Michael Maiello's picture

    Obama Should Not Have Spoken Tonight

    What happened in San Bernardino represents an unwelcome threshold between the ideal behind Islamic-inspired international terrorism and homegrown violence.  Obama made a mistake tonight by elevating a criminal event into an international incident.

    It's ridiculous that every time some nut opens fire on a group of people that we (by which I mean, our media) ask “was it terrorism?” before anything else.  It shouldn't matter.  The event is enough.  One person reigning death on many is always terrorism.  We should probably retire the term and get to the heart of the matter — one armed person attacking multiple, unarmed targets, is cowardice.  Terrorism implies some sort of kamikaze heroism, after all.  What mass shooters do is more akin to Dick Cheney shooting caged pheasants and hitting his friend in the process.

    We thought, 15 or 20 years ago, that this internet of ours would bring people together and advance society towards direct democracy. In some ways, it has done its job.  But in the darker corners of the soul, it has enabled dangerous hermitage so that a couple of southern California can, while everyone thinks they are pulling together for their new baby, build an armory instead. I have to say, though it will be impolitic, that I wonder how much the shock of fatherhood, post partum depression and selected isolation, had to do with all of this.

    To me, though, none of this has anything to do with who we bomb in the middle east.  To Obama's credit, he will not bite at the provocation to send in ground troops.  However, he has also not bitten (for too long) at the pacifist impulse to just get out of there, and he has had ample opportunity for that.

    After 9/11, our government claimed powers for endless wars and for extensive domestic surveillance.  Those powers have now endured two presidencies, from two parties.  Edward Snowden's revelations were stunning enough that cosmetic changes to surveillance powers were made.  Obama slowly withdrew ground forces from the two wars he inherited, but has otherwise accelerated our aggression in the region.

    Obama's address tonight helped to reaffirm that we are in some sort of international war that most Americans have no stomach for and never asked for.  A proper response to 9/11 (criminal, not geopolitical) might have spared us a lot of grief and loss.  What happened in California was criminal and local.   Obama elevated it.  In so doing, he has paved the way for more foreign wars and more domestic incursions of liberty.  It was a mistake.



    (For understanding :when submitted this was  purely a response to Michael's title rather than his blog which then appeared as an empty page )


    Why? He's the President acting Presidential.  This is a violent country and our Muslim neighbors need to be supported against its Donald Trumps. If not by the President, than by whom?

    I'm glad you decided to provide this rationale.It's certainly a position  that should be considered.It's not mine. 

    Although the polls show a majority of white voters as anti Obama I expect/hope that he retains influence over blacks. To the extent that ,sadly, San Bernadino could influence some of them to violence again Muslims he will have helped to counter that.  

    I was once again proud  I voted for him.



    Content wise, he's mostly fine.  I am worried, however, that elevating this lone wolf crime to this level is just unhealthy for democracy.  It certainly does us no favors on the civil liberties front.  The very minor walkback on surveillance won by Snowden is probably going to be our last gain for quite a while.


    Sure the baying for instant retribution on someone, somewhere,preferably dark and wearing funny clothes, moves us a step closer to Justice a la the  Colesseum. But at least we have time to work against that.

    But somewhere in this over armed Nation of ours I expect right now, tonight, there's a loser with an AK- whatever furiously thinking he's entitled , maybe obliged, to get revenge on that towel-head at the 7/11. .Obama's main job last night ,according to me , was to cause the loser's friends to nod their heads in sage agreement then say "Have another Bud.".

    We have time still to head the posse off at the pass next November. I'm worried about tonight.



    I disagreed with a good deal of the content of President Obama's speech which I may or may not address in a blog.  I agreed with his decision to give one.

    He had little choice in referring to it as terrorism, since the FBI is investigating it as such and have thus taken the official lead in the case. Yet it's notable that he also played down the international tie; that other than their self-radicalization there is no indication of foreign direction or support. He tied mass shootings to gun control (which many didn't expect), even when they are radically related. That was a chance I'm glad he took.

    More than anything, I think he wanted to take some air out of the xenophobic balloon that Trump and others are busily inflating, while also asking for Islamic leaders across the globe to do their part within their culture to reduce ISIL's reach.

    The bottom line is that the president is expected to respond - and he did in as measured a manner as possible while also expressing a decisive, unqualified condemnation. A clear, definitive plan? Not so much.

    I do wish that the FBI had not gone down that particular PR route.  If by terrorism we want to specifically mean people who are members of terrorist organizations emanating from the Middle East, then this wasn't it.  These are broken people doing broken people things.  Framing it as terrorism and then trying to walk it back doesn't work very well.  The association is out there. Two second later, Ted Cruz wants to actually nuke ISIS and Donald Trump wants to ban falafel.


    Trying to minimize this domestic and international terror attack is just as diversionary  as overemphasizing it. A full century of humiliation, suppression and exploitation of Muslims along with the recent mass murder and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan has ignited a generations spanning response that won't be subdued by anything the West does or says, it's too late for that.

    Amerika and Western Civilization has shown the world it is the greatest master in history of death and destruction but also of denialism which is why OBL was prescient in predicting that the US/West would, with the help of a few pinprick terror attacks, destroy itself and everything it supposedly stands for.

    Your Al Qaeda newsletter report qualifies as an instance of "overemphasizing" an international militant agenda.
    Thank goodness that crowd doesn't suffer from any sort of denial.

    How were these "broken people doing broken things?"  She had a degree in Pharmacy although she was not working here, but he had a responsible and well-paying job.  If posting allegiance to ISIS during a shooting rampage doesn't make you a member if a terrorist group, what does?

    I really thought the President framed it very well    I'm also really glad he did it  


    How were these "broken people doing broken things?"

    I think secretly stockpiling weapons in your home and planning acts of mayhem counts as broken behavior.  That they had good jobs and were educated doesn't mean they're not broken people.  People keep saying they were "living the American Dream."  Sometimes that's not enough.

    I guess we have a different idea of what makes a "broken" person.  I think of someone who can't get a break; can't get a job; can't find a place to live, and has no hope of ever getting ahead, or even feeding his family; as feeling broken.

    Maybe they weren't happy. Maybe they didn't like living in the US.  Maybe they wanted different things than what they had, but they had options. For sure they had more advantages than many people who don't go on violent, murderous rampages, or as you are calling it, doing "broken things."  

    Seriously, if they hated "The American Dream," they had choices. 

    Sirhan Sirhan's lawyers use this same 'broken person' diversion to try to save him from the death penalty for shooting Bobby Kennedy but failed. Sirhan confessed to killing Kennedy for an Idea, the Palestinian Cause and Kennedy's promotion of Israel's bombing Palestinians. Interestingly he was a Christian Arab.

    Using the same 'broken persons' diversion now just perpetuates the myth that there is something defective/broken with those people who will sacrifice themselves for an Idea and inflict pain on those, clueless Westerners, who deny any responsibility for our broken, bloody, vicious civilization.

    Obama and the rest of our degenerate Ruling Class haven't a clue what to say or do except ratchet up the surveillance state and restrict more citizen's liberty along with more bombs for the Muslims. Obama's speechwriter did cleverly tuck in an 'Overcome' to try to overcome the Be Very Afraid reality of today.


    The problem that Obama and the democrats are having trouble dealing with is that it's not really a big problem and the republicans are manipulating and inflaming the irrational fear. That's been the republicans path to power for half a century.

    killing for an "idea" is just more broken person behavior. Motive is mostly irrelevant. Just whatever garbage a broken person gloms onto on their way to demonstrating their brokenness by murdering people. Brokenness in no way excuses it any more than an "idea" justifies it. 

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