Shadow President?

After leaving the White House in January 2017, Barack Obama and his family set out to do what all newly retired presidents have done—go back home, or find a new one. In Obama’s case, though, the new residence is in Washington, D.C. At first, the Obamas presented their choice as temporary—they wanted to let their younger daughter, Sasha, finish high school in Washington, they said—but their purchase of an 8,200-square-foot, $8 million mansion suggests a permanent stay. Obama’s postpresidency is thus shaping up to be virtually unique in American history: rather than departing Washington, he is planting his flag there, establishing, in effect, a shadow presidency.

Obama’s move breaks with long-standing precedent. Conscious of threats to the safe transfer of executive power in the young republic, America’s early presidents departed Washington on the expiration of their terms. After relinquishing his commission as general following victory over the British, George Washington was compared with Cincinnatus, the retired Roman general who assumed emergency powers, saved Rome, and then returned to his plow. Washington repeated his valiant act when he declined a third term as president—Garry Wills calls him a “virtuoso of resignations”—and set the standard for future executives by going home when his political work was done.

The American ideal of a president is essentially republican: a citizen steps forward to serve the government and returns to private life when his term is up. Washington’s diaries and correspondence of 1797 are consumed with matters of housekeeping, husbandry, and accounts. Mount Vernon had gone to seed, and Washington was forced to shore up his personal finances. Though he stayed abreast of national events and voiced his opinions to his associates, he stayed out of the affairs of government; keeping a safe physical distance from the capital reinforced that resolution.

Following Washington’s model, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe each returned to their farms, in varying degrees of insolvency. True, John Quincy Adams, finding retirement dull, soon returned to public service as a congressman, a role he embraced and thrived in, but his ambitions were not imperial. Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren went home, too, when their terms in the White House were finished.

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Middle East: A Shift from Revolution to Evolution

After each Islamist terrorist attack in the West, the public is divided into two camps: one angry and one indifferent. The problem with defeating Islamist terrorism seems to be that either it is attacked by conservatives who call Islam an evil cult or it is forgiven entirely by liberal apologists. What, then, is the answer?

One of the main failures in Western analyses of the origins of terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa is that the West attributes them to a lack of democracy and a lack of respect for human rights. This is, indeed, part of the cause, but the root of the problem is a lack of development and modernity. U.S. President Donald Trump did not exaggerate when he said that the Obama administration’s foreign policy was disastrous. It was catastrophic mainly for two reasons. One was the knee-jerk support for the “Arab Spring” and for extremist Islamic political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The second was the alliances the Obama administration built with unreliable countries such as Qatar, which supports radical political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, Obama made the mistake of continuing to try to appease Iran’s theocratic regime.

The Arab Spring’s uncalculated, hasty attempt to establish so-called democracy only generated more turmoil and chaos in the region. Certain radical political groups simply exploited the elections to serve their own political and sectarian agendas; that swoop for power only resulted in more authoritarian and dictatorial regimes, as have played out, for instance, in Egypt, where we have witnessed the murder of civilians and police officers by the Muslim Brotherhood. In other countries, the situation is even worse; attempts to install democracy have totally destroyed the state and facilitated the spread of terrorist militias, as in Libya.

It is ironic that Western countries and their advocates stress the need to apply democratic practices in Arab countries, but evidently do not recall that development and secularism preceded democracy in Western Europe. The United Kingdom, which has the oldest democratic system, did not become fully democratic until 1930. France became fully democratic only in 1945, 150 years after the French Revolution.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, at the Arab Summit in Jordan on March 28, 2017 delivered a speech in which he indicated his continuous support for the Muslim Brotherhood:

“If we are serious about focusing our efforts on armed terrorist organizations, is it fair to consider any political party we disagree with as terrorist? Is our goal to increase the number of terrorists?”

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Obama’s Chickens Coming Home to Roost

Democrats inherit the foreign policy crises of a thousand Republican presidential fathers, but the foreign policy crises inherited by incoming Republicans in the White House are always orphans.

Or at least that’s how the media likes to spin it.

If you believe your random mainstream media outlet of choice, North Korea and Syria were crises freshly spawned by this administration with no prior history. But these ticking time bombs are the direct result of the two terrible terms of his predecessor.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner’s years in the White House were the most dysfunctional, schizophrenic and senseless eight years of our national foreign policy. His domestic policy was a disaster, but it was a radioactive toxic waste dump with clear and consistent goals. ObamaCare, the abuses of the Justice Department, the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency were the naturally terrible outcome of left-wing policies being implemented with inevitably terrible results.

But Obama’s foreign policy was a wildly inconsistent mess. The Nobel Peace Prize winner couldn’t quite decide if he was a humanitarian interventionist or a pacifist non-interventionist. He couldn’t make up his mind if he wanted to take the side of the Sunnis or the Shiites in their Islamic unholy war. He didn’t know if he wanted to appease Russia or sanction it, to pivot to Asia or run the other way, to play another round of golf or replace his defense secretary for the fifth time.

Obama could be consistent on domestic policy because there were few hard choices to make. Government had to be constantly expanded and every arm of it enlisted in pursuing left-wing goals. Republican opposition was largely hapless. The “Irish Democracy” of the public response to ObamaCare was more effective at sabotaging it, but by the time anyone understood that it was far too late.

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Urgent Messages to the Muslim World

The first reaction of the U.S. after 9/11 should have been to stop visas from all majority-Muslim countries, except for those of utmost importance. But our politicians’ hands were tied — not by fear of a backlash from Islamic countries, which probably expected a U.S. boycott, but by fear of a backlash from the Western media and Western progressives.

The decision to keep Muslims, refugees and others pouring into the US after 9/11 was wrong and has not done Islam and Muslim reformers a favor. Here is why:

The chaos and bloodshed in the Muslim world, even in the most moderate of Muslim nations, such as Turkey, is between Muslims who want to enforce Islamic sharia law, totally and upon everyone by a theocratic government, and those who want less sharia by installing military rule. The West does not understand that the only form of government that can stand up to a totalitarian Islamic theocracy is a military one and no other. Who could imagine that a military junta could be considered the only savior from Islamic tyrannies that require everyone to live totally, 100%, under the laws of sharia?

When former U.S. President Barack Obama honored the Muslim Brotherhood with his first major speech as president, who were his guests of honor in the first rows? Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. The less-radical Islamist military form of governments in the Middle East were left out and thus weakened. Then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who had a murky relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, got the message. He did not attend. With Obama’s move, the balance of power between the two combative forces over control of government immediately favored the Muslim Brotherhood. It officially, for the first time since its founding in 1928, took control of the Egyptian government after the 2011 chaos of the “Arab Spring.” A year later, 22 million Egyptians had to undergo a bloody counter-revolution to bring back the type of government Egyptians have always favored over an Islamic theocracy.

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No Thug Left Behind

In the Obama years, America’s public education system embarked on a vast social experiment that threatened to turn schools into educational free-fire zones. The campaign—carried out in the name of “racial equity”—sought to reduce dramatically the suspension rate of black students, who get referred for discipline at much higher rates than other students. From the top down, the U.S. Department of Education drove the effort; from the bottom up, local educational bureaucrats have supported and implemented it.

“Racial equity” has become the all-purpose justification for dubious educational policies. Equity proponents view “disparate impact”—when the same policies yield different outcomes among demographic groups—as conclusive proof of discrimination. On the education front, “equity” does not seek equal treatment for all students. Instead, it demands statistical equivalence in discipline referrals and suspensions for students of every racial group, regardless of those students’ actual conduct.

Equity advocates’ central premise is that teachers, not students, are to blame for the racial-equity discipline gap. They claim that teachers’ biases, cultural ignorance, or insensitivity are the gap’s primary causes. The key to eliminating disparities, they maintain, is to change not students’ but adults’ behavior. Equity supporters justify their agenda on grounds that the racial-equity discipline gap severely hampers black students’ chances of success in life. Kids who get suspended generally fail to graduate on time and are more likely to get caught up in the juvenile-justice system, they say.

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Trump vs. Obama

Obama is a coward.

Trump will call someone a name while Obama will anonymously source a smear through three levels of staffers, political allies and reporters. Trump called CNN “Fake News” on camera. Obama sourced Operation Rushbo, targeting Rush Limbaugh, through a variety of White House people and left-wing allies. Trump will boot reporters he doesn’t like. Obama authorized secretly hacking the emails of a FOX News reporter. Trump had an openly hostile conversation with the Prime Minister of Australia. When Obama wanted to call Netanyahu “chickens__t”, he did it by having one of his people anonymously plant it with a reliable media sycophant, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, before later having a spokesman disavow it. Poultry ordure doesn’t smell any worse than that.

But Obama is very careful to launch dirty attacks without getting any on his hands. The insults are anonymously sourced. The retaliation comes out of the bowels of the bureaucracy. And he only finds out about it from the media. That allows him to retain what he cares about most: his popularity.

Obama and his people like to think that their dishonesty is a superpower. They pat themselves on the back for stabbing everyone else in theirs. Sometimes their smugness over how well they use the media to lie and smear gets out of control. Like the time Obama’s Goebbels, Ben Rhodes, boasted to the New York Times about how easy it was to fool everyone about the deal to protect Iran’s nuclear program.

After Trump won, it was business as usual.

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Obama Admin Sabotaged Trump’s Transition To The White House

President Trump’s claims that the Obama administration sought to undermine his presidency received some support on Wednesday from a New York Times report on the Obama White House’s activities in the weeks before the inauguration.

According to The Times, Obama White House officials waged a campaign to procure, save and disperse classified intelligence regarding Trump associates’ contacts with Russians.

The campaign also involved curtailing the Trump team’s access to highly classified information and of lowering classification ratings on other information about the ongoing Russia investigation so that it could be more widely shared across the government.

According to The Times’ sources, the Obama officials waged the campaign out of fear that the Trump administration would cover up or destroy some of the information.

The campaign was multifaceted but was not directed by Obama himself, the Times sources claimed.

The wide-ranging report also includes some information that is not positive for Trump, including that federal investigators were given intelligence from foreign services that some Trump associates met with Russians in the Netherlands and Britain.

That detail adds new information to a report from The Times last month that U.S. investigators had evidence that some Trump campaign advisers communicated with Russian government officials before the election.

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