March 19th, 2009

Obama gives a master class in shucking responsibility while simultaneously pretending to accept it

I’d hardly gotten through lamenting the fact that Obama is a champion blamer of others—no “The Buck Stops Here” sign on his desk—when what do you know, right on cue, he comes out with “I’ll take responsibility. I’m the President.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Until you stop and think about it for a moment—which he’s counting on most Americans to fail to do.

Let’s take a closer look at what Obama said concerning the AIG bonuses:

“Washington is all in a tizzy and everybody is pointing fingers at each other and saying it’s their fault, the Democrats’ fault, the Republicans’ fault,” [Obama] said at a town hall meeting Wednesday. “Listen, I’ll take responsibility. I’m the President.”

He also makes clear that it isn’t really his fault. “We didn’t grant these contracts,” he said.

But he added: “So for everybody in Washington who’s busy scrambling, trying to figure out how to blame somebody else, just go ahead and talk to me, because it’s my job to make sure that we fix these messes, even if I don’t make them.”

Note that nowhere does he admit any wrongdoing or culpability. The clues are in the little details of language; do not think for a moment that they are accidental. Obama’s ability to craft his balancing act is so precise that it has me in awe. Almost every word he utters is there for a careful strategic reason, to induce a particular psychological effect in the listener.

First we have “Washington is all in a tizzy.” That is a favorite ploy of Obama’s—to ridicule and trivialize criticism (last April, for example, I wrote about his tendency to use the word “silly” to describe his opposition).

Note also it is Washington that’s in this tizzy of blame, not the American people. That’s because Obama knows that “Washington” isn’t very popular right now (or perhaps ever), so it makes a good target. And Obama, of course, isn’t “Washington,” although he happens to reside there.

He doesn’t even consider the possibility that anyone in “Washington” (except, of course, for Obama, who’s not really “in” Washington) might be sincerely trying to discover who is actually responsible for the problem. No, they are merely eager to deflect the responsibility onto others. The fact that this is actually a pretty good description of the motivation of so many members of Congress only adds to Obama’s believability, so one might be pardoned for forgetting that Obama has been doing the very same thing—pointing the finger at others and saying it’s their fault, not his—ever since he came to office.

Next we have the phrase “saying it’s their fault, the Democrats’ fault, the Republicans’ fault…” Notice what Obama leaves out here—the phrase “saying it’s my fault,” or even the more distant third-person “saying it’s the President’s fault.” He refuses to add those words because he doesn’t even want to admit it as a possibility. He doesn’t want to leave that image in people’s minds even for a moment.

Then Obama says, “I’ll take responsibility.” Not “I am responsible.” Just that he’ll “take” responsibility. He’ll wrap the mantle of responsibility around his shoulders whether it fits or not. That’s just how noble he is. And not because he’s done anything wrong, of course. It’s because presidents are supposed to be big boys and do that sort of thing.

Obama drives this thought home by immediately adding “I’m the President.” He wants to remind us of the dignity of his office, and the fact that he holds it and wields power right now.

But Obama saves the best for last. It’s astounding how he manages to pack so much into one sentence. He repeats his earlier ridicule of Washington for emphasis: “everybody in Washington who’s busy scrambling, trying to figure out how to blame somebody else.” Once again we have an image of a pack of clowns or Keystone cops, a comedy routine of fools, refusing to take the responsibility that is rightly theirs and saying “he did it; she did it; not me!”

Everyone, that is, but the righteous Obama. In contrast he says, “just go ahead and talk to me, because it’s my job to make sure that we fix these messes, even if I don’t make them.” So once again we have the contrast of the silly Washington blamers (whom he is blaming for being blamers), followed immediately by a reminder of his high office (“it’s my job to fix”) and then the kicker, a disclaimer of wrongdoing: “even if I don’t make them.” That last is slipped in so smoothly that the audience might easily miss the fact that he just negated the responsibility he had claimed to be taking only a moment before.

But in actuality he is just appearing to negate that responsibility that he claimed to be taking a moment earlier. I know that’s a bit complex and convoluted (Obama is nothing if not complex and convoluted), but please bear with me. The tipoff is his use of the word “if.” He is careful not to say whether he made this mess or didn’t, or whether he had any role in its genesis at all. He is saying that, whether he did or did not make this mess (and who knows which it might be?), he is going to take responsibility for it anyway—a responsibility which he has just subtly deflected.

I wrote this analysis without having seen a video of his remarks. But when I watched them just now, the visuals made even clearer what he was doing.

The remarks in question begin at minute 4:46:

Note his gestures and affect. When he says the bits about “tizzy” and “scrambling” the intent to mock is obvious; he waves his arms in a flapping motion both times. Then, when he is making the contrasting remarks that follow, about his own position of power and gravitas as the President, his aspect grows more serious and responsible, and he underscores the effect by placing his hand solemnly on his chest each time, just in case we missed it, indicating: “I am the President. Me. Me.”

[NOTE: Lest you think any of this “now I say it now I don’t” language was an accident, Obama uttered similar although not identical double talk while answering press questions prior to the Town Hall meeting. When asked whether he wished he’d learned about the AIG bonuses sooner so he could have done something about them, he dodges the question and instead says:

Well, look, rather than going into sort of the details of finding it out, ultimately I’m responsible, I’m the President of the United States. We’ve got a big mess that we’re having to clean up. Nobody here drafted those contracts. Nobody here was responsible for supervising AIG and allowing themselves to put the economy at risk by some of the outrageous behavior that they were engaged in. We are responsible, though. The buck stops with me. And my goal is to make sure that we never put ourselves in this kind of position again.

See also my April 2008 dissection of Obama’s non-apologetic apologies.]

63 Responses to “Obama gives a master class in shucking responsibility while simultaneously pretending to accept it”

  1. Scottie Says:

    It’s not too difficult for him to utter these kinds of comments and so deftly dodge responsibility since he’s reading prepared comments from a teleprompter.

    His true gift is in being able to read these mini-speeches and make them seem like offhand remarks to anyone not aware he’s reading from a teleprompter.

    How he said it arrives just short of some sort of political martyrdom in how he accepts responsibility – yet as you point out not really accepting responsibility.

    Quite interesting overall in light of the fact that Dodd is on video now describing how, during the conference to reconcile House and Senate bills, the White House became involved and asked for this specific language!

  2. E Says:

    What a tool. When our teenaged sons behave like this, we sit on them – HARD.

  3. Tom Says:

    Obama combines the lawyerly slipperiness of Bill Clinton (“that depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”) with the blamefree victimology and incompetence of contemporary AfroAmericanism (I’m responsible but the details escape me, so I can’t really be held responsible, right, bro?!).

    He, Dodd, and company are going to drown us in a river of doublespeak bullsh*t unless we storm the barricades.

  4. Rose Says:

    What amazes me is that he can talk and talk, and not say anything, really, but people come away convinced that he was brilliant.

    You’re right, it is the careful crafting of words, and since he uses the teleprompter, it is fair to assume that they are not his words.


    Who writes the speeches and crafts the words? I worked with a guy who wrote material for political candidates, and he was brilliant – and at one point I turned to him and said “You’re the one who should get elected. You actually BELIEVE what you are saying, That candidate doesn’t even have a clue.” I think that is the case here, too. It also explains why the rhetoric resonates with younger people, the speechwriter is younger, and he is steeped in the language and priorities of the left, the disdain for the right and his perceived enemies.

    Sooner or later, Obama will be held accountable. In the meantime, he better get secret service guys guarding that speech writer, driving him wherever he wants to go, like actresses who insure their legs. If he lost that guy to an accident on the freeway, what would happen to his presidency?

  5. dane Says:

    I think Obama is holding Night classes in this kind of talking. One of his visiting professors has to be Chuckie Schumer who talked about all “the chattering classes” in his speech before the senate about the stimulo-porkasaurus bill. Expect to hear more.

  6. Scottie Says:

    Regarding the teleprompter thingy, it’s interesting to note how rarely one actually sees the teleprompter screens during events.

    It’s almost as if, and I know this sounds conspiratorial and that can’t possibly be the case, but it’s almost as if the media are deliberately trying to hide the things from public view so folks won’t know that Obonga is reading a prepared script every time he opens his mouth!

  7. Artfldgr Says:

    Been trying to say it for a long while… thanks for “getting it”…

    this is the difference between informing a crowd, and manipulating a crowd.

    the tin hatters and left play with a discipline that one can read about from eden in the bible

    NLP.. Neuro Linguistic Programming.

    i can give you an example out of politics.
    [though i dont know if this is under NLP, but it IS under dual thinking and hypnosis, which a lot of NLP people seem to also practice. i am not conversant with NLP as a unit, but am conversant with a lot of the stuff jammed together that can make up that discipline(?)]

    first thing to realize is why we have language and why our brains are so big.

    the reason (and i dont have time to cover this all) is basically becasue the purpose of langage is not to inform, but to manipulate. to gain advantage.

    just as you can look at the world through socialist eyes, and capitalist eyes, and so fort with schemas

    you can also see the world and langauge as eitehr informing, or manipulation (when its both).

    so the first would say a baby cries to tell the mother that its hungry

    the later would say the baby cries to manipulate someone into feeding it.

    the latter is more true as information makes way for manipulation when the baby cries to test out the effect when not hungry.

    well a politician who knows certain things knows never to answer the question posed to them.

    ever drive home and not rememver the trip? you were in astate of dual mind, a hypnotic state… (which is why radio is so critical to this. and why they are apoplectic with rush dominating… the perfect place to suggest to people in a state of high suggestibility is in the car when they are in this split mind thing).

    the military uses the split mind thing to dump information into people (a company makes a product in which you defocus your eyes and maintain a 3d image… behind this image they scroll books and languages… at a ridiculous 60,000 words a minute… and the retention is about 80% or more… you come out slammed, and you ahve the answers… but like me, you dont know where they come from (i do thisnaturally))

    so this is powerful

    when the politician has a question asked as obama does, they then go off into a talk. your mind is constantly comparign what they say to the questino to see when the recursion is satisfied. unsatisfied recursion makes us uncomfortable (terhe are musical pieces that are constructed as such in endless loops, where you have to restart teh piece in order to ehar the phrase that solves the recursion. but then your stuck again. a lot of pop music is writtin this formuleaic way)

    so while your trying to compare, you have split mind. and the off question discussion and its ‘facts’ are being dumped into your head.

    so the more you listen to a person like this, the more you just feel you know these points and you follow them.

    the less you lsiten to them, the less of the resonating facts get dumped in, and the less you accept what they are saying as having bearing.

    thre are some that do not get the dual mind since the conversation isnt hardf for them.

    but the more receptive, will follow him like a puppy… even more than the speeches, the question and answers are important.

    if you want to listen to others with this skill listen to charlie rangel. he is even better at it than obama.

  8. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Tom, I don’t know that it’s an AA thing or just victimology in general. And this type of evasion isn’t specific to Obama, he’s just particularly good at. “I will take responsibility. I will decide who to blame.”

  9. Baklava Says:

    The wife beater says:

    She had it coming to her.

    The rapist says:

    She was asking for it.

    The terrorist says:

    Look what they did to us.

    Obama says:

    Chris Dodd made me do it. 🙂

  10. djmoore Says:

    Excellent, scary analysis.

    My immediate response, as I watched this live: Janet Reno after Waco. Reno also “accepted responsibility”. She seemed to be conflating “responsibility” with “blame”, but of course, she did nothing like resigning, or even vigorously prosecuting the field agents who actually botched the operation. “Accepting responsibility” was a mere rhetorical flourish, a lie, in fact, designed to shield her President from the blood and cinders.

    Obama, however, has done more than that. I fear that when he says, “I accept responsibility,” what he really means is, “I accept power.”

    He’s confirming the ginned-up anger of “the people”, and accepting their calls for corporate blood. If his cheering constituents give him responsibility, then they must also give him the power to do whatever he deems necessary to fix the problem.

    That town meeting was Obama declaring his acceptance of a crown.

  11. Baklava Says:

    The blame Sarkozy media riles people up.

  12. Baklava Says:

    3/4ths of French people support the strikes….

  13. huxley Says:

    But everything’s all right. Obama will be kickin’ it with Jay Leno tonight.

    How bad could things be if they President of the United States has time to, you know, chill on a late night talk show?

  14. Artfldgr Says:

    watch out, al sharpton is going to come after you!!!

    you cant continue using racist terms like shucking in out near future and stay out of trouble…

    words and phrases like
    shucking and jiving
    putting the shine on
    step/stoop and shuffle

    its going to get interesting.

    obama SA/SS law just past the house…

    HR1388 just passed.

    however its interesting to note that this internal military will be in camps… but they went through the trouble to reword it on march 9th to use the word campus.

    so LEE… after i made a fool of you are you ready to come back for more?

    lee, are you ready to put your three years of mandatory obama service (they get to pick the uniforms)?

    you have to quite your job, you will have to leave home, you will be stationed… and i am sure you WILL be reeducated before they send you out to be a force like the SA/SS

    OBAMA in his first 100 days has brougth slavery back to america.

    now, we are all to be slaves to obamas cause, swear to obama, and so forth..

    Just in case you don’t want to wear the uniform and think the Corps means everybody but you, these are the citizen group H.R. 1388 proposes to cover:

    “Increasing service opportunities for our Nation’s retiring professionals.
    “Encourage members of the Baby Boom generation to partake in service opportunities.”

    The National Civilian Community Corps is year-round and will impose itself on children away at summer camp. Even private schools will not be immune from its membership.
    Down through the generations, wearing a uniform has always appealed to the sincere at heart.

    According to H.R. 1388, “the Director determines appropriate “Uniforms”.

    Membership is mandatory!

    While you were busy worrying about coming up with the rent or mortgage money and the safety of your job, on March 9, committees knowing full well the chill that comes with the word “camp” changed all of their documents to read “campus”.

    From Library of Congress

    (d) [Struck out->][ Camps ][][ (1) UNITS TO BE ASSIGNED TO CAMPS- ][][ in camps ][][ camp ][][ in the camps ][][ (2) CAMP SUPERINTENDENT- There shall be a superintendent for each camp. The superintendent is the head of the camp. ][][ (3) ELIGIBLE SITE FOR CAMP- A camp may be located ][][ (e) Distribution of Units and Camps ][][ camps are distributed ][][ rural areas in various regions throughout the United States. ][

  15. expat Says:

    The Fritzl trial ended today in Austria. Am I the only one who sees connections in the ability of both to take responsibility? The only words Obama has ever used to admit to mistakes are trivializing ones: boneheaded, screwed up. These words are never accompanied by any display of emotion that would indicate he seriously understands what he did wrong. There is something seriously wrong with this guy, and our society has been niced and toleranced out of our ability to voice our doubts.

  16. Artfldgr Says:

    Something of Historic Proportion is Happening

    I am a student of history. Professionally. I have written 15 books in six languages, and have studied it all my life. I think there is something monumentally large afoot, and I do not believe it is just a banking crisis, or a mortgage crisis, or a credit crisis. Yes, these exist but they are merely single facets on a very large gemstone that is only now coming into a sharper focus. Something of historic proportions is happening. I can sense it because I know how it feels, smells, what it looks like, and how people react to it. Yes, a perfect storm may be brewing, but there is something happening within our country that has been evolving for about 10 – 1 5 years. The pace has dramatically quickened in the past two.

    We demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people whom we know can never pay back? Why? We learn just days ago that the Federal Reserve, which has little or no real oversight by anyone, has “loaned” two trillion dollars (that is $2,000,000,000, 000) over the past few months, but will not tell us to whom or why or disclose the terms. That is our money. Yours and mine. And that is three times the $700B we all argued about so strenuously just this past September. Who has this money? Why do they have it? Why are the terms unavailable to us? Who asked for it? Who authorized it? I thought this was a government of “We the People,” who loaned our powers to our elected leaders.. Apparently not.

    We have spent two or more decades intentionally de-industrializing our economy. Why? We have intentionally dumbed down our schools, ignored our history, and no longer teach our founding documents, why we are exceptional, and why we are worth preserving. Students by and large cannot write, think critically, read, or articulate.

    Parents are not revolting, teachers are not picketing, school boards continue to back mediocrity. Why?

    We have now established the precedent of protesting every close election (now violently in California over a proposition that is so controversial that it wants marriage to remain between one man and one woman. Did you ever think such a thing possible just a decade ago?). We have corrupted our sacred political process by allowing unelected judges to write laws that radically change our way of life, and then mainstream Marxist groups like ACORN and others to turn our voting system into a banana republic. To what purpose?

    Now our mortgage industry is collapsing, housing prices are in free fall, major industries are failing, our banking system is on the verge of collapse, Social Security is nearly bankrupt, as is Medicare and our entire government. Our education system is worse than a joke (I teach college and know precisely what I am talking about.) The list is staggering in its length, breadth, and depth. It is potentially 1929 x 10. And we are at war with an enemy we cannot name for fear of offending people of the same religion who cannot wait to slit the throats of your children if they have the opportunity to do so.

    And now we have elected a man no one knows anything about, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, let alone a town as big as Wasilla , Alaska .. All of his associations and alliances are with real radicals in their chosen fields of employment, and everything we learn about him, drip by drip, is unsettling if not downright scary (Surely you have heard him speak about his idea to create and fund a mandatory civilian defense force stronger than our military for use inside our borders? No? Oh, of course. The media would never play that for you over and over and then demand he answer it. Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter and $150,000 wardrobe is more important.)

    Mr. Obama’s winning platform can be boiled down to one word: Change. Why? I have never been so afraid for my country and for my children as I am now. This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again.

    And that is only the beginning. I thought I would never be able to experience what the ordinary, moral German felt in the mid-1930s. In those times, the savior was a former smooth-talking rabble-rouser from the streets, about whom the average German knew next to nothing. What they did know was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved, and pushed around people with whom they disagreed; he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory and promises. Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and waved a lot. And people, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his “brown shirts” would bully them into submission. And then he was duly elected to office, with a full-throttled economic crisis at hand [the Great Depression]. Slowly but surely he seized the controls of government power, department by department, person by person, bureaucracy by bureaucracy. The kids joined a Youth Movement in his name , where they were taught what to think. How did he get the people on his side? He did it promising jobs to the jobless, money to the moneyless, and goodies for the military-industrial complex. He did it by indoctrinating the children, advocating gun control, health care for all, better wages, better jobs, and promising to re-instill pride once again in the country, across Europe , and across the world.

    He did it with a compliant media – Did you know that? And he did this all in the name of justice and .. . . change. And the people surely got what they voted for. (Look it up if you think I am exaggerating. ) Read your history books. Many people objected in 1933 and were shouted down, called names, laughed at, and made fun of. When Winston Churchill pointed out the obvious in the late 1930s while seated in the House of Lords in England (he was not yet Prime Minister), he was booed into his seat and called a crazy troublemaker. He was right, though ..

    Don’t forget that Germany was the most educated, cultured country in Europe . It was full of music, art, museums, hospitals, laboratories, and universities. And in less than six years – a shorter time span than just two terms of the U. S. presidency – it was rounding up its own citizens, killing others, abrogating its laws, turning children against parents, and neighbors against neighbors. All with the best of intentions, of course. The road to Hell is paved with them. As a practical thinker, one not overly prone to emotional decisions, I have a choice: I can either believe what the objective pieces of evidence tell me (even if they make me cringe with disgust); I can believe what history is shouting to me from across the chasm of seven decades; or I can hope I am wrong, close my eyes, have another latte and ignore what is transpiring around me.

    Some people scoff at me; others laugh or think I am foolish, naive, or both. Perhaps I am. But I have never been afraid to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what I believe – and why I believe it. I pray I am wrong. I do not think I am.





    Folks, looks like it probably will!

  17. gcotharn Says:

    Flim Flam.

    I appreciate your explication of Barack’s shifting vocal and physical emphasis and de-emphasis. I noted, long ago, how Barack deepens the timbre of his voice to emphasize noble elements he wants to sell us, then softens and speeds his voice over the weasel word parts, i.e.

    (Confident tone) THIS CAR HAS NEVER BEEN IN AN ACCIDENT (soft and speedy voice) so far as I know.

    Barack’s shifting of vocal and physical emphasis amounts to a lie. Communication is not limited to mere text. Barack is lying to us while taking refuge behind a falsely limited definition of what constitutes a lie.

  18. Artfldgr Says:

    There is mounting evidence that China’s central bank is undertaking the process of divesting itself of longer-dated US Treasuries in favor of shorter-dated ones.

    China inoculates itself against dollar collapse

  19. Artfldgr Says:

    The administration and congressional Democrats are debating whether to use a parliamentary procedure called reconciliation to advance some of the biggest items on the president’s agenda. The move would allow Democrats to approve plans to raise taxes by $1 trillion, create a cap-and-trade system to rein in greenhouse-gas emissions, and overhaul health care without a single Republican vote.

    “You’re talking about running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them into the Chicago River,” said Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican who stepped down last month as Obama’s pick for Commerce secretary. “It takes the minority completely out of the process.”

  20. gcotharn Says:

    BTW, Barack’s entire 8 minute speech is so misguided, so based upon fantasy, that watching it prompts me to repeatedly throw up little bits in my mouth. I am aghast., We are being governed based upon fantasy understandings of events which never happened and circumstances which never occurred. Excuse me while I go hover near the toilet, just in case these little vomits get bigger…

  21. Baklava Says:

    This was the end goal

  22. Baklava Says:

    Sorry off topic.

    Journalism died in 2008. Hasn’t come back…

  23. GeoPal Says:

    Re Obama and the last paragraph (answering reporter question re should he have known about AIG bonuses):

    I think he was trying to say:

    AIG bonuses? Who care’s who’s responsible. I’m responsible, I’m the POTUS. They’re responsible. We were not responsible then. Greenwood was responsible. Liddy is responsible. I was not responsible. We are responsible. I’m responsible. Dodd wasn’t responsible. Dodd was responsible. Dodd isn’t responsible. Geithner was responsible. They’re not responsible. I’m the POTUS, I’m responsible.

    And that’s all he had to say about that.

  24. br549 Says:

    artfldgr, I will say this; you are not the lone ranger in your beliefs.

    It has taken me many years of watching things happen, and only a few short weeks to see how things have accelerated.

    On various blogs I have been saying “It IS happening here”, for a long time.

    This election period was “different” from the onset. I knew we were in for it when McCain became the chosen republican nominee, and my feelings were clinched when Hillary calmly, quickly, and quietly removed herself from the stage. That is NOT the Hillary we all know.

    The world at large is about to turn a corner. Hang on to your hats.

  25. Jimmy J. Says:

    I just sent this to my Senators:
    Dear Senator,

    I am deeply disturbed by what I am seeing in Washington these days. Yesterday’s verbal punishment of Mr. Liddy from AIG was an astounding example of hypocrisy and grandstanding by a bunch of lawmakers who, because they did not take the time to read the Stimulus Bill, passed a law agreeing that these bonuses were legal and should be paid. I want to point out that Mr. Liddy is doing a difficult and thankless job in trying to help save the financial system. He needs all the help he can get and it appears that those who received bonuses are the ones who understand the complex derivatives that AIG is trying to work through and successfully liquidate. You members of Congress should be trying to help them, not grandstanding and making rash decisions that are going to drive capital away from our shores.

    Today, the House rushed a bill through to tax these bonuses at 90%. What a sham! What a disgrace!! It truly proves that Mark Twain was right that no man’s wealth or well-being are safe when Congress is in session. If you can pass such punitive laws in a fit of hypocritical pique, then no one is safe.

    I urge you to oppose this tax bill in the Senate. This is a truly frightening display of hubris, bad judgment, and hypocrisy by those we entrust with representing our best interests.


    I was just listening to Glenn Beck ranting about what the Fed did yesterday. (Injected a whole lot more money into the system.) He is near apoplectic because he believes this is going to turn this country into a Banana Republic. I know he means well, but I believe he is misguided.

    I toted up the destruction of wealth that has occurred in the last 18 months. It is well past 14 trillion dollars. Just the billionaires in this country have lost 2 trillion. IRAs, 401ks and pension plans have lost 4 trillion. The housing stock in this country has decreased in value by another 2 trillion or more. No one knows what the loss in mortgage debt is yet. Insurance policies, annuities, bonds, and other financial instruments are on shaky ground. What does this all mean. It means that things are deflating. That our financial system is spiraling down, destroying capital and wealth. What is the Fed trying to do? They are trying to stop the deflation by using inflationary tactics. Why are they doing this? Because if deflation gets well established, what we have seen so far in the way of losses is chump change. What’s your house worth? $200,000 you say. In a deflationary environment it could fall to $25,000. How much is you salary? $75,00 a year you say. In a deflationary environment it could fall to $10,000 per year. Debts on most things would be much greater than their value, so all debts would be essentially worthless. Bonds, CDs, mortgages and IOUs would all be worthles or nearly so. This is what the Fed is trying to forestall. What they are doing may cause inflation somewhere down the road, but inflation is much easier to stop than deflation. That is why they are willing to go to such lengths to turn this financial crisis around. If they don’t, the world economy could plunge into an abyss of loss, poverty and desperation even worse than the Great Depression. Yet very few seem to understand this. Most of our lawmakers don’t, that’s for sure.

  26. br549 Says:

    By the way, their automatic pay raise was in that bill to, from what I understand. I didn’t see the house or senate turn that down.

    I haven’t had a pay raise in three years.

  27. Don Janousek Says:

    The Fool in the White House is merely demonstrating his expertise with the concept of “responsibility without consequences.” For instance, if I tell the police I am “responsible” for the murder last night, I am opening myself up to “consequences.” But not so under the concept O’Bama is using. It works like so: The Fall in the Garden of Eden? “My fault.” World War I? “Sorry.” World War II? “Oops! Messed up again.” The genocide in the Balkans? “Hey, what can I say?” The World Trade Center? “My bad.” See how easy it is? Now I’m gonna just sit back and gather in your emails tellin’ me how “noble” I am for being so “responsible.”

  28. Baklava Says:

    Thanks jj

  29. Lee Says:

    “lee, are you ready to put your three years of mandatory obama service (they get to pick the uniforms)?”

    No worries there, Artie ol’ boy. Slavery and indentured servitude are unconstitutional. For a “genius” you sure are a dumbass.

  30. Don Janousek Says:

    GeoPal: Thank you, thank you, thank you for straightening that out with such clarity! I once was blind, but now I SEE! It all makes sense to me now, especially after I had a glass of kool-aid using that new mix I got in the mail from the government yesterday. Yes, we can!

  31. Artfldgr Says:

    [thanks for the positive comments]

    now hear this… WOW

    Cornyn’s message to out of town President

  32. Don Janousek Says:

    neo-neocon: I just noticed that you used the word “shucking” in the title to this thread. Uh…surely you didn’t subconciously mean to imply “shuckin’ and jivin,” did you? Tsk! Tsk! Gonna end up in a re-education camp if you’re not careful, my dear.
    Ran across the following quote by Vaclav Havel, former Czech President and it seem quite relevant to this discussion:
    An ordinary human being, with a personal conscience, personally answering for something to somebody and personally and directly taking responsibility, seems to be receding farther and farther from the realm of politics. Politicians seem to turn into puppets that only look human and move in a giant, rather inhuman theatre; they appear to become merely cogs in a huge machine, objects of a major civilizational automatism which has gotten out of control and for which nobody is responsible.

    — Václav Havel

  33. Don Janousek Says:

    artfldgr: Enjoyed your posts and do admit that they contain “food for thought.” However, gotta point out one thing – Churchill was never in the House of Lords. Spent all of his time in the Commons, which he loved. Great statue of him now just outside the door to their chamber. He did eventually become a “Sir,” but this was long after he left the stage as Prime Minister. Love “Winnie,” so want to keep the record straight.

  34. Tom Says:

    Thanks for your well-targeted posts.
    There is indeed something of historic proportions ongoing. We are being sold down the river. It’s proceeding at avalanche speed and will have avalanche destructive consequences.

    Today there is word that the wise men on a UN panel will recommend the dollar be replaced as the world’s reserve currency.

    It is past time for us to take to the streets, but as Art has observed, our dear leaders are preparing for that also.

    It’s been >6months, I guess, since I first posted Obama=Chavez here. But had no clue things would get so desperate so quickly.

  35. Artfldgr Says:

    Well they arent following the constitution are they?

    so its not going to protect you the minute some riots start and they suspend it.. and dont say it cant happen, cause it did happen…

    hows this lee?

    they dont stop being used till a court sits and hears them and throws them out… and only a person harmed by that law can bring it to the court.

    so, even in a perfectly working state with no shenanigans, its possoble to do unconstituitional things till the court catches up.

    but in such a move like this, the court may not have time to listen to it, refuse to listen to it for years. and so forth.

    i would also take a look at the signing orders.

    and in case you didnt realize, its also unconstitutional to delegate powers… so every Child protection agent is technically violating that as they have more powers than police (they can enter and remove your children without due process, and more).

    also, its unconstitutional to run a deficit technically

    and its unconstitutional to have a progressive tax on the average person (taxes originally were only for owners of companies who made money from others work. and if not could only be a equally apportioned one, which the whole proggressive tax code isnt).

    where in the constution is the right for the state to control what i eat? or what drugs i take?

    and the biggest lesson for lee:

    where in the constitution is the right to take tax money and redistribute it in any form?

    there is no right, and that unconstitutional practice has gone on since daniel boone was a senator…

    there is no power enumerated for the state to remove property of an individual and then grant it to another individual.

    also laws that favor one group over another group, like affirmative action, are technically in violation of equal protection and equality under the law (but not communisms concept of treating everyone differently to achieve equal outcomes).

    anyone else here wish to list out the unconstitutional things we do currently?

  36. Artfldgr Says:

    and let me put this nail in lees case of genius expression

    The Suspension Clause of the United States Constitution specifically included the English common law procedure in Article One, Section 9 which states:

    “ The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

    yes lee….

    if mexico falls, and a hundred thousand mexicans try to come streaming over the border…

    no more constitition… and all those other unconstutional laws still in effect stay in effect till they turn the lights back on… and there is no more process for you to take your but to court and go… ahem its uinconstutional…

    heck its also going to be unconstitutional to shoot you too, but if its suspended, well then what?

    It should be noted that the privilege of habeas corpus is not a right against arrest, but rather a right to be released from imprisonment after such arrest. If you believe you are being arrested illegally, and refuse to come quietly rather than petition the court for a writ of habeas corpus, even if you are correct in the belief that the arrest is being made without legal merit, you are still guilty of resisting arrest.[citation needed] If you believe you are being imprisoned illegally, “tell it to the judge.”[

    ah the fun part is that this is all suspended too.

    here is an exercise for you lee… read the complete consitution… and then learn something

    you can start here.

    pay attention to this part Enumerated powers
    and let me know where it says it can be socialist and redistribute wealth…

    SBA 8a program violates and plays favorites over all groups but one, thereby pretending not to discriminate by granting largess to all, but one type.

  37. SteveH Says:

    If Obama has a “the buck stops here” sign on his desk, it will be sitting on top of his dictionary.

  38. Occam's Beard Says:

    Obama is politics’ answer to the hologram.

  39. Don Janousek Says:

    artfldgr: Gee, hate to sound like I’m overly picky, but I love history, and you gotta get this stuff right. Re your post: Daniel Boone was never a Senator, although he did serve a couple of terms in the Virginia Assembly. The incident you have in mind involved Davey Crockett and the voting by Congress of some money for a widow. There – all fixed.

  40. soupcon Says:

    Neo, I’m suprised you and fellow sanity Squad members haven’t put him on the couch.Note how he leads in a passive aggressive manner that is elusive and elliptical.Just the mere idea of pinning him down causes him to perform a slippery disappearing act,where the show of being elusive is the substitute for the substance of leadership.He leads by subtraction, most notably himself.I could one day picture him conducting a WH press conference where he begins to back out of the room while continuing to take questions.

  41. FredHjr Says:

    Once again he is returning to the well for his tried and true methods of bamboozling people. If you parse his statements carefully, he is not ever admitting that he contributed to the falling equities’ markets and the deepening of the recession. He hints that he inherited the mess and that you can hold him to account if his policies fail to clear up the mess. But that is not how his adoring idiots will hear it. As usual, often these people read into his oratory what they want to hear… what they think they are hearing.

    I just read today that the figures he threw out there weeks ago about how much the cap and trade taxation system is going to cost us were “conservative” estimates. In meetings he and his economists and staffers admit that the likely cost is, at a minimum, THREE TRILLION DOLLARS. This effectively destroys the nation’s economy and likely will put the nation in some sort of international receivership. Why? Under that kind of pressure we will not be able to sustain enough economic growth to generate the revenues needed to fund all of these bailouts and the budgets of the federal government. Thus, the currency is debased and our creditors burn the place down.

    I am beginning to think that his people cannot possibly be this stupid to not understand the implications of the numbers. They HAVE to know. And if they do know it, then it means that they are on board with a larger plan. And that plan is catastrophic for most of us.

  42. Tom the Redhunter Says:

    Excellent post, neo. You’re right; Obama blames everybody but himself. The man is utterly classless, as we found out from his treatment of Gordon Brown (bty, it’s been confirmed that the DVDs were NTSC region 1 and won’t work in the UK).

    I read Obama’s budget documents. Time and again he blames Bush (though not directly by name). Say what you will about GWB, he never blamed Clinton for 9-11.

  43. Darrell Says:

    Man is this a downer, how about a joke.

    Obama was briefed in the oval office by one of the Joint Chiefs, he was told two Brazilians were killed in Iraq the day before. All the color drained from his face and he place his face in his hands, finally after a few minutes he looked up, tears in his eyes, visibly shaken and asked:

    How many in a Brazilian?

    Which is not surpirising since he doesn’t know how many are in a billion or trillion….

  44. Logern Says:

    If parsing language is your hobby Neo, analyze these:

    “If you’re sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign.”—Hilton Head, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000

    “And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I’m sorry it’s the case, and I’ll work hard to try to elevate it.”— Speaking on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007

    “I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.” Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008

  45. Darrell Says:

    Logern, I am sorry, but I don’t think anything President Bush did or said compares to what we have seen lately.

  46. Karen Says:

    When does he get any work done??? If this had been President Bush or any other Republican president, there would be non-stop MSM chattering and calls for Congressional hearings and impeachment. Absolutely ridiculous. But, on the other hand, I’d rather have him NOT in DC making my life miserable.

  47. huxley Says:

    Karen — For the time being Obama’s pursuit of the public eye works.

    I’d like to think that appearing on a late night talk show would mark Obama in the minds of most citizens as a deeply unserious president, but I suspect we have a ways to go before that tipping point is reached.

  48. huxley Says:

    However, when the history books look back on Obama, readers will shake their heads and wonder how Americans could have fallen for such an obviously terribly combination of inexperience, far left politics, and machine politics.

    It’s not like we lacked warnings.

  49. strcpy Says:

    I had to laugh at tonight one Leno in two moments of his talking.

    First was when he said (and I do not have the exact quotes) “Who in their right minds would have allowed AIG to give the bonuses”. Well, I would have to say since you were one of the main two or three responsible I guess you would have to tell me what was running through your mind at that point. You and Dodd were the primary ones, arguable about a few others inclusion.

    Secondly he had a great moment where he said he inherited the problem: the last four years of congress and he implied the president was responsible (unsaid but apparently he wasn’t part of that – absent through all the votes and all). *The very next sentence* said he was out to change the politics of blame. I just can not see how *any* person out there listened to that and didn’t at least feel some level of WTF?

    I, personally, think that Obama is channeling Karl Rove. One of the most brilliant political thinkers of our time – absolutely revolutionary. He changed politics to a near total short term tactical planning – what wins me this bit I want and assume that if you win all those bits then the rest come in too. Obama doesn’t hold a candle to him yet I think that is 100% what he is trying to do.

    Unfortunately it doesn’t work in the long term strategic sense and Bush Jr *really* hurt from that. Mistrust in the other side has gotten to the point of near disastrous level and your own side is so deceitful that even the believers know that most things are lies for tactical gain. And note – I didn’t specify R’s, D’s, or in fact *any* political party out there today. As far as I can tell almost any that you can name along with a candidate follow that pattern. Even when one compares the radical left and right sides we see a general great dislike of the actual politicians.

    It wins battle, it looses wars. Sadly in the political arena it is possible for *all* sides to loose the war and that is where we are heading.

  50. “What It Is, Ain’t Exactly Clear” « ricketyclick Says:

    […] a comment to Neo-Neocon’ excellent dissection of Barack Obama’s weasel words in his “Town Meeting” speech “accepting […]

  51. sergey Says:

    Obama had perfected the art of cognitive dissonance to the shining heights of schizophrenia. A remarkable achievement for a malignant narcissist.

  52. br549 Says:

    Well, for the world to accept socialism become totalitarianism, America has to be knocked off its perch. The reason being is the 48% of voters who did not vote for Obama. Those who basically still believe a nation should be a republic, those of us opposed to socialism. Those of us willing to live and die by our own sword.

    There is plenty of mis and dis information flowing around. A good tool to use. eh? Even the devil will quote scripture where it suits his agenda.

    Religion is not the opiate of the masses. Socialism is.

    Spoken by Lenin, cited by Alinsky in one of his books:
    “They have the guns and therefore we are for peace and for reformation through the ballot. When we have the guns, then it will be through the bullet.”

    THAT, artfldgr, is why they want the guns.

  53. Artfldgr Says:

    that is also why they dont want you to have IDEAS either… as stalin said, we would not let our enemies have guns, why would we let them have ideas?

    i am unsure why you think i think that they want guns for some other reason? i dont own any, but its my personal choice having to do with how and where i life and those issues. if i lived somewhere else, i would probably have some nice ones.

    they are so past the point that most are talking.

    sergey gets it.. i would say he knows what populism is and where it leads… especially when the populist cant make policies that work. they then get paranoid. but obama last night turned the office of the presidency into a bozo the clown moment. he will now find it terribly difficult to be seen by other world leaders as bozo the clown rubs off… (which is why they all act stiff… give no reasons outside the issues to play games).

    i am pretty sure that he doesnt know that he is a social bomb for the country. he was couched to make all his choices out of clssical stalinist lines. and since that doesnt work, it amounts to the means of tearing everything down as not only are they the wrong choices, but the other side knows wawy before hand what choices are being made since they are being made from an oversimplefied rule system that is easy to think like if you know the rules. thats why its so appealing to the masses.

    obama has been raised to be a narcisist and think he is great. he has been kept from falling, from having any doubts. his is an overconfidence born of living nothing but privelege while being told he has acheived all these things himself though work. he thinks this is how actual people of merit work. this is the cargo cult concept induced in him, and why he is all image not substance.

    substance would never have appeared on leno.

    and he is getting paranoid… he thinks that his ‘power’ comes from the mental state of the people, and so he is more concerned with the populism than he is with good governance. the same problem was in the soviet union, they had nothing but will to power, never working at all on any kind of good governance. (the false pragmatism of governance comes after will to power).

    I have warned my doctor friends to go through their belongings and such and remove any markers that let others know. they are researchers in genetics and medicine, and so they are now open to be targets from the young, unlemployed and radical side that hs been firebombing and attacking them (and then saying the FBI is responsible as they are peaceful and being set up).

    the point is that there were just under 40 attacks last year and i think one already this year. so the ‘terror’ has started, but hasnt seeped in yet and the behaviors have yet to change. so your going to ahcve a lot of stupid people who are going to line up as if it was the way its always been, and thats not going to work any more. they are going to find themselves mislabeled, and ostracised, if not put in jail and hurt.

    it may or may not happen still
    but given the speed, given the fact that they are willing to tear apart the constitutions clauses to go after such a pittance, all to hide things like hr1388… well that does not bode well.

  54. Artfldgr Says:

    Who am I?

    I was born in a small city of a large country but I eventually made my home in one of the great cities of that country.

    I was not my father’s only child. He fathered several children with numerous women.

    I became very close to my mother, as my father showed little interest in me.. My mother died at an early age from cancer.

    Later in life, questions arose over my real name. My birth records were sketchy and no one was able to produce a legitimate, reliable birth certificate.

    I grew up practicing one faith but converted to another that suited my purposes better

    I practiced non-traditional beliefs & didn’t follow Christianity, except in the public eye under scrutiny.

    I worked and lived among lower-class people as a young adult, disguising myself as someone who really cared about them.

    That was before I decided it was time to get serious about my life and I embarked on a new career.

    I wrote a book about my struggles growing up. It was clear to those who read my memoirs that I had difficulties accepting that my father abandoned me as a child.

    I became active in local politics in my 30’s then with help behind the scenes, I literally burst onto the scene as a candidate for national office in my 40’s. They said I had a golden tongue and could talk anyone into anything. That reinforced my conceit.

    I had a virtually non-existent resume, little work history, and no experience in leading a single organization. Yet I was a powerful speaker and citizens were drawn to me as though I were a magnet and they were small roofing tacks..

    I drew incredibly large crowds during my public appearances.. This bolstered my ego.

    At first, my political campaign focused on my country’s foreign policy. I was very critical of my country in the last war and seized every opportunity to bash the rulers of my country.

    But what launched my rise to national prominence were my views on the country’s economy. I pretended to have a really good plan on how we could do better and every poor person would suddenly be well-off

    I knew which group was responsible for getting us into a mess. It was the free market, banks & corporations. I decided to start making citizens hate them and if they were envious of others who did well, the plan was clinched tight.

    I called mine “A People’s Campaign” and that sounded good to all people.

    I was the surprise candidate because I emerged from outside the traditional path of politics & was able to gain widespread popular support.

    I knew that, if I merely offered the people ‘hope’, together we could change our country and the world.

    So, I started to make my speeches sound like they were on behalf of the downtrodden, poor and ignorant. My true views were not widely known & I needed to keep them unknown, until after I became my nation’s leader.

    I had to carefully guard reality, as anybody could have easily found out what I really believed, if they had simply read my writings and examined those people I associated with.

    I’m glad they didn’t. Then I became one of the the most powerful men in the world. And the world learned the truth. Who am I?

  55. adagny Says:

    As the Republicans blame the ones who created the problem and the Dems whine and continue to obfuscate their roles, the big O is able to stand apart from the partisan bickering effectively avoiding any responsibility.
    Neo, your post nails it.
    And, right on cue, he comes out with, “I’ll take responsibility, I’m the president.”–
    Don’t you know they have their little misers monitoring all the best conservative blogs.

  56. Baklava Says:

    Do NOT pay attention to the Special Olympics joke

  57. Transparancy! Accountability! The Movie! | The Anchoress Says:

    […] is feeling profoundly disturbed by many things. by TheAnchoress @ 2:03 pm. Filed under Dumb Democrat moves, Dumb GOP moves, Economic woe […]

  58. ultraguy Says:

    ‘sergey’ above mentioned malignant narcissism and, while I’m no psychologist, OBH’s behavior seems consistent with everything I’ve read on the subject.

    And if he is plagued with that notoriously difficult to diagnose syndrome, it would not merely be consistent with what neo laid out in the post, it would in fact be a diagnostic hallmark of it. He would be able to lie convincingly precisely because he had already lied to himself.

  59. Lee Says:

    “pay attention to this part Enumerated powers
    and let me know where it says it can be socialist and redistribute wealth…”

    Amendment XVI
    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

    “if mexico falls, and a hundred thousand mexicans try to come streaming over the border…

    no more constitition…”

    Didn’t you read what you yourself typed? The Constitution doesn’t go away, merely habeas corpus.

    “ The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

    Unless when, Artie, ol’ boy? So, what part of “suspended, when in cases of rebellion or invasion” isn’t constitutional?

    See, Artie, ol’ boy, guess you don’t know the Constitution as well as you think. Looks like I’m not the only one questioning your knowledge of history, either.

    But, what can you expect from a tin-hatter, paranoid who thinks Hitler wrote the Qur’an.

    Score: Lee 55
    Art 10

    You remind me of Trelane from Star Trek.
    ” I was winning! You saw!”
    Keep telling yourself that, because no one else is buying it, loser boy.

  60. neo-neocon Says:

    ATTENTION Lee and Artfldgr:

    I have no time to police the altercation that’s been going on between the two of you. I have noticed that it’s happening, though, and that there’s been a bunch of name-calling (such as “loser boy” on Lee’s most recent comment, for example).

    I try to keep a relatively civil blog, and although I tolerate animated discussions and disagreements and even a certain amount of friction, I’m not interested in having the comments section here descend into an ongoing squabble of this sort.

    So I hereby request that the personal attacks cease. The first one of the two of you to violate that rule after this announcement will be banned. Sorry to have to do that, but that’s my decision.

  61. rickl Says:

    Neo, this is one of your all-time best posts. I even linked it last night on Gulf Coast Pundit.

    And the comments have been great, too. Kudos all around.

  62. House of Eratosthenes Says:

    […] always perceptive and always astute, here borders on […]

  63. Transparancy! Accountability! The Movie! - UPDATED | Politics Says:

    […] Neo-neocon is opinion profoundly disturbed by many things. […]

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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