What we can really learn from attempts to attack the President

By Christopher Cudworth


Obama to Lincoln: “It’s a lot harder being President these days. People can’t be civil.”

So much of history depends on chance. Recently a man named Omar Gonzalez jumped the White House fence and entered the building. He was armed, but not with guns. The Las Vegas Review–– a media company based in the gambling mecca––carried the story online:

“President Barack Obama and his daughters had just left the White House by helicopter on Friday evening when the Secret Service says 42-year-old Omar J. Gonzalez scaled the fence, darting across the lawn and through the unlocked North Portico doors before officers finally tackled him.”

It’s only speculation to wonder what might have happened had Obama been home to encounter an intruder carrying a knife. Surely the fit and adroit President would not just have stood there and waited for an attack. They must train the President to protect himself in some ways? Yet even if the Secret Service does not provide such training, good old gut instincts would take over for Obama, a man young enough to stay fit playing sports on a regular (but not excessive) basis.

Suppose the intruder had stumbled onto Obama working at his desk. The two might have scuffled and knife or not, Obama likely could have overpowered the man eventually. There might have been blood spilled and shouts, whereupon the Secret Service would finally arrive and the intruder would indeed have been subdued.

If such personal heroics  had ensued, what would the reaction of the media have been? We might recall the coverage given to the incident in which George W. Bush reportedly gagged on a chunk of dry pretzel. The President almost succumbed to a salty snack. It made the headlines for sure.

But a President fighting off an intruder by his own power? That would have made major headlines. And had there been video released by the White House that showed the President in action saving his own life, such footage would go viral. Experts would scrutinize its verity. Ultimately someone would accuse the President of wagging the dog, trying to shore up his reputation as a tough guy in the latter stages of his presidency.

IMG_8609The conspiracy theories would have dominated coverage by Fox News especially. Already during Obama’s presidency the news network has demonstrated a major propensity to lead with specious questions about Benghazi and complaints about whether Obama actually deserved any credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden.

It is a unique point in American history when news media wielding the power and scope of Fox News invest so much time and effort digging into such non-stories, and presenting speculation as fact while simultaneously giving so much time and support to people whose ideologies serve as “real news” and “fair and balanced” ideas about issues such as global climate change or teaching religion public school classrooms.

Such topsy turvy “reporting” has created a climate in which it is suitable for even a Supreme Court Justice such as Antonin Scalia to spout the opinion (and it is his own) that the United States Constitution serves the purpose of religion over the rights of all others.

That’s where all this is going, and it has poisoned the flow of reason in public discourse. So much so that had an intruder reached President Obama, and had he fought for himself in the face of Secret Service failures, no one would have believed the event. Not completely.

PaversIt may be that the game is played both ways. As a result of so much falseness in the media, there is no doubt that Presidents long ago learned to play the media game to the point where Americans cannot really trust what anyone, not even the President, has to say about anything.

We’ve never gotten the full truth even about the Kennedy assassination back in 1963. Recent releases from the Kennedy library reveal that Jackie Kennedy Onassis believed the then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson had motive to kill her husband and assume the Presidency.

That was Democrat vs. Democrat. Or was it really? Could a man with such bully motives and methods as LBJ truly be grouped with any particular political party? There were so many interests that wanted JFK dead it was truly no one man that did it. The mob or the CIA certainly had their reasons to participate (cooperate?) in such actions.

But that remains speculation until that day the one line of evidence is revealed that points a finger at the exact incident or moment where the motives and actions are revealed.

That’s why Fox News can get away with what it does these days. Because lacking hard evidence that such conspiracies actually do have consequence, and without proof that both liberal and conservative causes have the audacity to ignore reason and law in pursuit of power, the rest of us are left guessing about the truth.

Even our fullest sources of truth such as the Bible are subject to gross speculations and wild interpretations. Some of these are anachronistic in their literalism while others engage in flat-out denials of modern knowledge to the point of insincerity. Yet some 30% of Americans still believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible and millions fall prey to ridiculous theories about the Rapture that the Bible itself clearly debunks as sinful and stupid to abide.

News outlets such as Fox know they can exploit and manipulate such naive and cynical, angry and feckless minds to their own advantage. It has occurred to such a degree that half the Fox audience would have questioned the verity of any report of a President defending himself while the other half might have welcomed a different, less positive outcome.

FlagWaiverHave you any doubt this is true, simply visit the websites where Obama-haters regularly reside. Try the Tea Party News Network for starters, whose very headlines contain a leading bias in many cases. Then witness the barely disguised racism in the commentary on those stories, and absorb the hatred for our current President. It would obviously not take much for a person driven by the hatred apparent in such places to take up arms and make a charge for the White House on his or her own.

Ask Gabby Giffords about how anger-driven violence can enter your life, changing it forever. And consider how other politicians fail to act even when challenged again and again by violent forces to legislate change in our nation.

What we can really learn from recent attempts to attack the President is that its hard to believe how far we’ve come from that day in 1963 when the nation and the world stood in shock at news that Kennedy had been assassinated. Those were not more innocent times, we all now know. Instead what we know now is that corrupt influences have become more bold and adept at the lies they are willing to tell and the acts they are willing to perpetrate in order to gain and maintain power.

Sometimes it only takes one man and one “lucky” shot at murder to change history. Abraham Lincoln fell to such a shooter, but it was an uncivil society that gave birth to his motives and the courage to act.

Because it is never just one man and one gun who does the killing. It is all of us, and how we abide by truth or accept something far less as fact. That’s the lesson we have long failed to learn.

On why conservatives like Michael Medved like to call liberals “unhappy”

Does this man look happy, or just dumb?

For those of you unfamiliar with that grandiose milquetoast of conservative talk radio, Michael Medved is the part-time movie reviewer and full time political critic (or is it the other way around?) who talks his way daily through a confused ideology that says America is great while criticizing nearly everything about it.

Medved consistently espouses the tortured philosophy that religious interests in America, particularly those of the Christian faith, are under regular persecution. He also consistently contends that no policy with liberal roots is sufficient to serve the interests of America, even when those policies have been proven to have delivered the greatest periods of prosperity in America.

Simply put, Medved thinks conservatives are smart and politically keen while he thinks liberals are stupid and self-delusional.

To emphasize these points, Mr. Medved recently also stated that conservative people are consistently and legitimately more happy people than liberals, whom he branded as hateful and unhappy due to their constant dissatisfaction with the state of political, social and cultural “norms” in America.

Legitimate reasons to be unhappy

Poor Michael never seems to grasp the fact that advocating and agitating for social justice requires a bit of dissatisfaction on the part of people who stand up for the rights of others. Perhaps the reason for this major gap in his understanding is that Michael Medved himself appears never to allow a single liberal who calls into his show the opportunity to finish a sentence. He always interrupts them when he thinks it convenient (or vital) to protecting his own fragile worldview, which is pretty much based on one thought: that you, being a liberal, are always wrong.

Or, when he does (rarely) allow someone to talk, it is only in the interest of gathering what he thinks is fodder for ensuingly intricate explanations of what he thinks they meant, but in a very critical context, so that he can turn around and advocate a position that turns out to be a strange caricature of the caller’s actual intent. Then he tears that straw dog apart after bumping them off the phone. This is what Medved considers fair journalism in America, but it is much more like listening to reruns of the Don Quixote Hour.

Poor baby. Michael hates unhappiness.

Recently Medved grew so frustrated at his own ability to make a point that might actually stick in the minds of Americans he resorted to preaching a broader concept to make his point about conservative superiority. To do so, he simply blamed liberals for being the unhappiest of Americans.

That really is ironic, if you think about it. Because that form of unhappiness is often the sign of real patriotism in defense of the Constitution and human rights. Meanwhile blind allegiance to discriminatory social norms has been responsible for support of slavery, preventing the right of women to vote and fostered ongoing prejudice throughout society.Those are the definitely issues to be angry or unhappy about, and liberals still fight for all those causes, along with gay and immigrant rights, equal pay for women and balanced foreign policy instead of American imperialism.

By contrast you find an angry bunch of people in the Tea Party who are primarily unhappy over political issues that affect their own interests, which are pretty selfish in many cases while also siding with the Bomb the Muslim Bastards side of international policy. That’s how we wound up with two unbudgeted wars that bankrupted the country.

If Republicans really are “happier” people, as Medved contends–and liberals truly are the so-called “unhappy” segment of society, then perhaps it’s time to consider some lyrics from a Kurt Cobain song that seem to apply to why conservatives tend to be so happy even when things have gotten desperate beyond belief at times:

“Maybe I’m dumb…maybe just happy…”

Because while the GOP and Tea Party continually express anger and outrage over the policies of Barack Obama, liberals have busied themselves trying to make sure America provides a fair playing field for all citizens in aspects of taxation, health care, education, care for the poor and elderly. Those are indeed happy objectives, but they seem to do nothing but piss conservatives off.

Truth be told, it seems that conservatives really represent a dumb and unhappy agenda for America. Because right now America has a middle class that has been gutted by the effects of years of Republican policies in which the so-called “jobs creators” and richest Americans have been swimming in tax breaks for 12 years while the middle class waits for some of that accumulated wealth to trickle down in the form of better jobs and wages. It hasn’t happened, and rational people have come to the conclusion that it never will. The rich are simply too interested in holding onto their own money to care if the rest of America is thriving. Never mind that Americans can no longer sustain their own economy because no one has disposable income. The conservative mantra of “I’ve got mine” is supposed to represent the “bootstrap” glory of free enterprise. In fact it more often represents collusion by Wall Street bankers, predatory lenders and Ponzi flippers like Mitt Romney who exploit laws and loopholes to suck wealth out of the nation and hide it overseas.

Blaming Obama = Ignoring their own failures, and trying to elect new ones

But Michael Medved and his ilk like to keep blaming liberals for the sorry state of the economy. They especially like to blame President Barack Obama, whose name Medved can hardly breathe without spitting it out like an invective. But one wonders why, if Obama is so bad, the best that Republicans could contrive is the ambitious yetnvacuous persona of Mitt Romney, who can’t say two words without contradicting himself? The answer is simple: Obama really has done a good job, and Republicans have absolutely no one who could do better.

Think about it: Does anyone seriously think Romney is a wiser, more thoughtful and controlled person than Barack Obama? Whenever Romney is pressed with a hard question, he hides behind statements like these, “I always consult my wife Anne on the tough issues.” But who’s running for President, Mitt? And the first opportunity Romney had to travel overseas he could think of nothing better to do than insult the London Olympics organizers. Nice diplomacy, Mitt. And we’re supposed to trust you on wars, terrorism and economics? We think not.

Sure, Romney seems happy enough. He’s rich as hell. But the fact is he got there by raping companies of their wealth and dumping jobs like coal slag on a West Virginia mountain. Still, conservative talkers have to support Romney for the sole reason that he’s the opposite of Obama. That’s all they’ve got. But it’s like hauling a birch tree into the house on Christmas Eve and saying, “Well, at least it’s white!” Of course a birch tree will appeal to the Republican base, it seems.

Mitt Romney symbolizes modern conservatism exactly, because even he doesn’t really believe in it. That’s why his campaign made the famous “Etch-a-Sketch” statement. No one really believes in conservatism in its modern form because there’s nothing left of the core traditions that once drove the party. It’s all been replaced by extreme policies that have failed over and over again. The conservative “movement” has been in turn propped up by alliances with anachronistic forms of religious belief that no sane moral person supports if they are familiar with even basic modern biblical scholarship. The extreme crap filtering out about rape and contraceptives through the seams of the Republican Party is what really drives the platform, but they can’t admit it or they’ll never get elected.

It almost doesn’t matter any more what really gets said, because the entire package is propagandized as a brand of political fervor, more media-driven (Fox News) than politically substantive. We really need to look at so-called modern conservatism as a form of pathological disease that eats away at society like a flesh-eating bacteria. But there may be no cure.

Because despite its flagrant flaws, Medved and the like will play along using word games to make conservatism at least look pretty on the face of things, so that it sounds like the trailer to a really good movie––another Medved specialty––but don’t trust him in that category either. He’ll go on giving liberals “unhappy people” reviews because it assuages his guilt over having to represent the interests of a party whose script really sucks. There’s not even rational dialogue there any more, like it was typed by a million monkeys hitting random keys. The GOP is officially D-Listed with smarmy characters like Reince Priebus playing lead roles. It’s B-Movie stuff that all started with the King bad actor Ronald Reagan and has forwarded some really awful actors ever since, including George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, neither of whom even qualified for the Nickelodean Slime Award in popularity.

Sticks and stones

Go ahead and call the liberals “unhappy,” Michael Medved. Because the more you do, the more you’ll illustrate why we actually should be unhappy with what the unholy trio of the Republican Party, the conservative religious right in America and the military/industrial complex all represent: the seemingly happy but really dumb side of America that will vote for anyone who says they’re on your side even when talking out both sides of their mouth.

Just watch Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. They are happy but dumb people who want you to be happy and dumb right along with them. But do not complain if they are elected an things really go to shit like they did in 2008. That’s when the other happy but dumb president George W. Bush flailed around trying to save America from a Depression. Meanwhile, millions of Republicans scrambled like rats trying to figure out how they were going to blame the incoming President for the mess they’d created. You’ve been warned. The unhappy liberals have America’s best interests in mind. The supposedly happy Republicans have their own interests in mind.

“Maybe I’m dumb…maybe just happy…”

How it all washes out

Men like Michael Medved have it all wrong, you see. They think we liberals are dumb. But really, we’re legitimately unhappy. And we won’t be happy until all the dumb Republicans with their phony smiling faces and vapid promise of trickle-down wealth are either removed or prevented from holding power.

Then we liberals will all be happier people, and all the smarter for it.