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BHO: Fearmonger-in-Chief

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Throughout the two year Presidential campaign, we heard President Obama rail continuously against his rivals, whom he accused of using the "politics of fear" and whom he termed "fearmongers." He began to beat that drum as far back as August of 2007. In a speech in Washington, he noted, "Freedom must mean freedom from fear, not the freedom of anarchy."

Throughout the campaign, he was fond of quoting FDR's famous line, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

 

Even the future First Lady, Michelle Obama got in on the fear act:

Now that he has attained the Oval Office, we see a complete reversal of this theme. Now, as he faces the need to motivate the public, only 25% of whom voted for him in the first place, as he tries to sell his "Stimulus Plan" to a highly skeptical public and Congress, he suddenly finds that fearmongering serves his purposes.

In recent weeks he has begun to play heavily on the fears of the public in regard to the ongoing recession, repeatedly raising the specter of the Great Depression both explicitly and by allusion.

In a recent speech at George Mason University, Obama intoned, "We start 2009 in the midst of a crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime — a crisis that has only deepened over the last few weeks. If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years." With his reference to lasting several years, he is clearly invoking the years-long duration of the Depression.

 

More recently, in a speech delivered at Elkhart, Indiana, a one industry town which is the center of recreational vehicle manufacturing, he is quoted in The Washington Post as saying that the country is in, "an economic crisis as deep and as dire as any since the Great Depression," and "our nation will sink into a crisis that at some point we may be unable to reverse."

In his televised press conference on February 10th, he again summoned the bogeyman of the Great Depression, saying, "…we also inherited the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression…" and, "So what I'm trying to underscore is what the people in Elkhart already understand: that this is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill recession. We are going through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression…"

There are many more instances of Obama's fearmongering in recent weeks, but there is a larger point here as well. All of these comparisons of the country's present financial crisis to the Depression are specious; we are a long ways from the depths to which the American economy sank during the 30s, and even on into the 40s, and it is dishonest of the President to prey on the fears of the public by drawing these comparisons.

In a well-written and -researched essay published yesterday in The Wall Street Journal, Bradley Schiller, a Professor of Economics at the University of Nevada at Reno notes, "President Barack Obama has turned fearmongering into an art form. He has repeatedly raised the specter of another Great Depression."

Schiller goes on to point out a number of areas in which the conditions the country experienced during the Depression were much more severe than those we are currently experiencing. He further notes that a better, more accurate comparison would be with the recession of 1980-'81, from which the economy rebounded into a period of strong growth. Schiller notes:

"Consider the job losses that Mr. Obama always cites. In the last year, the U.S. economy shed 3.4 million jobs. That's a grim statistic for sure, but represents just 2.2% of the labor force. From November 1981 to October 1982, 2.4 million jobs were lost — fewer in number than today, but the labor force was smaller. So 1981-82 job losses totaled 2.2% of the labor force, the same as now.

"Job losses in the Great Depression were of an entirely different magnitude. In 1930, the economy shed 4.8% of the labor force. In 1931, 6.5%. And then in 1932, another 7.1%. Jobs were being lost at double or triple the rate of 2008-09 or 1981-82."

By exaggerating the effects of the current recession, and by linking it to the Depression, playing on the fears of the public, President Obama is almost guaranteeing that his doom-and-gloom predictions and pronouncements will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ours is a consumer-driven economy; the more consumers are afraid – of the potential of losing their jobs, their savings and even their homes — the more likely they are to withdraw, cutting back their spending, and thus exacerbating the recession.

Obama is not only fearmongering, he's actually plunging us further into recession with his rhetoric.

And he's doing so dishonestly.

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About Clavos

Raised in Mexico by American parents, Clavos is proudly bi-cultural, and considers both Spanish and English as his native languages. A lifelong boating enthusiast, Clavos lives aboard his ancient trawler, Second Act, in Coconut Grove, Florida and enjoys cruising the Bahamas and Florida Keys from that base. When not dealing with the never-ending maintenance issues inherent in ancient trawlers, Clavos sells yachts to finance his boat habit, but his real love (after boating, of course) is writing and editing; a craft he has practiced at Blogcritics since 2006.
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Great article, Clavos. I can’t imagine Obama making a speech like that a GMU. It’s a libertarian stronghold. I wonder if there were protests.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    Two things immediately come to mind that highlight the hypocrisy of the moonbat Barry drones.

    The first is that they were quite fond of claiming that Bush was a dictator who no one was allowed to speak out against yet I don’t recall anyone being prevented from critisizing Bush during the last eight years. Now they’re supporting a guy who thinks it’s the presidents job to lecture people on whether or not they should listen to talk radio. Oh and they’re also calling for the government visa vie the Fascist Doctrine to silence those with the means to speak out in public against Barry or the leftist agenda.

    The second is that Nazi Pelosi herself ranted and raved about the Republican culture of corruption yet Barry nominates a tax cheat to head up the treasury and none of his followers bat an eye.

    Oh and I just thought of a third thing. The libtards were always claiming that Bush used fear mongering tactics but Barry keeps telling us the 2nd great depression will arrive by Saturday if we don’t pass the bill on Wednesday. We’re considering a trillion dollar spending package and mr so called pragmatic does not want to give anyone five seconds to examine it. Talk about fear mongering.

  • Right and Right

    All of BHO’s tactics amount to comparing apples to oranges. We can’t even approach this situation like our fathers (or grandfathers) approached the Depression. The work force back then was made up more of farmers and businessmen. Now, we have so many different sectors it’s impossible to think we could learn anything useful by looking back on the 30’s.

    But, hey, that’s what “we” get for choosing “hope over fear,” right?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Perfect point, R&R. The old categories no longer apply. And to think otherwise implies an ossification of the brain – a kind of arteriosclerosis as regards thinking.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Hussein? Hussein? DEAR GOD our president’s middle name is Hussein? Panic in the streets! How could the stupid American Electorate vote for someone with Hussein in his name!

    FOR CHRIST’S SAKE is there anyone who DOESN’T know Barrack’s middle name.

    It’s ridiculous that the right keeps bringing it up repeatedly, like the whole nation will turn against him with a name like that!

    We get it already, for God’s sake give it a rest!

    Did Jefferson make Clinton more patriotic or presidential?

  • Clavos

    Nobody but you has mentioned Obama’s middle name on this thread (or in the article), Jet…

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    And the reason for the BHO at the title. Is it to honor him like JFK or LBJ-I’m not that stupid.

    BHO was to emphasize his middle name and you know it, otherwise why did you use it?

  • zingzing

    is obama the only one saying that our economy is in trouble?

  • Clavos

    Um, Jet:

    Ever hear of FDR? You know, the guy who presided over the Great Depression?

    What’s the article about, Jet?

    FDR — BHO. Get it?

    Sheesh.

  • Baronius

    Besides, “BO” just seems insulting.

  • Clavos

    LOL, Bar!

  • Baronius

    Thanks, but I’m kind of serious. Obviously, “B. Hussein Obama” is just rude. But “BHO”? It didn’t even occur to me that the H was a slight. We just need to get all of this out of the way if we’re going to talk for the next four years.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Odd, I don’t seem to remember you ever referring to Clinton as WJC?

  • Clavos

    It didn’t even occur to me that the H was a slight.

    Of course not. It wasn’t.

  • Clavos

    Odd, I don’t seem to remember you ever referring to Clinton as WJC?

    You’re right, I prefer Slick Willie for him.

    However, I Have referred to the following: RMN, HST, the infamous LBJ, GWB, and HRC, to name but a few.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    C’mon Clavos! Nobody called Bush by his middle n…. oh.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Hussein? Hussein? DEAR GOD our president’s middle name is Hussein? Panic in the streets! How could the stupid American Electorate vote for someone with Hussein in his name!

    Jet, are you sure that the triple by-pass was not for cranial arteries? Who mentioned the asshole’s middle name other than you?

    Just for your information, Jet, there will be a depression in America – whether your government mints $769 billion in funny money or not. Fiscal mismanagement for the last six decades or more guarantees that. The business reports I edit all indicate this. Nobody has confidence in your economy.

  • Clavos

    The business reports I edit all indicate this. Nobody has confidence in your economy.

    And yet, as noted by Dave elsewhere in these threads anb as also noted by many others in the MSM, foreign investment money continues to flow into our coffers, seeking a “safe haven.” According to Bloomberg,

    At the 30-year auction yesterday, indirect bidders, a class of investors that includes foreign central banks, were awarded 33.9 percent of the securities. The average over the past 10 sales was 27.9 percent.

    The fact is Ruvy, that with all the world in economic turmoil, bad as the US economy presently is, it’s still a safer place to park money than most other economies, so it keeps coming, even accelerating, as the quote above indicates.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Excellent point Clavos, and probably the reason a lot of other countries seem to prefer the U.S. Dollar as their chosen currency.

  • Clavos

    You’re right, Jet. The USD is still one of the world’s most stable currencies.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Yay, we suck but everyone else sucks more!

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Yay, we suck but everyone else sucks more!

    Close – you suck, but everybody is scared more of the folks who are not Americans. You still have a scintilla of good will left. Minting another $800 billion in phoney dollars will kill off that good will, as folks figure out what funny money gets them.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Not sure about that, Ruvy. The phony money does push the value of the dollar down, benefitting those who are shopping for US assets right now.

    Dave

  • Irene Wagner

    Baronius is right. BO stands for Body Odor. It’s just not presidential.

    Jet in #7, that’s true. Clinton’s middle name won’t go down in history with him. Sec’y of State HRC’s might though.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    At the rate the dollar is going, Ruvy, soon enough there won’t be much of U.S. assets left. Welcome to the NWO. Read all about it in my upcoming piece.

  • Ma rk Ed(en)

    Clavos, your argument from psychology is a double edged sword. You’re correct – best results would accrue if everyone were to shut the fuck up.

    The die is cast; the federal government is going to titillate demand, print money and nationalize a bunch of banks. Best get with the program lest you negatively affect the psychology needed for success.

  • Clavos

    You’re correct – best results would accrue if everyone were to shut the fuck up.

    From your keyboard, Mark, to the President’s eyes.

  • Clavos

    Roger #25,

    Your comment to Ruvy regarding the rate at which the dollar is sliding is dead on; the dollar will slide much further as we incur the more than one trillion (including interest) debt for the “Stimulus” Plan.

    Look for inflation to ramp up severely as well.

  • Ma(rk Ede)n

    Not to worry — Volker is waiting in the wings.

  • Cindy

    If anyone is interested. I would like to understand what happened in Iceland when it went bankrupt a few months ago if that says anything about what the US is doing regarding the economy here. I don’t know anything about this stuff.

    Iceland to set up bad debt vehicle, tap pensions

    The collapse of the Icelandic banks, which were taken over by the government in the space of a few days in October last year, has laid waste the economy which is expected to contract by as much as 10 percent this year. Unemployment is set to soar.

    That quote is on page 2 of that article.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    You may be playing into Pablo’s hands, Clavos. He might want to argue it’s all a part of some devilish plan to reduce the dollar to the level of the peso – the first step, as it were, towards the NWO.

    I’m arguing for just such a possibility, anyways, in my upcoming piece, though not from any conspiratorial end – only as a kind of “invisible hand” explanation. I know I’m going to incur wrath from the likes of Mark Eden or Les Slater. Though with Pablo, I believe we’ll reach some sort of understanding.

  • Cindy

    Who knows Roger…I may not be too dumb to add something to your “boys club”.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    They’re not my club!

  • Cindy

    That is not my point.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I know it wasn’t your point. You’re free to join them, of course.

  • Clavos

    Roger,

    One can say almost anything on these threads and play into Pablo’s hands. His pet “conspiracy” is so sweeping; so all-encompassing, that virtually antything that happens in the world can be ascribed to it.

    That’s why he’s so fond of it — in one neat package everything gets explained.

  • Cindy

    bliffle,

    I am wondering, do you know anything about what I am asking in #30?

    I mean, if you are interested in that, of course.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Apropos #30, I think it’s kind of interesting we haven’t had much news from Canada regarding the impending crisis. Am I wrong here, and if so, does anyone has some info?

    And what about Australia? STM might be the man to answer the last question.

  • bliffle

    There’s a lot of inflationary affect in the pipeline:

    $800b for the (Obama) Stimulus
    $700b for the (Bush) TARP
    $2500b for the Iraq/Afghan war
    $500B for the 2001 tax cuts
    $2000B for various sureties that both Bush and Obama have issued to the financial community.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Clavos has basically charged a politician with using political rhetoric. Wow, that’s a shocker!

    The GOP has been ratcheting up the rhetoric the past couple of weeks as well. John McCain has accused the Democrats of “generational theft” because of the size of the stimulus bill — the same week McCain and 35 other GOP senators voted for a $2.5 trillion tax cut as an alternative to the bill.

    Obama’s rhetoric, which was indeed strong, served two purposes:

    – To increase the speed and urgency of the passage of the bill [as an act of political will, this bill was a success of historic proportions, very unusual for a slow-moving insitution like Congress]

    – To emphasize that we are in so deep that no stimulus bill or other measure will have immediate, magical results in turning things around. [In other words, setting expectations.]

    Obama didn’t make up the “worst economic crisis since the Great Depression” line, although you might get that impression from this article. I feel reasonably certain that you can find very similar words used by many Republicans, including John McCain, during the last few months.

    Are you including them among the fearmongers?

    The paralysis of the credit markets and the rapid, enormous increase in unemployment are pretty scary, are they not? When during the period 1946-2007 have those two situations been worse than now?

    No one is claiming that things are as bad, yet, as in 1933. But none of us have lived through worse times.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    I’m not sure Handy, but I think he was making a joke… I could be wrong of course.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Bliffle,

    In that case, compared to items number 3 & 6 in your #39, the present package is chickenfeed.

    It makes one wonder then: What the stink is all about?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    One other thing:

    Clavos repeats his meaningless statistic that “only 25%” of the public voted for Obama, implying that 75% opposed him. [If you’re not implying that, why use the statistic?]

    Current Real Clear Politics approval-rating average for the president:
    65.5% approve
    25.5% disapprove

  • Clavos

    If only 25% of the adult (qualified to vote) population voted for him, the obvious inference to be drawn from that TRUE statistic is that 75%, 3 out of 4 did not. I leave to the pollsters to decide the whys of that. The point is, more people did not vote for him than did. Nothing more.

    Real Clear Politics Average poll on whether the country is presently headed in the right direction:

    Right Direction: 30.8%
    Wrong Track: 61.4%

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The reason it’s a meaningless statistic is that it’s true of every President! Name one for whom a majority, or even a third, of the population voted. You’re too intelligent a debater to use a non-sequitur as an argument. Or an adjunct to an argument. Or whatever reason you thought it was relevant to your article.

    It may say something about voter apathy [not just now but for decades!]. But it says virtually nothing meaningful about this president.

    And the right track/wrong track measure is not [yet] a judgment on the president’s policies. And you know that too.

    I’d be more interested in your response to my earlier commment than in playing silly games with statistics.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Actually, the right track/wrong track poll is pretty interesting. If you look at the long-term trend graph on RCP, going back to July 2007, the numbers stayed stuck at about 70-wrong/25-right for quite a few months, but began to drift into much worse territory.

    By the weeks before the election the numbers were approaching 90-wrong/10-right. Worst numbers ever.

    Then immediately after the election, there was a sudden shift, not into positive territory, but a lot better: about 65-wrong/30 right. And it has improved a bit since then.

    I’d guess a lot of that sudden change [20-25 points] is from relieved Democrats [“Finally!”]. It will be an interesting statistic to watch in the coming months.

  • Clavos

    handy,

    The statistic is not a non sequitur when considered in the light of the claim by some Obama supporters that he has a “mandate” from this election.

    That’s why I repeat it. He won (as he boasted), but the fact is…well, you know.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The public supports his effort to “do something” about the economy.

    Even, apparently, a substantial number of people who didn’t vote for him.

    Your argument is so convenient. No president in history would ever have been able to claim a mandate. I do feel reasonably sure that a quick search could turn up claims by Bush II, Reagan, LBJ and Eisenhower that they all came to office with mandates.

    We could get stuck on this minor point for a while. Seems to me there are a few other and larger ones worth discussing too.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The public supports his effort to “do something” about the economy.

    Have you not read my current article?

    What the people want is not this bill. What they want is tax cuts and to be left the hell alone.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    “What the people want is not this bill. What they want is tax cuts and to be left the hell alone.”

    Sounds good to me.

  • Clavos

    Your argument is so convenient. No president in history would ever have been able to claim a mandate.

    yOU still miss my point. I never said (nor implied) he’s the only prez in history without a mandate; I’m just refuting those who say he does have one.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    You’re refuting it via sleight of hand. Not sure why you think that’s necessary or useful.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    What the people want is not this bill. What they want is tax cuts and to be left the hell alone.

    This is what conservatives want, sure. There is no indication that it is what the people as a whole want. If they had, they would have elected McCain and a Republican Congress.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    And, Clavos, your article does not mention, once, the word “mandate” or any claim thereof.

  • Clavos

    your article does not mention, once, the word “mandate” or any claim thereof.

    Irrelevant, handy. It’s pre-emptive.

    Admit it, handy. What bugs you most is that I’m criticizing your guy with reason.

    He railed against fearmongering during the campaign, and now he’s doing it himself. The rest is just hair-splitting.

    The larger point is, he’s hurting his own plan big time, by frightening the consumers. They’re already reluctant to spend, and he’s scaring them even more.

    He’s never managed anything in his life, and it shows. I hope like hell he catches on soon, because I’m also in this decrepit, leaky old boat, and so far, I have no confidence in the captain.

  • Hope and Change?

    Nothing elicits fear more than an angry black woman!!!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    My comment #40, to which you never responded, takes on your false argument about fearmongering.

    I like rational argument based on actual reasoning. Your article is a straightforward, partisan hit piece – it barely touches on reason.

  • bliffle

    Clavos says:

    “He’s never managed anything in his life, and it shows. I hope like hell he catches on soon, because I’m also in this decrepit, leaky old boat, and so far, I have no confidence in the captain.”

    Did you have confidence in the previous captain?

    Were you forewarned by his business failures and life failures?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I hope like hell he catches on soon

    I’m not sure I believe that. I think you’ve already made up your mind, and you are going to oppose every policy, every statement, every syllable that comes from the White House for the next 8 years.

    Of course, I don’t agree about Obama’s management skills — I think he’s doing fine — and he’s an even better spokesman. In fact, he’s already the most skilled user of the bully pulpit in at least 25 years.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Your argument is so convenient. No president in history would ever have been able to claim a mandate.

    I think I have to dispute this on a factual basis. Jefferson in his second term, Reagan in his second term, Jackson in his second term. All three won with overwhelming majorities which I think have to be called mandates.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    I’m not sure I believe that. I think you’ve already made up your mind

    Well, not for the first time, you’re wrong, because I do care. Not for him, but for the country; we’re screwed up enough now, so if he screws up we’re doomed.

    As for his management skills: he didn’t even manage the famous “stimulus” plan he went back out onto the campaign trail to make speeches, and left it up to Pelosi and Reid and their minions, who promptly turned around and opened the door to every dem pet project of the last 30 years.

    Bush got us deeper into debt than we’ve ever been before, and this guy is pushing us even further down that road.

    I’m not impressed yet.

    He sure can talk the talk, but so can any snake oil salesman; I’m waiting for him to actually do something besides make pretty speeches.

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Clavos, your article was quite insightful, but the responses are the entertainment.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Dave, I haven’t done the math in detail, and I can’t vouch for the 19th-century examples. But Clavos’s figures are almost entirely dependent on voter turnout, which has generally been 55-65% in the last 100 years. Thus even a big landslide electorally doesn’t qualify as a mandate by Clavos’s not-very-useful yardstick.

    That was my whole point. If no one qualifies, why single out Obama? Because you don’t like him, that’s the main reason.

    And even by your yardstick, I would imagine FDR in 1936 and LBJ in 1964 are as big as Reagan in 1984. In fact, LBJ might have an edge because voter turnout was high that year.

    But a decisive election victory, especially accompanied by a Congressional election victory, is still a mandate of sorts. I don’t agree with this very technical disqualification.

    It sounds like the sort of sophistry a lawyer might come up with.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    My perspective is simpler. If the election is an absolute blowout for the President then he has a mandate, even if the rest of his party doesn’t.

    But I don’t think Obama’s election meets my standards of a blowout. I was thinking more along the lines of 60% or so of the popular vote. Jefferson had almost 80% in 1804. Reagan had about 60% in 1984, which is still pretty good. Similar numbers for Johnson in 1964 and Jackson in 1832. Or maybe combine that with a 4 to 1 or better electoral college victory. That’s a blowout. As far as the electoral vote goes Reagan’s 1984 victory was phenomenal even better than Jefferson in 1804, with almost a 40-1 margin of victory. That’s a mandate.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    While you are all going “oooh” and “aaahh” at blowouts, I got an e-mail from a friend in Efrat:

    He was forwarding this so it may not be original to him.
    ——————————————————————————–
    Subject: MONKEY BUSINESS!

    Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each.

    The villagers, knowing there were many monkeys, went to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort.

    He then announced that he would buy monkeys at $20 each. This renewed the villagers efforts and they started catching monkeys again.

    Soon the supply diminished and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort to even find a monkey, let alone catch it!

    The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50 each! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would buy on his behalf.

    The assistant told the villagers, “Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that my boss has already collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when my boss returns, you can sell them to him for $50.”

    The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys for 700 billion dollars.

    They never saw the man or his assistant again, only lots and lots of monkeys!

    Now you have a better understanding of how the

    WALL STREET BAILOUT ECONOMICS STIMULUS PLAN WORKS !!!

    It doesn’t get much clearer than this……..
    ————————————————–
    Car for a banana, folks?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Oh, that Ruvy and his wacky emails!

  • Cindy

    lol Ruvy,

    You sure are in a good mood today. :-)

  • Hope and Change?

    Gee maybe we do need the fairness doctrine…..
    Funny I had to go to the Irish Press to find this.

    PBS’ Frontline is airing a documentary on the causes of the economic collapse Tuesday: Inside the Meltdown. Irish media points out one possible weakness with the work.

    Mr. Dodd and Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, are the only members of Congress interviewed in the piece. WHAT…two of the morons responsible for the meltdown…and no one from the other side of the isle????

    Most hold Republicans and Democrats equally responsible for oversight failures. “Frontline” holds these politicians up as reliable, unbiased witnesses, but some viewers may feel they don’t deserve that trust.

    Public radio and public television — already funded with your money to the tune of some $400 million in direct federal handouts and tax deductions for contributions made by individual viewers, not to mention untold state grants and subsidies — want a big chunk of King Barrys scamulus pie

    Hope amd change…”Only fools believe”

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I haven’t seen the Frontline piece, but they usually do phenomenal [and even-handed] work, so I’ll be surprised if it’s as biased as H&C hopes it is [of course, he not only hasn’t seen it, he won’t bother to watch it, just snipe from the sidelines]. It’s also possible that the program is more about Wall St than about politics, and interviews mostly finance people.

    I understand CNBC also has a documentary on about the meltdown tonight.

    Since none of us understands the economic crisis [although that lack of knowledge hasn’t prevented loud declarations of omniscience from many commenters here], we might all learn something from these and other investigative journalism pieces.

    And if we do find bias in them, better to discuss it afterward rather than slime them in advance.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Perhaps PBS couldn’t find any Republican congresspeeps who were willing to be interviewed.

    I can actually imagine the conversation between the Frontline producer and Sen. Shelby (or Rep. Bachus):

    Producer: Good morning, Senator. We’re making a piece on the financial crisis and I was wondering if you’d be willing to give us an interview?

    Shelby: Financial crisis? I… I don’t… I can’t – [sounds of sobbing, then the phone being hung up]

    [Transcript ends]

    (I don’t suppose there’s anything significant in the fact that the ranking GOP members of both the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee are both from Alabama? Just curious.)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Clavos:
    He sure can talk the talk, but so can any snake oil salesman; I’m waiting for him to actually do something besides make pretty speeches.

    Even before the Inauguration, Obama, on the counsel of numerous economic advisers, asked Congress to have an $800 billion stimulus ready for him to sign within a month of taking office. The figure was not, as he reminded us later, “pulled out of a hat.” It was based on the advice of experts.

    Tomorrow night a bill of just under $800 billion will become law, 28 days after the inauguration.

    Now I know that Clavos and many others despise this bill. But as a sheer act of political force and will, it is an historic accomplishment.

    And as was pointed out by Ron Brownstein [excellent journalist, btw] yesterday, the bill is virtually a “Presidency in a Box.”

    In terms of domestic initiatives, it accomplishes more in one piece of legislation than Bill Clinton [and several other presidents] managed in two full terms.

    Hate the bill all you want — although it contains so many moving parts that to just say you hate it, in toto, says more about your ideology than about the bill. It would be fairer to look at all that’s in the bill and talk about the many benefits it will have and the undisputed shortcomings. In other words, it’s so huge that it can’t be all good or all bad, and to say it’s all bad is just political rhetoric.

    And to claim that the president hasn’t accomplished anything is just ludicrous.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Doc,

    Alas, I fear that you misinterpreted what they said. In truth, all those who voted against the “Stimulus” package read this BC article and decided to take the sage advice offered. They are also scheduled for surgery pursuant to the enhanced health care provisions at pages 976-1021 of the package. Following removal of their vocal cords, they will be given intensive training in the use of special bipartisan sign language over the next four years.

    It will all work out just fine.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Hope and Change?

    “PBS couldn’t find any Republican”s…

    Nore than likely the Repubs were hard at work or making an attempt to read the scamulus plan, rather than the typical Democrat Barry Worhshipers…sort of like those…you know um….er…government worker types….coming in late for work everyday…taking a smoke or pee break every five minutes…2 hour lunch (eating their PNJ sandwich and taking a nap in their car), wasting tax payers money blogging and searching for porn…all while claimimg to be upstanding citizens and workers…

    Yes…the Scamuls Package..Bigger and more Bloated government!

  • Hope and Change?

    More proof that King Barry is no more than a talking head…American Spectator is reporting that….

    The White House is looking to install a small video or computer screen into the podium used by the president for press conferences and events in the White House. “It would make it easier for the comms guys to pass along information without being obvious about it,” says the adviser.

    LOL LOL….King Barry = A Black Jerry Mahoney!!!!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Of course, from my admittedly biased point of view, Frontline could do a lot worse than just interviewing Barney Frank for the whole hour. He’s unbelievably smart and witty, and can always be counted on to say plenty that is provocative and insightful.

    You probably wouldn’t get a complete picture of the meltdown, but you’d have a helluva great TV show.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Dan the Miller,

    I can’t verify independently if your claim is true, so I e-mailed Devin Nuñes, my local Republican congressman, for his views on the stimulus package. He replied, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s great. Just peachy. I’m really optimistic about this package.’

    Of course, conveying sarcasm with just the written word is a difficult trick, and one which I suspect many members of Congress have not mastered.

  • Hope and Change?

    “Barney Frank He’s unbelievably smart and witty”

    Oh yes he is a genius that guy…

    Barney Frank vouched for the “soundness” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and said “I do not see” any “possibility of serious financial losses to the treasury.”
    —– SEE PROOF THAT BARNEY IS ONE OF THE SMARTER DEMOCRATS

    Moreover, he said that the federal government has “probably done too little rather than too much to push them to meet the goals of affordable housing.”
    ———-IF WE TOOK BARNEYS ADVICE THE BANKING COLLAPSE WOULD HAVE BEEN BIGGER—-PURE GENIUS THAT BARNEY

    Earlier this year, Senator Christopher Dodd praised Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for “riding to the rescue” when other financial institutions were cutting back on mortgage loans. He too said that they “need to do more” to help subprime borrowers get better loans.

    —THANK GOD WE HAVE SUCH SMART DEMOCRATS WRITING THE BAILOUT SPENDING BILL…

    Hope and Change???

  • Hope and Change?

    Hey why doesnt PBS do a special on Gay Prostitues?
    Barney has so much expertise plus his smarts and wit…it would have to be a big hit!

    In 1990, The House Ethics Committee recommended Frank be reprimanded because he “reflected discredit upon the House” by using his congressional office to fix 33 of Steve Gobie’s parking tickets.

    Frank confirmed that he paid Gobie for sex, hired him with personal funds as an aide and wrote letters on congressional stationery on his behalf to Virginia probation officials, but Frank said he fired Gobie when he learned that prostitution clients were visiting the apartment. [11]

    Its so clear to see how Barney is one of the more ethical amd smarter Democrats…er um you know!

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    There used to be a guy here called “Just One Man” (or just one moron) who would follow me around like a lost pup, peeing on every damned thing I said. This guy Hope & Change is all that JOM could have been and wasn’t; bright, witty, funny, nasty as all hell – and he doesn’t pee on my comments!

    Thanks dude!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Bright and witty may be in the eye of the beholder, but I get the impression that most other posters here, left and right, find H&C more annoying than anything else.

    I would say rather that he is borderline — often over the line — homophobic and racist. His posts might be slightly, but only slightly, less wince-inducing if he bothered to spell and write in actual English grammar.

    But more than that, he could try posting something that actually makes a point other than clownish disruption.

  • Baronius

    Frontline unbiased? Look, it’s fine if you like Frontline. I like National Review. But they have a political agenda that runs through all their work. If Frontline is unbiased, then tell me what they’ve done over the last two years that you think was neutral.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    “Neutral” is also in the eye of the beholder. But I do believe the quality of the investigative journalism on Frontline is very high.

    If the conclusions they came to in some of the documentaries, about Iraq and Cheney’s conception of executive power, came off as unfavorable to the Bush administration, it’s just possible that it’s because the administration earned criticism. And most of the time, high-ranking officials were invited to be interviewed and declined to appear or comment.

    Conservatives often claim bias in reporting; I’d say they’re complaining about not finding a conservative bias, more than actually detecting a liberal one.

    This is, I know, an unending and unresolvable argument. So be it. But even your suspicion of bias shouldn’t keep you from watching as excellent a program as Frontline.

    Then we could discuss the putative bias afterward.

  • Hope and Change?

    Bright and witty may be in the eye of the beholder, but some posters in here lack the intellect or objectivity to see beyond their left wing nonsense and white guilt. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    Just saying er…um…you know

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Not sure what you’re driving at, H&C. I am happily and openly gay and have discussed this [when relevant] on other threads here. So, your point is … what, exactly?

    Congratulations on getting through an entire post without a major spelling goof. Hope that wasn’t too exhausting for you, and it’s a welcome change.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    handy –

    Here’s another unsolvable argument: We all know that if a media personality says something that in any way makes the Republicans look bad or is in any way against conservative dogma, then that media personality is OBVIOUSLY biased against the conservatives.

    After all, you well know that the Republicans do not make a habit of examining their own actions. That’s why, after eight years of “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter” (Dick Cheney), all of a sudden they’re “guardians of fiscal restraint”…and the hypocrisy of their one-eighty shift doesn’t even occur to them….

  • Hope and Change?

    I guess that explains you pen name as well as your fixation with me…

  • Hope and Change?

    Glenn….so your blamimg republcans for the Scamulus plan?

    Gee..how much longer can the Democrats go on blaming others for their incompetence?

  • Cindy

    H&C,

    Hey, someone put a message in this video for you.

    I would tell you where it is, but I bet you can figure that out yourself!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    For those interested in reading a very entertaining and information-packed article about Barney Frank — rather than the slanderous cartoon version recently posted here — I recommend a recent profile by Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker.

    H&C is fond of citing scandals — but only those involving Democrats, of course.

    As Wonkette often points out, with rude and hilarious unfairness, it sometimes seems that a prerequisite for getting high-profile jobs in the GOP seems to be having a furtive gay sex life:

    Larry Craig, Charlie Crist, Ken Mehlman, Mark Foley.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    H&C, one certainly need not be gay to find you annoying, pernicious, and ridiculous.

    I had adopted a policy of ignoring you, and I think I am returning to that policy as of right now.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Baronius,

    Unbiased and neutral are not the same thing at all.

  • Hope and Change?

    Handy…

    1. Jeffrey Toobins piece is historical revisionism and only proves the point that The New Yorker is another example of why print media is dead….zero credibility. If you would read the artilce its seems barney is more concerned with his weight than being an honest polictician and soing whats right…

    2. Gee it seems have some sort of problem with only gay republcans…Larry Craig, Charlie Crist, Ken Mehlman, Mark Foleys and no problem with barneys male prostitute friends…very strange!

    3. Who made you the F@%KIN arbitrator of what is right and wrong? It seems that under king barrys facsist rule we can see that real intolerance is on the left and not on the right..

    Your policy to ignore me is pathetic…”The truth you cant handle the truth!”

    PS Cindy, ask your doctor for an extra strenghth Rx of Fluconazole and/or Fetoconazole it should take care of that chronic problem you are suffering with!

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “This guy Hope & Change is all that JOM could have been and wasn’t; bright, witty, funny, nasty as all hell”

    Yes, they are so very different. Astute observation. Where are the comments posted where he is “bright, witty, funny” because I have yet to run across them? How can one have difficulty spelling and still be bright? Or is “the other side of the isle” when he meant “aisle” the part you find funny?

  • Hope and Change?

    Bich….I meant the other side of the “isle” -An island, especially a small one.

    Geesh….funny how some liberals think they are smarter than others just because “there spellin is gooder”!

    Really now….can those who voted for King Barry and STILL BELIEVE IN HIM…really be that stuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuupid?

  • Cindy

    H&C! I see you found the message!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Now I understand: It’s satire!

    He takes the most simple-minded dittohead rhetoric and makes it so extreme and cretinous that it becomes comedy of the absurd — thus subtly demonstrating how repellent it is!

    And we all thought he meant it! Such a clever boy.

  • Hope and Change?

    hanky you must be “splaining” your posts???? It sure sounds like it…read the following realllll slow…

    -simple-minded
    “Duh…Hope amd Change…Duh…Hope amd Change”

    -extreme
    “If we dont do this right now the world will end”, King Barry

    -cretinous
    “We dont want to give jobs to white construction workers” Robert “The Plane,the plane!” Reich

    -comedy
    “Now that aeverything else has failed King Barry announces that he will use “Dancing with the Stars” to select his next Head Of Commerce

    -absurd
    “This bill will create 4 million jobs” King Barry

    -repellent
    “I trust Nancy Pelosi ahd Harry Reid with this countrys ecomomy and the economic fate of our children”

    H&C

  • Baronius

    My mistake, Dread. Poor semantics.

    Handy, my suspicion of bias hasn’t kept me from watching Frontline. Watching Frontline has provided me with evidence of bias. Did you see the Atwater slur? Or that pathetic “controversial” look at long-since-discredited Bible theory? So let me repeat my challenge, now phrased better: name something that Frontline has produced in recent years that wouldn’t inspire a viewer to be more liberal.

  • bliffle

    Here it is tuesday morning and the “Frontline” doc airs tonight. Has anyone seen a preview? Or is everyone guessing?

    I’ve watched several Frontline presentations and they are pretty good. For one thing, they are grownup, that is, they deal with important subjects as if their audience were comprised of grownup people.

    The investigative reporting is excellent. They dig down below press releases into what really happened.

    I expect that they will apply the same reportorial skills and standards to the Obama administration.

    Anyway, I suspect that tonights Frontline will be a valuable addition to what we know already and will help focus ideas about the underlying currents in the political/financial world.

  • Hope and Change?

    “I expect that they will apply the same reportorial skills and standards to the Obama administration.” LOL LOL

    Does anyone want to vote on this statement?

    Considering Barney Frank is one of the stars of the show…I say they give congress a pass, Greenspan a pass, Frank and Dodd a pass BUT…….. blame Bush and greedy private sector CEOs.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Greenspan shouldn’t get a pass.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    name something that Frontline has produced in recent years that wouldn’t inspire a viewer to be more liberal.

    By ‘in recent years’, Baronius, do you mean since 2001?

    The purpose of investigative journalism, when done well, is to hold those in power accountable. For the past eight years, those in power have happened to be Republicans. I would expect shows like Frontline to be critical. I’m not sure how that translates into a liberal bias.

    I’ll have more time for that sort of argument if Frontline and similar shows fail to focus the magnifying glass on the Obama administration with any degree of consistency. Give it time, though. Doing a show like that now would be a bit like firing someone for poor job performance while they’re still in training.

  • Baronius

    There are two assumptions that you need to make in order to view Frontline as objective. First, that Republicans are always wrong. Second, that no Democrats’ mistakes are worth reporting on.

    Eliot Spitzer, the City of Detroit, the New York Times, the public school system, unions: are none of these institutions worthy of investigation? Where are the bad abortionists, and the bad national health care systems? How about Greenpeace – there have been stories about their questionable accounting for years, but as far as I know, not on Frontline. (Maybe they have snuck some in there. I think they did something about the UN peacekeepers five years ago, so it sometimes happens.)

    For that matter, I’d like some non-political shows. Because that’s the third Frontline assumption: not simply that the Dems are always right and the GOP is always wrong, but that there is nothing else to talk about. I’d like to see a story about a good defense contractor, but I know that’s never going to happen. At least give me something about Scientology, college recruiting scandals, or internet gaming scams. A story without a moral about the goodness of liberalism.

  • bliffle

    DD is correct.

    Investigative reporting usually puts the current power in a bad light (because they have the power to do wrong, QED). So the immature will make the wrong conclusion and impute wrong motives to the reporters.

  • Baronius

    I appreciate that role, Bliffle. But I don’t recall the Clinton administration being under the same scrutiny from PBS, nor the Pelosi speakership receiving the same criticism as that of Gingrich. And as I noted, the criticism is always from the same direction – Bush is never criticized for expanding the government’s role in health care, for example. Also, there are many institutions in power, in the US and around the world, but Frontline always investigates the Republican/capitalist ones.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Well, Baronius, Frontline‘s website has a complete list of reports broadcast since the show started, so you can look through and judge for yourself.

    Things like Spitzer and Detroit are IMHO a bit parochial for the sort of remit Frontline gives itself. I’d agree with you about public schools and unions. I’m not sure what you’d like investigated about the New York Times: that sort of thing seems a bit self-referential to me – journalists investigating journalism…

    A lot of the other issues you mention are, again, somewhat outside the scope of Frontline, and are more the sort of thing you’d expect to see on 60 Minutes or 48 Hours. (Which, by all accounts, also used to do the sort of hard-hitting journalism Frontline does – no more, alas.)

    Any good investigative journalism is subjective. The measure of impartiality is whether liberals in positions of power are examined as harshly as conservatives in positions of power. One of the most important jobs of the press in a free society is to hold the government beast accountable, regardless of whether it’s an equine or a pachyderm.

    I browsed back through the shows of the Clinton era and there were a number of reports critical of the incumbent administration, especially during the Balkan crisis. There were also many documentaries which investigated peripherally political topics, like big business malpractice. Since big business traditionally allies closer with the GOP than with the Democrats, I don’t see that as evidence of political bias.

    And unfortunately, good news just isn’t news – at least, it’s not investigative news. So no surprise there.

    As for non-political reports, there were several broadcast last year, on topics including the young generation in China, a climbing disaster on Mount Everest, the dangers of the iron pipe foundry industry, and teens and online networking.

    One final thought: perhaps the reason liberals don’t get as much attention from Frontline at the moment is simply that they aren’t anything like as naughty as conservatives? ;-)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Baronius —

    Maybe you just object to a nonfiction film having a point of view? If so, I don’t agree or understand.

    I don’t think of Frontline as strictly a show about politics. As has been pointed out, it’s a show made by grown-ups for grown-ups. It can also be as tense as a thriller, as with the show on Cheney’s views about executive power. [Maybe a little too much doomy thriller music in that one, too.]

    The Atwater show seemed perfectly fair to me, and actually a little too sympathetic toward super slimeball Atwater. I’m not sure why you objected so strongly to it. They certainly interviewed a lot of his friends and sympathizers. It wasn’t presented as a hit piece, but they didn’t pretend Atwater was a benign presence. He wasn’t!

    The show about health care in other countries was excellent – and not partisan…far superior to Michael Moore’s Sicko. [Moore has a point of view of course, but he’s more interested in cheap effects than facts.]

    The show about the early Christians was just phenomenally well done [is that what you are referring to as discounted Bible theory?!] — it was a documentary about academic research, not about religion per se. I haven’t seen the one about Hugo Chavez, but I doubt it is propaganda — though it might have a point of view.

    And, um, does Frontline inspire you to be more liberal? If so, interesting! If not, I imagine other viewers are capable of having balanced responses also.

    What would be an example of a film that you approve of as being properly ‘neutral’/objective?

    Some of the most extraordinary documentary films ever made have a point of view: Taxi to the Dark Side and The Power of Nightmares to name two recent ones. They certainly wouldn’t be better films if you drained them of their point of view.

    Also The Sorrow and the Pity. And Spike Lee’s film about Katrina, When the Levees Broke. Unbelievably powerful stuff. If it inspires anyone to be more humane and caring [forget liberal for a minute], thank God!

  • Hope and Change?

    “Spike Lee’s film about Katrina”

    Yes a great film that proves the point that if you depend on government to take care of you, you are gonna die…

    The Scamulus bill is the whole countries Katrinas…we are sitting here waiting for the morons in DC…to save us and our money! Wake up!!! it aint gonna happen!

    King Barry is starting to look like Mayor Nagin!!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    If you mean what you said about Lee’s film being great, that’s an indication that you just possibly have some actual feelings and some empathy.

    It wouldn’t hurt you to display more of those in your writing, and fewer crude, feeble insults.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    You are getting quite a compliment here, H&C, whether you realize it or not. Are you going to live now up to everybody’s expectations?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Alert: Someone else seems to have joined the ranks of the fearmongers!

    Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Tuesday the current global recession will “surely be the longest and deepest” since the 1930s and more government rescue funds are needed to stabilize the U.S. financial system.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    What’s Bernake’s view?

  • bliffle

    Roger asks:

    “#42 — …
    In that case, compared to items number 3 & 6 in your #39, the present package is chickenfeed.

    It makes one wonder then: What the stink is all about? ”

    Power.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Power and smokescreen!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Well, since Ben Bernanke co-invented Tarp, and since, according to Pelosi, Frank and others, Bernanke joined Paulson in an emergency evening meeting with Congressional leaders to warn them that they needed to hand over $700 billion, immediately, or there might not be a banking system left by Monday…

    I would say he has already expressed an opinion.

    He’s also supposed to be something of a scholar on the Great Depression, and is obsessed with preventing a recurrence.

  • jungle warrior

    sounds to me like Clavos has “small man’s syndrome”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Could you explain that?