The combination of Trump, Obama and the media insured that this week's story would be the birth certificate issue. Even though there isn't much of a story there. The birth certificate has been part of the much larger underlying issue which is the lack of transparency by the Obama Administration in even the simplest things. And that may not be a resolvable issue anymore.
It's not just that Obama has lied too many times. Most politicians lie or stretch the truth or hold back information. The problem is that the media and too many institutions have been willing to lie for him. Take a simple story like Obama Sr's time at Harvard.
The Arizona Independent filed a Freedom of Information Request and turned up INS records that showed Harvard thought Obama Sr was a "slippery character" and wanted him gone. But Harvard today claims their records don't support any such thing. So whom are you going to believe, period government records or the spokesman for Harvard University?
This problem repeats itself over and over again. Not only do negative stories on Obama's background not get reported, but people in high positions continue to cover for him. The contents of Sarah Palin's personal email account were sprawled over the internet-- but the LA Times won't release Obama's Rashid Khalidi tape. Yet is there a single person who honestly believes that if the Khalidi tape starred McCain, that it wouldn't have been out there and on Page 1 of every major newspaper? Or if John McCain had attended a violently racist church or Cindy McCain had a photo op with David Duke's wife that these wouldn't have equally been Page 1 stories?
The perfect storm of Obama's stonewalling and an establishment willing to cover up and lie for him, means that people legitimately distrust anything that comes out of his mouth or the media. In such an environment, a culture of conspiracy theories may be wrong, but not irrational. And it also means that there's no real way to prove or disprove anything anymore.
Is it irrational to believe that the media would like to us about major documents that are a factor in a presidential race? It should be. But in the 2004 election, the highest profile news program around presented a document indicting Bush for draft dodging that turned out to have been written in Microsoft Word.
Media talking heads complain that the internet has proliferated conspiracy theories so that there is no longer a consensus on what's true and what isn't. But who do you blame for that, except a media which has been willing to sell lies in order to achieve political victories. This is no longer just about the big lies, like Walter Duranty insisting that Soviet Russia was a happy worker's utopia, it's even about the most ordinary things. Like a birth certificate. The liberal establishment has completely discredited itself. And with liberal ideologues controlling most of the media, a rational consensus can no longer hold up.
A consensus only works if we agree on some things. We can disagree on taxes and stop signs. But we don't disagree that blatant lies are wrong and that politicians from all parties should be equally subject to scrutiny. Except we don't agree on that anymore. Instead we agree that you'll lie like crazy and we won't believe a word that comes out of your mouths. What's truth? Nobody knows anymore.
What is really disturbing about the birth certificate issue is that Obama never took it seriously as an obligation. Instead he threw it out to counter an opposing candidate who was rising in the polls. And the media narrative is that this is a shameful\triumphant event that humiliates\uplifts Obama. No it doesn't make any sense. But when you lie all the time, you stop noticing when your news reports follow contradictory, but useful narratives.
Obama has become an event horizon beyond which truth no longer seems to exist anymore. The birth certificate release no longer has any real meaning. It's always possible to find more 'questions' to ask about it. There's no objective way to finalize the issue, because the consensus has broken down.
The left's unprecedented corruption of government and the media which could have played a watchdog role, means that those institutions can no longer serve as watchdogs, only propagandists.
When you can no longer trust institutions, then you either drink the kool aid or refuse to drink anything at all. The question isn't are they lying, it's how much are they lying. And when you're dealing with that kind of framework, to 'trust' you have to argue that they would lie X amount, but not Y amount. Because lying Y amount would be just crazy. Right?
The left is free to believe that asking for Obama's birth certificate is racist. And plenty on the right will believe that the birth certificate is fake. The Racists vs Liars debate of narratives has been going on for a while now and it transcends the birth certificate. It's the larger story here. The zero sum struggle. And it's only going to get uglier.
Are we in a recovery or an economic disaster? If you believe the liars, we're in a recovery. And the only people denying it hate socialism, which as we all know is code, for race. Is Global Warming a serious problem? The liars say yes and that anyone who disagree is a racist who hates the Third World countries that are suffering from GW. Is ObamaCare... well you get the drill. Ground Zero Mosque, yep. Big government. You know it.
If you agree with Obama, you're a liar. And if you disagree with him, you're a racist. It's useless to conduct a political debate under these conditions.
This level of divisiveness is less about Obama, and more about the way the left has used institutions under its control to promote him and silence his critics. And there's a price to pay for that. Constant propaganda works. And it doesn't. You end up with two types of people. One type who believes everything the authorities say. The other who wouldn't believe them if they said the sun was shining.
The media was meant to be a forum, instead it's become a propaganda megaphone. And the alternative is a crowdsourced media. Which is exactly what we have on the internet. Crowdsourced media means more mistakes, but it still beats a one note media apparatus which spends all day blaring OBAMA IS GREAT LOOK HOW GREAT OBAMA IS ISN'T HE GREAT THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE HIM ARE RACISTS. Of course conspiracy theories flourish in such an environment. How could they not. And how do you disprove them when is no longer a consensus on much of anything anymore.
The media talking heads like to solemnly blame the internet for this chain of events, but the internet is an outlet. It's their lies that have gotten us here.
But let's turn to Trump for the moment...
Obama and Trump are now feeding off each other in a successful political relationship. Establishment Republicans are infuriated that Trump continues to drive the narrative. Grass roots enjoy someone landing a few populist punches on the big zero. If the establishment outlets work hard enough, they may convince the grass roots to pull back. Or it may backfire on them.
Trump polls badly in a national election, no matter how well he polls in GOP primaries. Which means he's not a viable candidate. Not unless he can change that soon. But in light of Walter Russell Meade pegging Obama as the bet hedger, Trump is the gambler. Or at least appears that way.
But Trump's biggest advantage is the lack of viable candidates in the field. Go and look around. There are few conservative bloggers or writers who are really 100 percent enthusiastic about any candidate. Instead you'll see smears of one candidate or another percolating.
Romney is a liberal. Huckabee is a slimeball. Gingrich is a lobbyist (whether or not we should have ethanol subsidies, they're certainly cheaper than fighting three wars fueled by oil money.) On and on. Is it any wonder that few are paying attention to Trump being labeled a "carnival barker" (the barkers object by the way). We have a large group of not very likable candidates tearing each other down. They front runners are all establishment candidates, all more liberal than their grass roots and all dull. If things go on this way. Then we will lose.
Trump's entry, whether he's serious about running or not, is shaking up the race. And that's a good thing. This race needs shaking up, before we stumble through a series of dull primaries, in which the front runner with the most money and the least objectionable personality makes it through the gate.
Let's remember that the Republicans didn't turn the tide by being nice, but by being loud and in your face. I'm not suggesting that Romney or Pawlenty get up and start cursing, but some populism wouldn't hurt. It might even make them a little popular beyond the people bussed in to support them.
Obama's message is... well he doesn't really have one anymore. Trump's message is, I'm going to make America great again with common sense smackdowns. What's the message of the Republican front runners? Boiled down, it's "We're the adults in the room, so let us clean up this mess." It's a serious message. But not a very exciting one.
Right now no one looks good. And we're wasting time. Trump has been an unexpected splash of cold water. A warning to the front runners to step up their game. It's not really about the viability of Trump as a candidate, but the viability of his approach.
The Cult of Global Warming is blaming tornadoes on global warming and Think Progress is ghoulishly claiming that the states which were hardest hit are to blame for not endorsing global warming.
As we all know tornadoes were invented in the time of Al Gore and severe storms did not exist prior to Time Magazine covers on the environment. Which fits since the deadliest tornado ever killed 1,300 people in Bangladesh in 1986. It is unknown whether the dead paid homage to the Global Warming fairy or not.
After the Jerusalem bus bombing by Muslim terrorists, Think Progress attacked AIPAC for sending out a fundraising email mentioning the attack calling it crass and saying, "It’s disgraceful that AIPAC’s first response to this tragedy is to try and monetize it."
And now Think Progress' first response to the tragedy is to exploit it by attacking the states hardest hit by a natural disaster. Crass? Nah. Progressive. That's more like it.
Speaking of Israel, Fatah and Hamas have kissed and made up for now. Is Israel supposed to negotiate with an entity that refuses to recognize it and calls for its destruction? Probably. This may be a case of Hamas saving Israel from itself by aborting whatever concessions Netanyahu was going to propose. But Abbas and Obama and the EU will still try to have their cake and eat it too. Even Peres knows this is crazy. But these days Peres looks less crazy than his European counterparts.
Of course the diplos and the media are thrilled to death by the whole thing. Hamas is saying no more peace talks. Fatah is saying maybe more peace talks will happen. So the unity thing is off to a great start.
Ma'an, the PA's own paper, calls the agreement a new revolution. But against whom?
The Christian Science Monitor says that the agreement is the result of the Arab Spring and those imaginary Hamas moderates who can dance infinitely on the head of a pin. The entire piece written by the Monitor's editorial board is such a piece of deranged kool aid snorting lunacy that it's almost impossible to read through without laughing.
What will Arabs demanding liberty eventually do with the liberty-denying Islamists in their countries?
Arabs aren't demanding liberty, they're demanding populism. Which is not the same thing. At all.
In postrevolution Egypt, for example, leaders are trying to work with any democracy-loving member of the Muslim Brotherhood they can trust.
Liberty-denying, democracy-loving? This reads like bad Maureen Dowd. What leaders are these anyway? Egypt's political future is dominated by insiders like Moussa and the Brotherhood. Not the Twitter activists.
On top of that democracy and liberty are not necessarily the same thing. Not in a country where most don't believe Christians should have equal rights.
But then there is Hamas.
The extremist Palestinian Muslim group has ruled the tiny Gaza Strip with an iron fist since 2007. It still often rains rockets down on Israeli civilians, earning it a US label as a terrorist group.
Those "extremists" won an election which means they have the support of the majority of Palestinian Arab Muslims.
Egypt, which allows the only border access for Gazans, has clearly chosen democracy. Syria, which supports Hamas by providing exile to some leaders, appears on the verge of revolution.
Egypt has chosen the Muslim Brotherhood, which is Hamas' daddy. Syria has yet to be overthrown. But Hamas' real backers are in Iran and Saudi Arabia anyway. Neither of which seem to be going anywhere.
This public pressure helps explain the surprise deal reached Wednesday by Hamas and Fatah. The tentative reconciliation pact, brokered by Egypt and scheduled to be formally signed May 4, aims to set up an interim government of independent technocrats that would hold presidential and parliamentary elections by the end of the year.
Actually what explains it is that the PA wants to unilaterally declare a state.
If the accord holds – and that’s a big if, given the failure of two similar deals since 2007 – it might allow Palestinians to again speak as one.
The Monitor's editors are clearly aware that unity agreements are not a new phenomenon, yet they insist on pretending that this one sprung from the head of the mythical deity known as the Arab Spring.
But for Abbas, an alliance with a Hamas that still doesn’t renounce violence and doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist would probably result in the United States cutting off millions in foreign aid and retaliatory moves by Israel.
Why would it when Abbas hasn't renounced violence either and US money already goes to terrorists who murder Israelis? Remind me when Barghouti, the favorite of two administrations, renounced violence.
His only hope is that the moderates within Hamas – sensitive to young Palestinians yearning for unity, freedom, and jobs – gain the upper hand against hard-line extremists. Otherwise, Palestinian unity will be elusive.
This reads like it was written in candy syrup. Hamas has no moderates in the sense that they want peace. There are tactical differences and those are marginal. And no one in Hamas wants freedom in the Western sense.
Obama has kept an open hand to Islamists in many conflicts, hoping to turn them away from anti-democratic jihadism. He’s not ruled out talks with Taliban factions in Afghanistan. He tried but failed to hold talks with Iran. And he’s still sorting out which detainees at Guantánamo should be tried and which can be rehabilitated.
In that sort of open-mindedness, he is not like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who prefers a divided Palestinian people in order to keep them weak.
Right. Because Israel should endorse 'unity' with a genocidal terrorist organization whose charter reads like Mein Kampf.
Is Hamas capable of reform? The uprisings for democracy in the Middle East remain a powerful force against Islamists like the leaders of Hamas.
Huh? The uprisings have actually empowered the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamists in Tunisia and Libya.
And Hamas cannot really stand in the way of an independent Palestine being accepted by the United Nations.
It doesn't need to. It just needs to wait till it gains international recognition and then take it over.
Rowan Dean at the Australian has a better solution
Here's my plan. We get each of the main players to do a proper ad campaign, selling the benefits of living in their countries to each other. Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinians - Hamas and Fatah will have to do separate campaigns - Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Oman, Iraq, Kuwait and, of course, Israel will all take part. I bags working on the Israel account.
Here's how it works. Every country runs a series of full-page print ads, backed up by television commercials, radio spots, websites and letter drops - in other words, a fully integrated campaign - throughout the Middle East. The point of the ad campaigns is to get people to fill in the coupon at the bottom of the page or, if they want, to apply online to come and live in whichever country they choose, based solely on the ads.
Anyone can live in any country they want to, but they can pick only one destination and there is no changing your mind. Once you've chosen, that's it. That's your new life.
Let's go for it.
Meanwhile Egypt will open the Rafah crossing, which means that any attempt to block Hamas has all but failed. On the flip side that means Hamas becomes Egypt's problem. The attack on the gas line appears to have come from Fatah or Hamas terrorists. Israel now has every right to sever all connections with Gaza and treat it like the Egyptian province it was from 1948 to 1967. If Egypt wants to buddy up with Hamas, then it had better be ready to take ownership of it too.
Finally some Reform Jews are standing up to the selection of left wing extremist Rick Jacobs to head the Reform movement. The anti-Israel left has made far too many organizational inroads in the last decade. It's important for members of Reform congregations to make their voices heard on this issue.
If Reform elects a leader who supports boycotts and hate campaigns against the Jewish state, then there will be a fundamental breach. It's no different than the NAACP selecting a Klansman to lead them. The fix is no doubt in, but enough voices raised in protest may still be able to make a difference.