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Belmont Club

The Lying King

May 16th, 2013 - 10:05 pm

At a dinner not long ago someone described the wonders of a new product which uploaded your vital signs to the Cloud, a process that was so much more accurate than having to take it yourself and write it down on a piece of paper. It’s a great idea and there are an increasing number of such services which plan to offer that feature such as this, which proclaims “doctors can now establish online CarePods™ to assemble extended care teams, share medical records, collect and analyze real-time clinical information, and coordinate treatment plans with patients, their families and health providers.”

One thing that may give a customer pause, however, are headlines like this: “IRS Official in Charge During Tea Party Targeting Now Runs Health Care Office.”

The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.

Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.

The American economy increasingly runs on information. That also means that it increasingly runs on trust. Peggy Noonan, writing about the IRS scandal, says: “As always it comes down to trust.” She is right, but doesn’t go far enough. The level of trust that Noonan talks about is simply whether the president can be trusted in the ordinary political sense:

Do you trust the president’s answers when he’s pressed on an uncomfortable story? … The president, as usual, acts as if all of this is totally unconnected to him. He’s shocked, it’s unacceptable, he’ll get to the bottom of it. He read about it in the papers, just like you. But he is not unconnected, he is not a bystander. This is his administration. Those are his executive agencies. He runs the IRS and the Justice.

The assertion that Obama knew nothing of his underlings’ actions seems almost an obvious lie. But do lies still matter? Kimberley Strassel, writing in the Wall Street Journal, asks the same question as Noonan but with a different slant. The way Strassel puts it: “What did the president say?” Can we determine the content of the administration’s policy from what the president says, or do we have to decrypt it by breaking into a “second channel” where the real signal is sent?

Was the White House involved in the IRS’s targeting of conservatives? No investigation needed to answer that one. Of course it was.

President Obama and Co. are in full deniability mode, noting that the IRS is an “independent” agency and that they knew nothing about its abuse. The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies.

But that’s not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn’t need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he’d like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.

Mr. Obama now professes shock and outrage that bureaucrats at the IRS did exactly what the president of the United States said was the right and honorable thing to do. “He put a target on our backs, and he’s now going to blame the people who are shooting at us?” asks Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot.

Listen to the “dog whistle,” Strassel seems to say, don’t listen to the fancy, eloquent speeches. That’s just for show. The real goodies are inside the wrapper.

Lee Smith raises the exact same question not in regards to the IRS, but in respect to the president’s nuclear containment policy. If you were a foreign president, what should you believe when the president talks? Smith raises the possibility that the Iran policy was doubletalk all along. Smith cites the case of a think tank which, after years of tirelessly assuring the public that Obama would never let Iran get the bomb, now argues that we should start thinking about what to do when it does:

On Monday, the Center for New American Security published an 84-page report, called “If All Else Fails: The Challenges of Containing a Nuclear-Armed Iran.” The subject matter is particularly noteworthy given the report’s provenance. CNAS is a think tank close to the Obama administration that, among other things, advised the White House early in its first term on Afghanistan policy. Several of its scholars joined the administration, including CNAS founder Michelle Flournoy who served as undersecretary of defense for policy from 2009-2012; and Colin Kahl, formerly the Obama administration’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, who is lead author of this latest CNAS report.

Kahl’s CNAS report asserts that prevention is still the policy. Obama, the paper argues, has “made clear that, on matters of war and peace, ‘I don’t bluff.’ There are good reasons to believe Obama means what he says.”

Sure, Obama believes it, but what if he can’t make his belief a reality? What happens, asks the CNAS paper, if the administration has to move to containment? “This is not because the United States wants to find itself in a situation in which containment becomes necessary,” the report says. “But rather because prevention – up to and including the use of force – could fail, leaving Washington with little choice but to manage and mitigate the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran.”

The Obama administration may be the first since World War Two to attempt a new and innovative policy best described as “trust me to lie to you.” If you were astute, then you wouldn’t believe us. If you were sophisticated you would make the default assumption that the Iran policy was for public consumption, since only rubes and simpletons could have possibly believed that the Obama administration was telling the truth.

Smith wonders how this will work with allies:

If the White House’s containment policy is a consequence of the failures of the American intelligence community and the U.S. armed forces, why would regional partners, as the report recommends, make “commitments not to pursue independent nuclear capabilities” in exchange for protection under a “U.S. nuclear umbrella”? What kind of “U.S. nuclear guarantee” would convince Israel that the administration really intended to keep its word this time around? In short, why would allies entrust their national security to a president whose policy represents an accommodation with failure?

There is no good reason one can think of. The president may not realize the cost of reducing the trust content of his actions. Perhaps they teach that lying has no cost in Chicago, but in reality trust’s absence exacts a very definite price.

The first thing to remember is that trust exists for very good reason, even among gangsters. In ordinary commerce its value is obvious. Many products rely on trust: the security of our communications and data storage; the integrity of accounting; the impartiality of the public institutions. Whether we are using Office 360, email, or Google Drive, a medical storage device that stores our sugar levels and blood pressure numbers or files an income tax return, the presumption is that the information we generate is reasonably private. Once that expectation is destroyed, once we are certain that a political hack whose principal qualification is snooping has been appointed to head Obamacare, then an economic cost is inevitably incurred.

Lying isn’t free.

One of the reasons that the United States has remained the last refuge for money fleeing instability abroad is that those investors trust its institutions. They believed — reasonably until now — that in America the rule of law reigned supreme. They thought — until the administration cast the question into serious doubt — that America was not the banana republic that the possessors of those fortunes sought to flee. That’s why the money comes to America and not, let us say, to the Congo.

Similarly, as Lee Smith points out, the word of an American president was trusted enough in the past to make the actual use of arms unnecessary. All that was necessary was for the United States to send a signal and that message would have the effect of armies.

But what happens when an administration makes dishonesty and untrustworthiness a feature? What occurs when the president conditions us to subliminally think — perhaps in spite of ourselves — that in God we Trust but of Obama we can expect nothing but lies? What then?

Well, we’re about to find out.

Or perhaps, more accurately, the administration is about to find out. To a large extent the multiple crises engulfing the Obama administration are economic and informational — it’s a rebellion against the cost of lying. The sheer mendacity of key institutions has jacked up the risk premium on everything, and people instinctively know this.

A friend asked whether “the IRS scandal makes it necessary to consider the call not to pay taxes, or not to file returns, or participate in the all-cash economy. People are thinking these things.” Of course they would be thinking of those things. It would be unnatural if they didn’t.

If you destroy trust in the institutions, then people do business outside the institutions.

The president has made it hard to do business — even for the Left. Nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in the administration’s decision to spy on the Associated Press. That essentially cheapened the meaning of “political friend.” For if the administration could do that to its water-carriers, then what was the point of being his friend? Liberals, like anyone else, feel the pain of being stabbed in the back. It has the same effect as Obama’s assurance to allies than Iran will never get the bomb. Right, sure. Of course.

The emotional impact of Benghazi was probably this: if he could do this to Stevens and to SEALs, then he could do it to anybody.

A lying president debases his own words and undermines his own ability to hold a coalition together. Nobody completely trusts reassurances from a double-crosser. Only a fool would accept a kiss from Judas. The day comes when not even the liberals can fail to notice.

A nation as large as the United States works only if trust in its institutions is maintained. Destroy that and it’s pay as you go and as-is-where-is. Once everything comes down to the caprice of one man, to basing contracts on the secret will of cabals, then it’s all over. It’s bad for business — whatever business you happen to be in.


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Today's IRS hearing was a real doozy. IRS man Steven Miller achieved new vistas in ridiculous corporate/bureaucracy-speak: "I can say generally, we provided horrible customer service here. I will admit that. We did horrible customer service." Are you kidding me? Does this mean that having received horrible customer service that we can take our "business" elsewhere? No, the IRS does not do "customer service" in any sense of the phrase. The IRS are thugs who lay down the law capriciously as the mood strikes them, based on who "the customer" aka "mark" is. As wws adroitly observed, that statement is not speculative. It has moved from the realm of suspicion and into the realm of certain knowledge.

Mr. Miller continued to strangely argue that everything that happened at the IRS was strictly on the up-and-up. Yes, the only problems were one of execution, as all the employees were merely "seeking to find greater efficiencies." He'd have us believe they're a bunch of earnest, budding Henry Fords, but no they are thugs. If they weren't, he'd be able speak one of their names, but he can't. There's no honor among thugs, and also no naming of names. Strangely, for a man who is acting commissioner of an agency, he can't really say who was doing what or shed any light on what was going on at all. Except in the case of one Sarah Hall Ingram, whom he praised as an extraordinary public "servant". She's the thug who is now heading up the ObamaCare processing, but formerly headed the tax exempt processing during the time when they were persecuting the Tea Party, Christian groups, Jewish groups, and pro-life groups exclusively while simultaneously rubber stamping all progressive groups and also loading them up with oppo research on their way out the door. Well, maybe I have to take what I said about customer service back. Maybe some truly are IRS "customers". But most are simply marks.

Incredibly, it came out today that the IRS was even demanding to know the content of applicants' prayers to God. They surprised me on that one. They were right when they said, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" Also, facts trickled out that these problems weren't isolated to the IRS. Critics of the administration often faced multi-pronged attacks from a group of federal agencies including the IRS, the Department of Labor and OHSA. That means somehow, for the first time perhaps, different government agencies WERE sharing information and connecting the dots. They can't ever seem to do this when looking for terrorists but they sure as hell can when it comes to persecuting conservatives. That shows you their sense of priority and of urgency, and it speaks volumes.

But the strangest outcome of today's news has got to be the weird way in which the IRS let the cat out of the bag. In Lerner's speech when she broke this news, she did so via a planted question from a pretend conferencee. Why? Wherefore such unnecessary underhandedness? It reminds me of the scorpion on the back of the frog who stings it when crossing the stream. "It's in my nature", kinda thing. They don't come out with things honestly and straightforwardly. That's what honest and straightforward people do. Thugs don't.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Once I know this government is lying to me regularly (as I know now, and recall that Knowing is a much greater level of certainty than Suspecting, or even Believing), then that Knowledge means that I no longer retain any shred of moral obligation to tell the truth to them, on any matter.

I think everyone knows what that means.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Were I in charge of the GOP (heh), here's how I would play things.

First off, we all know that Buraq is knee-deep in this muck, but I wouldn't waste energy going directly after him. I'd try to tamp down the talk of impeachment. We know that between the Senate and the enemedia, that Teleprompter Jesus wouldn't be removed, and all we'd do is make him a martyr.

Attacking one of his power centers would be much more fruitful. First off, find out the "low level staffers" at the first level and prosecute the everlovin' crap out of them. But if you can get them to roll on their superiors, so much better. Keep working your way up the food chain. You won't get to the top, but you could put a bit of fear into the "civil" service to keep them a bit more in line in the future. (How is a special prosecutor appointed? Is that through DOJ only?)

Everyone hates the IRS (except for the Democratic Inner Party members). Work on repealing the 16th Amendment, and replace it with a flat tax (or maybe the "Fair Tax"). Try to literally destroy the IRS via legislation/Amendment, then salt the f-ing ground where they stood. Admittedly, that's a huge long shot, but the attempt would generate a huge amount of public goodwill regardless.

I see that the Tea Parties are going to protest the IRS on Monday(?), which is good, but it needs to go further. Non-violent sit-ins and other prominent disruptions must occur. Harness people's fury over this right now, before it inevitably fades away.

I'm sure that someone with a better mind can think of other effective countermeasures, but that would be a good start.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (126)
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As I've said before, Washington has become a criminal enterprise. The only question remaining is whether or not We the People prosecute those criminals under RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act].
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The Obama administration may be the first since World War Two to attempt a new and innovative policy best described as “trust me to lie to you.” If you were astute, then you wouldn’t believe us. If you were sophisticated you would make the default assumption that the Iran policy was for public consumption, since only rubes and simpletons could have possibly believed that the Obama administration was telling the truth."

This attitude is a fundamental building block of the "progressive" philosophy. It was perfectly illustrated during the 2008 campaign when the McCain team hired a magazine's hipster photographer to snap an important studio portrait of McCain. The final published result was a picture that had creepy sinister lighting and weird angles and ended up making McCain look like a B-movie monster. When asked if she had created the photo this way intentionally, the photographer said "Of course! I want Obama to win so I made McCain look bad." When asked if she felt guilty about her actions, she replied, significantly, "No -- why should I? It's the McCain campaign's fault for not doing a background check on me ahead of time. They should have known that as a liberal activist I would stab them in the back and make McCain look as bad as possible. Therefore it's THEIR fault, not mine!"

Although this attitude seems egregious and bizarre to us, to anyone with a amoral philosophy, it's a perfectly rational way of engaging with the world.

Interestingly, criminals frequently exhibit the same response: "It's YOUR fault that you were robbed (by me); if you hadn't left your windows unlocked, this wouldn't have happened! There are always malevolent predators (like me) lurking around; they are just an accepted part of the environment. The blame lies with those who ignore the dangers (of people like me)."

The fact that the President of the United States think likes this is terrifying indeed.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anyone who thinks that uploading his vital signs onto a thing called "The Cloud" so his doctor can build a plan for the care and maintenance of his body on something called a 'CarePod'" deserves every bit of the brutal greaseless f**king he gets.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
What was Obama's daddies biggest regret when little barry was born?

He forgot to flush
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
It ultimately comes down to "Moonshiners v. Revenooers".
We're all Moonshiners now.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does Sarah Hall Ingram have SS protection?
She just might need it.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Man; I called this one. Night Obama won when people asked me what I thought would happen I said a breakdown in the US's econ stability due to trust. I knew this guy's type... community organizer types.. people who go to Rev Wright type 'churches'.. plus he demonstrated the total lack of regard for the truth in his campaign with things like his talk about things like the WWII war crimes trials. I knew he'd break rules, cut corners, et cetera... he feels entitled to since the system and the other side are 'bad' (so he gets to use BAM)... and it would particularly hurt in the trust required for a modern economy.


Oh yeah; since then I've moved 75% of my investment money to things outside the US...
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
The "trust me, I'm lying" gambit was how Obama maintained support from gays while still proclaiming to believe in marriage between a man and a woman. Gays knew he was lying. What's different with this?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Plausible deniability" is a lie devised by political advisers. If you're at the top of the chain of command, you're responsible. Period.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not-knowing is what lawyers think is solid defense. However, if you are a politician, or an executive, not-knowing is career suicide.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I've noted on this blog before, with the re-election of Obama and the Democrats control of the Senate, there is little to stop the Leftist Project. Certainly after Justice Roberts rolled over on Obamacare, there is no longer any check and balance in the system.

Somehow, Harry Reid has maintained a surprising solidarity within the Senate Democrats. So long as they vote as a block, Obama has free rein.

Obama has already shown a willingness to ignore court decisions they dislike, as in the oil lease case in the Gulf.

Our only hope is that a few senators feel enough heat to oppose Obama's worst excesses.

The big challenge will be the new immigration bill. It has been crafted so that some House Republicans will support it. The playing field has been prepared so that many Republicans, like Rubio, see it as a path to Hispanic votes. Passage will be the ruination of this great country.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
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