Here you have Rhode Island Jr. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse making some insane statements on the Senate floor.
Of course, as is standard practice for any Liberal attempting make a point, Whitehouse went on to compare the GOP to Jim Crow-era lynchers, and Nazis:
“History cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead. Tumbrils have rolled through taunting crowds, broken glass has sparkled in darkened streets. Strange fruit has hung from Southern trees. Even this great institution of government that we share has cowered before a tail-gunner waving secret lists."
Gross, but not at all surprising.
My question is, is this simply political rhetoric that the Senator knows to be an offensive exaggeration or is it really how the far-Left views the opposition to this Health Care bill?
Another piece of evidence that the Left may actually believe that our motives in opposing this health care monstrosity were something other than considered opposition to a bad piece of legislation, can be found in Clive Crook's pro-Obamacare piece in today's Financial Times, in which he opines:
"It does not matter that conservatives oppose this reform. Of course they do. Conservatives are unmoved by the plight of the uninsured, want to block this administration’s domestic initiatives regardless, and are incapable of uniting behind an alternative proposal. They have nothing to offer on the issue."
To Mr. Crook's credit, I don't think he actually believes what he wrote about conservatives. Any intellectually honest individual who has paid attention to this bloody, 8-month debate, knows full well that conservatives have proposed a number of ideas to make health care more affordable. His implication that conservatives are "..unmoved by the plight of the uninsured." Is tantamount to a conservative columnist writing that those who want premature withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq are unmoved by the plight of families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks.
The statement's silliness is clearly illustrated by the fact that the Democratic leadership had to bribe several senators of their own party in order to get the bill to the floor.
Crook knows better. What he's guilty of is laziness as it would require far more thought and time spent at the word processor to delve into the true reasons behind the unified conservative opposition to Obamacare than he is willing to give.
Senator Whitehouse's words are far more egregious. It's one thing when you find statements like these in a comment thread on Daily Kos or coming from the mouths of Bill Maher's guests or the wildly uninformed host himself. However when it comes from a member of the world's greatest deliberative body, it should give all of us pause.
Whitehouse's statement is just one more example of the tactics that the Democratic Party has used all along in its attempts to gain public support for it's health care legislation.
Plain and simple. From the very beginning, when President Obama was telling American's that if they liked their current health care they could keep it, even with the existence of a Public Option. Or that that Public Option would "compete" with private insurers rather than put them completely out of business. Now we have the current Dem claim that this legislation will lower costs for the privately insured when almost every analysis shows that costs for the privately insured will rise substantially once this bill goes into effect. The Democratic Party has undeniably sold Obamacare almost exclusively by way of sophistry, half-truths and bald-faced lies.
Yet another stunning example of this was last week when President Obama himself claimed that passing his trillion dollar health care bill was the only way to save the country from bankruptcy. Not only does this statement defy common sense, but most American's (and the Chinese Government)understand that the exact opposite is true. If anything, the Democratic plan will put the United States closer to fiscal insolvency than ever before.
Obama says that care will improve across the board. Not true.
He says this bill is deficit neutral. It's not and incredibly dishonest budget gimmickry is the only way Dems could even achieve this result on paper.
One positive thing to come out of all this is that the majority of the American people are smart enough not to buy into the trickery of the lying Democrats. That's a good sign of things to come. The Democrat's failure to gain majority support for this bill and the anger that their actions have resulted in among independents, almost guarantees that they will be unable to achieve other damaging policy goals like Cap & Trade and amnesty for illegal immigrants. The failure of the Public Option is a huge victory for the conservative movement and leaves the current bill without a clear path to single-payer care, which was the Left's primary objective all along.
Most importantly however, we've seen first hand that the American Left must lie about the effects of its policy proposals, because if they are honest about the repercussions of their ideas, the American people will reject the progressive agenda outright. Fortunately, this time the American people saw through it and the Democrats will almost certainly pay a price for it come November.
So don't be too mad at Senator Whitehouse and Clive Crook. After all, hyperbole and misinformation is the only effective weapon they wield in the battle to implement the liberal agenda in center-right America.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Here you have Rhode Island Jr. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse making some insane statements on the Senate floor.
Posted by Falling Panda at 12:44 PM
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Here's Al Gore's Huffington Post, profile picture:
Yeah. I know.
It's shocking that an individual so socially awkward and phony could be taken seriously by such a huge portion of the population. And yet, he's still around. The reason is obvious. On the Left, Bush derangement syndrome still lingers in the souls of many. It is still yet to be cured by the soothing yet thus far, completely ineffective, aroma of Campbell's "Hope, Change and Chicken Soup" which liberals have been feasting on since last November.
To the modern liberal, Gore represents an alternative universe, in which folks in Palm Beach County were actually able to figure out their simple ballots, designed by equally simple Democratic Party officials, on Election Day 2000. In the minds of these true believers, had Gore been elected, not only would 9/11 never had happened. Not only would the economic collapse had been avoided with risky mortgages being put into a "Lock-Box" instead of being sold in bundles to Fannie May and Freddie Mac. But the true challenge of our time, that of facing down the dangers of anthropogenic climate change or "global warming," would have been solved long ago. Because as a wise liberal professor once told me in college: "WAR BAD! ENVIRONMENT GOOD! ME LIKE NPR AND MOTHER JONES! LET'S GO PROTEST! BLAH-BLAH-BLAH! UHHHHHHHH..... Professor sleepy. Must....go home....read Chomsky...then...not...get...laid.
But here, in reality, Gore lost the 2000 election and I still thank God that the duty of waging a war against Islamic extremism and Saddam Hussein was not left in the hands of a Gore Administration. For those who think things would actually be better now had Gore had 8 years in the White House instead of Bush, one need only look at the recent climate change debacle to put any delusions regarding the superior competence or intellectual honesty of Mr. Gore's leadership to rest.
For a decade now, Al Gore has served as the voice of the Global Warming alarmists. That they chose him to represent their cause was their first big mistake.
If you want people to take your movement seriously and believe it when you claim that you are fighting for a cause backed up by a "scientific consensus," then the last thing you want is for your movement's leader to be the incredibly divisive, hyper partisan loser of the most controversial presidential election in American history. Of course it doesn't help that Gore is so uncharismatic that he makes Mitch McConnell look like a politically knowledgeable George Clooney.
But the movement had to be led by a liberal. Even with some believable evidence pointing to Global Warming being caused by man, the whole concept of the apocalyptic nature of climate change fits perfectly into the traditional dogma of the modern liberal.
It is based on the idea that human kind is so flawed that it is destroying the planet. As with most of the worlds problems, America is to blame for most of it. And of course, the solution is to punish corporations and others within the private sector. It's the perfect progressive blame trifecta. It fits in absolutely perfectly with the world view of the devout leftist. If the Left could have found some way to hold the military accountable for the rise in global temperatures over the last 50 years I'm positive that they would have not hesitated to do so.
Then Gore and his followers made another mistake typical of politicians. They took a limited amount of inconclusive data and used it to convince the public that the evidence was so strong that no debate was necessary on the subject. And it worked. For a while. Until that is, the situation changed and the warnings of continued warming that the alarmists had been giving us for twenty years failed to materialize.
Plan B: Fudge the data. Hope the people don't find out.
They found out.
Plan C: Repeat original claim. Hope no one notices.
Ironically, it appears as though the debate on climate change actually is over. Gore and the alarmists have lost. There is no way that the American people are confident enough in the scientific community's theories, that they will sacrifice trillions in tax dollars and long-term economic growth for a cause whose leaders have engaged in trickery, irresponsible exaggerations and whose theories haven't panned out in the first place. Right now environmental and energy concerns rank dead last in terms of the issues that Americans view as important, tied with "something else" and "other" in almost every major poll. This weeks events in Copenhagen are a joke when viewed in light of climategate earthquake that occurred when those East Anglia e-mails popped up, forcing any common sense observer to reassess what they thought they knew about the end of the world.
It's difficult to feel very sorry for a character as unsympathetic as Al Gore and yet I do. Just when he thinks that his dreams of becoming a relevant figure in the annals of world history have been realized, those dreams are dashed by the reality of trying to lead a center-right and intellectually curious nation where non-partisan leadership and honesty are important qualities. The kind that is an unfortunate rarity in the rest of the world today.
But don't feel too bad for Mr. Gore. He may never be President. The prospects of the cause he has championed for decades may appear to have been devoured by the very polar bears that he sought to save and experiencing its last hurrah this week in Denmark. However, Gore has made a ton of money by spreading his climate change gospel to the true believers. So much money. Millions and millions of dollars. More money than you and I could possibly fathom. He did all of this without ever having to answer his critics or engage in a serious debate on the topic. That's talent.
Here's a particularly disgusting piece of propaganda from the alarmists.
Posted by Falling Panda at 1:15 AM
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
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Maryland's Senior Senator Barbara Mikulski got all upset the other day over the recent government panel recommendation that discouraged women under the age of 50 from getting annual mammograms. That's fine with me. But the reality is that Mikulski's objection was far from sincere. Had her outrage been based solely in a concern for women's lives her statements regarding the matter would have been far less politically charged and her support for the current Senate health care bill would not be as certain as it remains today.
Addressing the mammogram controversy, Mikulski said:
“....insurance companies may use this new recommendation as yet another reason to deny women coverage for mammograms.”
Sure. They may. But that's really a very backwards way of looking at the matter considering that if they did, it would be because a government panel told them that it was ok to do so.
The recommendations were not made by a group of independent doctors funded by the insurance industry. They came from doctors on a government panel, none of whom had expertise in the area of mammography. The same kind of government panel that will be making recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services about what kind of care patients are eligible to receive under government run health care and what corners can be cut in order to save money. These types of recommendations are assured once the Health care bill making it's way through congress is hooked up with the mandates for comparative effectiveness research found in the stimulus package.
And Senator Mikulski is going to vote for all of it. Her cover? She turns the tables and attempts to make the insurance industry the bad guy. Sorry Barb. This is a preview of government oversight into women's health issues, not another instance of the dangers of the status quo. A status quo that is second to none in terms of breast cancer survival rates. But the fact that you're still going to vote for the monstrosity currently making its way through the Senate, proves that you really don't care.
I know that putting an end to breast cancer is an issue that many young people--especially young women who have family members or friends who have been afflicted with this terrible disease--care deeply about. But young people continue to be the demographic group supporting Obamacare with the most enthusiasm. You need to wake up. You're being duped into believing that poorly thought out recommendations made by the government can be remedied by giving more power to the people responsible for making those poorly thought out recommendations in the first place. It's ironic that Sen. Mikulski is about to vote to give additional power to the type of group who she sharply criticized just days earlier for putting women's lives at risk.
So come on people. It's time to start watching what the other hand is doing.
Posted by Falling Panda at 5:38 PM
Monday, November 30, 2009
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This is Ross Douthat's latest New York Times Op-Ed. Douthat is the youngest columnist in Times history. Shockingly he is also a conservative.
The focus of Douthat's piece concerns the voting trends of young people based on economic factors. However Douthat also echoes some of the warnings that I give to the conservative establishment in my upcoming book.
Posted by Falling Panda at 7:17 AM
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
You still don't get it do you?
Alright. I'm gonna give this one last shot.
So the government will set up an insurance company, right? Then, if you can’t afford private insurance you can come to the government and get it at a much lower rate. The lower rate that the government offers will provide competition and that will force private insurers to lower their rates.
It sounds great! But I’m still waiting for someone to convince me that it wouldn’t lead us to a single-payer system.
Now, I understand that many of you think a single-payer system would be great. No insurance companies whatsoever. The government simply covers everybody and the taxpayers foot the bill. Of course this type of system would be impossible without raising taxes on everyone. The rich, the middle class, small business owners, investors. Everyone.
A lot of young people I’ve spoken to tell me that they wouldn’t mind all that much if they had to pay higher taxes so that everyone could have access to a government plan. But would they be willing to lose their job? Would they be willing to live in less comfortable conditions? Pay higher prices for goods and services? Subject their elderly relatives to a lower quality of medical care then they could have enjoyed otherwise?
I only ask because these are the long-term economic repercussions of single-payer and the public option will inevitably lead to such a system.
Here’s how it works:
The medical industry, made up of doctors, nurses, MRI machines, bedpans, etc. gets its money from a few places. The insurance companies and the government both pay the medical industry for the people insured under private plans as well as the millions covered by Medicare and Medicaid. The problem is that the government reimburses the hospitals far less for the care it provides than what the care actually is worth. So, the medical industry forces the insurance companies to pay more for the same care and the insurance companies pass those costs onto their policy holders.
A public option would pay the medical industry a rate comparable to those paid by Medicare and Medicaid. The difference would be that instead of the government plan covering just the elderly and the poor, it would now cover anyone who wanted it.
The private insurance industry is not very profitable- despite what the sophists in the Democratic Party would have you believe. It only makes about 3.5 cents on the dollar in annual profits.
The public option would lead to an increase in the number of people in the system without an increase in the resources it would take to adequately care for all of those people. Additionally the private insurance companies would bear the burden of the costs, since they need to make a profit to survive and the government can, and does, go as far into debt as they want. Because initially the quality of care wouldn’t differ between those under private and public plans, people would inevitably switch to the cheaper plan. Additionally, business owners would have no incentive to keep their employees on the plans they provide for their workers and could save money (at least in the short term) by dropping that coverage. The private insurers would eventually go out of business.
And here’s where the problems really begin.
Once everyone is reliant on the government to pay for the bulk of their medical costs, there are only two ways the government can afford it while paying the medical industry a rate that allows them to maintain a reasonable level of care and not falling too far into debt.
They cut back on care and take a larger role in the decisions made between you and your doctor, even fining physicians for performing procedures that government panels deem unnecessary. Or, they can raise taxes.
In Europe they do both of these things. But, the people of Europe don’t enjoy the high standard of living that we do in this country. Their employment rate is usually much higher than ours. New innovations or technologies rarely come out of these countries because their economic system discourages their citizens from being entrepreneurs. Why? Higher tax rates.
If America had adopted a single-payer system decades ago, the economic booms that the US experienced in the 80’s and 90’s would have never happened. Much of the technology that the world enjoys today would not exist. Let’s face it. What incentive would a Frenchman have to invent Google? Would a Swede have had the incentive to create Amazon? Mp3 players, cell phones. None of those things would be essential elements of human existence without American innovation and creativity and none of that creativity would have existed if we prevented the private sector from rewarding these innovations with untold wealth. High taxes destroy this incentive and a single-payer system would lead to high taxes. The public option would lead to single payer. Thus, the public option could very well be the first step in destroying everything that has enabled the American economy to become the most vibrant that the world has ever known. If you’re willing to make that sacrifice – among others- then that’s your business.
Many young Americans have become spoiled. They don’t understand how well America’s economy has actually worked over the last 30 years and that our unprecedented growth and high standard of living across the entire economic spectrum is no accident. The debate over the public health insurance option has been nasty. It’s because there is a fundamental disagreement between conservatives and liberals over what’s more important to a society in the long term. Freedom or equality. But make no mistake, the decision over the public option will have far reaching ramifications, not just in the realm of health care, but in every other aspect of all of our lives for the rest of our nation’s existence. So think about it. Really think about it.
Posted by Falling Panda at 11:04 PM
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
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Right now Americans are being offered two competing health care visions by Democrats. Both are awful. On the one hand we have the Baucus bill that would lead to a steep rise in insurance costs for Americans who currently have coverage. To the left of Baucus, we have the public option plan that would lead to the destruction of the health insurance industry altogether and which would, in time, result in huge tax increases and stifle economic growth. At this point, it would appear that the Democrats are poised to take advantage of the large majorities they enjoy in Congress and ram one of these two misguided ideas through, regardless of American public's unfavorable view of both of the current proposals. But there still may be hope for citizens who understand the incredible dangers posed by these myopic efforts to reform the system. These hopes are dependent on the voting decisions made by residents of Virginia and New Jersey on November 3rd.
Both Virginia and New Jersey will hold gubernatorial elections in two weeks. In Virginia, it appears that Republican Bob McDonnell is headed for a comfortable victory. Faced with a weak opponent and bolstered by growing backlash against the Obama agenda in the Commonwealth, it is likely that he will achieve a victory that could range anywhere from 5% to 15%. The final margin of victory is hard to predict since it’s unclear how many young and African-American voters who came out specifically to support Barack Obama last fall will return to the polls for a mid-term election with far less historical significance. Whatever happens, Republicans are growing increasingly confident about this race.
The situation in New Jersey is far less predictable. Right now, incumbent Democratic governor John Corzine is fighting for his life in one of America’s bluest states. Polls show the race tied, but the truth is that Corzine would probably be behind by several points if not for Independent candidate Chris Daggett, who is siphoning off support from Corzine’s Republican challenger Chris Christie. If Christie can pull out a victory in the Garden State, national Democrats will have no choice but to take notice.
If Christie can win in a state that Barack Obama carried by 15 points last November, congressional Democrats who are up for re-election in 2010 will think twice before throwing their support towards divisive health care proposals that seem to hemorrhage support every time the electorate is reminded exactly what they contain.
If Christie loses, congressional Democrats will be less likely to fully comprehend the wake-up call that would be loud and clear if he were to win. While the message could very well be sent again in 2010, if it is diluted by a Corzine victory then there is far less chance of stopping health care reform by instilling the fear of God in these fence-sitting Blue Dogs. There would be no shame for Republicans in a New Jersey loss, but the people of New Jersey who understand the dangers of the current health care proposals being discussed on Capitol Hill, need to be made aware of the national significance of their choice before pulling the lever for Mr. Daggett on Election Day
Posted by Falling Panda at 7:51 AM
Friday, October 09, 2009
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The Nobel Peace Prize ceased to represent anything remotely associated with “peace” long ago. In recent years, the once prestigious award has been bestowed upon a terrorist in Yasser Arafat and an enabler of dictators in Jimmy Carter. In giving the award to President Obama the Nobel selection committee has proven once and for all that the award itself is more of an honor that recognizes those who talk about “peace” rather than those who take meaningful steps towards actually achieving it.
But today’s shocking development will do more than serve as a reminder of the meaningless nature of the award itself. When viewed in the context of recent events, today’s announcement will undoubtedly serve to highlight just how little Barack Obama has actually accomplished during his time in office and that much of the praise heaped upon him by his promoters is largely undeserved.
The talking heads and Internet pundits are still abuzz over Saturday Night Live's recent decision to finally take the gloves off and chide Obama for his lack of effectiveness since taking office. This portrayal was met with a sense of relief from the Right, which was unsure if late-night comedians would ever begin subjecting Obama to the same level of good-natured comedic scrutiny that all of his predecessors enjoyed. It was met with relative silence from the Left, which may not have thought SNL’s jabs were very funny but knew in their hearts that such mockery was warranted.
I fully expect that at 11:30 tomorrow evening SNL will use today’s development, which is laughable in its own right, to once again shine light on the fact that Obama has done very little to deserve such adulation and praise.
By presenting Obama with Nobel’s highest honor, the committee may have just completed the caricature that SNL began drawing last weekend. Comedy has always been an important factor in defining our political leadership. It was SNL and the late-night talk show hosts that successfully branded Bill Clinton as a fast food-loving, womanizing scoundrel. They portrayed George W. Bush as an imbecilic man child and that portrayal helped to solidify the conventional wisdom of many of his detractors. They mercilessly mocked Sarah Palin to the point that many could not differentiate between statements actually made by the former governor and those made by Tina Fey. These over-the-top portrayals of our elected officials can have a very real impact on the evolution of the American people’s perception of them. The fact that Obama’s lack of accomplishment is being met with awards from the world community rather than its skepticism should make him a huge target, even for the liberal, late-night jesters.
Again, Obama talks a good game, but thus far that talk has led to no meaningful action. While Obama is lauded for promoting “peace,” he dithers as Afghanistan plummets further into chaos. As he calls for a world without nuclear weapons, he seems hesitant to take a hard stance as Iran’s Mullahs come ever closer to acquiring them. The discrepancy between the way Obama is treated by his adoring fans and his effectiveness should become the comedic narrative used to define Obama’s young presidency. As we know, these satirical send-ups have a way of taking on a life of their own.
Posted by Falling Panda at 10:27 AM
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
By Bret Stephens
Wall Street Journal
The other day I was asked by a writer for a mainstream French newspaper to say something about the "return" of the neoconservatives. His thesis seemed to be that the shambles of Barack Obama's foreign policy had, after only nine months, made what was thought to be the most discredited wing of an ostensibly brain-dead conservative movement relevant again. And France—no longer straining at the sight of Michelle Obama shopping in Paris's 6th arrondissement—is taking notice.
My answer was that the neocons are back because Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il and Vladimir Putin never went away. A star may have shone in the east the day Barack Obama became president. But these three kings, at least, have yet to proffer the usual gifts of gold and incense and myrrh.
Instead, the presents have been of a different kind. North Korea claims to be in the final stages of building a uranium enrichment facility—its second route to an atomic bomb. Iran, again caught cheating on its Nonproliferation Treaty obligations, has responded by wagging a finger at the U.S. and firing a round of missiles. Syria continues to aid and abet jihadists operating in Iraq. NATO countries have generally refused to send more troops to Afghanistan, and are all the more reluctant to do so now that the administration is itself wavering on the war.
As for Russia, its ambassador to the U.N. last week bellyached that the U.S. "continues to be a rather difficult negotiating partner"—and that was after Mr. Obama cancelled the missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic. Thus does the politics of concession meet with the logic of contempt.
All this must, at some level, come as a surprise to an administration so deeply in love with itself. "I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world," Mr. Obama told the U.N.'s General Assembly last week with his usual modesty. He added that those expectations were "rooted in hope—the hope that real change is possible, and the hope that America will be a leader in bringing about such change."
Yet what sounds like "hope" in, say, Toronto or Barcelona tends to come across as fecklessness in Warsaw and Jerusalem. In Moscow and Tehran, it reads like credulity—and an opportunity to exploit the U.S. at a moment of economic weakness and political self-infatuation.
For those much-scorned neocons, none of this comes as a surprise. Neoconservatives generally take the view that the internal character of a regime usually predicts the nature of its foreign policy. Governments that are answerable to their own people and accountable to a rule of law tend to respect the rights of their neighbors, honor their treaty commitments, and abide by the international rules of the road. By contrast, regimes that prey on their own citizens are likely to prey on their neighbors as well. Their word is the opposite of their bond.
That's why neocons have no faith in any deals or "grand bargains" the U.S. might sign with North Korea or Iran over their nuclear programs: Cheating is in the DNA of both regimes, and the record is there to prove it. Nor do neocons put much stock in the notion that there's a "reset" button with the Kremlin. Russia is the quintessential spoiler state, seeking its advantage in America's troubles at home and abroad. Ditto for Syria, which has perfected the art of taking credit for solving problems of its own creation.
Where neocons do put their faith is in American power, not just military or economic power but also as an instrument of moral and political suasion. Disarmament? The last dictator to relinquish his nuclear program voluntarily was Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, who did so immediately following Saddam Hussein's capture. Democratization? Contrary to current conventional wisdom, democracy is often imposed, or at least facilitated, by U.S. pressure—in the Philippines, in the Balkans and, yes, in Iraq. Human rights? Anwar Ibrahim, the beleaguered Malaysian opposition leader, told me last week that "the only country that can stand up" to abusive regimes is the United States. "If they know the administration is taking a soft stance [on human rights], they will go on a rampage."
None of this is to say that neoconservatism represents some kind of infallible doctrine—or that it's even a doctrine. Neocons have erred in overestimating the U.S. public's willingness to engage in long struggles on behalf of other people. They have erred also in overestimating the willingness of other people to fight for themselves, or for their freedom.
But as the pendulum has swung to a U.S. foreign policy based on little more than the personal attractions of the president, it's little wonder that the world is casting about for an alternative. And a view of the world that understands that American power still furnishes the margin between freedom and tyranny, and between prosperity and chaos, is starting to look better all the time. Even in France.
Posted by Falling Panda at 6:04 AM
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
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Less than a year ago, Barack Obama was being hailed as "post-partisan." Now, he seems to exemplify the slippery partisan. George Will describes Obama's recent actions here, but had he not mentioned Obama by name the following piece could easily be used as a case study in examining why Americans don't trust politicians.
George F. Will
Mitch McConnell Smiled?
The President is CPR for the GOP.
Published Sep 12, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Sep 21, 2009
Mitch McConnell, the taciturn Kentuckian who leads Senate Republicans, usually resembles Samuel Beckett's character Watt, who "had never smiled, but thought he knew how it was done." Last week, however, careful observers detected a trace of a hint of a shadow of a smile. Congressional Democrats were still at daggers drawn with one another, and the president's rhetoric was becoming CPR for the Republican Party.
On the 233rd day of his presidency, Barack Obama grabbed the country's lapels for the 263rd time—that was, as of last Wednesday, the count of his speeches, press conferences, town halls, interviews, and other public remarks. His speech to Congress was the 122nd time he had publicly discussed health care. Just 14 hours would pass before the 123rd, on Thursday morning. His incessant talking cannot combat what it has caused: An increasing number of Americans do not believe that he believes what he says.
He says America's health-care system is going to wrack and ruin and requires root-and-branch reform—but that if you like your health care (as a large majority of Americans do), nothing will change for you. His slippery new formulation is that nothing in his plan will "require" anyone to change coverage. He used to say, "If you like your health-care plan, you'll be able to keep your health-care plan, period." He had to stop saying that because various disinterested analysts agree that his plan will give many employers incentives to stop providing coverage for employees.
He deplores "scare tactics" but says that unless he gets his way, people will die. He praises temperate discourse but says many of his opponents are liars. He says Medicare is an exemplary program that validates government's prowess at running health systems. But he also says Medicare is unsustainable and going broke, and that he will pay for much of his reforms by eliminating the hundreds of billions of dollars of waste and fraud in this paragon of a program, and in Medicaid. He says Congress will cut Medicare (it will not) by $500 billion—without affecting benefits.
He says the nation's economic health depends on controlling health-care costs. Yet so important is the trial bar in financing the Democratic Party, he says not a syllable in significant and specific support of tort reforms that could save hundreds of billions of dollars by reducing "defensive medicine" intended to protect not patients from illnesses but doctors from lawyers. He has said he will not add a dime to the deficit when bringing 47 million people into government-guaranteed health care. But Wednesday night, 17 million went missing: "There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage." Almost 10 million of the uninsured are not citizens, and most of them are illegal immigrants. Presumably the other 7 million could get insurance but chose not to. Democrats propose fines to eliminate that choice. He suggests health-insurance companies are making excessive profits. But since 1996, profits of the six such companies in the S&P 500 have been below the 500's average. He says a "public option"—a government insurance program—would not be subsidized to enable it to compete unfairly with private insurers. (The post office and the government's transportation -"public option," Amtrak, devour subsidies.) He says the public option is vital for keeping health insurers "honest"—but that it is only a wee "sliver" of reform. About that, Nancy Pelosi -disagrees.
She is liberalism's Dolores Ibárruri, a.k.a. La Pasionaria—the Passion Flower. An anti-Franco orator during the Spanish Civil War, Ibárruri gave the Loyalists their battle cry, "¡Nopasarán!"—"They shall not pass!" Franco's forces did pass, but Pelosi has vowed that a reform plan lacking a public option shall not pass the House. But Montana Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, says a public option cannot pass the Senate.
McConnell of the Mona Lisa smile says Congress will pass something because Obama will sign anything. McConnell notes, however, that never in his 25 Senate years have Republicans polled close to Democrats when the question is: Which party do you trust most to deal with health care? Until now. Last week's polling: Democratic Party, 41; Republican Party, 39—a statistical dead heat. On a generic ballot question—which party do you intend to vote for?—the GOP has gone from down 12 points to dead even since November. Independents defected in droves from the GOP in 2006 and 2008, but today only one third of them view Obama's handling of health care favorably.
He says "the time for bickering is over." Presidents of both parties disparage as mere bickering all inconvenient arguments about what government can and should do. Americans "didn't send us here to bicker," said George Herbert Walker Bush, in the first 15 minutes of America's most recent one-term presidency.
Posted by Falling Panda at 7:53 AM
Thursday, September 10, 2009
First, let me start by saying that Rep. Joe Wilson’s interruption of President Obama last night was completely inappropriate. Regardless of how vehemently one disagrees or even despises a president, we must return to the traditions of political discourse in which a certain reverence for the office of the presidency is exhibited by our elected officials. I condemned poor behavior exhibited by Democrats when they treated President Bush in a similarly rude manner and every conservative should do the same with Wilson.
That being said, President Obama’s speech was viciously partisan and angered a great many of us on the right. We do in fact believe that President Obama is guilty of misrepresenting various elements of his plan to the American people. If Mr. Obama is going to continue to call those opposed to this plan “liars” then we as conservatives have every right to set the record straight if the president himself is pushing talking points that don’t hold up to scrutiny.
Obviously illegal immigration is a sensitive topic in this country and the idea that a government run health care plan such as the public option, would allow illegal aliens to receive coverage, is simply unacceptable.
Real questions remain as to how the current House bill treats illegals.
There is indeed a provision in the House bill, which states that illegal immigrants would not be eligible for the public plan. However, unlike Medicare and Medicaid, the pending legislation currently contains no provision that would require proof of citizenship when an individual attempts to sign up for the program. In fact, Democrats killed a GOP sponsored amendment that would have mandated that individuals show proof of citizenship in order to be eligible for the plan. This means that while illegals would be breaking the law by signing onto the plan, no effort would be made to prevent them from doing so. If an individual had no qualms about entering the country illegally in the first place, what reason is there to believe that they would not do so again in helping themselves to taxpayer funded health care?
Now, perhaps I’m not as familiar with the legislative process as I should be. If someone could assure me that there are provisions which would ensure that the legal status of those who signed up for the plan would be checked, and that this is something that will be added by government bureaucrats upon the bills passage, then I will happily cede the point to the president. But when compounded with the misleading statements that have already come from the president, such as his claim that the plan would not add to the deficit. Or his insistence (up until last night when he carefully changed his phrasing) that if you like your current plan, you can keep it, puts me in the company of a great number of Americans – including Rep. Wilson – who are increasingly skeptical as to whether this president is being honest with us when it comes to the very important subject of health care reform.
Again, the president can’t have it both ways. If he is going to chastise opponents of his plan for peddling “misinformation,” then he must be completely upfront in his own selling of the plan to the American public.
I never believed George W. Bush lied to the American people. At this point I would not go as far as to say that Barack Obama has done so either, but it appears that he is coming dangerously close. Dishonesty from our president is just as inappropriate as any disrespectful outburst made towards the Commander In Chief by a member of Congress.
Posted by Falling Panda at 6:48 AM
Sunday, September 06, 2009
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Communist, Truther, Race-Baiter. I miss Van Jones already.
But apparently the MSM hadn't even heard about him until today. Here's a list of the coverage they gave the guy prior to his resignation:
Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the New York Times: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the Washington Post: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on NBC Nightly News: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on ABC World News: 0.
Total words about the Van Jones controversy on CBS Evening News: 0.
Posted by Falling Panda at 1:52 PM
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Remember the outpouring of affection for the six guys who beat up a white kid in Jena, Louisiana in 2006? The offenders weren't bad, they were just misunderstood right? And the charges against them were obviously racially motivated. At least that's what Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would have us believe. The Six young criminals became celebrities appearing as presenters at awards shows, walking the red carpet and chatting it up with their favorite rappers. You know, as a reward for kicking someone's ass. They were the subjects of a song by John Mellencamp. Their cause was hyped as being of enormous relevance to the never-ending conversation on race in America. "Free the Jena 6" replaced "Bush Lied Many Died" as the favored rallying cry of liberal activists and unwashed hippies. And they got their wish. The Jena 6 served no jail time. It was actually only a brief reprieve for most of them though. What? You thought that these upstanding youths would take the fawning media coverage and use it as an opportunity to do something positive with their lives? Where's the fun in that? No. Here's what these civil rights icons did:
-In February 2007, Jesse Ray Beard was accused, and subsequently convicted and sentenced for simple battery, simple criminal damage to property less than $500 and simple assault. He received a suspended sentence of incarceration, and was placed on house arrest.
-Bryant Purvis, aged 19, was arrested on February 7, 2008 for an assault causing bodily injury on a fellow high school student in Texas, where he now resides. Purvis was placed on probation for a year and required to do community service for the offense.
-Corwin Jones, by then aged 19, was arrested on May 10, 2008 in LaSalle Parish on a charge of misdemeanor simple battery, stemming from an incident three days earlier in which the Sheriff's Department alleges that Jones struck a man from behind as several people, including Jones, came towards the man and his friends, with Jones' companions carrying baseball bats. Jones had previously been arrested on January 24, 2008 on a trespass-related charge.
-On May 10, Mychal Bell was stopped in Olla, Louisiana for speeding and not having proper vehicle insurance while on a weekend pass from his sentence. Bell was not supposed to leave Monroe, Louisiana during the pass. On December 24, 2008, Bell was arrested and charged with shoplifting, resisting arrest, and simple assault. According to police, Bell was caught as he and another male attempted to steal $370 worth of clothing from Dillard's department store. While being arrested, he reportedly fought back against a security guard and off-duty police officer. He was released on $1,300 bond. On December 29, 2008.
So in reality, the freedom granted to the Jena 6 was little more than a pause to what is sure to be their lifelong journey through the criminal justice system. These were not good kids. Locking them up for their brutal beating of Justin Barker could have prevented their future crimes. The mistake that the Left has continuously made throughout the years is that they see racial injustice everywhere and show sympathy for criminal behavior in order to fight the perceived injustice. This mindset is completely counterproductive to not only the goal of true racial equality, but also to the goal of maintaining a criminal justice system that effectively deters people from engaging in criminal activity.
But, I understand how a young person could think: 'Hey, the first time I assaulted an innocent person I got to hang out with "Ice Cube". People marched in the streets in support of me. If I do it again maybe I'll get to meet Kanye West.'
Too be fair two members of the “Jena 6” have somehow managed to avoid being thrown in the backseat of a red and blue since 2006. That means that 33% of the “Jena 6” have not made the people who stood up for them look like fools. That’s about the same level of support that Obamacare will have by the end of the month.
Next time the Left and the race-baiters in the NAACP and other outdated civil rights organization feel like throwing a race based temper tantrum, they should try to make sure that the anger and protests are not being held in support of degenerates. America hates racism, but most Americans also hate crime. Please stop making us choose between the two.
"Jena 6" member Robert Bailey Jr. putting the money donated to the "6", by sympathetic supporters, to good use.
Posted by Falling Panda at 7:01 PM
Thursday, August 13, 2009
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We’ve really never seen anything like this before. The anger being exhibited at the various town hall meetings around the country is absolutely fascinating and has no parallel in my lifetime. A lot of people are exceptionally angry and scared and their anger is genuine, their fears warranted. Some conservative leaders and protesters have used language to define the Obama health care plan, that is less than diplomatic and even exaggerated. I wouldn’t have chosen the term “death panels” for example. But that term has its basis in an actual part of the Obama plan. It is not “misinformation” as some on the pro-Obamacare side have deemed it.
When we look back at this, many will say that all of the screaming and anger aimed at our congressional representatives could have been avoided had Barack Obama himself simply done a better job of explaining his plan to the American people. I don’t believe so. Obama attempted to explain the plan in a way that made it sound as harmless as possible. He dressed up the plan with promises that were false, like “If you like your current plan, you can keep it” and made unbelievable promises of shrinking deficits and expanded choices. What Obama thought was, that the type of talking points which he had used so successfully during the campaign would work when it came to a piece of legislation as complex and consequential as reforming the US health care system by implementing an massive new government entitlement. He thought wrong. Obama underestimated the American publics ability to understand the ramifications of a public plan. He thought that by using words, like “competition” and “choice” as much as possible that eventually people would come to think that the Obama plan would deliver these things.
What those supporters of the plan who have decried the recent spread of “misinformation” are failing to acknowledge is that many conservatives were raising the same concerns and issuing the same warnings about the Democrat’s intentions, long before these town hall meetings began. Our concerns were not met with Democratic explanations as to why our fears were unfounded. They were met with talking-points and carefully worded rhetoric that did not match the reality of what common sense would dictate the actual long-term results of the plans implementation would be.
As a result, the Democrats are now relying almost solely on vilifying the behavior of the opposition to ensure the plan’s passage. They are no longer trying to explain away the people’s concerns, because they can’t. They know that these concerns are valid and based in the actual proposals that have been put forward by the Democrats. Polls are showing that this tactic is not working.
A lot of folks on the Left have been mocking the common protester cry of “I want my country back.” If any statement made by the protesters lacks merit, it is this one. The United States has not been radically altered. Yet. But if Obamacare passes in its current form, and results in the massive changes to our economy and overall standard of care that conservatives genuinely believe it will result in, then Americans will have a legitimate reason to “want their country” back. Unfortunately, with the Democratic plan firmly in place, it may be too late.
Posted by Falling Panda at 12:08 PM
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I understand that it has been nearly a month since my last posting. This is especially noticeable given all that is going on in Washington right now. I deeply regret my absence on these pages as of late, as I believe that even tiny boutique blogs like "Falling Panda" have an important role to play in stopping the Obama agenda. Especially his disastrous health care package which if passed could have a permanent growth killing effect on our nation's economy.
Despite this, I assure you that my absence is not without reason.
For the last month I have been furiously working on my first book.
The as of yet untitled work is a field manual of sorts for the young conservative (those 35 and under), but I hope it will appeal to older conservative’s as well.
The first half of the book examines the massive youth following that supported Barack Obama in 2008. As a 30-year old who has been surrounded by liberals both young and old for my entire life, I feel that I have a unique perspective as to why these voters were so enthusiastic for Obama and why they have been gravitating towards liberalism for the past twenty years.
The second half of the book is an issue-by-issue guide that explains the tenants behind conservative principles and why the typical liberal positions on these same issues are almost always inferior to ours.
Thus far, I have completed nearly 250 pages and I am almost finished with the first draft.
I will be sure to post any news concerning the completion and/or release of the book here on the blog.
Again, thanks for all of your support. I'll be back full-time very shortly.
Posted by Falling Panda at 7:01 PM
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Here are some of the things we’ll learn during tomorrow night's ABC Obamacare infomercial:
- We can’t afford not to act.
- If you like your current health plan you can keep your plan.
- People who are against this plan want to “do nothing”.
That’s going to be the gist of it. It just doesn’t seem fair that for an overhaul of the health care industry this massive, ABC will give Obama a stage from which he can spout reliable talking points for an hour, while no dissenting voices will be present to expose the true, single-payer consequences of Obama’s multi-trillion dollar reforms.
Instead, the opposition must hope that one of the civilian questioners stumps Obama with a tricky question (unlikely). Or that Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer call Obama on some of the inconsistencies present in his efforts to explain the plan thus far (much more unlikely).
Nope. Tomorrow night you can expect another MSM/Obama love fest, filled to the brim with health care sob stories and meaningless reiterations from Obama on how his plan is not “socialized medicine”.
But if there’s a sleeper in the audience tomorrow. If somehow an above average policy mind sneaks into the taping and gets to present the President with a question, here’s what it should be:
“Mr. President, you’ve repeatedly stated that if you like your current health insurance coverage you can keep it. But, most people get their health insurance through heir employer. So what’s going to stop the employers from dropping their coverage in an effort to save money and simply encouraging all of their employees to take the “public option?”
Now, we already know the answer that Obama will give to this question. He’s going to say that there will be a fine on employers who don’t cover their workers. What he wont say is how high that fine will be. If the penalty is less than the savings that can be reaped by dropping the company health plan, then America is in for a permanent, expensive government funded health care debacle, courtesy of the spendyest President to ever take up residence in the White House.
"Bitch Thinks She Cute!"
Posted by Falling Panda at 3:26 PM
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This Father's day, don't let liberal guilt go to your heads dads.
This Boomer Isn't Going To Apologize
By STEPHEN MOORE
Last weekend I attended my niece's high-school graduation from an upscale prep school in Washington, D.C. These are supposed to be events filled with joy, optimism and anticipation of great achievements. But nearly all the kids who stepped to the podium dutifully moaned about how terrified they are of America's future -- yes, even though Barack Obama, whom they all worship and adore, has brought "change they can believe in." A federal judge gave the commencement address and proceeded to denounce the sorry state of the nation that will be handed off to them. The enemy, he said, is the collective narcissism of their parents' generation -- my generation. The judge said that we baby boomers have bequeathed to the "echo boomers," "millennials," or whatever they are to be called, a legacy of "greed, global warming, and growing income inequality."
And everyone of all age groups seemed to nod in agreement. One affluent 40-something woman with lots of jewelry told me she can barely look her teenagers in the eyes, so overcome is she with shame over the miseries we have bestowed upon our children.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that graduation ceremonies have become collective airings of guilt and grief. It's now chic for boomers to apologize for their generation's crimes. It's the only thing conservatives and liberals seem to agree on. Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana, told Butler University grads that our generation is "just plain selfish." At Grinnell College in Iowa, author Thomas Friedman compared boomers to "hungry locusts . . . eating through just about everything." Film maker Ken Burns told this year's Boston College grads that those born between 1946 and 1960 have "squandered the legacy handed to them by the generation from World War II."
I could go on, but you get the point. We partied like it was 1999, paid for it with Ponzi schemes and left the mess for our kids and grandkids to clean up. We're sorry -- so sorry.
Well, I'm not. I have two teenagers and an 8-year-old, and I can say firsthand that if boomer parents have anything for which to be sorry it's for rearing a generation of pampered kids who've been chauffeured around to soccer leagues since they were 6. This is a generation that has come to regard rising affluence as a basic human right, because that is all it has ever known -- until now. Today's high-school and college students think of iPods, designer cellphones and $599 lap tops as entitlements. They think their future should be as mapped out as unambiguously as the GPS system in their cars.
CBS News reported recently that echo boomers spend $170 billion a year -- more than most nations' GDPs -- and nearly every penny of that comes from the wallets of the very parents they now resent. My parents' generation lived in fear of getting polio; many boomers lived in fear of getting sent to the Vietnam War; this generation's notion of hardship is TiVo breaking down.
How bad can the legacy of the baby boomers really be? Let's see: We're the generation that spawned Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Google, ATMs and Gatorade. We defeated the evils of communism and delivered the world from the brink of global thermonuclear war. Now youngsters are telling pollsters that they think socialism may be better than capitalism after all. Do they expect us to apologize for winning the Cold War next?
College students gripe about the price of tuition, and it does cost way too much. But who do these 22-year-old scholars think has been footing the bill for their courses in transgender studies and Che Guevara? The echo boomers complain, rightly, that we have left them holding the federal government's $8 trillion national IOU. But try to cut government aid to colleges or raise tuitions and they act as if they have been forced to actually work for a living.
Yes, the members of this generation will inherit a lot of debts, but a much bigger storehouse of wealth will be theirs in the coming years. When I graduated from college in 1982, the net worth of America -- all our nation's assets minus all our liabilities -- was $16 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. Today, even after the meltdown in housing and stocks, the net worth of the country is $45 trillion -- a doubling after inflation. The boomers' children and their children will inherit more wealth and assets than any other in the history of the planet -- that is, unless Mr. Obama taxes it all away. So how about a little gratitude from these trust-fund babies for our multitrillion-dollar going-away gifts?
My generation is accused of being environmental criminals -- of having polluted the water and air and ruined the climate. But no generation in history has done more to clean the environment than mine. Since 1970 pollutants in the air and water have fallen sharply. Since 1960, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh have cut in half the number of days with unsafe levels of smog. The number of Americans who get sick or die from contaminants in our drinking water has plunged for 50 years straight.
Whenever kids ask me why we didn't do more to combat global warming, I explain that when I was young the "scientific consensus" warned of global cooling. Today's teenagers drive around in cars more than any previous generation. My kids have never once handed back the car keys because of some moral problem with their carbon footprint -- and I think they are fairly typical.
The most absurd complaint of all is that the health-care system has been ruined by our generation. Oh, really? Thanks to massive medical progress in the past 30 years, the chances of dying from heart disease and many types of cancer have been cut in half. We found effective treatments for AIDS within a decade. Life expectancy has risen and infant mortality fallen. That doesn't sound so "selfish" to me.
Yes, we are in a deep economic crisis today -- but it's no worse than what we boomers faced in the late 1970s after years of hyperinflation, sky-high tax rates and runaway government spending. We cursed our parents, too. But then we grew up and produced a big leap forward in health, wealth and scientific progress. Let's see what this next generation of over-educated ingrates can do.
Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal's editorial page
Posted by Falling Panda at 12:23 PM
Sunday, June 14, 2009
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.......or is Iran ripe for regime change? We all know how much President Obama loves "soft power". Well now would be a great time to use it. Even if not initially successful the Administration could show the Iranian people that America truly stands with the Muslim world by supporting what very well could be the majority that voted for Mr. Mousavi, rather than setting up some kind of moral equivalency between the United States and treacherous Islamic regimes as Mr. Obama did in his Cairo speech. A public show of support for what's happening in the Iranian streets would give us just as much leverage and is far more in keeping with our values than sitting down and talking to a Holocaust denier. Here's a good one from The Weekly Standard that expands on this theory and another article from Neoavatera that defines the missed opportunity very succinctly.
Posted by Falling Panda at 10:09 PM
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
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First of all I want to thank everyone out there who made Saturday's posting such a hit. Especially Michelle Malkin who is the heart and soul of the conservative blogosphere.
Now, while I was undercover in L.A. on Saturday, Byron York was openly observing one of the Obamacare meet-ups in Northern VA. Notice the similarities to what I described in my last post. In other words, Obamabots are the same wherever you go.
Digging in for Obama’s health-care offensive
By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
06/09/09 12:05 AM EDT
It's hard to tell whether this meeting, at a La Madeleine restaurant in a sprawling shopping-center complex just outside Washington, is the start of a historic movement or just a strangely wonkish group-therapy session.
About 20 people from Northern Virginia have come to this faux-rustic French café on a Saturday morning to discuss health care reform. That alone makes them unusual; after all, there are a lot of other things one could be doing to begin the weekend. But they have answered the call from Organizing for America (OFA), which is basically the 2008 Obama campaign operating under a new name.
"This is the political issue I care about most, apart from the war," declares one woman, who says she was born and raised in Canada and favors a Canadian-style, single-payer health care system for the U.S.
"It's a moral issue," says another woman, who identifies herself as a nurse.
"It's criminal," says a woman who is from France and envisions a European-style, single-payer system for this country.
This meeting, and others like it -- OFA says there were thousands all across the country -- is the beginning of the hand-to-hand phase of the health care reform fight. After months of buildup, the White House is planning an all-out campaign to pass its reform package, whatever that turns out to be.
Organizing for America prepared a video to accompany the meetings. Much of it is news clips of Obama stressing the need for change. But the second part is a message from Addisu Demissie, the Canadian-born political director for OFA. "We cannot and we will not compromise" on Obama's principles for health care, Demissie says.
Sitting in front of an "I Stand With Sotomayor" poster, Demissie tells participants to "practice sharing your personal health care story." He stresses the need to "be able to articulate what this effort means to you -- your story is the most valuable tool in your arsenal as you talk to your friends and neighbors about the urgent need for reform."
The striking thing about the group at La Madeleine is that most of them don't really have personal health care stories. When the leader goes around the table, none of them has a terrible illness. No one is uninsured. In fact, nearly everyone begins by saying they don't have a problem with health insurance; they have it through their jobs, or in their retirement arrangement, or can afford to purchase it.
But they have their concerns. One woman tells of watching as her mother, and then her younger sister, developed Alzheimer's disease. She is clearly worried about what is next. "I'm by myself," the woman says. "When I walk out of my job, I don't have health care."
A few are nurses who say they've seen patients in dire straits with no coverage. Others are a little, well, quirky. "I'm kind of into alternative, integrative medicines," says one woman. One man appears to be there looking for business opportunities. But many are just people who care a lot about the issue -- and want to win the political debate.
You've heard Republicans warning about a "government takeover" of the health care system. It's safe to say that's exactly what a lot of these people want. Although it's not on the agenda -- "The purpose of the meeting wasn't to discuss policy," the group leader tells me -- in the world of Organizing for America, the most intense debate is among those who want Obama to seek a single-payer government plan now and those who prefer such a plan but believe it is not politically possible at the moment.
A few weeks ago, GOP strategist Frank Luntz conducted research suggesting that Republicans should oppose a government takeover of the health care industry but at the same time acknowledge that the system has serious problems that must be fixed. Seeing this group would be a good companion lesson for the GOP.
Listen to the woman worried that she'll develop Alzheimer's and you'll see why Republicans should have their own plan. But listen to those who just seem to relish the fight and you'll realize they really don't have much of a case for the nationalization of health care. You can help the worried woman without blowing up the system.
Luntz showed Republicans how to make the argument. But as the battle begins, can they match Obama's organization?
Posted by Falling Panda at 11:22 AM
Monday, June 08, 2009
Being a conservative Republican, I originally only signed up for a profile on Mybarackobama.com in order to examine the site and write about the various ways in which Obama used social networking to entice young people to help his campaign. I never though that this research would lead me to the house of a middle aged woman named Sandra Cuneo in North Hollywood, California.
Mybarackobama.com listed Sandra’s house as one of hundreds of meet-up locations around the country where Obama supporters could get together and discuss their strategy for selling the president’s health care plan to the nation. “Brainstorming Sessions” was what the literature created by the Obama administration and distributed to the meetings' participants, called it.
While this type of grassroots organizing worked exceptionally well for Obama in the fall election, I was skeptical that the same excitement and willingness to hit the pavement would exist among the activists when it came to an issue as complex and controversial as health care reform.
So there I was, undercover, on a Saturday afternoon, sporting a name tag that read “Al”, eating organic sushi and vegetarian burritos with some of Obama’s most loyal supporters, listening to a woman discuss the difficulties she had in putting a Barack Obama Fathead sticker on her apartment wall.
After the group of roughly twenty people had arrived and taken their seats to watch a special video from the President, the first thing I noticed was that besides myself (and obviously, I didn’t count) there was only one individual at the meeting who could have possibly been under 30 years of age. Where were Obama’s legions of young supporters whose energy had helped Obama win the election? Perhaps they were hung-over from Friday night benders. Perhaps they were at other meetings and just not this particular one. Perhaps they don’t care as much about health care policy because they rarely get sick. Whatever it was, the median age at this particular event was clearly somewhere in the 50’s.
As the discussion began, the meeting's participants immediately began firing off questions about the details of the health care plan to Sandra and the other woman who was leading the event. For all of their enthusiasm, these group leaders were completely incapable of describing the particulars of the Obama plan in any coherent way. What they did understand however was that Obama’s “public option”, the government-run insurance program that Obama wants to create to compete with the private insurance companies, was the first step towards the entitlement that almost everyone in that room (based on the raising of hands at the beginning of the meeting) was really longing for: a European style “single payer” health care system. They also understood that part of their job as grassroots activists promoting the plan was to assure people that the plan was not going to result in “single payer”. How Obamaesque.
Sandra and our other esteemed leader explained to the group that the primary focus of the administration's efforts to sell the health care plan was going to be in emphasizing “personal stories”. So, for the next few months, we can expect a steady stream of sob stories about some guy named Raymond who has Lupus and has to subsist on cat food in order to pay his skyrocketing health care bills. The Obama administration knows that the majority of Americans will not be able to grasp the consequences of this complex plan and therefore, as liberals tend to do, they plan to play on the emotions of the American people in order to sell the massive bureaucracy which this plan will inevitably spawn.
In keeping with the community organizer code, we eventually broke into groups where we were to “brainstorm” and think of events we could hold that would raise awareness of Obamacare.
In my group, we sat in a circle and each of us read one of the talking points listed in the Obama health care packet. This practice struck me as being similar to grammar school, where we would go around the classroom and each student would read a certain portion of a given text. Why one person couldn’t have read the entire paragraph I have no idea. We were then each asked to share our ideas for raising awareness and gaining support for the Obama plan.
Some of the ideas that came out of this pow-wow were:
-Going to a busy L.A. intersection and holding up signs saying “Honk If You Support Barack Obama’s Health Care Plan”.
-Sitting in front of grocery stores and having people signing petitions showing their support for Obamacare.
- Holding another meeting.
-Setting up a table in front of a Metro station and having people take a quiz created by the Obama campaign that posed difficult multiple choice questions such as:
“How important is it for you to choose your own doctor?”
c) Not At All
The correct answer of course being:
“The third principle of President Obama’s health care reform is that everyone have a guaranteed choice of doctor, hospital and insurance plan”
So if you answered that personally choosing your own doctor didn’t matter to you at all, you would be wrong.
There was one very good suggestion made during the group meeting. It was to go to a local mall and hand out a list of the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of the Blue Dog Democrats whose votes will determine whether or not the bill passes. Passersby would be urged to contact these legislators and inform them of their support for the president’s plan.
Halfway through making this suggestion, I realized that I was being far too helpful.
I came away from this meeting with a renewed confidence that Obama will not be able to rely on his loyal activist army to sell nationalized health care. While these individuals are passionate and are perfectly capable of handing out flyers and talking about “hope” and “change” during an election cycle, they are clearly grossly under-prepared to answer questions from concerned citizens about an issue as complex as health care.
Perhaps I’m wrong. I’ll find out on June 27 when the Obama army takes to the streets and we see the results of the brainstorming sessions in action. However, the entire time I was at the meeting, for all of the talk of “health care for all” and how “meaningful reform can’t wait” there was not a single question about or mention of the program's potential costs to the taxpayer. If these well-meaning activists are under the impression that they won’t be confronted by individuals who are already incensed with Obama’s proclivity to spend large sums of money and his failure to propose any realistic way of paying for it all, then they have another think coming.
Concerned citizens have a good chance of killing this ill-conceived health care overhaul. I’m convinced of this after seeing first-hand those who Obama has fighting for him on the ground.
Posted by Falling Panda at 6:11 PM
Friday, May 29, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
In the world of liberal theory, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is a very simple issue. It is a choice between equality and “bigotry”, plain and simple. However, in the real world, the world in which our military men and women serve and in which human nature is realistically disseminated, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is far more complex than the left and the gay lobby would like you to believe.
Today’s California Supreme Court ruling aside, the gay rights movement has had some victories of late involving the gay marriage issue. In reality the entire gay marriage debate is over the meaning of the word “marriage” and the consequences of our nation moving towards one side or the other will not have any tangible impact on anyone whatsoever. If the gays are denied the right to “marry” they will be upset, but will still be permitted to spend their lives with whomever they wish and pending some sort of civil union legislation they will enjoy the same legal rights as any other couple. If gays are given the right to “marry”, those who believe that marriage should remain between a man and a woman will be upset, however the fact that gay weddings are occurring will in no way directly impact their lives or weaken the significance their own traditional marriage. If God is upset by gay marriage then he can sort it out in his own time.
Allowing gays to serve openly in the military is a far more sensitive issue and one that could have real consequences that impact America’s most important government institution in a very real way. Ironically, gay marriage is the controversial issue over which the nation is split, while the American people overwhelmingly support allowing gays to openly serve in the military. What this should tell us is that the American people are viewing the issue through the lens of liberal theory and are not aware of the arguments being made by many who actually serve in the armed forces, where opinion is still on the side of keeping “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” intact.
Liberals argue that gay individuals serve in our military with honor and distinction and fight with the same ability and love for country, as do straight soldiers. I have no doubt that this is true.
Liberals also argue that dismissing soldiers from the military once they have come out of the closet has cost the military nearly $300 million dollars over the fifteen years, due to increased recruiting efforts needed to replace them. While I find it amusing that liberals are suddenly touting the benefits of saving government money, while at the same time supporting the spending binge that has thus far defined the Obama era, there is no doubt that dismissing gay soldiers has its costs. These costs are not only monetary. Gay soldiers also serve as specialists in vital areas and the armed forces is undoubtedly weakened every time one of these individuals outs themselves and is subsequently dismissed.
These consequences are unfortunate, but they are not consequential enough to warrant undertaking what would essentially be a social experiment with unknown results in an institution responsible for protecting our lives and the lives of countless others throughout the world..
What many liberals and gay activists are overlooking here, either willingly or out of ignorance, is that while the enlightened among us, including many who are in favor of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, harbor no ill will towards homosexuals, there are still people in our society who do. There are still those who are incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality, viewing its practice not only antithetical to the laws of God, but also to the laws of nature. The gay movement has itself made the argument that these views and those who would act on them in a violent or other wise hostile way towards homosexuals are still so prevalent in our society that special legislation is necessary in order to protect gays and lesbians from these people in the form of Hate Crimes laws. Yet, at the same time, they seem to brush aside the fact that individuals with views such as these could exist in army barracks and fox holes.
You cannot change an individual’s heart or mindset by way of legislation, however well meaning. To this fact the gay lobby and other liberals reply “So what?” They assume that if ignorance and bigotry are present, the target of such hateful views will undoubtedly be strong enough to ignore it and the commanding officers will put a quick stop to any unfair practices or rhetoric aimed at the openly gay soldier. The only problem is that no one can guarantee this. Nor can one guarantee an absence of violence or abusive speech from intolerant soldiers towards gay service members. In fact, I’m guessing that problems will arise and will become public knowledge since the American media has an insatiable appetite for stories involving both gays and military matters. The exposure of these internal issues will embarrass both the military and the nation as a whole as well as those who fought so hard to have “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed, and who told us that no harm would come from lifting the ban.
Our military is the envy of the world and keeping it that way requires that the men and women who serve in it work together as a unit. Maintaining morale and preventing dissension and infighting in the ranks is essential to maintaining the well-oiled military machine, especially during a time of war. Until everyone is as accepting of those with different sexual preferences as this author, there is far too much risk in pursuing this policy under the banner of social justice.
Unlike many on the left, I trust the military establishment. When our generals make a claim or raise a concern, I take it very seriously. These are not politicians. They are not individuals who are pandering or scrounging for votes. They have no reason to lie or mislead us, nor do I believe that the 60% of active military members who are opposed to repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, are anti-gay. That’s why, when a significant number of generals and other military personnel express deep concern about the prospect of overturning the law, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt. I can only assume that they have a far better understanding of internal military affairs than gay activists or liberal politicians and I for one am not about to undermine their views by way of legislation until an overwhelming majority of them are confident that overturning “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” would not have any negative impact whatsoever on the day to day internal workings of our military or the public’s perception thereof.
So for now America should keep the imperfect “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy on the books. I can only hope that for most gays currently serving in the military, their service to the United States is more important than openly expressing their sexual preference. If that is the case, then I stand with all open-minded Americans in my hope that someday this policy will no longer be necessary.
Posted by Falling Panda at 11:01 AM
Saturday, May 23, 2009
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I was always of the mind that President George W. Bush’s greatest weakness as a politician was at the same time his greatest asset. President Bush had such poor communication skills that while he often had trouble articulating his ideas and actions to the American people, his ability to engage in rhetorical trickery was also severely limited. President Obama's communication skills, on the other hand, are easily his most impressive attribute. In the past few months, it has become clear that Obama has no reservations about using these skills to manipulate public opinion. For instance, alarm bells should have gone off in everyone’s head when they heard the president repeatedly claim that his administration would “create or save” 4 million jobs. To the untrained ear this sounds wonderful, but any remotely astute observer should have immediately questioned how the number of jobs that were “saved” as a result of Obama’s policies could even be determined. If only 4 million Americans are employed at the end of Obama’s first term will Obama take credit for “saving” those jobs?
During a campaign cycle, subtly deceptive reasoning such as this is to be expected and is widely accepted as a fact of political life. However, once a president assumes office it is generally expected that they deal with problems without the fog of rhetoric clouding what it is they’re actually attempting to do. This fog was on full display in the President’s National Archives speech, which he set up to go head-to-head with a national security speech being made by former Vice President Dick Cheney.
In the speech, Obama cleverly disregarded the claims being made by Cheney telling his audience that in having the current debate
"….we have a return of the politicization of these issues."
No one wants that right? Except Barack Obama apparently.
It was Obama’s politicization of these important issues that got him into the debate with Cheney in the first place. Remember when the President signed an executive order closing Gitmo on his third day in office? This wasn’t policy. It couldn’t possibly have been since Obama had no workable plan to close the prison to begin with. It was politics. He got the votes he needed when he said he was going to close the prison during the campaign. He got the applause he wanted when he signed the order, but, as we now see, he put a large cart before a tiny, miniature horse .
Many on the left cheered when Obama released memos highlighting harsh interrogation techniques used on terrorist detainees. But what did this accomplish? Transparency? Such a claim might believable if made in concert with the release of the memos concerning how well the interrogation techniques worked. However, that would negate the political gain that Obama was trying to make by releasing the memos in the first place. When Cheney called him on the matter of the unreleased memos the president developed new reasoning for his decision to ban the techniques.
“Not because there might not have been information that was yielded by these various detainees … but because we could have gotten this information in other ways.”
So now the Harvard-educated lawyer is trying to argue a negative, essentially saying that the techniques may have worked in acquiring information that saved American lives but Cheney can’t prove that we wouldn’t have received the same valuable information had we not used these harsh techniques. This argument is absurd.
I can’t prove that there’s not an alternative universe where it rains gumdrops and in which giraffes sing Neil Diamond songs, , however if I were to claim that there was such a fantastic place I'd better have some evidence to back it up or else people will conclude that I'm an escaped mental patient.
Even without the absurd argument of pertinent information possibly having presented itself had we not used the techniques, Obama's position relies on the false premise that other kinder and gentler techniques were not attempted prior to methods such as waterboarding. This is simply untrue.
But there’s more.
In his speech, Obama reiterated the oft-repeated line among Democrats that Guantanamo,
“...created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained”.
I’ve heard this claim made hundreds of times by Democrats without ever seeing a shred of evidence to back it up. If he was questioned on the claim's validity, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Obama tell us that we couldn’t prove that Guantanamo did not “create more terrorists around the world.”
See what I’m getting at here?
For Obama this type of sophistry is par for the course. He used it when selling his stimulus package framing the issue as a choice between a trillion dollars in government spending and “doing nothing”. Yet no one was, in fact, advocating, “doing nothing”.
He used it when he overturned the Bush stem cell policy when he labeled those opposed to his decision as
".. those who say, we cannot invest in science."
Who was saying that? I heard people questioning the morality of his decision, but not a single voice questioning the morality of investing in science.
I could go on and on.
I understand that Barack Obama’s rhetorical abilities, his charm and his personality created a whole new generation of young people who are interested in politics, but that does not mean that these new activists are politically savvy.
The Clinton years were a terrific example of how a charming politician can obscure the truth for political gain and never be called on it until the lies become far too egregious to ignore.
During the peace and prosperity of the Clinton era, the president's deceptions were relatively harmless, harming no one other than Clinton himself. But during a time of war and economic upheaval, the stakes are far higher, and the dangers of political grandstanding on matters of national importance should be evident to all.
Obviously, Obama wants to be the anti-Bush and in terms of his communication skills he will undoubtedly succeed in that mission time and time again. I’m sure many women will be happy to warn you of the romantic dangers inherent in falling for a smooth-talking man. However, the dangers of a smooth-talking politician put the nation at risk of far more than an embarrassing one night stand. We must watch closely. All citizens have a responsibility to carefully dissect what Mr. Obama says. I’m fairly confident that with his unparalleled gifts for communication and rhetoric, this president is fully capable of convincing an entire nation to walk off of a cliff. I can’t prove that he’s capable of this. But then you can’t prove that he’s not capable of it.
Posted by Falling Panda at 2:23 PM