The 'Shut up' President Blames & Aims -UPDATED

On Drudge right now, the question Who To Blame for the massacre at Fort Hood?

It was just so much easier when everything could automatically be blamed on Bush, wasn’t it? Though I don’t doubt we’ll see Obamites and Media Minions try to blame Bush for Major Malik Hasan, in any way they possibly can.

The guy to blame, of course, is the non-talking Major Malik Hasan, who should not be coddled.

This White House has had a field day blaming Bush for everything they couldn’t blame on the GOP, or Rush Limbaugh, or Fox News, or England, or France, Poland, Germany, Israel or the internets, or the insurance companies or the Car Dealers or the banks, or Wall Street, or tonsil-swiping doctors, or pro-lifers or teapartiers or, you know, you and me, ordinary America.

Ordinary America is to blame for much; so much that the president has apologized for us, everywhere he travels.

As President, Barack Obama does two things: He blames, and he aims. And one thing consistently seems to happen when Obama aims at something: people are told to stop talking. They are told to shut up, either because the president simply doesn’t want to hear them, or they are told to shut up, if they know what’s good for them.

Take a look at where his Justice Department aimed their arrows: As CBS reports:

In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day.

The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Indymedia.us Web site “not to disclose the existence of this request” unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization. [Italics mine -admin]

That would be the Obama Justice Department out of the Obama Administration -which once famously asked ordinary Americans to send (to the White House, itself) names of anyone who seemed “fishy” or who seemed to possess “incorrect” information about their sprawling healthcare initiative- looking for widespread and thorough information about Indymedia’s readership of a certain day, and that would be Obama’s Justice Department insisting, “you can’t tell anyone we’re doing this.”

The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded “all IP traffic to and from www.indymedia.us” on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to “include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information,” including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers’ Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.

Once attorney’s responded on behalf of the subpoena’d, it was eventually withdrawn, without further comment either from Morrison or Attorney General Eric Holder.

But man, did you feel that chill wind blow through, when you read all that? I did. It’s the chill wind I felt when Shut-Up-I’m-In-Charge Pelosi was talking about regulating the internet, in 2006, and controlling media, last year.

The president wants everyone to shut up and do as their told. The ghastly Pelosi, who locked the GOP out of writing both the “stimulus” bill and the healthcare bill, is fine with that, since she likes to govern by angry-little-fist.

But I suspect that the press must be catching on, a little bit, to the huge error they made when they hoisted Obama onto their collective bony shoulders in 2008, ignored any holes in his narrative of dubious associations, demanded not-so-much as a grade-school report card of him, asked only “how did you get to be so, so great, and how may we serve you,” and then carried him into the White House, singing “Boo-rah Boo-rah” and songs from The Student Prince.

I have little evidence to support my suspicion. After all, Obama is meeting (regularly, it now seems) with those journalists possessing lofty column or air space, and in return those journalists are doing advance/prep work on upcoming policy for him. But this last line -quoted by CBS’s Declan McCullagh, and not suppressed- gives me some little hope: “Our fear is that this kind of bogus gag order is much more common than one would hope, considering they’re legally baseless,” Bankston says. “We’re telling this story in hopes that more providers will press back and go public when the government demands their silence.”

It’s a small hopeful note, I know, that CBS has even reported this story. But hope is the thing with feathers. It flies.

I recall Tim Robbins making a big noise (well-covered, incorporated into a play and otherwise broadly shouted in an ironic demonstration of its own falseness) about the “chill wind” blowing through George Bush’s America after 9/11, and how we were going to lose our right to speak freely, act freely, live, laugh, love, under Bush.

I wonder if Tim is feeling even the tiniest bit chilly, yet, in the cold, cold Obama wind?

UPDATE: A reader points out that this subpoena (which I read too quickly) was written just days (not weeks) into Obama’s presidency, and was likely begun before he assumed office. A good point, and an embarrassing miss on my part, but it doesn’t change the fact that the subpoena was only pulled after Indymedia lawyered up, and then without comment, except to threaten them if they disclosed any of it. None of this information changes the fact that Obama, in ten months, has displayed a suppressive temperament completely at odds with the tone of his campaign rhetoric. The chill wind is still there, and Obama and Mrs. Pelosi are doing the blowing.

But obviously, I should have listened a little to my better angels, this morning, who told me to tamp down my Irish and work a little more carefully, which I did not do. My apologies for that. Lesson learned.

UPDATE II: From CBS:

Update 1:59pm E.T.: A Justice Department official familiar with this subpoena just told me that the attorney general’s office never saw it and that it had not been submitted to the department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. for review. If that’s correct, it suggests that U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison and Assistant U.S. Attorney Doris Pryor did not follow department regulations requiring the “express authorization of the attorney general” for media subpoenas — and it means that neither Attorney General Eric Holder nor Acting Attorney General Mark Filip were involved. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an internal investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility; my source would not confirm or deny that. [Italics mine, and -as I said earlier- I should have listened to my gut and my better angels this morning, and just not gone there, but I was feeling grumpy. admin]

On the other hand: Credit where credit is due, and some is due to Obama, today.

Related:
The Opposite of America
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
Put your dreams away

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://intoxination.net Jamie

    Take a second and read the actual subpoena and you will realize that CBS was flat out wrong. They blamed Eric Holder for it, yet the subpoena was signed by the clerk of courts on 1/23/09 – 13 days before Holder was AG and only 3 days after Obama became President. If this is Obama’s fault then you must admire how quickly he got a federal grand jury seated, a federal prosecutor on the case and the grand jury to approve this subpoena.

    Sorry but this is one of those left over Bush cases. Of course now that it has come to public light if the Obama administration doesn’t make some changes on it then they are as liable.

    [The thing was only withdrawn, however, when the Indymedia folk lawyered up, and it is significant that Holder's DOJ (which would have had no problem with trumpeting this as a bad call on the Bushies, if it were) made no comment at all; also, note that the threats coming out of Morrisson's office after withdrawal, reflect on this administration, and are of a piece with a recent threat to Dem operatives who have been told they'd "better not be seen" on Fox News again, if they know what's good for 'em. Morrisson serves at the pleasure of the president. If he is a thug, then the president should let him go. admin]

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  • Reason60

    While it is correct that this started under the Bush Administration, I don’t think we should let the Obama Administration off the hook.
    If civil liberties is just a gotcha game of partisan politics, then we aren’t worthy of having them.
    This has got to stop- the constant enlargement of government power, always done in the name of “keeping us safe” but ultimately robbing us of liberty.
    What is pernicious is the partisan nature of the commentary- silence from the Obama partisans, fearful of criticising their guy; reassuring blandishments from the Right, intent on “fighting terrorism”.

    Giving the government unchecked power is like feeding a beast- eventually it always, always, turns on you.

  • http://intoxination.net Jamie

    Actually we should let the Obama administration off the hook. On 2/25/09 the subpoena was withdrawn by the DOJ:

    http://www.eff.org/files/DOJ-letter.pdf

    This happened within a month of Holder taking over at DOJ. Now that is some fast turn around time for our federal government.


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