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Obama: Change, Can You Believe It?
The Bulletin ^ | January 26, 2009 | Herb Denenberg

Posted on 01/26/2009 9:23:41 AM PST by jazusamo

President Obama ought to change his slogan from “Change you can believe in,” to “Change, can you believe it?” For many are witnessing the changes brought about in the first few days of the Obama administration and exclaiming in pain, “Can you believe it?” His other slogan, “Change we need,” ought to be “Change we don’t need, don’t want and can’t afford.”

For starters, I don’t believe in all the bull roar about giving him a chance and hoping for his success and the new mood of hope and change. The guy’s president, and we ought to start calling the shots as we see them. He’s had enough praise and deification. It is time to start analyzing his decisions and his policies. Before he was elected, I said he was an inexperienced, unvetted, untested phony, fraud, hypocrite and liar. And now I’ve seen nothing to change my mind and a lot to confirm my previous judgment. I don’t buy this about wishing for his success, as if that it some kind of religious duty. I wish for the failure of his programs, as they are wrong. If he succeeds he will wreck the health care system, the economy and our national defense system. I wish he started adopting programs that make sense and will work. And in that I wish him success. But other than that, I wish him well. And incidentally, I’m not quite ready to concede he is the Messiah and unlike Chris Matthews, now the poster boy for journalistic idiocy, I haven’t had any thrills running up and down my leg from Obamania.

He’s only been president for a few days and he’s set a pattern that unfortunately lives up to the worst that many, including myself, have predicted.

How about a certified tax cheat to run the IRS and the treasury department? Tim Geithner is not only a tax cheat, but he claims he’s not smart enough to pay his taxes, even when he was told to do so, and even when he was caught red-handed in an audit. He blames his problems on Turbo Tax. Give me a break. If he’s not smart enough to get his taxes right, I don’t think he’s smart enough for Treasury and the IRS.

He finally paid his taxes when he was being vetted for his appointment as Secretary of the Treasury. He’s supposed to be so smart and so uniquely qualified to handle the financial crisis that we’re supposed to overlook his cheating propensities. High on his resume is his important work on the initial bailout of the banks, which appears to be20totally screwed up. No one even knows where the money is but that qualifies him for his new job.

If that’s not enough, he was on duty as head of the Federal Reserve in New York, when the Citi Group and all the rest were doing the crazy things that practically drove them to bankruptcy. Wow, what a resume, and a tax cheat, too. He’s so brilliant that he’s the first indispensable man in our history.

As I said, change, can you believe it?

And who is going to be our chief law enforcement officer. Eric Holder, a man who pardoned a bunch of terrorists, some of whom didn’t even ask for a pardon. And he’s also a man who pardoned a fugitive who was not only cheating on his taxes but also trading with our enemies. And there’s all kinds of other questionable aspects of the pardon — not being handled in the usual ways through the usual channels, and involving a man whose wife was a huge donor to President Bill Clinton, who granted the pardon as he was leaving office. On top of that, there’s evidence suggesting he was recommending pardons to curry favor with a lawyer who happened to be a friend of Al Gore. That was done to enhance his chances of an appointment in the hoped-for Gore administration. Mr. Holder admits he made a mistake with the fugitive pardon, but said he’s learned from the mistake, but will be a better attorney general for it. A bank robber may learn from his mistakes … after he gets caught, but that doesn’t mean you want to appoint him as sheriff.

As I said, change, can you believe it?

Then we come to our new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Her husband is out shoveling in money from foreign interests, but he’s promised transparency, disclosure, and all those good things to make the conflict of interest acceptable. But on the day after Hillary assumes her formal duties at State, the Washington Times (Jan. 23, 2009) reports, “Former President Bill Clinton’s foundation, despite identifying more than 200,000 of its donors in recent weeks, will not say who paid it windfall prices for stock in a struggling internet firm with links to the Chinese Government.” So much for disclosure and transparency. Anyone with experience soon learns that you can’t make a contract with someone who isn’t honest. And many wise men have already predicted that the State Department/Bill-Clinton-Foundation combination is a prescription for trouble, scandal, and conflict of interest. No one can control Bill Clinton, and certainly Hillary can’t either — as history abundantly proves.

As I said, change, can you believe it?

And what’s the first thing the new president did? He started surrendering in the war on terror. He issued presidential orders closing Guantanamo, outlawing aggressive interrogation, closing other CIA prisons, and initiating the soft-on-terror policies that were predicted. We know aggressive interrogation produced life-saving intelligence. And we now know this is forbidden. Why? The answer is the Obama mentality is more interested in appeasing and pleasing European and world public opinion than in saving American lives. The only question is how many American lives will be lost due to the retreat from the Bush policies that have kept us safe since 9/11/01.

Dick Morris asks, “Has he [Obama] forgotten that we only found the name of the operative who was tasked with destroying the [Brooklyn] bridge because we subjected Kahlid Mohammed, the mastermind of 9-11, to ‘rough’ interrogation techniques?” But the loony left, including Mr. Obama, classifies any tough questioning as “torture.” They don’t, however, refer to the slaughter of babies and mothers as “torture.”

They have unlimited compassion for suspected terrorists but none for the Americans who will die because of their policies.

There will be no aggressive interrogation. The Army Field Manual will control interrogation, which forbids making the questioned person uncomfortable and gives terrorists more comfort and protection than someone arrested in the U.S. We are leaning over backwards now to protect those who want to blow us up and to endanger our own citizens.

Incidentally, do we really want to educate terrorists on our interrogation methods, to make it easy for them to train to counteract our interrogation techniques?

And the arguments in favor of our national suicide are so weak they are pathetic. One military expert at the signing o f the presidential order said our troops would be safer now. That’s on the theory that the people who decapitate Americans, blow up their own children, celebrate the slaughter of women and children and have no civilized behavior in their history will suddenly become good boys because we no longer do aggressive interrogation. The Obama team has put forward a ridiculous position backed by ridiculous arguments … but almost certain to cost American lives. This is really a strain of its appeasement philosophy, which also calls for talking to tyrants who preach terror and genocide.

As I said, change, can you believe it?

There’s more on the surrender in the war on terror. President Obama’s spokesman was asked if the new administration is abandoning the description of the “war on terror.” He did not answer and referred the reporter to the inauguration speech, which also doesn’t answer the question. Apparently, the war on terror is too tough a phrase, and perhaps the new administration will go back to the law enforcement approach to terror. If it’s not a war, you can justify giving the terrorists all kinds of rights. In an Obama administration, those on the front lines of the war will be reading Miranda rights to those about to be captured. But this has been part of a slow retreat to appease our enemies. There are now U.S. government agencies, which can’t use the term jihadist. Maybe war on terror is next. Yes, as Robert Spencer points out in his classic book, Stealth Jihad, a stealth jihad is in progress, and it is being facilitated by Obama decisions here and now.

Yes, change, but can you believe it?

There’s a suggestion not only of bad policy but also incompetence in the first presidential orders. As President Obama was signing them, he had to ask his legal counsel whether there were other provisions concerning what to do with the detainees who will be freed when Guantanamo is closed. The answer was there’s a study group to figure out what to do. You’d think he would know that before he is issuing presidential orders. But when you elect an unvetted, untried, inexperienced man to be president, you should not expect such things as competence and knowing what you’re doing. And another thing, relating to both policy and competence. Why didn’t they figure out what to do with the prisoners before ordering the prison closed? I’ll tell you why. It is apparent that Obama likes to make public pronouncements, sound oratorical flourishes, and participate in the pomp and circumstance of office. But he’s apparently not very interested in doing the job of president and knowing what he’s doing before signing documents.

He just wanted the effect of doing something, signing something, making the left wing of his party happy, etc. He hasn’t even had time to digest all the intelligence on this matter and get all the expert opinions he ought to hear. No, he wants to play president right now.

Well, you asked for it — change, but can you believe it?

Even now President Obama doesn’t seem to be able to cure himself from his propensity to pal around with terrorists such as Bill Ayres and anti-American bigots such as Rev. Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright. One of the people offering a prayer at the National Cathedral is Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America (INSA). That organization is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas funding case, and has ties to Hamas and other terrorist organization. It is one of the terrorist-connected and supporting organization identified by Steven Emerson in his pioneering work on terrorism titled American Jihad: the Terrorists Living Among Us.

Then there’s all that denunciation of lobbyists. There’s a new regulation relating to lobbyists. And President Obama has said there will be no lobbyists in his new administration. However, he has just appointed a lobbyist from Raytheon, a defense contractor, to a top spot in the Department of Defense. When he came to the White House Press Room, he was asked why a few days into the new administration, his lobbying rules are already being violated. He refused to answer, and said he was only there to say hello. There was obvious irritation in Mr. Obama’s voice, according to published reports. The Messiah doesn’t like unfriendly questions. He made his aversion to unfriendly questions clear during the campaign and that still is the order of the day. But you’d think he’d adhere to his pronouncements, his regulations, and his campaign promises at least during the first few days of the administration.

Again we have it — change, but can you believe it?

In his inauguration speech, he talked about reaching across the aisle, bipartisanship and all that jazz he’s been talking about in terms of the new politics. But when he talked about outgoing President Bush, he didn’t have the courtesy, the decency, or the bipartisanship to mention his major achievement — keeping America safe since 9-11. This is especially regrettable as President Bush went out of his way to ease the transition, and helped generate one of the best presidential hand-offs in history. But President Obama only talks about bipartisanship; he never practiced it in his previous career and as this example indicates, he is not practicing it now. He should have also credited Mr. Bush for the U.S. help extended to Africa for AIDS and malaria control. Instead, Mr. Obama commented that this kind of international humanitarian work will be newly initiated by his administration.

So we have this claimed change, but can you believe it?

Then there’s President Obama’s promise to reach out to the Muslims and he tried to do that in his inauguration speech. But it was just the politically correct clichés and not any real attempt at outreach and communication. In that speech, Obama compared the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Koran.

Robert Spencer’s Web site, Jihad Watch, puts that comparison into perspective. The site reports:

“Mr. President, but are you really sure, aside from political calculations, that those ideals are as fully present in the Qur’an [Koran] as they are in the Ten Commandments handed down on Mt. Sinai and the Sermon on the Mount?

“Since you mentioned these texts, some parallel quotes are in order. I will limit myself to one set only, because it makes my point.

‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you …” Matthew 5:44

‘Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.’ Qur’an, Sura 48-29.

“Mr. President, do those texts teach the same ideals of justice?

“Out of context, you say? All right here is an open invitation to anyone who may be reading this: don’t just quote me Qur’an verses about Allah’s compassion and mercy. I know they’re there. What I ask you to do is establish definitively that they apply to unbelievers, and have been understood as such to mainstream Islamic thought throughout the ages. Any takers.”

There’s a related piece of the politically correct but the culturally and historically incorrect in Obama’s Muslim reference in the inauguration speech. He said: The United States is a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers.”

Again, Hugh Fitzgerald on Jihad Watch takes Mr. Obama to task for this change of phrasing, linking Christians and Muslims, and Jews and Hindus. Fitzgerald says the traditional formulation pairs Christians and Jews (not Muslims), for several reasons. The Christians and Jews are linked in the Judeo-Christian values on which this nation is based. In addition, there are more Jews in the U.S. than Muslims.

But then Mr. Fitzgerald makes another point on the formulation: “Muslims have been given, after Christians, a pride of place that neither their numbers, nor their beliefs entitles them to. (For their beliefs, after all, include the hostility toward all non-Muslims — Christians, and Jews, and Hindus and non-believers — that is central, not tangential to Islam.) Perhaps Mr. Obama thought he should do this as rhetorical reaching out to Muslims. We’ve seen how much all the reaching out has gotten us — the fabulous sums expended, the overlooking or minimizing of finding of preposterous ways to explain away the hideous attitudes and teachings discovered in khutbas, in sermons, in Muslim Web sites, in the broadcasts on Muslim television. Obama might have said, ‘The United States is a nation of many faiths — Christians and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, Muslims and Mandeans (the latter being not only an example of a tiny group, one that happens to be persecuted by Muslims with even more ferocity than are Buddhists, Hindus Jews, and Christians under Muslim rule) and many other faiths — and of non- believers too.’”

And Mr. Fitzgerald thinks Mr. Obama should have then added a passage about what is expected of everyone and every faith despite the diversity of America:

“But whatever their faith, those who live in this country naturally have a duty to offer their unswerving and undiluted loyalty to the political and legal principles of this country, enshrined in the Constitution. No one should seek to replace the Constitution, and the liberties it protects with an alternative, narrowly sectarian version, prompted by any faith, or unfaith.”

He concludes with a call to protect our basic values and culture and not surrender them to those who would have us transformed into a Muslim nation:

“And what a fate we must avoid and take issue with the rhetorical seepage that is permitting Muslims to claim, to be allowed to claim, some kind of historic or cultural or other connection to this land, when everything that makes America America, or the West the West, is in direct opposition to, and is permanently threatened by texts, the tenets, and the attitudes of Islam.”

Mr. Obama and his record suggests he is moving in the kind of politically correct views on our values and culture that could be fatal to them.

Yes, this, too, is change, but can you believe it? And remember those who said, “Change may be needed, but you better find out what kind of change Mr. Obama has in mind.” Now we are finding out, and perhaps finding out too late. But you can still get the mess through to Mr. Obama and other elected officials that you don’t like the change that is now being brought about.

Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at

TOPICS: Editorial; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bho2009; democrats; denenberg; obama; wot
The Bulletin is a small but growing Conservative newspaper in Philadelphia and has other good articles, try checking it out at link.
1 posted on 01/26/2009 9:23:41 AM PST by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

a voice we need; thanks so much for posting it.

2 posted on 01/26/2009 9:27:11 AM PST by taxlady
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To: jazusamo

” Before he was elected, I said he was an inexperienced, unvetted, untested phony, fraud, hypocrite and liar.”

He should get off the fence about Barry...

3 posted on 01/26/2009 9:27:26 AM PST by jessduntno (Barack - Kenyan for "High Wind, Big Thunder, No Rain")
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To: jazusamo

I’ve e-mailed him before.


Herb Denenberg

is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin.

You can reach him at


4 posted on 01/26/2009 9:27:40 AM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: jazusamo
I was born in Philadelphia till we got near the age of going to Northeast High School where there were RACE RIOTS. At Junior High time we moved to the “burbs”.

I clearly remember the Philadelphia Bulletin. It's hard to imagine that there are any conservatives in Phila.. Encourage this guy!

5 posted on 01/26/2009 9:29:39 AM PST by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: jessduntno

LOL! He doesn’t hold back.

6 posted on 01/26/2009 9:31:53 AM PST by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

If the author resides in Philly he better get a bodyguard.

Probably should get his taxes in order too.

7 posted on 01/26/2009 9:35:43 AM PST by subterfuge (BUILD MORE NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS NOW!!!)
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To: nmh

Thanks, nmh. Good advice.

I'm not at all familiar with Philly but there must be some conservatives there, maybe The Bulletin is converting some libs.

8 posted on 01/26/2009 9:35:45 AM PST by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo
Here's the change Obama is brining...and kids are being taught to sing praises to our new "Beloved Leader"...and exactly where it will lead.

Watch this...


and then this...


...and finally, this:


The precedent and consequences are well established historically. Far too many American have been sold a bill of goods...and with their money and their vote purchased a pig in a poke...a potentially ravenous and rabid pig.




9 posted on 01/26/2009 9:36:10 AM PST by Jeff Head (Freedom is not free...never has been, never will be. (
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To: Jeff Head
Far too many American have been sold a bill of goods...

Amen to that! Buyers remorse is coming.

10 posted on 01/26/2009 9:39:40 AM PST by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: subterfuge

I have a new nickname for our president—Captain Zero because that is what he’s going to accomplish in his four years Nothing. He’s like an anti-super hero. Don’t worry the jack boots are coming and he’s already putting his enemies list together and with George Seros help he’s going to be worse than Nixon, Clinton and Franco. I fear that all too soon the net will be controlled and discourse will be done at your peril. It will be good to meet all of our fellow freepers in the “re-education camps.”

11 posted on 01/26/2009 9:57:52 AM PST by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: taxlady

NObama slipped too many times and said he would be “RULING” the American populace instead of “:eading”.

This is shock and awe, and some of us Conservatives saw it coming.
No one would listen to us.

12 posted on 01/26/2009 10:13:54 AM PST by ridesthemiles
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To: jazusamo

Great read.

13 posted on 01/26/2009 10:44:52 AM PST by bp22 (Millions of Americans worship a supreme being whose name is not Bill Clinton.)
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To: jessduntno

I wrote Dr Denenberg about doing a story on the birth certificate cases,but got no response. If anyone in the msm might be willing to go after Nobama , it’s the good Doctor. If he gets enough requests, maybe he’ll bite.

14 posted on 01/26/2009 3:07:21 PM PST by curth ( Sarah Palin - America's First Female President -2012)
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