The Brett Kimberlin Saga:

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

“Simply Not True” (Or “Fisking the State of the Union”)

“Simply not true” is supposedly what Justice Samuel Alito mouthed when Barrack Obama’s State of the Union speech turned to the Citizens United litigation.  You can find my opinion on the case here.  I’ll tell the truth, I can’t read lips to save my life, but I figured it was a good enough title for my fisking.  I mean I have to say I was more than a little taken aback by the rank dishonesty the president engaged in.  I mean Bill Clinton was more honest than him, if you can believe that.  And the intellectual blind spots the president had.  Yike.

I think the other thing that struck me was that Obama was really really loose in that speech.  I mean I felt like this was his “game day with the boys” voice, rather than him being president.  In most contexts, I would have found that charming.  In fact, to some degree I was charmed.  But...  it wasn’t particularly presidential.  His “law professor mode” is pretty presidential and frankly he should have stuck to that.

Now I am going to base this on the transcript here.  I don’t think it captured every word, I think it leans more toward his planned remarks.  But its what I have to work with, because its not like I am a court reporter in my spare time.

So let’s read through this together, shall we?

It's tempting to look back on these moments [of trial] and assume that our progress was inevitable, that America was always destined to succeed. But when the Union was turned back at Bull Run and the Allies first landed at Omaha Beach, victory was very much in doubt. When the market crashed on Black Tuesday and civil rights marchers were beaten on Bloody Sunday, the future was anything but certain. These were times that tested the courage of our convictions and the strength of our union. And despite all our divisions and disagreements, our hesitations and our fears, America prevailed because we chose to move forward as one nation and one people.

Now to his credit, this part is kind of interesting.  I think we have lived so long in the warm blanket of America’s success, that we are in danger of forgetting that we actually have to work to make it happen.  This was actually good.

One in 10 Americans still cannot find work.

Yeah, 10% unemployment, Barry.  And you guys predicted that if we passed the stimulus, that it would top at 8%.  And if we didn’t, you said, it would top at 9%.  So this is worse than your worst case scenario.  There are only two explanations for this.  Either 1) you suck at predictions, or 2) you are making it worse.  Either way the result is the same: you have got to stop.  The logic is obvious enough if Obama is making it worse, but it works even if he merely stinks at predictions, because then that means that he has no idea what the effects of his policies will be.

Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard.

And they are bitterly clinging to their guns and God.  Yeah, that is cheap, but in my mind as much as I have moved around in my life, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania is in a very real way my home, and he insulted my home.  Sorry if I am still a little pissed off about the whole thing.

So I know the anxieties that are out there right now. They're not new. These struggles are the reason I ran for president.

Remember when Obama said, ridiculously, that “the same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office”?  Well this is another version of that meme.  Sigh.

For these Americans and so many others, change has not come fast enough.

That is right, Mr. President.  The people want more change, not less.  Be more radical.  That’s what we want.

The mind boggles.

Now here comes the first example of a mental blind spot…

Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit.

“…except in Iraq.  There, I would run my ass out of there, except I am worried that people will then blame me if the next terrorists attack on American soil originates there.”

Our most urgent task upon taking office was to shore up the same banks that helped cause this crisis.

Yeah, let me explain how this crisis happened.  You see, starting way back in the Carter years (so this is a bi-partisan fuck up), they got worried that poor people couldn’t get houses.  So they gave incentives to banks to give out terrible loans.  They called them NINJA loans, which stood for No Income No Job or Assets. And Fannie and Freddie bought them.  So having given banks an incentive to give out risky loans, guess what they did?  They gave them out.  And then, shock of shock, these people with no income, job or assets, couldn’t pay off the loans.  So those poor people now have to suffer under the cloud of a foreclosure on their credit report and our entire banking system got cornholed.

And so after watching the economy get completely fucked over by government intervention, what does Obama propose?  More government invention.  Nice.

But don’t worry.  Sure, he doesn’t understand economics, but he is a politician.  And Obama got slapped, hard, in Massachusetts.  I mean he lost Kennedy’s senate seat, for fuck’s sake.  So being a politician, he will do what is popular, which is to reverse course, right?  Right?

But when I ran for president, I promised I wouldn't just do what was popular -- I would do what was necessary.

Oh shit.

And if we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today.

Okay, so let me get this straight.  As I pointed out a minute ago, things are actually worse today than in your worst case scenario predictions if we did nothing.  You said that if we did nothing unemployment would be a whole point lower than it is today.  But now you are going to claim that but for the intervention you engaged in, that unemployment would be even worse than the worst case scenario that your people predicted?

And we are supposed to believe that?

I know Wall Street isn't keen on this idea, but if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.

With the small problem being that this is probably unconstitutional.  I mean there is that.

And we haven't raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime.

Nope, just on many products that people use.  Thanks.

Because of the steps we took, there are about 2 million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed

No one believes this, Mr. President.  Lord I hope you know this isn’t true.  And the amazing thing is that he thinks that putting the money into the people’s hands wouldn’t have been better.  I mean let’s do the math, shall we?  As of September 30 last year, the White House had allocated $159 billion in stimulus money and claimed that this money “saved or created” 640,329 jobs.  Never mind that these “saved or created” numbers are about as reliable as grain production estimates during Mao’s Great Leap Forward, but let’s pretend that is true.  So that works out to 159,000,000,000/640,329 = $248,309.85 per job.  You know, we could have taken the same money and paid 1,590,000 Americans $100,000 a year to do nothing.  Imagine how much money could have been made from that if instead of the government managing it, we just gave all Americans a tax cut.  Or better yet, every business a tax cut?  I bet they could have made much more efficient use of that money.

Economists on the left and the right say that this bill has helped saved jobs and avert disaster.

Really?  Who?  I mean we know who on the left, but who on the right?

But you don't have to take their word for it.

Well, technically Barry, since you haven’t named them, we can’t take their word for it; we have to take your word for it, that they said what you claim to have said.

Talk to the small business in Phoenix that will triple its work force because of the Recovery Act.

Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created.

Talk to the single teacher raising two kids who was told by her principal in the last week of school that because of the Recovery Act, she wouldn't be laid off after all.

Well, its kind of hard to talk to any of them since you haven’t named a single one of these people.  I mean you didn’t even tell us which school in the last example.  And you claim in the first example that the company had to “triple its work force.”  Okay, if there is one employee, and they hire two more, then you have technically tripled your work force.  So no, Barry, you are going to have to show your work on this one.

We should start where most new jobs do -- in small businesses

Well, its funny you should say that, Barry, because ever since you took office, your administrative agencies have frankly gone batshit nuts.  It’s so bad that your FTC promulgated rules on the prevention of identity theft any person who allowed any time between the performance of work and payment was a creditor, including a simple plumber.  And you see, when you increase the regulatory burden on companies, you know who gets hurt the most?  Small businesses, genius.

There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.

Okay, forgetting for a minute that high speed trains tend to be a boondoggle, let’s talk about the factories.  Mr. President, if they are such a great idea, then why aren’t private investors already building them?  Oh, because they don’t actually make economic sense.  But you will shift the incentives by taking the money from us, and then giving it to these companies.  But that doesn’t transform this suddenly into a good investment; it just means that we the taxpayers are taking that loss.  Indeed, we have seen with the stimulus that government involvement decreases efficiency.  So you will take the income and wealth from Americans and piss it away on this project.  In the middle of a bad economy.

Now maybe it’s a good idea from an environmental point of view, but as an economic concept, it stinks.

We cannot afford another so-called economic expansion like the one from last decade -- what some call the lost decade

Um, who, Mr. President?  Who calls it the lost decade?  I have never heard anyone, right or left, who said that.

Meanwhile, China's not waiting to revamp its economy; Germany's not waiting; India's not waiting. These nations aren't standing still. These nations aren't playing for second place. They're putting more emphasis on math and science.

And we are throwing money at our failing schools, which results in expensive, failing schools.  And something tells me you aren’t going to do a damn thing about that, Mr. President.

Next, we need to encourage American innovation.

Really?  Then good, you won’t try to take over the health care system.  Oh, happy day...  So let's read the next part...

Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history -- an investment that could lead to the world's cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched.

Ah, shit, I should have known.  To him, innovation comes from the government.  Big fat government grants.  Remember how government grants created the light bulb and the telephone?  Yeah, me neither.

You can see the results of last year's investment in clean energy -- in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries, or in the California business that will put 1,000 people to work making solar panels.

Never mind that if you instead let the American people keep that giveaway, we might have put much more than 2,200 in other areas that make more financial sense.

And yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.

This is accomplished not by making clean energy actually cheaper—because that is impossible—but by making “dirty” energy so expensive we have to buy the clean kind.

I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy,

Maybe there is a question whether we can afford it or not—in other words, whether this will make us broke.   But there is no question that this will harm the economy.

I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.

We will catch Manbearpig yet!

Seriously, Democrats, the jig is up.  We know that the whole thing is a scam.

the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy.

Right.  So the nation that artificially raises the price of dirty energy to force people to buy clean energy will be better off economically?  That makes zero sense.

Third, we need to export more of our goods.

“Therefore we will reduce the crushing regulatory and tax burden on American companies that impairs our ability to compete around the world and…”  ah crap, you know he won’t do that.

To help meet this goal, we're launching a national export initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports and reform export controls consistent with national security.

Oh, so, um, the answer is more government intervention.  Sure, that will help.  And I am sure all those nations that signed free trade agreements won’t mind.

The idea here is simple: Instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success.

“…therefore we are going to end the concept of tenure that ensures that bad teachers are allowed to keep their jobs and…”  ah, crap, he isn’t going to do that, either.

Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job.

Because thanks to the teachers unions, who are big supporters of the Democratic party, any attempt to hold teachers accountable for their incompetence is strangled in the crib.  So we graduate people who can’t read.  And employers learn that a diploma alone doesn’t mean jack shit anymore.

I took on health care because of the stories I've heard from Americans with pre-existing conditions whose lives depend on getting coverage

Mmm, yeah.  This is where the President demonstrates he doesn’t understand the concept of “insurance.”  Try this.  Try getting rid of as much auto insurance as your state will allow you to.  Like here in Virginia, we have to buy a minimum $25,000 insurance liability insurance, meaning that if I hit someone else, that person can be paid up to $25,000 if I am at fault or my insurance company is a weenie.  But it doesn’t cover damage to my vehicle, unless I go beyond the statutory minimum.  So if your state is the same way, try this.  Buy only liability insurance.  Don’t buy any protection for your own vehicle.  Then run your vehicle into a wall.  Then call up the insurance company and say the following, “Hey, I just ran my car into a wall, by accident.  I would like to take out a policy protecting my car from that kind of damages.  Will you sell me that insurance and cut me a check to repair my car today?”

If they continue laughing for more than five minutes, you have your answer.

[Note: don’t actually run your car into a wall.  Don’t be a moron.]

Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan. It would reduce costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses. And according to the Congressional Budget Office -- the independent organization that both parties have cited as the official scorekeeper for Congress -- our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades.

And our plan will make you smarter, more handsome and your dick bigger too.  I mean if we are going to make silly promises, we might as well go all out.  The Sham-wow guy is more believable.

Oh, and as for the CBO estimates, they limited their inquiry to only the first 10 years of the plan with about half of the time being spent raising taxes to pay for the cost of when the program goes into effect.  In other words, this claim is crap.

I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people.

More clearly?  Half the time Congress wouldn’t look at what they were passing, or allow the people to read it for fear they would see what is in it.

And I know that with all the lobbying and horse trading

Shorter Obama: this process is corrupt, and yeah, even I know it.  And I am pretending to be disgusted, too.

As temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we've proposed.

Seeing that we have never seen this bill even once...

There's a reason why many doctors, nurses and health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo.

And many more who know this is a terrible idea.

But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.

Um, Barry, your approach won’t bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses without fucking up actual care.  There is something worse than the status quo; there is your plan.

Now, even as health care reform would reduce our deficit, it's not enough to dig us out of a massive fiscal hole in which we find ourselves.

“In which we find ourselves?”  It sounds so passive, doesn’t it?  Like as if he had nothing to do with this...

Now this part I remember well enough to know it didn’t go quite like this:

Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will.

See, when Obama explained that the spending freeze was coming in 2011, the entire Republican side started laughing.  They had already know that the freeze was a joke, but they thought it was at least a joke that would start this year.  And then Obama ridiculously said that is how budgeting worked.

Well, maybe in Washington.  But I am reminded of that old Larry Miller joke:

Say I want a Porsche.  But I can’t afford a Porsche.  Now here is the tricky part…  therefore I don’t get a Porsche.  But the government says, “I want a Porsche, I can’t afford a Porsche, therefore…  I’ll get a red one.

(Update: This is presented like a quote, but I am actually going by memory, so it might be a little off.)

You’re going to see a lot of that as we go on.

We will continue to go through the budget line by line to eliminate programs that we can't afford and don't work.

“Starting with the stimulus!”  Ah, crap, we know he won’t say that.

But understand -- if we do not take meaningful steps to rein in our debt, it could damage our markets, increase the cost of borrowing and jeopardize our recovery -- all of which could have an even worse effect on our job growth and family incomes.

Like as if that isn’t happening now, Barry.

From some on the right, I expect we'll hear a different argument -- that if we just make fewer investments in our people, extend tax cuts for wealthier Americans, eliminate more regulations and maintain the status quo on health care, our deficits will go away. The problem is, that's what we did for eight years.

Um, that is a bald faced lie on every level.  First Bush created massive new entitlements, such as the drug benefit.  So we did make investments in our people.  And the tax cuts for the rich line is crap, too. Both the Republicans and the Democrats support a system of taxation that discriminates significantly against the rich.  The Republicans simply proposed to discriminate less.  And I will add that regulations increased under Bush, too.

Let's try common sense.

Its common sense to spend over $200,000 per job in the stimulus?

we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust...

Trust? This man has been lying through his teeth, and he has the basketball sized balls to say the problem is a lack of trust?

No, Mr. Obama, the problem has been too much trust, as in naiveté, as in a bunch of stupid naïve people who thought that you were anything but another politician whose ambition and ego outstripped your ability, who exceeded the Peter Principle to a greater degree than any human in history (to rip off an old riff from Dennis Miller).  The problem is women who evaluated you as a sex object rather than a potential president, and men who did the same, people who assigned messianic powers to you, and even the ability to serve as a Viagra substitute.  In fact, let’s quote from that last link, which explains that even when you were just trying to get the nomination “couples all over America are making love again and shouting ‘yes we can’ as they climax!”  The problem has never been a lack of trust.  A little lack of trust is a good thing.

To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly and to give our people the government they deserve.

So says the president who will not mention tort reform even once during this whole speech, or school choice, because the lobbyists of lawyers and teachers will not permit him.  I mean, you are a lawyer, Mr. President.  Your wife worked for a hospital as general counsel.  You know exactly how our out-of-control legal system harms our economy.  You have seen it from the inside.  And you don’t see a need for tort reform?

That's why -- for the first time in history -- my administration posts our White House visitors online.

But when asked to actually tell you who they are, refuses to do so.

And that's why we've excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.

Which is complete bullshit. 

And I will skip over his crap on citizens united.  Everyone has spoken up already.  We already know that even the New York Times says Obama was full of it.  I would be beating a dead horse.

Tonight, I'm calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single Web site before there's a vote, so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.

And given you promised to put the bills on the white house website before deciding whether to veto it, and given you promised to have health care negotiations on Cspan, we’ll take this demand as seriously as it deserves to be.

Now, I am not naive.

Well, it’s either that or you think we are.

But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is election day.

Um, you are saying this, Mr. President?  Because you are one of the worst offenders.

Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can.

Straw man.

Washington may think that saying anything about the other side, no matter how false, is just part of the game.

You mean like when the Democratic leadership calls tea partiers Nazis and racists?  Or when Democrats claim that the Republican health care plan is to die quickly?

So no, I will not give up on changing the tone of our politics.

Sorry, but what have you ever done to change the tone of politics?

Just saying no to everything

This was a “throw something at the screen” moment.  Why don’t you give them something they can say yes too?  Or is post-partisanship defined as caving to everything the democrats want?

Throughout our history, no issue has united this country more than our security.

Yeah, we are real united on that subject.

We have made substantial investments in our homeland security and disrupted plots that threatened to take American lives.

And ignored giant flashing neon warning signs with Sgt. Hassan and the Christmas Day Knickerbomber.  Heckuvajob there, Barry.

We have prohibited torture...

or even interrogation.  We mirandized the Knickerbomber and what do you know?  He chose to exercise his right to remain silent.

North Korea now faces increased isolation and stronger sanctions

Oh, give me a break.  We can’t get the UN to write a strongly worded letter to them.

sanctions that are being vigorously enforced [against NK].

Really?  Since when?  Because last time I checked we were doing nothing.

And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: They, too, will face growing consequences.

If they don’t cut it out, Obama will go over there and apologize some more!

We have gone from a bystander to a leader in the fight against climate change.

And we think we will finally end the reign of terror carried out by manbearpig.

We are helping developing countries to feed themselves and continuing the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Amazing.  So we are blowing a hole in the deficit in part to help…  other countries.  So how does that work?  We borrow money from China, to send to other counties.  Hey, why don’t we try this instead?  Cut out the middle man, and ask those countries to get the money from China directly?  Just a thought.

Once again, we can’t afford the Porsche, but Obama is buying the red one.

And we are launching a new initiative that will give us the capacity to respond faster and more effectively to bioterrorism or an infectious disease -- a plan that will counter threats at home...

Yeah, I am sure it will work as swimmingly as our efforts to keep terrorists out of our military or off airplanes.

... and strengthen public health abroad.

Um, sorry, but now we have to provide for the healthcare of other countries, too?

But we also do it because it is right.

You know, if we paid with our own money that would be one thing.  But we aren’t going to do that.  We are going to pass this cost down to our children.  It would be like Bernie Madoff taking all that money he embezzled and giving it to the March of Dimes and then telling everyone what a generous guy he was.  It’s easy to be generous with someone else’s money.

For America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity.

Except in Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and well, pretty much anywhere.

This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.

Yeah, gay Americans, don’t hold your breath on that.

But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure

Or a President gets a Nobel Prize he doesn’t deserve...

And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren't sure if they still believe we can change -- or at least, that I can deliver it.

No, Barry, the problem is Americans finally figured out the answer to the question: change to what?  And they don’t like the answer.

Those of us in public office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths. We can do what's necessary to keep our poll numbers high and get through the next election instead of doing what's best for the next generation.

“Therefore I have decided that a freeze of only 11% of the spending next year isn’t enough.  That will barely slow the rate of increase of our debt.  So instead, I will make massive cuts to our entitlements, and our spending.  I will stop spending on other countries, and I will...”  ah, crap, he didn’t say anything like that.

And that is about it.  A bunch of attempted inspirational blather, but after all this dishonesty, bad economics and drivel, its hard to be inspired.

But it felt good to talk back to him about all of this.

Update: Fixed some formatting issues and capitalization.