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Obama’s Health Care Charade

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by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
President Obama has gone to extraordinary lengths to suppress advocates of single-payer health care. He has choreographed a grand theater of faux-change, in which he "seeks to create a façade of unity along lines that do not threaten corporate power." The goal is to "sidetrack, possibly for decades, the most broadly supported idea in American politics, today." This "requires elaborate reconstructions of reality," starting with "methodically erasing single-payer advocates from the picture, with the enthusiastic collaboration of the corporate media." Thus, Obama and compliant Democrats on The Hill stage "summits" and "public roundtable discussions" on health care from which majority U.S. opinion is totally excluded.

 

 

Obama’s Health Care Charade
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Since the first days of his administration, Obama has methodically erased single-payer advocates from the picture.”
The president feigns amazement at popular demands for a change in the industrial world’s most expensive and dysfunctional health care system. "We're doing some stuff on health care because I think the country is geared up, businesses are geared up, families are geared up to go ahead and start solving some our extraordinary health care system problems," Obama fairly gushed, as if his own corporate-friendly proposals accurately reflect the public will. In reality, the Administration is engaged in an elaborate charade designed to sidetrack, possibly for decades, the most broadly supported idea in American politics, today: single-payer health care.
Obama has gone to extraordinary lengths to suppress advocates of a single-payer or “Medicare for all” system, which polls have consistently shown to be favored by at least six in ten Americans, including majorities of doctors and other health care professionals. HMOs, insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations rank among the most despised institutions in the land – causing Obama to take on the mission of saving them from the public’s wrath. As the reigning impresario of theatrical faux-change, Obama choreographed last weekend’s parade of industry troglodytes (and one very wayward union) promising to “save” the homeland from their predatory selves to the tune of $2 trillion over the next ten years by reducing the growth of the percentage they gouge from the economy.
Obama welcomed the industry’s hollow pledges as history-making breakthroughs – as well he might, since the White House had stage-managed the entire production. The left-leaning but gullible Huffington Post reported that “two senior Obama Administration officials…I mean pretty darn senior” called the telephonic conference to prepare the media for their bosses “response” to the Mother’s Day “surprise.” Huffington reporter M.S. Bellows, Jr. sees through the industry’s smoke-and-mirrors but, like so many “progressives“ still addicted to the ObamaL’aid, fears that the president is being led by the nose. He wonders: “By taking for-profit corporate lobbyists at their word, is Obama setting himself up to agree to step off the path” to single-payer, low-cost healthcare?
Single-payer health care is the most broadly supported idea in American politics, today.”
Far from passively taking the health care predators “at their word,” the manufactured rapprochement between the White House and the health predators was yet another carefully scripted act of classic Obama political theater. The cast of characters that are permitted to perform in the drama are chosen for the purpose of exclusion, not inclusion. Single-payer advocates, who represent the views of strong majorities of Americans, are excluded from the production by the Grand Director, President Obama. The impression is created that the parameters of serious discussion range from Obama’s amorphous position, on the “Left,” and the hated corporations on the Right. When the Fat Cats and the Top Cat ultimately shake hands, a national consensus is declared. It matters little that the biggest majorities to coalesce around any major issue in contemporary American life have been squeezed out of the discussion.
Obama opposes single-payer, viciously and with a vengeance. To prevail while in opposition to the people’s will requires elaborate reconstructions of reality – similar to, but far more sophisticated than, the old Kremlin’s storied manipulation of Politbureau photos. Since the first days of his administration, Obama has methodically erased single-payer advocates from the picture, with the enthusiastic collaboration of the corporate media (as documented by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting). The message is: there is only one program for health care reform – Obama’s.
The White House drummed this patent falsehood into the public mind through a series of health “summits” and conferences featuring Republicans, industry lobbyists and compliant Democrats, from which single-payer advocates were excluded. It took howls of protest from labor and elsewhere to force Obama to include House Judiciary chairman and single-payer legislation sponsor John Conyers and another single-payer token among over 100 participants in a White House showcase, in March.
The manufactured rapprochement between the White House and the health predators was yet another carefully scripted act of classic Obama political theater.”
Democrats on The Hill dutifully behave as if single-payer is a verboeten subject. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi enforces the Obama line: “Over and over again, we hear single payer, single payer, single payer.  Well, it's not going to be a single payer." Case closed.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus conducts ludicrous sham hearings – shamelessly dubbed “public roundtable discussions” – based on the Obama White House template: no single-payers allowed. On May 5, eight single-payer advocates, three of them physicians, were arrested for attempting to break the wall of censorship. The “Baucus Eight” were followed on May 12 by an additional “Baucus Five” when two registered nurses from the California Nurses Association, two doctors from Physicians for a National Health Program, and a patient advocate were arrested for violating Obama’s taboo against single payer advocacy. The nurses group headlined their press release following the arrests: “Nurses, Doctors Arrested But Insurers Get a Seat at the Table.”
Much of the Congressional Black Caucus is cowed by the Obama health care muzzlers, despite overwhelming African American support for single-payer. Of 41 CBC members, only 29 are co-sponsors of Rep. Conyers legislation, H.R. 676.
Obama’s conduct of the health care non-debate gives the lie to his supposed credo – that he seeks to unite Americans around issues of common concern. In reality, Obama seeks to create a façade of unity along lines that do not threaten corporate power. He is determined to shut down the Left, and will succeed in doing so as long as “progressives” persist in believing that, deep down, this president is on their side.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

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I keep telling myself that

I keep telling myself that Obama is, at least, a nice man - whereas W was clearly a jerk. But I think Axelrod had it right when he called Obama a 'ruthless pragmatist' - on the ruthless part, at least.

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Keep it up.

Watching it, this is a great example of why government should never be put in charge of anything as important to the individual level as health care is. By the time this is over, it will take a real genius to separate the wheat from the chaff, and nothing will be accomplished, either.

Obama is doing very poorly, IMHO. If we ever wanted to know what it would be like if an “ordinary citizen” became President, we can observe it in Barack Obama. Completely unprepared for office.

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The principles from witch the

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Health Plan by Obama is really good for the Americans. It will bring down the problem rate in US. How it is good idea to save the country in this financial crises.
 
 
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I am confused

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Where's The Change!

Remember the old slogan "Where's the beef"? Well this is what missing with Obama's promise 'Where's The Change" Fortunately for health care, it's not coming. Months later were no close to seeing any kind of change with this administration that made so many promise except for a pile of debt.

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Thanks Mr. Ford for the pulling the covers off of the health care smoke and mirrors act of the Obama magicians.  If you want some REAL insight/comparison of health care in this country and the rest of the world have a look at Michel Moore’s SICKO you can view the entire movie at this link http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/sicko/ .  If you watch this film and still do not get it on health care you must be brain dead or stuck on stupid or both.  This movie gives you clear and concise insight as to the root causes of our present day health care problems.  It also identifies the enablers that keep us on this debt based health denial treadmill.  It compares the healthcare in this country with that of other countries (Canada, UK, France and Cuba).  There is ABSOLUTELY no comparison between health care here, and in the other countries mentioned, not even close.
 
There are only two resources that count for a nation its human resources (IE the people) and its natural resources.  You have to develop the human resources in order to develop and harness the natural resources.  Most nations do not have the population that we have in this country so EVERY PERSON COUNTS!!!  Health care in other places is a RIGHT NOT a PRIVILAGE.  They want to take care of their people.  In this country with a population of 300 million plus there are huge parts of the population that are deemed EXPENDABLE think prison industrial complex (Big incarceration), military industrial complex (never ending war) and medical industrial complex (HMOs/Big Pharm)!!!  In this country they are constantly locking us up in poverty, prison and pollution; locking us down with Bad debt, Bad education, Bad health care & Bad war (death by any other name) and locking us out of any chance of changing any of that!!!  Health care in this country is NOT about prevention or wellness it is about disease management.  They want you SICK DYING and/or soon to be DEAD!!!  Obama is just the latest enabler in a long list of enablers that have kept single payer health care a out of reach in this nation.
 
 
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As Obama promised. He's going

As Obama promised. He's going to socialize healthcare. This new health bill in Congress will seal all of our fates into a doomed socialist system
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half-white president

I tend to refer to Obama as America's first half-white president.  After two hundred and some odd years of white male land-owning presidents, we now have a half-white male land-owner for president.  (Some of you may have had to read that twice to spot the difference).  His actions should not be so surprising when put in this light.  Unfortunately it may be some time yet for people to finally stop swooning over his half-whiteness and start holding him accountable as a politician.
It is a shame people were too busy watching Oprah Winfrey to pay any attention to sources like BAR when there was still time to learn about better choices like perhaps Cynthia Mckinney.  Yes, even on our local community station, programmers were actually playing clips from his interview on Oprah.  I remember cringing like a dog about to be whapped on the head with a newspaper. 
 

LIE BY OMISSION, MURDER BY EXCLUSION

 
All of us won't survive Booker T. Obama's private health reform.
We need public healthcare for EVERYBODY!

The release by the Obama

The release by the Obama administration of its initial budget “outline” reinforced its strong commitment to step on the health spending accelerator, notwithstanding some rhetorical cover suggesting purported cost savings within its roadmap for universal coverage. Health care is one of the biggest issues facing these United States, and President Obama made it clear that it was going to be one of the issues tackled by his administration.  There hasn't been any legislature introduced yet, but there should be a bill on the Congressional floor by the end of summer.   The amount spent per family on health services has gone up dramatically in the last decade, and a lot of people are sick of getting personal loans just to cover the most basic of medical care.  The aim is to reduce cost to providers, insurers, the government, and ultimately the public, so that no one needs debt consolidation for the most basic of health care needs.
 

 

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his white is showing

obama is certainly not the guy i thought he was going to be. for white progressives such as myself, who grew up during the vietnam era, witnessed the murders of martin luther king and bobby kennedy in the space of three months, and then endured the nixonization of america (and it's resultant reaganization), i was more than ready to give a black man a chance to lead our country. could a black man sell his own people down the river? it is looking like the answer is yes.
 
white folk voted for obama for many different reasons, but i voted for him because i thought he would uphold the principles of health care as a human right. like alot of white folk my age, race was really not a factor, as far as most of us were concerned he could have been purple.   danger now is, try criticizing the first black president, esp. if you're white. i stumbled across this site because of a PDA post. it's encouraging to see that not all of the black community is sleeping with the pods. 
 
health care reform is not a racial issue, but you'd be a fool believing that a disproportionate number of black folk are not adversely affected by the current system. obama's "public" option, whatever it may be, is at risk of becoming a second class version of health care. listen, when they say "affordable" that means second class. black folk everywhere need to get engaged about either a single payer or a public option that is single payer. and we'd all better insist that the federal employees and the legislators are in that single payer pool.
 
obama's election was a chance for the black, white and other minority communities to come together with a common goal---restore the government back to the people. maybe his election may do that, just not in the way we thought. we don't need a black president to work together. people concerned about justice and equality come in all colors. i hope we can find each other and stick together.

white and stupid

I have always said that white people are stupid and i am just beginning to learn how stupid. those of us white folk, brought up in the late 60's and early 70's still kinda believe that some people do things because it is the right thing to do. i guess while i was keeping my middle class nose to the grindstone trying my best to support myself and barely squeeking by, i failed to see how limousine liberals hijacked any real movement towards social reform and real governance. beverly, you are correct in your assessment. no, i tend to not believe "the news", but i guess like most of my generation, i tend towards political optimism. 
 
i guess there is hope for white generation because my kids (ages 21 and 25) failed to buy into the obama election hype and are telling me i should not be surprised by the god-child's approach to health reform. i have never been afraid to state an opinion and beverly, thanks for your rant. i guess the real danger of obama, and for black folk, is his presidency will serve as a role model for what it is to be black in america. obama just wasn't black enough to be swallowed up by the white masses. 
 
there are alot of us who want health care reform, and it will help if  people of color, en masse, help to push for it.  anyone who wants real reform knows that this is a civil rights issue, and let's face it, the black community is affected by the system we have in a more detrimental manner than us white people. i don't have health insurance (we have not for 20 years). a few years ago, my son cracked his head while riding his bike. i was out of town and a friend brought him to the hospital, no problem about giving him an MRI, even though we didn't have insurance. you know if my son was black, he would probably not have gotten that MRI until mom and dad showed up at the hospital. i know this sounds like a minor incident, but it makes you wonder. 
 
just read that there is a coalition of the blue dog dems and a new group, the new democratic coalition "new dems" (i am serious this is what they are calling themselves) who have met with the dem congressional leadership saying that they don't want too liberal of a reform. what the??? i don't know what kind of coalition there is amongst black folk who have not yet slept with the pods, but if there was ever a time to get together it's now. the progressive democrats of america are really not too happy with the president either. neither is a national physicians group and a bunch of nurses who have been struggling in the health care trenches for a long long time. ther has got to be some black leadership in the congress that will stand up to obama isn't there. i know he has snubbed conyers, but what about lewis?? i met with a health aid from rangell's office in DC last week and i kinda got the feeling that charlie ain't too fond of the boy king. isn't there someone who can reach these guys and form a coalition?? do they even care about how pissed some black folk are??? there has got to be a way to show how obama is a fraud and i think you may have some black congressional leadership willing to help. 
 
listen, the way i see it, if obama keeps riding the choo choo train in the direction he is it will not be long before there is a bloody revolution here in this country. as a matter of fact, there is nothing more this white establishment would want because it would be a fast and easy way to get rid of anyone or anything that goes against the agenda. it is hard to believe they would use a black president as the catalyst for such an action, but then again, we all knew how diabolical they can be.
 
as far as using the election for folks to come together...listen bev, not all white folks are as idiotic as you think, gullible maybe, but if you poke us in the back of the head hard enough we do start thinking. maybe, obama's election will bring people together, just not in the way we thought would.
 
 
 
 

Obama's agenda

Yeah, as much as it saddens me to admit it; Obama is corporate blood, through and through. I thought that Obama really had the courage to take on the power elite, because he told me so, I should have known better. I convinced myself that Obama was only downplaying his concern for racial strife and the continued plight of our most maligned citizens (blacks), but I was wrong. Getting Obama to speak about race and structural inequality has always been like pulling teeth.I thought this was because he had to downplay his concern for blacks in order to get elected, but it was because he truly doesn't care. He's a corporate handmaiden, who was placed in his position because he was willing to do their bidding. Can anyone name one instance where he has railed against the corporations in favor of the greater will of the American people? Thought not. I, as a humanitarian and a black man will never forget this betrayal. Obama was not elected (and I volunteered for his campaign, donated, etc.) to play nice with corporate America! IF THIS COUNTRY WILL NOT ADDRESS ITS RACE AND CLASS PROBLEMS NOW, THEN IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!  The first black president of the U.S. didn't even attend the world conference on racism!!!!!!!!!! I'll add this to my long list of lessons learned. The tyrannical reign of the power elite just got stronger and longer.ACT NOW!

But he's such a nice man.

I keep telling myself that Obama is, at least, a nice man - whereas W was clearly a jerk.  But I think Axelrod had it right when he called Obama a 'ruthless pragmatist' - on the ruthless part, at least. 

PRETENDING TO HAVE A MORAL BACKBONE

People are going to die, because of Booker T. Obama's
amoral absolutism.
 
 Where's Reverend Wright when we need him?

Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. breaks his silence

Chicago Tribune
 
Something is telling me that the Lite-Zionists also joined him. 

maybe, maybe not

Beverly, Rev Wright is no longer the lead pastor of his church, he's semi retired from what I gather.  Besides, he can make as many speeches as he wants, that won't mean that anyone will run his speeches as a story.  What news media are covering criticism of Obama from any quarter but the Republicans and their talking heads like Rush Limbaugh?
 
I haven't seen any news media paying attention to individual Americans who are voicing frustration with OIbama.  Am I missing something?

Micah, you're right, sort of...

On the otherhand, convince me that Rev. Wright can't get any platform he wants.  After all, Fox News would leap at the opportunity, would they not, or any other "climber" or opportunist in the MSM, right?  (Look what Selena Roberts did to A-Rod as if anybody gives a shit).  Rev. Wright remains a lightening rod for faux liberals as well as conservatives.  I bet you $10 he could even get an audience on the Today Show.  I can see Matt Lauer grilling him now, I can see the psuedo-Black Obama apologists villifying now.  I can see all of this notwithstanding the valid point you make about the shit hole media focusing on the shit hole GOP critics, or the shit hole "moderate" (read kindler and gentler racists) Democrats.
 
You do stand a better chance of getting air time if you are a war criminal like Rove or Cheney but that being said, what has Rev. Wright got to lose?  And does not his silence lend credence to the criticisms (that I didn't buy) that he was "hating" on Fauxbama?  Tell me he couldn't get an audience on "Democracy Now?"  And given that this ass hole is hurting Blacks more than ever does he not have a duty in the same manner as the Dr. Ron Daniels and others who pick and choose their spots?

Lou, I can't speak for Rev

Lou, I can't speak for Rev Wright.  At the same time, I haven't seen or heard anything that suggests Rev Wright either is or isn't speaking out here.  I haven't seen or heard anything that suggests he has refused.  Your post seems to suggest that he's considered it but held off for unexplained reasons.  I can't say I agree with that sort of take on it.  
 
Whether Rev Wright speaks against Obama really is not the issue here.  When he was directly challenged by Obama's statements, and repudiated immediately after, he did not seek to "clarify the record."  He seems to be the sort of person who doesn't want to be a celebrity or pundit, even if his sermons had a distinct social justice flavor.  I don't see how he has any obligation to become a pundit. 
 
I think we all need to get away from the "trust an expert" take on life.  Rev Wright's input isn't needed here.  What's needed is for all Americans to realize what a liar Obama is, and stop waiting for him to tear off his shackles and become the Great Liberator, because he's not going to do that.  He's a servant of corporate money and power, and that means he's never going to entertain any sort of health care proposal that actually changes things in any significant way.  He may eventually agree to sign what is nominally a "single payer" plan, but it will be so in name only.  Upon close inspection, I'll wager, it will be seen as nothing more than continuation of the present corporate monopoly on health care robbery of the average person's wallet.  In other words, it will likely be a rehash of what Hillary Clinton tried to implement in Bill Clinton's first term.  Most Americans don't remember that far back, at least not with any significant detail.  They'll forget that Hillary Clinton already tried "health care reform" that was only a charade, and they'll leap and holler with joy if that same bill gets resurrected 15 years later.
 
That's my prediction.  And the only way we'll see different is by individual Americans feeling empowered -- not by waiting to hear from an "expert."  So ultimately the Q of what Rev Wright will say, or if he will say anything, it's just a distraction.
 
The solution here is for Americans to stop waiting for someone else to fix things, and to start working at doing their own fixing.  A good start is to begin contemplating a parallel government, what it should look like, what people would want if they were asked to create their own government.  The present government isn't listening to most of us.

Micah, Neither can I speak for the good Rev.

Not quite my take, my take (and this is the danger of assumptions right?) is the same as Beverly's (me thinks).  Which is why are you silent now?  I'm tired of people who speak when it's for 15 minutes of fame and I do believe that leadership requires folks to do what they might not normally or ordinarily do. I also understand that Rev. Wright was thrust into a whirlwind not ENTIRELY of his own accord, but somewhat of his own accord. When shit erupted it's not as if he tried to shield himself from media scrutiny, no? 
 
And as much as I bash church-goers I am not an atheist per se, I consider myself "spiritual" which doesn't pass Christology muster.  I'm tired of folks claiming God and Jesus is at the center of their lives and being but act like pussies. Dr. King knew he was going to die but it didn't divert him from speaking truth to power.  I'm not suggesting people should die for others, hell, I'm not even sure they should give a f***k period, after all everybody's trying to get theirs, no?
 
I'm simply tired of folks invoking the supernatural but acting like corporate spokesman.  No one is waiting on Rev. Wright, it would be foolish to wait on anyone period.  And as far as your predictions I concur totally.  I have to take my broke ass to my P-T job now, I might expound more later.

good thing you have a job though!

I have been trying unsuccessfully for months to find some income, no luck.  The state job service local office told me recently that for a particular job that recently was advertised (electric utility meter reader) there were over 1,000 applicants.  That's well over 10x the normal number.  Why?  The pay.  Most local jobs with no specialized requirements pay $6-8 per hour.  The meter reader job was $12 per hour and had no specialized requirements.
 
When Our Great ObaMessiah finally gets around to offering or signing an "acceptable" health care legislative charade, it will not be any better economically -- not for folks like you and me, income-wise... that's my prediction.  But he'll get the same leeway he gets now, even when people are even poorer day-to-day, even when the ObaMessiah is basically telling them it is tough shiznit that they can't afford his New Improved Health Care... tough shiznit and they need to quit being lazy and get themselves a real enslavement like corporate lawyer or HMO executive.  
 
Back to Rev Wright -- you seem to be awfully eager to blame him.  I don't understand why that is.  He didn't do anything new when Obama was nominated.  He didn't seek the limelight.  He didn't try to raise any eyebrows.  What happened was that some people tried to paint Obama as a radical by pointing to his past affiliation with Rev Wright, and by pointing to some of the things Rev Wright had said previously in past sermons
 
Yet you make it sound like Rev Wright was being a politician who now is refusing to do what he previously obligated himself to, that thing of being a politician.  And I disagree, because of the factual history on how he came to be in the public eye (public = beyond his churchgoers).
 
I agree with you that there are a lot of people using religion as a code-phrase or secret handshake to do business.  It's a callous ruse designed to get the less-informed and poorly-educated people who are essentially heavily religious (and occasionally fundamentalist) to think that the business goals of the pseudo-Christian are what Christ really wants.  I saw this myself in my adulthood experiment trying to understand Christianity as a seeker.  I saw the Bible perverted to mean that Jesus was a Capitalist who approved of usury and late fees on loan payments.  I saw people saying that Jesus wants drug criminals punished severely.  I've seen all sorts of bizarre behavior done with the excuse that it's what "Christianity" wants.
 
In response to that subject, I say only this:  it's unfair to drag Christianity through the mud when those who are claiming to follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are not even close to following his teachings.  Jesus himself said to know people by their deeds, not their words.  
 
Blame con-artists, not Christianity.

Perfect, sadly true. Good sound on DemNow this AM of the dissent

ers mentioned in the Glen Ford commentary.  Howard Zinn had a good
point this morning, same show, can't count on Congress or President,so
(nonviolent, I'm adding to his words of today) civil disobedience to
push Congress/President for health care and other things, which he
listed. www.democracynow.org
 
I notice the corporate media machine is once-again going aftere Medicare and
Social Security, with new variations on the old lies.  Persistent.
I admit, Obama is worse than I expected he'd be.
 

Obama is going after medicare and SS

He said he would when he was campaigning.  When someone says something needs to be reformed they mean "cut" or "privitized.
This is no surprise. He got more corporate cash than anyone else, did we think it wasn't going to come with a price tag?

got a surprise email from White House on health care

I had sent an email about Leonard Peltier awhile ago, and just got an email
on health care reform.  I couldn't read all of it.  Messed up on sending a
reply when I got off the list.  It's not surprise, it's anger and fighting privatiza
-tion.  There's good organizing and protest going on for single-payer as
mentioned in the commentary.

sad but true

Obama is nothing but a shill for the top classes -- the richest Americans, and the biggest business entities and their lobbyists & PACs.
 
his job is to appear to be a uniter and a friend, while doing the exact opposite with his policy positions and the bills he will sign.
 
he's a masterful liar.  but since the lies are obvious once a person examines the substance behind the lies, I continue to be baffled by those who fail to see he's a liar.



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