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:: Saturday, February 14, 2009 ::

Who “Owns” the Economy, “Owns” You 

:: Posted by Edward Cline at 2:39 PM

Several of President Barack Obama’s supporters, inside government and outside of it, are suffering from a severe, contagious bout of foot-in-mouth disease. The one who contracted it and passed it on was Chuck Todd, NBC’s White House correspondent.

“On MSNBC just now, Chuck Todd frames the ‘blame Obama’ narrative while interviewing Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee: ‘You guys (Team Obama) own the economy at 12 o’clock eastern time today, correct? When Senator Obama announces his Treasury Secretary, announces the Larry Summers position. It is now Barack Obama’s responsibility on the economy, is that not correct?’”


Goolsbee’s answer is irrelevant. Todd repeated, and George Stephanopoulos, ABC’s White House reporter, modified the “ownership” metaphor to “He owns the economy.” Stephanopoulos has repeated it more often than has Todd or any other reporter. When the “stimulus” bill has been passed and is signed by Obama, it won’t be entirely true that he will “own” the economy. He will share that possession with Congress and with every federal bureaucrat and employee. The assertion will undergo a transmutation from metaphor to “fact.”

Stephanopoulos has been caught red-handed acting as Obama’s shill to sell the plan to the American public, having had numerous personal phone discussions with Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s White House chief-of-staff, on what and what not to report. ABC has denied the allegation, claiming that Stephanopoulos’s sub rosa calls to and from Emmanuel were in the way of legitimate contacts. Charles Gibson, Dianne Sawyer and other ABC anchors are complicit in the fraudulent reporting, usually introducing Stephanopoulos to present his rhapsodic “reporting and analysis” as though he had fresh intelligence and insight to offer on what is really going on in the White House, when in fact it is nothing but disingenuous rationalizations about Obama’s difficulties.

Further, Stephanopoulos has compounded his fraudulent representations on his own website by handing Obama a “Report Card on Obama’s First Presidential News Conference” (February 10) whose wholesale theatrics and rigging were mentioned in “Rolling Out the Barrels” (February 11). One glaring tip-off of its phoniness was the teleprompter used by Obama. If the questions were authentic and not prescreened, and if Obama’s replies to them were genuinely spontaneous and extemporaneous, why would he need a teleprompter, unless it was flashing answers to prescreened questions?

First, he awards Obama an “A” for selling the stimulus package. Well, he might have sold it to the White House press corps, gagged as they were during that conference except for those privileged to ask a question. But both Obama and Stephanopoulos must know that most members of Congress have been swamped -- nay, deluged -- with protests by Americans against the package or its contents, so the notion that Obama has successfully “sold” the public on the virtues and necessity of the package is pure, unmitigated fantasy. Stephanopoulos, with his special, direct line to the White House and thence to Congress, surely must have this startling and unwelcome information but has simply brushed it off as unimportant.

Then he gives Obama a “B” for “reaching out” to the Republicans to enlist their bipartisan support for the stimulus package. Doubtless Obama, as well as George the Insider, are upset with the Republicans because most of them have, to date, obstructed passage of the package because of their objections to many of its contents. These objections were mostly arbitrary, non-objective, and rooted in partisan obstinacy -- there is too much in this pet project or too little in that specific earmark, or the earmark or set-aside is divorced from any honest idea of an economic stimulus -- but we should be thankful there were objections. Obama on February 6 called the delay “inexcusable and irresponsible.” What Stephanopoulos meant by his “B” is that he thought Obama wasn’t deceptive enough to win over the Republicans, so they could share credit for the stimulus package’s purportedly unknown consequences.

Stephanopoulos’s “report card” on Obama’s first presidential press conference is as bogus as was the conference itself. By contrast, conservative columnist Larry Elder, on February 12, in his column, “Obama in Prime Time: 7 Questions Left on Cutting Room Floor,“ helped to confirm the rigging of the press conference, and followed up with seven questions he would like to have seen posed. Obama would not have been able to answer those questions, which contrasted facts with Obama‘s fictive appraisal of the crisis. His mind would have shut down in a total blank-out, or he would have refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the questions by calling them irrelevant or hostile or instances of “fear-mongering” or of “ideological nit-picking.” The reporter or journalist asking any of those questions would have been barred from future press conferences. Obama and Joe Biden, during the campaign, blacklisted reporters who asked them “unfriendly” questions.

“He owns the economy.” A very poor choice of words. Hitler “owned” the German economy. Dictator Hugo Chavez “owns” the Venezuelan economy. The Castro brothers “own” the Cuban economy. Vladimir Putin “owns” the Russian economy. One would think that it would occur to Stephanopoulos that this is hardly a flattering thing to attribute to a man he earnestly wishes to be perceived as a “man of the people,” that “owning” an economy is the sign of a dictator.

Of course, “owning” a nation’s economy is simply a crude metaphor for commanding it. No one can “own” an economy. A primitive society whose economy is based on the barter of beads or stones is governed by the same laws of private trade or government intervention or expropriation as an advanced society’s economy whose medium of exchange based on gold, silver, copper or fiat paper. The economy is autonomous and will serve out its own justice. As King Canute of legend could not command the tides to cease, dictators cannot command economies to defy reality and fulfill their wishes, not even when they employ brute force and not stealthy fraud. Reality will always out. A major “drag” on Nazi Germany’s economy, for example, was the cost of exterminating six million Jews together with using slave labor in its war industries, aside from the cost of conquering countries it intended to loot.

Nevertheless, Stephanopoulos and his ilk in and out of government want Obama to command the economy, that is, to tell Americans to behave in ways that will accomplish their fascist ends, to compel them to make decisions and take courses of action they would not otherwise choose to take. By implication, a tyrant who claims to “own” an economy, “owns” you, the private citizen. The contempt which Obama and Congress exhibited for the American people is unbounded but disguised in the alb and cassock of “care” and “concern.”

Conservative writer Michelle Malkin on February 13, in her article “The ‘Tiny’ Trillion-Dollar Turbaconducken You Don’t Care About,” reports an instance of that contempt in Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer’s derogatory remarks in the Senate on February 10 about Americans who opposed the stimulus package. “The American people really don’t care,” he complained, about those “little tiny, yes, porky amendments,” and sneered at conservative and other unconvinced and un-corrupted political observers, calling them “chattering classes.”

And, to pour salt into the wound, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reported Malkin, released a “fact sheet” on the 12th about the stimulus package, in which she claimed there were “no earmarks or pet projects.” Obama, Schumer, Pelosi, Harry Reid and the rest of our “social managers” in government are confident they can get away with such brazen behavior because the news media are largely on their side. Neither incident was reported by any of Stephanopoulos‘s colleagues, except perhaps on talk radio, the bane of and threat to the Democrats.

Arguably the most frightening aspects of the stimulus package not mentioned once by the news media are the socialized medicine provisions buried in the 1,100-page stimulus bill, as reported in Bloomberg News by Betsy McCaughey on February 9. Scattered throughout the package are appropriations for the establishment of controls on physicians, hospitals and patients. They are the natural end of Medicare and all the other federal, semi-socialist medical programs. In short, if you are elderly and require serious medical treatment, a Federal Council will decide whether or not that treatment is “cost effective” and a potential drain on Medicare resources. If some faceless bureaucrat decides it is not “cost effective,” you will be sentenced to endure the malady, or to “die quietly.”

Does this policy differ in any fundamental from, say, the Nazi policy of “thinning out the herd” by denying the elderly and disabled Germans medical treatment, or by cleaning out sanitariums of the mentally ill for “cost effectiveness” reasons? No.

I have dwelt on George Stephanopoulos here simply because he is the most obvious and noisome symptom of the betrayal of the news media. I do not know where he learned the basic principles of journalism, but it certainly could not have been at the Columbia School of Journalism, on whose gateway is inscribed Joseph Pulitzer’s warning:

"A cynical, mercenary, demagogic, corrupt press will produce in time a people as base as itself.”


Too many Americans have welcomed Obama and his fascist agenda, have cheered on a compliant Congress, and look forward to hearing the likes of Stephanopoulos hand in his report cards on the Obama administration. These Americans do not mind being “owned,” commanded, and given their marching orders. They are our carnivorous adversaries, as well.

I can only quote Francisco d’Anconia from Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged:

“Brother, you asked for it!”

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