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Yesterday, shortly after 3 p.m., President Obama gave what some believe to be his most dishonest press conference to date. And by “some,” I mean me, since many in the media seem unable or unwilling to label what Obama is doing with the proper word: lying.
Sure, there’s some miscommunication, some misdirection, but lying? That’s extreme, go back to the blogosphere, they say. Well, I think it’s extreme to sit through a historic press conference like that without asking the President of the United States a single valid follow-up question to his statements on the NSA fallout.
Let’s look at Mr. Obama’s exact words from yesterday:
“Now, keep in mind that as a senator, I expressed a healthy skepticism about these programs. And as president, I’ve taken steps to make sure that they have strong oversight by all three branches of government and clear safeguards to prevent abuse and protect the rights of the American people.”
The first part of this is true: as a senator, Mr. Obama did express concerns about dragnet surveillance of US citizens, and in fact sold himself to the American people as the antidote to the Bush era’s anti-terrorism excesses.
The second part is unequivocally not true, or as a cable pundit might delicately put it, “misleading.”
The NSA’s vast, warrantless surveillance of American citizens with no connections to terrorism or national security investigations is not subject to “clear safeguards” from all three branches of government.
Last year, the secret FISA court approved 100 percent of the requests it received. If that sounds a bit like a North Korean courtroom, you are right.
Furthermore, as The Guardian reported yesterday, a “previously undisclosed rule change allows NSA operatives to hunt for individual Americans’ communications using their name or other identifying information.”
But here’s the thing: “The authority, approved in 2011, appears to contrast with repeated assurances from Barack Obama and senior intelligence officials to both Congress and the American public that the privacy of US citizens is protected from the NSA’s dragnet surveillance programs.”
That’s two years after Mr. Obama took office, so it is exceedingly hard to explain this away as a Bush-era legacy Obama hasn’t gotten around to tossing out yet.
And even the most loyal of Obama supporters must have squirmed in their seats yesterday when Obama promised to work with Congress in order to “pursue appropriate reforms to Section 215 of the Patriot Act.”
Read complete article via Obama’s lie-filled NSA presser | The Daily Caller.
A Tennessee newspaper editor who was fired for a headline critical of President Obama says his bosses bowed to pressure from the president’s supporters, claiming he wouldn’t have been canned if he had said the same of former President George W. Bush.
Drew Johnson’s editorial, titled “Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough,” went viral and drew national attention earlier this week when Obama visited the city.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial page editor was later ousted. The newspaper released a statement Thursday saying Johnson had been fired for “placing a headline on an editorial outside of normal editing procedures.”
But in an interview with Fox News, Johnson said that policy — requiring that last-minute changes to headlines be approved — was only implemented after they published his piece.
Johnson explained he was simply thinking of the “Take This Job and Shove It” song and thought it was an “apt title,” and used it to replace a “placeholder” headline. He said his criticism of the president’s jobs plans was in line with the views of many readers, but his bosses were dealing with complaints.
“(The editor) said that she was disappointed in the headline, that she thought it was crass and she’d gotten a lot of complaints by Obama supporters,” he said, recalling a meeting he had with the editor earlier in the week.
“Today I come into work and am told that I’m fired for violating that policy that wasn’t put in place until the day after I wrote the piece,” Johnson told Fox News on Thursday, calling it a “retroactive firing.”
Read complete article via Editor fired for anti-Obama headline says bosses responded to pressure | Fox News.
Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.
Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability.
The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.
An indication of just how extensive was the Justice Department leak investigations, it appears that even the New York Times was not immune from this administration’s mania to track down reporters who broke stories they didn’t like:
Even before the F.B.I. conducted 550 interviews of officials and seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters in a leak investigation connected to a 2012 article about a Yemen bomb plot, agents had sought the same reporters’ sources for two other articles about terrorism.
In a separate case last year, F.B.I. agents asked the White House, the Defense Department and intelligence agencies for phone and e-mail logs showing exchanges with a New York Times reporter writing about computer attacks on Iran. Agents grilled officials about their contacts with him, two people familiar with the investigation said.
And agents tracing the leak of a highly classified C.I.A. report on North Korea to a Fox News reporter pulled electronic archives showing which officials had gained access to the report and had contact with the reporter on the day of the leak.
The emerging details of these and other cases show just how wide a net the Obama administration has cast in its investigations into disclosures of government secrets, querying hundreds of officials across the federal government and even some of their foreign counterparts.
The result has been an unprecedented six prosecutions and many more inquiries using aggressive legal and technical tactics. A vast majority of those questioned were cleared of any leaking.
Question: How many times over the past four years have exploitative liberal journalists and Democratic leaders rushed to pin random acts of violence on the Tea Party, Republicans, Fox News, and conservative talk radio?
Answer: Nearly a dozen times, including the 2009 massacre of three Pittsburgh police officers (which lib journos falsely blamed on Fox News, Glenn Beck, and the “heated, apocalyptic rhetoric of the anti-Obama forces”); the 2009 suicide insurance scam/murder hoax of Kentucky census worker Bill Sparkman (which New York magazine falsely blamed on Rush Limbaugh, “conservative media personalities, websites and even members of Congress”); the 2009 Holocaust-museum shooting (which MSNBC commentator Joan Walsh blamed on Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and yours truly); the 2010 Times Square jihad bomb plot (which Mayor Michael Bloomberg falsely blamed on tea-party activists protesting Obamacare); and the 2011 Tucson massacre, which liberals continue to blame on former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Question: What will this rabid Blame Righty mob do now that an alleged triple-murderer has singled out prominent lefties in the media and Hollywood for fawning praise as part of his crazed manifesto advocating cop-killing?
Answer: Evade, deflect, ignore, and whitewash.
This week, former Los Angeles Police Department Officer Christopher Dorner allegedly shot and killed three innocent people in cold blood. He was the subject of a massive manhunt as of Thursday afternoon. Dorner posted an 11,000-word manifesto on Facebook that outlined his chilling plans to target police officers.
CNN headlined its story on the rant: “Alleged cop-killer details threats to LAPD and why he was driven to violence.” MSNBC reported: “Manifesto: Alleged Revenge Shooter Named Targets.” KTLA-TV in Los Angeles went with: “Christopher Dorner’s Manifesto (Disturbing Content and Language).”
There was a curious, blaring omission in both the headlines and the stories from these supposedly objective outlets, though. Dorner expressed rather pointed, explicit views of news personalities and celebrities who have influenced, entertained and uplifted him. Dorner praised stars from Ellen DeGeneres and Charlie Sheen (“you’re effin awesome”) to “Jennifer Beals, Serena Williams . . . Tamron Hall . . . Natalie Portman, Queen Latifah . . . Kelly Clarkson, Nora Jones, Laura Prepon, Margaret Cho and Rutina Wesley.”
The shout-outs to liberal journalists go on at length:
“Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough, Pat Harvey, Brian Williams, Soledad Obrien [sic], Wolf Blitzer, Meredith Viera [sic], Tavis Smiley and Anderson Cooper, keep up the great work and follow Cronkite’s lead,” Dorner cheered. “I hold many of you in the same regard as Tom Brokaw and the late Peter Jennings.”
This week, MSNBC “star” Chris Matthews made the following statement, clearly speaking out of frustration as he watched President Obama wilt under the scrutiny of the second presidential debates where he was challenged repeatedly by Republican Mitt Romney.
“I don’t think he understands the Constitution of the United States…He’s the president of the United States. You don’t say, ‘you’ll get your chance.’”
Chris Matthews was angry with Romney challenging the president on his record during the course of an election to unseat him.
Matthews should be angry about the president’s poor performance not with Romney’s tenaciousness in seeking the truth.
But here’s the truth, that Matthews hasn’t seemed to have learned: the respect you give is the respect you get. If the president wants respect than he better stop acting like a potentate and more like a president of the United States. Romney gave the president the respect he deserved at the debates and during the course of the election.
You would think Matthews would know what is in the Constitution and what is not.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it set forth that a president of the United States is above the people and cannot and should not be challenged. Is that not what a presidential election is all about – challenging an incumbent president on his record?
The Founding Fathers specifically limited the powers of the president and did not exempt a president from abiding by the laws of the land in the same manner and to the same extent as the average citizen.
America was founded because of our dissatisfaction with a monarchy run by kings and queens who were above the people. The problem is that Matthews thinks that not only he is above the people but President Obama should be as well.
The president of the United States in the Oath of Office swears to the following:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Prior to the debates mainstream media bigs could craft the coverage of the race as they saw it and in the manner they wanted to communicate it. The problem for them now is that they cannot tell the people what to think when they watched the debates themselves in real time and formed opinions without the need for explanation or editorializing. Their “power” over the people has been marginalized and the liberal media can’t stand it.
I have news for Matthews: there is no greater responsibility a president has than to preserve, protect and defend the Constitutional protection of a citizens’ freedom of speech — presidents are neither immune from it nor protected from it.
I suggest that someone needs to stuff Chris Matthews’ 2012 Christmas stocking with a copy of the US Constitution.
Bradley A. Blakeman is a Professor of Public Policy, Politics and International Affairs at Georgetown University. He also served as the president of Freedom’s Watch a right of center conservative advocacy 501 C4.