Obama: The world’s always been messy, but now social media is amplifying it

posted at 7:43 pm on August 29, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

The No. 1 priority in electing someone after President Obama should be finding someone who does not believe the world conforms to his worldview simply because he says it does. It’s a very dangerous state of mind. Speaking at a $15K-a-plate DCCC fund raiser tonight, natch, CBS correspondent Mark Knoller quoted Obama:

If Knoller weren’t so serious, you could be forgiven for thinking it was satire. After a barrage of “WHATs” and “WOWs” and “LOLWUTs” on Twitter, in came the grim mockery:

Knoller offers the larger context of the quote, here. It’s all standard Obama newscast— late, longwinded, and with absolutely no agency for the America he helms whatsoever.

“Second reason people are feeling anxious is that if you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart. (Laughter.) Now, let me say this: We are living through some extraordinarily challenging times. A lot of it has to do with changes that are taking place in the Middle East in which an old order that had been in place for 50 years, 60 years, 100 years was unsustainable, and was going to break up at some point. And now, what we are seeing is the old order not working, but the new order not being born yet — and it is a rocky road through that process, and a dangerous time through that process.

“So we’ve seen the barbarity of an organization like ISIL that is building off what happened with al Qaeda and 9/11 — an extension of that same mentality that doesn’t reflect Islam, but rather just reflects savagery, and extremism, and intolerance. We’ve seen divisions within the Muslim community between the Shia and Sunni. We continue to see an unwillingness to acknowledge the right of Israel to exist and its ability to defend itself. And we have seen, frankly, in this region, economies that don’t work. So you’ve got tons of young people who see no prospect and no hope for the future and are attracted to some of these ideologies.

“All of that makes things pretty frightening. And then, you turn your eyes to Europe and you see the President of Russia making a decision to look backwards instead of forward, and encroaching on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their neighbors, and reasserting the notion that might means right. And I can see why a lot of folks are troubled.

“But — and here’s the main message I have for you — the truth of the matter is, is that American military superiority has never been greater compared to other countries. Our men and women in uniform are more effective, better trained, better equipped than they have ever been. We have, since 9/11, built up the capacity to defend ourselves from terrorist attacks. It doesn’t mean the threat isn’t there and we can’t be — we don’t have to be vigilant, but it means that we are much less vulnerable than we were 10 or 12 or 15 years ago.

“And the truth of the matter is, is that the world has always been messy. In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through. The good news is that American leadership has never been more necessary, and there’s really no competition out there for the ideas and the values that can create the sort of order that we need in this world.”

But the thing is there is competition. There always will be, and right now, it’s gaining ground, literally and figuratively, as Ross Douthat pointed out this weekend in the New York Times:

The idea that America’s foes and rivals are not merely morally but chronologically deficient, confused time travelers who need to turn their DeLorean around, has long been a staple of this administration’s rhetoric. Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and tyrants in general have been condemned, in varying contexts, for being on the dreaded “wrong side of history.” Earlier this year, John Kerry dismissed Putin’s Crimea adventure in the same language Obama used last week: “19th-century behavior in the 21st century,” foredoomed by its own anachronism.

These tropes contain a lot of foolishness. Where ISIS is concerned, though, they also include a small but crucial grain of truth.

The foolishness starts with the fact that the history of liberal democracy is actually inseparable, as Abram Shulsky writes in The American Interest, from “the constant appearance of counter-ideologies that have arisen in reaction against it.” Whether reactionary or utopian, secular or religious, these counter-ideologies are as modern, in their way, as the Emancipation Proclamation or the United Nations Charter. Both illiberal nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism are younger than the United States. They aren’t just throwbacks or relics; they’re counterforces that liberal modernity seems to inevitably conjure up.

So writing off the West’s challengers as purely atavistic is a good way to misunderstand them — and to miss the persistent features of human nature that they exploit, appeal to and reward.

Pretending these forces don’t exist or saying they’re going to lose does not actually make that happen, but I am fairly certain it’s accurate to say the President of the United States prefers to pretend it does.

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Chip Diller Obama: Remain calm. All is well. All is well.

Techster64 on August 29, 2014 at 11:29 PM

A lot of it has to do with changes that are taking place in the Middle East in which an old order that had been in place for 50 years, 60 years, 100 years was unsustainable, and was going to break up at some point.

of course it was. and nothing 0bama did or didn’t do contributed. he just happened to the president when events happened. just a bystander who cant be blamed for anything.

chasdal on August 29, 2014 at 11:29 PM

Wow. The LightWorker turns out to be a 25 watt dim bulb.Who could ever have guessed?
Cody1991 on August 29, 2014 at 8:55 PM

More like the 3 watt flickering flame type lightbulb.

AH_C on August 29, 2014 at 11:38 PM

And Presnit Soetoro has a solution!

The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.

The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.

The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”

The university has received $919,917 so far for the project.

“The project stands to benefit both the research community and the public significantly,” the grant states. “Our data will be made available via [application programming interfaces] APIs and include information on meme propagation networks, statistical data, and relevant user and content features.”

“The open-source platform we develop will be made publicly available and will be extensible to ever more research areas as a greater preponderance of human activities are replicated online,” it continues. “Additionally, we will create a web service open to the public for monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

This service could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate,” the grant said.

Truthy,” which gets its name from Stephen Colbert, will catalog how information is spread on Twitter, including political campaigns.

“While the vast majority of memes arise in a perfectly organic manner, driven by the complex mechanisms of life on the Web, some are engineered by the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns,” according to the website.

“Truthy” claims to be non-partisan. However, the project’s lead investigator Filippo Menczer proclaims his support for numerous progressive advocacy groups, including President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, Moveon.org, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, and True Majority.

Menczer, a professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University, links to each of the organizations on his personal page from his bio at the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research.

The government-funded researchers hope that the public will use their tool in the future to report on other Twitter users.

“Truthy uses a sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex networks models,” the website adds. “To train our algorithms, we leverage crowdsourcing: we rely on users like you to flag injections of forged grass-roots activity. Therefore, click on the Truthy button when you see a suspicious meme!”

The project also seeks to discover why certain Internet memes go viral and others do not. Funding is not expected to expire until June 30, 2015.

Akzed on August 29, 2014 at 11:39 PM

Social media that’s screwing the place up??

http://www.barackobama.com/#get-the-latest

majorzot on August 29, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Hey MKH or moderator. I posted a comment at 9:24 and it still hasn’t come up. It had some links in it, so I gave it some time to make it through.

There weren’t even any naughty words in it. Any chance on reviving it and bringing it back to the living?

Much thanks.

Patriot Vet on August 29, 2014 at 11:54 PM

Patriot Vet on August 29, 2014 at 11:54 PM

Only two or three links allowed per post.

Akzed on August 29, 2014 at 11:57 PM

And now, what we are seeing is the old order not working, but the new order not being born yet

I think this is the second or third time he has said something like this. Is this some kind of code I’m not getting? Because it kind of creeps me out.

cptacek on August 30, 2014 at 12:08 AM

this site is doing some bikram yoga stretches to find ways to attack our President

for shame

nonpartisan on August 29, 2014 at 9:50 PM

.
Unless you’re denying that Barack Obama spoke these words, where in the blessed HANG do you get the notion that any right-wing blogger needs to do “bikram yoga stretches” to find some reason to criticize him?

If you’re claiming that this quote is invalid, or taken out of context, then you might have a case. But you’re making no such claims.
If this quote is really his, and in context, then he’s earned all of the ridicule being heaped upon him.
.
Now . . . . . ya’ wanna try again ?

listens2glenn on August 30, 2014 at 12:14 AM

Only two or three links allowed per post.

Akzed on August 29, 2014 at 11:57 PM

Thanks for the info, Akzed. Any idea why the limit?

I think I have had three before, but it took some time for it to go through.

Patriot Vet on August 30, 2014 at 12:28 AM

The world is messy.
The golf course is tidy.
QED.

Kenosha Kid on August 30, 2014 at 2:15 AM

Where does he get his excuses?

Maybe he hasn’t noticed before, but I’m pretty sure the history books once upon a time talked about how messy the world is.

Of course then they got busy blaming the US and the greater western world for everything… and forgot to tell the story of the great general messy ness outside the western world.

Is Obama really so sheltered he thinks the world just invented killing people as a solution to problems?

He may have missed it, but I didn’t.

Why is he in that job? He is just so clueless about real life.

petunia on August 30, 2014 at 2:25 AM

I think this is the second or third time he has said something like this. Is this some kind of code I’m not getting? Because it kind of creeps me out.

cptacek on August 30, 2014 at 12:08 AM

That is creepy.

I think the Global Warming hoax was supposed to usher in the new world order, but it got cancelled because of better than expected weather.

Now they don’t know what to do.

petunia on August 30, 2014 at 2:29 AM

#I Don’t Have A Strategy

That’s a hash(ish) tag worthy of Commander Choom Von Putter.

profitsbeard on August 30, 2014 at 2:43 AM

“… the world has always been messy… In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through conservatives can finally compete with the liberal news monopoly via the internet.” -BHO

fify Mr. Prezydent

Perspicacious on August 30, 2014 at 4:02 AM

Is it illegal to think about hate?

Old eagle on August 30, 2014 at 5:12 AM

this site is doing some bikram yoga stretches to find ways to attack our President

for shame

nonpartisan on August 29, 2014 at 9:50 PM

the fact you even know wtf bikram yoga stretches are shows what kinda granolacrunchingsquatswhilepissing flake you are. bet you buy golf balls and lick them while watching videos of Obama’s speeches don’t you?

Renee on August 30, 2014 at 5:20 AM

Mr. excuses, rationalizations, lies and pure and utter “BS”.

rplat on August 30, 2014 at 5:52 AM

Report Putin and ISIS/L/The Islamic State to Attack Watch. End of problem.

They’ll be audited right in to the twenty-first century.

MidniteRambler on August 30, 2014 at 6:12 AM

The republican Congress are silent…

trs on August 30, 2014 at 7:28 AM

the constant appearance of counter-ideologies that have arisen in reaction against it

Ah, Yes, all being taught at a College near you!!

RADIOONE on August 30, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Yeah, I remember, it was that video on the social media site YouTube that caused all the problems and death of a US Ambassador in Benghazi.

There is always blame in the White House and never any taking responsibility.

albill on August 30, 2014 at 8:55 AM

“The world’s always been messy…we’re just noticing it now because of the printing press.” – King George III

RadClown on August 30, 2014 at 9:05 AM

“The world’s always been messy…we’re just noticing it in now because of newsreels.” – Neville Chamberlain

RadClown on August 30, 2014 at 9:09 AM

I think this is the second or third time he has said something like this. Is this some kind of code I’m not getting? Because it kind of creeps me out.

cptacek on August 30, 2014 at 12:08 AM

No, he’s been talking this way from the beginning. Remember the “Constitution’s a flawed document” comment? The only thing he’s forgetting is that this “new order” he speaks about has been around for a long enough time that anyone with half a brain can see is not working and has never worked wherever it’s been tried.

Communists are always living in fantasyland.

Cleombrotus on August 30, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Well, he could be right about one thing if he added to the ‘we have seen economies in this region that don’t work and tons of young people who can’t find jobs’ to include our region. Saying that the ‘world is messy’ doesn’t even begin to gloss over the atrocities being perpetrated on humanity by evil.

Kissmygrits on August 30, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Oh, the same MSM and social media that got him elected? Rich!

JungleCogs on August 30, 2014 at 9:43 AM

FUBAR…thanks to you barky….

crosshugger on August 30, 2014 at 9:43 AM

this site is doing some bikram yoga stretches to find ways to attack our President

for shame

nonpartisan on August 29, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Lord, if only that were true. “Let him that hears my words, hear the truth.”

The man professes his own incompetence every day, and no one needs to lift a finger for that to occur.

a5minmajor on August 30, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Damn that new media. Says Berry. Things was so much easier and nicer before the people in charge had to actually tell give information that was not there view point

gwhh on August 30, 2014 at 10:08 AM

50 years, 60 years, 100 years?

Does he write these speeches himself, does his staff not know who to use google?

50 or 60 years is important to HIM. That when Israeli come into being. And being the Jew hater (closet Muslim) he is, that where all the problems in the world started!

100 years ago. WW1 started and after it was over the evil white men running Europe redraw the maps of the world including Africa and made things all bad!!

gwhh on August 30, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Thanks for the info, Akzed. Any idea why the limit? Patriot Vet on August 30, 2014 at 12:28 AM

To combat spambots. I’ve seen people list lots of naked URL’s in one post, but you just can’t link to more than three.

Akzed on August 30, 2014 at 10:27 AM

“All of that makes things pretty frightening. And then, you turn your eyes to Europe and you see the President of Russia making a decision to look backwards instead of forward, and encroaching on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their neighbors, and reasserting the notion that might means right. And I can see why a lot of folks are troubled.

“But — and here’s the main message I have for you — the truth of the matter is, is that American military superiority has never been greater compared to other countries. Our men and women in uniform are more effective, better trained, better equipped than they have ever been. We have, since 9/11, built up the capacity to defend ourselves from terrorist attacks. It doesn’t mean the threat isn’t there and we can’t be — we don’t have to be vigilant, but it means that we are much less vulnerable than we were 10 or 12 or 15 years ago.

That very much reminds me of another fellow completely removed from reality…

“My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep” – 30 Sep 1938

JIMV on August 30, 2014 at 11:33 AM

What leads to this incredible naiveté is an education system that now refuses to teach the undeniable fact that there are bad people who want to murder other people who disagree with them. The left side of the political spectrum seems to be so entrenched in this mindset that, even with horrible, murderous examples, use their brains to realize that there are awful people, period.

The left/mostly dem/etc in the USA just want the world to live as they think we should. Hello – no way. And we all lose because of their inability or refusal to accept facts that counter their dream environment.

MN J on August 30, 2014 at 12:18 PM

The republican Congress are silent…

trs on August 30, 2014 at 7:28 AM

Wasn’t aware that the Republicans controlled the US Senate.

F-

Del Dolemonte on August 30, 2014 at 1:39 PM

What a racist dog whistle! Everyone knows that all the major social media tools were created by White Men. So, who does the president blame for the world follow apart

White Men.

foreman3 on August 30, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Obama Semi-retired president: The world’s always been messy, but now social media is amplifying it

FIFY

Galtian on August 30, 2014 at 8:20 PM

Hey MKH or moderator. I posted a comment at 9:24 and it still hasn’t come up. It had some links in it, so I gave it some time to make it through.

There weren’t even any naughty words in it. Any chance on reviving it and bringing it back to the living?

Much thanks.

Patriot Vet on August 29, 2014 at 11:54 PM

Thanks. You are a lady, and a scholar.

If it was someone else, ditto.

Patriot Vet on August 29, 2014 at 9:34 PM

Patriot Vet on August 30, 2014 at 9:17 PM

I think the Global Warming hoax was supposed to usher in the new world order, but it got cancelled because of better than expected weather.

Now they don’t know what to do.

petunia on August 30, 2014 at 2:29 AM

The AGW scheme (it’s more than a hoax) has not been cancelled. It has only been delayed by stronger than expected resistance that dragged the process on longer than they expected allowing the “peer-reviewed”, “settled-science” models to prove themselves wrong.

They expected their draconian laws/regulations and redistributive economic controls to be in place by now.

AGW was designed by the left as a means of leveraging fear of a malignant climate to radically expand their control over human behavior and the world’s economy, thereby granting leftist leaders vast amounts of power and wealth.

The left is not about to give up easily on their most audacious plan to dominate human behavior since the Soviet Union. This time they have infected the West’s institutions, governments, media and culture and will use every iota of that power to get what they want.

They are better positioned to win than their opposition.

DrDeano on August 31, 2014 at 12:49 PM

“The world’s always been messy…we’re just noticing it in now because of newsreels.” – Neville Chamberlain

RadClown on August 30, 2014 at 9:09 AM

“Ugh gugh urga rugh agurah…rugh rugh ugha guhm guhr gugh a rugh.” – Head Caveman

Nutstuyu on August 31, 2014 at 2:50 PM

“The world’s always been messy…we’re just noticing it in part now because of papyrus.” – Some Old Pharaoh Guy

Nutstuyu on August 31, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Oh poor Obama he”s not used to the MSM not kissing his ass!

MCGIRV on August 31, 2014 at 3:08 PM

“doesn’t reflect islam(e)” eh. Whatta b-zero!

KissMyAmericanFlag on August 31, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Always an excuse and blame to others for him, never his fault.

Amazingoly on September 1, 2014 at 8:26 AM

It’s all Gutenberg’s fault. If he had not made that printing press …

Tinker on September 1, 2014 at 9:46 AM