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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Maureen Dowd, "Donald Trump or Paul Ryan: Who’s King of the Hill?": The End

"This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes, again"

- "The End," The Doors (1967)

Yes, America's press corps has been duped by Obama. Again. This time involving his unsigned nuclear deal with Iran.

But it should come as no surprise ...

Back in 2009, Obama advisor Anita (Mao is one of "my favorite political philosophers") Dunn explained Obama’s media tactics during the 2008 election:

"One of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe [Obama’s chief campaign manager] videos was not just for our supporters, but also because it was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters. We just put that out there and made them write what Plouffe had said as opposed to Plouffe doing an interview with a reporter. So it was very much we controlled it as opposed to the press controlled it. . . . very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn’t absolutely control."

Ah yes, nothing better than absolute control ...

This weekend we are learning of the shenanigans of top Obama advisor Ben Rhodes, who is quoted by David Samuels in a New York Time Magazine article entitled "The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru" as saying:

"All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus. Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing."

Got it: American reporters are for the most part a bunch of simpletons. Rhodes got that right.

Samuels continues:

"In this environment, Rhodes has become adept at ventriloquizing many people at once. Ned Price, Rhodes’s assistant, gave me a primer on how it’s done. The easiest way for the White House to shape the news, he explained, is from the briefing podiums, each of which has its own dedicated press corps. 'But then there are sort of these force multipliers,' he said, adding, 'We have our compadres, I will reach out to a couple people, and you know I wouldn’t want to name them — '"

"Compadres"? What Price really meant were the ventriloquist's dummies.

More specifically, regarding the Iran nuclear deal, Samuels writes:

"In the narrative that Rhodes shaped, the 'story' of the Iran deal began in 2013, when a 'moderate' faction inside the Iranian regime led by Hassan Rouhani beat regime “hard-liners” in an election and then began to pursue a policy of 'openness,' which included a newfound willingness to negotiate the dismantling of its illicit nuclear-weapons program. The president set out the timeline himself in his speech announcing the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015: 'Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not.' While the president’s statement was technically accurate — there had in fact been two years of formal negotiations leading up to the signing of the J.C.P.O.A. — it was also actively misleading, because the most meaningful part of the negotiations with Iran had begun in mid-2012, many months before Rouhani and the 'moderate' camp were chosen in an election among candidates handpicked by Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The idea that there was a new reality in Iran was politically useful to the Obama administration. By obtaining broad public currency for the thought that there was a significant split in the regime, and that the administration was reaching out to moderate-minded Iranians who wanted peaceful relations with their neighbors and with America, Obama was able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that his administration was making. By eliminating the fuss about Iran’s nuclear program, the administration hoped to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries, which would create the space for America to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. With one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of a large-scale disengagement from the Middle East."

Or stated otherwise, Obama's ends justify Obama's means. Ugh.

And then there was Samuel's revelation concerning Obama's actual readiness to stop Iran from manufacturing its first atomic bomb:

"'As secretary of defense, [Leon Panetta] tells me, one of his most important jobs was keeping Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, from launching a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. 'They were both interested in the answer to the question, ‘Is the president serious?’ ' Panetta recalls. 'And you know my view, talking with the president, was: If brought to the point where we had evidence that they’re developing an atomic weapon, I think the president is serious that he is not going to allow that to happen.'

Panetta stops.

'But would you make that same assessment now?' I ask him.

'Would I make that same assessment now?' he asks. 'Probably not.'"

Yes, Israel was also deceived by the Obama administration. Obama has "Israel's back"? I don't think so. In fact, Obama was actually hoping to have Netanyahu by the short and curlies.

All of which brings me to Maureen Dowd's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Donald Trump or Paul Ryan: Who’s King of the Hill?," in which she sardonically writes of an imaginary meeting between the two men.

Trump? Who gives a damn? The man will probably set a record for the most four-Pinocchio falsehoods in Washington Post history by election day and will be roadkill on November 8. The joke is on us.

Darling Barack Obama on the other hand? We can now add "Reformist Rouhani/Khard-Line Khamenei" to "It was the video" and "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." Maybe Trump has surpassed Obama in quantity, but the "quality" of Obama's fabrications leaves the Donald in the dust.

Hillary's skill at lying? Bosnia, Benghazi, her home server, and "we came out of the White House dead broke." The woman's a legend!

A third party candidate? Please, God! Maybe William Kristol, bless his soul, would care to touch base with Leon Panetta.



  1. did Ben Rhodes spin Jeffrey Goldberg?

    "The Wizard of Oz" has a happy ending...but that is fiction...

  2. Jeffrey Goldberg pushes back at David Samuels and the NYT:

    [meanwhile, Iran tests another ballistic missile whilst America re-plays, over and over, "Who's on First"

  3. Jeff, as my favorite critic of the 'The Newspaper of reecord', I thought you would appreciate this correction printed in yesterday's NY Times (May 10, 2016):

    "Because of an editing error, an article on Monday about a theological battle being fought by Muslim imams and scholars in the West against the Islamic State misstated the Snapchat handle used by Suhaib Webb, one of the Muslim leaders speaking out. It is imamsuhaibwebb, not Pimpin4Paradise786."