Thursday, January 28, 2010

There Are Four Lights, Mr. President

There's a classic episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in which Captain Picard is captured by the Cardassians in an attempt to glean information about Federation defense plans. Picard is given over to Gul Madred, played by David Warner, who proceeds to torture the good captain in every way imaginable (waterboarding is curiously left out) including inserting a device into Picard that can instantly cause pain and continue to do so for prolonged periods of time.

The hallmark of the repeated tortures is the test Gul Madred uses to determine if Picard has finally submitted. Madred has placed above and behind him, four spotlights. He turns them on, and then he asks Picard the simple question of "how many lights do you see?" Picard naturally counts four, only to be rebuked by Gul Madred that there are, in fact, five lights. This exchange is repeated a number of times over several days, and when Picard disagrees, Madred inflicts pain on Picard, even leaving the pain device on for hours after Picard quips "what lights?"

Eventually, the crew of the Enterprise foils the Cardassians' plot and forces the return of the captain. In one last attempt to break Picard, Madred insists the Enterprise has been destroyed and the coming guards are going to take Picard to a hellish prison, unless Picard can properly answer the question, "how many lights do you see?" Picard appears to waver, but the guards break the ruse, and in one last act of defiance Picard screams, "There are FOUR lights!"

Last night during the State of the Union, President Obama stood up and tried to convince Americans that there are five lights, not four. He wants us to ignore that which we see with our eyes and hear with our ears and reason with our logic, in favor of his fairy-tale world view, wherein everything can be fixed with the power of his very presence.

...


Once again, he claimed to be for transparency and openness in government, and yet this is the same man who has repeatedly stifled transparency. His administration has conducted back room deals with all of the same people he spends his entire speech deriding. He supports massive pieces of legislation upon which Congress votes prior to reading, and he proceeds to tell us how great these bills are when he, himself, cannot answer precisely what is written within those thousands of pages.

Once again, he claimed he was for cutting spending and reducing government waste, and yet he signed the pork-laden Stimulus bill, the earmark-laden Omnibus, and he would happily sign the bribe-filled health care bill that passed the Senate.

Once again, he tells us that same health care bill is something this country needs, even though it does not come anywhere near his ideal (single-payer) , contains nothing to reduce health care costs, creates a massive federal bureaucracy, and does not even cover everyone who needs insurance.

He tells us he wants to cut taxes for the middle-class, while supporting a health care bill that will force them to pay fines if they don't get health insurance commensurate with some to-be-created government panel's wishes.

He tells us he hates the bank bailouts, and then turns around to say he wants to give more money to banks, just smaller ones. Money, I might add, that came back from banks he just finished deriding, and that we, the taxpayers, owe on a loan we took out on behalf of said banks.

He claims he wants to focus on jobs, and then spends his entire speech talking about policies that will not only fail to create jobs, but will likely cause more layoffs. He wants to tax banks that we just finished bailing out and who are not lending enough as it is as if the tax will encourage them to lend more.

He says he wants us to fight Al Qaeda, and yet his administration continues to do everything possible to make it easier for Al Qaeda to operate such as foolishly trying KSM & Co. in New York City Federal Court and refusing to treat the Underpants Bomber as an enemy combatant and intelligence asset.

And, he wants bi-partisanship in all of it. Yes, the man who has let hyper-partisans like Reid and Pelosi repeatedly lock Republicans out of the process, the man who has met with Republicans fewer times this year than I can count on one hand, the man whose administration has repeatedly demonized and dismissed those who had opposing ideas as simply wanting the status quo, wants bi-partisanship.

To top it all off, he claimed he hates the fact that it's always campaign time in Washington. This from the guy who hasn't stopped campaigning on the idea that everything is Bush's fault even after taking office.

I'm sorry Mr. President, but the only thing I have to say to you after that speech is:
There are FOUR lights!

For those interested in the Star Trek episode, it is the sixth season, two part episode entitled "Chain of Command."