Saturday, January 23, 2010
The Lies of Obama
When politicians are caught out in lies, their supporters often resort to the old cliché: all politicians lie. But that is itself a lie: most don’t. Even among those who do, there are enormous differences in the importance and frequency of the lies. And it is surely now clear that this nation has a far from routine problem in the scale and regularity of President Obama’s lying.
When politicians lie they are usually trying to avoid political damage, or to make themselves look good. Bill Clinton lied (and got himself impeached) to save himself from embarrassment about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Hillary Clinton lied about being under fire in Bosnia to enhance her non-existent foreign affairs profile. Richard Nixon was forced from office because he lied to cover up his involvement in a political dirty trick. John Kerry lied about his Vietnam combat experience to blunt his anti-military reputation.
But Barack Obama’s lies are far more corrosive and destructive, because they go the heart of legislation and governance, and so seriously undermine trust in government. His lies generally take a specific form: they attempt to persuade people to vote for him or his policies by categorically assuring them that they need not have the anxieties that they have been expressing. The lies say, essentially: trust me, support what I want, and I promise that what you fear will never happen. But in every case it soon becomes clear either that he knew perfectly well that what the public feared would in fact happen, or that he was giving a firm assurance that he was in no position to give, or that he had no intention of following through on his promise. The accumulated weight of Obama’s deceit is overwhelming:
* During his campaign for the presidency and since, Obama repeatedly assured us that he would protect Medicare against cuts; but he now presses for passage of bills that include savage cuts in Medicare.
* To obtain passage of his first stimulus bill, Obama assured us that 90% of the jobs created would be in the private sector; but as he well knew, most of them were to be in the public sector.
* Early in the health care debate, Obama assured us that he had not said that he favored a single payer system; but he was on record as having said exactly that.
* Obama gave primary voters a firm assurance that if he became the nominee of the Democratic party he would (unlike Hillary Clinton) abide by the campaign finance limits of public funding; but as soon as he became the party’s nominee, he reneged on that pledge.
* During the presidential campaign Obama criticized the presence of former lobbyists in the Bush administration and solemnly assured us that he would appoint no lobbyists to his administration; but once elected he proceeded to appoint even more lobbyists than his predecessors.
* Obama criticized the size of George Bush’s deficit and promised to stop deficit spending if elected; but he has already quadrupled the size of the deficit he objected to and recklessly continues new federal spending in the trillions.
* When campaigning Obama criticized bills before the congress that were too long for anyone to be able to read and promised to stop that; but the bills he has been backing throughout his first year are infinitely longer (2000+ pages) than the ones he criticized.
* Candidate Obama promised an end to the corruption of earmarks and pork, but in the bills he has supported this year there have been more and bigger earmarks than ever before.
* Candidate Obama promised us that CIA personnel involved in the interrogation of terrorists would not be prosecuted; but his administration is now doing exactly that.
* Obama assured a joint session of Congress that the health bill he supported (pre-Stupak) would not provide public funding for abortions; but bitter resistance on the part of House Democrats to inclusion of language to that effect soon proved that it did.
* Candidate Obama promised that he would make sure that there was always enough time for the public to read legislation before it was enacted; but he has done exactly the opposite, repeatedly pressing for even faster passage of even longer bills.
* Candidate Obama met fears that he would be a tax and spend liberal by promising, emphatically and repeatedly, that those earning under $200,000 would see no increase in their taxes of any kind; but he now urges passage of a healthcare bill that breaks that pledge in many different ways, and his unrestrained increase in federal spending makes more tax increases inevitable.
* Candidate Obama promised bipartisanship and an end to partisan bickering; but in a display of especially ruthless partisanship his allies have shut Republicans out of all key meetings on his health care initiative, with the unprecedented result that domestic legislation of historic importance garnered not a single Republican vote in the Senate.
* Candidate Obama criticized his opponent’s plan to tax employer paid healthcare benefits, and promised he would not tax them; but the bill he now backs will do just that.
* Obama had promised that he would not sign a healthcare bill that would add one dime to the federal deficit; but the bill he now backs adds trillions in new federal spending, offset only by new sources of revenue that are both uncertain and more properly seen as offsetting the already existing deficit.
* Obama coerced congress into passing his stimulus bill by promising that if it were passed unemployment could go no higher then 8%; but unemployment is now at 10%, and he could not possibly have had good reason to exclude that possibility.
* Obama promised that his cap and trade legislation will create jobs; but its massive tax increases will certainly hobble the economy and destroy jobs, while green jobs in significant numbers can at best be hoped for, but never promised.
* Obama has repeatedly assured the American people that if they like their current health plan they can keep it; but the House bill which he supported created huge incentives for employers to drop their coverage and shift their members to a public option.
* Obama has just as often assured the public that under his health plan everyone will be able to keep their current doctor; but many are certain to lose their doctors when ObamaCare’s large cuts in Medicare funding induce more doctors to withdraw from Medicare coverage, as they also would were employers to transfer patients to a public option to save money.
* Obama assured a joint session of Congress that his health plan would not fund illegal aliens; but his allies had been busy voting down amendments to that effect. (This was the point of Joe Wilson’s outburst.)
* Obama claimed that Caterpillar’s CEO had told him that Caterpillar would begin hiring again as a result of the stimulus bill; but that individual immediately announced that he had said no such thing, and that Caterpillar would in fact be laying off more workers.
* Candidate Obama promised that Guantanamo would be closed by January 1, 2010; but it is still open.
* Candidate Obama promised that his administration (unlike his predecessor’s) would be so transparent that TV cameras (C-Span) would be there for key deliberations; but an unprecedented level of secrecy prevails as the final stages of Obamacare are negotiated behind closed doors and kept so secret that even the Senate majority whip admitted that he had no idea what was going on. Requests for Obama to honor the promise of C-Span cameras are being ignored.
* To gain traction for his attempt to return a would-be socialist dictator in Honduras to power, Obama claimed that he had been overthrown in an illegal coup; but the congressional research service pointed out correctly that ex-President Zelaya had been removed for constitutionally sufficient cause by legal and constitutional means.
* Obama claims that he wants a public option only to increase choice and competition; but the House bill would clearly reduce choice both by squeezing unsubsidized private health plans out of the market, and by setting rigid conditions on acceptable plans that would narrow available options.
* Candidate Obama claimed that violent radical Bill Ayers was just another guy in his neighborhood; but the record shows that the two had worked closely together.
* Obama assured us that his stimulus bill would create or save a million jobs; but he was claiming as fact what could never have been more than a wild (and highly improbable) guess, and his more recent attempts to justify that guess have been fraudulent.
* Obama assured us that his health plan would never ration care, or “pull the plug” on grandma; but the legislation he backs sets up panels to make crucial decisions on when to withhold care, and it makes such deep cuts in Medicare that rationing is inevitable.
* Obama now assures us that health insurance premiums will not go up if ObamaCare becomes law, insisting indignantly that people who say this have not read the bill; but the legislation forces insurers to cover preexisting conditions, which will compel them to raise premiums substantially.
This is an extraordinary record of serial mendacity. One or two instances might charitably be regarded as rash promises later regretted, or as the wishful thinking of someone who had not thought through the implications of what he was saying. But when it happens again and again—and my 30 instances are by no means exhaustive—only one judgment seems possible: this is the record of a habitual, shameless liar, a man who will say anything to get what he wants. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, goes the old saying. But scores of times? How shameful is that for our society when this disgraceful record is never the subject of a reproachful editorial in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or CBS news? Richard Nixon was removed from office, and Bill Clinton impeached for a single lie. Who could look at Obama’s record without concluding that his lying is in a completely different league to theirs?
President Obama evidently believes that he can solve any problem with a speech. But he really does not care whether what he says is true or not, nor does he feel any responsibility to honor the assurances and promises he makes. As a result, this nation is now in a position where it cannot believe a word that he says, and that amounts to an unprecedented crisis of confidence in the Presidency. Democratic government will atrophy if we allow lying on this scale to count as the business as usual of politics. When will the press and the Congress hold him accountable?
Obama's attack on the big banks may achieve little
Article below from the NYT!
President Obama wants to cut down to size those too-big-to-fail banks. But his vow on Thursday to rewrite the rules of Wall Street left many questions unanswered, including the big one: Would this really prevent another financial crisis?
The president’s proposals to place new limits on the size and activities of big banks rattled the stock market, but banking executives were perplexed as to how his plan would work. Indeed, many insisted the proposals, if adopted, would do little to change their businesses.
Moreover, it was unclear if the twin proposals — to ban banks with federally insured deposits from casting risky bets in the markets, and to resist further consolidation in the financial industry — would have done much if anything to forestall the crisis that pushed the economic system to the brink of collapse in 2008.
Mr. Obama appeared to be leaving crucial details to be hashed out by Congress, where partisan tussling has already threatened another reform the president supports — the creation of a consumer protection agency that would have oversight over credit cards, mortgages and other lending products.
Wall Street figures, many caught off guard by the news, reacted cautiously. “I am somewhat skeptical about how much the federal government can actually regulate,” said John C. Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, the mutual fund giant. “We need to try, but all the lawyers and geniuses on Wall Street are going to figure out ways to get around everything.” Indeed, Mr. Obama acknowledged that “an army of industry lobbyists” had already descended on Capitol Hill, but vowed, “If these folks want a fight, it’s a fight I’m ready to have.”
Shares of big banks — potentially the biggest losers should the proposals be enacted — fell sharply, dragging the broader market down by about 2 percent. Even as the markets stumbled, Mr. Obama — still stinging from the Democrats’ loss on Tuesday of the Massachusetts seat formerly held by Senator Edward M. Kennedy — ramped up his populist approach, one week after he proposed a new tax on large financial institutions to recoup projected losses from the 2008 bailout.
Mr. Obama said the banks had nearly wrecked the economy by taking “huge, reckless risks in pursuit of quick profits and massive bonuses.” The administration wants to ban bank holding companies from owning, investing in or sponsoring hedge funds or private equity funds and from engaging in proprietary trading, or trading on their own accounts, as opposed to the money of their customers. Mr. Obama called the ban the Volcker Rule, in recognition of the former Federal Reserve chairman, Paul A. Volcker, who has championed the proposal. Big losses by banks in the trading of financial securities, especially mortgage-backed assets, precipitated the credit crisis in 2008 and the federal bailout.
It was not clear, however, how proprietary trading activities would be defined. Officials said that banks would not be permitted to use their own capital for “trading unrelated to serving customers.” Such a restriction would most likely compel banks that own hedge funds and private equity funds to dispose of them over time. Officials said, however, that executing trades on a client’s behalf and using bank capital to make a market or to hedge a client’s risk would be permissible.
Federal regulators have already leaned hard on banks to curb pure proprietary trading, and the banks expect that regulators will demand more capital if they keep making risky bets, making the practice far less profitable. Some of the biggest firms, applying a narrow definition, say that pure proprietary trading constituted less than 10 percent of their revenue, and in some cases far less. Morgan Stanley, for example, already abandoned all but two proprietary trading desks last year.
The Buckingham Research Group estimated that the new rules would reduce revenue at Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase by less than 3 percent. Goldman Sachs, which typically derives a tenth of its revenue from such trading, said it would be able to contend with the new rules. “I would say pure walled-off proprietary-trading businesses at Goldman Sachs are not very big in the context of the firm,” David A. Viniar, the firm’s chief financial officer, said in a conference call....
Reaction on Capitol Hill also was muted, partly because neither party wanted to be seen as beholden to unpopular banks. The House bill passed last month would consolidate oversight, require stronger capital cushions for the largest banks and impose regulation of some derivatives. In many ways, the new White House proposal amplifies provisions in that bill that would have left regulators discretion over proprietary trading and excessive liability.
The US economy: A quick survey of the pathetic, the fallacious and the ignorant : If business is neither spending nor hiring then government spending will have a negative effect on the economy. As I have said elsewhere, even if business was hiring and spending the Obama administration's spending, borrowing, regulatory, energy and taxation policies will still cripple economic growth
This economy is no rose garden : The same commentators who didn't see the recession until it ran over them and who still cannot grasp what the hell caused the financial crisis are now telling us that happy days are on the horizon and apart from a few troubled spots the Australian economy can now look forward to steady growth and a falling unemployment rate. But falling unemployment is not in itself a sign of a healthy economy
Is China's economy the world's biggest bubble? : While most observers focus on China's asset boom they are missing an even bigger picture. Her massive boom in fixed capital is running its course. Once it is terminated the bubble will burst
No shock: stimulus is a money loser : The results are in, and last year's $787 billion stimulus not only failed to do what it was supposed to do, but it has also turned out to be one of the worst investments in economic history GOP:
It's Sink or Swim in 2010 : Republicans remain a center-right country. In fact, a recent Gallup poll established that Americans identify as conservative vs. liberal by a nearly two-to-one margin. So, whose advice will Republicans follow in 2010? Will it be that of a fork-tongued Democratic emissary like Tim Kaine? Or will it be that of the GOP's highly motivated, itchin'-to-vote, grass-roots Party faithful?
You can't say that, Senator Reid! : "Harry Reid's dared to not only notice, but comment upon, 'the Negro dialect.' You know, the dialect white Democrats mimic when addressing black churches. The dialect currently in use by young black men struggling to show that they haven't joined Uncle Sam's plantation
Obama's jobs hole: "The unemployment rate will probably rise to about 11 percent. The corrupt mainstream media will have to summon all their considerable journalistic talent to remind the American people in objective news reports that despite the harrowing unemployment numbers, the nation's economy is really in good hands
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 9:16 PM