Accuracy in Media

Former Senator Howard Baker (R-TN) passed away last week at the age of 88. Although Sen. Baker served as Ronald Reagan’s Chief of Staff, and Senate Majority Leader, he is perhaps best known for his famous line asked during the Watergate investigation: “My primary thesis is still, what did the president know, and when did he know it?

Given the number of scandals facing the Obama administration today, this question has a haunting quality, not only for President Richard Nixon but also for President Barack Obama.

What did President Obama know, and when did he know it?

“What’s forgotten today is that Baker thought he was protecting Nixon with that line,” writes Peter Grier for the Christian Science Monitor. “He was attempting to wall off the president from the actions of aides who might have done something wrong.”

In contrast, The Washington Post quotes Rutgers University political scientist Ross Baker as saying “The fact he [Baker] acted as impartially as he did is one of the high points of his career.”

President Obama has frequently taken a cue from the same playbook as Nixon, blaming aides and government bureaucrats, as well as the media, instead of taking responsibility for the many scandals plaguing his administration.

Obama has claimed repeatedly that he learns about scandals from the press, including the IRS scandal, Fast & Furious, and the subpoenaing of two months of phone records from the Associated Press. More recently, he said he learned about the Veterans Affairs waiting list scandal from the press.

Jonathan Turley, a liberal law professor who has supported the presidency and policies of Barack Obama, recently wrote a column titled “A Question of Power: The Imperial Presidency,” in which he said that “Obama may be the president Nixon always wanted to be.”

“Four decades ago,” wrote Turley, “Nixon was halted in his determined effort to create an imperial presidency with unilateral powers and privileges. But in 2013, Obama wields those very same powers openly and without serious opposition.”

President Obama’s former Press Secretary Jay Carney got “egg on his face” when it “emerged this morning that his [Obama’s] transition team was notified five years ago about how VA medical centers’ official wait-list times bore little resemblance to reality and risked denying military heroes critical health care,” reported the UK Daily Mail. It should be reporting that President Obama has egg on his face, and has been caught in another lie.

In the case of the IRS scandal we know that both the White House Chief of Staff and White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler learned about the targeting of conservative groups in April of 2013, a month before the now infamous Lois Lerner planted a question regarding the IRS’ abusive actions. President Obama later claimed on national television that in terms of the IRS scandal, there wasn’t a “smidgeon of corruption” in his administration, and blamed the whole episode on “bone-headed decisions” of bureaucrats.

But rather than being the guileless incompetence of Cincinnati office bureaucrats, the investigation into the IRS targeting scandal keeps casting a wider and wider net. It’s not surprising that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) recently said on Fox News that “It’s a scandal of epic proportions, big enough that it could bring down a presidency.” But it is surprising when Time magazine’s Mark Halperin said this week on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “I think with a different administration, one that was a Republican administration, this story would be a national obsession, and, instead, it’s getting coverage here and a few other places. But it deserves a lot more questions.”

One might argue that Republicans are just looking for material to use against their Democratic opponents in the upcoming election, but consider the following: recently released emails show that the D.C. office was plugged into the process of targeting conservatives early on.

In addition, “The IRS recently revealed that former director Lois Lerner’s emails were lost when her computer crashed, wiping out an untold number of emails that were being sought by congressional investigators for her role in the agency’s controversy that they improperly scrutinized applications by some Tea Party groups,” reported CBS DC. The hard drive was recycled, so the data cannot be recovered. And an “untold number” of Lerner’s emails “are gone.”

What did the President know, and when did he know it? Did he know that Lerner’s emails were gone before the news broke initially in May of 2013?

As for the Veterans Affairs office, how much was Obama briefed on when his transition team took over? “In particular, the 2008 transition report referred to a VA inspector general recommendation to test the accuracy of reported waiting times,” reported The Washington Times. And, a presidential briefing accessed by the Times states that “Audits of outpatient scheduling and patient waiting times completed since 2005 have identified noncompliance with the policies and procedures for scheduling, inaccurate reporting of patient waiting times and errors in [electronic waiting lists].”

In other words, the President knew quite a lot, and he knew it since 2008.

The Washington Times’ reporting resulted from a Freedom of Information Act request, as did the IRS emails referenced above. So, too, did the creation of the Select Committee on Benghazi. Speaker John Boehner decided to allow a vote to create the Select Committee, which will likely begin work this fall, after it was revealed that a FOIA request made by Judicial Watch revealed information that had been withheld from Congress by the administration.

The facts of the Benghazi scandal prompt the question as well: What did the President know, and when did he know it?

In the case of Susan Rice, who appeared on the Sunday talk shows blaming the attack on a YouTube video, the “smoking gun” email from Ben Rhodes to other staff indicates that the administration considered blaming the attack on the video a high priority. Rice maintains that she was making an assertion based on intelligence community information available at the time; even Michael Morell, former acting head of the CIA, testified that the CIA had made no mention of the YouTube video in its talking points.

Closed door briefings which were later released to the public reveal that President Obama was briefed the night of the attack that it was a terrorist attack, and emails made public show that State Department officials knew that Ansar al Sharia had claimed credit the night of the attack. It is becoming increasingly clear who knew what, and when.

President Obama reportedly had a 10 p.m. phone call with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, just minutes before she released a statement which condemned the YouTube video.

As the Select Committee on Benghazi ramps up its investigation, which has already been likened to Watergate, it should keep the words of Howard Baker in mind. One of the Democrats assigned to the Committee should be willing to repeat this memorable moment by asking, concretely, “My primary thesis is still, what did the President know, and when did he know it?”

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  • Oddjob

    If these thugs were in the private sector they would be locked up for life

  • sarah godwin

    President Obama is a hardworking Saint compared to the deliberately lying sluggards (George “Yet ANOTHER Vacation/” WMD Bush and Cheney); rapists and spend-thrifts ( Ronald “Assaulter of Starlets/” Raise the Debt Ceiling Yet AGAIN” Reagan; Slavedrivers and Spoilers of Virgins Thomas “Come Here, Sally yet AGAIN” Jefferson, and George “You Are My Venus,” Washington., etc.

    Just shaddup already about the decidedly Non-scandal “scandals,” you’re crazily Trying to saddle this great President (Obama) with, most of which started under BUSH the Younger ( Gun-running, Solyndra, etc).

  • since1791

    You’ve been watching way to much MSNBC. You have no clue what your talking about! Please keep typing though, the rest of America needs to see just how ignorant you people are.

  • Yael

    Thank you. This is a very helpful rundown on the facts that have become known. Of course, if this administration were at all “transparent” as they promised, the facts wouldn’t have been so hard to come by. Keep up the good work.

  • sarah godwin

    Since1791, it’s called studying History and Science and understanding when “the twain” shall meet. You should try it.

    Try to refute what I’ve said with facts. You can’t because I stated the truth and all you can do is namecall from the peanut gallery.

    Not only does the unredacted, unembellished historical record provide the truth, so does DNA evidence.

    And Everybody and his Sister know that gun-running started under Bush and that brilliant Pulitzer Prize-Winner and National Book Award Winner, Annette Gordon-Reed, proved how historians defended Thomas Jefferson instead of just telling people the Truth about Sally Hemings and Jefferson.

    Shortly after her first brilliant book on the subject was published, DNA evidence corroborated Hemings’s (and Jefferson’s) son’s account and their strong (decades long) relationship (and Annette Gordon-Reed’s stellar, honest research in that first, breathtakingly brilliant book of hers, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy).Those are just two of many FACTS I’ve posted.

  • frankensteingovernment

    There are no words for folks like you. Words fail.

  • sarah godwin

    Interesting. My reply to the poster, “Oddjob” wound up all by itself apropos of nothing even though I was directly refuting his nonsense about brilliant, hard-working President Obama as an alleged, “thug.” When nothing could be farther from the truth.

    Perhaps he is thinking of Dick Cheney, former Republican VP. Cheney Shot his own Friend in the Face, but the injured man apologized to Cheney instead of the other way around! Now THAT’S a THUG.

    I say again, Cheney’s own friend was shaking in his boots and Apologized to Cheney after Cheney Shot HIM! Shaking my head. Now THAT was a “thuggish” administration!

  • sarah godwin

    Translation for frankensteingovernment: S/he can’t refute a word I wrote because it’s all true. The “blonde starlet” stated that demonic Reagan raped her on the floor!

    And Reagan himself wrote long ago that he was a disgusting “experiencer” of “one-night stands” and a “parade” of women until in his words, “Nancy saved me.” And everybody and his Brother know that spendthrift Reagan raised the debt ceiling nearly 20 times!

    No wonder that under his evil reign, this country started a steep decline.

    And The Record shows that Bush Easily Vacationed more than Twice as much as Obama!

    Fully a Quarter of US Presidents were Slave-drivers – starting with the very First One – though the widowed woman he married, Martha, was wealthy in her own right before marrying him, and Washington freed the enslaved people on his plantation in his will ( to have been acted upon after Martha’s death). Rather alarming for her own neck’s safety. So she understandably “freed” them long Before her death – by natural causes OR by enslaved people desperate to be free.

  • Oddjob

    “There you go again”! More Bush/Cheney diseased incoherent babblings from some rabid troll. Y’all aint worth a plugged nickel and the only reason i am wasting my thought process on some loony tune is to point out how they are in love with their own words and pontificate their “brilliance” without even thinking for one second that it is not relevant! Looking at the previous posts from ms. Loonytunes one can only shake their head and smile

  • mark eaves

    My teacher said everyone is useful. Either they’re the example of what to do, or what not to do.

  • JamesBenson

    How do you manage to type your comments while wearing that straitjacket?

  • JamesBenson

    Not worth any time debating you, as you are out of your mind.

  • sarah godwin

    Spoken like an all too-common lazy Republican who has only a passing glimmer of recognition where “minds” of any sort are concerned. You should at least TRY reading before talking. A Pulitzer Prize-winning, National Book- Award winning Harvard graduate, brilliant Annette Gordon-Reed, did what deliberately lying,dissembling “historians” refused to do for centuries: Research objectively, face the truth, and Tell it!

  • sarah godwin

    “Folks like” me who face the truth and tell it. All the tinfoil hat wearing Birthers, stupid hurlers of the word, “tyrant,” and other LIARS where wonderful President Obama are concerned don’t seem to bother you nearly as much as “folks” telling the Truth about the REAL tyrants among U.S. Presidents: Slavedrivers! Shaking my head.

  • sarah godwin

    ?!? You’re “Smiling” about Slavery and Rape?! And you have the Unmitigated Gall to call someone ELSE “looneytunes?” That’s downright deranged – and “Troll”-like. Btw, Are you really going to sit there and try to Pretend Dick Cheney didn’t shoot a Friend in the Face when the whole world knows he did?

    Even some conservatives are getting fed up with Cheney’s propensity to lie and dissemble with a straight face. Megyn Kelly on FOX blessedly recently called him on his brazen hypocrisy concerning Iraq.

    And what is the point of your Lying about alleged “incoherence?” Bush and company went to WAR on false pretenses, costing countless lives, yet all you dolts can do is warble about Benghazi where a few brave American souls knowingly went into hostile territory and perished.

    Contrast Benghazi with 911 in New York where Thousands perished on our own soil in BUSINESS offices! You people are certifiably insane.

    And where the legacy of Presidents is concerned it is indeed “relevant” to face the Truth. Conservatives want to worship the “Founding Fathers” without having their myopic lovefest interrupted by the tempering of Reality, while they spew the most spurious nonsense about wonderful President Obama.

    And don’t get me starting (and finishing) on Iran-Contra Reagan, the vicarious killer of nuns and the rapist of “blonde starlets.” Are you still “smiling?”

  • sarah godwin

    Exactly. Don’t ever try to “drown” our government “in a bathtub” the way conservative wack-job Grover Norquist tried to do by getting other stupid conservatives (in government) to sign his stupid no-tax pledge.

    That dolt, Texas Governor Perry, finally realized the folly of that. He was insanely warbling about Texas”seceding” from the USA and then a hurricane hit Texas- whereupon “secessionist” dummy Perry did an abrupt about-face and began screaming for FEDERAL aid from the only coffers still blessedly big enough (despite Grover Norquist’s best efforts) to get a handle on the devastation of Natural Disasters: The FEDERAL ones.

  • eavesmac

    Those that trade freedom for security will have neither.

  • sarah godwin

    ?!? “Straitjacket?!” For merely telling the truth where the Real “tyrants” among U.S. Presidents are concerned? And if I see one more wackadoo, upside-down conservative try to Call wonderful President Obama a “tyrant” or “dictator” again, I will again write the Truth about the Real tyrants among U.S. Presidents – the Slavedrivers.

    And if I see one more stooopid conservative crazily try to pretend that President Obama is a “librul spendthrift,” I will write the TRUTH about the Real spendthrift, their god, Reagan, who raised the debt ceiling nearly TWENTY times and raised taxes to boot. You can shut up, now.

  • sarah godwin

    What the heck are you talking about? Republicans in Congress raised the debt ceiling for spendthrift Reagan nearly TWENTY Times. The ONLY reason they balked at raising it even ONE time during President Obama’s administration is because the racist dolts Hated the idea of a Black President being seen as even more effective than he’d already been. They shot this country in the foot to try to keep that from happening. Disgusting.

  • frankensteingovernment

    Wow. This is a perfect example of a thread where one insane ego tries to drown out everyone else. It is one of the reasons that commenting, intelligently, is hardly worth the effort.

  • Oddjob

    This mental midget is the gift that keeps on giving! My first post was 15 words and summed up what these punks in office deserve in brevity. Meanwhile ms. Froth and foam has 10 posts and said exactly what??? Pres. Lincoln (evil republican who freed the slaves) used only 272 words that lasted less than three minutes to create the gettysberg address. Now contrast that to this silly bink for a giggle or two! And lets not forget either that it was the democrats that were the party of slavery and the kkk prior to and after the civil war and that it also took another gop president (ike) to forcibly use troops to desegrigate the schools against the democrats wishes in the 50’s. Why do i keep responding to this silly person? To provide amusement for the rest of all y’all!!!

  • sarah godwin

    Once again we see lazy frankensteingovernment’s “ego” compel him/her to Just pop in Only to let us know s/he won’t be allowing any of his/her brain cells to work today. See below. Engaging in debate is just soooo taxing. Rolling my eyes.

  • sarah godwin

    Hallelujah, the poster known as “Oddjob” can finally stop mowing other people’s lawns. S/he’s found his callling: Showing fellow conservatives how to merely name-call instead of engage in debate. S/He adds the dissembling for free since he Tries – in Vain- to get away with conflating Evil Iran-Contra Rapist Reagan with Abraham Lincoln! Rolling my eyes.

    And do you have ADD? It’s a message board post. Not WAR AND PEACE.

    And since you value “brevity” above all else, why not just write, “Obama stinks” and be done with it. That says as much as your ridiculous, slightly longer posts do and gives as much insight into how your so-called “mind” works.

    Btw,Rational people don’t so much care that you lie and dissemble with truncated nonsense or whether you pontificate while doing it. The main concern for rational people is that you are, indeed, lying and dissembling.

    A case in point: Everybody and his Sister know that Strom Thurmond (maid rapist and hypocrite) walked out of the Democratic Convention because of its Civil Rights plank; that he helped turn a largely racist South Republican, and that Oddjob is the real “mental midget” for thinking he could get away with dissembling nonsense concerning this.

    And speaking of Modern Life? David Duke, KKK leader, ran for Governor of Louisiana and is a REPUBLICAN! You can shut up now, Mr. Time Warp.

  • frankensteingovernment

    I never tease dogs or the brain dead.

  • sarah godwin

    Uh huh. We’re to believe that mere puerile name-calling is almost never indicative of brain “death,” but expending at least enough energy to debate is? Riiiiiiight. Shaking my head.

  • sarah godwin

    See what I mean? Lazy.

  • sarah godwin

    You and “effort” apparently never even shared the same zip code. lol

  • frankensteingovernment

    Puerile? Who says that? Lmao. Pusillanimous.

  • frankensteingovernment

    Can you imagine being married to her? I have one million dollars that says she is single. Maybe if she got laid once in awhile- the grownups could talk.

  • sarah godwin

    LOL No wonder Romney lost. You profane nitwits are wrong about EVERTHING. LOL My husband and I have been happily married for decades now. You?

  • sarah godwin

    Who says “puerile?” People who got A’s in Latin classes, perhaps? 🙂 Hope it didn’t take you too long to look it up. Good thing “pusillanimous” starts with the letter “p,” too. Wouldn’t want the lazy to have to expend any more energy than necessary. lol

  • sarah godwin

    Hallelujah, “Oddjob” can finally stop mowing other people’s lawns. S/he’s found his true calling. Teaching other “conservatives” how to name-call instead of engage in rational debate. Snicker.

    Btw, see my untruncated post below frankenstein’s bizarre, profane nonsense and my response to it.

  • Oddjob

    A person pointed out earlier there is no point in dialogue with the obamasuckups in this country. Time would be better spent domesticating a rattlesnake. They are only interested in shouting you down and shutting you up

  • Oddjob

    Best thing to do with these wackjobs is to ignore or mock them. In the latter case don’t think you will ever get in the last word. Their ego fueled narcissism will not allow it. That marxist in the white house shows us that every day

  • sarah godwin

    LOL No wonder Romney lost. You profane nitwits are wrong about EVERYTHING.LOL My husband and I have been happily married for decades now. You?

  • frankensteingovernment

    I don’t believe you. I demand proof.

  • frankensteingovernment

    I give Sarah. You are bestest and the brightest.

  • sarah godwin

    Once again, clueless conservatives engage in glaringly obvious projection. They merely foist their own foibles onto those with whom they disagree and pretend they’ve provided “insight” into “others.”

    People who actually KNOW President Obama say he has NO ego. Near the end of the Democratic Primary when it was hotly contested and debated whether or not Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would get the nomination, Nancy Pelosi met with them both at her home.

    When Pelosi stood in front of television cameras outside her home after the meetings, people expected her to lean more toward Hillary, another woman. But Pelosi looked pleasantly surprised and almost even taken aback, when she smiled and her first, amazed words were, “Barack Obama has NO ego!”

    Years ago, Conservative commentator George Will stated in one of his columns that he himself looks, “like (then “heart-throb” actor) Robert Redford!!” He didn’t.

    But even though President Obama has been self-deprecating about his own looks if he mentions them at all ( See hilarious segment “with” Daniel Day Lewis at the most recent Obama White House Correspondents Dinner), cocky George Will has bizarrely called normally low-key President Obama, “arrogant!” Classic case of projection, with George Will trying to cast his own hubris onto President Obama.

    And College drop-out, Serial “Marryer,” conservative Rush Limbaugh, who is so puffed-up and insanely braggadocious as to nearly be a caricature of himself, happily (?!?) crowed after learning the USA did NOT win the chance to get the Olympics to come to Chicago, that “The ” EGO ” has landed,” in crazy reference to President Obama!

    If college dropout, yet truly arrogant Rush Limbaugh had graduated with the highest GPA at Harvard Law like brilliant, amazingly humble Barack Obama did, he (Limbaugh) wouldn’t be able to get his big head through a door! Again, classic case of projection.

    And on this site some conservative wackos spew the terms “wacko,” “looney-tunes,” “wackjobs,” “mental midget,” etc, at perfectly rational posters, apparently woefully oblivious of the FACT that they are only describing themselves with every stroke.

    Then when they are proven WRONG by alleged “mental midgets,” they then seek to not only “ignore” or “ridicule” the source of their comeuppance, but they pitifully bleat for others to join them in that “ignorance” in order to try to keep as many as possible from seeing their dissembling words transformed into crow and rammed back down their lying throats.

    The “person” giving advice “earlier” would have Really been doing you a favor, Oddjob, if s/he had told you to, “Stop Telling Easily Refutable Lies on President Obama!”

  • sarah godwin

    ?! I’m interested in Honest debate. “Shutting up” LIES and dissembling is a Good thing.

  • sarah godwin

    Please see my reply below to Oddjob’s dissembling warble (about Lincoln and Ike, etc) — his brazen ignoring of the existence of the Dixiecrats, Strom Thurmond walking out of the Democratic Convention over its Civil Rights Plank and becoming a Republican (and taking the rest of the South with him), and David Duke, leader of the KKK, as a modern-day Republican, etc,

  • Oddjob

    charles manson believes he is sane too……

  • Oddjob

    Have you ever wondered who michael jackson ever considered to be nuts???

  • sarah godwin

    And college drop-out Rash Limpbrain thinks he’s Einstein…

    Btw, take your ADD medication and actually READ the post to which you call yourself responding. President OBAMA didn’t call himself the most sane, most humble person he knows, but OTHER people who’ve actually KNOWN him say that he is the most sane, least ego-driven person they know.

  • sarah godwin

    Please see my response to Oddjob’s dissembling silliness in which he tries to get away with conflating Iran-Contra/Rapist Ronald Reagan with Abraham Lincoln! And in which he ridiculously unjustifiably superciliously tries to ignore that Strom Thurmond ever stomped out of the Democratic Convention over its wonderful Civil Rights plank and took the racist “solid South” into Republican World with him! Shaking my head.

  • sarah godwin

    Snicker. Of Course you do, Mr. Tinfoil Hat Birther!

  • sarah godwin

    Or how many ranted Presidential death threats from the stage wackadoodle Ted Nugent considers too many?

  • sarah godwin

    If “brevity” is the ” be all and the end all,” why don’t you just post, “Obama stinks!” and be done with it. That says as much as your slightly longer nonsensical post does.

    And everybody and his Sister know that Strom Thurmond stomped out of the Democratic Convention over its wonderful Civil Rights plank Decades ago; that Thurmond switched to the Republican Party and took other racists across the South with him, Mr. Dissembling Disingenuousness. Rolling my eyes.

    And Iran-Contra, Rapist Reagan is no Abraham Lincoln!

  • sarah godwin

    ?!?!?! I mentioned evil Iran-Contra, Blonde Starlet Rapist Reagan and you crazily think that has anything to do with “dissing” Abraham Lincoln?!?

    And your wackadoodle dissembling continues with your “conveeeniently” Ignoring that racist hypocrite Strom Thurmond stomped out of the Democratic Convention because of its wonderful Civil Rights plank, became a Republican, and took the rest of the racist South with him.

    Oh, and Modern Leader of the KKK, (that cowardly terrorist organization) David Duke, is a conservative TODAY. He was a serious candidate for Governor in Louisiana!

    Btw, if “brevity’s” all-important, why not just post, “Obama stinks,” and be done with it? Those 2 words say as much as your crazy “15” and are just as “edifying.” Rolling my eyes.

  • sarah godwin

    ?!? Nixon and company were guilty of Breaking and Entering! I know someone who was a friend of the security guard who caught the idiots red-handed! G. Gordon Liddy was convicted and got a jail sentence.

    In Stark contrast, decent President Obama was willing to let the legal, upright process work and win fair and square. Which he did. Thank Almighty God!

    And, Again, you people are certifiably insane and hypocrites to boot. George W. Bush made recess appointments out the wazoo without Republican caterwauling leading to running to the not-so “Supreme” Court.

  • Pat Joseph

    Sarah– As a so-called ‘independent’ (read open minded), I’ve been reading with interest – or should I say objective disinterest- the exchanges between yourself and your conservative adversaries. Accordingly, may I suggest that your incrementally strident attempts to defend your positions, do not do much to sway disinterested observers to your essentially ideological views, simply because many of your talking points could, no doubt, be effectively and convincingly countered by the other side!

  • sarah godwin

    ?! “Strident?” Your “objectivity” is non-existent since everyone here knows you did not take time out of your apparently “busy scedule” to also try to berate “Oddjob,” and others who, instead of engaging in debate about issues, are more interested in dissembling out of one side of their “mouths” while simultaneously trying to crack insulting lame one-liners out of the other. Strange how conservatives crazily calling truthful, clearly expressed comments the product of a “mental midget” is not “strident” to your “mind.”

    What’s interesting is that they have taken the time to post their nonsense at all Instead of using their “valuable” time to try to “counter” the Facts I posted. Of course, I could say the same about “objective” you!

    For one thing, The Fact is, Ronald Wilson Reagan Did indeed raise the debt ceiling a whopping 20 Times with the aid of a Republican “led” Congress – and Reagan raised taxes as well. There is nothing to “counter” there because it is the incontrovertible Truth.

    Perhaps one of the lazybones conservatives here got off his mental derriere long enough to research that, realized it is the truth, and decided to continue Trying to berate the “messenger” rather than expending the energy it takes to actually debate, particularly since “countering” the Truth is fruitless.

    Btw, I am an Independent. And your myopic,one-sided approach to the “exchanges” leads me to doubt that you are.