April 27, 2011. At the request of the White House, the State of Hawaii today released the long form birth certificate of Barack Hussein Obama II. And the President held a brief press conference to address the issue.
Hopefully a troubled nation can now rest easy, and direct its attention to two wars, a stagnant economy, the price of gas, unemployment and - you know - other minor challenges that America faces in the early years of the XXIst Century.
As an antidote to partisan Republican mutterings that hope to confuse the Obama administration's current commitment to a limited American military action in Libya with the grievous mistakes of Little Bushie's protracted land war in Iraq, please consult this short list from Professor Juan Cole's Informed Comment site.
Here are the differences between George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the current United Nations action in Libya:
1. The action in Libya was authorized by the United Nations Security Council. That in Iraq was not. By the UN Charter, military action after 1945 should either come as self-defense or with UNSC authorization. Most countries in the world are signatories to the charter and bound by its provisions.
2. The Libyan people had risen up and thrown off the Qaddafi regime, with some 80-90 percent of the country having gone out of his hands before he started having tank commanders fire shells into peaceful crowds. It was this vast majority of the Libyan people that demanded the UN no-fly zone. In 2002-3 there was no similar popular movement against Saddam Hussein.
From Gawker comes word of a scurrilous but unintentionally hilarious volume called The Liberal Clause, which employs the typical rightist wing-nut agenda of conflating Obama with Stalin, Mao and Rev. Wright, questions his place of birth, shows him using a teleprompter and bowing - to the Chinese, not the Saudis. It attempts a satirical Animal Farm-type approach with a gimlet-eyed Nancy Pelosi, a snarling Harry Reid, evil trade unionists, truculent elf-commissars and other flatfooted narrative devices in a cautionary tale of ConservaChristmas almost lost.
I might decry this book as a sinister attempt to pollute young minds with hateful, partisan indoctrination. But considering the mental capacity of many adult Tea Party brownshirts, as revealed in their hand lettered signs and corresponding sloganeering, it is apparently intended as a Christmas story appealing to Tea Partiers of all ages.
U.S. citizens, unlike people in many other countries, owe allegiance to a Constitution in which race, creed, color, nationality and other aspects of birth should be irrelevant. In sum:
ancestry, and even how one is raised, should mean zero. We are all meant to be equal before the law.
Henri Matisse, L'Escargot, 1953
Alma Thomas, Watusi (Hard Edge), 1963
The Republican hate machine and the mobs they incite have hardly been reticent on any "issue" which they manufacture or exaggerate in an attempt to bring Obama down. Witness the "Birthers", the "Deathers", the "Tea Party-ers", the "Great White Hopers", and the acolytes of Glenn Beck who embrace his charges of racism against the president.
Given the gleeful mocking of President Obama over Chicago's failed effort to host the 2016 Olympics, and shameless smears of his unexpected Nobel Peace Prize, let's pause and ask: Is there anything conservatives won't turn into a cudgel to bludgeon the president? Take, for example, the art hanging on the White House walls.
The particular issue that Conservative websites have latched onto is the similarity between Watusi (Hard Edge), a 1963 Alma Thomas canvas selected for display in the White House, and L'Escargot (The Snail), a late (1953) cutout by Henri Matisse, which Thomas viewed at MoMA.
Here are snippets I posted on the New York Magazine site re: the art borrowed for display in the Obama White House.
Alma Thomas, Watusi (Hard Edge)
Comment on: Obama’s Startling White House Art
Deitch did not foist a Kehinde Wiley on the Obamas, as previously speculated on these pages. There's also no Basquiat, Carrie Mae Weems, Adrian Piper, Gary Simmons, Mark Bradford, Jacob Lawrence and countless other black American artists (including Kara Walker). Ligon, while "prickly" and "challenging", still deals with identity from a politely subversive text-based perspective.
Edward Ruscha’s I Think I’ll ...
From the London Times Online comes a list of artworks borrowed by the Obama White House from museums and galleries in the Washington D.C. littoral. Here's the text, with interspersed online images:
A cultural revolution is under way at the White House, where the Obamas are decorating their living quarters with modern and abstract artwork.
Out have gone traditional landscapes, portraits and still life paintings. In have come new pieces by contemporary African-American and Native American artists, with bold colours, odd shapes and squiggly lines.
By an executive order ironically announced on Election Day, the Bush administration opened up 360,000 acres of land in Utah to oil and natural gas drilling, scheduled to begin in December. One can only begin to wonder about the favors being paid back by this lame duck cowboy wannabee, and the harm he can still do as his powers diminish and his days are waning. It recalls Saruman in Lord of the Rings: even after he is dethroned and banished from his fortress, he still harbors enough residual malice to ravage the Shire.