The Deaf Claque

Because they’re worth clapping for…probably…

Deaf Claque is Back: Obama Administration Resources

By Nathan Schmitt

Inauguration 01.20.2009

With the dawn of a new administration and an exciting new political atmosphere, the Deaf Claque will again start to be updated regularly.

I’d like to start by providing a few new resources that I believe had enormous potential to be incredibly informative and will hopefully encourage genuine political discourse:

1. White House Blog: This is the newly established blog for the White House. Its priorities are as follows:

Communication: This site will feature timely and in-depth content meant to keep everyone up-to-date and educated.

Transparency: The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review.

Participation: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it” (1)

2. State Department Blog: Statement of purpose: offers the public an alternative source to mainstream media for U.S. foreign policy information. This blog offers the opportunity for participants to discuss important foreign policy issues with senior Department officials” (2)

3. Congress’ Daily Digest: Congress’ Daily Digest provides a daily summary of the events of congress and is, of course, updated at the end of each day. It is separated into two parts: the House and the Senate. This is not RSS subscribable but hopefully it will be soon.

4. Speaker of the House’s Blog (Pelosi): For a more detailed look at the House. Updated multiple times daily by both Karina Newton (Pelosi’s Director of New Media) and Speaker Pelosi.

This seems to be a huge step in the right direction and though this is still a new direction, I hope the Obama Administration’s focus on transparency and public accountability is developed and utilized to its full potential. The Judiciary has yet to update its website but hopefully this will take place soon.

If you’re interested in learning how to stay informed with minimal effort let me know and I’ll show you how to set up a blog newsfeed so the news you want comes to you instead of having to search it out (this is mostly for my friends around these geographical parts).


January 22, 2009 Posted by | 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Department of State, General Discourse, Hillary Clinton, House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, Nathan Schmitt, Senate, The Media, White House | 3 Comments

Ron Suskind’s Interview on NPR

Tonight OPB aired an interview with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ron Suskind whose new book, The Way of the World, came out this past Tuesday, August 8th. In it, he puts forward harsh allegations against the Bush Administration based on credible sources–the most important of which are on the record–with respect to misleading the American people on the path to war.

The interview follows. Click here then click on the “Listen now” button on the top of NPR’s page.

August 7, 2008 Posted by | Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Impeachment, Iraq War, Journalism, Terrorism, The Media, White House | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phase 2: Senate Report on Pre-war Intelligence

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Phase 2 of the Senate Report on Pre-war Intelligence was released this past Thursday. In a press conference about it’s release, Senator Jay Rockefeller stated that, “In making the case for war administration officials distorted the facts or were not supported by the facts, and said that they knew or should of known were not true.

The Huffington Post is sadly one of the few news sources that really covered it. Below is an excerpt, kind of the meat of it:

“the breadth of the Committee’s citations of examples in which the Bush administration’s comments were not supported by intelligence could reignite public dissatisfaction over the war. According to a release from Rockefeller’s office that was provided to The Huffington Post, these examples include:

— Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.

— Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.

— Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.

— Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq’s chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community’s uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.”

June 11, 2008 Posted by | Congress, George W. Bush, Iraq War, Jon Stewart, Nathan Schmitt, Senate, The Media, Video, White House | , | Leave a comment

White House Release: “Just the Facts”…But No Context…

By Nathan Schmitt

Once again, using the headline “Just The Facts,” the White House has released what appears to be a bit of a misrepresentation of the (new) SCHIP renewal bill. I responded to the White House’s previous misrepresentation of facts (as opposed to outright lying) under the same headline, and this one is no better. Here are some of the problems as I see them:

“The Democrats’ new legislation also permits States to keep adults on the program through 2012. ” (1)

Here is what it seems they are referring to: (Title I, Subtitle A, Sec. 101, Subsection 2111)


  • (A) IN GENERAL- No funds shall be available under this title for child health assistance or other health benefits coverage that is provided to a nonpregnant childless adult under an applicable existing waiver after December 31, 2008.

And the exception:


  • (A) IN GENERAL- Each State for which coverage under an applicable existing waiver is terminated under paragraph (2)(A) may submit, not later than September 30, 2008, an application to the Secretary for a waiver under section 1115 of the State plan under title XIX to provide medical assistance to a nonpregnant childless adult whose coverage is so terminated (in this subsection referred to as a `Medicaid nonpregnant childless adults waiver’).” (2)

Regardless of the end date of the phase-out, it would seem from reading this that the states must request an exceptional circumstance from the federal government. This seems to contradict the argument that it “permits States to keep adults on the program through 2012.” I would also like to point out that this argument by the White House stands in stark contrast to what the WaPo reported earlier today:

[The new bill] will ease adults off the program in one year, rather than the two in the vetoed version.” (3)

Read through the bill and decide for yourself who got the facts completely wrong, one of them certainly did and it’s not entirely clear who.
The White House also argues:

The Democrats’ new legislation continues to allow SCHIP to cover ineligible individuals. The legislation imposes no sanction if a person fraudulently attests to being a U.S. citizen. During the period of time that the State is conducting an investigation (if Social Security finds an inconsistency with the stated Social Security number), it must continue medical assistance to the applicant.” (1)

Is an allegation of fraud reason enough to cut off health care? It seems as if they have forgotten a little thing that we in the U.S. happen to base our entire judicial process on: presumption of innocence; the accused, or person subject to investigation, is innocent until proven guilty. Of course, there are exceptions like interlocutory injunctions in courts of equity, but courts of equity don’t act strictly based on legality.

I’d like to point out that I don’t intend to make any judgments about the administration, the point here is to highlight possible inconsistent or out-of-context arguments.

October 26, 2007 Posted by | Congress, General Discourse, Health Care, Nathan Schmitt, SCHIP, White House | , , | Leave a comment

A Half Truth

By Theo O’Brien

White house officials deleted sections of Center for Disease Control Director Julie L. Gerberding’s testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday, halving it to only a six page length. Though the Center for Disease Control denies that they were censored, Democrats—and Senator Boxer specifically—are pressing the for further explanation after White House Spokeswoman Dana Peretz acknowledged the redaction.

White House officials eliminated several successive pages of Gerberding’s testimony, beginning with a section in which she planned to say that many organizations are working to address climate change but that, “despite this extensive activity, the public health effects of climate change remain largely unaddressed,” and that the “CDC considers climate change a serious public concern.” (1)

Peretz said the reason for the deletion of several sections of written testimony was that it did not align with the findings of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.It is worth mentioning that earlier this year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services were accused of silencing two Alaska scientists who intended to speak of the harmful effects of climate change has on polar bears.

Although the argument could be made that Julie L. Gerberding is not qualified to refute the findings of the IPCC, I fear that those censoring her are deterring the very principle of science: to question what is perceived as fact. In this case, some scientific authorities “crying wolf” about impending threats may prove far more beneficial to the advancement of solutions to global warming. I neither dismiss nor accept the White House’s reasoning for the censorship, as I am hardly qualified, but I would prefer to have all the information available, even if it takes twice as long to read.

October 25, 2007 Posted by | Censorship, Global Warming, Theo O'Brien, White House | , , , , | Leave a comment

UPDATED:”…Like Déjà Vu All Over Again” (Video)

By Theo O’Brien

Today, in a joint press conference, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced new sanctions against Iran. The sanctions specifically target two Iranian military groups and essentially prevent any United States citizen or private organization from participating in any financial transactions with numerous Iranian banks and citizens accused of supporting terrorism.

Rice accused Iran of ‘pursuing nuclear technologies that can lead to a nuclear weapon; building dangerous ballistic missiles; supporting Shia militants in Iraq and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories; and denying the existence of a fellow member of the United Nations, threatening to wipe Israel off the map.’

‘Many of the Iranian regime’s most destabilizing policies are carried out by two of its agencies: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or the IRGC, and the Quds force, an arm of the IRGC,’ she said.” (1)


These new sanctions are especially troubling when coupled with the harsh rhetoric the Bush administration has recently adopted toward Iran. Tensions between the United States have continued to mount after Vice President Cheney’s reference to Iran as “…a terror-supporting state” with the chief goal of securing a nuclear weapon. (2)

Am I the only one who feels as if I have seen these tactics before? The threat of nuclear weapons, linking a nation with terrorism and harsh sanctions seems oddly familiar. of course, this is all speculation and maybe the similarities are merely coincidental and I’m just reaching. And maybe I’m just having a bad episode of déjà vu.

UPDATE: Here is the video of the announcement: -Nathan Schmitt

Vodpod videos no longer available.

October 25, 2007 Posted by | Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, Iran, Nuclear weapons, Theo O'Brien, Video, White House | , , , , | 1 Comment

Could Bush Miss the Point Any More?

Bush gave a speech today in which he addressed recent criticism regarding the CIA’s alleged use of torture to elicit information from suspected terrorists. In it, he said

Despite the record of success, and despite the fact that our professionals use lawful techniques, the CIA program has come under renewed criticism in recent weeks. Those who oppose this vital tool in the war on terror need to answer a simple question: Which of the attacks I have just described would they prefer we had not stopped?” (1)

Talk about a straw man argument…wow…

What is this man thinking? Regardless of whether or not torture has been a practice of the CIA, it is not acceptable for the President of the most powerful country in the world to resort to such childish and counterproductive arguments.

October 23, 2007 Posted by | General Discourse, George W. Bush, Torture, White House | , | Leave a comment

White House Press Release: Facts out of Context.

I’ve heard many times from countless people that the Bush Administration purposely skews facts or participates in similar practices. I’ve even seen some examples of this, but for some reason this one really got to me. Perhaps part of it was the title, “Just the Facts”seems like a headline a news network would have for a spin story.

The main issue I have with this is not that there are factual or statistical errors, which there may or may not be–for the purpose of this article, it’s safe to give them the benefit of the doubt. In this news story there are quite a few misrepresentations that look to use the ignorance of the general public with respect to poverty.

They make the argument that

Congress’ SCHIP bill would strongly encourage States to provide government health coverage for children in families making 300% of the Federal poverty level.“(1)

This is likely because the Poverty Level Guidelines are completely unrealistic in terms of sustainability of household and family. On the lower end (1 person per family) the poverty level is $10,210 per year. On the upper end (8 people per family) the poverty level is $34,570 per year. How exactly is a family of eight people supposed to survive on a little more than $34,570 per year?

The White House press release does not put into context it’s claim about children in families making 300% of the Federal poverty level because it does not specify what family size they are referring to and family size is a HUGE factor in this determination. Pretty much all of the arguments made in this press release are invalid because of this ridiculously low Federal poverty level. However, take into consideration that they are talking about 300% of the poverty level. Does this mean that they should be able to afford health care on top of “vital” expenses?

I’m not saying the poverty guidelines should be raised or lowered, I’m just adding context to the White House’s “Just the Facts” press release…And of course adding a bit of my own opinion but I don’t care if you read my opinion or not. Read the release and poverty level worksheet and consider it for yourself.

October 23, 2007 Posted by | General Discourse, George W. Bush, Health Care, SCHIP, White House | , , , , , | Leave a comment