The Orwellian Presidency

The news on NPR piqued my curiosity this past week.

A large number of journalists have unleashed a scathing attack on the White House’s practice of censoring news-stories and  media coverage, limiting access to only his top officials and overall. Thirty-eight prominent journalists charge that the Obama presidency routinely suppresses the freedom of speech that defines one of the most important American values enshrined in the United States’ Constitution.

We would expect Richard Nixon to behave this way, but Barak Obama? What’s wrong with this picture? The Society of Professional Journalists, said “efforts by government officials to stifle or block coverage has grown for years and reached a high-point under his administration despite Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to provide transparency.”

In a letter signed by these journalists, they listed several examples of censorship and efforts to block reporter access. Among them:

  • Officials blocking reporters’ requests to talk to specific staff people.
  •  Excessive delays in answering interview requests that stretch past reporters’ deadlines.
  • Officials conveying information “on background” — refusing to give reporters what should be public information unless they agree not to say who is speaking.
  • Federal agencies blackballing reporters who write critically of them.

The letter further asserts:

  • In many cases, this is clearly being done to control what information journalists — and the audience they serve — have access to. A survey found 40 percent of public affairs officers admitted they blocked certain reporters because they did not like what they wrote,” added the letter.[1]

Now, there is a lot that the journalists did not say in the letter that should have been said for the world to hear and remember. Let us turn the clock back to 2008, when President Obama made this point of one his most important promises during his political campaign:

  • Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled as they have been during the Bush administration. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.

Hindu theology teaches us that we live in a world of maya, “illusion,” where things are not always what they appear to be. This is especially the case with politics, where illusion is the only reality.

After Obama won his election, President Obama has distinguished  himself as the most aggressive President ever in attacking whistleblowers and bringing the full weight of the law down on them. In fact, in 2012, rather than promote protecting whistleblowers in his campaign, the campaign bragged about how it cracked down on whistleblowers:

The ghost of Richard Nixon must be green with envy for President Obama has done more than any other administration to forcefully and legally harass through the offices of Eric Holder, the Attorney General who pursued and threatened to prosecute anyone who allegedly leaked  classified national security information…. The Obama administration has prosecuted twice as many cases under the Espionage Act as all other administrations combined. Under the President, the Justice Department has prosecuted six cases regarding national security leaks. Before he took office, federal prosecutors had used the Espionage Act in only three cases.[2]

One of the great American whistleblowers, Daniel Ellsberg wrote regarding Edward Snowden, made the following statement in his blog:

  • Snowden is the quintessential American whistleblower, and a personal hero of mine, Leaks are the lifeblood of the republic and, for the first time, the American public has been given the chance to debate democratically the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. Accountability journalism can’t be done without the courageous acts exemplified by Snowden, and we need more like him. . . . The secrecy system in this country is broken. No one is punished for using secrecy to conceal dangerous policies, lies, or crimes, yet concerned employees who wish to inform the American public about what the government is doing under their name are treated as spies. Our ‘accountability’ mechanisms are a one-sided secret court, which acts as a rubber stamp, and a Congressional ‘oversight’ committee, which has turned into the NSA’s public relations firm. Edward Snowden had no choice but to go to the press with information. Far from a crime, Snowden’s disclosures are a true constitutional moment, where the press has held the government to account using the First Amendment, when the other branches refused.[3]

Yet, he continues to be hounded by the Obama Administration.

Three days ago, Reuters News reported a news-story, a Russian MP claims that the US kidnapped his son from the Maldives on bogus cyber-fraud charges and may be preparing to offer him as bait in a swap deal for Edward Snowden. Roman Seleznyov, 30, was arrested at Male international airport as he was about to board a flight to Moscow. He was forced by US secret service agents to board a private plane to Guam and was later arrested. The Russian ministry slammed his detention as “a de-facto kidnapping.” Moscow considers the kidnapping “a new hostile move by Washington,” and accused the US of ignoring proper procedure in dealing with foreign nationals suspected of crimes. “The same happened to Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who were forced to go to the US from third countries and convicted on dubious charges.”[4]

Without missing a heartbeat, the assault on our freedom of privacy and speech continues to expand its tentacles across our country while Americans are asleep at the wheel.

When you consider the NSA’s program to spy on every American, what you have is the makings of an Orwellian State.

Courtesy of President Barak Obama




Chess Gem

Amazing, this game was a total crush! Bear in mind the program is about 2650.

[Date “28/2/2010”]

[White “MS”]

[Black “LCHESS”]

[Result “1-0”]

[Opening “A13 English Opening”]

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 Bb4 3. e4 Nc6 4. g3 Nf6 5. Bg2 Ne5 6. d3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 O-O 8. Ne2 d6 9. h3

c5 10. f4 Ng6 11. O-O Ne7 12. Kh2 Nd7 13. Be3 e5 14. f5 Nf6 15. g4 Nc6 16. Qe1 Bd7 17. Qh4

h6 18. Bf3 Rc8 19. Rg1 Re8 20. Rg2 Ra8 21. Rag1 Rf8 22. g5 Nh7 23. Qh5 Nxg5 24. Bxg5 Qxg5

25. Rxg5 hxg5 26. Qxg5 g6 27. fxg6 Kg7 28. Ng3 Rh8 29. Nh5+ Rxh5 30. Qxh5 Kf8 31. g7+

Ke7 32. Qh8 Rxh8 33. gxh8Q Be6 34. Bg4 Bxg4 35. Rxg4 Nd8 36. h4 Ne6 37. h5 a6 38. h6 Nf8

39. Qxf8+ Kxf8 40. h7 Ke7 41. h8Q Kd7 42. Qf8 Kc6 43. Qxf7 Kb6 44. Rg6 a5 45. Rxd6+ Ka7

46. Qc7 a4 47. Rb6 Ka8 48. Qxb7# 1-0

Rabbi Triumphs over 2600 Rated Chess Program

I seldom defeat the stronger chess programs; I am usually lucky when I can draw against one of them. Rarely do I win, but in this game, I thought LChess 5.3 would at least draw me, but surprisingly, it misplayed the position–or perhaps my stonewalling technique really worked–chess programs prefer open positions because tactics are its strength–much despite my penchant for losing to these machines. Just in case you are wondering, I am a Chess Master rated around 2200.

[White “LCHESS”]
[Black “ms”]
[Result “0-1”]
[Opening “A31 English: Symmetrical, Benoni formation”]

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. d4 b6 4. dxc5 bxc5 5. Bg5 Nc6 6. Bxf6 gxf6 7. Nc3 Bb7 8. e3 d6 9. Bd3 Bh6 10. Qb1 Na5 11. Be4 Qb6 12. Bxb7 Qxb7 13. b3 e6 14. Qd3 Ke7 15. O-O Nc6 16. a3 Rad8 17. Rfd1 f5 18. Nb5 Qb8 19. Rab1 Ne5 20. Nxe5 dxe5 21. Qe2 e4 22. Rxd8 Rxd8 23. Nc3 Bg7 24. Na4 Qc7 25. Rd1 Be5 26. h3 Rxd1+ 27. Qxd1 Qd6 28. Qxd6+ Kxd6 29. g3 h5 30. h4 Ba1 31. b4 cxb4 32. axb4 Kc6 33. b5+ Kb7 34. c5 Bf6 35. c6+ Kc7 36. Nc5 Be7 37. Nd7 Bb4 38. Nf6 Kb6 39. Ne8 Be7 40. c7 Kb7 41. Kg2 Kc8 42. Kf1 Kb7 43. Kg1 Kc8 44. Kh2 Kb7 45. b6 a5 46. Kh3 a4 47. Ng7 a3 48. Nxh5 a2 49. c8Q+ Kxc8 50. Kh2 a1Q 51. Nf4 Qf1 52. Nh3 Kb7 53. h5 Kxb6 54. h6 Kc5 55. h7 Bf6 56. h8R Bxh8 57. Nf4 Qxf2+ 58. Kh3 e5 59. Ng2 f4 60. exf4 exf4 61. Nxf4 Be5 62. Kg4 Bxf4 63. Kf5 e3 64. gxf4 e2 65. Ke4 e1Q+ 66. Kf5 Qed2 67. Kf6 Qdxf4+ 68. Ke7 Q2e3+ 69. Kd7 Qfd4+ 70. Kc8 Qe8+ 71. Kb7 Qdd7+ 72. Ka6 Qa8# 0-1

Chess Genius 7.2 vs. the Rabbi

As many of my friends know, I am an avid chess player, but rarely do I defeat the chess programs that are on the market today; oftentimes I can draw them, but seldom do I ever score a victory. So although this article may not have much topical interest, it is my website, so I decided to post my hard fought victory;

[Date “2009.03.11”]

[Round “01”]

[White: Chess Genius 7.2]

[Black: Rabbi Michael Samuel]

[Result “0-1”]

[ECO “D06”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d5 3. cxd5 Qxd5 4. Nc3 Qd6 5. Nf3 Bf5 6. Qb3 Qb6 7. Qxb6 axb6

8. Bf4 c6 9. e3 Nbd7 10. Be2 e6 11. O-O Be7 12. Rfc1 O-O 13. a3 h6 14. Nd2 Bh7

15. Nc4 b5 16. Bd6 Bxd6 17. Nxd6 Rfb8 18. Bd1 Nb6 19. Bf3 Nc8 20. Nde4 Nb6 21.

Nxf6+ gxf6 22. Ne4 Bxe4 23. Bxe4 f5 24. Bd3 Nd5 25. g3 Nf6 26. Rc2 Rd8 27.

Rac1 Kg7 28. Be2 h5 29. Bf3 Rh8 30. Kg2 h4 31. Rc5 hxg3 32. hxg3 Kf8 33. Rh1

Rxh1 34. Kxh1 Ke7 35. Kg2 Ra4 36. Rc1 Kd6 37. Rh1 Ke7 38. Rh8 Ne8 39. Be2 Ra8

40. Kf3 Rd8 41. Kf4 Nf6 42. Rxd8 Kxd8 43. Bf3 Ke7 44. Bg2 Kd6 45. Kf3 Nd5 46.

Bf1 Nb6 47. b3 Nd5 48. Bd3 Nf6 49. Bc2 Kd5 50. Kf4 Kd6 51. b4 Ke7 52. Kf3 Nd5

53. Ke2 Kd6 54. Kd3 Nb6 55. Bb3 Nd5 56. Kd2 Nf6 57. Ke2 Nd5 58. Bxd5 Kxd5 59.

Kd3 b6 60. f3 f6 61. Kd2 Kc4 62. Kc2 e5 63. dxe5 fxe5 64. g4 fxg4 65. fxg4 Kd5

66. Kd2 Ke6 67. Kc3 Kf6 68. Kd3 c5 69. Ke4 c4 70. Kf3 Kg5 71. e4 Kh4 72. Ke2

Kxg4 73. Ke3 Kg3 74. Kd2 Kf3 75. Kc3 Kxe4 76. a4 bxa4 77. Kxc4 a3 78. Kb3 b5

79. Kxa3 Kd3 80. Kb2 Kd2 81. Kb3 e4 82. Kb2 e3 83. Kb3 e2 84. Kb2 e1=Q 85. Ka3

Kc2 86. Ka2 Qb1+ 87. Ka3 Qb3+ 0-1