactly what you can expect when you sign up for a course in the “humanities” these day.  I bring her to your attention not for her intellectual or pedagogical achievements. For what has just guaranteed Dr. Miller-Young her fifteen minutes of notoriety had nothing to do with her pathetic, polysyllabic banalities masquerading as scholarship but rather her unexpected entry into what some of her ideological consoeurs refer to as “direct action.” The Santa Barbara Independent broke the story under the admirably informative title “UCSB Professor Accused of Assaulting Anti-Abortion Activist.”

That just about sums it up.

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Putin speaks!

March 21st, 2014 - 2:31 pm

Not everyone has seen Valdimir’s Putin’s latest Op-Ed. It think it’s important, and wanted to share it with readers now.  Doubtless, Putin had a ghost writer, but I think this accurately captures his sentiments:

As you know, the last few weeks have been kind of crazy around here. Last month, protests in Ukraine ousted the country’s Kremlin-allied president and ignited a wave of Ukrainian nationalism that threatened to destabilize Russia’s economic and military interests in the region. Of course, I couldn’t simply stand by and let that happen, so I intervened and ordered a forceful takeover of the strategically important peninsula of Crimea—a territory with historical ties to Russia that our nation had long desired. It’s certainly no easy task to forcefully annex an entire province against another country’s will, so I just wanted to thank you—the government of the United States, the nations of western Europe, and really the entire world population as a whole—for being super cool about all of this.

Seriously, you guys have been amazing. All of you. I really appreciate it.

To be honest, I was really dreading a whole big fight over this thing. When you first condemned the seizure of Crimea as patently illegal and in breach of the Ukrainian constitution—which it absolutely was, by the way—I feared for the worst. But then everybody stopped short of doing anything to actually prevent what was essentially a state-sponsored landgrab, and I just thought, “Wow, these guys are a pretty laid-back and easygoing bunch!” It really was a huge load off when you let everything slide like that.

Frank isn’t it?

You can read the rest of the piece here.

 

Aristotle on Crimea

March 17th, 2014 - 7:43 am

aristotle_crimea_3-17-14-1

In a melancholy passage of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle observes  that we can follow certain courses of action which will put us in situations where there is no right response.  Whatever we do, it will be wrong, or at least unhappy.

Confronted with the West’s habitual acquiescence in the face of Russian (and not only Russian) swagger and belligerence, Aristotle would no doubt have said, “See what I mean,” or words to that effect.

Skillful diplomacy might have headed off the crisis in Crimea.  But we did not field skillful diplomats. We sent John Kerry, backed up by Barack Obama, Susan Rice, and Joe Biden. As in 1854, “someone had blundered.” Tennyson recorded the result.  Today, the “reset button” turns out to have been disconnected at the source. Obama really did push it. Comrade Putin paid it no heed. He had taken the measure of the man long ago.  And if there was any doubt, in 2012, in a candid-camera moment, Obama pleaded with Putin’s protege Dmitry Medvedev to give him more “space” about missile defense. “This is my last election,”  Obama confided quietly to Medvedev, “After my election, I have more flexibility.” Noted.

The microphones weren’t supposed to pick that up. In any normal world, the remark would have gone a long way towards sealing Obama’s defeat in 2012.  But this isn’t any normal world. It is the world according folks like Wolf Blitzer, who mocked Romney for describing Russia as, “without question, our number one geopolitical foe.”

Oh, how Obama jumped all over that during the debates.  Remember? The mockery was non-stop. “The 1980s Are Now Calling to Ask for Their Foreign Policy Back.” Harkh, harkh, harkh! Good line, Barack.  But it looks like Mitt was right, doesn’t it?  And having temporized, preened, tergiversated about American foreign policy for five years, what are you going to do now?

Exit polls show that yesterday’s vote in Crimea to be “annexed” by Russia won by 93 percent (UPDATE: later tallies put it as high as 97 perecent.).  That’s a showing that would have satisfied Stalin. The vote is “illegitimate,” you say. There will be “consequences,” you threaten. The West will enact “sanctions,” you thunder.

Meanwhile Putin is enacting what one commentator accurately described as his “slow-motion Anschluss” of Crimea, possibly with the rest of Ukraine, or at least a large part of it,  to follow.

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So, Obama once again “delays” the law of the land on Obamacare. Why?  Because there is an election coming up, silly, and he wants to do what he can to protect vulnerable Democrats.  I pick this bit from the Detroit News more or less at random: “In announcing the latest postponement this week . . .  the Obama administration carefully credited Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Udall of Colorado, Ron Barber of Arizona and 10 other vulnerable Democratic lawmakers.” What do you think about this?  I think the Detroit News is right: “While it may be politically expedient, rewriting a law passed by Congress simply to avoid ballot box consequences is an outrageous abuse of executive power.” Where, I wonder, is the tar? Where are the feathers? Where are the pitchforks and the pullulating multitudes marching and chanting in the streets over this contemptuous exhibition of lawlessness?

Where are you, Dear Reader?  Have you written to your duly elected members of Congress?  Have you raised this issue with your friends?  Why is it that the president of the United States blithely puts himself above the law? “Decency, security, and liberty,” Justice Brandeis once wrote, “alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen.”

In a government of laws [Brandeis continues], existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously.  Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher.  For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it  invites man to become a law unto himself, it invites anarchy.

Why is Obama’s lawlessness not the subject of front-page stories in the New York Times?  Why is the electorate not enraged by this extraordinary spectacle of lawlessness?  Is it because they feel that, despite everything, Obama is in some obscure way “on the right right side”?  That opponents of the unaffordable “affordable” health care legislation are beastly meanies? That Obama means well, and meaning well is all that  matters?  That, being a half-black lifelong beneficiary of affirmative action, he is untouchable?

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