Dhimmitude: Un tas de fanatiques qui tirent au hasard dans un tas de gens dans une épicerie à Paris (Wrong place, wrong time: Paris shooter ‘randomly’ selected deli and targets, Obama)

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https://i0.wp.com/prophecytracker.org/wp/uploads/2013/09/president-obama-bows-to-saudi-king-abdullah-and-receives-saudi-medal-of-honor.jpgQuatre Saoudiens condamnés à mort pour meurtre et vol et un Pakistanais jugé pour trafic de drogue ont été décapités jeudi en Arabie saoudite, portant à 26 le nombre de personnes exécutées dans ce royaume ultraconservateur depuis le début de l’année. (…) Viol, meurtre, apostasie, vol à main armée et trafic de drogue sont passibles de la peine capitale en Arabie saoudite, royaume régi par une version rigoriste de la charia, la loi islamique. Peine de mort.org (5 février 2015)
Nous tentons d’éviter de décrire quelqu’un comme un terroriste, ou un geste comme étant terroriste. (…) Les Nations unies ont tenté pendant une décennie de définir ce mot, sans y parvenir. C’est très délicat. Nous savons ce qu’est la violence politique, nous savons ce que sont les meurtres, les attentats et les fusillades et nous pouvons les décrire. Et cela explique bien plus de choses, à nos yeux, qu’utiliser le mot ‘terrorisme’. » Tarik Kafala (service arabophone de la BBC)
Personne ne souffre davantage de tout ça  que le peuple palestinien. Barack Hussein Obama (Iowa, 27 avril 2007)
Mon père était originaire du Kenya, et beaucoup de gens dans son village étaient musulmans. Il ne pratiquait pas l’islam. La vérité est qu’il n’était pas très religieux. Il a rencontré ma mère. Ma mère était une chrétienne originaire du Kansas, et ils se marièrent puis divorcèrent. Je fus élevé par ma mère. Aussi j’ai toujours été chrétien. Le seul lien que j’ai eu avec l’islam est que mon grand-père du côté de mon père venait de ce pays. Mais je n’ai jamais pratiqué l’islam. Pendant un certain temps, j’ai vécu en Indonésie parce que ma mère enseignait là-bas. Et c’est un pays musulman. Et je suis allé à l’école. Mais je ne pratiquais pas. Mais je crois que cela m’a permis de comprendre comment pensaient ces gens, qui partagent en partie ma façon de voir, et cela revient à dire que nous pouvons instaurer de meilleurs rapports avec le Moyen-Orient ; cela contribuerait à nous rendre plus assurés si nous pouvons comprendre comment ils pensent sur certains sujets. Barack Hussein Obama (Oskaloosa, Iowa, décembre 20007)
Je n’ai jamais été musulman. (…) à part mon nom et le fait d’avoir vécu dans une population musulmane pendant quatre ans étant enfant [Indonésie, 1967-1971], je n’ai que très peu de lien avec la religion islamique. Barack Hussein Obama (février 2008)
Nous cherchons à ouvrir un nouveau chemin en direction du monde musulman, fondé sur l’intérêt mutuel et le respect mutuel. (…) Nous sommes une nation de chrétiens, de musulmans, de juifs, d’hindous et de non croyants. Barack Hussein Obama (discours d’investiture, le 20 janvier 2009)
… une nation de musulmans, de chrétiens et de juifs … Barack Hussein Obama (Entretien à la télévision saoudienne Al-Arabiya, 27 janvier, 2009)
Nous exprimerons notre appréciation profonde de la foi musulmane qui a tant fait au long des siècles pour améliorer le monde, y compris mon propre pays. Barack Hussein Obama (Ankara, avril 2009)
Les Etats-Unis et le monde occidental doivent apprendre à mieux connaître l’islam. D’ailleurs, si l’on compte le nombre d’Américains musulmans, on voit que les Etats-Unis sont l’un des plus grands pays musulmans de la planète. Barack Hussein Obama (entretien pour Canal +, le 2 juin 2009)
Salamm aleïkoum (…) Comme le dit le Saint Coran, « Crains Dieu et dis toujours la vérité ». (…) Je suis chrétien, mais mon père était issu d’une famille kényane qui compte des générations de musulmans. Enfant, j’ai passé plusieurs années en Indonésie où j’ai entendu l’appel à la prière (azan) à l’aube et au crépuscule. Jeune homme, j’ai travaillé dans des quartiers de Chicago où j’ai côtoyé beaucoup de gens qui trouvaient la dignité et la paix dans leur foi musulmane. Barack Hussein Obama (Prêche du Caire)
En tant que citoyen, en tant que président, je crois que les musulmans ont autant le droit de pratiquer leur religion que quiconque dans ce pays. Cela inclut le droit de construire un lieu de culte et un centre socio-culturel sur un terrain privé dans le lower Manhattan, en respect des lois et décrets locaux. Nous sommes en Amérique. Notre engagement en faveur de la liberté de religion doit être inébranlable. Barack Hussein Obama
L’avenir ne doit pas appartenir à ceux qui calomnient le prophète de l’Islam. Barack Obama (siège de l’ONU, New York, 26.09.12)
Nous montons sur nos grands chevaux mais souvenons-nous que pendant les croisades et l’inquisition, des actes terribles ont été commis au nom du Christ. Dans notre pays, nous avons eu l’esclavage, trop souvent justifié par le Christ. Barack Hussein Obama
Il est tout à fait légitime pour le peuple américain d’être profondément préoccupé quand vous avez un tas de fanatiques vicieux et violents qui décapitent les gens ou qui tirent au hasard dans un tas de gens dans une épicerie à Paris. Barack Hussein Obama
Il ressort clairement de la bouche des terroristes et de certains des écrits qu’ils ont fait circuler par la suite ce qui était leur motivation. L’adverbe que le président a choisi a été utilisé pour indiquer que les personnes qui ont été tuées dans cet incident terrible et tragique ont été tuées non en raison de qui elles étaient, mais au hasard de l’endroit où elles se sont trouvées être. (…) Ces individus n’ont pas été ciblés par nom. (…) Il n’y avait pas que des juifs dans cette épicerie. Josh Earnest (porte-parole de la Maison blanche)
This is a chronic problem. I stopped calling these people Muslim terrorists. They’re about as Muslim as I am. I mean, they have no respect for anybody else’s life, that’s not what the Koran says. Europe has an enormous radical problem. I think ISIS is a cult. Not an Islamic cult. I think it’s a cult. Howard Dean
Yes, Charlie Hebdo was a magazine that delighted in controversy and provocation. Yes, it skewered religion and took joy in giving offense. Yes, the magazine knowingly antagonized extremists — Charlie Hebdo’s web site had been hacked and its offices firebombed before today; French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius had asked of its cartoons, « Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour oil on the fire? » And yes, Charlie Hebdo’s editor said in 2012, prophetically, that « I prefer to die than live like a rat. » But this isn’t about Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, any more than a rape is about what the victim is wearing, or a murder is about where the victim was walking. What happened on Wednesday, according to current reports, is that two men went on a killing spree. Their killing spree, like most killing sprees, will have some thin rationale. Even the worst villains believe themselves to be heroes. But in truth, it was unprovoked slaughter. The fault lies with no one but them and their accomplices. Their crime isn’t explained by cartoons or religion. Plenty of people read Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons and managed to avoid responding with mass murder. Plenty of people follow all sorts of religions and somehow get through the day without racking up a body count. The answers to what happened today won’t be found in Charlie Hebdo’s pages. They can only be found in the murderers’ sick minds. (…) Part of Charlie Hebdo’s point was that respecting these taboos strengthens their censorial power. Worse, allowing extremists to set the limits of conversation validates and entrenches the extremists’ premises: that free speech and religion are inherently at odds (they are not), and that there is some civilizational conflict between Islam and the West (there isn’t). These are also arguments, by the way, made by Islamophobes and racists, particularly in France, where hatred of Muslim immigrants from north and west Africa is a serious problem. And that is exactly why Charlie Hebdo’s « Love is stronger than hate » cover so well captures the magazine’s oft-misunderstood mission and message. Yes, the slobbery kiss between two men is surely meant to get under the skin of any conservative Muslims who are also homophobic, but so too is it an attack on the idea that Muslims or Islam are the enemy, rather than extremism and intolerance. Allowing extremists to set the limits of conversation validates and entrenches the extremists’ premises. That was true in the criticism of Charlie Hebdo’s covers, and it’s even truer in today’s crimes. These murders can’t be explained by a close read of an editorial product, and they needn’t be condemned on free speech grounds. They can only be explained by the madness of the perpetrators, who did something horrible and evil that almost no human beings anywhere ever do, and the condemnation doesn’t need to be any more complex than saying unprovoked mass slaughter is wrong. This is a tragedy. It is a crime. It is not a statement, or a controversy. Ezra Klein (Vox)
I was stunned that the president could say something so at once banal and offensive. Here we are now two days away from an act shocking barbarism, the burning alive of a prisoner of war, and Obama’s message is that we should remember the crusades and the inquisition. I mean, for him to say that all of us have sinned, all religions have been transgressed, is, you know, is adolescent stuff. Everyone knows that. What’s important is what’s happening now. Christianity no longer goes on crusades and it gave up the inquisition a while ago. The Book of Joshua is knee deep in blood. That story is over too. The story of today, of our generation, is the fact that the overwhelming volume of the violence and the barbarism that we are seeing in the world from Nigeria to Paris all the way to Pakistan and even to the Philippines, the island of Mindanao in the Philippines — is coming from one source. And that’s from inside Islam. It is not the prevalent idea of Islam, but it is coming from Islam, as many Islamic leaders including the president of Egypt and many others have admitted. And there needs to be a change in Islam. It is not a coincidence that all of these attacks on other religions are happening, all over the world, in a dozen countries, two dozen countries, all in the name of one religion. It’s not a coincidence. And for the president to be lecturing us and to say we shouldn’t get on our high horse and to not remember our own path is ridiculous. The present issue is Muslim radicalism and how to attack it. (…) From Obama’s first speech at West Point in December 2009, ironically announcing the surge in Afghanistan, you could tell that his heart has never been in this fight, never. He’s the commander in chief and yet he announces one sentence after he talks about the surge, he talks about the day to withdraw. Everyone in the region knows that. Everyone in the Middle East knows that he took on the fight on ISIS only because of the public reaction to the video of the beheading of the two Americans. He never would have lifted a finger otherwise. He hasn’t helped the rebels in Syria. He has not given the weapons that Jordan needs. The Kurds, who are actually able, courageous, and well — and committed to the fight against is, still cannot get direct arms from the United States. Charles Krauthammer
His secretary of defense says “the world is exploding all over.” His attorney general says that the threat of terror “keeps me up at night.” The world bears them out. On Tuesday, American hostage Kayla Mueller is confirmed dead. On Wednesday, the U.S. evacuates its embassy in Yemen, cited by President Obama last September as an American success in fighting terrorism. Yet Obama’s reaction to, shall we say, turmoil abroad has been one of alarming lassitude and passivity. Not to worry, says his national security adviser: This is not World War II. As if one should be reassured because the current chaos has yet to achieve the level of the most devastating conflict in human history. Indeed, insists the president, the real source of our metastasizing anxiety is . . . the news media. Russia pushes deep into eastern Ukraine. The Islamic State burns to death a Jordanian pilot. Iran extends its hegemony over four Arab capitals — Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and now Sanaa. And America watches. Obama calls the policy “strategic patience.” That’s a synonym for “inaction,” made to sound profoundly “strategic.” (…) Such on-the-ground appeasement goes well with the linguistic appeasement whereby Obama dares not call radical Islam by name. And whereby both the White House and State Department spend much of a day insisting that the attack on the kosher grocery in Paris had nothing to do with Jews. It was just, as the president said, someone “randomly shoot[ing] a bunch of folks in a deli.” (By the end of the day, the administration backed off this idiocy. By tweet.) Charles Krauthammer
At least Obama was kind enough to acknowledge that Americans had some reason to be concerned about “a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks.” As it turns out, these random people who got themselves shot in a “deli” in Paris happen to have been Jewish. The random people getting themselves shot at a satirical newspaper happened to have mocked Mohammad. And those 10 random people who were murdered and had their churches burned down by mobs in Niger last week, well they happened to be Christian folks. It’s likely that all these victims would – with astonishing precision – be able to pinpoint both the religious affiliation and rationale of those responsible for their deaths. President Obama refuses to do the same. For the president, acknowledging who the victims of Islamic terrorism are means acknowledging the motives that drive it. Recognizing what drives a terrorist undermines the progressive theory that says this movement is merely a byproduct of shiftlessness, criminality and poverty rather than a movement driven by faith and political goals. Gone are the days when were allowed to make (appropriate) distinctions between peaceful and radical Islam. Now we’re supposed to accept that these string of events are executed by aimless zealots, detached from any tradition or faith. Random. We are supposed to believe that this problem can be dealt with, as the president notes, in “the same way a big city mayor’s got to cut the crime rate down if he wants that city to thrive.” Dealing with political Islam is just like getting rid of graffiti and waiting for gentrification. You know, if only Saudi Arabia had a few extra bucks laying around, we’d rid the world of all of these delinquents. For Jews, there is another reality that wishful thinking can’t change. According to Pew, there is rampant anti-Semitism in the Islamic world. Not only among radical factions, but everywhere. In moderate Jordan, 97 percent of the folks unfavorable view of Jews (not Zionists, Jews). The ADL found that 74 percent of the folks surveyed in the Middle East and North Africa had anti-Semitic attitudes. The number was 24 percent in Western Europe and 34 percent in Eastern Europe. Not all of this aversion to Jews is equality vitriolic or dangerous, of course. But it is undeniable that in Europe there is increasing violence, and much of it comes from Muslims. (…) Put it this way: the president is more inclined to call out Christian crimes against the Rhineland Jews of 1096 than Islamic crimes against Jews today. He’d rather dissemble for the sake of political correctness, using heavy-handed historical comparisons that aren’t only irrelevant to contemporary discussions about religious violence, but a stretch even if we discussed them in the context of history. David Harsanyi
Sous la pression de critiques grandissantes, qui se plaignent que le Président Obama n’a aucune stratégie susceptible de combattre l’Etat Islamique, la Conseillère à la Sécurité Nationale, Susan Rice, a dû déployer une nouveau plan de bataille, la semaine dernière. Loin de résorber cette volée de mises en cause, les omissions, inexactitudes et incohérences ne feront qu’ajouter aux accusations formulées par les détracteurs de l’Administration Obama qu’elle ne connaît rien en matière de sécurité nationale. L’une des erreurs les plus flagrantes de la nouvelle stratégie, c’est la façon dont elle colle à la pratique spécieuse de l’équipe Obama, dans la manière de faire référence aux groupes terroristes comme l’EI et Al Qaïda, en les désignant comme de « violents extrémistes », en refusant de les nommer selon les termes « d’Islam radical », « Islamistes radicaux » et « Jihadistes ». Cette stratégie répète à l’infini la mauvaise interprétation du Président, en situant cette extrémisme violent comme une simple idéologie, tout en ne parvenant pas à reconnaître l’idéologie réelle qui guide Al Qaïda et l’EI, dans leur campagne mondiale de déclenchement d’actes de violence : l’Islam radical et la doctrine de la Chari’a.  Plutôt que de reconnaître que ces groupes sont motivés par l’Islam radical, cette stratégie prétend affirmer qu’il ne s’agit que d’opportunistes qui exploitent l’instabilité, l’oppression et le manque d’opportunités économiques. Les preuves abondent pourtant que ce n’est pas le cas. Osama Ben Laden n’a pas formé Al Qaïda parce qu’il était pauvre : son père était milliardaire. L’Etat Islamique reçoit des financements de richissimes donneurs d’Arabie Saoudite, du Qatar et du Koweit. Les fameux terroristes islamistes « autoradicalisés » sont recrutés ou simplement inspirés par Internet, pour commettre des actes de terreur aux Etats-Unis,au Canada, en Australie, au Royaume-Uni, en France et, pourtant, ils vivent bien dans des sociétés où se présentent des opportunités économiques. Et il y a même pire que le refus de cette « nouvelle stratégie de sécurité nationale » de reconnaître la menace provenant de l’Islam radical. Elle minorise, en effet, totalement l’urgence d’agir contre cette menace, en affirmant que les Etats-Unis doivent faire preuve de « patience stratégique ».  Susan Rice et le Président Obama a, récemment, déclenché une controverse, lorsqu’ils ont fait des déclarations identiques, qui minimisaient la menace venant de ces groupes terroristes, en prétendant que le terrorisme ne représente pas une « menace existentielle » pour les Etats-Unis. Fred Fleitz

Cachez cet islam que je ne saurai voir !

Un mois après le massacre djihadiste de Paris …

Et la Marche républicaine contre le terrorisme et la liberté d’expression …

Pendant qu’entre la Syrie et l’Irak mais aussi de l’Afrique sahélienne au Mahgreb, les djihadistes imposent leur barbarie à des millions de personnes …

Et qu’alors que du Liban au Yemen et au Soudan, nos futurs amis iraniens continuent à attiser les flammes du terrorisme tout en préparant leur bombe, chez nos amis saoudiens, on en est déjà à 26 décapitations en un peu plus d’un mois …

Comment ne pas voir avec l’interview de l’ « Equivocater » et « Executioner in chief  » (bientôt 4 000 discrètes éliminations ciblées) …

Qui après avoir comparé l’actuelle violence djihadiste à nos croisades et refusé de recevoir un dirigeant israélien invité à parler devant le Congrès, réduit le massacre de quatre juifs dans l’épicerie cachère Hyper cacher il y avait exactement un mois jour pour jour  …

A un « tas de fanatiques vicieux et violents qui tirent au hasard dans un tas de gens dans une épicerie à Paris » …

Sur le blog d’une belle âme qui affirmait deux jours plus tôt …

Que ledit massacre n’avait « rien à voir avec les caricatures ou la religion » …

Confirmant l’absence remarquée de tout officiel américain de premier plan tant à la Marche de Paris qu’au 70e anniversaire de la libération d’Auschwitz

L’incapacité presque congénitale de l’Administration Obama, à l’instar de la BBC elle-même, à prendre la véritable mesure de ce qui se joue actuellement ?

Et ne pas s’inquiéter, avec nombre de commentateurs américains, de l’efficacité face à ladite menace de concepts tels que celui de « patience stratégique » ?

Attentat de l’Hyper Cacher : aucun caractère antijuif pour Obama, juste le « hasard »

Katty Scott

Le Monde Juif .info

11 février 2015

Le président américain, Barack Obama, a créé lundi une polémique après avoir expliqué que les quatre victimes françaises de confession juive assassinées début janvier par un djihadiste français dans une épicerie casher, ont été abattues « au hasard ».

« Il est tout à fait légitime pour le peuple américain d’être profondément préoccupé quand vous avez un tas de fanatiques vicieux et violents qui décapitent les gens ou qui tirent au hasard dans un tas de gens dans une épicerie à Paris », a déclaré le dirigeant américain lors d’une interview accordée à la chaine allemande Vox.

L’auteur de l’attentat, Amédy Coulibaly, avait déclaré à BFMTV qu’il avait ciblé les clients de l’épicerie casher « parce qu’ils étaient Juifs » ainsi que « pour venger les Palestiniens ».

Embarrassés par la sortie de leur président, les porte-paroles de l’administration Obama ont expliqué que les victimes ont été probablement tuées parce que présentes « au mauvais moment, au mauvais endroit » et ont rappelé que les États-Unis avaient qualifié « d’antisémite » l’attaque contre le commerce juif.

L’absence de Barack Obama à la marche républicaine à Paris en soutien aux victimes des attentats parisiens avait été vivement critiquée par la presse française et américaine.

Voir aussi:

Le refus radical d’Obama de regarder en face les dégâts commis par la Chari’a exaspère les experts en Amérique

Fred Fleitz

World tribune

Adaptation : Marc Brzustowski/J Forum

Obama :  comment lutter contre le terrorisme dont on occulte les causes ? Telle semble bien la question centrale que pose la polémique gonflée à bloc autour de la visite controversée de Binyamin Netanyahu et de son discours devant le Congrès.

Sous la pression de critiques grandissantes, qui se plaignent que le Président Obama n’a aucune stratégie susceptible de combattre l’Etat Islamique, la Conseillère à la Sécurité Nationale, Susan Rice, a dû déployer une nouveau plan de bataille, la semaine dernière.

Loin de résorber cette volée de mises en cause, les omissions, inexactitudes et incohérences ne feront qu’ajouter aux accusations formulées par les détracteurs de l’Administration Obama qu’elle ne connaît rien en matière de sécurité nationale.

L’une des erreurs les plus flagrantes de la nouvelle stratégie, c’est la façon dont elle colle à la pratique spécieuse de l’équipe Obama, dans la manière de faire référence aux groupes terroristes comme l’EI et Al Qaïda, en les désignant comme de « violents extrémistes », en refusant de les nommer selon les termes « d’Islam radical », « Islamistes radicaux » et « Jihadistes ». Cette stratégie répète à l’infini la mauvaise interprétation du Président, en situant cette extrémisme violent comme une simple idéologie, tout en ne parvenant pas à reconnaître l’idéologie réelle qui guide Al Qaïda et l’EI, dans leur campagne mondiale de déclenchement d’actes de violence : l’Islam radical et la doctrine de la Chari’a.

Plutôt que de reconnaître que ces groupes sont motivés par l’Islam radical, cette stratégie prétend affirmer qu’il ne s’agit que d’opportunistes qui exploitent l’instabilité, l’oppression et le manque d’opportunités économiques.

Les preuves abondent pourtant que ce n’est pas le cas. Osama Ben Laden n’a pas formé Al Qaïda parce qu’il était pauvre : son père était milliardaire. L’Etat Islamique reçoit des financements de richissimes donneurs d’Arabie Saoudite, du Qatar et du Koweit.

Les fameux terroristes islamistes « autoradicalisés » sont recrutés ou simplement inspirés par Internet, pour commettre des actes de terreur aux Etats-Unis,au Canada, en Australie, au Royaume-Uni, en France et, pourtant, ils vivent bien dans des sociétés où se présentent des opportunités économiques.

Et il y a même pire que le refus de cette « nouvelle stratégie de sécurité nationale » de reconnaître la menace provenant de l’Islam radical. Elle minorise, en effet, totalement l’urgence d’agir contre cette menace, en affirmant que les Etats-Unis doivent faire preuve de « patience stratégique ».

Susan Rice et le Président Obama a, récemment, déclenché une controverse, lorsqu’ils ont fait des déclarations identiques, qui minimisaient la menace venant de ces groupes terroristes, en prétendant que le terrorisme ne représente pas une « menace existentielle » pour les Etats-Unis.

Le fatras de propositions incohérentes, en matière de politique étrangère, fait partie des autres aspects de cette soi-disant « stratégie » : « le pouvoir en douceur » (smart power) et des prétentions douteuses à des succès en matière de relations extérieures. Ignorant totalement la détérioration de la sécurité en Irak et en Afghanistan depuis 2009, cette stratégie tisse des couronnes au retrait des troupes américaines de ces pays et affirme que les Etats-Unis y ont engagés dans des efforts en matière de contre-terrorisme, aussi bien que dans un effort complet en vue de détériorer et de vaincre finalement l’Etat Islamique.

Selon cette stratégie, les progrès du programme nucléaire iranien ont été stoppés et « nous avons clairement fait comprendre à l’Iran qu’il doit remplir ses obligations internationales et exposer la réalité de son programme nucléaire ». En se fondant sur les concessions énormes faites par les Etats-Unis à l’Iran, au cours de l’année passée et du fait que l’Iran n’a pas réduit son programme d’enrichissement d’uranium, ces prétentions apparaissent fausses. La stratégie souligne les succès d’un « rebalancement américain vers l’Asie » (qu’on connaît sous le nom de pivot vers l’Asie), même si, finalement, l’Administration a fait très peu dans ce domaine pour instaurer efficacement cette initiative.

Le changement climatique a aussi été ajouté à la liste prioritaire des menaces stratégiques des Etats-Unis. Les Etats-Unis ont un besoin urgent d’une stratégie nationale de sécurité claire, reconnaissant la menace de l’Islam radical comme une idéologie globale qui a déclaré la guerre à la civilisation occidentale. La nouvelle stratégie de sécurité nationale d’Obama est une occasion manquée qui démontre que le Président Obama demeure déterminé à nier l’évidence et à ne reconnaître d’aucune façon l’ampleur et la réalité de cette menace.

Le Centre d’étude des Politiques de Sécurité a présenté, dans son rapport, la Chari’a et l’Islam radical comme des menaces graves qui ne peuvent être vaincues aussi longtemps que les responsables américains refusent de les regarder en face. Ce Centre parraine, le mercredi 11 février, à Washington DC : « Le Sommet de la Défaite du Jihad ». Ce programme évoquera lanature de la menace isalmiste, une évaluation des politiques américaines pour y faire face et les meilleures approches en vue de vaincre cette menace.

Les participants attendus comprennent Le Sénateur du Texas, Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, l’ancien Procureur Général Michael Mukaseyl’ancien porte-parole du Congrès, Newt Gingrich, le député hollandais Geert Wilders, Lord Malcolm Pearson de Grande-Bretagne, L’ancien Président de la Commission des Renseignements  Pete Hoekstra, Le défenseur danois de la liberté d’expression Lars Hedegaard, et l’ancien procureur fédéral Andrew McCarthy.

Cet évènement sera rediffusé en direct sur le site du Centre pour les Politiques de Sécurité :

http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/, de 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. le 11 Fev.

Fred Fleitz a couvert le programme nucléaire iranien pour la CIA, le Départment d’Etat,et la Commission des renseignements du Congrès. Il est actuellement chercheur principal au Centre des Politiques de Sécurité.

Voir également:

 White House stands behind Obama’s claim that Paris shooter ‘randomly’ selected kosher deli and targets – but admits Jewish heritage was a factor
In an interview released Monday Obama referred to ‘violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris’
Today the White House argued Obama merely meant to say the victims ‘were not specifically targeted’ and ‘happened to randomly be in this deli’
The president’s spokesman eventually said that Obama has ‘no’ doubt the grocery was selected because it was frequented by Jews
But not before stating ‘there were people other than just Jews who were in that…deli’
Francesca Chambers

Dailymail.com

10 February 2015

President Barack Obama’s claim that a gunman who last month killed four French Jews inside a kosher deli ‘randomly’ selected the location and his targets came under heavy scrutiny today at a White House briefing, with multiple reporters badgering the president’s spokesman to admit a tie between the victims’ religion and their murders.

In an interview with Vox published on Monday Obama said, ‘It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.’

Today the White House Press Secretary argued that his boss merely meant to say they ‘were not specifically targeted’ and ‘were individuals who happened to randomly be in this deli.’

The shooter, Amedy Coulibaly, told French television station BFM-TV in a newly released interview that he picked kosher grocery Hyper Cacher because, according to the station, ‘he was targeting Jews.’

A journalist with the station says he also explained ‘why he did this: to defend oppressed Muslims…notably in Palestine.’

‘He claimed to be part of the Islamic State [ISIS] very clearly,’ BFM reporter Sarah-Lou Cohen said of the phone conversation with Coulibaly. ‘He said he had instructions from the caliphate. And then another very important element, evidently, as we were saying in the afternoon, he established a link with the Kouachi brothers.’

Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, the brothers allegedly behind the attack on the Paris-based satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, were later killed in stand off with police, as was Couilbaly.

Coulibaly’s ties to ISIS are documented by a propaganda video taped by his wife, possibly a co-conspirator in the grocery store siege, in which she calls for French Muslims to carry out additional acts of terror.

The White House found itself in several testy back and forths with reporters this afternoon over Obama’s statement – provided to Vox more than a week ago but released just yesterday.

First asked about Obama’s remark by CNN’s Jim Acosta, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest replied, ‘I believe the point that the president was trying to make is that these individuals were not specifically targeted.’

He added: ‘These were individuals who happened to randomly be in this deli and were shot while they were there. And that is the point that the president was making.’

Flabbergasted, ABC News’ Jon Karl pressed Earnest to confirm that president believes the deli goers’ Jewish heritage were related to the assault.

‘It is clear from the terrorists and some of the writings they’ve put out afterward what their motivation was,’ Obama’s spokesman told him.

‘The adverb that the president chose was used to indicate that the individuals who were killed in that terrible, tragic incident were killed not because of who they were, but because of where they randomly happened to be.

Not satisfied, Karl again pointed out that they were in a kosher deli when they were killed, moments later contending that even if they weren’t personally targeted they were attacked because of their religion, to which Earnest told him ‘there were people other than just Jews who were in that…deli.’

‘Does he have any doubt…that deli was attacked because it was a kosher deli, it was not any random deli, it was a kosher deli,’ Karl eventually shouted at Earnest, who interrupted him to say, ‘no,’ Obama does not doubt that.

Picking up where Karl left off, seconds later Fox News’ White House Correspondent Ed Henry asked, why then, ‘didn’t the president acknowledge that? If he knows that, and it’s obvious, why didn’t he say that?’

‘The president has acknowledged that on many occasions when he’s had the opportunity to speak about this incident,’ Earnest tersely told him

‘But he didn’t there!’ Henry noted before moving on to another topic.

Voir encore:

One of the alleged Charlie Hebdo shooters called a French reporter. Here’s what he said.
Libby Nelson

Vox

January 9, 2015

Chérif Kouachi, one of the alleged perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, spoke to a French journalist by phone at around 10 a.m. Paris time on Friday, according to the reporter. Shortly after, Kouachi was killed by police. In the call, he stated that he had been sent by al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based branch.

« I was sent, me, Chérif Kouachi, by al-Qaeda of Yemen, » he says in the call, mentioning Anwar al-Awlaki specifically.

He spoke to Igor Sahiri, a journalist from BFM-TV, who recorded the conversation. In a video clip above, the TV news channel plays part of the tape and discusses the call that yielded it. The channel chose not to broadcast the phone conversations because, at the time, Kouachi was still in a standoff with police.

According to BFM journalist Sarah-Lou Cohen, Koauchi went on to say that he was seeking revenge for the Prophet Mohammed.

« They explained as well that they deny having killed civilians, » Cohen said, paraphrasing from parts of the call that were not played on-air. « That’s important, because for them, the journalists at Charlie Hebdo were not civilians, they were targets, » Cohen said. « Then he continued, very calmly, explaining that they did not come to kill women and children but it’s us, the Westerners, he said, who are killing children in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Syria. »

« He spoke in a manner … that was very calm and very determined, » Cohen said, « as if he had also prepared answers. » It was « extremely troubling, » she said. « The message was to pass along his claim of responsibility. He intended that his claims be publicly known. »

In a separate interview slightly after 3 p.m. Paris time, the channel also spoke with Amedy Coulibaly. « That was a different situation, because we got a phone call, » Cohen said. « He called us because in fact he was looking to contact the police. »

« He claimed to be part of the Islamic State [ISIS] very clearly, » Cohen said. « He said he had instructions from the caliphate. And then another very important element, evidently, as we were saying in the afternoon, he established a link with the Kouachi brothers. »

Coulibaly told Alexis Delahousse, another BFM journalist, that he and the Kouachi brothers had planned their attacks together but had not been in touch since they began the operations. This detail has puzzled terrorism analysts, as al-Qaeda and ISIS are rivals rather than allies.

« Finally, he explained also why he did this: to defend oppressed Muslims, he said, notably in Palestine, » Cohen said. « And finally he explained his target, why this kosher store: because he was targeting Jews. »

Voir par ailleurs:

Don’t let murderers pretend their crimes are about cartoons
Ezra Klein

Vox

January 7, 2015

Yes, Charlie Hebdo was a magazine that delighted in controversy and provocation. Yes, it skewered religion and took joy in giving offense. Yes, the magazine knowingly antagonized extremists — Charlie Hebdo’s web site had been hacked and its offices firebombed before today; French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius had asked of its cartoons, « Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour oil on the fire? » And yes, Charlie Hebdo’s editor said in 2012, prophetically, that « I prefer to die than live like a rat. »

But this isn’t about Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, any more than a rape is about what the victim is wearing, or a murder is about where the victim was walking.

What happened on Wednesday, according to current reports, is that two men went on a killing spree. Their killing spree, like most killing sprees, will have some thin rationale. Even the worst villains believe themselves to be heroes. But in truth, it was unprovoked slaughter. The fault lies with no one but them and their accomplices. Their crime isn’t explained by cartoons or religion. Plenty of people read Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons and managed to avoid responding with mass murder. Plenty of people follow all sorts of religions and somehow get through the day without racking up a body count. The answers to what happened today won’t be found in Charlie Hebdo’s pages. They can only be found in the murderers’ sick minds.

Today is a good day to honor Charlie Hebdo and to share its work. It’s a good day to do that because good people died today and we should remember them. It’s a good day to do that because much of the work in Charle Hebdo was brilliant and any day is a good day to share it.

Don’t allow extremists to set the terms of the conversation

But we shouldn’t buy into the bullshit narrative of a few madmen that their murders were a response to some cartoons. We shouldn’t buy into it even if we’re saying that murdering in response to cartoons is always wrong. This is related to a point Charlie Hebdo made often and well. As my colleague Max Fisher wrote about the magazine’s wonderful cover, « Love is Stronger Than Hate » (pictured above):

Part of Charlie Hebdo’s point was that respecting these taboos strengthens their censorial power. Worse, allowing extremists to set the limits of conversation validates and entrenches the extremists’ premises: that free speech and religion are inherently at odds (they are not), and that there is some civilizational conflict between Islam and the West (there isn’t).

These are also arguments, by the way, made by Islamophobes and racists, particularly in France, where hatred of Muslim immigrants from north and west Africa is a serious problem.

And that is exactly why Charlie Hebdo’s « Love is stronger than hate » cover so well captures the magazine’s oft-misunderstood mission and message. Yes, the slobbery kiss between two men is surely meant to get under the skin of any conservative Muslims who are also homophobic, but so too is it an attack on the idea that Muslims or Islam are the enemy, rather than extremism and intolerance.
Allowing extremists to set the limits of conversation validates and entrenches the extremists’ premises. That was true in the criticism of Charlie Hebdo’s covers, and it’s even truer in today’s crimes.

These murders can’t be explained by a close read of an editorial product, and they needn’t be condemned on free speech grounds. They can only be explained by the madness of the perpetrators, who did something horrible and evil that almost no human beings anywhere ever do, and the condemnation doesn’t need to be any more complex than saying unprovoked mass slaughter is wrong.

This is a tragedy. It is a crime. It is not a statement, or a controversy.

Voir de même:

A War on ‘Random’ Terror
Kayla Jean Mueller and the nature of the Islamist threat.
WSJ

Feb. 10, 2015

Each day seems to bring new testament to the nature of the Islamist terror threat, the latest casualty another American. If only it brought more clarity from the U.S. government about the threat.

On Tuesday U.S. officials confirmed the death of Kayla Jean Mueller, a 26-year-old humanitarian from Arizona who was snatched by the Islamic State while helping Syrian refugees. Neither the U.S. nor her family disclosed details of how she died, though in a statement President Obama blamed “unconscionable evil” and promised to “find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death.”

In a different context, however, the Commander in Chief was more equivocal. In an interview with the liberal Vox.com website, Mr. Obama explained that while terrorism is merely one danger among many such as climate change or cybersecurity, “It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”

His choice of words was strange, given that the Charlie Hedbo assassins were explicit about their ideological and anti-Semitic reasons for targeting a kosher grocery. White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday didn’t help with his explanation: “The adverb that the President chose was used to indicate that the individuals who were killed in that terrible tragic incident were killed not because of who they were, but because of where they randomly happened to be.”

The State Department’s Jen Psaki also refused to explore the motivations of the killers, adding that “there were not all victims of one background or one nationality.” All the victims were Jewish.

This is the confusion that arises among those who are unwilling to confront the character of America’s enemies.

Voir aussi:

There’s Nothing ‘Random’ About Islamic Terrorism, Mr. President

Acknowledging who the victims of Islamic terrorism are means acknowledging its motivations

During his sycophantic conversation with President Barack Obama, Vox’s Matthew Yglesias poses a “question” that I imagine reflects the opinion of many on the Left these days: “Do you think the media sometimes overstates the level of alarm people should have about terrorism and this kind of chaos, as opposed to a longer-term problem of climate change and epidemic disease?”

Obama:

Look, the point is this: my first job is to protect the American people. It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.

The president, in his own peripatetic way, ends up concurring with Yglesias’ appraisal of the world. Terrorism, the violent arm of a religious movement that threatens innocent lives and liberal ideals on every continent and people of every faith (including other Muslims), is entirely overblown when compared to a slight variation in the climate or some highly debatable assumptions about the future of human progress.

And, as you all know, there is a dearth of chilling stories about climate change in the media.

At least Obama was kind enough to acknowledge that Americans had some reason to be concerned about “a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks.” As it turns out, these random people who got themselves shot in a “deli” in Paris happen to have been Jewish. The random people getting themselves shot at a satirical newspaper happened to have mocked Mohammad. And those 10 random people who were murdered and had their churches burned down by mobs in Niger last week, well they happened to be Christian folks.

It’s likely that all these victims would – with astonishing precision – be able to pinpoint both the religious affiliation and rationale of those responsible for their deaths. President Obama refuses to do the same. For the president, acknowledging who the victims of Islamic terrorism are means acknowledging the motives that drive it. Recognizing what drives a terrorist undermines the progressive theory that says this movement is merely a byproduct of shiftlessness, criminality and poverty rather than a movement driven by faith and political goals.

Gone are the days when were allowed to make (appropriate) distinctions between peaceful and radical Islam. Now we’re supposed to accept that these string of events are executed by aimless zealots, detached from any tradition or faith. Random. We are supposed to believe that this problem can be dealt with, as the president notes, in “the same way a big city mayor’s got to cut the crime rate down if he wants that city to thrive.”

Dealing with political Islam is just like getting rid of graffiti and waiting for gentrification. You know, if only Saudi Arabia had a few extra bucks laying around, we’d rid the world of all of these delinquents.

For Jews, there is another reality that wishful thinking can’t change. According to Pew, there is rampant anti-Semitism in the Islamic world. Not only among radical factions, but everywhere. In moderate Jordan, 97 percent of the folks unfavorable view of Jews (not Zionists, Jews). The ADL found that 74 percent of the folks surveyed in the Middle East and North Africa had anti-Semitic attitudes. The number was 24 percent in Western Europe and 34 percent in Eastern Europe. Not all of this aversion to Jews is equality vitriolic or dangerous, of course. But it is undeniable that in Europe there is increasing violence, and much of it comes from Muslims.

All of which makes Obama’s politically correct construing of events even more disturbing.

Put it this way: the president is more inclined to call out Christian crimes against the Rhineland Jews of 1096 than Islamic crimes against Jews today. He’d rather dissemble for the sake of political correctness, using heavy-handed historical comparisons that aren’t only irrelevant to contemporary discussions about religious violence, but a stretch even if we discussed them in the context of history.

It should go without saying that Americans deserve a more accurate conversation about the threats they face.  Maintaining precision of language throughout a long interview is probably tough. So I imagine Obama’s liberal use of “folks” wasn’t meant in a dismissive way. I don’t believe he has a problem with Jews – though, as Jonathan Tobin puts it, he sure has a blind spot. And his contention that terrorism isn’t tied to any specific religion comports well with things he’s said before. There was little chance the president would say the words “Islamic terrorists” – actually, “Islam” doesn’t make an appearance at all– to strip the conversation of a reality.  But there was nothing “random” or senseless about these events. The message was sent. It’s why French soldiers have to stand outside synagogues and satirical newspapers today.

It’s also why, incidentally, a random bunch of folks with a nuclear weapon might make the Jews even more nervous.

Voir également:

Obama’s Blind Spot About Anti-Semitism
Jonathan S. Tobin

Commentary

02.09.2015

There has been a great deal of justified criticism about President Obama’s unwillingness to respond to terrorist outrages with the sort of moral leadership that can rally the West to fight back. His comments at last week’s National Prayer Breakfast in which he sought to create a false moral equivalency between ISIS’s horrific burning alive of a captured Jordanian pilot and the Christian West’s past sins during the Inquisition and even the Crusades have been rightly blasted for his tone-deaf approach to terrorism. The president seems so mired in his deep ambivalence about the West’s role in world history that he is unable to play his part as leader of the free world in what is, like it or not, a life-and-death struggle against truly evil forces. It is also revealed in his administration’s refusal to call Islamist terrorism by that name. But just as troubling is his unwillingness to address one of the primary characteristics of this brand of terror: anti-Semitism. In an interview with Vox’s Matthew Yglesias, he described the terror attack on a Paris kosher market as a “random” event rather than an act of murder motivated by Jew hatred. Though it won’t get the same attention as his outrageous speech last week, it gives us just as much insight into the president’s foreign-policy mindset.

It should be recalled that in the immediate aftermath of the shootings at the Hyper Cacher market by killers associated with those who perpetrated the Charlie Hebdo massacre days earlier, President Obama also refused to call it an act of anti-Semitism. That was, in its own way, as shocking as the president’s decision to not send any high-ranking U.S. official to the Paris unity march that took place to protest the murders or to go himself as did many other Western leaders.

But official American statements that did mention anti-Semitism and the subsequent rally boycott overtook this controversy. The kerfuffle over that initial comment was soon forgotten. But the president’s return to this topic has brought that statement back to mind.

His Vox comments are, in fact, far worse than his initial reaction which was more a matter of omission than a conscious twisting of events. Here’s what the president said in response to a question about whether the media is blowing terrorist incidents out of proportion:

It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.
Let’s first note that his characterization of the assailants again omits their Islamist loyalties and the fact that religion was the motivating factor for their crime. This is consistent with administration policy that seeks to cleanse ISIS, al-Qaeda, or other Islamists of any connection with the Muslim faith. This is absurd not just because it is wrong. It also puts Obama in the position of trying to play the pope of Islam who can decide who is or is not a real Muslim, a responsibility that no American president should try to usurp.

But it is also significant that once again the president chooses to treat a deliberate targeting of a Jewish business filled with Jewish customers as something that is random rather than an overt act of anti-Semitism. Doing so once might be excused as an oversight. The second time makes it a pattern that can’t be ignored.

This is a peculiar talking point especially since the increase of anti-Semitism in Europe with violent incidents going up every year is something that even the Obama State Department has dubbed a “rising tide” of hate.

Why does the president have such a blind spot when it comes to anti-Semitism? His critics will jump to conclusions that will tell us more about their views of Obama than about his thinking. But suffice it to say that this is a president who finds it hard to focus on the siege of Jews in Europe or of the State of Israel in the Middle East. Nor can it be entirely coincidental that a president who treats Israeli self-defense and concerns for its security as a bothersome irritant to his foreign policy or seeks to blame the Jewish state’s leaders for obstructing a peace process that was actually blown up by the Palestinians would have a blind spot about anti-Semitism.

To address the spread of violent anti-Semitism in Europe would require the administration to connect the dots between slaughters such as the ones that took place at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher and the hate spread by the Islamists of Iran with whom Obama is so keen on negotiating a new détente. To put these awful events in a context that properly labels them an outbreak of violent Muslim Jew-hatred would require the administration to rethink its policies toward Israel as well as Iran. And that is something this president has no intention of doing.

You can’t defeat an enemy that you refuse to call by his right name. That’s why ignoring Islamism and calling ISIS and the Paris killers mere “zealots” or “extremists” not only misses the point but also hampers the West’s ability to resist them. By the same token, the omission of any discussion of anti-Semitism about an event that was an unambiguous act of Jew hatred similarly undermines the effort to strike back at such atrocities. When a president calls one of the more egregious acts of anti-Semitism in recent years a mere “random” shooting, it trivializes the victims and places the U.S. on the wrong side of the moral divide. In doing so, Obama does the nation and the cause of freedom a grave disservice.

Voir encore:

Obama Keeps Bowing In The Middle East
David Harsanyi
The Federalist
January 27, 2015

At the World Economic Forum last week, Secretary of State John Kerry argued that while extremists may cite Islam as a justification for terrorism, the world should refrain from using the term “Islamic radicals.” Extremism, Kerry maintained, is apart from Islam, and the millions who support or engage in violence in its name are driven by “criminal conduct rooted in alienation, poverty, thrill-seeking and other factors.”

This soothing half-baked philosophy is cant in the Obama Administration. So when ISIS takes credit for beheading the Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa, it shouldn’t have been surprising that the most important thing Rick Stengel, an undersecretary of state for happy thoughts, could think to tweet to his followers was that the decapitation had, “Nothing religious about it.”

We’ve gone from incessantly offering (appropriate) distinctions between factions of Islam to fantasizing that terrorists are a bunch of shiftless underprivileged adrenaline junkies with no particular philosophy at all. Religion is an organized collection of beliefs that makes sense of existence. Under no definition of “faith” is there a stipulation that it must be devoid of any violence. And whether or not violence used in Islam is a distortion of the faith is for people of that religion to work out for themselves, not for a talking head from Vermont to decree.

If the administration is interested in seeing how this works, we don’t have to look farther than our good allies in Saudi Arabia, where the national flag features an inscription of the Islamic creed – “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God” – which is neatly underlined by a sword. This, I think is fair to say, may insinuate that a coupling of violence and faith is indeed possible in modern religion.

Perhaps Barack Obama can ask new Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz when he pays his respects (an honor the victims in Paris did not receive) what the deal is. He could ask how women are thrown into the streets for public beheadings has anything to do with religion and violence. The Saudi government, after all, has defended the recent decapitation of a Burmese woman (caught on video) as compulsory to “implement the rulings of God.” It’s the ninth such execution this year. (All these beheadings sure are a weird coincidence, no?) Perhaps Saudi monarchs are driven by alienation and poverty when they are induced to flog writers who insult them? And perhaps Kerry has a better grasp of Islamic law than the Wahhabi sect running the religious police force in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam? I imagine he thinks he does.

I don’t propose invading the Arabian Peninsula, or anyone else for that matter. But George Bush, another House of Saud coddler, used to claim that U.S.’s fight in the Middle East was about promoting democracy. Obama has talked about how important it is for our diplomacy to mirror our values. In reality, of course, friendly autocrats help us fight stateless Islamic extremism and offer stability. King Abdullah and his successor have also acted as a counterbalance to Iran – a precarious situation we helped establish. (Though, under this president, we do not afford an Egyptian army that scuttled the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of that nation the same courtesy.)

So everyone understands why we ignore the fact that King Abdullah’s Saudi Arabia became the world’s largest source of funds of Salafist jihadism and the fact that religious state institutions are the leading voices perpetuating that jihadism. Obama will pay his respects to the government in a nation that has no real elections, political parties or dissent. We ignore that, too. And Saudi Arabia also proves that governments run by certain faiths have been more inclined to create alienation, poverty and a whole lot of thrillseekers – even when in the fortuitous position of sitting on a wealth-producing commodity.

But surely there is some kernel of moral duty among American leaders to promote liberal values around the world. Juxtapose how this administration treats allies; how the president admonishes and undermines an elected leader he doesn’t particularly care for and, at the same time, reveres and celebrates the life of a degenerate dictator. King Abdullah had “about” 30 wives, and fathered “about” 35 children, according to sources. Some of them were only young teens when they were forced to wed the then middle-aged King. Some of these women remained prisoners for many decades against their will. Considering the human trafficking and white slavery that is generally overlooked by the monarchs, perhaps he really is a moderate. The freshly deceased King Abdullah, says the president, was “a candid leader who had the courage of his convictions, including his passionate belief in the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East.”

While this administration is having a meltdown over the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu will be speaking to congress about the threat Iranian nuclear ambitions, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is sponsoring an essay competition in the United States to Honor former Saudi King. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Frederick M. Padilla, the president of the National Defense University, want to challenge future students “while honoring the late king.” “This scholarly research competition presents NDU students with a unique opportunity to focus their research and writing efforts on relevant issues at the intersection of U.S. security interests and the Arab-Muslim world,” the release said.

It’s fair to say that every administration has gone out of its way to avoid insulting these immoral dictatorships. It’s just that so few have been as consistent and obsequious as this one.

ETATS-UNIS Selon les conservateurs, le président «insulte» les chrétiens…

Obama attaqué pour avoir comparé la violence djihadiste aux croisades
Philippe Berry
20 minutes

07.02.2015

Il y a trois thèmes qui font démarrer les républicains au quart de tour: Obamacare, l’oléoduc Keystone et l’islam. Jeudi, à l’occasion du petit-déjeuner annuel de prière, le président américain a voulu jouer les rassembleurs, dans un moment d’union spirituelle. C’est raté: toute la journée de vendredi, les conservateurs ont tiré à boulets rouges sur ses remarques.

Evoquant les violences et les actes «barbares» des djihadistes de Daesh (Isis, en anglais), Obama a invité les chrétiens à ne pas jeter la première pierre. «Nous montons sur nos grands chevaux mais souvenons-nous que pendant les croisades et l’inquisition, des actes terribles ont été commis au nom du Christ. Dans notre pays, nous avons eu l’esclavage, trop souvent justifié» par la religion.

«S’occuper de la menace de l’islam radical»
«Les commentaires du président au petit-déjeuner de prière sont les plus insultants que j’ai entendus de ma vie», a attaqué le républicain Jim Gilmore. «Il a insulté tous les Chrétiens des Etats-Unis. Cela prouve une fois de plus que Mr Obama ne croit pas en nos valeurs américaines et ne les partage pas.»

L’ex-candidat Rick Santorum, très catholique, estime, lui, que les mots présidentiels étaient «inappropriés alors que des Chrétiens sont décapités et persécutés au Moyen-Orient». «La menace chrétienne médiévale est sous contrôle, Mr le président. Il serait temps de s’occuper de la menace de l’islam radical d’aujourd’hui», a renchéri Bobby Jindal, qui pourrait se lancer dans la primaire républicaine. L’outrage est parfois une arme politique.

Voir aussi:

Krauthammer: Obama’s prayer breakfast remarks ‘banal and offensive’

Fox news
February 05, 2015

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Welcome back to « Hannity. » Now more on the big two top stories of the day. Catching headlines, Brian Williams caught red handed and the president lecturing Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast.  Here with reaction, author of the number one New York Times bestseller « Things that Matter, » Fox News contributor, the one and only Charles Krauthammer. Charles, good to see you, my friend.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Pleasure to be with you again.

HANNITY: What was your reaction to the prayer breakfast?

KRAUTHAMMER: I was stunned that the president could say something so at once banal and offensive. Here we are now two days away from an act shocking barbarism, the burning alive of a prisoner of war, and Obama’s message is that we should remember the crusades and the inquisition.

I mean, for him to say that all of us have sinned, all religions have been transgressed, is, you know, is adolescent stuff. Everyone knows that.

What’s important is what’s happening now. Christianity no longer goes on crusades and it gave up the inquisition a while ago. The Book of Joshua is knee deep in blood. That story is over too. The story of today, of our generation, is the fact that the overwhelming volume of the violence and the barbarism that we are seeing in the world from Nigeria to Paris all the way to Pakistan and even to the Philippines, the island of Mindanao in the Philippines —

HANNITY: Australia —

KRAUTHAMMER: — is coming from one source. And that’s from inside Islam. It is not the prevalent idea of Islam, but it is coming from Islam, as many Islamic leaders including the president of Egypt and many others have admitted. And there needs to be a change in Islam.

It is not a coincidence that all of these attacks on other religions are happening, all over the world, in a dozen countries, two dozen countries, all in the name of one religion. It’s not a coincidence. And for the president to be lecturing us and to say we shouldn’t get on our high horse and to not remember our own path is ridiculous. The present issue is Muslim radicalism and how to attack it.

HANNITY: I actually think —

KRAUTHAMMER: A lot of people are dying.

HANNITY: I think it’s not only ridiculous but it’s dangerous that he can’t identify this enemy. A quick example, the Jordanian reaction to the killing of the mass murder — the murder of this Jordanian pilot burned to death and then bulldozed, you know, compare the president’s reaction to James Foley and his beheading, a quick, you know, three-minute comment.  Three minutes later he’s on the golf course for five hours, and no strong statement or reaction from the president.

KRAUTHAMMER: From Obama’s first speech at West Point in December 2009, ironically announcing the surge in Afghanistan, you could tell that his heart has never been in this fight, never. He’s the commander in chief and yet he announces one sentence after he talks about the surge, he talks about the day to withdraw. Everyone in the region knows that. Everyone in the Middle East knows that he took on the fight on ISIS only because of the public reaction to the video of the beheading of the two Americans. He never would have lifted a finger otherwise. He hasn’t helped the rebels in Syria. He has not given the weapons that Jordan needs. The Kurds, who are actually able, courageous, and well — and committed to the fight against is, still cannot get direct arms from the United States.

HANNITY: Yes.

KRAUTHAMMER: The world knows this. Our enemies know it and our friends know it.

HANNITY: And so not only West Point but the first summer being president when he goes to a foreign country apologizing at foreign capitals for America for sins real and even imagined.

Let me transition and ask you, we work in the media business. You’ve been following the story of Brian Williams of NBC News.

KRAUTHAMMER: Yes.

HANNITY: To me it’s bewildering. I’ve met him. He seemed like a nice guy. Why would somebody risk their credibility in a totally fabricated story that got bigger and bigger and bigger every time he told it?

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, this is a big mistake on his part. I don’t like to pile on. I mean, all of us have embellished. Once you start to embellish you’re trapped in it and you can’t escape. Let’s remember Hillary made the story about being shot at in Bosnia.

HANNITY: I know. That’s true.

KRAUTHAMMER: And she is the odds on favorite to be the Democratic nominee of the presidency. So course you expect a politician to lie and not a broadcaster. So I can understand the difference. But what stuns me is how dumb this is. If you’re going to make up a story, do it when there aren’t other people around. You know, you tell a story —

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: If you’re going to tell a lie, don’t have witnesses, is that what you’re saying?

KRAUTHAMMER: Exactly. You tell a story about wrestling a lion to the ground because generally speaking lions don’t have access to the Internet. But you don’t do it about an event that everybody saw.

HANNITY: That’s a good point.

KRAUTHAMMER: You know in the end you’re going to be unmasked about it.

HANNITY: All right, last question. The phenomenon of « American Sniper, » I’ve interviewed Chris Kyle’s wife, brother, his father. They’re amazing people. He was an amazing man, more confirmed kills than anybody else in military history. But yet people still pile on. The latest person is Jesse Ventura on our mutual friend Alan Colmes’ radio show. Here’s what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ALAN COLMES RADIO, FEB. 3)

JESSE VENTURA: He was obviously a great sniper. He’s obviously a great shot. He obviously did his job correctly. Alan, let me fire this one at you. Do you think the Nazis have heroes?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: What is it about people that just have total contempt and lack of understanding for what it is that we are given as a gift from those brave men and women that the American people obviously responded to at the box office?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think it’s fairly simple. I think the whole fight over the meaning and popularity of the movie is a surrogate for rearguing the war in Iraq. What worries the left is that they thought they won the argument. And here’s a movie amazingly popular that actually acknowledges the courage and heroism and sacrifice of those who fought in Iraq. And I think that is sort of unpalatable.

Remember, Hollywood put out half a dozen anti-war, anti-Iraq, we are the bad guy movies, and nobody went to see any of them. And here is one movie which celebrates a courageous soldier, and it is extremely popular and actually rather artistically done, well-done by Clint Eastwood. And the left has to now re-litigate the war because they thought they had won the argument and they want to make sure that they retain that at least ideological victory.

HANNITY: All right, Charles Krauthammer, always good to see you.  Thank you so much for being with us.

KRAUTHAMMER: Pleasure.

Voir de plus:

Obama défend son refus de rencontrer Nétanyahou
La presse

09 février 2015
Agence France-Presse
WASHINGTON
Le premier ministre israélien Benyamin Nétanyahou a dit lundi sa détermination à prononcer un discours sur le nucléaire iranien en mars à Washington, mais n’y verra pas Barack Obama, qui a invoqué des raisons protocolaires pour justifier son refus.
«Je suis déterminé à prononcer un discours devant le Congrès, c’est pourquoi je suis décidé à me rendre à Washington et à présenter la position d’Israël» sur le dossier iranien, a lancé M. Nétanyahou lors d’une réunion électorale, à un peu plus d’un mois des législatives, prévues le 17 mars.

La Maison-Blanche a fait part de son irritation à la suite de l’annonce de l’invitation lancée par des élus républicains du Congrès à M. Nétanyahou.

Le vice-président américain Joe Biden a annoncé qu’il serait absent lors du discours qui doit avoir lieu le 3 mars.

Et Barack Obama a de nouveau explicité lundi sa décision de ne pas rencontrer M. Nétanyahou lors de son séjour à Washington.

«Notre politique est de ne jamais organiser de rencontres avec des dirigeants avant les élections», a déclaré le président américain lors d’une conférence de presse conjointe avec la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel.

La relation entre les États-Unis et Israël «transcende les partis. C’est un lien indestructible, nous sommes attachés à la sécurité d’Israël, nous partageons des valeurs», a-t-il ajouté.

Mais le président américain a reconnu avoir «un vrai différend» avec Israël au sujet de l’Iran, surtout depuis que M. Nétanyahou a annoncé qu’il allait s’exprimer devant le Congrès, dont des élus menacent d’adopter de nouvelles sanctions contre Téhéran.

En Israël, plusieurs chefs de file de l’opposition centriste et de gauche en Israël, ainsi que de nombreux commentateurs ont multiplié les appels à Benyamin Nétanyahou à annuler son discours pour ne pas fragiliser la «relation spéciale» entre les États-Unis et leur pays.

M. Nétanyahou a rejeté toutes ces pressions en expliquant qu’un «mauvais accord est en préparation avec l’Iran qui va mettre en danger l’existence de l’État d’Israël. Il est de mon devoir de tout faire pour l’empêcher».

«Depuis la création de l’État d’Israël jusqu’à aujourd’hui, il y a eu des divergences de fond entre Israël et les États-Unis, mais nos relations sont restées solides et il en sera de même cette fois-ci», a prédit le premier ministre.

En novembre, l’Iran et le groupe 5+1 (États-Unis, France, Royaume-Uni, Russie, Chine et Allemagne) se sont entendus pour parvenir d’abord à un accord politique avant le 31 mars et ensuite en finaliser les détails techniques pour un accord global avant le 1er juillet.

Mais ces négociations piétinent, laissant craindre une nouvelle extension des discussions, déjà prorogées à deux reprises.

M. Obama a prévenu lundi l’Iran qu’il n’y aurait pas de prolongation au-delà du 31 mars et que Téhéran devait dorénavant se décider.

«Les problèmes ne sont plus techniques. Les problèmes sont maintenant de savoir si l’Iran a la volonté politique et le désir de conclure un accord», a-t-il souligné.

Voir par ailleurs:

ROYAUME-UNI

Pour la BBC, il ne faut pas qualifier de « terroristes » les tueurs de « Charlie Hebdo »
Le responsable du service arabophone de la BBC refuse que les journalistes de la radio utilisent le terme de « terrorisme » pour parler des tueurs de Charlie Hebdo. C’est un terme trop connoté politiquement, a-t-il expliqué hier à The Independent.

Courrier international
27 janvier 2015

Non, les frères Kouachi ne sont pas des terroristes. Du moins pas aux yeux des journalistes du service arabophone de la BBC, le plus important service hors langue anglaise de la radio publique britannique, suivi chaque semaine par près de 36 millions d’auditeurs. Son responsable, Tarik Kafala, s’en est expliqué le 26 janvier dans une interview au quotidien The Independent : « Nous tentons d’éviter de décrire quelqu’un comme un terroriste, ou un geste comme étant terroriste. »

La raison ? La notion de « terrorisme » est politiquement trop connotée, note Tarik Kafala, qui explique que sa chaîne évite d’employer le terme « terroriste ». Dans le cas des attentats de Paris, on a immédiatement entendu parler d' »attaques terroristes » et du déploiement de la « police anti-terroriste » dans les rues de la capitale française. « Clairement, tous les officiels et les commentateurs utilisent ce mot pour qu’il soit repris par tous les médias », ajoute le journaliste.

Aucune définition internationale claire

D’une manière générale, la BBC a des règles éditoriales spécifiques concernant le terme « terrorisme », rappelle The Independent. Sans interdire l’utilisation de ce terme, la chaîne demande à ses journalistes d’être « très attentifs » lorsqu’ils évoquent des actes considérés comme des actes de terreur, expliquant qu’il y a des termes plus précis pour les expliquer que le mot « terrorisme ». En anglais, le mot « terroriste » n’a pas non plus été utilisé par la BBC pour désigner les frères Kouachi.

Même s’il est sans doute l’un des plus utilisés aujourd’hui dans le monde, le terme « terrorisme » ne fait l’objet d’aucune définition internationale claire, rappelle enfin Tarik Kafala : « Les Nations unies ont tenté pendant une décennie de définir ce mot, sans y parvenir. C’est très délicat. Nous savons ce qu’est la violence politique, nous savons ce que sont les meurtres, les attentats et les fusillades et nous pouvons les décrire. Et cela explique bien plus de choses, à nos yeux, qu’utiliser le mot ‘terrorisme’. »

Voir enfin:

 OBAMA

The Vox conversation

Februray 9, 2015

In his 2007 book The Audacity of Hope, then-Sen. Barack Obama laid out his theory of America’s political and policy problems as it stood on the eve of his first presidential campaign. He worried, he said, about « the gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics. »

On January 23, he sat down with Vox for a wide-ranging interview about his theory of America’s political and policy problems as it stands at the beginning of the seventh year of his presidency. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the first part of the conversation, which focused on domestic policy and politics. You can find the second half, which focuses on America’s role in the world, here.

Ezra Klein
The economy is growing. We have very high corporate profits. We have a record stock market. And yet for decades now, we’ve not been seeing significant wage increases for the American people. How have we gotten to a point where businesses can be doing so well but workers don’t necessarily share in that prosperity? 1

1 Corporate profits and workers’ wages
as a share of GDP

Source: St. Louis Fed
Barack Obama
Well, this has been at least a three-decade-long trend. And this was a major topic in my State of the Union address. We obviously came in at a time of enormous crisis, and the first task was making sure we didn’t have a complete global economic meltdown. The steps we took, whether making sure the financial system was functioning — saving the auto industry, encouraging state and local spending — all those things made a difference in buoying the economy. And then it’s been a hard but steady slog to the point where now we’re growing at a robust pace and unemployment has come down faster than any time in the last 30 years.

Obama on why income inequality has skyrocketed

In some ways we’re now back to the position where we can focus on what is this longer-term trend, and that is a larger and larger share of wealth and income going to the very top, and the middle class or folks trying to get into the middle class feeling increasingly squeezed because their wages have stagnated.

Now, there are a whole bunch of reasons for that. Some of it has to do with technology and entire job sectors being eliminated — travel agents, bank tellers, a lot of middle management — because of efficiencies with the internet and a paperless office. A lot of it has to do with globalization and the rest of the world catching up. Post-World War II, we just had some enormous structural advantages because our competitors had been devastated by war, and we had also made investments that put us ahead of the curve, whether in education or infrastructure or research and development.

And around the ’70s and ’80s and then accelerating beyond that, those advantages went away at the same time as, because of technology, companies are getting a lot more efficient. One last component of this is that workers increasingly had less leverage because of changes in labor laws and the ability for capital to move and labor not to move. 2 You combine all that stuff, and it’s put workers in a tougher position. So our job now is to create additional tools that, number one, make sure that everybody’s got a baseline of support to be able to succeed in a constantly moving economy. Whether it’s health care that survives job loss. Whether it is making sure we have child care that allows a two-working-household family to prosper while still caring for their kids. Having a certain baseline in terms of wages, through the minimum wage. 3 So that’s one set of issues.

2 Union membership, in millions

Source: Pew Research Center
3 Because of inflation, today’s federal minimum wage of $7.25 is worth significantly less than the minimum wage in the ’70s. The Obama administration has proposed raising it to $10.10.
A second set of issues then becomes: how do we make sure that everybody has the tools to succeed in an economy where they constantly have to adapt? And how do they move up the value chain, essentially because they can work in higher-wage, higher-skill professions, and were able to compete for those jobs internationally?

Then the third thing is making sure that we have an economy that’s productive. Now, if we do all those things, then what I’m confident about is that we can continue to lower the unemployment rate, increase the participation rate, and continue to grow and increase productivity. We’re still going to have a broader, longer-term, global question, and that is: how do we make sure that the folks at the very top are doing enough of their fair share? The winner-take-all aspect of this modern economy means that you’ve got some people who just control enormous amounts of wealth. We don’t really resent their success; on the other hand, just as a practical matter, if we’re going to pay for schools, roads, et cetera, and you’ve got, you know, 50 people or 80 people having as much wealth as 3 billion, you know you’re going to have problems making sure that we’re investing enough in the common good to be able to move forward. 4 So that’s a long-term question. But right now, there’s some very specific things we can do that can make a difference and help middle-class families. And that’s why I called it middle-class economics.

4 It’s worth noting that this statistic is as much a reflection of global indebtedness as global wealth.
Ezra Klein
To focus a bit on that long-term question, does that put us in a place where redistribution becomes, in a sense, a positive good in and of itself? Do we need the government playing the role not of powering the growth engine — which is a lot of what had to be done after the financial crisis — but of making sure that while that growth engine is running, it is ensuring that enough of the gains and prosperity is shared so that the political support for that fundamental economic model remains strong?

Barack Obama
That’s always been the case. I don’t think that’s entirely new. The fact of the matter is that relative to our post-war history, taxes now are not particularly high or particularly progressive compared to what they were, say, in the late ’50s or the ’60s. 5 And there’s always been this notion that for a country to thrive there are some things, as Lincoln says, that we can do better together than we can do for ourselves. And whether that’s building roads, or setting up effective power grids, or making sure that we’ve got high-quality public education — that teachers are paid enough — the market will not cover those things. And we’ve got to do them together. Basic research falls in that category. So that’s always been true.

5 The history of effective federal tax rates in America

Source: Quartz/The Tax Foundation
I think that part of what’s changed is that a lot of that burden for making sure that the pie was broadly shared took place before government even got involved. 6 If you had stronger unions, you had higher wages. If you had a corporate culture that felt a sense of place and commitment so that the CEO was in Pittsburgh or was in Detroit and felt obliged, partly because of social pressure but partly because they felt a real affinity toward the community, to re-invest in that community and to be seen as a good corporate citizen. Today what you have is quarterly earning reports, compensation levels for CEOs that are tied directly to those quarterly earnings. You’ve got international capital that is demanding maximizing short-term profits. And so what happens is that a lot of the distributional questions that used to be handled in the marketplace through decent wages or health care or defined benefit pension plans — those things all are eliminated. And the average employee, the average worker, doesn’t feel any benefit.

6 What Obama is talking about here is the difference between pre-tax and post-tax inequality. It’s possible to have low inequality either because the market itself spreads gains widely, or because the government intervenes at tax time to spread gains widely. Germany and Britain have higher pre-tax inequality than the US, but lower actual inequality because the government does so much through taxes and transfers.
So part of our job is, what can government do directly through tax policy? What we’ve proposed, for example, in terms of capital gains — that would make a big difference in our capacity to give a tax break to a working mom for child care. And that’s smart policy, and there’s no evidence that would hurt the incentives of folks at Google or Microsoft or Uber not to invent what they invent or not to provide services they provide. It just means that instead of $20 billion, maybe they’ve got 18, right? But it does mean that Mom can go to work without worrying that her kid’s not in a safe place.

We also still have to focus on the front end. Which is even before taxes are paid, are there ways that we can increase the bargaining power: making sure that an employee has some measurable increases in their incomes and their wealth and their security as a consequence of an economy that’s improving. And that’s where issues like labor laws make a difference. That’s where say in shareholder meetings and trying to change the culture in terms of compensation at the corporate level could make a difference. And there’s been some interesting conversations globally around issues like inclusive capitalism and how we can make it work for everybody.

Ezra Klein
When you drill into that pre-tax portion, one thing you can find in wages is health-care costs.

Barack Obama
Yeah.

Ezra Klein
And when you drill deeper into the health-care costs, one thing you find is that a major piece of why Americans pay so much more is that when we go to a hospital, an MRI, or an appendectomy, or even a bottle of cholesterol drugs just costs much more for an American to buy than it does in Germany, in Japan, in Canada, in Great Britain. Why do you think Americans pay so much higher health-care prices than folks in other countries? 7

7 The seminal paper on this is the wonderfully named « It’s the Prices, Stupid: Why the United States Is So Different From Other Countries. »
Barack Obama
Well, you know there are a lot of theories about this. But I think the evidence points to a couple of key factors. One is that we’ve got a third-party system. Mostly we’ve got a system where everybody gets their health insurance through their employers. Obviously the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, helps to cover the gap for those who aren’t in that system. But for those of us who have an insurer, we don’t track it. And the market then becomes really opaque and really hard to penetrate. Health providers are able to, I think, charge without much fear that somebody’s looking over their shoulders and asking, well, why does this cost that much?

That’s one of the reasons [that with] the Affordable Care Act, a lot of the attention’s been on making sure that the uninsured have peace of mind, and people who currently have insurance but at some point might lose it or have pre-existing conditions are going to have it. That’s obviously the moral basis for what we did. But people haven’t been paying as much attention to the delivery-system reforms that we’re trying to institute through the Affordable Care Act as well.

I can’t take credit for all four years of the lowest health-care inflation in the last 50 that we’ve seen since the Affordable Care Act passed. 8 Some of the trends, I think, were already on their way. But we are accelerating a lot of reforms. For example, what do we do to make sure that instead of paying a doctor in a hospital for just providing a service, let’s make sure that they’re being rewarded for a good outcome? Which may mean in some cases fewer tests or a less expensive generic drug, or just making sure that all your employees are washing your hands so that you’re cutting the infection rate, or making sure that hospitals are reimbursed when there’s a lower readmissions rate, as opposed to when they’re doing more stuff. And using Medicare as a lever, I think, is creating an environment in the health-care field where we can start getting better outcomes and lower costs at the same time. 9 There are still going to be those who argue that unless you get a single-payer system, you’re never going to get all the efficiencies. There’s certain areas like drugs, where the fact that Congress — and the Republican Party in particular — has been resistant to letting drug makers and Medicare negotiate for the lowest price. It results in us paying a lot more than we should. But if we’re paying 4, 5, 6, 8 percent more than other countries for the same outcomes, I’d be pretty happy where we’re only paying 2 or 3 percent more. Because that represents hundreds of billions of dollars, and means we can do a lot with that money.

8 Annual growth in health-care spending

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
9 The White House is proposing tying 85 percent of all Medicare payments to outcomes by the end of 2016 — rising to 90 percent by 2018.
Ezra Klein
When you talk about Medicare as a lever, Medicare tends to pay a lot less per service than private insurers by a margin. Before single-payer there’s also this idea you hear occasionally of letting private insurers band together with Medicare, with Medicaid, to jointly negotiate prices. 10 Do you think that’s a good idea?

10 The technical term for this is « all-payer rate setting. »
Barack Obama
You know, I think that moving in the direction where consumers and others can have more power in the marketplace, particularly when it comes to drugs, makes a lot of sense. Now, you’ll hear from the drug companies that part of the reason other countries pay less for drugs is they don’t innovate; we, essentially through our system, subsidize the innovation, and other countries are free riders. There’s probably a little bit of truth to that, but when you look at the number of breakthrough drugs and the amount of money that drug companies now are putting into research and where they’re putting it, a whole lot of it is actually in redesigning, modestly, existing drugs so they can renew patents and maintain higher prices and higher profits. That’s not entirely true, but there’s some of that. So there is a lot of savings that could be achieved while still making sure that our drug industry is the best in the world, and will still be making a healthy profit.

Obama on why he’s such a polarizing president

Ezra Klein
To turn a bit towards politics, at this point, according to the polls, you are the most polarizing president really since we began polling. 11 But before you, the record was set by George W. Bush, and before George W. Bush the record was set by Bill Clinton. It seems that there’s something structural happening there in terms of party polarization and the way it affects approval ratings and cooperation with presidents. In your State of the Union, you struck back at critics who say that the idea of healing some of these divisions is naïve or impossible. So when you welcome your successor into office, what would you tell them is worth trying that you think can still work, that would reduce the polarization?

11 Presidents’ popularity gaps

Source: Gallup
Barack Obama
Well, there are a couple of things that in my mind, at least, contribute to our politics being more polarized than people actually are. And I think most people just sense this in their daily lives. Everybody’s got a family member or a really good friend from high school who is on the complete opposite side of the political spectrum. And yet, we still love them, right? Everybody goes to a soccer game, or watching their kids, coaching, and they see parents who they think are wonderful people, and then if they made a comment about politics, suddenly they’d go, « I can’t believe you think that! » But a lot of it has to do with the fact that a) the balkanization of the media means that we just don’t have a common place where we get common facts and a common worldview the way we did 20, 30 years ago. And that just keeps on accelerating, you know. And I’m not the first to observe this, but you’ve got the Fox News/Rush Limbaugh folks and then you’ve got the MSNBC folks and the — I don’t know where Vox falls into that, but you guys are, I guess, for the brainiac-nerd types. But the point is that technology which brings the world to us also allows us to narrow our point of view. That’s contributed to it.

Gerrymandering contributes to it. 12 There’s no incentive for most members of Congress, on the House side at least, in congressional districts, to even bother trying to appeal. And a lot of it has to do with just unlimited money. So people are absorbing an entirely different reality when it comes to politics, even though the way they’re living their lives and interacting with each other isn’t that polarizing. So my advice to a future president is increasingly try to bypass the traditional venues that create divisions and try to find new venues within this new media that are quirkier, less predictable.

12 For an interesting discussion of the evidence around gerrymandering and political polarization, see Vox’s gerrymandering card stack.
You know, yesterday I did three interviews with YouTube stars that generally don’t spend a lot of time talking about politics. And the reason we did it is because they’re reaching viewers who don’t want to be put in some particular camp. On the other hand, when you talk to them very specifically about college costs or about health care or about any of the other things that touch on their individual lives, it turns out that you can probably build a pretty good consensus.

Now, that doesn’t ignore the fact that I would love to see some constitutional process that would allow us to actually regulate campaign spending the way we used to, and maybe even improve it. I’d love to see changes at the state level that reduce political gerrymandering. So there’s all kinds of structural things that I’d like to see that I think would improve this but, you know, there’ve been periods in the past where we’ve been pretty polarized. I think there just wasn’t polling around. As I recall, there was a whole civil war — that was a good example of polarization that took place.

Ezra Klein
Do you think if we don’t get some of those structural reforms, and more to the point, if we continue along this path, in terms of where the parties are in Congress, are there ways to govern with polarization? It occurs to me that [this was] your argument when you came to office. But before you, Bush was a « uniter not a divider, » and before him Clinton, who was going to moderate and change the Democratic party with his sort of Third Way approach. The last couple of presidents have come to office promising the way they would get things done is to reduce polarization. Is there an argument or an approach that can be made to govern amidst polarization?

Barack Obama
A couple observations. Number one is that in American history — even during the so-called golden age where, you know, you had liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats and there was deal-cutting going on in Congress — generally speaking, big stuff didn’t get done unless there was a major crisis and/or you had big majorities of one party controlling the Congress and a president of the same party. I mean, that’s just been the history. There have been exceptions, but that’s often been the case in terms of big-muscle movements in the political system. And you know, my first two years in office when I had a Democratic majority and Democratic House and Democratic Senate, we were as productive as any time since Lyndon Johnson. And when the majority went away, stuff got blocked.

Probably the one thing that we could change without a constitutional amendment that would make a difference here would be the elimination of the routine use of the filibuster in the Senate. 13 Because I think that does, in an era in which the parties are more polarized, it almost ensures greater gridlock and less clarity in terms of the positions of the parties. There’s nothing in the Constitution that requires it. The framers were pretty good about designing a House, a Senate, two years versus six-year terms, every state getting two senators. There were a whole bunch of things in there to assure that a majority didn’t just run rampant. The filibuster in this modern age probably just torques it too far in the direction of a majority party not being able to govern effectively and move forward its platform. And I think that’s an area where we can make some improvement.

13 For more on the filibuster, see Vox’s card stack on Congressional dysfunction.
Ezra Klein
One of the powerful things that’s happened as polarization has increased politically is it’s begun structuring people’s other identities. The one I’m particularly interested in here is race. If you look back at polling around the OJ Simpson verdict or the Bernhard Goetz shooting in New York, Republicans and Democrats — you basically couldn’t tell them apart. Now you look at the Zimmerman verdict or you look at what’s going on in Ferguson, and opinion on racial issues is very sharply split by party. 14 Do you worry about the merging of racial and partisan identity?

In his 2007 book The Audacity of Hope, then-Sen. Barack Obama laid out his theory of America’s political and policy problems as it stood on the eve of his first presidential campaign. He worried, he said, about « the gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics. »

On January 23, he sat down with Vox for a wide-ranging interview about his theory of America’s political and policy problems as it stands at the beginning of the seventh year of his presidency. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the first part of the conversation, which focused on domestic policy and politics. You can find the second half, which focuses on America’s role in the world, here.

Ezra Klein
The economy is growing. We have very high corporate profits. We have a record stock market. And yet for decades now, we’ve not been seeing significant wage increases for the American people. How have we gotten to a point where businesses can be doing so well but workers don’t necessarily share in that prosperity? 1

1 Corporate profits and workers’ wages
as a share of GDP

Source: St. Louis Fed
Barack Obama
Well, this has been at least a three-decade-long trend. And this was a major topic in my State of the Union address. We obviously came in at a time of enormous crisis, and the first task was making sure we didn’t have a complete global economic meltdown. The steps we took, whether making sure the financial system was functioning — saving the auto industry, encouraging state and local spending — all those things made a difference in buoying the economy. And then it’s been a hard but steady slog to the point where now we’re growing at a robust pace and unemployment has come down faster than any time in the last 30 years.

Obama on why income inequality has skyrocketed

See more videos from the Obama interview
In some ways we’re now back to the position where we can focus on what is this longer-term trend, and that is a larger and larger share of wealth and income going to the very top, and the middle class or folks trying to get into the middle class feeling increasingly squeezed because their wages have stagnated.

Now, there are a whole bunch of reasons for that. Some of it has to do with technology and entire job sectors being eliminated — travel agents, bank tellers, a lot of middle management — because of efficiencies with the internet and a paperless office. A lot of it has to do with globalization and the rest of the world catching up. Post-World War II, we just had some enormous structural advantages because our competitors had been devastated by war, and we had also made investments that put us ahead of the curve, whether in education or infrastructure or research and development.

And around the ’70s and ’80s and then accelerating beyond that, those advantages went away at the same time as, because of technology, companies are getting a lot more efficient. One last component of this is that workers increasingly had less leverage because of changes in labor laws and the ability for capital to move and labor not to move. 2 You combine all that stuff, and it’s put workers in a tougher position. So our job now is to create additional tools that, number one, make sure that everybody’s got a baseline of support to be able to succeed in a constantly moving economy. Whether it’s health care that survives job loss. Whether it is making sure we have child care that allows a two-working-household family to prosper while still caring for their kids. Having a certain baseline in terms of wages, through the minimum wage. 3 So that’s one set of issues.

2 Union membership, in millions

Source: Pew Research Center
3 Because of inflation, today’s federal minimum wage of $7.25 is worth significantly less than the minimum wage in the ’70s. The Obama administration has proposed raising it to $10.10.
A second set of issues then becomes: how do we make sure that everybody has the tools to succeed in an economy where they constantly have to adapt? And how do they move up the value chain, essentially because they can work in higher-wage, higher-skill professions, and were able to compete for those jobs internationally?

Then the third thing is making sure that we have an economy that’s productive. Now, if we do all those things, then what I’m confident about is that we can continue to lower the unemployment rate, increase the participation rate, and continue to grow and increase productivity. We’re still going to have a broader, longer-term, global question, and that is: how do we make sure that the folks at the very top are doing enough of their fair share? The winner-take-all aspect of this modern economy means that you’ve got some people who just control enormous amounts of wealth. We don’t really resent their success; on the other hand, just as a practical matter, if we’re going to pay for schools, roads, et cetera, and you’ve got, you know, 50 people or 80 people having as much wealth as 3 billion, you know you’re going to have problems making sure that we’re investing enough in the common good to be able to move forward. 4 So that’s a long-term question. But right now, there’s some very specific things we can do that can make a difference and help middle-class families. And that’s why I called it middle-class economics.

4 It’s worth noting that this statistic is as much a reflection of global indebtedness as global wealth.
Ezra Klein
To focus a bit on that long-term question, does that put us in a place where redistribution becomes, in a sense, a positive good in and of itself? Do we need the government playing the role not of powering the growth engine — which is a lot of what had to be done after the financial crisis — but of making sure that while that growth engine is running, it is ensuring that enough of the gains and prosperity is shared so that the political support for that fundamental economic model remains strong?

Barack Obama
That’s always been the case. I don’t think that’s entirely new. The fact of the matter is that relative to our post-war history, taxes now are not particularly high or particularly progressive compared to what they were, say, in the late ’50s or the ’60s. 5 And there’s always been this notion that for a country to thrive there are some things, as Lincoln says, that we can do better together than we can do for ourselves. And whether that’s building roads, or setting up effective power grids, or making sure that we’ve got high-quality public education — that teachers are paid enough — the market will not cover those things. And we’ve got to do them together. Basic research falls in that category. So that’s always been true.

5 The history of effective federal tax rates in America

Source: Quartz/The Tax Foundation
I think that part of what’s changed is that a lot of that burden for making sure that the pie was broadly shared took place before government even got involved. 6 If you had stronger unions, you had higher wages. If you had a corporate culture that felt a sense of place and commitment so that the CEO was in Pittsburgh or was in Detroit and felt obliged, partly because of social pressure but partly because they felt a real affinity toward the community, to re-invest in that community and to be seen as a good corporate citizen. Today what you have is quarterly earning reports, compensation levels for CEOs that are tied directly to those quarterly earnings. You’ve got international capital that is demanding maximizing short-term profits. And so what happens is that a lot of the distributional questions that used to be handled in the marketplace through decent wages or health care or defined benefit pension plans — those things all are eliminated. And the average employee, the average worker, doesn’t feel any benefit.

6 What Obama is talking about here is the difference between pre-tax and post-tax inequality. It’s possible to have low inequality either because the market itself spreads gains widely, or because the government intervenes at tax time to spread gains widely. Germany and Britain have higher pre-tax inequality than the US, but lower actual inequality because the government does so much through taxes and transfers.
So part of our job is, what can government do directly through tax policy? What we’ve proposed, for example, in terms of capital gains — that would make a big difference in our capacity to give a tax break to a working mom for child care. And that’s smart policy, and there’s no evidence that would hurt the incentives of folks at Google or Microsoft or Uber not to invent what they invent or not to provide services they provide. It just means that instead of $20 billion, maybe they’ve got 18, right? But it does mean that Mom can go to work without worrying that her kid’s not in a safe place.

We also still have to focus on the front end. Which is even before taxes are paid, are there ways that we can increase the bargaining power: making sure that an employee has some measurable increases in their incomes and their wealth and their security as a consequence of an economy that’s improving. And that’s where issues like labor laws make a difference. That’s where say in shareholder meetings and trying to change the culture in terms of compensation at the corporate level could make a difference. And there’s been some interesting conversations globally around issues like inclusive capitalism and how we can make it work for everybody.

Ezra Klein
When you drill into that pre-tax portion, one thing you can find in wages is health-care costs.

Barack Obama
Yeah.

Ezra Klein
And when you drill deeper into the health-care costs, one thing you find is that a major piece of why Americans pay so much more is that when we go to a hospital, an MRI, or an appendectomy, or even a bottle of cholesterol drugs just costs much more for an American to buy than it does in Germany, in Japan, in Canada, in Great Britain. Why do you think Americans pay so much higher health-care prices than folks in other countries? 7

7 The seminal paper on this is the wonderfully named « It’s the Prices, Stupid: Why the United States Is So Different From Other Countries. »

Barack Obama
Well, you know there are a lot of theories about this. But I think the evidence points to a couple of key factors. One is that we’ve got a third-party system. Mostly we’ve got a system where everybody gets their health insurance through their employers. Obviously the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, helps to cover the gap for those who aren’t in that system. But for those of us who have an insurer, we don’t track it. And the market then becomes really opaque and really hard to penetrate. Health providers are able to, I think, charge without much fear that somebody’s looking over their shoulders and asking, well, why does this cost that much?

That’s one of the reasons [that with] the Affordable Care Act, a lot of the attention’s been on making sure that the uninsured have peace of mind, and people who currently have insurance but at some point might lose it or have pre-existing conditions are going to have it. That’s obviously the moral basis for what we did. But people haven’t been paying as much attention to the delivery-system reforms that we’re trying to institute through the Affordable Care Act as well.

I can’t take credit for all four years of the lowest health-care inflation in the last 50 that we’ve seen since the Affordable Care Act passed. 8 Some of the trends, I think, were already on their way. But we are accelerating a lot of reforms. For example, what do we do to make sure that instead of paying a doctor in a hospital for just providing a service, let’s make sure that they’re being rewarded for a good outcome? Which may mean in some cases fewer tests or a less expensive generic drug, or just making sure that all your employees are washing your hands so that you’re cutting the infection rate, or making sure that hospitals are reimbursed when there’s a lower readmissions rate, as opposed to when they’re doing more stuff. And using Medicare as a lever, I think, is creating an environment in the health-care field where we can start getting better outcomes and lower costs at the same time. 9 There are still going to be those who argue that unless you get a single-payer system, you’re never going to get all the efficiencies. There’s certain areas like drugs, where the fact that Congress — and the Republican Party in particular — has been resistant to letting drug makers and Medicare negotiate for the lowest price. It results in us paying a lot more than we should. But if we’re paying 4, 5, 6, 8 percent more than other countries for the same outcomes, I’d be pretty happy where we’re only paying 2 or 3 percent more. Because that represents hundreds of billions of dollars, and means we can do a lot with that money.

8 Annual growth in health-care spending

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
9 The White House is proposing tying 85 percent of all Medicare payments to outcomes by the end of 2016 — rising to 90 percent by 2018.
Ezra Klein
When you talk about Medicare as a lever, Medicare tends to pay a lot less per service than private insurers by a margin. Before single-payer there’s also this idea you hear occasionally of letting private insurers band together with Medicare, with Medicaid, to jointly negotiate prices. 10 Do you think that’s a good idea?

10 The technical term for this is « all-payer rate setting. »
Barack Obama
You know, I think that moving in the direction where consumers and others can have more power in the marketplace, particularly when it comes to drugs, makes a lot of sense. Now, you’ll hear from the drug companies that part of the reason other countries pay less for drugs is they don’t innovate; we, essentially through our system, subsidize the innovation, and other countries are free riders. There’s probably a little bit of truth to that, but when you look at the number of breakthrough drugs and the amount of money that drug companies now are putting into research and where they’re putting it, a whole lot of it is actually in redesigning, modestly, existing drugs so they can renew patents and maintain higher prices and higher profits. That’s not entirely true, but there’s some of that. So there is a lot of savings that could be achieved while still making sure that our drug industry is the best in the world, and will still be making a healthy profit.

Obama on why he’s such a polarizing president

Ezra Klein
To turn a bit towards politics, at this point, according to the polls, you are the most polarizing president really since we began polling. 11 But before you, the record was set by George W. Bush, and before George W. Bush the record was set by Bill Clinton. It seems that there’s something structural happening there in terms of party polarization and the way it affects approval ratings and cooperation with presidents. In your State of the Union, you struck back at critics who say that the idea of healing some of these divisions is naïve or impossible. So when you welcome your successor into office, what would you tell them is worth trying that you think can still work, that would reduce the polarization?

11 Presidents’ popularity gaps

Source: Gallup
Barack Obama
Well, there are a couple of things that in my mind, at least, contribute to our politics being more polarized than people actually are. And I think most people just sense this in their daily lives. Everybody’s got a family member or a really good friend from high school who is on the complete opposite side of the political spectrum. And yet, we still love them, right? Everybody goes to a soccer game, or watching their kids, coaching, and they see parents who they think are wonderful people, and then if they made a comment about politics, suddenly they’d go, « I can’t believe you think that! » But a lot of it has to do with the fact that a) the balkanization of the media means that we just don’t have a common place where we get common facts and a common worldview the way we did 20, 30 years ago. And that just keeps on accelerating, you know. And I’m not the first to observe this, but you’ve got the Fox News/Rush Limbaugh folks and then you’ve got the MSNBC folks and the — I don’t know where Vox falls into that, but you guys are, I guess, for the brainiac-nerd types. But the point is that technology which brings the world to us also allows us to narrow our point of view. That’s contributed to it.

Gerrymandering contributes to it. 12 There’s no incentive for most members of Congress, on the House side at least, in congressional districts, to even bother trying to appeal. And a lot of it has to do with just unlimited money. So people are absorbing an entirely different reality when it comes to politics, even though the way they’re living their lives and interacting with each other isn’t that polarizing. So my advice to a future president is increasingly try to bypass the traditional venues that create divisions and try to find new venues within this new media that are quirkier, less predictable.

12 For an interesting discussion of the evidence around gerrymandering and political polarization, see Vox’s gerrymandering card stack.
You know, yesterday I did three interviews with YouTube stars that generally don’t spend a lot of time talking about politics. And the reason we did it is because they’re reaching viewers who don’t want to be put in some particular camp. On the other hand, when you talk to them very specifically about college costs or about health care or about any of the other things that touch on their individual lives, it turns out that you can probably build a pretty good consensus.

Now, that doesn’t ignore the fact that I would love to see some constitutional process that would allow us to actually regulate campaign spending the way we used to, and maybe even improve it. I’d love to see changes at the state level that reduce political gerrymandering. So there’s all kinds of structural things that I’d like to see that I think would improve this but, you know, there’ve been periods in the past where we’ve been pretty polarized. I think there just wasn’t polling around. As I recall, there was a whole civil war — that was a good example of polarization that took place.

Ezra Klein
Do you think if we don’t get some of those structural reforms, and more to the point, if we continue along this path, in terms of where the parties are in Congress, are there ways to govern with polarization? It occurs to me that [this was] your argument when you came to office. But before you, Bush was a « uniter not a divider, » and before him Clinton, who was going to moderate and change the Democratic party with his sort of Third Way approach. The last couple of presidents have come to office promising the way they would get things done is to reduce polarization. Is there an argument or an approach that can be made to govern amidst polarization?

Barack Obama
A couple observations. Number one is that in American history — even during the so-called golden age where, you know, you had liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats and there was deal-cutting going on in Congress — generally speaking, big stuff didn’t get done unless there was a major crisis and/or you had big majorities of one party controlling the Congress and a president of the same party. I mean, that’s just been the history. There have been exceptions, but that’s often been the case in terms of big-muscle movements in the political system. And you know, my first two years in office when I had a Democratic majority and Democratic House and Democratic Senate, we were as productive as any time since Lyndon Johnson. And when the majority went away, stuff got blocked.

Probably the one thing that we could change without a constitutional amendment that would make a difference here would be the elimination of the routine use of the filibuster in the Senate. 13 Because I think that does, in an era in which the parties are more polarized, it almost ensures greater gridlock and less clarity in terms of the positions of the parties. There’s nothing in the Constitution that requires it. The framers were pretty good about designing a House, a Senate, two years versus six-year terms, every state getting two senators. There were a whole bunch of things in there to assure that a majority didn’t just run rampant. The filibuster in this modern age probably just torques it too far in the direction of a majority party not being able to govern effectively and move forward its platform. And I think that’s an area where we can make some improvement.

13 For more on the filibuster, see Vox’s card stack on Congressional dysfunction.
Ezra Klein
One of the powerful things that’s happened as polarization has increased politically is it’s begun structuring people’s other identities. The one I’m particularly interested in here is race. If you look back at polling around the OJ Simpson verdict or the Bernhard Goetz shooting in New York, Republicans and Democrats — you basically couldn’t tell them apart. Now you look at the Zimmerman verdict or you look at what’s going on in Ferguson, and opinion on racial issues is very sharply split by party. 14 Do you worry about the merging of racial and partisan identity?

14 The growing partisan divide on racial issues

Source: Gallup, Pew Research Center, via Michael Tesler
Barack Obama
I don’t worry about that, because I don’t think that’s going to last. I worry very much about the immediate consequences of mistrust between police and minority communities. I think there are things we can do to train our police force and make sure that everybody is being treated fairly. And the task force that I assigned after the Ferguson and New York cases is intended to produce very specific tools for us to deal with it.

But over the long term, I’m pretty optimistic, and the reason is because this country just becomes more and more of a hodgepodge of folks. Again, this is an example where things seem very polarized at the national level and media spotlight, but you go into communities — you know, one of the great things about being president is you travel through the entire country, and you go to Tennessee and it turns out that you’ve got this huge Kurdish community. And you go to some little town in Iowa and you see some Hasidic Jewish community, and then you see a bunch of interracial black and white couples running around with their kids. 15 And this is in these little farm communities, and you’ve got Latinos in the classroom when you visit the schools there. So people are getting more and more comfortable with the diversity of this country, much more sophisticated about both the cultural differences but more importantly, the basic commonality that we have. And, you know, the key is to make sure that our politics and our politicians are tapping into that better set of impulses rather than our baser fears.

15 Specifically you see this in Postville, Iowa, where a Lubavitcher family’s purchase of a meat-processing plant in the late 1980s has led to the migration of a small community of Hasidim to the area.
And my gut tells me, and I’ve seen it in my own career and you see it generally, a politician who plays on those fears in America, I don’t think is going to over time get a lot of traction. Even, you know, it’s not a perfect analogy, but if you think about how rapidly the whole issue of the LGBT community and discrimination against gays and lesbians has shifted. The Republican party, even the most conservative, they have much less ability, I think, to express discriminatory views than they did even 10 years ago. 16 And that’s a source of optimism. It makes me hopeful.

16 Support for same-sex marriage

Source: Pew Research Center
Ezra Klein
On Obamacare, something that members of your administration have always said, and I think you may have said: there’s been a lot of language about it being a good start, a platform to begin building. It’s full of experiments. The idea is that there will be learning, and there will be change. Now we’re in the second year of open enrollment. What would you like to see, if Congress were able to take up a bill, to tweak, to improve, to change, to build on that platform? What specifically from what you wanted in there originally or what we’ve learned since it’s actually been in operation? How would you like to see it improved?

Barack Obama
Well, I’m not sure, Ezra, that we’ve got enough years of it being in place to know perfectly what needs to be improved, where there’s still gaps. It’s been a year. So far the verdict is that this thing’s working for a lot of people. You’ve got 10 million people who’ve been enrolled, you’ve got more folks who’ve been signed up for the expanded Medicaid coverage, you’ve seen health-care inflation stay low or actually be significantly lower than before the ACA was passed, satisfaction with the insurance seems to be high. We haven’t seen major disruptions to the medical system that a lot of people had predicted. So, there’s a lot of stuff that’s working.

Over time, I think seeing if we can do more on delivery-system reform, making sure that we fill the gaps in those states that haven’t expanded Medicaid. The big problem we have right now with Obamacare is that it was designed to make sure that some subset of people qualified for Medicaid, and that’s how they were going to get coverage, and others were going to go into the exchanges because they had slightly higher incomes. And because of the decision of the Roberts court — that we couldn’t incentivize states to expand Medicaid the way we had originally intended — you’ve got a lot of really big states, you’ve got tens of millions of people who aren’t able to get their Medicaid coverage. And so there’s this gap. And that’s probably the biggest challenge for us.

The good news is in dribs and drabs. Much as was true with the original Medicaid program, you’re starting to see Republican governors and Republican state legislatures realize that we’re cutting off our nose to spite our face. We’ve got an ideological objection to us helping our own constituencies and our own health-care systems. And to their credit, you’ve got folks like John Kasich in Ohio and Snyder in Michigan and now, most recently the governor up in Alaska, and others who are saying, « You know what? This is the right thing to do. Let’s go ahead and expand it. » So until that kind of settles, I don’t think we’ll fully know where there’s still gaps in coverage, what more we still need to do. But I think that so far, at least, the performance of the plan itself, not the website in the first three months but the performance of the actual plan, you know, has at least met and perhaps exceeded a lot of people’s expectations. The website, by the way, works great now.

Barack Obama
I don’t worry about that, because I don’t think that’s going to last. I worry very much about the immediate consequences of mistrust between police and minority communities. I think there are things we can do to train our police force and make sure that everybody is being treated fairly. And the task force that I assigned after the Ferguson and New York cases is intended to produce very specific tools for us to deal with it.

But over the long term, I’m pretty optimistic, and the reason is because this country just becomes more and more of a hodgepodge of folks. Again, this is an example where things seem very polarized at the national level and media spotlight, but you go into communities — you know, one of the great things about being president is you travel through the entire country, and you go to Tennessee and it turns out that you’ve got this huge Kurdish community. And you go to some little town in Iowa and you see some Hasidic Jewish community, and then you see a bunch of interracial black and white couples running around with their kids. 15 And this is in these little farm communities, and you’ve got Latinos in the classroom when you visit the schools there. So people are getting more and more comfortable with the diversity of this country, much more sophisticated about both the cultural differences but more importantly, the basic commonality that we have. And, you know, the key is to make sure that our politics and our politicians are tapping into that better set of impulses rather than our baser fears.

15 Specifically you see this in Postville, Iowa, where a Lubavitcher family’s purchase of a meat-processing plant in the late 1980s has led to the migration of a small community of Hasidim to the area.
And my gut tells me, and I’ve seen it in my own career and you see it generally, a politician who plays on those fears in America, I don’t think is going to over time get a lot of traction. Even, you know, it’s not a perfect analogy, but if you think about how rapidly the whole issue of the LGBT community and discrimination against gays and lesbians has shifted. The Republican party, even the most conservative, they have much less ability, I think, to express discriminatory views than they did even 10 years ago. 16 And that’s a source of optimism. It makes me hopeful.

16 Support for same-sex marriage

Source: Pew Research Center
Ezra Klein
On Obamacare, something that members of your administration have always said, and I think you may have said: there’s been a lot of language about it being a good start, a platform to begin building. It’s full of experiments. The idea is that there will be learning, and there will be change. Now we’re in the second year of open enrollment. What would you like to see, if Congress were able to take up a bill, to tweak, to improve, to change, to build on that platform? What specifically from what you wanted in there originally or what we’ve learned since it’s actually been in operation? How would you like to see it improved?

Barack Obama
Well, I’m not sure, Ezra, that we’ve got enough years of it being in place to know perfectly what needs to be improved, where there’s still gaps. It’s been a year. So far the verdict is that this thing’s working for a lot of people. You’ve got 10 million people who’ve been enrolled, you’ve got more folks who’ve been signed up for the expanded Medicaid coverage, you’ve seen health-care inflation stay low or actually be significantly lower than before the ACA was passed, satisfaction with the insurance seems to be high. We haven’t seen major disruptions to the medical system that a lot of people had predicted. So, there’s a lot of stuff that’s working.

Over time, I think seeing if we can do more on delivery-system reform, making sure that we fill the gaps in those states that haven’t expanded Medicaid. The big problem we have right now with Obamacare is that it was designed to make sure that some subset of people qualified for Medicaid, and that’s how they were going to get coverage, and others were going to go into the exchanges because they had slightly higher incomes. And because of the decision of the Roberts court — that we couldn’t incentivize states to expand Medicaid the way we had originally intended — you’ve got a lot of really big states, you’ve got tens of millions of people who aren’t able to get their Medicaid coverage. And so there’s this gap. And that’s probably the biggest challenge for us.

The good news is in dribs and drabs. Much as was true with the original Medicaid program, you’re starting to see Republican governors and Republican state legislatures realize that we’re cutting off our nose to spite our face. We’ve got an ideological objection to us helping our own constituencies and our own health-care systems. And to their credit, you’ve got folks like John Kasich in Ohio and Snyder in Michigan and now, most recently the governor up in Alaska, and others who are saying, « You know what? This is the right thing to do. Let’s go ahead and expand it. » So until that kind of settles, I don’t think we’ll fully know where there’s still gaps in coverage, what more we still need to do. But I think that so far, at least, the performance of the plan itself, not the website in the first three months but the performance of the actual plan, you know, has at least met and perhaps exceeded a lot of people’s expectations. The website, by the way, works great now.

OBAMA The conversation

Part two: Foreign policy

Years before he was a national figure, Barack Obama delivered a speech at a rally against the proposed invasion of Iraq that became integral to his underdog primary campaign in 2008. « I don’t oppose all wars, » he said. « What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. » And yet an actual presidential foreign policy is far more complex than a single speech. The world is vast, and modern technology has rendered war less a binary choice than a broad spectrum of possible uses of force. When Obama sat down with Vox in late January, we asked him not about the crises of the day but about the big ideas that shape his thinking on America’s relationship to the world outside our borders.

Matthew Yglesias
This is a really sort of big-picture question, but over the years, I’ve heard a number of different members of your team refer to your kind of philosophy in foreign affairs as « realism. » 1 Is that a term you would use?

1 Foreign-policy realism is associated with the cold-hearted pursuit of national interests, rather than an emphasis on human rights or international law. The extent of Obama’s realist commitments is frequently debated among foreign-policy insiders.
Barack Obama
You know, traditionally, a lot of American foreign policy has been divided into the realist camp and the idealist camp. And so if you’re an idealist, you’re like Woodrow Wilson, and you’re out there with the League of Nations and imagining everybody holding hands and singing « Kumbaya » and imposing these wonderful rules that everybody’s abiding by. And if you’re a realist, then you’re supporting dictators who happen to be our friends, and you’re cutting deals and solely pursuing the self-interest of our country as narrowly defined. And I just don’t think that describes what a smart foreign policy should be.

Obama on the goal of his foreign policy

See more videos from the Obama interview
I think it is realistic for us to want to use diplomacy for setting up a rules-based system wherever we can, understanding that it’s not always going to work. If we have arms treaties in place, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a stray like North Korea that may try to do its own thing. But you’ve reduced the number of problems that you have and the security and defense challenges that you face if you can create those norms. And one of the great things about American foreign policy in the post-World War II era was that we did a pretty good job with that. It wasn’t perfect, but the UN, the IMF, and a whole host of treaties and rules and norms that were established really helped to stabilize the world in ways that it wouldn’t otherwise be.

Now, I also think that if we were just resorting to that and we didn’t have a realistic view that there are bad people out there who are trying to do us harm — and we’ve got to have the strongest military in the world, and we occasionally have to twist the arms of countries that wouldn’t do what we need them to do if it weren’t for the various economic or diplomatic or, in some cases, military leverage that we had — if we didn’t have that dose of realism, we wouldn’t get anything done, either. So what I do think is accurate in describing my foreign policy is a strong belief that we don’t have military solutions to every problem in the 21st century. That we don’t have a peer in terms of a state that’s going to attack us and bait us. The closest we have, obviously, is Russia, with its nuclear arsenal, but generally speaking they can’t project the way we can around the world. China can’t, either. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined. 2

2 Military spending by the US vs. other countries

Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies
So the biggest challenge we have right now is disorder. Failed states. Asymmetric threats from terrorist organizations. And what I’ve been trying to do is to make sure that over the course of the last six years and hopefully the next two, we just have more tools in our toolkit to deal with the actual problems that we have now and that we can project into the future, rather than just constantly relying on the same tools that we used when we were dealing with Germany and Japan in World War II.

And so ending two wars was important, not because I was under any illusions that that would mean we wouldn’t have any terrorist threat. 3 It does mean, though, that by not having 180,000 people in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can then more strategically deploy, with a smaller footprint, special forces, trainers, partnering, that allows us to get at the actual problem and then frees us up to be able to send a team to prevent Ebola. To double-down on our investments in things like cybersecurity. To look at the new threats and opportunities that are out there. And that, I think, has been the real challenge over the last six to eight years.

3 There are still about 10,000 American military personnel serving in Afghanistan in training and advisory roles, and about 3,000 American troops are in Iraq to train Iraqi soldiers to fight ISIS.
Matthew Yglesias
In the Middle East, where we’re still very much engaged despite the draw-down from Iraq, the Clinton administration had a policy they called Dual Containment of Iraq and Iran. The Bush administration had an idea about preventative war and about rollback and democracy promotion. Under your administration, the country is still very involved in that region, but I don’t think we have as clear a sense of what is the sort of strategic goal of that engagement.

Barack Obama
Well, partly it’s because of the nature of what’s happened in the Middle East. I came in with some very clear theories about what my goals were going to be. We were going to end the war in Iraq. We were going to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, trying diplomacy first. We were going to try to promote increased economic development in the Muslim countries to deal with this demographic bulge that was coming into play. We were going to promote Palestinian and Israeli peace talks. So, there were all kinds of theories.

And then the Arab Spring happened. I don’t recall all the wise men in Washington anticipating this. And so this has been this huge, tumultuous change and shift, and so we’ve had to adapt, even as it’s happening in real time, to some huge changes in these societies. But if you look at the basic goals that I’ve set: making sure that we are maintaining pressure on terrorist organizations so that they have a limited capacity to carry out large-scale attacks on the West. Increasing our partnering and cooperation with countries to deal with that terrorist threat. Continuing to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And using the tool of sanctions to see if we can get a diplomatic breakthrough there. And continuing to try to move the Israeli-Palestinian relationship into a better place, while at the same time helping the region as a whole integrate itself more effectively into the world economy so that there’s more opportunity. Those basic goals still hold true.

But what people rightly have been concerned about [is] that the forces of disorder — sectarianism, most tragically in Syria, but lingering elements of that in Iraq as well, the incapacity of Israelis and Palestinians to get together, and the continued erosion of basic state functions in places like Yemen, mean that there’s more to worry about there than there might have been under the old order. We’re kind of going through a passage that is hard and difficult, but we’re managing it in a way to make sure that Americans are safe and that our interests are secured. And if we can make progress in restoring a functioning, multi-sectarian Iraqi government, and we’re able to get a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, then we have the basis, I think, for a movement towards greater stability.

But this is going to be a generational challenge in the Muslim world and the Middle East that not only the United States but everybody’s going to have to deal with. And we’re going to have to have some humility in recognizing that we don’t have the option of simply invading every country where disorder breaks out. And that to some degree, the people of these countries are going to have to, you know, find their own way. And we can help them but we can’t do it for them.

Matthew Yglesias
It seems to me, on that point, that members of your administration often seem acutely aware of the idea of limits of American power, maybe to a greater extent than they always feel comfortably articulating publicly. Is it difficult to say, in the political and media system, that there are things that you can’t really do?

Barack Obama
Well, American leadership, in part, comes out of our can-do spirit. We’re the largest, most powerful country on Earth. As I said previously in speeches: when problems happen, they don’t call Beijing. They don’t call Moscow. They call us. And we embrace that responsibility. The question, I think, is how that leadership is exercised. My administration is very aggressive and internationalist in wading in and taking on and trying to solve problems.

Where the issue of limits comes in is what resources do we devote that are going to be effective in solving the problem. So, in Iraq, when ISIL arises, if you think you have no constraints, no limits, then I have the authority as commander-in-chief to send back 200,000 Americans to re-occupy Iraq. I think that’d be terrible for the country. I don’t think it’d be productive for Iraq. What we’ve learned in Iraq is you can keep a lid on those sectarian issues as long as we’ve got the greatest military on Earth there on the ground, but as soon as we leave, which at some point we would, we’d have the same problems again. 4 So what I said was Iraqis have to show us that they are prepared to put together a functioning government, that the Shia majority is prepared to reach out to the Kurds and Sunnis, and that they’re credibly willing to fight on the ground. And if they do those things, then we can help, and we’re going to have a 60-nation coalition to do it. So, if you look at that strategy, yes, it acknowledges limits. It acknowledges that it’s a bad idea for us, after 13 years of war, to take over a country again. But that doesn’t mean we’re not engaged, and it doesn’t mean we’re not leading.

4 Civilian deaths in Iraq, before and after US departure

Source: The Economist
And so, I think the real challenge for the country not just during my presidency but in future presidencies is recognizing that leading does not always mean occupying. That the temptation to think that there’s a quick fix to these problems is usually a temptation to be resisted. And that American leadership means wherever possible leveraging other countries, other resources, where we’re the lead partner because we have capabilities that other folks don’t have. But that way there’s some burden-sharing and there’s some ownership for outcomes. And many of these problems don’t get solved in a year or two years or three years.

I mean, the Shia-Sunni split in the Middle East right now is one that has been playing itself out over centuries. 5 We have the opportunity, I think, to lessen those tensions and to lift up voices that are less prone to exploit those sectarian divides, but, you know, we’re not going to eliminate that stuff overnight.

5 Share of Muslim population that is Shia, by country

Source: Pew Research Center
The trend towards extremism among a small segment of Muslim youth in the region, that’s a trend that’s been building up over a period time in part because of broader demographic problems and economic problems in the region, partly because of a perverted ideology that’s been hypercharged through the internet. It’s winning the hearts and minds of that cohort back. 6 That’s a multi-year project.

6 Obama’s State Department has gone so far as to launch an initiative called « Think Again, Turn Away » that uses YouTube, Twitter, and other platforms to try to convince young people that extremist groups are bad.
And so in the meantime, you take the victories where you can. You make things a little bit better rather than a little bit worse. And that’s in no way a concession to this idea that America is withdrawing or there’s not much we can do. It’s just a realistic assessment of how the world works.

Matthew Yglesias
You seemed to resist the realist label earlier, but when you talked about your goals earlier, you seemed very concerned about disorder, and you didn’t mention anything like democracy and human rights. And the countries you mentioned partnering with, it’s places like Egypt, where they came to power in a military coup; Saudi Arabia, with public beheadings; Bahrain, where during the Arab Spring they were beating nonviolent demonstrators and repressing that violently. Do you have any concerns about the sort of long-term sustainability of those kind of partnerships?

Barack Obama
This is a perfect example, Matt, of where the division between realism and idealism kind of breaks down. I think any realist worth their salt would say that any society that consistently ignores human rights and the dignity of its citizens at some point is going to be unstable and not a great partner. So it’s not just the right thing to do; it’s also very much in our interest to promote reforms throughout the Middle East. Now, the fact that we have to make real-time decisions about who are we partnering with and how perfectly are they abiding by our ideals, and are there times where we’ve got to mute some of our criticism to get some stuff done, are there times where we have an opportunity to press forward — that doesn’t negate the importance of us speaking out on these issues.

As I said during the State of the Union speech and as I’ve said in any speech that I’ve made in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, it just means that we’ve got to do more than one thing at a time. We need a strong bilateral relationship with China to achieve a bunch of international goals like climate change that are of great national-security importance to us and billions of other people. That doesn’t mean it’s not smart for us also to speak out about censorship and political prisoners in China. We have to do both those things, and there’s going to be some times they come a little more into the fore than in other times. And the same is true in the Middle East and elsewhere. But I am a firm believer that particularly in this modern internet age, the capacity of the old-style authoritarian government to sustain itself and to thrive just is going to continue to weaken. It’s going to continue to crumble that model. My argument to any partner that we have is that you are better off if you’ve got a strong civil society and you’ve got democratic legitimacy and you are respectful of human rights. That’s how you’re going to attract businesses, that’s how you’re going to have a strong workforce, that’s how ultimately you’ve got a more durable not just economy but also political system.

But in those conversations, I’m also going to acknowledge that for a country that, say, has no experience in democracy or has no functioning civil society or where the most organized factions are intolerant, you know, religious sects, that progress is going to be happening in steps as opposed to in one big leap. And, I think, the goal of any good foreign policy is having a vision and aspirations and ideals, but also recognizing the world as it is, where it is, and figuring out how do you tack to the point where things are better than they were before. That doesn’t mean perfect. It just means it’s better. The trajectory of this planet overall is one toward less violence, more tolerance, less strife, less poverty. I’ve said this before and I think some folks in Washington were like, « Oh, he’s ignoring the chaos of all the terrible stuff that’s happening. » Of course, I’m not ignoring it. I’m dealing with it every day. That’s what I wake up to each morning. I get a thick book full of death, destruction, strife, and chaos. That’s what I take with my morning tea.

Matthew Yglesias
Do you think the media sometimes overstates the level of alarm people should have about terrorism and this kind of chaos, as opposed to a longer-term problem of climate change and epidemic disease?

Barack Obama
Absolutely. And I don’t blame the media for that. What’s the famous saying about local newscasts, right? If it bleeds, it leads, right? You show crime stories and you show fires, because that’s what folks watch, and it’s all about ratings. And, you know, the problems of terrorism and dysfunction and chaos, along with plane crashes and a few other things, that’s the equivalent when it comes to covering international affairs. There’s just not going to be a lot of interest in a headline story that we have cut infant mortality by really significant amounts over the last 20 years or that extreme poverty has been slashed or that there’s been enormous progress with a program we set up when I first came into office to help poor farmers increase productivity and yields. 7 It’s not a sexy story. And climate change is one that is happening at such a broad scale and at such a complex system, it’s a hard story for the media to tell on a day-to-day basis.

7 The little-noticed « Feed the Future » initiative has reached about 7 million people already, and introduces farmers in poor countries to more advanced technologies and management practices to boost crop production.
Look, the point is this: my first job is to protect the American people. It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris. We devote enormous resources to that, and it is right and appropriate for us to be vigilant and aggressive in trying to deal with that — the same way a big city mayor’s got to cut the crime rate down if he wants that city to thrive. But we also have to attend to a lot of other issues, and we’ve got to make sure we’re right-sizing our approach so that what we do isn’t counterproductive. I would argue that our invasion of Iraq was counterproductive to the goal of keeping our country safe.

And despite the incredible valor of our troops — and I’m in awe of them every single day when I work with them — you know, the strategy that was crafted in Washington didn’t always match up with the actual threats that were out there. And we need to make sure that we’re doing the right things and doing those well so that we can also deal with future threats like cybersecurity or climate change or different parts of the world where there are huge opportunities, but [that] before I came into office, we had neglected for quite some time, Asia Pacific being a perfect example. Or our own backyard, the Western Hemisphere, where there’s been real progress in Latin America and we’ve got the opportunity to strengthen our relationships. But there are also some big problems like Central America where, with a relatively modest investment, we could really be making a difference and making ourselves safer. 8

8 This is not necessarily directly relevant to « our safety, » but it’s worth noting the horrific conditions documented by NGOs that have looked at the lives of Central Americans sent back to their homes by US officials. Here’s what the administration is doing now in Central America.
Matthew Yglesias
So there’s this idea of a pivot to Asia, and what does that mean to you in specific terms? 9 A transfer of hard military resources, a transfer of time on your agenda in the National Security Council? Is it something you’ve really managed to pull off or does the Middle East really still have us kind of sucked in?

9 The origins of the « pivot to Asia » term are a bit shrouded, but the strategic concept of focusing more on the Pacific Rim and less on the Middle East dates back to a series of speeches and initiatives starting in the fall of 2011.
Barack Obama
I think it means all of the above. Look, Asia is the fastest growing region in the world, the most populous region in the world, and you’ve got the largest country in the world, China, that has undergone this incredible, dramatic transformation over the several last decades. 10 How well America does, economically, from a security perspective, is going to be linked to our relationship to that region. So we’ve said, a) we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a constructive relationship with China, one that is hardheaded enough to make sure they’re not taking advantage of us, but also sends a message to them that we can create a win-win situation as opposed to a pure competition that could be dangerous. And in order to do that, China, you’ve got to step up and help us underwrite these global rules that in fact help to facilitate your rise. Things like free-trade rules that are fair and maritime rules that don’t allow large countries to bully small ones. So that’s one big piece of it.

10 Growth in China’s Gross Domestic Product

Source: The World Bank
A second big piece of it is making sure that our allies like Japan and South Korea feel confident that we’re always going to be there and that our presence is not one that over time wanes, because they’re looking at a really big neighbor next door. They want to make sure that if America is their key partner, that America is going to stand with them through thick and thin. Then you’ve got all these smaller countries, or countries that are developing, and are coming into their own in the South Pacific, in Southeast Asia, and what we see there is this enormous hunger for more engagement with America. They want to do more business with us. They want to have more defense cooperation with us. And what we’ve been able to do over the last six years is to have systematically built this set of relationships and strengthen trading platforms, strengthen security cooperation — everything from how we deal with disaster relief, so if something like what happened in the Philippines happens in other countries, we can work more robustly, and we’re building resilience to how we’re dealing with deforestation. All these things are areas where we’ve made an enormous investment and there have been significant payoffs.

Obama on what most Americans get wrong about foreign aid

See more videos from the Obama interview
Matthew Yglesias
You mentioned the Philippines, and earlier the idea that there are big gains potentially to be made by giving some assistance to Central America. Does it really make sense to have so much of America’s foreign aid going to a country like Israel that’s quite wealthy when there are other democratic allies in other regions in the world that seem maybe more in need of assistance?

Barack Obama
Well, our relationship with Israel is in many ways unique. It’s our strongest ally in the region. Our people-to-people ties are unmatched. And partly because of world history, the vulnerabilities of a Jewish population in the midst of a really hostile neighborhood create a special obligation for us to help them. I think the more interesting question is if you look at our foreign assistance as a tool in our national security portfolio, as opposed to charity, and you combine our defense budget with our diplomatic budget and our foreign assistance budget, then in that mix there’s a lot more that we should be doing when it comes to helping Honduras and Guatemala build an effective criminal-justice system, effective police, and economic development that creates jobs. 11

11 Composition of US federal budget, 2014

Source: The White House Office of Management and Budget
Matthew Yglesias
So you’re saying it would make sense to reallocate those resources?

Barack Obama
Well, and part of the challenge here is just public awareness. Time and time again, when they do surveys, and they ask people what proportion of the foreign budget is spent on foreign aid, they’ll say, « 25 percent. » They’re pretty sure all their hard-earned money that they pay in taxes is somehow going to other folks. And if we can say, it varies between 1-2 percent depending on how you define it. And if we were to make some strategic investments in countries that really could use our help, we would then not have to deploy our military as often and we would be in a better position to work with other countries to stand down violent extremism. Then I think people could be persuaded by that argument, but we haven’t traditionally talked about it in those terms. It’s one of the things I’d like to do over the next couple of years: to try to erase this very sharp line between our military efforts in national security and our diplomatic and foreign assistance efforts. Because in this environment today, we’ve got to think of it all in one piece.

Matthew Yglesias
The transformation and growing prosperity in China is really probably the biggest story of the times we’re living through. And it’s something that it seems to me as something that causes a lot of anxiety to a lot of Americans. You know, we’ve been having our own economic struggles, but also from a geopolitical standpoint, it’s a country with a very different political system, with very different values. Is this something that you think people should regard as alarming?

Barack Obama
No, we shouldn’t alarm it. In fact, we should welcome China’s peaceful rise, partly from just an ethical perspective. To see hundreds of millions of people rise out of dire poverty and be able to feed their children and have a decent home: that’s a good thing and we should encourage it. In addition, a China that is disorderly is a big problem because there are a lot of Chinese in the world, and if they’re not doing well and they’re unstable, that’s very dangerous for the region.

Where Americans have a legitimate reason to be concerned is that in part this rise has taken place on the backs of an international system in which China wasn’t carrying its own weight or following the rules of the road and we were, and in some cases we got the short end of the stick. 12 This is part of the debate that we’re having right now in terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal that, you know, we’ve been negotiating. There are a lot of people who look at the last 20 years and say, « Why would we want another trade deal that hasn’t been good for American workers? It allowed outsourcing of American companies locating jobs in low-wage China and then selling it back to Walmart. And, yes, we got cheaper sneakers, but we also lost all our jobs. »

12 The most notable example here is probably the longstanding dispute over Chinese currency policy, which, especially in the late-aughts, seemed calculated to undermine American manufacturers by creating an artificially cheap yuan relative to the dollar.
And my argument is two-fold. Number one: precisely because that horse is out of the barn, the issue we’re trying to deal with right now is, can we make for a higher bar on labor, on environmental standards, et cetera, in that region and write a set of rules where it’s fairer, because right now it’s not fair, and if you want to improve it, that means we need a new trading regime. We can’t just rely on the old one because the old one isn’t working for us.

But the second reason it’s important is because the countries we’re negotiating with are the same countries that China is trying to negotiate with. And if we don’t write the rules out there, China’s going to write the rules. And the geopolitical implications of China writing the rules for trade or maritime law or any kind of commercial activity almost inevitably means that we will be cut out or we will be deeply disadvantaged. Our businesses will be disadvantaged, our workers will be disadvantaged. So when I hear, when I talk to labor organizations, I say, right now, we’ve been hugely disadvantaged. Why would we want to maintain the status quo? If we can organize a new trade deal in which a country like Vietnam for the first time recognizes labor rights and those are enforceable, that’s a big deal. It doesn’t mean that we’re still not going to see wage differentials between us and them, but they’re already selling here for the most part. And what we have the opportunity to do is to set long-term trends that keep us in the game in a place that we’ve got to be.

Matthew Yglesias
Why do you think that you haven’t been able to persuade your friends in the labor movement of that? They presumably look at these issues pretty closely. They know the interests of their members.

Barack Obama
Well, look, the story, the narrative, the experience that people have seen over the last 20 years, that’s a real experience, that’s not something we deny. That’s why during the State of the Union address, I was very explicit. I said, look, not every trade deal has lived up to the hype. And there are real gaps in the current trading regime that mean there are a whole lot of Toyotas sold here and almost no Fords or Chryslers sold in Japan. But what I say to them [is] if, in fact, the current situation disadvantages us, why would we want to stick with the current situation?

Now, sometimes their response will be, well, what you’re doing isn’t enough; what we need to do is to have union recognition in Vietnam or we need Japan to completely open its markets and not have any barriers whatsoever, and we need that immediately. And I say, well, I can’t get that for you. But what I can do is make the current situation better for American workers and American businesses that are trying to export there. I can open up more markets than what we have open right now, so that American farmers can sell their goods there. And, you know, better is better. It’s not perfect.

Those experiences that arose over the last 20 years are not easily forgotten, and the burden of proof is on us, then, to be very transparent and explicit in terms of what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s similar to the challenge we’ve got on the Iran negotiations.

And maybe I’ll close with that point, because that’s been an issue of great interest. People are right to be suspicious of Iran. Iran has sponsored state terrorism. It has consistently, at the highest levels, made deplorable anti-Israeli statements. It is repressive to its own people, and there is clear and unavoidable evidence that in the past they have tried to develop a weapons program and have tried to hide it from view. 13 So that’s a given. And it’s understandable why people are concerned, both here and around the world.

13 Iran has long supported a variety of radical groups around the region, notably including but by no means limited to Hezbollah. The government has brutalized pro-democracy protestors, and a range of leaders have promised to eliminate Israel as a state.
But what I’ve also said is that the deal that we’ve struck, this interim deal brought about by the tough sanctions regime that we put together, offers us our best opportunity to solve the problem of a nuclear Iran without resorting to military force. Iran is negotiating seriously for the first time, and they have made, so far, real concessions in the negotiations. We have been able to freeze the program for the first time and, in fact, roll back some elements of its program, like its stockpiles of ultra highly enriched uranium. And so, for us to give an additional two to three months to exhaust all possibilities of a diplomatic resolution when nobody denies — including our intelligence agencies, and Mossad and others — nobody denies that Iran right now really is abiding by the terms of our agreement, so we’re not losing ground. They’re not surreptitiously developing a weapon while we talk. For us to give two [or] three months to figure that out makes sense.

Now, same thing with respect to trade. You’re going to meet some folks who are going to be skeptical, and their impulse is going to be, well, let’s pile on some more sanctions, and let’s squeeze them a little bit more, and any deal that you’re going to strike, they’re going to cheat, and we can’t trust them, and it’s going to be a bad deal — and I get all that. 14 But my message is that we have to test the proposition, and if, in fact, a deal is struck, then it’s going to be a deal that everyone around the world is going to be able to look at. And everybody’s going to be able to determine, does this in fact prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon? And if the answer is yes, then it’s a good deal. If the answer is no, then it’s not a deal that I’m interested in striking. There may be some technical arguments, in part because there are some who will only be satisfied with the Iranian regime being replaced. They don’t even like the idea of Iran having any nuclear technology or nuclear know-how.

14 Obama is referring to a bill introduced into the Senate by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) that would impose new sanctions on Iran, violating the US side of the agreement and likely killing the negotiations.
Matthew Yglesias
In your first campaign, there was talk of the idea that you might hold direct negotiations with countries like that.

Barack Obama
Well, we have had direct negotiations. That’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re now testing the proposition, and the question then, Matt, is whether or not Iran can say yes to the world community that has determined this is a fair approach that gives Iran the ability to re-enter the international community and verify that it’s not pursuing a nuclear weapon.

But this is another example of the overall point that I was making at the start. So it’s a good way to summarize: we can’t guarantee that the forces inside of Iran take what should be seen as a good deal for Iran. We can’t guarantee that they make a rational decision any more than we can guarantee Russia and Mr. Putin make rational decisions about something like Ukraine. We’ve got to guard against their efforts militarily. Any aggression they may show we’ve got to meet firmly and forcefully. But we’ve also got to see whether things like diplomacy, things like economic sanctions, things like international pressure and international norms, will in fact make a difference.

Our successes will happen in fits and starts, and sometimes there’s going to be a breakthrough and sometimes you’ll just modestly make things a little better. And sometimes the play you run doesn’t work and you’ve got to have a plan B and a plan C. But the overall trajectory, the overall goal, is a world in which America continues to lead, that we’re pushing in the direction of more security, more international norms and rules, more human rights, more free speech, less religious intolerance. And those efforts over time add up, and I’m confident that there’s a way for us to maintain our idealism, be hardheaded in assessing what’s out there, confronting the dangers that we face without exaggerating them. America, I’m pretty certain, is going to be the indispensable nation for the remainder of this century just like it was the last one. All right. Thanks so much.

Voir aussi:

Remarks by the President at National Prayer Breakfast

Washington Hilton
Washington, D.C.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary
February 05, 2015

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Well, good morning.  Giving all praise and honor to God.  It is wonderful to be back with you here.  I want to thank our co-chairs, Bob and Roger.  These two don’t always agree in the Senate, but in coming together and uniting us all in prayer, they embody the spirit of our gathering today.

I also want to thank everybody who helped organize this breakfast.  It’s wonderful to see so many friends and faith leaders and dignitaries.  And Michelle and I are truly honored to be joining you here today.

I want to offer a special welcome to a good friend, His Holiness the Dalai Lama — who is a powerful example of what it means to practice compassion, who inspires us to speak up for the freedom and dignity of all human beings.  (Applause.)  I’ve been pleased to welcome him to the White House on many occasions, and we’re grateful that he’s able to join us here today.  (Applause.)

There aren’t that many occasions that bring His Holiness under the same roof as NASCAR.  (Laughter.)  This may be the first.  (Laughter.)  But God works in mysterious ways.  (Laughter.)   And so I want to thank Darrell for that wonderful presentation.  Darrell knows that when you’re going 200 miles an hour, a little prayer cannot hurt.  (Laughter.)  I suspect that more than once, Darrell has had the same thought as many of us have in our own lives — Jesus, take the wheel.  (Laughter.) Although I hope that you kept your hands on the wheel when you were thinking that.  (Laughter.)

He and I obviously share something in having married up.  And we are so grateful to Stevie for the incredible work that they’ve done together to build a ministry where the fastest drivers can slow down a little bit, and spend some time in prayer and reflection and thanks.  And we certainly want to wish Darrell a happy birthday.  (Applause.)  Happy birthday.

I will note, though, Darrell, when you were reading that list of things folks were saying about you, I was thinking, well, you’re a piker.  I mean, that — (laughter.)  I mean, if you really want a list, come talk to me.  (Laughter.)  Because that ain’t nothing.  (Laughter.)  That’s the best they can do in NASCAR?  (Laughter.)

Slowing down and pausing for fellowship and prayer — that’s what this breakfast is about.  I think it’s fair to say Washington moves a lot slower than NASCAR.  Certainly my agenda does sometimes.  (Laughter.)  But still, it’s easier to get caught up in the rush of our lives, and in the political back-and-forth that can take over this city.  We get sidetracked with distractions, large and small.  We can’t go 10 minutes without checking our smartphones — and for my staff, that’s every 10 seconds.  And so for 63 years, this prayer tradition has brought us together, giving us the opportunity to come together in humility before the Almighty and to be reminded of what it is that we share as children of God.

And certainly for me, this is always a chance to reflect on my own faith journey.  Many times as President, I’ve been reminded of a line of prayer that Eleanor Roosevelt was fond of. She said, “Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength.”  Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength.  I’ve wondered at times if maybe God was answering that prayer a little too literally.  But no matter the challenge, He has been there for all of us.  He’s certainly strengthened me “with the power through his Spirit,” as I’ve sought His guidance not just in my own life but in the life of our nation.

Now, over the last few months, we’ve seen a number of challenges — certainly over the last six years.  But part of what I want to touch on today is the degree to which we’ve seen professions of faith used both as an instrument of great good, but also twisted and misused in the name of evil.

As we speak, around the world, we see faith inspiring people to lift up one another — to feed the hungry and care for the poor, and comfort the afflicted and make peace where there is strife.  We heard the good work that Sister has done in Philadelphia, and the incredible work that Dr. Brantly and his colleagues have done.  We see faith driving us to do right.

But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon.  From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it.  We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism  — terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.

We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion.

So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities — the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends?

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.  Michelle and I returned from India — an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity — but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs — acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation.

So this is not unique to one group or one religion.  There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.  In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try.  And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.

And, first, we should start with some basic humility.  I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.

Our job is not to ask that God respond to our notion of truth — our job is to be true to Him, His word, and His commandments.  And we should assume humbly that we’re confused and don’t always know what we’re doing and we’re staggering and stumbling towards Him, and have some humility in that process.  And that means we have to speak up against those who would misuse His name to justify oppression, or violence, or hatred with that fierce certainty.  No God condones terror.  No grievance justifies the taking of innocent lives, or the oppression of those who are weaker or fewer in number.

And so, as people of faith, we are summoned to push back against those who try to distort our religion — any religion — for their own nihilistic ends.  And here at home and around the world, we will constantly reaffirm that fundamental freedom — freedom of religion — the right to practice our faith how we choose, to change our faith if we choose, to practice no faith at all if we choose, and to do so free of persecution and fear and discrimination.

There’s wisdom in our founders writing in those documents that help found this nation the notion of freedom of religion, because they understood the need for humility.  They also understood the need to uphold freedom of speech, that there was a connection between freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  For to infringe on one right under the pretext of protecting another is a betrayal of both.

But part of humility is also recognizing in modern, complicated, diverse societies, the functioning of these rights, the concern for the protection of these rights calls for each of us to exercise civility and restraint and judgment.  And if, in fact, we defend the legal right of a person to insult another’s religion, we’re equally obligated to use our free speech to condemn such insults — (applause) — and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with religious communities, particularly religious minorities who are the targets of such attacks.  Just because you have the right to say something doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t question those who would insult others in the name of free speech.  Because we know that our nations are stronger when people of all faiths feel that they are welcome, that they, too, are full and equal members of our countries.

So humility I think is needed.  And the second thing we need is to uphold the distinction between our faith and our governments.  Between church and between state.  The United States is one of the most religious countries in the world — far more religious than most Western developed countries.  And one of the reasons is that our founders wisely embraced the separation of church and state.  Our government does not sponsor a religion, nor does it pressure anyone to practice a particular faith, or any faith at all.  And the result is a culture where people of all backgrounds and beliefs can freely and proudly worship, without fear, or coercion — so that when you listen to Darrell talk about his faith journey you know it’s real.  You know he’s not saying it because it helps him advance, or because somebody told him to.  It’s from the heart.

That’s not the case in theocracies that restrict people’s choice of faith.  It’s not the case in authoritarian governments that elevate an individual leader or a political party above the people, or in some cases, above the concept of God Himself.  So the freedom of religion is a value we will continue to protect here at home and stand up for around the world, and is one that we guard vigilantly here in the United States.

Last year, we joined together to pray for the release of Christian missionary Kenneth Bae, held in North Korea for two years.  And today, we give thanks that Kenneth is finally back where he belongs — home, with his family.  (Applause.)

Last year, we prayed together for Pastor Saeed Abedini, detained in Iran since 2012.  And I was recently in Boise, Idaho, and had the opportunity to meet with Pastor Abedini’s beautiful wife and wonderful children and to convey to them that our country has not forgotten brother Saeed and that we’re doing everything we can to bring him home.  (Applause.)  And then, I received an extraordinary letter from Pastor Abedini.  And in it, he describes his captivity, and expressed his gratitude for my visit with his family, and thanked us all for standing in solidarity with him during his captivity.

And Pastor Abedini wrote, “Nothing is more valuable to the Body of Christ than to see how the Lord is in control, and moves ahead of countries and leadership through united prayer.”  And he closed his letter by describing himself as “prisoner for Christ, who is proud to be part of this great nation of the United States of America that cares for religious freedom around the world.”  (Applause.)

We’re going to keep up this work — for Pastor Abedini and all those around the world who are unjustly held or persecuted because of their faith.   And we’re grateful to our new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Rabbi David Saperstein — who has hit the ground running, and is heading to Iraq in a few days to help religious communities there address some of those challenges.  Where’s David?  I know he’s here somewhere.  Thank you, David, for the great work you’re doing.  (Applause.)

Humility; a suspicion of government getting between us and our faiths, or trying to dictate our faiths, or elevate one faith over another.  And, finally, let’s remember that if there is one law that we can all be most certain of that seems to bind people of all faiths, and people who are still finding their way towards faith but have a sense of ethics and morality in them — that one law, that Golden Rule that we should treat one another as we wish to be treated.  The Torah says “Love thy neighbor as yourself.”  In Islam, there is a Hadith that states: « None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”  The Holy Bible tells us to “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”  Put on love.

Whatever our beliefs, whatever our traditions, we must seek to be instruments of peace, and bringing light where there is darkness, and sowing love where there is hatred.  And this is the loving message of His Holiness, Pope Francis.  And like so many people around the world, I’ve been touched by his call to relieve suffering, and to show justice and mercy and compassion to the most vulnerable; to walk with The Lord and ask “Who am I to judge?”  He challenges us to press on in what he calls our “march of living hope.”  And like millions of Americans, I am very much looking forward to welcoming Pope Francis to the United States later this year.  (Applause.)

His Holiness expresses that basic law:  Treat thy neighbor as yourself.  The Dalai Lama — anybody who’s had an opportunity to be with him senses that same spirit.  Kent Brantly expresses that same spirit.  Kent was with Samaritan’s Purse, treating Ebola patients in Liberia, when he contracted the virus himself. And with world-class medical care and a deep reliance on faith — with God’s help, Kent survived.  (Applause.)

And then by donating his plasma, he helped others survive as well.  And he continues to advocate for a global response in West Africa, reminding us that “our efforts needs to be on loving the people there.”  And I could not have been prouder to welcome Kent and his wonderful wife Amber to the Oval Office.  We are blessed to have him here today — because he reminds us of what it means to really “love thy neighbor as thyself.”  Not just words, but deeds.

Each of us has a role in fulfilling our common, greater purpose — not merely to seek high position, but to plumb greater depths so that we may find the strength to love more fully.  And this is perhaps our greatest challenge — to see our own reflection in each other; to be our brother’s keepers and sister’s keepers, and to keep faith with one another.  As children of God, let’s make that our work, together.

As children of God, let’s work to end injustice — injustice of poverty and hunger.  No one should ever suffer from such want amidst such plenty.  As children of God, let’s work to eliminate the scourge of homelessness, because, as Sister Mary says, “None of us are home until all of us are home.”  None of us are home until all of us are home.

As children of God, let’s stand up for the dignity and value of every woman, and man, and child, because we are all equal in His eyes, and work to send the scourge and the sin of modern-day slavery and human trafficking, and “set the oppressed free.”  (Applause.)

If we are properly humble, if we drop to our knees on occasion, we will acknowledge that we never fully know God’s purpose.  We can never fully fathom His amazing grace.  “We see through a glass, darkly” — grappling with the expanse of His awesome love.  But even with our limits, we can heed that which is required:  To do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.

I pray that we will.  And as we journey together on this “march of living hope,” I pray that, in His name, we will run and not be weary, and walk and not be faint, and we’ll heed those words and “put on love.”

May the Lord bless you and keep you, and may He bless this precious country that we love.

Thank you all very much.  (Applause.)

12 commentaires pour Dhimmitude: Un tas de fanatiques qui tirent au hasard dans un tas de gens dans une épicerie à Paris (Wrong place, wrong time: Paris shooter ‘randomly’ selected deli and targets, Obama)

  1. JFM dit :

    Personne ne souffre plus que le peuple Palestinien. Allez dire ça aux Noirs du Darfour massacrés par dizaines de milliers, leurs femmes violées, réduits en esclavage et contre lesquels lur ennemi utilise l’arme de la faim. Pendant ce temps à Gaza les ventres sont pleins et il y a des concessionnaires Mercedes.

    Des Noirs dont mr Obama se souvcie fort peu.

    Aimé par 1 personne

  2. jcdurbant dit :

    Un fanatique (de l’athéisme et de l’homophilie ?) qui tire dans un tas de gens en raison de ce qu’il sont, de leur apparence ou de leur croyance dans un appartement à Chapel Hill …

    Aux Etats-Unis, personne ne devrait jamais être pris pour cible en raison de ce qu’il est, de son apparence ou de sa croyance.

    Obama

    Our preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking.

    Chapel Hill police

    J'aime

  3. […] Alors qu’après avoir contre toute évidence mis en doute les mobiles antisémites du massacre de l’Hyper cacher … […]

    J'aime

  4. […] qui, ultime outrage aux victimes et pour disculper l’islam à l’instar de l’Administration Obama, pleurent sur les musulmans […]

    J'aime

  5. […] qui, ultime outrage aux victimes et pour disculper l’islam à l’instar de l’Administration Obama, pleurent sur les musulmans […]

    J'aime

  6. […] et de la religion d’amour et de paix, d’un nouveau coup d’éclat d’un jeune militant danois d’origine palestinienne […]

    J'aime

  7. […] Il est tout à fait légitime pour le peuple américain d’être profondément préoccupé quand vous avez un tas de fanatiques vicieux et violents qui décapitent les gens ou qui tirent au hasard dans un tas de gens dans une épicerie à Paris. Barack Hussein Obama […]

    J'aime

  8. […] où, avec leur nouveau saccage du musée de Mossoul et contre les « tués au hasard » et croisés et inquisiteurs de Barack Obama comme les « Egyptiens […]

    J'aime

  9. jcdurbant dit :

    Voir aussi

    Summarizing these statements, which come straight out of the Islamist playbook: Islam is purely a religion of peace, so violence and barbarism categorically have nothing to do with it; indeed, these « masquerade » and « pervert » Islam. By implication, more Islam is needed to solve these « monstrous » and « barbaric » problems.

    According to non-Muslim politicians these Taliban members have nothing to do with Islam.

    But, of course, this interpretation neglects the scriptures of Islam and the history of Muslims, steeped in the assumption of superiority toward non-Muslims and the righteous violence of jihad. Ironically, ignoring the Islamic impulse means foregoing the best tool to defeat jihadism: for, if the problem results not from an interpretation of Islam, but from random evil and irrational impulses, how can one possibly counter it? Only acknowledging the legacy of Islamic imperialism opens ways to re-interpret the faith’s scriptures in modern, moderate, and good-neighborly ways.

    Why, then, do powerful politicians make ignorant and counterproductive arguments, ones they surely know to be false, especially as violent Islamism spreads (think of Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, and the Taliban)? Cowardice and multiculturalism play a role, to be sure, but two other reasons have more importance:

    Ignoring the Islamic impulse means foregoing the best tool to defeat jihadism.

    First, they want not to offend Muslims, who they fear are more prone to violence if they perceive non-Muslims pursuing a « war on Islam. » Second, they worry that focusing on Muslims means fundamental changes to the secular order, while denying an Islamic element permits avoid troubling issues. For example, it permits airplane security to look for passengers’ weapons rather than engage in Israeli-style interrogations.

    My prediction: Denial will continue unless violence increases. In retrospect, the 3,000 victims of 9/11 did not shake non-Muslim complacency. The nearly 30,000 fatalities from Islamist terrorism since then also have not altered the official line. Perhaps 300,000 dead will cast aside worries about Islamist sensibilities and a reluctance to make profound social changes, replacing these with a determination to fight a radical utopian ideology; three million dead will surely suffice.

    Without such casualties, however, politicians will likely continue with denial because it’s easier that way. I regret this – but prefer denial to the alternative.

    Daniel Pipes

    J'aime

  10. jcdurbant dit :

    Cachez cet islam que je ne saurai voir

    « The roots of terrorism, Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq. »

    François Hollande

    http://mrctv.org/blog/video-wh-censors-reference-islamist-terrorism-french-president

    I’d chalk that up to a glitch if not for the fact that it jibes with Obama’s own notorious policy of not mentioning Islam in connection with jihadism. If that’s his rhetorical preference, okay; it reeks of embarrassing political correctness but it’s his prerogative to choose his own words. It’s not his prerogative to choose someone else’s words, particularly when that someone is a foreign head of state whose country is dealing with a more severe jihadist threat right now than the United States is. They’ve actually reached the point now where they’re blacking out references to Islam for English speakers in official state video of talks over terrorism. (At least they’re not censoring transcripts. Yet.)

    You know what the worst part is? Hollande didn’t say “Islamic terrorism,” which is the supposedly objectionable term. He said “Islamist terrorism.” “Islamist” was, I thought, a term that came into use precisely because it gave the speaker an efficient way to distinguish between “moderate Muslims” and the more jihad-minded. “Islamic” describes all things Muslim; “Islamist” describes a supremacist view in which Islam is the highest authority of the state. Many critics of Islam would dispute that there’s a meaningful distinction between those two, but Obama and Hollande certainly wouldn’t. ISIS may not be Islamic to Obama but it’s certainly Islamist. Point being, Hollande chose his words carefully here according to the White House transcript so as not to conflate the average Muslim with the jihadis he’s discussing — and the White House still censored him. That’s the point we’re at.

    Update: Needless to say: “If a Republican president was silencing translations because of politics, it’d be a front-page story.”

    http://hotair.com/archives/2016/04/01/pathetic-white-house-silences-translation-audio-when-french-president-mentions-islamist-terrorism/

    J'aime

  11. jcdurbant dit :

    ‘QUALITY’, ‘UNBIASED’ ‘JOURNALISM’ ANYONE ? (CNN strikes again with their usual scare quotes about Wednesday’s random shooting of a bunch of folks in a Tel Aviv deli)

    “What’s the famous saying about local newscasts, right? If it bleeds, it leads, right? It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”

    Barack Hussein Obama

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/06/09/disgusting-cnn-slammed-for-headline-with-terrorists-in-quotation-marks-after-deadly-tel-aviv-attack/

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/cnn-uses-scare-quotes-to-describe-terrorist-attack-in-israel/article/2585375

    J'aime

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