20 August 2009

passing the smell test

Earlier this week, American Thinker’s Rick Moran highlighted the Obama Administration’s decision to invest $2 billion to finance offshore drilling in Brazil. Many good questions there, including the pertinent question of why offshore drilling is okay for Brazil, but not for the U.S.

Bloomberg reported last August that billionaire Democratic donor George Soros acquired over $800 million in Petrobas stock during the second quarter of 2008. Since the offshore drilling investment story broke, it was reported that Soros sold 22 million common shares and acquiring 5.8 million preferred (read “dividend paying”) shares recently.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air asks all of the salient questions, including this one:

Is it a coincidence that Obama backer George Soros repositioned himself in Petrobas to get dividends just a few days before Obama committed $2 billion in loans and guarantees for Petrobras’ (sic) offshore operations? Hmmmmmmmmmm.
I don’t have a smoking gun, but I do have the good sense to recognize when something doesn’t pass the smell test. It might well be happenstance that Soros’ “repositioning” was completely unrelated to the decision to invest American dollars in Petrobas, but there are too many dots that have at least a tenuous connection to assume that it’s a completely innocent coincidence.

Unfortunately, this is just the latest in a long string of issues emanating from the White House that cause Americans to question the integrity and good sense of the Campaigner in Chief’s administration. Consider what we’ve learned in just the past several days.

Senior adviser David Axelrod is still owed $2 million by the advertising firm he ran until leaving after Obama’s election. This firm, now run by Axelrod’s son, is a key player in the healthcare reform advertising effort.

The administration, which Obama promised would be the most bipartisan ever, has floated a trial balloon to gauge reaction to achieving healthcare reform with only Democrat votes. This came after significant backtracking on the so-called “public option” deemed essential by the far left.

Many Americans are still furious about being spammed by Axelrod with a message about healthcare reform, and the dirty tactics of those opposed to the president’s plan. Many are also still incensed about the fact that the White House set up a snitch email account and actively encouraged Americans to report any “disinformation” they heard from others regarding healthcare reform.

The list could go on ad infinitum (the Beer Summit and police “acting stupidly,” the push for cap-and-trade, and many more), but the point is made: In less than eight months, the Obama administration already has a well-established track record that stands in opposition to the promises of transparency and the highest ethics. I don’t think it stems from ignorance, but instead from Obama’s trademark hubris. He knows the smell test exists; he simply thinks he is smart and clever enough to beat it, or, if he’s caught, to contort his way out of the consequences.

In over their heads, trying to flood the system by pushing huge reform after huge reform through the system in the best Alinsky style, and severely underestimating the American public’s ability to connect dots, Obama et al. have burned through copious amounts of political capital and public goodwill by trying to beat the smell test instead of working with it.

19 August 2009

behavior your mother would not approve of

Shame on those of you who have been protesting at town hall meetings over the past few weeks. According to House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, who hails from my part of the country, you’re just “hostile and rude.” Not only that, you’re also disingenuous, using the issue merely to advance the Republican Party’s chances in the 2010 mid-term elections.

From an NPR interview last week:

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, called citizens who have been booing, heckling and interrupting town hall meetings "hostile and rude." These vocal opponents of President Obama's health care plan are no longer engaged in a civil debate, Clyburn tells NPR's Michel Martin, but are trying to start "a cascading effect that will result in victories for them at the polls next November."

According to Clyburn, protesters have been perpetuating lies about the president's health care plan, saying Obama supports a single-payer plan, which the congressman says is untrue. "No matter what you say, they have decided that 'this is my line' and they are sticking to it," he said.

"This is a fight for the heart and soul of the United States of America," Clyburn said. "Those of us who believe that the heart carries with it a certain degree of compassion are committed to this effort to get this done. Those who think differently will try to stop it."

Pulling directly from the Democratic playbook, specifically the “Panic” section, it’s Clyburn’s turn to carry the water as the civil rights veteran who can’t believe that people aren’t just falling all over themselves to support the president’s healthcare reform plan. Instead of attempting to argue the merits of any of the plans currently in circulation, Clyburn falls back on the Dems’ modus operandi of making personal attacks and over-the-top emotional appeals. Never mind that he’s attacking citizens of the United States who are exercising their rights under the First Amendment; no, Clyburn thinks that doesn’t apply here:

[Interviewer]: Well some say it's just free speech, it's political speech and therefore it is American.

CLYBURN: Well, nah, free speech is as one Supreme Court justice, (said) would not give you the right to yell fire in a crowded theater. So no matter how free you may be of speech (sic), you don't have unfettered speech. So [I] think what this is, this has gone beyond the notion of free speech it's gone into those areas where you are in fact trampling the rights of others.

So let me get this straight: Not only are the healthcare town hall protesters hostile and rude, it appears that they also don’t have hearts – or at least compassionate hearts; after all, compassion is the defining virtue of the left – and that they are violating the rights of others in the protesters’ exercise of their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to free speech. Hmmm…perhaps Clyburn should clarify that with the Constitutional Scholar in Chief.

Oh, and if the healthcare protesters’ behavior is considered hostile and rude, I wonder what Clyburn would call this. Pot, meet kettle.

18 August 2009

the art of extraction

(This article first ran on American Thinker today. You can find the AT version here.)

There's an old Ziggy cartoon that is one of my all-time favorites. It depicts two stones, one labeled "Rock" and the other labeled "Hard Place." In between the stones, of course, is the ubiquitous "You are Here" sign, replete with the directional arrow.

Wedging oneself firmly between the rock and the hard place is usually not the more difficult end of the transaction. It's the extraction that generally proves tricky. So it will likely be for President Obama, thanks to the squeeze applied by the progressive group Democracy for America. In an email sent to group members on Monday, chairman Jim Dean (brother of former DNC chairman, Vermont governor, and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean) said:

Let's be clear: A health care bill without a public option is D.O.A. in the House. Period. To pass any bill in the House they need at least 218 votes but 64 House Democrats have stood up and said they will not vote for a bill without a public option. That means a bill without a public option would only have 193 votes.

Call it what you want, but where I come from, that's a threat. And it comes in the wake of a comment by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during the Sunday talkers that the public option wasn't an "essential element" of the healthcare reform end product. Sebelius' comments amplified statements in the same vein made by President Obama during his town hall event in Colorado. Needless to say, dissing the public option is not a sentiment shared by the far left.

The pressure coming from the far Left to hold fast to the public option pins Obama against the swell of popular sentiment that has arisen in opposition to any of the plans currently making their way through Congress, as evidenced by the protesters at town hall meeting after town hall meeting. Most of us who oppose the existing healthcare reform plans are also opposed to the public option, and would remain opposed even if the public option was removed.

Polls continue to show that Americans do not support the president's plan. Yet, inexplicably, Obama fights on. By continuing to push for some sort of action on healthcare reform, it would appear that he has placed himself in the position of having to anger one of two groups: the far-Left fringe that thinks he's not gone far enough, or the moderates who ultimately elected him. Depending on how far down this dangerous path Obama is willing to tread, he may yet discover that his best alternative for saving (his own) face is to throw former dance partners like Big Pharma under the bus. (Who knows? Maybe they can hang out down there with his "typical white person" grandmother.)

In the end, extricating himself from between the rock and the hard place will cause damage. The only questions are, to whom, and how much?

16 August 2009

make mine a double (standard)

If there's anything that jumps out at me about the current argument over healthcare reform (wait, I mean healthcare insurance reform), it's the way that the Left characterizes those who have taken to the town hall meetings happening around the country to protest. Maybe I'm confused, but how is it that some disruptions are tolerable and others aren't? More to the point, how is it that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, third in line for the Presidency (ponder that for a while and see if you don't wake up in a cold sweat), can join the cacaphony of the usual liberal suspects in calling real American citizens, who are exercising the rights afforded them under the Constitution to protest a possible government action with which they disagree, the types of names that no thinking person should ever use?
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in an op-ed piece in USA Today last week: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American." It was a different story in 2006, however, when a Pelosi town hall meeting was disrupted by a Code Pink protest: "It's always exciting,'' she told reporters after the meeting. "This is democracy in action. I'm energized by it, frankly."
  • Pelosi on the healthcare town hall protestors: "They're carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare."

It's not all Pelosi's fault, though. Ultimately, she's a partisan hack who can't really help herself; she'll say anything to appease her far-Left base, including this unprecedented attack on a sitting president during last year's presidential campaign. The other significant party to this disgusting process of demonizing real American citizens is the mainstream media (the MSM or legacy media), which consistently refuses to balance its coverage of anything related to President Obama and no doubt looks at the town hall protesters like the Israelites looked at manna.

As much as the MSM ignored the vile things the Left said about President Bush, as much as they looked the other way when protesters carried signs that linked Bush with Nazis, they are now taking aim at conservative-leaning groups (such as the Tea Party protesters) in an attempt to marginalize them and significantly reduce their influence on the broader public debate around healthcare "reform." Take a look at Chris Matthews' confrontational interview with one healthcare town hall protester and tell me he has one iota of objectivity; I'd suggest he lost any objectivity he had when the tingles hit his leg. The sad part is, he's not the only one, and the real losers here are We the People.

In the end, perhaps we'd all do well to recall the words of wisdom offered by current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton back in 2003 (when she was the junior Senator from New York): "I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration."

Who knew she'd be so prescient?

food for thought...

Occasional dashes of sound-bite wisdom that are true for most of the people, most of the time. However, as with all things, there are exceptions. Our initial entry:

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
-- Robert Heinlein

14 August 2009


Hello, and welcome to my blogging experience 2.0! I blogged for several months last year during the heat of the presidential campaign as a way of expressing my frustration over the entire process; from poor choices among the major parties to the overall sense that the media were asleep at the switch, it wasn't a great time to be me. If you're interested in my take on that time, check out blindleadblind.blogspot.com. After the election was over, I went back to my "real" life, determined to find a way to make a difference using the talents God has given me. Watching the last seven months unfold has convinced me that I need to get back into the fray, seeking truth and sharing it as broadly as I can. Hence, a new blog was born.

I'm calling it "The Truth Conquers All" because I believe strongly in the power of the truth to give our lives meaning and direction. The truth -- simple or complex, easy or hard -- is the only tool or weapon that we can ultimately use to fight through the web of deceit being spun around us daily. In this blog I'll share the truth as best I can see it, using the good sense God has given me.

Note: I'm fiscally and socially conservative, and my blog will reflect this worldview. That doesn't mean I'll be in the tank for anyone; after all, the truth isn't the exclusive parish of one party or group. We'd all do well to remember that.