Views on the News
Views on the News*
January 4, 2014
The country has grown weary of our first superstar President. Several national polls on the state of the nation show "wrong direction" leading "right track" by almost two to one while Obama is, at this stage of his presidency, the most unpopular U.S. chief executive since Richard Nixon. In his 2008 campaign Obama was notoriously unwilling to talk about what he would do if elected. He gave good speeches, but the reality was they offered little more than platitudes about getting things done and entering a post-partisan era that, in all candor, lasted about 38 seconds after he finished taking the oath of office. The second campaign was little better. Obama gave better than he got when it came to explaining why he should be elected rather than the other guy, but that was only because he and his team provided a college level course in negative campaigning. The bottom line is that, in both campaigns, the president was sold to the American people like a rock star, not a political candidate. His campaign strategy was to offer the voters the chance to be part of something amorphously historic rather than to give them an agenda to get America working again. As such, being for Obama was a fad, a cultural statement rather than an expression of political conviction and, as we all know, fads come and go. Obama has entered the "go" phase, thanks largely to the negative experience far too many Americans have had with his healthcare.gov web site. When asked in one recent poll to identify Obama's most significant achievement to date, nearly 40% of those surveyed said "nothing," which should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. It's a stunning affirmation of the notion that, in politics and in governing, ideas do matter. Obama believes not in American exceptionalism, not in the American system, not even in the American people, but only in Obama. After almost six years the people are starting to figure that out – and they don't like it one bit. The country is getting ready to turn on Obama just like they turned on George W. Bush in 2006 over Iraq, spending and the media-fed perception that he was mismanaging the business of government because people are tired and are looking for something new and they're just not that into him anymore.
(“America Just Isn’t That Into Obama Anymore” by Peter Roff dated December 24, 2013 published by US News & World Report at http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2013/12/24/obamas-polls-drop-as-america-wearies-of-a-substance-free-president )
Whatever was generating the glow that got the most left-wing President in American history elected twice is starting to fade. Polls show that three out of four Americans say the nation is on the wrong track, and disapproval ratings of our President are lodged above fifty percent. Despite the considerable human experience from around the world that socialism does not work, and the considerable experience in our own country that human freedom and capitalism does work, many Americans bought the left-wing sweet talk and sugar-coated promises from Barack Obama that this time things would be different. As ObamaCare socialism implodes, as every conservative observer knew from day one it would, the American people need alternatives, not just to how we get our health care, but to the destructive left-wing vision that has gripped this country over recent years. Here, the Republican Party leadership needs to shoulder its share of the blame. Nature abhors a vacuum. It is not enough to know what doesn’t work. Citizens need to hear, with clarity, what does work, and this can only happen through courageous, principled leadership. Leadership from the opposition party, the Republican Party, has been woefully lacking. When most Americans feel the biggest threat facing us is big government, yet they do not want to take on the biggest factors driving the growth of government, we have got a problem. Americans desperately need leaders today who will be honest that we cannot go on with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid structured as they are. Ideas abound how we can get better and cheaper health care through genuinely free markets, but it will never happen without leaders willing to say it. We need leaders who are willing to be honest about the moral collapse of our country. Societies without virtue and personal responsibility cannot bear the burdens of freedom and reap its benefits. Can a free country really live with almost half its babies born to unwed mothers? We got to where we are today as result of political leaders who thought American freedom is on automatic pilot. Freedom requires eternal vigilance. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner should be on alert that conservatives have just begun to fight. Republicans are hanging out the Help Wanted sign for a new generation of principled, conservative leaders.
(“Help Wanted: Principled, Conservative Leaders” by Star Parker dated December 28, 2013 published by American Clarion at http://www.americanclarion.com/help-wanted-principled-conservative-leaders-26904 )
We were warned in 2008 not to vote for Obama unless and until he was vetted, but we did not listen, we refused to vet him and voted for the honey-laced lies that dripped from his lips. For over five years, we have been warned about the increasing loss of liberty via illegal Executive Orders that are now treated as laws and the removal of the ability to provide for ourselves that the totalitarian-terrorist ObamaGov was installing in our cities and demanding we accept. Now it is happening in the light of day, can be fully perceived by all with even moderately functional eyes, ears, brains and their attendant minds that we have become, almost overnight, a fully functioning dictatorship. ObamaCare gives the dictator-in-chief not only control over your body but, over your assets, your activities and what you think via what you say. It is an all-encompassing document of increasing horror for those who refused to pay attention to it in the past and are now being destroyed by it. ObamaCare calls upon everyone else to pay for those who have been on welfare for generations and is the culmination of the Marxist-Democrat plans that have been in place for many decades. The National ID Law takes effect in 2014 and will be enforced by the Obama-controlled DHS, TSA and any other agency the dictator deems. It may soon no longer be acceptable to use State-issued drivers’ licenses as identification. The ObamaGov is summarily taking over every aspect of States’ authority and replacing it with their own. The question remains what be done when a criminal and terrorist organization takes over the USA? With the exception of a military coup, there are at least two remedies. The first would be arrest(s) of those named on charges of treason. That would occur only if a prosecutor in a US State’s county summons the Grand Jury for that county and recommends the indictments be issued. Although, multiple charges of treason have already been filed in multiple States there is no prosecutor in the USA courageous enough to take this on. The one last chance we appear to have is that the Republican Party take back BOTH Houses of Congress and it needs a super-majority in the Senate. In that way, we can at least begin to undo a great deal of the severe damage Obama has done to us and our country. The Obama Police State is growing exponentially while we worry about Duck Dynasty and people are now having their homes broken into by police for possession of “legal guns” if said Police State believes they have too many, they need to be “registered” or some other recently ‘made-up’ law. During the last election, it was estimated that between 3-4 million American conservatives stayed home and didn’t vote because Romney wasn’t whom they had wanted as a candidate. If we will have and exhibit the courage to take back our government we will have the chance to take the GOP back to its root principles, because this truly is our last viable chance to take back our country in 2014… if not, it really will be gone forever.
(“Where Do We Go From Here, America… Will There Be Anything Left?” by Sher Zieve dated December 30, 2013 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/60157 )
For nearly two decades, since Ronald Reagan left office, America moved steadily in the direction of the left, both culturally and politically. When the Soviet Union fell, optimistic scholars believed the world had shifted inexorably in the direction of free markets and liberal democracy. Instead, the West gradually embraced bigger government and weaker social bonds, creating a fragmented society in which the only thing we all belong to, as President Barack Obama puts it, is the state. All battles for the soul begin with culture. Conservative Americans, bludgeoned into silence on cultural battles, decided to focus entirely on Obama's economic buffoonery. 2013 marked a turning point. From Chick-fil-A to "Duck Dynasty," conservative religious Americans found their footing: Whether you are for or against same-sex marriage, it is plainly un-American to override someone's religious beliefs in the name of your politics. Conservative Americans seemed to realize, for the first time in a long time, that the battle over same-sex marriage came wrapped in a larger battle over religious freedom, and they fought back, and won. Meanwhile, conservatives began to fight back against the left's uncorroborated assertion of right-wing racism. Race, the right realized, was an obsession only for the left. In the aftermath of the left's successful 2012 "war on women" meme, the right began to fight back, too. Abortion is a real moral issue with real lives at stake, and no amount of leftist badgering could back conservative Americans off their attempts to protect the unborn. The cultural battles gradually made their way into the political arena, too. Freed from the burden of the beige and blundering Romney campaign, conservatives stood up against the growth of government on moral, not merely practical, grounds. Obama's signature program began to collapse the moment Americans awakened to the deep immorality of government-controlled medical care. American distrust of government, for the right reasons, soared. This does not mean the battles are over for conservatives because they're just beginning. 2013 could go down as the year that conservatives moved beyond standing athwart history shouting "stop," and began shoving in the opposite direction, which could make 2014 historic.
(“What to Expect in 2014” by Ben Shapiro dated January 1, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/benshapiro/2014/01/01/what-to-expect-in-2014-n1770483 )
December 23 marked the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve System, a century’s worth of a economic management that has turned America’s relatively free markets into today’s crony capitalist mess. Though Federal Reserve officials are often treated as godlike sages, descending from Mount Olympus to dispense wisdom upon us mere mortals, the Fed really does not serve the interests of the general public. The Fed benefits two distinct groups - politicians and the financial sector. The Fed gives politicians the magical ability to give voters something for nothing. Instead of imposing highly unpopular taxes on the citizenry, the government can rely on America’s central bank to simply print more money. Of course cranking up the printing press will eventually cause price inflation, but since this always comes later the authorities are able to portray inflation as a natural phenomenon, not the natural consequence of their own profligacy. Without the Fed constantly feeding it, our bloated financial sector would starve. The American banking system is based on fractional reserve banking where banks pyramid their loans on top of cash held in reserve. During the financial crisis of 2008 bank lending froze up, causing the system described above to come to a screeching halt. The Treasury’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was dwarfed by the Fed’s $7.77 trillion of loans. The central bank then stabilized the balance sheets of chosen institutions by transferring so-called “toxic assets” (mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations) onto its own balance sheet, thereby putting the American taxpayer on the hook for the bad bets that the banks had made. Incidentally, financial instruments such as MBSs and CDOs probably would have never existed if the federal government had not created a secondary market for home mortgages with its government-sponsored entities: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In the housing bubble, we witnessed Fed monetary policy combine with government fiscal policy to create a perfect storm. The Fed created vast amounts of money out of thin air and the federal government funneled it into the housing market. So long as our money and interest rates are centrally controlled we can expect more such Fed-created disasters in the future which begs the question how much better off would we be if Federal Reserve had never been born?
(“A century of destruction” by Glenn Jacobs dated December 27, 2013 published by Daily Caller at http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/27/a-century-of-destruction/ )
It would be wonderful for John Kerry to bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to an end through the establishment, consistent with Israel’s security requirements, of a Palestinian state, but don’t count on it, because major roadblocks stand in the way. There is a widespread sense that the would-be peace broker has failed to reckon with the conflict’s complexities and, by asking more from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas than they can reasonably be expected to deliver, might subvert the relative calm in the West Bank and reignite hostilities in Gaza. Israeli doubts the Palestinians’ desire for peace, but the upswing in terror, a foreseeable reaction by Palestinian extremists who prefer armed struggle, should not be allowed to obscure the still more significant obstacles to peace. Many are rooted in mainstream Palestinian political culture. A few arise from the Israeli side, and one is a consequence of a widely noted shift in American Middle East policy. Here are ten of them:
· The PA refuses to renounce a supposed “right of return,” which it asserts would give some 5 million pre-1967 Palestinian Arabs access to property and citizenship in Israel.
· While Abbas and lead Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat claim to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, they refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
· Abbas categorically rejected Kerry’s recent proposal that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) remain in the Jordan River Valley for 10 years after a peace agreement goes into effect.
· The PA shows no signs of desisting its incitement of hatred for Jews and Israel, in its schools and government-run media continue to celebrate terrorists who kill Israeli civilians and to nurture the hope that one day Palestinians will return to homes inside pre-1967 Israel that their grandparents abandoned 65 years ago.
· The six-year civil war between the PA, which rules in the West Bank, and Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip, means Abbas can make no plausible claim to speak for almost half of all Palestinians in the territories beyond the Green Line.
· Even within the West Bank, the PA is dysfunctional because it lacks public support.
· The uprisings that erupted in the Arab world in the winter of 2011 have destabilized Israel’s neighbors.
· Not withstanding Kerry’s engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israelis see a vacillating and timid America seeking to disengage from the region.
· Israeli building in the West Bank complicates negotiations not least because Palestinians, the Obama administration, and much of the world adamantly oppose it.
· While the Israeli public overwhelmingly supports peace, considerable segments of it, when they pay attention to current negotiations at all, regard them with apathy.
Instead of presuming to understand better than the locals the complexities of domestic politics and regional dynamics, and rather than forcing a final resolution that the parties are unwilling or unable to enforce, American diplomats should concentrate on constructing the physical, economic, and political infrastructure of a Palestinian state, and such work is gradual, slow, and arduous and decidedly less glamorous than high-level negotiations.
(“10 Roadblocks to Mideast Peace” by Peter Berkowitz dated December 31, 2013 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/12/31/10_roadblocks_to_mideast_peace_121089.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 issue sections:
· Environment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/environment.php