Friday, January 29, 2010

President Ignores Heroes of Ft. Hood: Fact Checking Obamas SOTU

President Obama spent 1 hours and 10 minutes on the State of the Union. I understand that is the longest State of the Union our Union has ever endured.

He failed to mention the fact that our US Marines finished their mission and left Iraq last week. A colossal and unforgivable omission.

He assured us that our Military will be completely out of Iraq by the end of August 2010, but will they? I guess we can fact check that next January.

He did not mention the November 5, 2009 Fort Hood murders. Astonishingly, he did not introduce the two brave heroes who confronted and took down Nidal Hasan, as he brought down 13 soldiers and one unborn child. At least, going back to President Reagan, the First Lady's guests were always introduced. So they invited Officers Mark Todd and Kimberly Munley there for what...the pleasure of being in the same room with The One, and being graced with a seat next to the First Lady?

After 70 minutes, another 10 could have been spent applauding these courageous Americans, honoring them  thanking them for the lives of those spared because of their bravery; thanking Munley, just a petite, pony-tailed Sergeant, for rushing into the site of an Islamic killer's weapon. What was this President thinking?

He did not mention the attempts of the Christmas Day bomber. He did not mention that security alerts in Britain have elevated. He did not mention that Canada's airports are on high alert, and American airlines will not allow passengers boarding flights from Canada to the US to have carry-on baggage. He did not talk about the topic of the day: terror trials in the middle of New York City, and specifically the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammad. These are the state of our union.

This man's character is flawlessly egotistical, narcissistic, and boastful.

The AP skipped Obama's denigration of the Supreme Court decision to eliminate some campaign finance laws. He specifically complained that their ruling opens the door to foreign contributions, but Associate Justice Kennedy said the barrier to foreign campaign spending is outside the scope of the opinion. This from Politifact:

...the legal experts we spoke to after Obama's radio address said that the president was overstating the immediate impact of the opinion. They said Obama was correct that the ruling could open the door to foreign companies spending on American campaigns, given the general direction of the majority's opinion. But because the majority justices didn't actually strike down the existing barriers on foreign companies -- in fact, they explicitly wrote that it fell beyond the boundaries of their decision -- our experts agreed that Obama erred by suggesting that the issue is settled law. Until test cases proceed and further rulings are handed down, Obama's claim about foreign campaign spending is a reasonable interpretation, and nothing more.
The Associated Press fact checked 8 statements from the speech. Here is what they, and others had to say:

(1) Obama's important spending freeze beginning in 2011 - One lousy percent, my friends
AP THE FACTS: The anticipated savings from this proposal would amount to less than 1 percent of the deficit — and that's if the president can persuade Congress to go along.
 Nevertheless, Charles Krauthammer says the spending freeze is a fraud:
[Paraphrased] What Obama doesn't tell you is that last year...they ratcheded up the spending for all departments astronomically, an average of about 20% - that's huge. Normal is usually 3% or 4%. Last year, the budget for the EPA was increased by 35%! See the video below, and thank you to The ConservativeXpress
 Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) says the true reduction is only "little more than one-half of 1 percent. PolitiFact's turth-o-meter says that is true.

If a "spending freeze" does come about, does mean the government will not be adding workers to their already bursting bureaucracy? What happens to "j-o-b-s."

(2) The Senate voted-down (56-43) a "debt commission" proposed by Obama to usurp the authority of Congress. The Commission would propose "unpopular remedies to reduce the debt." Once the Commission comes up with a proposal, Congress is mandated to vote on it. But, the Senate voted it down, so the President said he'll create an executive order to make it happen, but...apparently he can't make it happen. He tried to neuter Congress. This time he failed...but we still have the Czars.
AP THE FACTS: ... Any commission set up by Obama alone would lack authority to force its recommendations before Congress, and would stand almost no chance of success.
(3) The President wants to continue with health care. He just needs Republicans to support what he wants. It's that simple.
AP THE FACTS: But Obama can't guarantee people won't see higher rates or fewer benefits in their existing plans. Because of elements such as new taxes on insurance companies, insurers could change what they offer or how much it costs. Moreover, Democrats have proposed a series of changes to the Medicare program for people 65 and older that would certainly pinch benefits enjoyed by some seniors. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted cuts for those enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans.
What? The AP acknowledges what everyone else knows? Dang about time!

(4) The President said again he will restrict lobbyists. I'll admit that I don't know much about how lobbyists garner favor, other than hanging out on Capitol Hill and making it worthwhile for Congress to spend some time with them. I can't imagine why a lobbyist would ever be admitted to the White House, except for a Sunday afternoon tour with the family.

Obama said he would not hire lobbyists to work out of the White House, but of course, he did just that. He said he wants lobbyists to disclose every contact made with his administration or Congress...and he boasted of the White House Visitors log posted online. But those logs are not complete, not up-to-date, not up-to-snuff. And who knows that every contact is disclosed? Here's how the game is played: more and more lobbyists are simply not registering as lobbyists...like Andy Stern.
AP THE FACTS: ...[to make this work] Congress would have to change the law, and that's unlikely to happen. And lobbyists already are subject to strict limits on political giving. Just like every other American, they're limited to giving $2,400 per election to federal candidates, with an overall ceiling of $115,500 every two years.
PolitiFact points out:
We found that the administration has granted waivers to several former lobbyists, allowing them to serve. The administration also allows recusals, where former lobbyists simply recuse themselves from discussions concerning whatever interest it is for which they used to lobby. The recusals have not been made public, and we don't know how many have been issued. (You can read more details on our ruling by scrolling down to our update of March 17, 2009.)

(5) Obama boasted of creating or saving 2 million jobs.
AP THE FACTS: The number was based on self-reporting by recipients and some of the calculations were shown to be in error...." [from the Congressional Budget Office) It is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package." 
(6) The President said he will continue to "do our work openly, and give our people the government they deserve."
AP THE FACTS: Obama skipped past a broken promise from his campaign — to have the negotiations for health care legislation broadcast on C-SPAN...Democrats in the White House and Congress have conducted the usual private negotiations, making multibillion-dollar deals with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders behind closed doors.
Nor has Obama lived up consistently to his pledge to ensure that legislation is posted online for five days before it's acted upon.
We knew the above. It's frightening to think what we do not know, like what does Andy Stern do in all those White House meetings? Heads-up Mr. President, we know we do not have the government we deserve.

(7) The United States and Russia are near reaching the "farthest-reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades."
AP THE FACTS: Despite insisting early last year that they would complete the negotiations in time to avoid expiration of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in early December, the U.S. and Russia failed to do so.
One important sticking point: disagreement over including missile defense issues in a new accord.

If completed, the new deal may arguably be the farthest-reaching arms control treaty since the original 1991 agreement. An interim deal reached in 2002 did not include its own rules on verifying nuclear reductions. 
Barack Obama supports the United Nations Millennium Goal, which includes de-arming, not just de-nuclearize, the world. He will give away the farm if we let him.

(8) Obama claims that more al-Qaeda has been killed in his first year as President - hundreds of them - and "far more than in 2008.
AP THE FACTS: It is an impossible claim to verify. Neither the Bush nor the Obama administration has published enemy body counts, particularly those targeted by armed drones in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. The pace of drone attacks has increased dramatically in the last 18 months, according to congressional officials briefed on the secret program.
Feel free to add your own thoughts in comments about the State of the Union and the President's "facts."



Krauthammer on the Spending Freeze: Fact Checking Obama (video)

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