RTCS

Views on the News

January 8, 2011

Views on the News*

The U.S. Constitution is the document to which every single elected federal official must swear a fealty oath; the entire armed forces of the United States swears to protect and defend that very document: not a President, not even the people, but the U.S. Constitution, so it is called the “supreme law of the land” for a reason. The Constitution is a document of universal and timeless principles. It is amendable and in its original form still speaks to us today through its humane protection of individual rights and necessary limits on government power. The rule of law is a key component of the success of any society. In order to plan their affairs, people need to know that they can count on the government and other individuals to follow established and known legal rules and principles. The Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals and it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government. It is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizens’ protection against the government. The proper function of government is to protect individual rights, such as our rights to free speech, property, and contract. Only those who initiate physical force or fraud can violate our rights. A properly limited government thus protects our rights by protecting us from criminals who steal, murder, rape, and so on, as well as from foreign aggressors. But it should otherwise leave honest people alone to live peacefully. In particular, government should protect our right to enjoy the fruits of our labors, not rob us to pay for “stimulus packages” or “universal health care.” The 111th Congress, led by Pelosi and Reid, openly trashed our Constitution. This flagrant disregard of the limits on Congressional power lit the fires of Tea Parties all across the land. Time after time, when asked about the Constitutionality of their Congressional machinations, Democrat legends had a never-ending outbreak of foot-in-mouth disease. Such government actions have already had negative consequences. Private parties are unable to plan, worried about future ramifications of the government's actions. Public sentiment regarding the direction of the country has turned decidedly negative, focusing on the litany of special deals and bailouts for those who have political power or connections. In November the people exercised their Constitutional right to vote many of the would-be tyrants out on their disgusting derrieres. As we prepare to roll into 2011 with a different crew in charge of the People’s House, it would do all Americans well to remember that without the U.S. Constitution, our rights are whatever the state says they are, and if protecting that sacred document requires a little effort now and then, it would appear to be worth it.

(“2010: The Year They Came for the Constitution” by Kyle-Anne Shiver dated December 31, 2010 published by Pajamas Media at http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/2010-the-year-they-came-for-the-constitution/

Will the GOP Walk the Walk on the Constitution?” by Paul Hsieh dated January 4, 2011 published by Pajamas Media at http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/will-the-gop-walk-the-walk-on-the-constitution/

Follow the Rule of Law” by Douglas Smith dated January 4, 2011 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2011/01/04/follow-the-rule-of-law )

 

Conservative America has been witness to the cultural damage and decay perpetrated on it by the left since the 1960s, and we hate it. We have stood back with jaw agape at the horrifying images of the American family disintegrating and drug use soaring, while the liberals nod approvingly, and call it "progress." Without further investigation into their motives, you would think that the leftists are simply trying to destroy our culture simply because they are hateful. It makes one wonder:

·    Who, in their right mind would consider rising drug use and overdoses "progress?"

·    Who, in their right mind would consider an epidemic of broken homes "progress?"

·    What woman in her right mind would consider the over-sexualization of females a good thing?

Like all of the leftist movements of the past, the American left are trying to force unnatural things on people, with the idea that they are creating a "new man." They think that it will just take time for little kids to get used to the idea of broken homes. A home where they don't have a "real daddy." A home where the absence of their real father (or mother) is a constant reminder of the fact that their missing parent didn't care enough to stick around. A reminder that their parents aren‘t really in love. They think it will just take time for us to adjust to being open about drug use. Never mind the fact that drug overdoses are skyrocketing into epidemic territory, and people's attitudes toward drugs are still continuing to soften and liberalize. The liberals do what they feel, destroy our culture, and academia steps in to explain it away. Note academia's studies legitimizing gay marriage, and the legalization of drugs. To my fellow conservatives, I ask: is this seriously what we wanted for America? Conservative talk show host Michael Savage often refers to socialism as "trickle up poverty," and he's right. What is needed is a conservative revolution in 2011, and it can happen. Conservatives need to be loud, in public, on the internet, everywhere. Everyone needs to hear: politicians, the press, academia, everyone, and it will be impossible to ignore, and this country can return to its conservative roots again.

(“Roll Back the Hippie Damage” by Samuel Pennell dated January 1, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/01/roll_back_the_hippie_damage.html )

The biggest challenge facing Republicans in the 112th Congress is the creeping onset of socialism by many names but all with the same failed result guaranteed. The definition of socialism is “a political theory advocating state ownership of industry."  Ownership denotes control, and the federal government is certainly getting into the business of controlling industry.  Our government has exerted control over enterprise via legislative fiat more over the last year than at any other time since FDR's power-grab during the Great Depression.  From the thousands of pages of ObamaCare to the thousands of pages of the Dodd-Frank "financial reform" bill, government power is firmly entrenched in business, and it is expanding.  The more regulations the state adds, the more control it exerts. Overall, 36% of Americans view socialism favorably, but 61% of liberals say their image of socialism is positive and 53% of Democrats have a positive image of socialism. Winston Churchill aptly described socialism as "a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Friedrich von Hayek and other notables have warned about "creeping socialism" and its undesirable outcomes.  Despite its apparent prevalence and increasing "popularity," the word socialism has a negative connotation to a majority of Americans, for good reason. In Alinskyite fashion, most American socialists mask their true ideology by using populist-sounding rhetoric while incrementally imposing their radical anti-American agenda without identifying it as socialist. Populist-sounding rhetoric, political speech, euphemisms, Phraseology, deception, manipulation, propaganda and agitprop are all tools of the socialist campaign. Barack Obama is already gearing up for the 2012 election and don't be surprised if he sticks with the theme of "change," which at first glance makes no sense coming from an incumbent. It only makes sense when one realizes the change he champions was never simply from Bush to himself or from a Republican to a Democrat. No, President Obama seeks fundamental change, transformation, from core American principles, like free enterprise, self-reliance, sovereignty and liberty, toward socialism in the name of “economic fairness." This failed socialism philosophy has destroyed every country where it has been tried, but Democrats have not learned this lesson, so they seek to inflict it upon us anyway.

The Stealthy Spread of Socialism in the U.S.” by K.E. Campbell dated January 1, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/01/the_stealthy_spread_of_sociali.html

Socialism by Other Means” by Aaron Gee dated January 4, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/01/socialism_by_other_means.html )

Barack Hussein Obama is destined to be a one-term President, unless the Republican alternative is insufficiently appealing and can not provide a better vision for this country. Assuming that the Republicans are successful in impeding the President's leftist agenda, an achievement that can't fail to mark an improvement in the nation's welfare, it is nothing less than a foregone conclusion that the narcissistic Obama, like his equally self-obsessed predecessor, Bill Clinton, will take credit for it.  Judging from the names of Republican Presidential contenders that have thus far been bandied about, it would appear that Obama may not have it quite as hard as present circumstances would seem to suggest. As usual the voting public has amnesia about past elections, and has completely forgotten the Democrat situation prior to the last election when Barack Obama was a complete unknown with no chance at ever being elected. The biggest problem with the Republican candidates is that with the exception of vague references to "spending," there isn't one who has even attempted to specify the respects in which he or she differs from the Bush Republicans.  Unless and until the Republicans effect a decisive departure from the vision of the last President, it is far from improbable that our current President will be successful at painting his next rival with the same brush. The key to success for a Republican challenger is to differentiate himself/herself from not only the other Republicans, but also be able to articulate how their ideas will lead this country out of its current disastrous policies and describe a vision of where the country will go with this alternative and better approach.

(“Will Obama Be a One-Term President?” by Jack Kerwick dated January 5, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/01/will_obama_be_a_oneterm_presid.html )

A huge challenge awaits our Congress: do something positive for our economy before America succumbs to more spending and the relentless printing of money, because our free-enterprise economy is seriously ill and suffering from bad medicine. Currently, the federal government is spending well over a trillion dollars more than it collects in revenue, while unfunded "entitlements" continue to grow relentlessly and interest costs rise.  Balancing the budget is becoming a pipe dream.  Republicans in the new Congress need to seize the chance to highlight the obvious: liberal Democrat economic and governmental ideas are a threat to the survival of the country as a vital nation.  Even as private families try to get out of debt, pressures toward hyper-inflation are locked in contest with a Fed that needs to keep interest rates low.  Unless rates stay low, the Treasury will not long afford the interest payments on our debt, and housing markets will take another huge hit.  If the Fed loses that fight, then get ready for some even more terrible times. To try to get America back on its feet, the Republicans in Congress need to keep things simple and be downright tough.  The program needs to include:

·    across-the-board serious budget cuts (10% plus a year) in every department;

·    refuse to fund ObamaCare, period;

·    stop so-called greenhouse gas regulation outright before it cripples American industry based on junk science; and

·    make individual liberty and its promotion the touchstone of any government program, thereby expanding the reach and appeal of the GOP and recalling it to its roots. 

In short, Congress needs to dismantle and downsize the federal bureaucracy, which poses a mortal threat to America's survival as a free and prosperous nation.  Block grants to states and localities in the realms of education and welfare would be more effective than the dysfunctional bureaucracy we now have.  Departments like Energy and Interior can be boiled down to about a fifth of their present size.  By getting Washington off the backs of American business and the states out of the federal red tape, our country will get back out of bed and onto its own feet. Congress: Get back to basics because the country you need to save is your own, and ours, too.

(“Saving America” by Harvey M. Sheldon dated January 6, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/01/saving_america.html )

 

It is becoming more and more obvious that Obama's energy policy is meant to raise prices by making fossil fuels harder to produce and use as a deliberate policy of attacking Americans' use of energy, turning it into something of a moral crusade. Since President Obama took office in January 2009, the price of oil has rocketed 117% to $90.41 a barrel and gasoline has jumped 67% to $3.07 a gallon. In the 34 industrialized nations, oil imports have surged 34% in the last year to $790 billion. The U.S. alone has seen a $72 billion jump. At least 130 billion barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas lie offshore, and hundreds of billions of barrels more are locked in shale deposits in the Northeast and West. The Obama administration has:

·    virtually shut down oil drilling in the Gulf;

·    put hundreds of billions of barrels of offshore oil and gas off-limits to exploration and production;

·    canceled 77 existing drilling leases in Utah; and

·    proposed new taxes on energy, including the cap-and-trade fiasco.

America has the oil and natural gas resources to ensure its energy future as we develop reasonable, economically viable alternatives to fossil fuels, and that oil and gas is available right now. Yet, our government has systematically put those resources out of reach, making us more dependent on unreliable foreign sources. Developing our own resources would also go a long way toward boosting the economy. The 530,000 new, high-paying jobs could be created and $150 billion in government tax revenue generated over the next four years by boosting oil output by 4 million barrels a day. Obama's war against fossil fuels is a direct assault on our oil-dependent economy and standard of living and at a minimum, the new Congress should hold hearings on these damaging policies — and overturn them if possible.

(“Obama’s Oil War” dated January 5, 2011 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/558879/201101052036/Obamas-Oil-War.htm )

 

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is planning to investigate how regulation affects job creation, the roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis, recalls at the Food and Drug Administration and the failure of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to agree on the causes of the market meltdown. Congressman Darrell Issa is trying to project an image of being a stickler for government waste and not a partisan bomb thrower with an eye fixed on ruining the Obama administration. In investigating the impact of regulation on job creation, the committee plans to ask why the economy hasn’t “created the private-sector jobs the President has promised,” and Issa will call on business leaders to explain “about the government regulations that are doing the most harm to job creation efforts.” “The committee will examine how overregulation has hurt job creation and whether the administration intends to try and abuse the regulatory process to implement regulations that Congress would reject. Issa is also pushing a broad investigation of the foreclosure crisis, but he wants to dig deeper into the roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Conservatives have long complained that the government-backed housing giants have escaped scrutiny. The committee will also dig into the administration’s foreclosure-mitigation program, calling on the Federal Housing Administration’s chief and nongovernment experts. Issa also wants to study why the Obama financial crisis commission couldn’t reach consensus last year. The FDA is also going to get a good look, especially in the wake of Issa’s outspokenness about a recall of Motrin. The sweeping and specific hearing agenda shows that Issa plans to cut a wide swath as chairman, latching onto hot-button issues that could make his committee the center of attention in the opening months of the 112th Congress.

(“Issa reveals list of investigations” by Jake Sherman dated January 3, 2011 published by Politico at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/46952.html )

 

The Republican health-care platform is pretty simple: repeal ObamaCare and replace it with incremental, common-sense, politically popular reforms, but it will likely take years to complete this daunting task. While it took Democrats nearly 3,000 pages worth of complex legalese to institute their radical change to the American healthcare system, it will take the GOP a mere two pages to repeal the unwanted law. If passed, the repeal would reset American healthcare laws to the time prior to the signing of ObamaCare in March of last year. In addition to that, it would eliminate the fixes to the original health bill that Democrats included in the companion reconciliation act that passed through Congress at the same time as the ObamaCare law. In addition to offering this legislation to repeal the healthcare law, the GOP has also offered a two-paged resolution that outlines the reform ideas that they would likely include in an alternative Republican healthcare law. Runaway growth in government spending is America’s biggest fiscal problem today. Growth in Medicare and Medicaid spending, in turn, accounts for nearly all the projected future growth in government outlays relative to GDP. If the principal domestic-policy goal of conservatives is to restore the country to a truly limited government that can live within its means, we can achieve that goal only through serious and thoughtful reform of health-care entitlements. The core health-care principles that Republicans should embrace can be summarized in three words: freedom, security, and innovation:

·    First, the conservative vision must, out of both principle and pragmatism, hold that the best health-care system is one that trusts individuals to make the choices that are best for them and their families.

·    Second, conservatives must stand firmly behind the principle of a safety net for those who are genuinely down on their luck, and also for the principle that those who pay for insurance and play by the rules will get the care that they’ve earned, without losing out on technicalities.

·    Third, conservatives must always keep in mind that the entire point of health care is to extend and enhance life. Thus their vision can include, but must be broader than, the hot-button issues of abortion and stem-cell research. A pro-life health-care policy involves accelerating the pace of medical innovation, by reducing the regulatory and financial burdens we place on the pharmaceutical and medical-device industries. That means strengthening the influence of market forces, as opposed to subsidies and price controls, on the development of drugs and devices. It also means streamlining the FDA so that innovative new therapies can reach the market more quickly and cheaply. It means minimizing, and if possible eliminating, the ability of federal bureaucrats to deny life-extending care.

Health-care policy is exceedingly complex, and translating these basic principles of freedom, security, and innovation into actual legislation will not be easy. Doing so must start with three policy goals:

·    First, Republicans must foster a truly free market for health insurance by eliminating the differing tax treatment of employer-sponsored and individually purchased insurance.

·    Second, Republicans must make dramatic improvements to Medicaid, using Mitch Daniels’s impressive reforms in Indiana as a template.

·    Third, Republicans must move Medicare onto a sustainable path that puts financial control in the hands of seniors themselves rather than central planners.

The most critical task for Republicans in the 112th Congress is to lay the groundwork for the ultimate repeal of ObamaCare. Given that House Republicans don’t have the power to repeal the law by themselves, what should they do in the meantime? Republicans will be well advised to adopt a two-track strategy: using the conventional legislative process to turn back as much of ObamaCare’s regulatory architecture as possible, while waiting until 2013 and then using the reconciliation process, to repeal ObamaCare’s tax and spending increases. Finally, House Republicans must begin to build the case for real entitlement reform. Medicare is the most politically sensitive subject, but it is one where Paul Ryan has already done most of the necessary groundwork. Medicaid is an even more urgent issue, as many states are sinking under the weight of reckless commitments made by their governors in flusher times. There is one Medicare-related issue that the next Congress will be forced to deal with: the never-ending saga of Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate, a.k.a. the “doc fix,” which governs how Medicare reimburses doctors and hospitals for their services. Republicans will be under significant pressure from the American Medical Association and others to continue to pay doctors and hospitals at current rates, instead of the roughly 25% lower rates required by the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. If their solutions were simple, they would already have been tried. Republican Presidential aspirants and Congressional luminaries, as well as the people who elect them, must face up to the difficult choices ahead, and if they do, we just may succeed in turning Obamacare back, and putting something much better in its place.

(“House Republicans Gear Up for Full Repeal of ObamaCare” by Dick Armey dated January 4, 2011 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/DickArmey/Armey-Obamacare-repeal-veto/2011/01/04/id/381872

ObamaCare: The End of the Beginning” by Avik Roy dated January 5, 2011 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/256349/obamacare-end-beginning-avik-roy )

 

Now that cap-and-trade (emission trading to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) is more or less off the table, our politicians are starting to talk about something else, or something that looks like something else, but is basically the same bad ideas. There are various names for this alternative scheme, from renewable energy portfolio standards to clean energy standards to green energy standards. All of them basically involve the same thing: the government mandates that a certain percentage of electricity that utilities obtain must come from something other than fossil fuels (wind power, solar power, biofuels, etc.). The New York Times reports that President Obama wants 10% of the nation’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2012, and 25% by 2025. Currently, 30 states have some form of renewable standard, while an additional seven states have renewable energy “goals. The federal renewable energy standard would essentially impose cap-and-trade on utilities, hidden behind a different name. A common mechanism for complying with the renewable electricity standard is a renewable energy credit (REC) trading program. Under a REC program, a renewable energy facility earns one credit for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) or megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity that is generated in a given year. These RECs can then be bought and sold by utilities with annual renewable requirements, much like the Clean Air Act emission allowance trading system. This market-based approach provides compliance flexibility while ensuring competition among renewable energy generators and creates an ongoing incentive to drive down costs. A key factor in prediction of ever-higher costs from a renewable energy standard is the constraint on the substitution of “renewable” power in place of conventional electricity. There are limited suitable sites for wind, solar, or other generation capacity; and the ease of placing (or utilizing) transmission assets from those sites is also a cost often overlooked in proposals for renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements. Appropriate sites are not distributed evenly on a geographic basis, so states with relatively fewer available sites would have to purchase RECs from other states. Accordingly, a national RPS inevitably would engender a wealth redistribution among states. One can only hope that those in Congress who were smart enough to reject cap-and-trade will be smart enough to reject it again, even if it is couched in different language, and only covers electrical utilities.

(“Cap-and-Trade by Any Other Name…” by Kenneth P. Green dated January 4, 2011 published by American Magazine at http://www.american.com/archive/2011/january/cap-and-trade-by-any-other-name )

 

Sarah Palin continues to galvanize the imagination of both her ardent supporters and her hectoring adversaries, and the jury is still out whether she will be a viable candidate in the 2012 Presidential election. She has a lot going for her: charm, personableness, natural smarts, moral probity, executive competence, independence of character, and a passionate love of country. At the same time, she steps up to the plate with two strikes against her. PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome) flourishes on the liberal-left. According to the media scuttlebutt and her innumerable liberal detractors, she is poorly educated, brings no foreign policy experience to the job, shoots her own dinner, comes across as politically unnuanced, and, perhaps the most cutting strike against her, lacks gravitas. Let’s consider each of these knocks against her in turn:

·    Palin is by no means poorly educated; she merely did not graduate with a degree from an Ivy League institution, which by any reasonable account in today’s academic milieu should stand decidedly in her favor. Palin did well to avoid these bastions of mainly liberal-left political correctness.

·    With the exception of the elder Bush, it is not common for presidents to enter office with foreign policy experience. Palin is no different from the vast majority of her predecessors and certainly not from the present incumbent. What is needed in this domain is precisely what Palin would bring to the highest office in the land: insight and principle.

·    There anything wrong with shooting one’s own dinner, especially when one considers that liberal urbanites are perfectly OK with having other people shoot their dinner for them. Frowning on Palin’s wilderness skills is nothing but class snobbery on the part of those who would be utterly lost were they stripped of the “civilized” amenities they thoughtlessly take for granted.

·    Palin is as politically savvy as they come, whether on the domestic or international front. Her speeches during the recent congressional elections were not only un-teleprompted barnburners in the best populist tradition, but revealed a meticulous command of the domestic issues currently bedeviling the nation as well as a finely nuanced understanding of America’s pancreatic failures in international diplomacy.

·    Palin does not believe in tax and spend, in fiat printing, in redistributive economics, in ObamaCare, in the AGW nonsense that is only an opaque wealth transfer scheme, in making purses out of sows’ ears (aka pork and earmarks), in pressing reset buttons, in blaming Israel for the Palestinians, or in a degrading and unproductive “outreach” to the Islamic umma. These are policies she would reverse, as indeed would anyone with a nuanced understanding of the economic and political worlds.

·    if Palin lacks gravitas, then so do many others on the current political scene. Barack Obama, for example, not only lacks gravitas, he exhibits the moral and intellectual substance of a will o’ the wisp.

The next two years will determine whether she will be able to counter the slanderous media campaign against her candidacy and her competence, and so convince enough people that she has the right stuff to lead the country in perhaps its most perilous historical moment since the Civil War. Sarah Palin has been able to turn every liberal lie promoted by the media around in her favor she’s done this with her quick wit and profound honesty. She doesn’t engage in hypocrisy, she says what she means and is more than willing to stand by her words. Rather than appearing on every TV and Radio talk shows. Sarah Palin has chosen wisely letting her fingers do the talking on Facebook and Twitter. Clearly, she suffers more than her share of antagonists among the megabuck left and their myriad satellites, Ivy League academics, mainstream journalists, public intellectuals, union impresarios and henchmen, and the entitlement-addicted segment of the public. They are terrified of her. The question is whether, by sheer force of character, will, and charisma, and by pursuing a tireless itinerary, she can prevail against overwhelming odds and bring to the American people authentic change and genuine hope for the future. If her rise from mediocrity to becoming one of the most recognized and respected women in the country is an example of her abilities, Sarah Palin could turn this government / country around in the same time frame it’s taken Obama to destroy it.

(“Sarah for President?” by David Solway dated December 30, 2010 published by Pajamas Media at http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/sarah-for-president/

Why Sarah Palin Can Win” by Ken Hughes dated December 31, 2010 published by The Land of the Free at http://www.thelandofthefree.net/conservativeopinion/2010/12/31/why-sarah-palin-can-win/ )

 

* 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:

·  Media at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/roleofmedia.php

·  Middle East at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/middleeast.php

·  Immigration at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/immigration.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com