Alexander's Column

Obama's 'October Surprise' #1 -- Obfuscation and Diversion

Saving Big Bird While the U.S. Economy Sinks

By Mark Alexander · Oct. 11, 2012
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” –John Adams (1770)

“Facts,” as John Adams famously wrote, “are stubborn things.” Thus, to alter the perception of the truth, the art of remolding it into something else in order to promote particular political agendas, was perfected by 20th-century socialist propagandists under the heading “Dezinformatsia” (disinformation). The primary goal of this deception was, and remains, the subversion of Liberty and free enterprise.

Disinformation campaigns rely on two primary tactics: obfuscation and diversion.

Other than the dezinformatsia directorates in China, North Korea and the handful of other Communist countries yet to implode under the weight of the totalitarian state, no Western socialist regime has been more effective at manipulating facts and public opinion to comport with its statist agenda than that of Barack Hussein Obama, augmented by his Leftmedia apparatchiks.

That proficiency was in full bloom last week when a monthly “jobs report” produced by the Obama administration’s Department of Labor ostensibly showed that the headline unemployment rate (U-3) had dropped dramatically during the month of September, from 8.1 percent to a much more politically pleasing 7.8 percent. The problem with this report, a survey of 0.6 percent of households, is that the anomalous drop starkly contradicted much more reliable economic data, including a payroll survey of 30 percent of employers (no change), and the economic growth measure of GDP (revised downward).

So, if employers report little change in hiring, and the economy is contracting, how is it that the much-heralded DoL household survey discovered enormous job growth, which would require record job creation by employers and significant economic expansion?

Most Beltway pundits attempted to answer that question with tortured hypotheses in an attempt to explain such statistical anomalies, but few dared to suggest that the politically fortuitous timing of this household jobs survey is anything but that. However this report, which Obama referenced within 24 hours of his abysmal performance in the first presidential debate, amounts to an incredible “October Surprise” for his re-election bid, which he has spun into “proof” that his economic policies are working.

Regarding the first tactic of socialist disinformation campaigns, obfuscation, a few erudite analysts have suggested that the criteria for the jobs report might have been manipulated. Altering polling criteria in order to obtain a desired result for political propaganda can be accomplished with subtle changes to polling criteria or interpretation – both difficult to detect.

Such manipulation would be much more subtle than simply altering the numbers as suggested in a Wall Street Journal column by former GE chairman Jack Welch: “Unbelievable jobs numbers … these Chicago guys will do anything … can’t debate so change numbers.”

Predictably, Alan Krueger, chairman of Obama’s White House Council of Economic Advisers, rebutted, “No serious person would question the integrity of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These numbers are put together by career employees.” (Of course, we all know that career government bureaucrats would never show political favor to a Democrat administration!)

Krueger’s assertion notwithstanding, Newt Gingrich, John McCain and other “serious” pragmatists have registered their concerns about manipulation of polling criteria and interpretation. My friend, Rep. Allen West, observed, “Somehow by manipulation of data we are all of a sudden below 8 percent unemployment, a month from the presidential election. [This report is] Orwellian to say the least – representative of Saul Alinsky tactics. Trust the Obama administration? Sure, and the spontaneous reaction to a video caused the death of our [Libyan] ambassador … and pigs fly.”

To that end, I registered two questions with the Department of Labor this week regarding the household survey parameters: Were the criteria determining the demography and geography of households surveyed in September the same as for all previous months in 2012? Were the survey results interpreted according to the same norms and standards?

I have received no answer other than the public statement of Labor’s Karen Kosanovich, who insists, “We have done a monthly survey since 1940 and the methods have broadly not changed.”

Assuming the survey criteria were not manipulated and Obama simply won the statistical mega lotto, one might still surmise that his smug debate demeanor reflected advanced knowledge of the “ace-in-the-hole” that would be publicly announced 36 hours after his debate debacle. For the record, it is unlawful for the administration to receive the results of those surveys until after the close of financial markets the afternoon prior to the public release of that data the next morning.

Surely no cutout Obamaphile over at Labor would have passed the survey results to some cutout Obamaphile in the White House ahead of the debate … surely not?

Typical of the Leftmedia promotion of the jobs numbers, on the day it was released ABC News reported, “Mitt Romney surprised President Obama with a dynamic debate performance Wednesday night, but he’s been upstaged today by another October shocker as the unemployment rate plunged from 8.1% to 7.8%, its lowest since Obama took office in 2009.”

“October shocker” is a bit understated.

For the last week, Barack has been launching every stump speech with this theme: “We found out the unemployment rate fell to its lowest rate since I took office. It’s a reminder this country has come too far to turn back now.” Michele has been doing the same: “We are seeing right now that we are in the midst of a huge recovery. Right? Because of what this president has done.”

And Obama will back that up this week by citing a Department of Labor report that the Leftmedia proclaims is evidence the 7.8% is accurate. The DoL report notes that weekly jobless claims dropped by 30,000 to a mere 364,000 new unemployment claims – lower than it was when Obama was elected.

Sound familiar?

What the Leftmedia is not reporting is what was in the fine print of the DoL data: “One large state didn’t report some quarterly figures.” A DoL analyst concluded that the “missing figures” account for most of the decline. In other words, there was little or no decline in new jobless claims, but who reads the fine print – certainly not Obama’s useful idiots who don’t get bogged down in substance. (Expect more on this from Joe Biden in the VP debate tonight.)

Now, those who’ve followed The Patriot Post’s political analysis for the last 16 years can attest that none of our editors fall into the category of “Chicken Little conspiracy theorist.” However, given the benefit of a keen sense of the obvious in the case of this jobs report, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck – it’s not an eagle. Thus, we will see what the next household jobs survey finds for October when it’s released just days before the November election. However, if the survey parameters were altered for September, the October results might reflect similar alterations.

And that brings me to the second and more obvious component of Leftist disinformation campaigns: diversion.

In a memorable moment from last week’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney was asked about cuts in spending. He responded, “Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs if they don’t pass this test: Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I’ll get rid of it. ObamaCare’s on my list.”

Then Romney turned to PBS employee and debate moderator Jim Lehrer and said, “Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to borrow money from China to pay for it.”

On that note, Team Obama cooked up a supplemental diversion to further deflect attention from their failed economic policies and Wednesday night’s debate massacre.

In addition to touting the “success” of his economic policies on the campaign trail, Obama is now doing stand-up comedy for his audiences: “Do you want me to save Big Bird? For all you moms and kids out there, don’t worry, somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird.” In a reference to the bizarre pursuit of O.J. Simpson in his white Ford Bronco after he allegedly murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1994, Obama told attendees at an L.A. fundraiser, “Elmo, you better make a run for it. Elmo has been seen in a white Chevy Suburban; he’s driving for the border.”

For their part, Sesame Workshop, the company that owns and produces content for PBS’s Sesame Street, is not laughing. Sesame Workshop has asked that Obama cease and desist with its references to Big Bird, because that is drawing undue attention to Romney’s assertion that the company is one line item on a very long list of taxpayer-funded liabilities that should be cut. For the record, the “non-profit” Sesame Workshop reported $130 million in revenues and $355 million in net assets, according to their most recent Form 990. And one $7 million government grant they received last year was sufficient to cover the $5,944,000 in executive compensation they reported. CEO Gary Knell was paid $990,000 and the lowest paid executive on the report made almost $294,000 – just under the $300,000 in compensation for the actor who waddles around in the Big Bird costume.

Turns out, beneath all of the bright yellow plumage, Big Bird is actually a cash cow!

Mitt Romney responded to Obama’s Big Bird rhetoric much as he responded to Obama in the debate: “The president spent the last week talking about saving Big Bird. I actually think we need to have a president who talks about saving the American people and saving good jobs.”

Indeed, while Obama fiddles, the American economy burns.

By the numbers: The real (U-6) unemployment rate, which includes those who are underemployed and those who have become discouraged and simply given up looking for work, is reported as 14.7 percent but, as with U-3, is probably much higher. In addition, the real unemployed and underemployed ranks of Americans have swollen to more than 20 million, households considered impoverished have grown to one in six, and there are 47 million food stamp recipients – up 50 percent since Obama’s election. Obama has also amassed $5 trillion in new debt, and our national debt now totals $16 trillion, which for the first time in history now exceeds U.S. annual economic output. Finally, median household income has declined by $4,520 (8.2 percent) since Obama took office (that’s the real “Obama tax”), energy prices have doubled because of Obama restrictions, and economic growth has slowed to an anemic 1.3 percent.

According to American Enterprise Institute economic analyst James Pethokoukis, “The U.S. labor market remains in a deep depression with virtually no recovery since the official end of the Great Recession. But the Long Recession continues unabated.”

Joe Biden was right. “This is deadly earnest man, this is deadly earnest. … [T]he middle class has been buried the last four years…”

If Obama is re-elected, they may be buried for generations.

(PS: There are still almost four weeks for a diversionary “October Surprise” to bolster Obama’s stature as a “foreign policy president,” particularly for a “rice-papaer” (easily dissolvable) agreement from Iranian mad man Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promising new talks on their uranium enrichment plans. Alternatively, expect BO to drop a few 500 pounders on some peasant villages in Libya and claim direct hits against those who attacked our embassy – since the diversionary 500 pounder they dropped on that anti-Islamic web video did not do suffice.)

View all comments


Git R Dunn in Alabama said:

Obamao is out. Romney is in. Obamao gets to retire to a $40M estate in Hawaii. Romney gets to catch the blame for the financial collapse of the United States of America. Hang on America! Are you ready for a RUMBLE?

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:31 PM

LibertyIsUS in Arlington, VA replied:

Git R Dunn,

I agree. The fiscal cliff toward which we're heading is inevitable unless we clean as much of the dead wood out of DC as we can. We must not only concentrate on electing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to the presidency and vice-presidency, but we must wrest the Senate from the grip of democrats and then make sure to elect true conservatives to the House. If we allow the likes of Chuck Schumer and Charlie Rangle to remain in their positions, then we've doomed a Romney Administration.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Git R Dunn in Alabama replied:

1 VA Pat,

The basic problem is that we gave the control of the currency to private banksters in 1913. That aside (and it's NOT trivial), the other problem that we have is that entire bureaucracies have mushroomed into giant sinkholes like the Department of Energy. I understand that there are 100,000 employees in the DOE and let's just say on average that those worthless leeches take home $100,000 per year in salary and benefits. By my math, that is 10 zeros ($10 Billion) if you eliminate the DOE entirely and the compelling argument is that it is a COMPLETE failure. When Obamao took office, I was paying $1.75 per gallon at the pump and now I am paying $3.99 a 228% increase! Fire them all and shut the department down forever! I'm not finished either! Plenty of other leeches to go! Balance the budget? NO PROBLEM!

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 2:35 PM

demsarerats in Oregon replied:

Git R Dunn, re “The basic problem is that we gave the control of the currency to private banksters in 1913,” we all have our explanations for how we got here, in my view it was universal suffrage and the idiocy of allowing ourselves to be ruled by Obongaphone parasites

This nation would still go off the cliff without any Federal Reserve Bank; the root cause is governance by those unfit to govern. That analysis fits in with no conspiracy theory, it was a self-inflicted wound, and it is unresolvable within the current political system. Were the Federal Reserve system not created in 1913 it would have been created shortly anyway in some form or another.

Friday, October 12, 2012 at 12:07 AM

LibertyIsUS in Arlington, VA replied:

GIT and Demsarerats,

We need to stop electing idiots who think they can solve the problem of society by federal fiat. For more information on the evils of a central bank, I urge to read Murray Rothbard's article "The Case Against the Fed" on the Ludwig von Mises Institute web-site found here:

It is long, but enlightening as to your issue.

Friday, October 12, 2012 at 7:26 AM

John chaney in Cary, nc said:

In regards to the federal budget contributing only 0.01 percent of our money as support...if my memory recalls, 0.01% is also the savings for eliminating a full US Army division

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Dennis L. Losse in Seattle said:

Obama is so out of touch with reality, that even the skeptics are surprised!
Let's pray that Romney will perform in the presidency as proscribed by law.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:38 PM

zulu in Tennessee replied:

I don't think Obama has ever been in touch. I don't think he cares. This is a big game and a bad joke on the Americans. Obama doesn't have a clue about anything except how to slick talk and double talk. That's why people think they hear what they want to hear. If he gets re-elected, the country will be in really, really deep crap.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Jim in Dallas, TX said:

Beleive NOTHING that you hear and HALF of what you see. BS in, BS out!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Robert Abner in Grenada, Mississippi said:

The job numbers are another democrat lie that no reasonable person really believes, but one the democrats can use to mobilize their mindless minions as they go goosestepping to the polls.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Sid Riley in Marianna, Florida said:

Vital economic measurement statistics such as the unemployment rate and inflation rate which are generated in the Bureau of Labor Statistics should be produced by Bureaucrats who have sworn to follow defined procedures and adherence to truthfulness, with promise of prosecution for violation of oath. That might stop some of this falsification.
Sid Riley

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM

MNIce in Minnesota replied:

Who's going to prosecute them? Eric Holder? Did I just see a pig fly past my window?

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Git R Dunn in Alabama replied:

It was a pig! I saw it too!

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Lisa in MD said:

I hope Ryan kicks butt tonight!

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

LibertyIsUS in Arlington, VA replied:

I'm sure he will, Lisa. The real fun begins tomorrow when Biden amends his defeat before his moonbat followers.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Rod in USA said:

Excellent as always! I am compiling a "Report Card" on Obama, supported with facts. Needless to say, he may flunk based on obvious research as well as excellent fact and logic based pieces like this.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM

R.C. in Colorado said:

Beyond all the Big Bird talk, look at what comprises other PBS programming. How about "Democracy Now"? This is beyond socialism. It is pure anti-American propaganda. That this show is allowed on the air really strains my belief in the 1st amendment. And their other shows always have a much left-of-anything slant, even the "historical documentaries". NO MORE TAX DOLLARS FOR PBS.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Lisa in MD said:

Doesn't the owner of Big Bird get money from all those toys that are sold, T-Shirts..etc etc?

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Aaron Ashcraft in Barcelona, Spain said:

What I find interesting is the complete lack of honest coverage about the economy or government obfuscation of facts to support Obama. I read the Guardian (London), the Economist (London) to get USA news because I don't trust the choir of Obama media supporters, save Fox News and the Washington Times. Reading the NYT is like reading Pravda.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM

tom murphy in green bay, wi said:

the age-old adage: liars figure and figures........

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Barry Payne in Merritt Island, Fl said:

I believe everything both Parties say.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Git R Dunn in Alabama replied:

Da, Comrade!

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Longhorn in Florida said:

You have to wonder what kind of a plum, promise, bribe or threat the Obama administration had to issue to the Department of Labor for these kinds of numbers?. What will be the October surprise, that unemployment dropped from 8.1% to 7.8% and just in time for November 6, an astonishing fabrication to 7.1% Never underestimate the minds of the Democrats. When you are desperate, desperate things happen.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM

LibertyIsUS in Arlington, VA replied:

When your job depends on keeping the current resident in the White House, what sort of incentive do you think they need?

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 2:18 PM

jlschulte358 in St. Louis said:

Reminds me on Nancy Pelosi's infamous "Seriously? Seriously?" comment - Just another Hallmark liberal response. Can't debate the information with facts, so question the seriousness of the person making the inquiry. It doesn't pass the smell test.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM