The Great American Memory Hole

In the fictional world of George Orwell's 1984, when printed information conflicted with the newest version of truth as Oceania's government proclaimed it, relevant documents were promptly revised by the Ministry of Truth and damning remnants of evidence stuffed down Memory Holes.

In the real world, when information conflicts with the truth as the Obama team defines it, inconvenient facts are spun, obscured, or sealed.  Often important data is never collected or produced at all, eliminating the possibility that discrepancies may be revealed or inconsistent conclusions reached.

The pattern of clouding Obama's personal history began in 1995 with the publication of his autobiography, Dreams from My Father.  In a 2008 NY Times article, Janny Scott noted: "In the introduction, Mr. Obama acknowledged his use of pseudonyms, composite characters, approximated dialogue and events out of chronological order."  Jack Cashill, author of Deconstructing Obama, would likely add a few words to the end of Scott's article title, "The Story of Obama, Written by Obama," such as:  "With Lots of Help from Some Guy in his Neighborhood."  

Yet Dreams, admitted by its author (whoever that may be) as not entirely factual, was practically the only thing the media placed in Obama's vetting file.  Cashill also raised doubts as to the authorship of Obama's second book, The Audacity of Hope, and Stanley Kurtz uncovered varying versions of the inspirational Jeremiah Wright sermon by the same title.

If any other scant investigating revealed inconvenient associations or facts, they were promptly spun and flushed down a Memory Hole by those Cashill calls the "Fifth Estate."

Mondo Frazier, in his new book, The Secret Life of Barack Hussein Obama, wrote:

In an age in which seemingly every facet of a person's life is recorded, on file, and increasingly available on the Internet, the total absence of Barack Obama's vital records is an almost singularly unique phenomenon...In Obama's case, the records either don't exist, haven't been released, or have disappeared.

Beginning in 2008, when citizens questioned whether Obama, with his unusual background, was really born in Hawaii (recall that even MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2007 described Obama as "born in Indonesia") and whether his dual citizenship made him ineligible, the media maligned the doubters as "birthers," and Obama's relevant records were sealed even tighter.  As Frazier noted: "Asking questions was no longer the mark of an informed electorate; it was considered bad form." 

Another Orwellian phenomenon surrounding the "birther" controversy was recently discovered: "JustiaGate," in which 25 Supreme Court decisions that cited to the same case that defined "natural born" citizen were altered on's public database sometime mid-2008.  The changes consisted of deleted references to the case name (Minor v. Happersett), "mangled" numerical citations, and other instances of missing text.  Within days of the Portland Examiner's publishing of attorney Leo Donofrio's findings, Justia removed Wayback Internet Archives access, making it difficult to ascertain the plausibility of Justia owner Tim Stanley's explanation to CNET.

Although the decisions remain intact at other reliable sources, Justia is a popular free site, referred by many law schools for research.  Journalists and attorneys frequently link to Justia's SCOTUS decisions in articles such as this recent posting on the WSJ Law Blog that cited Dirks v. SEC.  In fact, google "Dirks v. SEC" and note the first search hit.

The unexplained omission of two important words ("of parents") from an 1862 Congressional Globe quotation that defined "natural born," cited in an amicus brief for a citizenship case before the Supreme Court, was noted in a previous American Thinker article.  The column also described another instance in which the phrase "whose parents are citizens" was changed to "with an American parent" in an updated version of a 2008 scholarly article -- a small rewrite that made a world of difference regarding Obama's eligibility.

The "Requirements to Hold Office" page on the NY Board of Elections website is the subject of another recent controversy over a couple of qualifying words: "natural born" vs. "born a" citizen, and yet again, the tracks left behind in the Internet archives have been obscured.

Small words, their arrangement and placement, and nuances in their meaning can have great impact.  So can small footnotes, as the 789 terminated Chrysler dealers learned.  Donofrio represented 76 of them in an appeal after discovering that the presiding bankruptcy judge included an inexplicable footnote in his decision allowing the terminations to take place pre-sale (and therefore negating the dealers' rights as unsecured creditors).  Judge Gonzalez wrote:  "... [Fiat's representative Alfredo] Altavilla also responded affirmatively to a question regarding whether a dealership network needed to be restructured for the Fiat Transaction to close, stating that a 'restructuring needs to occur.'"

But previous testimony revealed that Fiat's representative, when asked whether the terminations were a prerequisite, actually asserted: "...a restructure needs to occur. Whether it occurs before or after the closing of the deal is not a material difference."  Note the material difference in meaning, however, implied by the arrangement of words in the judge's footnote.

CNBC recently uncovered a Ministry of Truth-style edit by "someone affiliated with the Department of Energy" of two press releases on the same loan guarantee program offered Solyndra.  The congressional investigations into that DOE program and Project Gunwalker may result in both Obama's Blackberry and the missing "Third Gun" stuffed down the same Memory Hole.  The DOJ is also attempting to throw in Elena Kagan's documents relating to her involvement with ObamaCare as Solicitor General.

The Daily Caller reported on the Justice Department's proposed "revision to Freedom of Information Act rules [that] would allow federal agencies to lie to citizens and reporters seeking certain records, telling them the records don't exist."  The agencies could then slip "certain records" down Memory Holes -- legally.  But last week, the resulting "pushback" forced the DOJ to drop the proposal, although questions remain as to the department's internal guidance that allows certain "exclusions."

And if all the shovel-ready shovels are still lying around after Obama's presidency, they can be employed to dig Obama's "official" Memory Holes: according to the Judicial Watch blog, "a group of congressional Democrats has introduced legislation ... that will allow the commander-in-chief to keep presidential records secret after he leaves office."

Rather than contrived or directed by a central figure such as Orwell's Big Brother, some conspiracy-like movements can simply consist of many individuals motivated by a similar goal or worldview, independently creating, spinning, revising, or obscuring information -- a word, a sentence, a footnote, a record at a time.

Only a generation ago, the communist movement was mostly undercover and considered "un-American."  Many small steps later, the Communist Party now openly marches alongside Occupy Wall Street protesters, supported by other leftist radicals such as the Marxist Student Union, Black Panthers, and Hugo Chávez -- and our own president embraces OWS.

One regulation, ruling, and program at a time, the government defies our founding principles and pushes us nearer insolvency, and political correctness chips away at our national security.  At times, it seems that America itself is inching perilously near the slippery slope of a Memory Hole.

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