When honesty becomes optional
By Frank Salvato
Back in February of 2012 – in what seems like a political eternity ago, I dared to broach the subject of honesty in American politics. Being equally disgruntled with the establishment Republicans, as was I (and still am) with the entirety of the Left side of the aisle, I provided instance after instance about how disgusted I was (am) with our political class' abdication of ethics in their embrace of "the narrative," and how I viewed the various special interest groups and media – from both sides of the aisle – pathetic in their abdication of a quest for truth. With recent events surrounding a plethora of issues, but specifically the "sequester," I feel the need to address the issue again.
When I crafted my analysis back in 2012, I wrote:
While the piece garnered wide publication, the general response to the issue posed was "Oh, well, that's politics." And with that we progressed into the disingenuous, slash-and-burn, mudslinging, win-at-all-cost Republican Primary and then a Presidential Election where the truth – especially from the Obama Campaign – was seldom displayed, if at all. Yet a majority of the voters – but by no means a majority of Americans – chose to abdicate their constitutional responsibility to protect the US Constitution from the nefarious; voting to elevate the dishonest and the disingenuous to public office. So, why are we surprised that the Obama Administration would blatantly lie to the American people on critical issues facing our nation? Why should we be shocked that they believe the American people have given them the "green light" to say and do anything regardless of whether it is honest or legal?
Before we get to the flagrant dishonesty that was the White House push to demonize – for strictly political reasons – Republicans for the total of the sequester, let's take a look at just one example of the Obama Administration's dishonesty from a year ago:
Today, Mr. Lew is the US Treasury Secretary. How do you really feel about that? To his credit, US Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), tried to keep a liar from this office of responsibility but for some reason some Republicans believe the President should be able to have the cabinet of his choosing. By that standard, if Mr. Obama would have wanted Bill Ayers as Secretary of Education – a man complicit in the bombing of the US Capitol Building – they would have allowed it. Stunning, I know. I was always under the impression that the idea of "advice and consent" had some literal meaning, but...
Back to the sequester...
For the last month, at least, the Obama Administration, all of its cabinet secretaries, and all of its special interest advocates, have been telling the American people, via every medium available, that absolute catastrophe would take place should the sequester be allowed to occur. In one instance, Mr. Obama back-dropped himself with Prince George, Maryland, firefighters to list those who would, "lose their jobs" and the services that would be diminished should the "unspeakable" happen. The Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, said teachers would lose their jobs. And DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said thousands of border patrol agents would be furloughed or otherwise re-assigned.
There's a lot wrong with those three assertions, these three being just three of many...
First, Mr. Obama was engaging in what is called the "firemen first" tactic, where an opportunistic politician plays on the emotions of the public about budgetary matters to force his way forward, usually to raise taxes. They trot out teachers, policemen and firemen and conjure up visions of schools without teachers, lawless street and burning buildings. All of this is absolute and complete nonsense. The overwhelming majority of taxpayer dollars that go to fund each of these services are local, then county, then state and then federal, in dramatically diminishing order. While the federal government offers grants for training, all three of these sectors can survive without federal funding.
With regard to Secretary Duncan, The Washington Post reported:
Then we have Secretary Janet Napolitano, who said Monday that the cuts would be "disruptive and destructive" to national security. She instructed Immigration Customs & Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen to issue the statement:
When queried about this mass release, which took place in Texas, Louisiana and Florida, the White House responded that they hadn't any involvement with that decision and weren't notified before the decision was made...if you even want to entertain believing that the most controlling administration is US history didn't know such an unprecedented move was under way.
Aside from all of the grotesque fear-mongering, when called on the carpet by famed Watergate journalist Bob Woodward about the Obama Administration being the author of the sequester, a "very senior" administration official threatened Mr. Woodward; threatened a reporter about exposing the truth.
As they say in Chicago, "It takes big rocks" to go after one of the guys who brought down a sitting President in Richard Nixon. But then, it appears, the Obama Administration isn't afraid of anything, which, in politics, is very dangerous.
The overarching truths of the entire sequester is that because of how the federal government budgets – baseline budgeting – all of these "devastating" cuts are cuts to future spending. Additionally, all of these "catastrophic" cuts amount to a little over two percent of the federal budget...two percent!
Each and every politician – the honest and the disingenuous, alike – campaign talking about how much wasteful spending there is in Washington and how the federal government is a very poor steward of the taxpayers' dollars. Now, the Obama Administration is telling us the government will collapse, the Navy's ships will sink and the world will stop turning if the sequester is allowed to proceed.
The sequester amounts to a little over two percent of the federal budget. Think about it.
Oh, and as of this writing, Senate Republicans want to give the President discretional latitude in how to make those cuts. The Obama White House was issued a threat to veto that move. Interesting that Mr. Obama wouldn't want the authority to make sure "teachers, policemen and firemen" aren't furloughed; the citizenry put at risk.
Are you tired of being lied to yet?
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director for BasicsProject.org a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative focusing on Constitutional Literacy and the threats of Islamic jihadism and Progressive neo-Marxism. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network and has been a featured guest on al Jazeera's Listening Post, Radio Belgrade One, ITN Production's Truthloader Program in the UK and on Russia Today. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and was featured in the documentary, "Ezekiel and the MidEast ‘Piece' Process: Israel's Neighbor States." He is the author of the series Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam, an educational pamphlet series. Mr. Salvato is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show, nationally syndicated by the Phoenix Broadcasting and ABC Starguide Satellite Networks, catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. He is also heard weekly on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the IRN-USA Radio Network. Mr. Salvato's opinion and analysis have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, Accuracy in Media, Human Events, and are syndicated nationally. He is a featured political writer for EducationNews.org, BigGovernment.comand Examiner.com and is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.