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  1. #11
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    The Q&A was solid gold. I can multiply what I said earlier in this thread by factor of 5.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  2. #12
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    Love this WSJ piece from 01-29-10:

    The Obama Contradiction

    Washington is sick and broken—and it can solve all our problems.


    By PEGGY NOONAN


    When you watch a president give a State of the Union Address on television, you're always watching three people: the president at the podium, and the vice president and House speaker on the rise behind him. As a TV shot it's awkward. The vice president and the speaker have been instructed by media professionals not to let their eyes do what they want to do, which is survey the doings in the chamber. Instead they must stare unwaveringly at the back of the president's head. This is so that they appear to be fascinated by what he's saying, as if he's so interesting that they can't take their eyes off him. It's also so that you, the viewer, don't become distracted by wondering whom they're looking at in the audience.

    It's uncomfortable for them, and boring. You, as a member of the TV audience, get to watch the president. The speaker and the vice president get to think, "Huh, he's getting a little gray in the back." The reason Nancy Pelosi often seems a little dart-eyed in these circumstances is that she's always trying to get a look at the chamber when she thinks the camera isn't on her. Joe Biden seems happy to be the fascinated person with crinkly eyes and shining teeth. But for Mrs. Pelosi it's a challenge. This is her chamber, all her people are here, and she wants to be looking at John Boehner's face and Harry Reid's and see who's cheering and who's wearing what.

    But the three-shot the other night was also the president's problem. It underscored that he gave the first year of his presidency to the Democrats of Congress, that they wrote the costly and unpopular health-care and spending bills.


    James Baker, that shrewd and knowing man, never, as Ronald Reagan's chief of staff, allowed his president to muck about with congressmen, including those of his own party. A president has stature and must be held apart from Congress critters. He can meet with them privately, in the Oval Office. There, once, a Republican senator who'd announced opposition to a bill important to the president tried to claim his overall loyalty: "Mr. President, you know I'd jump out of a plane for you if you asked, but—"

    "Jump," said Reagan. The senator, caught, gave in.

    That's how you treat them. You don't let them blur your picture and make you more common. You don't let them call the big shots.

    President Obama's speech was not a pivot, a lunge or a plunge. It was a little of this and a little of that, a groping toward a place where the president might successfully stand. It was well written and performed with élan. The president will get some bounce from it, and the bounce will go away. Speeches are not magic, and this one did not rescue him from his political predicament, but it did allow him to live to fight another day. In that narrow way it was a success. But divisions may already have hardened. In our current media and political environment, it is a terrible thing to make a bad impression in your first year.

    There were strong moments. Of what he frankly called the "bank bailout," he observed: "I hated it. You hated it." His unfancy language was always the most interesting: "We don't quit. I don't quit." The president conceded, with striking brevity, having made mistakes, but defensively misstated the criticism that had been leveled his way. He said he was accused of being "too ambitious." In fact he'd been accused of being off point, unresponsive and ideological.

    They've chosen a phrase for the president's program. They call it the "New Foundation." They sneaked it in rather tentatively, probably not sure it would take off. It won't. Such labels work when they clearly capture something that is already clear. "The New Deal" captured FDR's historic shift to an increased governmental presence in individual American lives. It was a new deal. "The New Frontier"—we are a young and vibrant nation still, and adventures await us in space and elsewhere. It was a mood, not a program, but a mood well captured.

    "The New Foundation" is solid and workmanlike, but it attempts to put form and order to a governing philosophy that is still too herky-jerky to be summed up.

    The central fact of the speech was the contradiction at its heart. It repeatedly asserted that Washington is the answer to everything. At the same time it painted a picture of Washington as a sick and broken place. It was a speech that argued against itself: You need us to heal you. Don't trust us, we think of no one but ourselves.

    The people are good but need guidance—from Washington. The middle class is anxious, and its fears can be soothed—by Washington. Washington can "make sure consumers . . . have the information they need to make financial decisions." Washington must "make investments," "create" jobs, increase "production" and "efficiency."

    At the same time Washington is a place "where every day is Election Day," where all is a "perpetual campaign" and the great sport is to "embarrass your opponents" and lob "schoolyard taunts."

    Why would anyone have faith in that thing to help anyone do anything?

    The president did not speak of health care until a half hour in. "As temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we've proposed." Then, "If anyone has a better idea, let me know." Those bland little sentences hidden in plain sight heralded an epic fact: The battle over the president's health-care plan is over, and the plan will not be imposed on the country. Waxing boring on the virtues of the bill was a rhetorical way to obscure the fact that it is dead. To say, "I'm licked and it's done" would have been damagingly memorable. Instead he blithely vowed to move forward, and moved on. The bill will now get lost in the mists and disappear. It is a collapsed soufflé in an unused kitchen in the back of an empty house. Now and then the president will speak of it to rouse his base and remind them of his efforts.

    All this got hidden in the speech. In unconscious emulation it even got hidden in this column.

    As the TV cameras panned the chamber, I saw a friendly acquaintance of the president, a Republican who bears him no animus. Why, I asked him later, did the president not move decisively to the political center?

    Because he is more "intellectually honest" than that, he said. "I don't think he can do a Bill Clinton pivot, because he's not a pragmatist, he's an ideologue. He's a community organizer. He mixes the discrimination he felt as a young man with the hardship so many feel in this country, and he wants to change it and the way to change that is government programs and not opportunity."

    The great issue, this friendly critic added, is debt. The public knows this; Congress and the White House do not. "To me the Republicans are as rotten as the Democrats" in terms of spending. "Almost."

    "I hope we have big changes in 2010," the friend said. Only significant loss will force the president to focus on spending. "To heal our country we need to get the arrogance out of the White House and the elitists out of the Congress. We need tough love. We need a real adult in the White House because we don't have adults in the Congress."

  3. #13
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    It's not a contradiction because Washington is not a single finite entity that moves as one. Something can simultaneously be the required solution to the problem and a cause of many of the current problems, this is something that happens all the time. And a body can make efforts to heal it's own ailments.

    If such notions were logical contradictions and thus impossible, there'd be a lot more dead people seeing as how most of our biological defense systems couldn't work. Organ failure is the source of a lot of sickness, but the organs need to be preserved to maintain life, and the system of the body more frequently than not fights off the causes of it's own ailments.

    So in short, the notion of their being a contradiction is based on a misguided reification of Washington as one item, and surely Obama meant something that by his own understanding was not contradictory (he might have been using the rather simple logic I'm using now).
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  4. #14
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    This is also nice, and more to the point:

    Works and Days

    The Obamarang

    Posted By Victor Davis Hanson On January 28, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

    All politicians fudge on their promises. But this president manages to transcend the normal political exaggeration and dissimulation. Whereas past executives shaded the truth, Barack Obama trumps that: on almost every key issue, what Obama says he will do, and what he says is true, is a clear guide to what he will not do, and what is not true. It is as if “truth” is a mere problem of lesser mortals.

    1. Obama now rails against a pernicious Washington and its insiders: ergo, Obama controls Washington through both houses of Congress and the White House, and wants to expand Washington’s control over the auto industry, health care, energy, student loans, transportation, etc.

    2. Obama bashes the Supreme Court on weakening public efforts to curb campaign contributions. Therefore, we know Obama has done more than any other president in destroying public campaign financing by being the first presidential candidate in a general election to refuse public funds — in confidence that he could raise a record $1 billion, much of it from big moneyed interests on Wall Street.

    3. Obama calls for a freeze on government spending and deplores deficits. Hence, we know that the possible $15 billion savings in some discretionary spending will not affect the Obama record budget deficits that will continue to grow well over an annual $1.5 trillion a year — as Obama piles up the greatest budgetary shortfalls in any four-year presidential term in history.

    4. The president calls for the Guantanamo Bay detention center to be closed within a year of his inauguration, and Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the architect of 9/11, to be tried in New York. Accordingly, we know that Guantanamo won’t be closed within a year and KSM won’t be tried in New York.

    5. Obama issues four serial deadlines in autumn 2009 for Iran to comply with non-proliferation accords. Presto — we know that Iran will get the bomb unimpeded by U.S. opinion.

    6. Obama promised an end to earmarks and lobbyists in government — of course, we assume, then, that lobbyists will be ubiquitous among his presidential appointments, and there will be thousands of earmarks.

    7. Obama announces that he will end the war in Iraq by removing all combat brigades by August 2010. As a result, we understand that George Bush long ago signed an agreement with the Iraqis for a joint agreement on removing U.S. combat forces by August 2010.

    8. Obama laments that his fall in popularity resulted from a failure to communicate directly with the American people. We conclude as a result that Obama has given more interviews, radio and TV appearances, and stump speeches than any first-year president in history.

    9. Obama reiterates that “this is not about me.” That reflects the fact that he has employed the first-person pronouns “I,” “me,” and “my” more than any prior president.

    10. Obama assures on eight occasions he will televise all health-care deliberations on C-SPAN. This is clear proof that nothing will be televised as debate occurs behind closed doors, punctuated by votes purchased through $300 million bribes and state exemptions from federal statutes.

    11. Obama promises to be a tax-cutter. So we know that vast new taxes will come through revised income tax rates, caps lifted off payroll taxes, Cadillac health care charges, and a variety of surcharges.

    12. Obama warned that if another stimulus were not passed, unemployment would reach double-digits; hence, we were assured that the jobless rate would reach 10%.

    13. Obama calls for bipartisanship and an end to finger-pointing. Of course, then, he will begin and end nearly every speech with attacks on George Bush and the prior administration.

    I could continue ad nauseam, but you get the picture. So why does Obama serially tell untruths, mislead, and do the opposite of what he promises?

    Here are four brief reasons. They are complementary, rather than mutually exclusive.

    1) He does this because he can. Obama, from college at Occidental to Chicago organizing, has never been called to account. He was always assured that his charm, his ancestry, or his rhetoric alone mattered, while his record, actions, and accomplishments were mere footnotes. He channels our hopes and dreams and need not traffic in reality. We, the people, like the media, have tingly legs and believe the president is “some god,” and therefore need not question the charismatic face on the screen.

    2) Obama is a reflection of an era of liberal academic postmodernism. There are no absolute facts; truth is only an illusion in the eye of the beholder. Reality instead is relative, and predicated on the basis of power. Ergo, what others say is true is simply a reflection of their race/class/gender/religion/cultural privileges. Speaking “truth” to power means simply opposing those who, you deem, have more advantages than you and yours.

    3) Obama is a neo-socialist who believes the ends of social justice justify most means necessary to achieve them. As a philosopher-king who knows what is best for ignorant lesser folk, who can’t possibly appreciate all the ways in which he works and suffers on our behalf (Cf. Michelle’s “deigns to run”), Obama reluctantly must employ Platonic “noble lies” to achieve the common good: OK, we don’t understand ObamaCare and therefore fear it and the way it is packaged and sold; but once it is forced down our throat, we will come to love — what is good for us.

    4) Obama is a narcissist, who believes that his reality is our reality, that his rules are our rules. If the king, the autocrat, the heart-throb, the prophet, or the messiah says something is true, then facts and reality adjust accordingly. Facts and corrections are boring. And if confronted with contrary evidence, the self-infatuated simply smiles with the assurance that the problem is others’, not his.

    And it is, sort of.

  5. #15
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fecal McAngry View Post
    All politicians fudge on their promises. But this president manages to transcend the normal political exaggeration and dissimulation. Whereas past executives shaded the truth, Barack Obama trumps that: on almost every key issue, what Obama says he will do, and what he says is true, is a clear guide to what he will not do, and what is not true. It is as if “truth” is a mere problem of lesser mortals.
    When someone reads an opening like that, how can they expect anything measured and thoughtful to follow? And why should they? It made me think the following material would be childishly simple, insincere, and willfully ignorant. And apparently the opening was a reliable indicator because the following was indeed all three of those things.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    When someone reads an opening like that, how can they expect anything measured and thoughtful to follow? And why should they? It made me think the following material would be childishly simple, insincere, and willfully ignorant. And apparently the opening was a reliable indicator because the following was indeed all three of those things.
    I'm guessing you are a fan of Obama. So be it. Needless to say, there are many, myself included, who believe that any "measured and thoughtful" analysis of Obama's presidency will reveal him as completely incompetent, fundamentally dishonest, and staggeringly self-delusional. Sometimes, holding a mirror up to the face of an ugly truth reveals ugliness. Sad but true.

  7. #17
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fecal McAngry View Post
    I'm guessing you are a fan of Obama. So be it. Needless to say, there are many, myself included, who believe that any "measured and thoughtful" analysis of Obama's presidency will reveal him as completely incompetent, fundamentally dishonest, and staggeringly self-delusional. Sometimes, holding a mirror up to the face of an ugly truth reveals ugliness. Sad but true.
    Such hyperbolous invective is rarely true, and indeed, what was written was intellectually dishonest.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    Such hyperbolous invective is rarely true, and indeed, what was written was intellectually dishonest.
    I disagree. I'm sure you have some justification for every point made, however. As does Obama. It would be difficult for him to live with himself were it otherwise.

    One interesting fact recently pointed out to me by an INTJ friend who was married to a man who suffered from Narcissistic personality disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia , a condition I believe Obama suffers from as well. According to a study she'd read, the spouses of those with this condition sleep far more poorly than the narcissists themselves. My INTJ friend commented that this made perfect sense given how those with this condition remain detached from the suffering they cause.

  9. #19
    respect the brick C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fecal McAngry View Post
    [Hanson] Here are four brief reasons. They are complementary, rather than mutually exclusive...
    Hanson projects Bush's faults onto Obama. It's a shame he's come to this, because he wrote some very good military history.

  10. #20
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    I watched the address but couldn't convince my 14 yo to sit and watch. I couldn't stand to watch political speeches when that age either. Maybe part of my personality, boring, boring, boring.

    It's all fascinating to me now. I understand more of the terminology that is used after having had experience in the world. Still, a lot of political talk is jargon to me. I'm a sensor in this way. Why aren't financial, legal, and political ideas written or spoken in plain English?

    I've always liked Obama, voted for him, and in many ways I am a democrat or socially liberal person more than a conservative at heart.

    He tried to remain relaxed during the speech. He even cracked some jokes that were funny. Bidden and Pilosi were perfect. God I couldn't imagine having to be on camera like that for over an hour with thinning hair and warm makeup.

    Hope he doesn't forget about healthcare reform, no matter what the Republicans try to do to stop it. I hope he digs in his heels too regarding creating green jobs. Didn't he say something about that before he was elected? I will be angry if he can't bring our troops home from Iraq like he stated.

    At any rate Obama didn't create the mess the US has gotten into and noone should expect that he would have taken care of all our problems by now. That is naieve.

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