The President and First Lady joke with the Vice President and Dr. Biden in the Blue Room of the White House before the National Governors Association Dinner.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
(Chips: Eric is one of my very, very, very, very favorite people on the Twitter machine, so I DM’ed him and said ‘Oi, you! Would you like to put together a post for TOD on your most memorable moments from 2013?’
If he’d any sense he’d have replied: ‘Go away, it’s holiday time, I’m chillin’, shoo’, but he didn’t, he said he’d love to. See? That’s why he’s Exceptional Excellent Eric.
I’m against hierarchies, so these are in no particular order, in spite of the placement.
The moment Barack Obama gave Congress back its testicles
Ah, remember when the Syrian drums of war were beating? When all the talk was about “red lines” and “consequences”? When the beltway media was sure, just sure, that the bombs would start flying soon and were ordering up snazzy new graphics? Fun times.
And then a weird thing happened. President Obama interrupted my Saturday morning Premier League football match (damn you, Obama!) and did something no president since Franklin Roosevelt had done. He averred that on his own he had the authority to strike against Syria for using chemical weapons against its civilian population; but then he pivoted, and gave the braying Congress what it said it wanted: a voice in the decision. There would be no strike against Syria unless approved by Congress. In one press conference, he moved to undo the Imperial Presidency, where presidents could send the legions anywhere by fiat.
Suddenly the cries were of “weak” and “Neville Chamberlain” and “leading from behind”. But, another funny thing happened: it worked. It spooked Vladimir “The Impaler” Putin enough to push legacy hire Bashar al-Assad to join him in a rousing rendition of “Uncle”. Syria joined the convention against chemical weapons. Inspectors went in. And in the new year, all of the regime’s chemical stockpiles will be destroyed. All because, as Ride or Die Joe would say, Obama waved his big stick. No trillions spent, no dead Americans, no new quagmire in the Middle East. And the sight of emoprog dudebros licking authoritarian Putin’s nethers served for signal entertainment and revealing psychology.
The spy who went into the cold
He’s one of Barbara Walter’s “Most Fascinating People of 2013”. He was short-listed for Time’s “Person of the Year”. (Instead the Marxist Pope won. More on that anon.) Bus ads thanking him have been taken on Washington D.C.’s Metro. He’s Edward “I spilled state secrets and all I got was exile in Moscow” Snowden!
The NSA revelations which have dripped out in a steady stream since the summer rank among the top ten political stories of 2013 if only because said revelations expose a rather dark seam of Obama Derangement Syndrome. I’m old enough to remember when US intelligence agencies were doing much worse under G.W. Bush—and doing it without writ of warrant or law—and the media, at first, ignored said malefactions. Eventually the crimes were covered, in the manner of pulling hen’s teeth, with the attitude that “Yes, we should have some safeguards, but it IS a dangerous world in which we live, remember.”
The same policies, now under firm legal strictures under Obama, were leaked by, well let’s not mince words, the spy Edward Snowden. Emotarian dudebros who routinely divulge the most secret of their personal information to multinational conglomerates in order to get the shiniest new toy were suddenly aghast that the government was doing much less in the name of, yes, securing the country in a world which is still every bit as dangerous as before Barack Obama took office in 2009. And as someone who’s worked with millions of metadata records in a past life, metadata will reveal that you called a phone sex line; it won’t reveal if your kink tends towards sheep love.
But, 0f course, the black president is an autocratic shredder of the Constitution eleventy billion times worse than Bush because Stop and Frisk now applies to libertarian dudebros. Except, of course, it doesn’t, as communications originating within the US aren’t monitored.
And grand poobah of all things emotarian Glenn Greenwald dialed his Obama hatred to 11, to the point where he became even more of a parody of himself. The likes of Charles Johnson of LGF and Bob Cesca and Joshua Foust had detailed refutations of Greenwald’s screeds within minutes of him posting them. But, beating up on Obama was good for Greenwald’s bottom line; he was able to parlay his outrage into securing a billionaire sugar daddy into funding his new project. Which leads one to wonder if all this wasn’t just some snowjob by Greenwald, using a dupe like Snowden, in order jump charge a career which had quite frankly stalled. I’m sure Snowden is wondering what he’s getting out of the deal as the winter freeze sets in Moscow and he struggles with Russian lessons.
It all started with an email invitation. My reaction after opening this message swung from excitement and serious tingling, to disbelief and suspicion. I could not imagine what I had done that was wonderful enough to earn an invitation to the White House for a party. Our team had an event every week, I faithfully listened to briefing calls from our state and national leaders, we had been involved in some innovative projects – but a holiday party at the White house was over the top.
I had fantasized about meeting the President, when he was in the SF area, shaking his hand, mumbling something coherent and trying not to pass out. Going to Washington DC, being able to attend an event at the White House with the President and Mrs. Obama was way beyond anything I had ever imagined.
Then that dark voice that lives in my head began to emerge. I kept looking at the part of the invitation that asked for my social security number and date of birth. Was this just a clever scheme to steal my identity? Drats… I called the number on the invitation but it was an answering machine. I wrote to my Regional Field Organizer asking her if she knew anything about it – Nope. I wrote to another volunteer asking if she had received an invitation, Nada…