Before and After Obama: 10 Signs of a Diminished America

TIM SLOAN, Anthony Behar-Pool/Getty Images

TIM SLOAN, Anthony Behar-Pool/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John  Hayward, January 18, 2017:

The media acted as if Donald Trump’s campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again” was an incomprehensible emotional outburst from people who didn’t realize, or wouldn’t accept, just how great Barack Obama was. President Obama has spent his final months in office giving juvenile speeches full of excuses for why nothing bad since 2009 was his fault, while everything good was his personal handiwork. Why, if you just ignore all the terrorist attacks that happened on American soil over the past eight years, you can believe his carefully-phrased assertion that there haven’t been any terrorist attacks!

In truth, everyone paying attention could see the signs of a diminished America, and they knew exactly what Trump was talking about. A new Gallup poll finds that American believe the country slid backwards in 14 out of 19 policy domains, with the worst deterioration in the national debt, crime, income inequality, and race relations.

The four areas of improvement Gallup found were in the situation for gays and lesbians (Obama’s only truly high mark), energy (which got better despite his policy preferences, thanks to the private sector), climate change (whose partisans scream that it’s getting worse!) and the economy. “Health care” was a complete wash, which is awful, given the amount of money Obama spent on it.

The new administration has its work cut out for it to repair the damage caused by eight years of Obama’s policies in the following ten key areas.

1. Terrorism: Let’s start with terrorism, since Obama has made such a fetish of implying it’s not worse, even though his heavily-lawyered denials merely claim that a highly specific and unusually organized sort of attack hasn’t been taking place. In essence, Obama wants congratulations because the Islamic State hasn’t marched an army across the Rio Grande and sacked San Antonio, or sent a squad of terrorists to take out a shopping mall with signed, dated, notarized orders from Raqqa in their pockets.

Obama’s factoid about zero “foreign-directed terror attacks” is based on the highly contentious notion that soldiers of Allah (even the one who had “Soldier of Allah” printed on his business card, Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan) aren’t truly operatives of ISIS or al-Qaeda because they weren’t in constant two-way communication with the terrorist high command. (In Hassan’s case, even that weak excuse falls apart, because he was in touch with jihadi guru Anwar al-Awlaki.)

In truth, the number and frequency of deadly terrorist attacks on U.S. soil grew substantially worse under Obama. The raw number of fatalities under his predecessor, of course, is distorted by the horrific carnage of 9/11.

No one knew what a “lone wolf” terrorist was until Obama came along. The departing President seems to think “lone wolves” are less of a problem than big-ticket, carefully-planned professional atrocities like 9/11… but that’s the exact opposite of what his own intelligence community says. They’re warning that isolated extremists using the Internet to connect with global terrorist ideologies are difficult to spot in advance, and our resources are stretched to the breaking point keeping tabs on them.

The situation worldwide is even worse, with the number of annual terrorist deaths increasing over 400 percent since Obama took office. ISIS happened on Obama’s watch, while al-Qaeda and the Taliban are resurgent. The hellish mess he made of Syria will threaten the security of Western nations for years to come.

2. Cybersecurity: It should be clear by now that information security was, at most, a political annoyance to Barack Obama. His primary concern was controlling the public-relations fallout — keeping cybersecurity disasters off the media radar, because they made his administration look bad. Who can forget how the administration lied about the extent of the Office of Personnel Management data breach, leaving millions of victims vulnerable, while it scrambled to contain the P.R. damage? And remember, the intruders had been creeping around that gigantic, vital government database for a year.

The one-two sucker punch of Obama going nuclear over the menace of Russian hacking and WikiLeaks to delegitimize the 2016 election, and then springing alpha WikiLeaker Chelsea Manning from jail three decades early, should cement his careless and destructive infosec legacy forever — as if supporting his former Secretary of State’s presidential run after she trashed security protocols with reckless abandon wasn’t bad enough.

Obama apologists will say the Internet has become a bigger part of our lives over the past eight years, so it’s natural there would be more information-security controversies.The problem with that excuse is that the big cybersecurity disaster headlines were so often traced directly to administration policies — the OPM hack, the Clinton email scandal, the NSA/Edward Snowden controversy, software vulnerabilities kept secret by the government so it could exploit them, and others. The risky handover of Internet domain control to international control was Obama’s brainstorm.

Not every infosec threat since 2009 is his fault, but the gap between the rhetoric in his speeches and the way he coped with actual cyber disasters is. So is the way online adversaries have been emboldened by his failure to take action against them. We can’t even turn on our smartphones without worrying about Chinese spyware.

“On Obama’s watch, the State Department was hacked, the White House was hacked, the Department of Energy was hacked, and the National Nuclear Security Administration was hacked. A Government Accountability Office report found that cyberattacks against government agencies climbed 35% between 2010 and 2013,” noted Investor’s Business Daily in a November 2016 review of how cybersecurity grew worse under Obama.

IBD went on to quote an Inspector General report that OPM’s cybersecurity situation actually got worse after the attack, in keeping with the Obama tradition of talking big and doing little. His most comprehensive cybersecurity plan was rolled out in April of his last year in office, in an obvious example of passing the buck to his successor.

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