Monday, December 7, 2015

We Shall Overcome (Or Not)

Obama Addresses Nation From Oval Office:

WASHINGTON — President Obama sought on Sunday to calm jittery Americans after the terrorist attack last week in California, delivering a prime-time address designed to underscore the government’s campaign against an evolving threat.

Speaking from a lectern in the Oval Office, Mr. Obama acknowledged the heightened fears that followed an attack by a married couple last week in San Bernardino, Calif., which he called an act of terrorism that appeared to be inspired, but not directed, by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

It was only the third speech Mr. Obama has delivered from the Oval Office, a setting meant to highlight the gravity of a subject.

Mr. Obama’s demeanor was serious but not grim or angry as he outlined a series of steps at home aimed at keeping the country safe.

He called for tougher screening of travelers who come to the United States without visas and asked Congress to ban gun sales to people on the government’s no-fly list, and for limits on assault weapons.

“I know there are some who reject any gun safety measures,” Mr. Obama said. “But the fact is that our intelligence and law enforcement agencies — no matter how effective they are — cannot identify every would-be mass shooter, whether that individual is motivated by ISIL or some other hateful ideology. What we can do — and must do — is make it harder for them to kill.”
He must have been talking to some other country last that is wiser, stronger, more rational, and doesn't fall for the moral panic snake oil being sold by those running to replace him.

Believe me, you'll miss these measured, cerebral, sane speeches from Mr. Spock after he's gone, because no sooner had the klieg lights dimmed, than the clown show that is the 2016 presidential election began firing (blanks) via social media.
By turns withering and mocking, Republican presidential candidates blasted President Obama’s address on terrorism on Sunday night, saying that he was incapable of defeating the Islamic State, misguided in his focus on new gun control laws and showing weakness in the face of lethal threats.

By turns withering and mocking, Republican presidential candidates blasted President Obama’s address on terrorism on Sunday night, saying that he was incapable of defeating the Islamic State, misguided in his focus on new gun control laws and showing weakness in the face of lethal threats.

“People are really scared and worried,” Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said on Fox News, describing a couple that decided not to travel for the New Year’s holiday. He said that Americans had “a growing sense that we have a president who is completely overwhelmed” by the Islamic State.

“Nothing that happened in the speech tonight is going to assuage people’s fears,” Mr. Rubio added. “He honestly believes that there is a coalition fighting against ISIS. This is absurd. There is no such coalition. A lot of countries that have put their names on a piece of paper.”

Another candidate, Donald J. Trump, commented on Mr. Obama’s speech in real time on Twitter. His review was predictably hostile — starting with knocking Mr. Obama’s podium in the Oval Office as “odd.” Mr. Trump criticized Mr. Obama for not seizing oil reserves in Iraq, chided him for using the term “ISIL” instead of “ISIS” and complained that Mr. Obama’s speech was not more expansive. “That all there is? We need a new President — FAST!” he wrote in one of his tweets.

The leading Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, pulled some attention away from Mr. Obama 10 minutes before his speech. Her campaign emailed reporters the text of a speech she made earlier on Sunday outlining her positions against the Islamic State and demanding that Arab nations and Turkey “carry their share of the burden” in fighting militants.

Mr. Obama had not even begun speaking when one Republican candidate, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, issued a statement calling on the president to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” — a demand that has become a conservative talking point and that Mr. Obama rejected in the speech as divisive rhetoric that demonized Muslims.

“In response to Pearl Harbor, F.D.R. did not give a partisan speech, rather he called on Americans to unite and ‘win through to absolute victory,’ ” Mr. Cruz said.
Don't you love the December 7th reference? I wonder how WWII vets feel about ISIS being compared with Tojo's Japan and Hitler's Germany, according to the clown show? Other than insulted?

As several wags put it on twitter last night (and pardon the vulgarity, but this word is apparently getting thrown around quite a bit on t.v. by both sides), "Pussies. We are the most powerful nation on earth, afraid of people with no indoor plumbing. To equate these guys in black ninja turtle outfits to World War II and nuclear armageddon is beyond's cowardice."

As this article notes, Obama and many others simply aren't afraid of these "thugs and terrorists" because they view them for what they are: a cult of thugs and terrorists. At best, it's organized crime, viz. an 8th century mafia, not a "clash of civilizations."
Obama thinks that’s absurd. Unlike Rubio, he considers violent jihadism a small, toxic strain within Islamic civilization, not a civilization itself. And unlike Bush, he doesn’t consider it a serious ideological competitor. In the 1930s, when fascism and communism were at their ideological height, many believed they could produce higher living standards for ordinary people than democratic capitalist societies that were prone to devastating cycles of boom and bust. No one believes that about “radical Islam” today. In Obama’s view, I suspect, democratic capitalism’s real ideological adversary is not the “radical Islam” of ISIS. It’s the authoritarian, state-managed capitalism of China.
But measured, cool, rational analysis doesn't induce moral panic the way fear mongering cowardice does. Not only does it turn out the votes, it's good for business.
Gun sales have been spiking in the United States for weeks, especially following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. Wednesday that left 14 people dead.

Many California gun stores have seen a rush on guns after the San Bernardino shooting, according to ABC.

“The knee jerk reaction of politicians is immediately after an event like this to take advantage of it for political goals and will try to restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Sam Paredes, spokesman for Gun Owners of America, told ABC. “So there is a natural rush to gun stores to purchase guns and ammunition.”
Yeah, because nothing about this last massacre had anything to do with legally purchased street sweepers and ammunition.

Hang on to your handbags, folks. It's gonna be a long and bumpy ride through crazy land the next ten months.

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