It was a boring press conference where Barack Obama gave a 10-minute head-swiveling answer to an unasked question. Obama did not look into the camera as his head continuously swiveled back-and-forth (right-left-right-left) as he read from his TelePrompTers. Never looking directly at the camera and the American people.
And perhaps that is the real answer: looking Presidential as he spews lofty words penned by others. The ultimate empty-suit performer. Worthy of an Emmy for a momentous speech by someone who says absolutely nothing.
The fact that the President is engaging in fear-mongering and telling only part of the story should be condemned. But not as much as a complicit mainstream media which can no longer be trusted to “tell truth to power” as they jockey for corporate privileges.
The short answer …
- “The plan is not perfect.”
- "At this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life."
- "My bottom line is to make sure that we are saving or creating 4 million jobs."
The biggest lie …
“But when they start characterizing this as pork, without acknowledging that there are no earmarks in this package -- something, again, that was pretty rare over the last eight years -- then you get a feeling that maybe we're playing politics instead of actually trying to solve problems for the American people.”
What would you consider $4 BILLION FOR COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS LIKE ACORN (Which is allegedly complicit in improperly and illegally registering democrats)?
The toughest question …
The single toughest question, in my opinion, was when Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven asked:
“Mr. President. Earlier today in Indiana, you said something striking. You said that this nation could end up in a crisis without action that we would be unable to reverse. Can you talk about what you know or what you're hearing that would lead you to say that our recession might be permanent when others in our history have not? And do you think that you risk losing some credibility or even talking down the economy by using dire language like that?”
My highlight …
When the cute Bloomberg reporter, Juliana Goldman, asked “Many experts from Nouriel Roubini to Senator Schumer have said that it would cost the government more than a trillion dollars to really fix the financial system. During the campaign, you promised the American people that you won’t just tell them what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. Won’t the government need far more than $350 billion remaining in the financial rescue funds to really solve the credit crisis?
Obama’s answer revealed the fact that the government really doesn’t know how to solve the problems at hand and what they will cost. It is against this background that I find that I have little or no confidence in the Obama Administration to solve the underlying crisis of trust.
“Well, the credit crisis is real, and it's not over. We averted catastrophe by passing the TARP legislation. But, as I said before, because of a lack of clarity and consistency in how it was applied, a lack of oversight in -- in how the money went out, we didn't get as big of a bang for the buck as we should have.”
“My immediate task is making sure that the second half of that money, $350 billion, is spent properly. That's my first job. Before I even think about what else I've got to do, my first task is to make sure that my secretary of the treasury, Tim Geithner, working with Larry Summers, my national economic adviser, and others are coming up with the best possible plan to use this money wisely in a way that's transparent, in a way that provides clear oversight, that we are conditioning any money that we give to banks on them reducing executive compensation to reasonable levels and to make sure that they're not wasting that money.”
“We are going to have to work with the banks in an effective way to clean up their balance sheets so that some trust is restored within the marketplace, because right now part of the problem is that nobody really knows what's on the bank's books. Any given bank, they're not sure what kinds of losses are there. We've got to open things up and restore some trust.”
“We also have to deal with the housing issue in a clear and consistent way.”
“I don't want to preempt my secretary of the treasury. He's going to be laying out these principles in great detail tomorrow.”
“But my instruction to him has been: Let's get this right. Let's create a template in which we're restoring market confidence.”
“And the reason that's so important is because we don't know yet whether we're going to need additional money or how much additional money we'll need until we've seen how successful we are at restoring a sense of confidence in the marketplace that the federal government and the Federal Reserve Bank and the FDIC, working in concert, know what they're doing.”
“That can make a big difference in terms of whether or not we attract private capital back into the marketplace. And ultimately the government cannot substitute for all the private capital that has been withdrawn from the system. We've got to restore confidence so that private capital goes back in.”
The lowlight …
In my oh so humble opinion, the lowest point of the press conference came when Helen Thomas, the old hag in the red dress who should have been retired after John Kennedy’s last press conference, stupidly asked:
“Mr. President, do you think that Pakistan and -- are maintaining the safe havens in Afghanistan for these so-called terrorists? And, also, do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?”
So-called terrorists? Trying to out Israel as having nuclear weapons? How many people know that Helen Thomas’ parents were Lebanese immigrants? Her time has long been over and this is one long-standing tradition that should be scrapped. The time would have been better spent taking more important questions.
The unasked and unanswered questions …
If your previous promise to bring cooperation and bi-partisanship back into the government, why did you ask Senator Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, among the most liberal ideologues in Congress, to write the stimulus package – which wound up packed with projects having nothing to do with the creation of jobs?
How do you account for the future cost of all of the new government employees whose cost will continue for twenty to thirty years, with ever mounting salaries and benefits – and a retirement obligation that exceeds all but the top executives in the nation?
How do you account for the lack of the stimulus bill’s provisions for cost-effectiveness when obviously one needs to employ union workers with their outrageous, non-competitive salaries and work rules? Not to mention, a provision which prohibits the use of undocumented illegal aliens. And a provision which provides criminal penalties with mandatory imprisonment for fraud and corruption.
Why should we believe you and not the Congressional Budget Office when they say that “no action” might be preferable to implementing this bill?
And the biggest unasked questions of all:
Where are we going to get the money to pay for this program and will it finally end in an inflationary nightmare?
How can we trust a government, which cannot accurately count votes or account for monies spent on past and present government programs, to be responsible for the trillions of dollars which are about to be spent in governmental programs.
How can we trust a government who wants to institutionalize health care and deny care to an aging population?
Most dangerous …
What he said …
“The same applies when it comes to information technologies in health care. We know that health care is crippling businesses and making us less competitive, as well as breaking the banks of families all across America. And part of the reason is, we've got the most inefficient health care system imaginable.”
“We're still using paper. We're still filing things in triplicate. Nurses can't read the prescriptions that doctors -- that doctors have written out. Why wouldn't we want to put that on -- put that on an electronic medical record that will reduce error rates, reduce our long-term costs of health care, and create jobs right now?”
What’s really in the bill …
According to an analysis by Bloomberg News (page numbers provided for reference) …
“The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.”
“But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective.”
“The goal is to reduce costs and ‘guide’ your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”
“Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far.”
“Hospitals and doctors that are not ‘meaningful users’ of the new system will face penalties. ‘Meaningful user’ isn’t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose ‘more stringent measures of meaningful use over time’ (511, 518, 540-541)
“What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment? The vagueness is intentional. In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the ‘tough’ decisions elected politicians won’t make.”
“The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.”
“Elderly Hardest Hit”
“Daschle says health-care reform ‘will not be pain free.’ Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.”
“Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).”
A staged event …
You had your part to play, the press theirs. Unfortunately, many people will not go beyond the “celebrity” factor and analyze exactly what was said and what was left unsaid.
Yes, you looked good, spoke well, and said precious damn little. The press corps did not do their job. No follow-up questions. No wonder while you were jawboning and mugging for the cameras.
Bottom line: This was a speech – with the press as props. Obama is still in campaign mode – promising something which he may not be able to deliver. And a mainstream media unwilling to challenge the President and ask the hard questions.
What can YOU do?
Consider President Barack Obama as you would a Trojan Horse. Provoking curiosity until the fateful act of allowing his programs inside the gated walls of society.
Obama admits that they really don’t know if this will work or what the long-term consequences of this program will be. Therefore, why the rush towards oblivion. We need to allow this stimulus bill to go through the normal bi-partisan legislative process – including committee hearings.
I do not believe that this program will encourage people to spend, spend, spend to stimulate the economy. With the current atmosphere in the country, people are more likely to use stimulus funds to pay down debt or put the money aside for the rainy day most believe will be forthcoming.
Ask yourself if you want you doctor to deny the care you need because he is afraid of violating governmental care guidelines enforced with civil money penalties and possibly the loss of practice privileges.
Perhaps you should reconsider your support of AARP which allegedly represents seniors, but in reality is a portal to profit from selling travel, medical insurance, pharmacy services to the senior community. Lobbying for liberal democrat causes which support dangerous medical legislation such as that contained in the ill-defined stimulus bill.
We need also to stop electing people who are insulated from the results of their legislative decisions by reason of wealth, power or position. We need to insure that the average American is treated as well as members of Congress and government employees.
Be well, be safe – and remember: the bastards are not looking out for the average American.
* No disrespect to Stevie Wonder
Quote of the day: “when the day comes for you to receive that life-saving treatment, don’t be surprised when your doctor simply says ‘Next!’” -- steve
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS