Obama isn't a socialist, but . . . .
Obama supporters can now breathe a sigh of relief. It's official: Obama is not a socialist. After years of waiting and wondering, enough evidence has surfaced that we can connect the dots. The pattern they form is unmistakably obvious to everyone who looks at what politicians do, not what they say they will do.
Candidate Obama gave conservatives the heebie-jeebies by saying he wanted to spread the wealth around. That goal peeved Joe The Plumber, but it made Peggy Joseph smile. Reflecting on what Obama's election would do for her, she said, “I won’t have to worry about puttin' gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I help him, he's gonna help me.”
I doubt that Peggy is smiling now, but Joe is likely breathing a sigh of relief. Obama turned out not to be as bad as his opponents feared (regarding national defense, some of his erstwhile fans branded him Bush III), but not as good as his supporters hoped. If not Peggy, then others like her now have more financial problems than they did in 2008 when they thought their ticket to a brighter future was purchased by voting for Obama, whose “spread the wealth around” message suggested socialist nirvana.
Far from it. Back on planet Earth, and back to reality, the dots we connect don't paint a picture of socialism: evenly spreading the wealth around. Instead, Obama used the power of the federal government to take money from taxpayers—current and future—and give it to his special interests as a quid pro quo for their continued support. That's crony capitalism, not socialism.
Every President rewards his supporters; Obama is just better at it than others. I'd prefer that Presidents treat all Americans equally, not picking winners and losers. Unionized Big Three autoworkers and retirees were big winners who greatly benefited from Obama's crony capitalism favoritism, while the rest of us, who must pay for that generosity, are the losers.
Money that we could have spent on ourselves or our children, or money that could have been used to pay down the national debt (or, more likely, limit its expansion) was instead funneled to people connected with the UAW because the UAW is politically powerful—and we're not. The UAW helped Obama achieve power, so he returned the favor. You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours. That's crony capitalism. Yes, it sucks. It's basically legalized theft, but it is still legal, so don't blame Obama—or accuse him of being a socialist—for using it. Obama is hardly the first powerful person to claw his way to the top by stepping on others. Don't like it? Change the system. Good luck.
Now that it's clear Obama is no socialist, one might think he would be more popular than ever, but his approval rating suggests otherwise. Part of that is attributable to Obama's lack of an effective remedy for our economic problems, but other Presidents have had comparable challenges and enjoyed more support. So why is Obama faring less well?
It can't be solely the issues, because half the country is permanently out to lunch on that matter. They don't know the issues, or read, or think; they just hear brief sound bites and react, forming conclusions that are more reflexive than cognitive. The sound bites from the media that largely still adores him are less effusively complimentary, yet far from harshly critical. So why do folks who have fewer objective reasons for disapproving of Obama as President not approve of him more?
Perhaps the answer has less to do with his performance than his personality, or at least the slice of it we see.
Yes, President Obama is enormously appealing, but more than a few people think in spite of that charm, his other characteristics are less attractive. I once loathed almost everything Obama said/threatened he would do, and now that my political views have shifted significantly on several issues, I should be even fonder of him than I am.
Why aren't I? There's that not-so-little bit about the economy, yet I believe that Obama is less responsible for the mess we're in than we are (see my article, Stop blaming Obama and start thinking).
Obama seems to be the only President in history wise enough to realize that our long-term national defense will be strengthened by scaling back the military we now have—military we can't afford. Without cutbacks, our military expenditures will bankrupt us, leaving us with either no military or with domestic spending so low people who counted on the government to survive would not survive, unless you consider cardboard box homes and fillet of cat sandwiches to be survival (see The endless wars we cannot afford in my article The collapse of the U.S. economy: inevitable unless we do this).
I once was a rah-rah Fox News fan and military supporter, but if you do the math, you will see that the future economic trajectory of the United States is headed down for a mighty crash. If you reach a rosy conclusion, your analysis is based less on facts than blind hope. Pixie dust works wonders in Disney movies, but not in real life. My connection to reality made me realize that our current military is doing a better job of bankrupting us—thus harming us—than saving us. President Obama deserves great credit for realizing that, so I should be putting Obama bumper stickers on my car . . . but I'm not.
Nixon was widely reviled as a contemptuously petty whack-job for his enemies list, but Obama has one, too; he is just more clever in camouflaging his wrath, using utterly brilliant passive-aggressiveness and political hit-men like Media Matters to do the dirty work for him. In that regard, Obama's presidency is indeed historic: he is the first President to target Main Street folks for revenge, not limiting himself to political big shots who actually pose a risk to his career aspirations.
Don't think so? Look at the extensive Media Matters smear of me; it was outright lies, unconscionably twisted distortions, baseless assumptions, and pure bullshit, as I proved in my blog. The only good point they brought up was disagreeing with me about the Hatch Act; something that reasonable minds can differ about.
Oh, they were correct about something: I do indeed write about sex in an open way. I'm a doctor, and sex—as in SEX, not just the biology of reproduction—is something doctors learn in medical school. I graduated in the top 1% of my class, so I learned more about everything, including sex. Slay me for that? The foremost lesson in our sex unit was that good physicians have a professional responsibility to not be uptight about anything to do with sex because patients would pay the price if we didn't cast off the cultural conditioning we acquired by being raised in a country, as I proved elsewhere, that is pathetically childish and dysfunctional on this matter.
Why is the United States “such a nutty country when it comes to sex”?
— Dr. Marty Klein, in Imagine Sex Is Just Sex
Becoming a physician—or at least, a good physician—is more than just memorizing information. The chasm between physicians and others is wider than you may think. To view patients—all patients—in the proper perspective, physicians must overcome the biases, preconceptions, and hang-ups that most people have.
For example, many otherwise good lay people have a rabid dislike for gay men and lesbian women, but that attitude is not acceptable for physicians, because the attitude is bound to spill out. Patients are smart enough to see right through doctors who abhor homosexuality, or any of the other things that often trigger unfavorable assessments in laymen who feel justified in thinking less of others who don't think like they do.
As my medical school professors made eminently clear, to be a good doctor, it's not enough to know an ungodly amount of information; one must also receive an attitude adjustment that changes how you think and respond. If the process works as the profs intended, the attitude adjustment will be internalized, not just mimicked when doctors are near patients, because pretending to be professional is never as convincing as heartfelt professional attitudes. The med school attitude adjustment about sex included mandates that we treat it as openly and unabashedly as any other topic, and that we telegraph this openness to patients. One cannot be open about sex by treating it as if it is something that should be swept under the rug.
The holistic approach to medicine acknowledges that everything in the body is connected; it's not just the hip bone connected to the thigh bone. In taking a sexual history on a patient, good doctors obtain information that can help them make diagnoses they otherwise might miss, with many of those diagnoses significantly improving health and saving lives. Patients want radiant health more than anything else, and they think less of doctors who miss chances to give them better health.
Considering the trust that patients place in doctors, to give patients anything less than 100% is professionally unacceptable. Sex will be an integral part of medicine as long as people are people, so good doctors do everything they can to optimize patient care. Sex is part of the medical equation; it is part of, and indelibly linked to, cardiology, neurology, dermatology, endocrinology—and hence diabetes—and on and on, with everything connected to everything else in some way, if not literally.
However, the small minds at Media Matters evidently haven't been in medical school, nor have they been educated by anyone wise enough to help them overcome their bigotry.
bigot (noun): (1) a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing opinion, belief, or creed; (2) a person who is obstinately intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, especially on politics or religion, and has animosity toward those of differing beliefs.
The greatest Media Matters irony is that it is led by a man who once was a Republican. He of all people should know that people can change, and change for the better. Unless the primary mission of Media Matters is to impress people with their bigotry and immaturity, they should realize that their brand of smears appeals only to close-minded, immature bigots who already agree with them. Sensible adults need substantive reasons to change their political ideas. Media Matters could make inroads by speaking to my girlfriend, who is conservative yet loathes Fox News so much that if I dare tune into FNC in her presence, she invariably gives me an earful about their lies and distortions. Phony News, she calls 'em. I don't think they are phony, but I know they are not fair and balanced, as they claim, and I can prove that.
Huh? How so?
What is worse? Taking an expensive vacation or killing someone?
We can all agree that killing someone is unquestionably worse, but if you rely on Fox News for your daily dose of bias, you likely don't know that a Republican darling made to seem beyond perfect by the right-wing media actually killed someone, as I revealed in another article. I spent way too much time watching Fox News, yet I never heard them mention that fact. However, they went on and on and on about Obama and his wife taking expensive vacations.
As a doctor, here's what I think. I've heard Mrs. Obama isn't happy living in the White House. Who could blame her? She and her family have little privacy. They live under a microscope with their political opponents eager to rip them to shreds for trivial imperfections—some real, but others imagined by folks with room-temperature IQs. They basically live in a pressure cooker in a cold, sterile, and synthetic environment not of their making, so I understand their desire to escape it.
When one of my relatives, Chester Arthur, occupied the White House during his presidency from 1881–1885, he wasn't happy, either. He'd just lost the love of his life and dealt with her premature death by digging his own grave with a fork. (I discussed Arthur in another article.) It's no secret that depressed people often overeat, yet I've never heard any FNC doctor educate their pundits on why Mrs. Obama might be overeating or seeking to escape the White House.
Folks, this is hardly rocket science, yet Fox News is so busy nitpicking at the human imperfections of the Obamas that they evidently have no time to mention how Mrs. Perfect Republican killed someone!
Fair and balanced, my foot . . . as in my formerly right-wing foot that is indirectly tied to a brain that craves fairness for everyone, not just the Republican darlings that pass muster by Fox News. (Read more on this topic in Why Admiral Rickover would not like Fox News.)
It isn't just Media Matters who lies when that is politically expedient; some of their opponents do it, too. Political partisans on the Left and the Right are often in too much of a hurry to get their facts straight, or care who they step on or throw under the bus. That's the nature of the current American political process in which partisans, desperate to score a victory in an increasingly desperate nation that is economically circling the drain, manifest their desperation by turning a blind eye to ethical principles and lying through their teeth.
“Courageous people never throw others under the bus, even if that shines a negative spotlight on themselves.They see it as the right thing to do … even though it's the incredibly hard thing to do.”
— Jeff Haden in 12 Qualities of Remarkably Courageous People
While working as an ER doctor, I witnessed how anger compelled people to do regrettable things when they were desperate enough to think that them getting their way and winning was more important than doing the right thing.
But Obama is very smart, keeping above the fray by using a well-funded political machine, but anyone who knows a smidgen of psychology and can connect the dots can see how Obama's passive-aggressiveness is channeled into pure aggressiveness that his political hit men use to whack their opponents, or those they prematurely deem to be their opponents.
In other articles, I explained how the wrath of Leftist partisans was directed at me because they thought I sided with the Right. Humorously—at least if you find manifestations of stupidity to be humorous—Leftist partisans criticized me for not agreeing with them on some issues even though I did, being just as Left as they were, if not more so. I analyzed one of their attacks in detail in another article in which I proved how some political partisans, such as Media Matters, are so eager to attack they don't even bother to first clearly identify the enemy. If our military were as trigger-happy as Media Matters, they'd shoot folks who burped on Main Street while letting terrorists run wild.
I am not anti-Obama. He is so charming that I warm up to him almost every time I hear him speak even though I realize he exhibits some signs of sociopathy (see How to spot a sociopath), but I realize that his public image and persona may not be the real him, just as other public figures are not the one-dimensional people they seem to be, especially when caricatured by opponents with an axe to grind. Obama's opponents are so eager to discredit him that they can't seem to say anything complimentary other than that he is a gifted public speaker with a million-dollar smile. I strongly support Obama's desire to correct historical injustices and I applaud his plan to limit college tuition price hikes, but I loathe some other things he's done and wants to do. As an American citizen, I have a right to criticize politicians.
One need only open one's eyes to see how politicians on the Left and the Right are destroying our country, shackling it with debt that we cannot repay. The United States is almost certainly bound to economically collapse; the question is less whether it will, but when it will. Likely sooner than you think. I am doing my part as a concerned citizen to help prevent this calamity by writing about how we could prevent it (here's an example), but most people are so wedded to doing things the old way, and so caught up in fighting their political opponents, that they cannot see there is a better solution: one that is better for everyone, and one that brings us together in unprecedented ways, socially and politically, while giving us very bright futures.
While Obama and many of his supporters are much smarter than their opponents think, they aren't smart or flexible enough to see that my plan could do more for their traditional constituency groups while also doing more for those on the other end of the political spectrum, and everyone in between. I don't favor the Left, or the Right, or the namby-pamby in-betweens, all of whom seem bereft of good ideas, choosing instead to pat themselves on the back for using divisive platitudes and rehashing freeze-dried ideas from bygone American politicians, as if any of those ideas can save us. My plan is better.
Back in the late 1980s, when the USA's future seemed assuredly bright forever, I put 2 and 2 together and realized that we were headed for an economic nightmare. I felt just as strongly about that a decade later when I published my opinion in a book at a time our country was riding high. My prognostication may have once seemed impossibly gloomy, but now it seems as if I had a crystal ball into our future. Hardly. No one needs a crystal ball or great wisdom to see the mess we're in. Just look at the evidence and draw rather obvious conclusions from it.
Until the day that our system generates superb leaders with superb ideas, I could support Obama, in spite of the many reservations I have about him, if he supported my plan or generated his own ideas that could produce comparable benefits. I could also support Romney, who now appears headed for the Republican nomination, even though he tarnished my assessment of him by lying about something Obama said, making it appear he said the antithesis of what he did. Such lying is a sign of desperation, whether it is being done by Media Matters or someone on the Right.
If Romney were bright enough to help everyone, as a President should do, he wouldn't need to lie about his opponent to trick people into voting for him. No candidate has unlimited time to connect with voters and impress them, so when one wastes his time and ours by lying instead of presenting innovative solutions, I am bound to be disgusted that our country can't generate better candidates with better ideas. The old inside-the-box ideas aren't enough to save us; we need innovative solutions.
In the late 1960s, the Ford Motor Company claimed it had a better idea. Our politicians think they have better ideas, too, even though few of them can think for themselves instead of parroting old ideas, some of which helped dig the hole we're now in.
Obama doesn't seem to have any magical answers to our economic problems that help everyone, not just his crony capitalist friends, but he does have a better idea for ensuring the long-term survival of our country by cutting back our bloated military. (Of course, the money that will save is more than offset by the cash he is burning trying to stimulate the economy, a disproportionate amount of which goes to his political allies rich enough to buy his favors—not the Peggy Josephs in America.)
My Obama scorecard has more plusses than I ever imagined, and I can see his charm, but I don't fall for it, because I sense that it is not quite real. If Obama were truly a good man, he would condemn Media Matters and organizations like it. A man is known by the company he keeps. That maxim means that our character is reflected in our choice of friends. Obama has friends that lie through their teeth.
I remember the first time I saw Bill Clinton on television. I didn't know if he were a Democrat or Republican (at that time, I did everything I could to avoid the news); I just knew he was deceptive and arrogant enough to think we were dumb enough to fall for his transparent act. Clinton was yukking it up at a funeral, looking as if he were having a great time, smiling and laughing. Then, after seeing he was on camera, he instantly pretended to be overcome with grief, wiping a tear from his eye.
Fake, phony, and fabricated.
In a split-second, even before I heard him speak, I knew he was a liar whose lack of scruples permitted him to deceive people—or try to. His behavior in subsequent years erased any doubt that he feels no remorse for lying and deceiving. If telling the truth is good, Clinton is bad. One of his lies earned him a spot on the 10 Biggest Lies in History.
Obama exhibits some signs of sociopathy, but as any medical student can tell you after his or her psychiatry rotation, that may not be sufficient to make a diagnosis, especially when the evidence for it is filtered by the media, whose ability to differentiate fact from fiction is far from perfect.
Since my father evidently thought he had better things to do than stick around and raise his children, the closest thing I had to a father figure was one of my customers, a wealthy man who hired me to mow his yard and perform various odd jobs. After I did whatever he needed done, he'd often offer me a beer to sip as we stood in front of his garage and had interesting discussions. One recurrent theme in those discussions was that it is wrong to be so eager to think the worst about others that you accuse them of doing things they never did. False accusations are so ethically abominable that our government bends over backwards to not penalize people for crimes they did not commit; no one is guilty unless they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Fair trials obviously do not permit only the prosecution or defense to speak; finding the truth involves considering evidence that incriminates and that which exonerates. Of course, outside of the courtroom, people and paid-t0-smear organizations like Media Matters are often less careful about considering exonerating evidence even when that evidence itself offers proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the person accused is not guilty. People just love their snap judgments and their constitutional right to make fools of themselves by jumping to conclusions, so I try not to think the worst of others without giving that person at least a fair shake.
In doing that with Obama, I know I've alienated many friends who want to believe he is a monster. I agreed back in the days my sleep problems turned me into a curmudgeon, which was reflected in my writing, much of which is still posted on my various websites and in various books. There's nothing like a quarter-century of severe sleep deprivation to negatively color how you see the world.
After working 110 hours per week during medical school and residency, then working night shifts and rotating shifts in the ER that put me in perpetual jet lag, with exhaustion so severe and so unremitting that it beat me to a pulp, I was no longer the smiling, happy-go-lucky, plucky kid I once was, in spite of my absent father and the difficulties that triggered, such as poverty so severe I developed various diseases and conditions from starvation and lack of medical care. My experience with the welfare system during my childhood made me realize that my plan for improving it is better than the Republican's desire to slash it.
My sleep problems weren't solely attributable to working in the ER. I also suffered from objective tinnitus, a condition that runs in my family (see My nightmarish experience with objective tinnitus). Until I learned to control it, my life was a living hell. Doctors could help that problem only by giving me others that were arguably worse, which is typical of what doctors can do, now that medicine is still partially stuck in the Stone Ages. Incidentally, doctors were of no help in solving the other major difficulties I faced, such as a cardiac arrhythmia (secondary to a medicine) that almost killed me, and a decimation of my libido (secondary to another med, Accutane) so severe that I lost my desire to date and marry. I solved all of those problems, and others, on my own after doctors impressed me with their lack of knowledge and inability to help. Incidentally, note how modern medicine couldn't cure my problems, but it caused them.
Now that I am sleeping much better (though far from perfect), my naturally buoyant mood returned, along with a heartfelt desire to help people and animals. My answer to immigration was once KEEP OUT AND GO HOME, but now I am selling my Sea-doo, Ski-doo, and shed to help a deported person reenter the United States.
That's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how I changed; the rest amazes even me. However, not all of it stems from overcoming sleep difficulties; part resulted from stumbling upon a natural way to boost mood. When my mood improved, it affected not only how I viewed the world, but people in it, including Obama.
A few years ago, had someone told me that I'd now be lauding Obama, I would have been incredulous. Nevertheless, despite my desire to bend over backwards in giving him the benefit of the doubt, there is still something about him that rubs me the wrong way, apart from his policies, some of which I support, and some of which I abhor.
However, only fools like Media Matters look at a snapshot of someone and draw sweeping conclusions from them. They favor bigotry, because they are utterly intolerant of anyone with a different opinion, belief, or creed, and they are obstinately intolerant of any political ideas other than their own. Like most bigots, they are blind to their flaws, so when they burn with animosity toward those of differing beliefs, they pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Their bias is so well-known that they can only preach to the choir; others immediately dismiss them as if they came from Mars.
President Obama called Georgetown student Sandra Fluke to “express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks and to thank her for exercising her rights as a citizen to speak out on an issue of public policy.” Of course, Obama likely wouldn't call a conservative student and thank him or her for exercising their right of free speech.
Obama and those who fanatically defend him vilify people who wander off their liberal plantation or never stepped foot in it. They even attacked Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who describes himself as a liberal Democrat. In response, he declared war on Media Matters, saying they have “crossed the line” and use Hitler-like tactics. Professor Dershowitz said he “can't tolerate bigotry on any side of the political spectrum.” He criticized them for using “virulent hate speech” and an odious, “wildly inaccurate” canard:
canard (noun): a fabricated sensational statement or report, especially one set afloat in the media to hoax the public; an absurd, unfounded, false, baseless, or extravagant report, rumor, hoax, or story that is deliberately misleading and usually derogatory; a false report motivated by maliciousness that is intended to deceive people; a fable, fiction, or falsehood; a lie.
A man is known by the company he keeps. Obama cozies up to a bigoted organization that lies and uses “virulent hate speech.”
Dana Loesch wrote that Media Matters “has been an embarrassment with pettiness and hyperbole permeating every post. Their baseless attacks on political enemies they wish to blacklist has earned them the reputation as modern-day book burners. Their mission of correcting "conservative misinformation" has been refuted countless times by numerous outlets.”
Now that I've substantially recovered from my sleep difficulties, I lost my affinity for quantal, negative assessments of others. I'd rather extend a helping hand to an opponent than bash him, because we're all in this together, riding on Earth that is headed in the wrong direction. Fighting can change how the pie is divided, but it won't enlarge the pie. We need a bigger pie, not clever ways for folks to take a bigger slice at the expense of others, so we need my plan for giving more help while creating less burden, along with other ideas I presented in my blog, and others I'll later add. The pie can be enlarged. Obama claims he wants to do that, and during the 2012 campaign he will undoubtedly claim that he knows how to do it, but until he embraces my plans or ones that could surpass them, the disconnect between what he says and does will grate on me.
There—I think I just nailed what it is about Obama that I don't like. He's a crony capitalist in a world that needs a more equitable distribution of wealth. Obama wants to spread the wealth around, alright, but he wasn't honest enough to admit who he'd spread the wealth to. Folks like Peggy Joseph? Think again! Under my plan, Peggy Joseph would be smiling, but so would staunch Republicans. My plan is clearly better.
In fairness to Obama, I must point out that there isn't enough money in the United States to do everything he'd probably like to do. That's why we need my plan. If you have a better one, don't be shy in telling others about it. However, be forewarned: inside-the-box solutions are not enough to give everyone what they want. Only good outside-the-box ideas can save us, but anyone who generates them is bound to be ridiculed by sheeple who react, not think. They want inside-the-box ideas from inside-the-box politicians, but they want outside-the-box results. If they could open their minds and not reflexively reject something new, they would welcome my plan.
- Excerpt from Ilana Mercer's Anti-Federalists prophesied the end of freedom: "President Barack Obama habitually “uses executive orders to circumvent federal legislation.” He exempts his “friends or political cronies” from oppressive laws his subjects must obey."
- You May Not Recognize Yourself in 10 Years
Bottom line: People can change, and usually do.
- Professor Roberto Unger, who taught Barack Obama at Harvard Law School, said the President deserves to lose his job because he has betrayed liberals. Unger said, “President Obama must be defeated in the coming election. … He has spent trillions of dollars to rescue the moneyed interests and left workers and homeowners to their own devices.” In other words, Obama is more of a crony capitalist than a liberal or a socialist.
- Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?
- I don't know how Peggy Joseph is now doing, but she once presented herself as someone eager to receive help from the government. In this article, any reference to Peggy Joseph or people like her (in terms of welcoming government assistance) is metaphorically used in referring to people who want such help, not literally used in referring to Peggy Joseph herself. BTW, I am not opposed to welfare; see Refuting another liberal smear: that I dislike welfare recipients.
- Divider-in-Chief: The Fraud of Hope and Change