Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Is The Obama Administration Reviving "Snitch Central" Via The Nat'l Science Foundation?

At HotAir, Mary Katherine Ham alerts readers to a story in the Washington Free Beacon (WFB) about a coming "social media" web trawler and database funded by the National Science Foundation the purpose of which is to "detect" and/or track "false" information of a political nature on the social media pages of the web.

She quotes extensively from the story written by Elizabeth Harrington.  Here is the beginning of that WFB story:
The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.
The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.
The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”
The university has received $919,917 so far for the project.

Sounds to me like this may be a slightly less direct, but vastly more sinister version of the old “Snitch Central” that was launched back in August of ’09 by Obama’s first White House Director of Communications, the Mao-loving, Ms Anita Dunn.

Remember when she fronted former ABC operative and WH “eat-your-peas” scold, Linda Douglass, to be the Director of the White House’s Health Reform Office? Douglass promptly took to YouTube to signal Americans that they should feel free to start turning in (via email to the White House) anyone who was spreading disinformation about the healthcare reform monstrosity then wending it’s ugly way through Congress.

We wrote about it back at the time, here.

The post they actually put up on their WH website to encourage snitching on one’s friends and neighbors, was risibly entitled, “Facts Are Stubborn Things” quoting our second President.

It was more like shades of “The Whisperers” in the Stalin Era, and the possible reincarnation of Sheptun, that briefly, all too briefly, stirred D.C.

Yep. You know the old bromide, “You can’t make this stuff up?” Well, with the Obama Administration, they were proving that’s not necessary — they’ll eagerly make it up for you!

And just in case you’d forgotten what a ridiculous bunch of lousy liars they all were, and still are, below is a direct quote from that website, which is still posted to this day, by the way!

Even when they were caught red-handed in a “4 Pinocchios” whopper by no less a friendly outfit that the Washington Post, they still didn’t bother to go back and correct the record.

Again, check it out for yourself!
“For the record, the President has consistently said that if you like your insurance plan, your doctor, or both, you will be able to keep them.”
Yep, there it was and still is! Lie number one.

Now, of course, they’ve decided to turn the issue of identifying and “outing” truth or falsity over to the “National Science Foundation” via the creation of a political truth-detection database and web trawler, funded by the federal government?

Gee, what could possibly go wrong . . . to repeat another thoroughly modern bromide!

And, it kind of makes you wonder if the "truth detector" has as yet picked up on the White House blog . . . or if it ever would?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The "Goldilocks Principle" in Foreign Policy? Hillary's Organizing Principle Bared

Updated, 8/13, w/link to Atlantic interview

To some extent, this Dana Milbank column in the Washington Post (and the ensuing material in the comment thread) read a little like a Democrat family-feud version of trench warfare . . . a furious fusillade of factional fire, with little immediate effect, as long as you keep your head down.

There is nothing quite like an abject American foreign policy failure to precipitate an angry blame-game, no? Especially from those in your own political party.

Hillary Clinton thinks she now sees an opening to criticize her former boss, especially whilst Mr. Cool is out playing golf "as the world burns."

For his part Millbank, a few commenters wryly observed, seems to be making his expected loyalty shift over to she-who-would-be-queen.

Here are just two examples:
MrBoz 2:45 PM EST And Milbank begins his pivot to Hillary ... helping to separate her from this failed president.
SimpleCountryActuary 2:57 PM EST Apparently Milbank is making another installment in his contributions to Hillary's 2016 Presidential Campaign.
This intramural Democrat trench warfare being waged between Obama and his former Sec'y of State Clinton so early in his second term, makes you wonder how long it will be before someone seeking additional advantage opts to spray the functional political equivalent of gas in order to further skew the odds.

What seems unusual is that, for her part, Hillary is not even waiting for the anticipated outcome of the midterms to put distance between herself and Obama.

Or, perhaps she's trying to provide a "second platform" for Democrat senatorial candidates (and House members) to articulate -- on-the-line candidates who are trying desperately to survive the anticipated debacle come this fall?

Gosh, that sounds so Clintonian, doesn't it? Oh, wait . . .

Anyway, I suppose it's a rare occasion when one feels compelled (as I certainly do) to concede at least one debating point to President Obama, though certainly not any victory in the overall foreign policy scrum.  In that regard, they are both losers.

The amusing thing was that the debating point Obama did score in this sour little exchange, turned out to be "friendly fire" -- hitting both himself and his former Sec'y of State. For at least the second time in as many days, Obama sharply sought to rebuke critics who claimed he should have insisted on keeping a residual military presence in Iraq, via a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) back in 2011 when he instead chose to completely pull all U.S. Forces altogether.

He is grousing out loud now by sarcastically referencing mostly his Republican critics, calling them "folks who oftentimes are trying to defend previous policies that they themselves made." The problem is that his failure to obtain a SOFA was indeed at the heart of the serious foreign policy collapse that is now taking place in Iraq today.

 Ouch! That nasty Obama shot passed right through his own foot, en route to a direct hit on Hillary, though it was unquestionably aimed elsewhere. Touché , Mr. President! You got her!

For her part, Clinton is desperately trying to postulate a novel "Goldilocks principle" in American foreign affairs, as a "just right" response to the too hot Bush, and the too cold Obama formulations.

From Millbank's column (quoting from her interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic):
She applied a bit of Clintonian triangulation to the foreign policies of Obama and George W. Bush, suggesting that there’s a just-right medium between the too-hot Bush policy and the too-cold Obama approach. 
"I think part of the challenge is that our government too often has a tendency to swing between these extremes," she said. She later added: "You know, when you’re down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you’re not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward."
Of course, the risible fly in that ointment comes down to this:  For four long years she was the chief cook and bottle washer of the Obama foreign policy -- she was not just some lowly sous chef, or outside observer, in what she is now calling the too-cold Obama kitchen.

It was she who hired the top operatives, wrote the menu, and prepared and served up the foreign policy dishes, most of which failed rather miserably! Even she recently struggled to try to name one single foreign policy success when asked to do so in a friendly forum -- at the Women of the World, 2014 Summit back in early April of this year!  Two minutes later, and no accomplishments.

That rah rah mush answer she gave, just 4 short months ago, lauding the cooperative efforts between herself and her "partner" President Obama, now sounds downright duplicitous when compared with her recent nasty attack on an unattributed White House quip summing up the Obama Doctrine as, "Don't do stupid shit", alleging, as she said in response that: "Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle."

But thinking back to that partnership . . . the toppling in Egypt, and the subsequent reversal, active precipitation the fall of Libya, and the ensuing disaster in Benghazi, the reset with Russia . . . need we go on? These and others comprised a failed foreign policy during those years four years.

From the perspective of judging Hillary's performance as Sec'y of State, the logical point should be this:

If the White House was really calling the shots, and she disagreed at the time, where were her organizing principles in staying on and cheer leading? But if she agreed and/or guided that policy at the time, then where was her judgment?