Tag Archives: George W. Bush

Obama’s Record

Obama begins his latest email with the following large, friendly letters:

Sometimes, I admit, I just have to do what I’m told. Thankfully, this is not one of those times. So, no thank you, Mr. President. I’ll pass.

This email is all about his record. Lots of pretty graphics, a la Julia. Lots of claims. Lots of facts gotten wrong. But what does it matter? Those getting these messages as opposition research, such as myself, will just shake our heads and laugh at the latest antics that are apparently designed to appeal to a large number of us, and those getting these messages as true believers will hang on every word just as they always have. Like I’ve said before, it’s imperative that this election go landslide one way or the other. For it to come down to a nail-biting cliff-hanger will mean great damage to the already fragile ties that bind us Americans together.

But, because I’m a bitter partisan, I’ll just go right ahead and talk about this latest line of lies and exaggerations and the subterfuge the President and his election staff have concocted for us.

Just. Because. I can.

So, yes, 5.4 million new jobs have been created during the President’s term. That’s great. Every new job is a good thing, even if they are only McJobs. Beggars can’t be choosers and I, for one, am happy there are that many new jobs.

Of course, I won’t leave it at that. No, the real problem isn’t that there were than many new jobs created, the problem is that we have no way of knowing if that is a good number or a bad number. Looking at the graph in that pretty picture indicates to me we’ve stagnated. Yes, we got out of the Pit of Despair, but we haven’t really gone anywhere after that. In September, the number of jobs needed to maintain a steady unemployment rate was just over 104,000 per month. 5.4 million jobs total since Obama took office (45 months) comes out to 120,000 jobs per month, or just a smidge over the number necessary to maintain the status quo. And we see that the unemployment number has just now reached the number it was when Obama took office.

5.4 million, for all its goodness, is a number without context. And so we cannot really criticize or praise the President based on it. We can, however, look at the number of people who have dropped out of the job market entirely and who are therefore not listed in the unemployment roles, even though they, of all people, are the most unemployed, and may need employment as badly as any other. We can look at many different numbers. 5.4 million appears to be a good thing for the President. But it really isn’t. There are just too many other numbers pointing down, down down.

Obamacare did nothing to create the generics market in prescription drugs. It did make MediCare even less solvent, and it did it while making it even more unwise for doctors to participate in it. Doctors need to be paid, just like any other group. And if they aren’t going to get paid, they’ll adjust their practices so they start getting paid, or they’ll go out of business. By cutting the already low amounts doctors are paid for accepting Medicare patients, Obamacare has effectively ripped off those who relied on it for their primary medical benefits.

Obamacare also created in out consciousness the idea that 25-year-olds are “children”. Pardon while I laugh.

From Julia, to Lena, to Fluke, Obama apparently has a different sort of soft spot in his heart for women than the previous Democrat President. But both men do apparently make it primarily about sex. Lena and Fluke diminished their gender by proclaiming that women need, and should want, the government “helping” them in their reproductive needs. Where does this become empowering? Since when does trading dad for “Big Daddy”, family for Sugar Daddy Government, become a good thing in anyone’s life? And so this marketing schtick is disingenuous: President Obama doesn’t want a woman’s health choices to be between her and her doctor. He wants the government squarely involved, telling the woman what they can and cannot do with their body, telling doctors what they can and cannot do with a woman’s body. From support for government-provided contraceptives, to Obamacare, to the side he’s chosen in cultural battles, Obama things government needs to be involved in all the intimate aspects of a woman’s life.

Why has he pushed so hard for such deep involvement in lady’s health, and not gone nearly so far for men? Is he sexist or something?

Or something?

This is just false. President Bush set the timeline and the schedule by which all soldiers were out of Iraq. So the schedule carried over into the next administration, but President Obama had nothing, zilch, zip, zero, nada to do with this except not getting in the way.

Government involvement in the financing of higher education has created consistent and repeated examples of unintended consequences. Costs for higher education have risen astronomically faster than the economy has grown, in large part due to the guaranteed payments promised by more and more common and substantial financial aid programs. So he’s doubled Pell Grants funding. And the cost of college has continued to skyrocket and so the greater dollar number simply means its effectively paying for the same amount of more expensive education.

A real solution would involve cutting public college budgets, cutting grants and government-provided financial aid, forcing colleges to compete once again on price, even as they do on academics and “campus life”. Make colleges reflect the realities of the world around them, and they’ll produce graduates better prepared to go into that world and make something of it.

Why is the government providing loans to businesses? Aren’t there banks to do this? We’re broke, we don’t have any more money as a government. Sending good money after bad isn’t a good way to get out of a mess. Yes, we need to encourage the growth of business, but that can be done more effectively by getting the government out of the way than by pouring more money down the hole.

Yet another lie. Obama supported pumping millions upon millions of dollars into failing companies in hopes of preventing them from going into bankruptcy. Which they did anyways. While there have been claims that the money has been repaid, the US taxpayers still own significant percentages of stock of these automakers, and these stock have continued to lose value to such an extent that it seems Chevrolet, at least, is likely to go into bankruptcy again.

Romney supported letting the companies go into bankruptcy without the bailouts first. Obama sent the companies huge amounts of money that did nothing to help the situation. The outcome would have arguably been the same, except we wouldn’t still be losing money on the deal had Romney had his way.

Fuel efficiency only affects new cars. You’d have to shell out $20,000 to save that $8,200. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that while mandated fuel efficiency has gone up, prices of gas have gone up faster.

I’m conflicted regarding required fuel efficiency standards. I don’t like the idea of the government dictating business policy. But I’m happy that vehicle manufacturers have taken these requirements and have started developing to meet them while maintaining entertaining driving characteristics. I’d rather see import restrictions dropped so we can experience the benefit of a wider car market, eliminating the union-supported protectionism that straps our current car market. With care manufacturers fighting on a global scale, we the consumer would only benefit.

Other pretty images tout the President’s signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which purports to help women fight against wage discrimination, when in reality it removes standard and accepted and tested and working limitations on suing. Lilly Ledbetter was a liar and a cheat who waited until her supervisors were dead and so could not contest her claims against the company she claims she discovered underpaid her when documented evidence indicates she new of the pay disparity long before. The bill ought to have been called the Lilly Ledbetter Lying And Getting Away With It Act.

And then there’s DADT, or the “I was against it before I was for it” moment of this administration. Remember, President Obama was for traditional marriage when it would help him politically (getting more of the more traditional black American vote) and then chose, in a highly publicized moment of internal enlightenment, to support homosexual marriage when it would benefit him politically (shoring up support from the wary homosexual lobby). Craven? Yes.

So yes, the President has a plan to keep the country moving forward for the next four years. A plan of stagnation and economic ignorance. A plan of political theory rather than leadership capability. A plan of “you have to pass it before you’ll know what’s in it” rather than bipartisan progress.

No thanks. I’ll pass. The other guy’s got experience and experience. Two things you lack in spades, Mr. President.

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Media: Can’t Be Bothered By Facts

SANTA MONICA, CA - APRIL 15:  Five-year-old Ka...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

When reporting a story, context is everything. When making a statement, context is everything. When communicating, it is important to include context in your communication if you really want to be understood.

There are two reasons context is left out of communication: ignorance or underhandedness.

Ignorant context-dropping results in faux paus and jokes we tell over a beer. Underhanded context-dropping is what we read in the media.

Come on, it’s not all that bad. They’re writing and writing and maybe they assume we know what they’re talking about, or maybe they are really that dumb. They can’t be doing it maliciously or for nefarious causes!

Judge for yourself.

If you’re talking about stem cells there are two very different forms with very different moral surroundings and very different legal arrangements. It is important to specify which type of stem cell is being discussed because that bit of information is necessary to an accurate understanding of the topic at hand.

I’ve been over the various types of stem cells here on I, Pandora before. The short version is that there are adult stem cells that usually come from adipose (fat) tissue of the person who will be receiving the tissue. No babies destroyed. And there are embryonic stem cells which are harvested from “unwanted” embryos and then applied to other people.

There are several different considerations regarding stem cells, but you can read up on them yourself.

In recent reporting on the stem cell issue, as the Obama Administration and this new government has tried to allow embryonic stem cell research, you would have been hard pressed to find, in reading headlines, any clarification as to which type of stem cells were being talked about. Nor would you have heard anything about President Bush not having prohibited embryonic stem cell research. Apparently the writers of the news didn’t think these facts was significant information or material to the discussion.

So there are the differences with where the stem cells come from, big deal, you may say. There are also significant differences between success rates with treatments using the various types of cells. Check around for yourself, but there have been zero successful treatments using embryonic stem cells, and that despite the fact that evil President Bush did not stop all embryonic stem cell research and that annoying detail that research using embryonic stem cells has attracted vastly more government money than treatment using adult stem cells. There have been thousands of successful treatments using adult stem cells for all types of conditions.

So I think it is important that we clarify which type of stem cells we’re talking about. It’s not until the end of the fourth paragraph in this story, after they’ve lost many of the readers who are now fuming at how anti-science and downright medieval that judge is. By George, he must be a Bush appointee!

The second issue is brought on by President Obama recognizing he is not making sense to enough people with all his efforts to create a command economy. So he’s trying to speak in a language more people understand: tax cuts.

So he’s trying to pass tax cuts for the poor and let all those tax cuts the rich currently enjoy expire. A couple problems: the poor don’t currently pay much of anything in taxes, and the rich do.

I think it’s fair to draw the rich/poor line at half. Though I personally would say it’s probably nearer the bottom 10% that are really poor, and those of us in the middle class have just gotten too used to spending way too much.

But if you draw the line at half, you get just about the line at which people stop (or start) owing federal income tax. There are more taxes than federal income tax. Sales tax, investment tax, state taxes. Rich people own property, so they pay property tax. They buy more expensive things, so they pay more sales tax, and they probably pay luxury tax on some of what they buy. The rich have many and large investments, which means they pay investment taxes. They also can buy off politicians and get loopholes built into laws. That racket is one of the most significant blights on the current US government. Which shows more the differences between the parties, where McCain ran publicly supporting an extremely simplified tax code with a 1040 the size of a recipe card. Not a cure-all, but a step in the right direction.

But when the media talk about tax cuts, it’s all about how those nasty, rich-loving Republicans want to tax the little guy and let the rich keep beating the system, getting off scott-free. There is no scott-free for the rich. Corporations in the US are taxed at more than 30% of their net earnings. This is the highest corporate taxation rate in the industrialized world. This confiscatory and unbelievably high rate encourages companies to spend vast sums of money manipulating tax policy and government projects in their favor. The rich are taxed at similar rates and make similar efforts to avoid, by loophole and shelter, those insane rates.

Not that lowering or equalizing the tax rate will cure all these ills, but 10% or 15% is a much easier pill to swallow. For everybody.

It is important to have context, and to know that the media have some reason not to tell the whole truth in their stories. Objectivity is such an old ruse.

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