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The Obama Blockade

In the spring of ’48, the collision of wills between the free world and the red slave empire of the east came to a head in Berlin.

The Communist strategy had been to push forward, to violate the spirit of the agreements and then the letter of the agreements while always claiming to be the aggrieved party.

The Allies had treated the Soviet Union as if it were a credible partner that wanted to work together with them on rebuilding Europe. The Soviet Union did indeed want to rebuild Europe. It just wanted to do it under a red flag.

Communist takeovers in Eastern Europe baffled a West that could not believe the Reds would show such poor sportsmanship even though generations of terror and oppression should have already made it painfully clear that the Communists were ruthless and unconcerned with any of the niceties of democratic governance or international law.

Stalin had advised Mao to be patient, but patience was a quality that he himself lacked. Had the USSR waited and feigned cooperation in the rebuilding efforts, a weary United States would have withdrawn and the Communists could have taken over.

Instead Stalin decided to humiliate the United States, to demonstrate its impotence in international affairs and take it off the board with the Berlin Blockade. The Marshall Plan would fail, the Allies would be pushed out of Germany and then the emboldened Communists would push further west.

The Berlin Blockade was a siege in all but name. Beyond the sheer fact of food and coal being cut off to a city of millions were a thousand minor humiliations by Soviet officials designed to break the will of their enemies to resist. That was their mistake. And it’s a mistake that the left often makes.

The barricades around the Lincoln Memorial and the WW2 Memorial, the traffic cones blocking the view of Mt. Rushmore and the sawhorses around Old Faithful are no Berlin Blockade, but they come out of the same meanness of spirit and the same motives.

The petty harassment extended to a 24-hour blockade of an inn that had tried to stay open and rangers arriving to block Old Faithful every time it erupted. There are few moments that sum up the meanness of spirit of the Obama Blockade as well as a park ranger angrily telling senior citizens to get back on the bus and stop taking photos because they are engaging in forbidden “recreating”.

The Obama Blockade has no valid justification. Like the Berlin Blockade, it is about power and control.

No one actually has to go to the Lincoln Memorial or the WW2 Memorial or any of the other national monuments that were closed off. They are places that Americans assumed they could always go because they were part of their national heritage. It never occurred to them that they would be shut down.

The Pisgah Inn, the Cliff House, the Claude Moore Colonial Farm or any of the other private non-profits or restaurants on Federal land run themselves. It takes more resources to shut them down, to blockade them, than it would to let them keep on operating.

But it’s not about what’s easier. The Communists picked a fight over Germany’s future currency. The current fight is over ObamaCare. But ObamaCare, like the Communist Ostmark, is about more than its substance—it’s also about control.

The siege of America, unlike the siege of Berlin, is virtual; but it also depends on seizing control over the distribution of vital necessities. In Berlin, that meant food and coal. In America, that’s health care.

The question is will you agree to ObamaCare, just as in Berlin the question was whether you would get a Soviet ration card, fill your wallet with Ostmarks and submit to a Soviet takeover with their Communist puppets. The Communists assumed that cutting off food would force the residents of Berlin to use Soviet ration cards and currency.

They were wrong.

The residents were able to see that short term food from the USSR would mean decades of little food under Communist rule. Similarly any temporary benefits from ObamaCare will mean national shortages of health care in the future.

The National Park Service’s abusive antics, which include kicking senior citizens out of their cabins and detaining others at a hotel under armed guard and with warnings not to step outside, are about power. For these same reasons, Soviet officials subjected trains and water freight to pointless inspections, made petty demands and resorted to buzzing the Allied aircraft carrying out the Berlin Airlift. The tactics may have been petty, but they were making a big statement; this is our territory. We are in control here.

The petty harassments of officialdom all make the same statement. The power to make people jump through hoops, to do unnecessary and useless things, to accept indignities and tolerate harassment are a demonstration that the power lies on the other side of the desk. It’s not a tactic unique to the left, but the left really thrives on it.

The Obama Blockade can shut down websites that go on running anyway, it can refuse to pay death gratuities, take down the Amber Alert and harass tourists, but it can’t do what it would really like to punish the Americans who, like the Berliners, insist on voting to the right of the left, by taking away anything more vital.

And that is what this battle is really about.

The petty harassment of the Obama Blockade is a sign of impotence. It must satisfy its spite  harassing individuals, throwing out senior citizens from their homes and denying the families of soldiers killed in its botched war money to help pay for their funeral expenses, because it can’t inflict a greater misery and torment on the country at large. And it can’t do that until it completely controls health care.

The Berlin Blockade signaled that even with the numbers on their side, the Soviet Union did not dare roll the dice and fight the Allies over the spoils of war. The Obama Blockade is not a sign of strength, pettiness never is, it’s a sign of weakness.

Like the Soviets, Obama is hoping to rattle Republicans into backing down and giving in. He’s hoping that the accumulation of inconveniences, troubles and deprivations will turn Americans against the Yankee Running Dog Capitalists of the Republican Party, the way that the Communists hoped that being cold and hungry would turn Berliners against the United States.

Stalin lost his gamble and Obama is being forced to reconsider his. Instead of the easy victory he hoped for, his blockade created a backlash.

The photos of WW2 veterans storming the WW2 memorial have echoes of the Berlin Airlift; a seemingly small action whose greater resonances attain heroic proportions by pushing back against  tyranny. Family restaurants that defy the blockaders and fight to stay open send a message that there still is room for private lives and private concerns even on government land.

The Soviet Union hoped that Berliners would turn to the Communists. Instead they turned against them. Obama’s own approval ratings have fallen sharply. The speeches and putdowns roaring at record pace out of the White House have not changed the basic fact that Obama’s position, like that of the USSR, is that he will not negotiate over an economic power that he considers to be absolutely his in every way.

The tactics of the Communists shook Americans of their complacency. Even those who had thought that Stalin was a reasonable man willing to be our partner understood that there could be no middle ground.

The Soviet Union was not looking for a compromise. It wanted everything and if it didn’t get it, it would make life as miserable as it could for everyone. That has been Obama’s message. Either Congress completely capitulates and recognizes his power to do whatever he likes or memorials will be shut down, senior citizens will be thrown out of their homes and the families of the soldiers killed in the line of duty will have to struggle to cover funeral expenses.

The Berlin Blockade woke up Americans to what the Soviet Union really was. The Obama Blockade is waking up Americans affected by it to what Obama really is.

Behind the big ideas and the big speeches is a meanness and smallness of spirit that desires power above all else, that lacks any sense of decency and honor, and that when denied, lashes out viciously against anyone in the grip of its power. r.

The Berlin Blockade showed millions of people why they never wanted to find themselves under Communist control. It ended what might have become a recurrence of isolationism and firmed the conviction of Americans that the only way to deal with the Soviet Union was to push it back.

The Obama Blockade, the meanness and pettiness in its needless power plays, is a warning of what life will be like if the left gains even more control over America.


  1. It is difficult to imagine anything more emblematic of the Left's petty tyranny than this bureaucratic high-handedness. Even more difficult to believe is that the same park and federal government officials would have behaved in such a manner forty or fifty years ago. This cordoning off of historical and natural sites simply reeks of authority gone off the rails after having enjoyed unquestioned power for way too long.

    In this recession battered economy, nothing, repeat nothing, is going to anger an already beleaguered public more than having to put up with tantrum-prone officials that are behaving like these traditionally accessible sites suddenly are, somehow, their own little fiefdoms. People are in an ill-enough humor as it is. Having their noses rubbed in government dictates and this small-scale equivalent of martial law is going to spur a backlash of tremendous proportions.

    Either that, or Americans have been so thoroughly beaten into submission whereby this is now the government that they deserve.

    Needless to say, (then why say it?), my money is not on the latter.

  2. Brilliant essay Daniel. It's not surprising that Obama's assault on America should resemble, albeit in miniature, Stalin's on Berlin. After all, they're both cut from the same Marxist cloth.

  3. whatever10/10/13

    The left is what they always accuse the right of being, Manichean, either completely with them or absolutely against them. Their will to power ultimately allows no other choice. But here's the tragedy... American society has historically been based on decency and good will, forgive and forget, make tomorrow better than yesterday. It is almost impossible for most Americans to believe that an internal enemy exists who looks like themselves, but who thinks in terms of only control and subjugation. Throughout the past 60 years the left has cynically counted on this to ease themselves into power. What I've just said should be nothing new.

    However, now the gloves come off. The left is this close to absolute control. There is no longer any need to sidle craftily towards the target when it is so close in sight. The left will now double down on whatever heinous acts it feels necessary to achieve a final solution. Should the Republicans find a backbone and the current situation continue, then what we've seen today with National Parks is only a subdued precursor to a vicious response.

    The rest of us who have eyes to see and ears to hear should be scared $h*^less. I really don't understand why Americans don't understand.

    1. Anonymous10/10/13

      Yes! But Obama dropped the left's mask too soon, and the middle third of the electorate is waking up (I hope). So on point and ironic that the Park Rangers are the tipping point, rather than the NSA or Fast & Furious.

  4. Anonymous10/10/13

    Abuse of power is the calling card of the ignorant and self-righteous. Government workers with bad leaders, spread misery wholesale. God help and protect us all.

  5. Anonymous10/10/13

    "The power to make people jump through hoops, to do unnecessary and useless things, to accept indignities and tolerate harassment are a demonstration that the power lies on the other side of the desk."
    Reminds me of every time I pass through an airport to get on an aeroplane. Sigh.

  6. Brilliant article!!! You write so eloquently and say exactly what millions of Americans are thinking. You analysis is spot on, and I really hope that FINALLY America is waking up to the tyranny that is existing in DC. Keep up the great work.

  7. Obama is betting, as always, that the people who actually think about anything are a minority, even if that means a minority of 49%. He doesn't care a bit about how much normal people scream as long as he has his majority of idiots.

    How many last straws is America going to put up with?

  8. Anonymous10/10/13

    I have a trip planned to the Grand Canyon/Zion for next year, but I'm researching alternate state or privately owned parks in that area. I don't mind staying with NPS concessionaires. It's the "recreating" with jack-booted thugs to which I object.

  9. Anonymous10/10/13

    Maybe people will start resisting all forms of government and administrative bullying starting with stupid rules and regulations. Simply say "NO!" Do not submit to idiotic policies and laws. Just because they are "laws" does not mean they are right. Demand what is right and just. Be willing to face some inconvenience. Ahhh, maybe I am just spitting into the wind. Stupid people!

  10. Anonymous10/10/13

    What is truly disturbing is that the park rangers and all the other "law enforcement officers"...all of them Americans are actually following these spiteful orders that are hurting other Americans.

  11. My only hope is that you're right about the backlash brewing against our Stalin wanna-be. The alternative is frankly unthinkable.

    Beautifully expressed post, as always on this blog.

  12. Zenster wonders insightfully if park rangers and government officials would have acted as they do now 40 or 50 years ago. I don't think they would have acted this way 10 years ago. But a long, drawn out recession in the private sector, matched against an increasingly well-paid and secure federal job, makes many loyal to the power that provides...

    We have also, as a nation, become inured to searches, confiscations, SWAT teams, militarized police. Even as the gov. exercises more and more power, we accept it meekly. I travel a lot and I am the ONLY person who refuses the body scratchers. Not only that, but when I do, others look at me as if I'm just a troublemaker. There is no pushback among travelers. There IS strong social contempt for anyone who challenges what is happening.

    "whatever" wrote, "Should the Republicans find a backbone and the current situation continue, then what we've seen today with National Parks is only a subdued precursor to a vicious response.

    The rest of us who have eyes to see and ears to hear should be scared $h*^less. I really don't understand why Americans don't understand."

    Exactly. The end is near if we don't find the will to push back now.

  13. Halloween's coming up, and I have a wonderful idea for a really, really scary costume: Go as a Park Ranger! Can you imagine the fright you'd put in people when they'd open their doors and see a pair of Park Rangers, hands resting on their sidearms, ready to shut you down or erect a barricade over your lawn and driveway?

  14. Anonymous10/10/13

    Great article. Anyone who have lived in a blue state should remember how you are treated in the month following an incumbent losing an election. Gov't shutdown of DMV etc. just to show no more Mr. Nice Guy. A little inconvenience to show who really is important. It used to be called waving their little you know what's. Now it is called comprehensive negotiation.

    There are probably a lot of surprises to come and not the Park Service kind. I can tell you the NFIP flood program has a lot of changes in store. Think higher rates and much less convenience in even getting a quote. The mortgage companies face higher fines if they try to mitigate the need for flood insurance. Now think about home sales. They've got more to come. Its why they are making a stand and throwing tantrums.

  15. gottaqhfilly10/10/13


  16. Whatever said "The rest of us who have eyes to see and ears to hear should be scared $h*^less. I really don't understand why Americans don't understand."

    There was an article in SFGate yesterday about a trainload of people so absorbed in their iphones they failed to notice a man obviously wielding a gun moving among them, apparently on the hunt for a random victim; which he found. A couple of young, undoubtedly local converts to Islam I encountered the other day reminded me of a disagreement I had with an Anglican friend when Francis ascended the throne of St. Peter. She liked him; I guess his folksiness made him seem accessible, especially to one of her generation.

    I said this is not what that pillar of Western Civilization, the Catholic Church, needs. All young people growing up now have ever seen is institutions, if they can even identify them as such, melting into the morass of popular culture. They need to see someone larger-than-life, of great faith and substance and of indomitable will, arrayed in the gold and ermine trappings of his ancient office. They need to see someone standing, wholly and eloquently, outside the contemporary. People, especially the young, are hungry for heritage, for stability, for structure, for aesthetics, for morality, for grandeur. If we don't give it to them, they will go looking for it somewhere else. Music, books, cinema, fashion, family cohesion, manners, social graces, religion, universities, local and national leaders; arrayed across the land there used to be people and large and small expressions of culture able to deliver those things to the young, and to inspire and renew us all to remember who we are and could be. But, we've been undergoing this death by a thousand cuts for so long now. And, anybody with sense is maliciously labeled and marginalized.

    I've had in the back of my mind for days now verses from the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus is speaking, and finally looked up the relevant verses, from Chapter 12.

    43 And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none.
    44 Then he saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
    45 Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation.

    Meaning, even if you start from what seems a safely neutral place, if you don't keep vigil, and actually teach and instill love of truth, beauty, and virtue, your society will degenerate. There is no resting on laurels.

  17. Ozymandias-on-the-Potomac (how I've referred to our Narcissist-in-Chief ever since he first ascended to the White House throne -- porcelain and otherwise) continues to demonstrate his Terrible-Twos Temper Tantrum character in ever increasing measure, enabled and accompanied by his legion of self-absorbed tyrant-wannabes.

    It's not even a Chicago-style "nice country yuze got dere, shame if sumpin' wuz t' happen to it, if ya know wuddai mean..." It's more of a brazen "my country" (l'etat c'est moi) attitude that petulantly demands his way or he'll (Twilight Zone Billy Mumy-style) wish you into the nearest corn field at the first sign of non-compliance.

  18. Anonymous10/10/13

    Planes 'buzzed' harmlessly, you imply. Our neighbour's husband was killed among I don't know how many others, leaving a young widow and a toddler. It may have been over half a century ago, but it was tragic.

  19. I didn't say harmlessly and I'm aware there were fatalities

  20. Perhaps the best response should have been, NO officer, I'm not recreating, I'm resisting.

    These thugs live in civilian communities. If you know one, make your displeasure known by ostracism and shunning. When Ranger Notso Friendly comes into your store to buy bread and milk, tell him the store is shut down for feds. We can make them pay a price.

  21. Anonymous10/10/13

    Well, I really don't see how you can lay this all at the feet of Obama. If Boehner would allow a vote, there would not be a government shutdown, or a debt-ceiling fire drill. People don't like government when their elected representatives are not allowed to represent them.


    1. Anonymous22/10/13

      Jerome, If you keep quiet people might no learn what a disgusting kool aide drinking moron you really are. Get a clue!

  22. Anonymous10/10/13

    I agree with the advice above to ostracize and shun those among us employed by the Federal government. I believe this will happen anyway as the wealth of private citizens continues its decline while those in the government rises at our expense and as they grow bolder with their abuse of us. My representative, a "conservative" GOP congressmen sent out an email yesterday assuring me that he is working hard to guarantee the pay, allowances and benefits of Federal workers. I wonder if others too were angered by this. This last thing I want him to work on is to make them bigger, stronger and more powerful while he's selling us out.

  23. Justice Ginsberg, when talking about campaign funding reform said there should be reform so "the little people" can donate and have some influence. Right. That's what they think of us in DC. We are the little insignificant workers who support their rich lifestyles. I believe that is going to change. This country is on the brink of revolution, and once it starts there will be no stopping it for a long time. This dog and pony show with closing the monuments and taking away veteran disability will for sure cause a backlash.

  24. DenisO10/10/13

    Kathy said: "You write so eloquently and say exactly what millions of Americans are thinking..."
    Unfortunately, not many millions and few of them under 40, I'd love to see a real backlash to these tyrannical abuses, but at least half the people are functionally ignorant of what is happening, and won't wake up until the pain becomes great enough to get their attention.

  25. Thank you for writing this.

  26. Thank you for writing this.

  27. KevinC10/10/13

    The abuses of this administration go so much further than shutting down National Parks and making life hard on the families of our fallen soldiers. This scandal ridden administration makes the Harding and Nixon Administrations look like choir boys. From Fast and Furious, to the IRS, and the thugs in the "Justice" Department, there has not been a President who deserved impeachment more than Barak Obama. It has been said that elections have consequences and Daniel's essay speaks eloquently to that point. He also spells out the danger of not recognising the left for who and what they are and the folly of accepting these outrageous abuses. Well done sir, keep writing!

  28. Anonymous10/10/13

    I was born in Berlin. In West-Berlin.
    Well after the wall was built and we didn't have relatives in the East.
    So I don't know much about East-Germany.
    I lived in West-Berlin until I moved to the States.

    When the wall came down I went there on the second day. We climbed on the wall and sung and drunk. You might have seen the pictures.

    And the East-German soldiers with their machine guns stood down there and they didn't know what to do. Think about, this was the army that held their people hostage for many years, they shot people at the wall who tried to escape.
    Now they were standing there out of answers.

    This is really the best way to deal with those tyrants. Don't even take them serious. Disobey all the way.

  29. I agree DenisO. I tried to have a discussion with just such a person about this essay, who rejected the premise as fear-mongering. I don't think she grasped the idea history wasn't invented just so public schoolteachers could have a pension. People are hard and hostile to the truth, which apparently is recognizable only by its utilitarian cast.

  30. frank k .11/10/13

    To anonymous (comment #10) .... I suspect that the primary reason for their actions , is something along the lines of , "I ain't losin' MY pension , over something as trivial as a conscience" .... frank k . .... (N.Va.)

  31. Anonymous11/10/13

    Obama and his crew have lowered the level of expertise, quality of character and overall ineffectual ability to levels that reflect the 'affirmations' people too cowardly to compete for excellence always manifest and use to prevent competitive strengths from determining ones position or rank. He behaves like a spoiled child, or rather and adolescent prick and deserves the kind of disrespect he now routinely garners. B. Forbes, Nashville, TN

  32. Anonymous11/10/13

    I just realized, thanks to Mr. Greenfield, that Obamacare would give the power to cut off medical services to the same proto-tyrants who punished veterans and citizens by denying access to the National resources they have paid for with their taxes. What will they hold hostage the next time they want something; surgeries, dialysis, ambulances? Perhaps the seizure of all Health savings Accounts?

  33. I have absolutely no intention to comply with Obamacare.

    Oh, I've got insurance, that's what any responsible adult does if they have a family to provide for. But no way in hell will I fill out the compliance form that's going to come with next year's tax forms. It's none of the government's damn business.

    I'm just saying all this, putting it out here, in an effort to plant the idea in as many heads as possible. If 50 million of us simply REFUSE to cooperate, the thing is busted.

    Risky? Sure. What if only 1 million of us refuse to comply. Then the IRS could make life truly miserable for the 1 million of us. But is it really any riskier than letting things proceed, feeding the never-sated power-hungry socialist beast, encouraging it to grow ever bigger and nastier like that creepy plant in Little Shop of Horrors? I say fight now, or risk a hell of a lot more than fines and jail.


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