Monday, December 21, 2009

Hentoff on Obama

Nat Hentoff, no conservative Republican he (he wrote a weekly column for the Village Voice for fifty years), has some pretty strong words concerning our President in an interview he did with the Rutherford Institute. When Nat Hentoff says about Mr. Obama what he says in this interview the liberals and moderates who elected him better sit up and pay attention:

Rutherford Institute: When Barack Obama was a U.S. Senator in 2005, he introduced a bill to limit the Patriot Act. Now that he is president, he has endorsed the Patriot Act as is. What do you think happened with Obama?

Nat Hentoff: I try to avoid hyperbole, but I think Obama is possibly the most dangerous and destructive president we have ever had. An example is ObamaCare, which is now embattled in the Senate. If that goes through the way Obama wants, we will have something very much like the British system. If the American people have their health care paid for by the government, depending on their age and their condition, they will be subject to a health commission just like in England which will decide if their lives are worth living much longer.

In terms of the Patriot Act, and all the other things he has pledged he would do, such as transparency in government, Obama has reneged on his promises. He pledged to end torture, but he has continued the CIA renditions where you kidnap people and send them to another country to be interrogated. Why is Obama doing that if he doesn't want torture anymore? Throughout Obama's career, he promised to limit the state secrets doctrine which the Bush-Cheney administration had abused enormously. The Bush administration would go into court on any kind of a case that they thought might embarrass them and would argue that it was a state secret and the case should not be continued. Obama is doing the same thing, even though he promised not to.

So in answer to your question, I am beginning to think that this guy is a phony. Obama seems to have no firm principles that I can discern that he will adhere to. His only principle is his own aggrandizement. This is a very dangerous mindset for a president to have.

RI: Do you consider Obama to be worse than George W. Bush?

NH: Oh, much worse. Bush essentially came in with very little qualifications for presidency, not only in terms of his background but he lacked a certain amount of curiosity, and he depended entirely too much on people like Rumsfeld, Cheney and others. Bush was led astray and we were led astray. However, I never thought that Bush himself was, in any sense, "evil." I am hesitant to say this about Obama. Obama is a bad man in terms of the Constitution. The irony is that Obama was a law professor at the University of Chicago. He would, most of all, know that what he is doing weakens the Constitution.

In fact, we have never had more invasions of privacy than we have now. The Fourth Amendment is on life support and the chief agent of that is the National Security Agency. The NSA has the capacity to keep track of everything we do on the phone and on the internet. Obama has done nothing about that. In fact, he has perpetuated it. He has absolutely no judicial supervision of all of this. So all in all, Obama is a disaster.

RI: Obama is not reversing the Bush policies as he promised. But even in light of this, many on the Left are very, very quiet about Obama. Why is that?

NH: I am an atheist, although I very much admire and have been influenced by many traditionally religious people. I say this because the Left has taken what passes for their principles as an absolute religion. They don't think anymore. They just react. When they have somebody like Obama whom they put into office, they believed in the religious sense and, of course, that is a large part of the reason for their silence on these issues. They are very hesitant to criticize Obama, but that is beginning to change. Even on the cable network MSNBC, some of the strongest proponents of Obama are now beginning to question, if I may use their words, their "deity."

There is much more to this interview that I wish I could include in the post. Read the whole thing at the link.

For the thoughts of another remorseful Obama voter see Michael Goodwin's column at The New York Post.


Keep Your Opinions to Yourself

We often hear complaints about those officious Christians who are always going about trying to impose their values, especially sexual values, on the rest of society. Religion and religious reasons are excluded from public discourse, we are told, by the requirements of both good taste and the First Amendment, and people who insist on offering religious objections to certain matters are offending social and Constitutional propriety.

Of course, the complainers are usually pretty selective in their criticism. When Christians speak out against war, or in favor of human and civil rights, or on behalf of the poor, the complainers suddenly go silent. As long as the issue is one the secularists themselves favor, why, then Christians are speaking prophetically and have every right to be heard. When, however, Christians speak out against something the secularist supports, like abortion on demand or gay marriage, then the meddlesome Christians are sternly instructed to keep their opinions out of the public square.

A recent example of the secularists' selective outrage might be illustrated by a controversy brewing in, of all places, Uganda. The Ugandan church largely supports passage of a bill that would make homosexual conduct punishable by either life in prison or death, and American Christians are roundly condemning it. This disagreement is causing a lot of tension between Ugandan and American Christians, but the Americans are arguing on theological grounds that such a law violates the biblical demands for both justice and compassion.

Given this insertion of religious arguments into a debate occuring in a foreign country we might ask our secularist friends why they're not demanding that Christians just keep their religious opinions to themselves and stay out of Ugandan affairs. I doubt, though, that very many secularists will raise such objections because they're just as appalled by the bill as are the American Christians who are risking a rift with their Ugandan brethren over it. Nevertheless, if these same Christians were to speak out against gay marriage they'd be quickly and loudly condemned for "intolerance," gay-bashing, and breaching the wall of separation between church and state. They'd have their tax-exempt status threatened and told to keep their bibles out of politics.

For the secularist religion is just fine if employed in a cause which they themselves wish to advance, but they find it abhorrent and out of place in a pluralist society when employed in causes they oppose. In other words, religious arguments have no place in our political debates except when they do.

It's amusing to listen to these people.


Is AARP Bought and Paid for?

Michelle Malkin notes that AARP offers the only health coverage that under "ObamaCare" would be exempt from having to accept clients with medical pre-conditions. Their Medigap program rakes in $400 million a year and will not be required to incur the expense of insuring those whose medical conditions make it a near certainty that the insurer will have to pay out huge sums for treatment. What did AARP do to get this favored status?

The intrepid Jason Mattera chases down an AARP officer to get an answer to that question and others. He wonders whether the exemption has anything to do with AARP's support of the health care reform bill currently before Congress. Needless to say, he doesn't get much satisfaction: