Musings on the Week
Views on the News*
July 9, 2016
The presidency of Barack Obama will be judged by history on his current record which reveals an enormous gap between his grandiose promises and his pitiful performance over the past eight years. An important question for any President is what issues fall in the domain of government action, and which should be left to the private sector. First, the government should seek to avoid interfering in economic affairs to allow the forces of competition and innovation to increase the size of the social pie from which everyone can benefit. Second, the government should focus its exercise of national power on defending the nation and its allies from aggression. Obama inverts these key relationships - a fundamental mistake. He is all too willing to use coercion in domestic economic affairs against disfavored groups, and all too reluctant to use it against sworn enemies of the United States and its allies. A mistake of this magnitude cannot be corrected by marginal adjustments in office. The sad truth is that the United States today is weaker economically, more divided socially, and more disrespected across the globe than it was before Obama took office. With few exceptions, he made the wrong choices in all the areas in which he declared the dawn of a new era. His vaunted health-care exchanges violated every sound principle of economic theory. The benefit packages that were mandated were far more exhaustive than those supplied under any private plan. The more exacting standards for existing private plans forced many of them to close down or curtail their operations. The insistence that administrative expenses be capped at a predetermined fraction of total expenditures micromanaged businesses by outsiders who were totally ignorant of the trade-offs among various firm functions. Large numbers of insured people were forced out of sensible private plans into a restricted diet of public plans, typically heavily subsidized. The standard insurance problem of adverse selection was overlooked, as the President and his supporters acted as if young and healthy people were anxious to stay in health-care plans that forced them to provide extensive subsidies to older recipients. Instead, these healthy people simply delayed joining any plan until they had an immediate need of expensive medical services. The exchanges have had a rocky reception at best, and they have an uncertain future. The situation is no better when we talk about “good jobs” for the “jobless.” The President’s policies have wreaked havoc on labor markets. Our unfortunate New Deal legacy contains many laws disrupting labor markets that no President can repeal at will, but the President can use his enormous administrative discretion to ease their burden. Elsewhere, the Obama administration has sought to prop up union membership by ordering quickie elections, limiting employer speech, and treating franchisor like McDonald’s as though they were the employers of their franchisees. These clumsy forms of labor market intervention have led his administration to take protectionist positions on free trade in order to safeguard faltering labor monopolies. To be sure, unemployment rates have gone down, but so too have labor market participation and median family income. The President’s policies also falter when it comes to the hugely complex issues of global warming and the environment. Even though the President puts global warming at the top of his agenda, he ignores science to preside over an Environmental Protection Agency that refuses to rework its permitting rules to allow low-carbon emission plants to displace the antiquated facilities still in operation. Obama also champions massive overregulation under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. His international protocols could easily create domestic dislocation without securing any tangible environmental benefits. Foreign affairs, for their part, have been an unmitigated disaster. Everywhere one looks: Russia, China, the Middle East, the situation is more dangerous than it was before President Obama took office. That is the inescapable consequence of a presidential reluctance to trust military affairs to generals, and to rule out of bounds, virtually categorically, the use of American ground troops to stem the violence in the Middle East. The relative stability that George W. Bush bequeathed to Obama in 2009 has been shattered in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, and by the rising power of Iran. ISIS commits atrocities nearly daily, most recently in Baghdad and Bangladesh. The turmoil has created a migration crisis in Europe and throughout the Middle East. Red lines in Syria count for nothing, and ISIS has set up multiple permanent bases throughout the Middle East, which serve as springboards for terrorist activities that have reached the United States, most recently in Orlando. Yet Obama’s only firm commitments are to cut down our military capability and not to use ground forces in the Middle East, leaving a huge power void that the Russians are all too eager to fill. Pax Americana is indeed dead. Nor has Obama done better on an issue close to his heart: race relations. Instead of firm moral leadership, the President has raised tensions. The “Ferguson effect” has made policing ever more difficult in African-American communities. No wonder crime rates are rising across the country, even in cities like Chicago that have strict, but largely ineffective, gun control laws, which the president relentlessly champions without any explanation of how they are likely to do any good. Behind all of these social ills lies a President who lacks the skills of a leader.
(“Barack Obama’s Failed Presidency” by Richard A. Epstein dated July 5, 2016 published by Hoover Institute at http://www.hoover.org/research/barack-obamas-failed-presidency )
I am not a citizen of the world, and I am not going to be part of your collective. I don’t respect the United Nations, international law or think any other culture compares favorably to our own. I respect the Brits, the Israelis, the Aussies and a few other nations that have built great legacies their children can be proud of, but they’re not America. We’re better than the rest of the world…or we used to be. It doesn’t matter how many Americans are out of work or how many immigrants end up on welfare; we keep looking for ways to raise the level of immigration. Now we spend most of our time trying to be like nations that are poorer, weaker and less moral than we are while we encourage people who move here from inferior nations to hold onto their backward cultures. When you say the culture of a nation like Mexico or Syria is inferior to the United States, that’s not being mean; it’s just a statement of fact. When you say Islam is a more primitive and violent religion than Christianity, that’s not an opinion; that’s a fact that everyone with eyes, ears and a brain already knows but doesn’t want to say out loud. People don’t want to tell the truth because we live in a politically correct world full of liberal losers who are rewriting the rule books to benefit themselves. Being part of the “elite” now has more to do with going to the right school and adhering to the right politically correct beliefs than it does with merit. Middle class Americans who play by the rules are treated as piggy banks for the lazy, ignorant and unskilled. Their concerns are ignored by a lawless government they live in fear of offending. Any society where the citizens fear the government instead of the government fearing the citizens is an oppressive society, no matter how loudly the politicians proclaim their love of freedom. I don’t respect liberals who seem to be obsessed with impressing people with how “kind” and “sensitive” they are by taking up the latest trendy cause that no one really cares about. The more useless you actually are and the less you accomplish, the easier it is to pretend that smearing other people in the name of fighting some “ism” is a courageous, noteworthy endeavor, as opposed to worthless prattling designed to make yourself look good to other simpletons. It’s always some over-protected, coddled cretin who thinks he’s both a misunderstood genius and a victim complaining about the people who are working hard, paying their own way, who just want to be left alone to live their lives without interference. The United States is on that same highway to Hell as the Greeks, Romans and Brits. Because of liberalism, Americans will one day look back at a once great nation, despair at how far they’ve fallen and know in their souls that our civilization will never reach those storied heights again. If liberals weren’t so ignorant, selfish and self-absorbed, they’d be down on their knees apologizing for what they’re doing to future generations in our country.
(“I Am Never Going to be a Part of Your Sick Liberal Worldview” by John Hawkins dated July 2, 2016 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2016/07/02/i-am-never-going-to-be-a-part-of-your-sick-liberal-worldview-n2186492 )
Our country was the first and only country in history that was founded on a brand new idea, the idea that people have rights. These rights are:
· the right to one’s own life (which includes that which one has worked for);
· the right to one’s own liberty (freedom to live the way you want provided you don’t hurt anyone else); and
· the right to pursue one’s own happiness (not everyone else’s—yours).
When America was created, there was another new idea: the idea that the only legitimate purpose of government was to protect these rights, to make sure no person violated the rights of another. Government was not there to tell men what to do, or how to live their lives, or to take by force what each man has earned by his own efforts to give to another. Initiation of force was banned from human relationships. The only proper use of force was in retaliation against those who had initiated force or fraud against another. Force was only used as a means of defending rights through three branches of government: the police, the military and the courts. The purpose of government was to only do that one thing and nothing else: it was to protect individual rights. The implementation of these two ideas created something unseen before on the face of the earth. For the first time men were free from other men. They were no longer subservient to a lord, master or king. They could live their lives and pursue their goals independently yet associate with each other voluntarily instead of by force. With individual rights as a guiding principle, all other freedoms fell into place: economic freedom, religious freedom, social freedom, freedom of association, contractual freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to bear arms and so on. The United States of America became the happiest, wealthiest, most prosperous, most advanced nation on earth. It was also the most moral country because it recognized individual rights. The concept of rights has been corrupted over time. Now people claim they have a “right” or are entitled to things like an education, medical care, food, housing and so on. If people have a “right” to something, it means that somebody has to provide it. If man’s survival is the objective, freedom is imperative. Since man does not automatically know how to survive, he has to use his mind in order to figure out how to live, and he requires freedom so that he can think and act in accordance with the conclusions of his mind. A moral country provides the conditions necessary for this to happen and there is only one political system that does this: Capitalism - a social system based on the concept of property rights. Without property rights, you have no right to your own life. If you can’t keep what you have worked for in order to support and enjoy your life, if you have no say in what happens to your property, you have no power over your decisions and actions, which means your rights to your life, your liberty and the pursuit of your happiness have been taken away.
· Re-distribution of wealth doesn’t protect rights. The man who earns an honest living has his money taken against his will (theft) to be given to someone else. His right to what he has worked for, that which supports his life, has been violated.
· Socialized medicine doesn’t protect rights or life. The doctors become slaves of the state that regulates how they should practice medicine. The patients no longer can choose the best treatments for the best prices. Their right to use their own minds to decide what to do and to form contractual agreements with each other has been violated.
· Social Security doesn’t protect rights. The man who wants to invest for his future the way he chooses can’t, because his money is taken away from him to give to someone else. His right to his property, to what he has earned, has been violated.
· Regulations on businesses don’t protect rights. The businessman can’t hire or fire someone without going through a “process” dictated by the government. His right to use his mind to make decisions regarding voluntary associations has been violated.
· When oil companies aren’t allowed to drill for oil, their property rights are violated. Companies that must follow government mandates lose the freedom to be innovative. The right to think, form conclusions and take action with property has been violated.
· Anti-trust laws don’t protect rights. The businessman is treated as a criminal no matter what he does. If his prices are too high, too low or the same as his competitors, he can be prosecuted at the whim of some bureaucrat. His right to his property (to charge the price he wants in order to sell it) has been violated.
· Bail-outs and subsidies don’t protect rights. The government decides who succeeds and who fails instead of citizens who trade with each other. Taxpayers pay to support businesses by force through their tax dollars and become poorer because of it. The right to freedom of association and property has been violated.
· Welfare programs don’t protect rights. The person who wants to give money to a charity of his choice has his money confiscated for government programs that he may or may not support. His right to use his property (his money) the way he wants has been violated.
· Bans on consumption of certain foods don’t protect rights. The right to one’s own body is a property right and this is violated.
· Taxation without representation doesn’t protect rights. Money is stolen from one group of men to give to another, which is a direct violation of their property rights.
Any violation of our rights completely contradicts the ideas of our Founding Fathers who were very serious about individual freedom. The Founders said ‘No: sovereignty belongs with the individual. My life is mine. Your life is yours, and nobody can take that away – not a king; not even a majority!" If we want to restore freedom to our country, we must re-discover our roots. Our Founding Fathers were so committed to their revolutionary ideas that they were willing to put their lives on the line for the document that laid the moral foundation for the United States of America. We need to be willing to stand up and say: “My life belongs to me, not to the government, not to the state, not to King George, not to a welfare program, but…to me!” We need to believe in that principle and commit to that principle, the principle of individual rights. When we read the Declaration of Independence, the concept of individual rights is so prodigious a feat of political thinking that few men grasp it fully, and after 200 years we need to embrace it fully.
(“Founding Principle of the United States of America: Individual Rights” by Charlotte Cushman dated Jul 4, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/07/founding_principle_of_the_united_states_of_america_individual_rights.html )
It's hard for elitists to comprehend that the commoners they seek to control aren't obsessed with money and power the same way they are. Ordinary people care more about freedom, their kids' future and their country than they care about the mighty Euro or dollar. Not even President Obama's effervescence was able to sway Britons when he visited the U.K. in an effort to prevent his beloved globalism from crumbling the same way communism fell years back. Global elitists in the United States, also known as Progressives, surely cringe at things to come, given the mood of voters across America. Just like in Great Britain, huge swaths of ordinary Americans are disgusted that the very essence of this country is being steamrolled by those who wish to turn America into a religion-less, genderless, custom-less European mini-me. The left's worn-out tactic of name-calling, labeling people as bigots, homophobes, xenophobes or racists isn't working. The more they hurl accusations, the bigger the movement grows. Globalists fail to understand human psyche, because they don't get that humans are hardwired with an innate desire for freedom, and the longer it is repressed the stronger the desire grows. If individual nations with unique languages, customs and cultures are good enough for God, it should be good enough for us. That's why the globalist utopian dream of peaceful coexistence and economic share-everything-ness is just a dream and will never become a reality. Nonetheless, diehards will do everything in their power to make it work. They've sewn our mouths shut with political correctness and shackled our hands with abusive, controlling regulations. They are so committed to their globalism purpose, they feel the need to cover for it every time something like Fort Hood, San Bernardino or the Orlando massacre happens. One thing's for certain: Another train is set to arrive and we are promised that one will be right on time, may we not be so preoccupied with Babel-like self-reliance that we fail to answer the question asked.
(“Globalism is at the Gate” by Susan Brown dated July 2, 2016 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/susanstamperbrown/2016/06/28/brexit-globalism-is-at-the-gate-n2183864 )
The Magna Carta and Declaration of Independence were about overbearing, despotic kings. Brexit, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, was much about overbearing bureaucrats in Brussels. This year’s US elections likewise center on gaining a new measure of freedom from an authoritarian, unaccountable Executive Branch in Washington. Like Brexit, they are also about We the People actually having a role in a democracy, a voice in how much power government will have over our lives. The Brexit motto is becoming the driving force in 2016 politics: “Take back control!” Today’s ruling elites do not govern from positions of land ownership or birth, but from assertions of greater education, expertise and wisdom than supposedly possessed by citizens at large. These ruling classes increasingly control our lands, the energy and minerals beneath them, and the lives, livelihoods and living standards of those beyond the DC Beltway. People are getting fed up. The very notion that people might vote to loosen the shackles of intrusive government is anathema to her. Like President Obama, Hillary Clinton shares the mindset that democracy is fine if angry liberals can be mobilized to elect an activist, wealth-redistributionist President to “fundamentally transform” America. Clinton and her increasingly far-left party worry that voters have had a bellyful of liberal-progressive policies that have rolled back economic growth, job creation, and incomes for poor, working class and minority families; unleashed waves of illegal immigration; and imposed massive cultural changes on our communities and military. America’s concern is the certain harm to working classes inflicted by Obama’s policies, which she promises to redouble if elected. Her comment to West Virginia’s coal country electorate underscores her insensitive disdain: “I’m going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs.” Clinton has also vowed to regulate hydraulic fracturing into oblivion, and ban mining and drilling on federally controlled lands that represent 30-85% of all real estate in Alaska and America’s western states. Her rabid environmentalist base wants to rid these areas of ranching and grazing, as well. The economic impacts will roll through states and communities like successive tsunamis. Like Obama and other elites, she surrounds herself with armed security details, but demands more gun control when unarmed or disarmed Americans are murdered in Orlando, San Bernardino or Fort Hood... while scrubbing press releases and cell phone transcripts of any mention of Islamist motives. The extensive quid-pro-quo of $200,000 Bill and Hillary speeches and special deals for Wall Street, Saudi and other supplicants, swelling Clinton Foundation coffers, has received similar DOJ inattention. Obama, Clinton and other Democrat kids go to pricey, private prep schools, while they oppose funding for charter schools that give poor and minority kids a chance to escape inner city life. They demand full integration of middle-income neighborhoods, but live in segregated, gated communities. Those who dare question government diktats gets targeted or audited by the IRS, or find armed SWAT teams bursting through their doors. Legal immigrants face slow, expensive processing, while illegals from Latin America receive healthcare and education, live in sanctuary cities, and rarely get deported for crimes. 99% of Syrian refugees arriving under the latest Obama decree are Muslims, even as Christians are being exterminated in Syria and Iraq. Our government does whatever it decides the times demand, even when it means stifling innovation, growth, jobs and incomes for everyone except bureaucrats and crony corporatist friends, whose decisions, arrangements, perks and pensions are sacrosanct. Elites impose healthcare, climate change, red-ink and transgender agendas, and then go apoplectic over Donald Trump’s controversial remarks. We gained independence from Britain over far less serious Abuses and Usurpations. Let’s hope we can at least have an angry populace election in 2016. If Trump can formulate, articulate and implement sound, practical, job-creating, economy-stimulating policies, and enough voters can unite around him and those policies, America might get its own Brexit from tyrannical centralized, leftist government.
(“Brexit for America” by Paul Driessen dated July 3, 2016 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/article/brexit-for-america )
Denial is defined as a psychological defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. One would think that, after the Boston Marathon, after Fort Hood, after San Bernardino, after Orlando, after Paris, after Belgium, after 120 years of Islamic terror against the Jewish State, President Obama’s denial and refusal to call a spade a spade, namely that radical Islam is the number one generator of terror throughout the world, would end, but it hasn’t, and Obama continues to live in a world of denial. For Obama, his denial in naming radical Islam stems from a deeply buried primal shame and rejection of the very Islam that he refuses to hold accountable for the world wide terror we are experiencing. During Obama’s formative years as a child and young adolescent, his upbringing and first hand exposure to Islam has left deep unconscious emotional scars that explain Obama’s inability to confront reality and convey an understanding of Islam that the American public would understand. The phenomenon of Trump as a contender for the American Presidency is a direct result of the anger so common today among the American people. Obama’s denial is not limited to radical Islam, his denial concerning immigration and the clear and present danger that unrestricted immigration poses to the American public is part and parcel of Obama’s persona and emotional makeup. For Obama, intertwining his own personal identity with issues that normally would be open for debate has created a situation that if you question his viewpoint on radical Islam or question his viewpoint on unrestricted immigration, than you are essentially questioning whether there is something wrong with Obama himself. Obama would have us live in a world in which he is OK and we’re not. The tsunami of anger that we hear everywhere is a direct result of the dissonance that Obama has created, supported by the media, between the reality that we know and the manner in which it is falsely portrayed and denied by Obama. Wherever one goes and whatever one hears, lurking behind is a giant wave of anger. Young and old, Republicans and Democrats, all denominations, you hear nothing but anger and resentment. There is a widespread feeling of anger among the American public that Obama’s denial has rendered impotent the American government and her national defense agencies such as the FBI in controlling the spread of radical Islam and the spread of extremism and terror. There is a widespread feeling that America in the 21stCentury is out of control, with Obama and his blind denial in the driver’s seat. The resurgence of anti-Semitism everywhere, the emerging alliances of the extreme left and radical Islam, the revival of the far right, are all symptoms and reactions to Obama’s denial of the dangers that Islam poses to Western societies. As Islamic terror has become more deadly and more emboldened, the anger felt by Americans has become deeper and darker. Obama’s denial has destroyed the Middle East, resulting in millions upon millions of Muslims flooding all of Europe. Obama’s denial has now destroyed the European Union, with Britain’s exit from the European Union only the first stage of the domino effect that Europe will experience in the coming years. Obama’s denial causes nations and even civilizations to fall apart, with anarchy lurking just around the corner. The result of Obama’s denial and psychological confusion in the minds of the American public have weakened the public’s resiliency while empowering those Muslims embracing the ideologies of radical Islam, Islamic State, and other terrorist organizations. This is an undisputed fact that is also denied by Obama and his administration. Yet the failure to appreciate the human spirit in politics is not just a bug of Obama’s psychology; it’s a feature of his worldview. It is a flaw in the vision itself, a view of human history that has long been rendered foolish by history itself. Obama plans on winning the war against terrorism through denial. Obama has denied American exceptionalism, denied America’s status as the world’s only Superpower, has denied the need to sustain deterrence and project America’s strength abroad. Obama’s denial has empowered radical Islam causing a massive shift of national resources throughout the world to combat radical Islam rather than combat poverty and sickness in the developed and undeveloped world, which is Obama’s legacy, a world of denial that Obama inhabits.
(“The Global Consequences of Obama’s Denial” by Ron Jager dated July 5, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/07/the_global_consequences_of_obamas_denial_.html )
There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news. I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning. Updates have been made this week to the following sections:
· National Service at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/service.php