Views on the News

Views on the News*

January 9, 2016


Obama's real legacy is a loss of faith in America and her principles.  It's a sophisticated effort, employing targeted messages to people based on their race, their ZIP code, their party affiliation, and other demographic factors.  An interesting poll from Esquire/NBC News tried to gauge public anger as they confront politics, media, and changes in the culture.  73% of whites say they get angry at least once a day, as compared with 56% of blacks and 66% of Hispanics, with 77% percent of Republicans angry at least once a day, as compared with 67% of Democrats.  Culture watchers point out that outrage and indignation has become  a contemporary marketing device.  The clever news media often maneuvers the public into outrage and anger as a way to rivet both their interest and patronage - and up the audience numbers, whether measured by viewers, listeners or online clicks:

·    54% of Americans say the U.S. was once the most powerful country in the world but isn’t anymore; 41% say it remains the most powerful country.

·    52% say the American Dream does not hold true anymore; 36% say it does hold true, 11% say it never held true.

·    49% say they get angry more often than they did a year ago; 42% say they are angry just as often, 8% say they are angry less often.

It's ironic that the Obama campaign of 2008 virtually invented the strategy, given that much of that anger is now directed toward the President.

(“Americans are angry; Republicans madder than Democrats” by Rick Moran dated January 4, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/01/poll_americans_are_angry_republicans_madder_than_democrats.html )

I've long marveled at President Obama's calls for bipartisanship right before viciously tearing into Republicans.  I'm referring not to the routine partisan rancor between politicians in the course of debating an issue but to those occasions when there is no time between Obama's demands for cooperation and his tongue-lashing of Republicans, when he waxes eloquent about getting along and then immediately pummels his opponents.  It's so strikingly inconsistent that I am surprised even conservative commentators don't make more of this.  In speaking to Congressional Republicans on ObamaCare, for example, Obama patronizingly told them that health care is such an important issue that they should put partisanship aside and work together to solve the problem.  Then he proceeded to define bipartisanship and cooperation as agreeing with his proposals because they were simply "common-sense" ideas, and anyone who didn't agree with him was, by definition, at odds with common sense, and a politician wouldn't do that unless motivated by partisanship.  We've all met people who actually believe that their ideas are so self-evidently superior that anyone who disagrees is automatically unreasonable, but it has been disturbing to witness a President with this unrealistic and delusional attitude.  Many liberals, especially media and academic elites, believe there is only one reasonable position on certain issues, from politics to culture to religion to, and their views are eminently sound and that contrary opinions are unreasonable, often evil and sometimes not worthy of constitutional protection.  That's why the liberal media don't consider themselves biased; in their minds, they are just promoting the only sensible position.  This explains not only their shameless bias in news selection, reporting and commentating but also their opposition to the presentation of alternative views in schools on aspects of Darwinism or man-made global warming.  Obama is even worse than your garden-variety liberal who has difficulty acknowledging or respecting dissenting views, as he proved again in his gun control speech.  He said the gun control issue has become one of our most polarized, partisan debates, despite the fact that he believes there's a general consensus in America about what needs to be done."  Why is it urgent when his liberal friends agree that even draconian liberal gun proposals, let alone these regulatory Band-Aids he is unilaterally imposing, wouldn't have prevented the types of mass shootings we've had in this country?  He cited a "compromise" proposal, "Pretty common-sense stuff. 90% of Americans supported that idea.” Unfortunately 90% of Democrats in the Senate voted for that idea, but it failed because 90% of Republicans in the Senate voted against that idea.  If you agree with Obama, you have common sense and are reasonable, but if you disagree, you are unreasonable, partisan or a corrupt pawn of moneyed interests. Obama claims not to be insulting, divisive or partisan, but reality is surreal.

(“Obama’s Partisan Harangues Demanding Bipartisanship” by David Limbaugh dated January 8, 2016 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/2016/01/08/obamas-partisan-harangues-demanding-bipartisanship-n2101188 )


American voters are doing something they haven’t done in a very long time: showing the political elites the door.  They are angry at the state of the nation, but more importantly, they are angry with leaders who appear more interested in protecting themselves, their interests and each other than in advancing the country’s interests and serving the American people.  They are disgusted with an irresponsible, unresponsive and unaccountable government that empowers only itself.  The split between the elites and the rest of us is gaping and it’s growing wider every day.  The outrage, frustration and uncertainty have elevated nontraditional candidates such as billionaire businessman Donald Trump, firebrand conservative Ted Cruz and socialist Bernie Sanders.  On the Republican side, in particular, voters have turned to candidates such as Trump and Cruz because they are furious at the countless abuses suffered at the hands of President Obama, his Congressional toadies and weak-kneed Republicans who have acquiesced to the leftist agenda with nary a peep of protest:

·    They are “mad as hell” about a nearly trillion-dollar economic “stimulus” that stimulated government but did nothing to excite the private economy.

·    They are mad about long-term high unemployment.

·    They are mad about taxpayer bailouts of failing businesses and industries.

·    They are mad about a President who has regularly ruled by fiat, bypassing Congress and the public by appointing unaccountable policy “czars” and issuing executive orders with very limited pushback from Republicans.

·    They are mad about telephone book-sized bills pushed through, unread, by the Democrat leadership and now, with the latest $1.2 trillion omnibus budget bill, by the Republican leadership as well.

·    They are mad about the government takeover of what was once the best health care system in the world.

·    They are mad about the multitrillion dollar price tag to pay for it.

·    They are mad about the shady, slimy, greasy backroom dirty dealing the Democrats did to cobble it together.

·    They are mad about the legislative tricks and straight party-line vote they used to pass it.

·    They are mad about multiple annual deficits more than $1 trillion.

·    They are mad about a national debt speeding toward $20 trillion.

·    They are mad about the national humiliation of having our credit downgraded for the first time in U.S. history.

·    They are mad about the steadfast refusal by most Democrats, and many Republicans, to cut spending in real and deep ways.

·    They are mad about Republicans agreeing to a budget bill that continues to fund things they promised they’d fight to defund: ObamaCare, Obama’s executive amnesty for illegal immigrants, Planned Parenthood.

·    They are mad about both sides’ weaselly cowardice in their refusal to take on the biggest sources of explosive spending: entitlement programs.

·    They are mad that tens of thousands of illegal aliens, and now unknowable Middle Eastern “refugees,” are streaming into America.

·    They are mad about a foreign policy that embraces our enemies and disses our friends.

·    They are mad about the commander-in-chief apologizing for American power and action.

·    They are mad that the President and his team continue to allow the world’s most fearsome terrorists to grow in power while diminishing our fears about the threat.

People are “mad as hell” that American exceptionalism is deliberately being turned into unexceptionalism.  Trump’s campaign slogan is, “Make America great again.”  Americans will take a lot, but they will not tolerate the continuing destruction of their nation by elites in both parties who believe they are untouchable.  The lesson of 2016 will be that those who got that and intend to blow up the whole corrupt system in order to restore it to its proper place as an honest servant of the people will be rewarded, and those who don’t will face the political guillotine, as so many of them before them already have.

(“The real reason voters are on a rampage” by Monica Crowley dated January 6, 2016 published by Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jan/6/monica-crowley-the-real-reason-voters-are-on-a-ram/ )


Year 2015 seemed somewhat disappointing to concerned conservatives because Barack Obama still occupied the White House and Republican leadership in Washington failed time and again to stand up and say “Stop!” to a rogue executive and an extrajudicial Supreme CourtYet for conservatives fighting at the local and the state level, the victories continue to mount.  We need to relearn and revamp our liberty.  We the People need to reassert the power granted to us by God, and enshrined in our Constitution.  Throughout the country, Republicans have not only taken over state houses, but have taken back state sovereignty piece by piece from the rogue federal government and the lackadaisical Congress.  In Maine, Governor Paul LePage and his conservative peers took over the state senate, and forced Democrats to cave on welfare reform and expansion of the Second Amendment.  Despite the thread-bare liberal supermajority in Springfield, Illinois, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner (steering clear of the corruption of his prior Republican peers) has held his ground, not afraid to shutdowns and supposed budgeting “chaos.”  In Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan has proven the resilience of a strong grassroots community focusing on issues which matter to everyone.  A team player who wants to expand the conservative brand, force government to serve the people rather than the other way around, Hogan has cut taxes, spending, tolls, fees, and rolled back the disasters of “Madman” Martin O’Malley’s eight year tenure.  In Kentucky, one of the last Democrat bastions in the South, a Republican won the governorship, a Tea Party favorite who lost to “Ditch” Mitch McConnell.  He has issued orders reversing the perverse policies of his Democrat predecessor.  In Texas, pastors, churches, businesses, and concerned citizens in general fed up with progressive moral insanity, beat down the mainstream media, the illiberal chattering political classes, and an openly lesbian mayor insistent on pushing her own world view.  A non-discriminatory ordinance for Houston, Texas, which would have allowed men into women’s bathrooms, was soundly defeated.  Indeed, a win for the pro-family, pro-liberty, and pro-life cause despite rogue Supreme Court rulings and unfounded executive orders.  Texas enjoyed one of the most conservative and effective legislative sessions in its history, including enactment of open carry.  We the People are rising throughout the country, remembering the first three words of our beloved charter, and the final authority and responsibilities for our government at the end of the oft-neglected Tenth Amendment: “To the people.”  We the People are Rising and ensuring politicians, Republican and Democrat, state and federal, put America first and honor their oath of office.

(“A Happy New Year for We The People Rising” by Arthur Schaper dated January 4, 2016 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/arthurschaper/2016/01/04/a-happy-new-year-for-we-the-people-rising-n2099433 )

I have long marveled at liberals' air of superiority and lack of self-reflection, which have always been particularly evident among liberal media elites and journalists, since they tend to view themselves as sacrosanct and above scrutiny.  Perhaps this attitude sprang from the British and, later, American tradition that the press is the Fourth Estate.  It doesn't just serve to inform the people and make them better contributors to the democratic process.  It is the virtual fourth branch of government, operating as a watchdog on the formal branches to further check their potential abuses of power.  It is a heady concept to believe you function to keep the powerful in check. It is even more so when no one has ever told you that you, too, need to be kept in check.  As a result, some journalists seem to believe that what they do is so important that nothing will deter them from ambitiously exposing to the public every titillating morsel of information, even if that information might unnecessarily harm people or the national interest.  Major-network talking heads will frequently declare that they have a crucial role in keeping our government honest.  They are astonished that anyone would ever question their noble character and honorable intentions.  You could especially see their indignation at the rise of the alternative media, e.g., conservative talk radio, Fox News Channel, blogs, other Internet news sources and conservative speech on a variety of social media platforms.  Surely, you've seen some of the major news media figures of yesteryear shaking their heads in consternation over the lack of proper journalistic processes in the alternative media, which, they contend, has resulted in sloppy and biased reporting.  It has amazed me to witness their delusional self-assessment.  For all of their puffery, it was their own arrogance, corruption, bias, sloppiness and unfairness that led to the rise of the alternative media.  Despite their nearly monolithic liberal views, the mainstream media truly believes their own work was above reproach.  The media's role as government watchdog doesn't exempt it from accountability for its own excesses and abuses.  After all, the three branches of government aren't beyond scrutiny just because they keep one another in check.  The media are no less vulnerable than the government to the trappings of power and to abuse and corruption.  That's why freedom of speech and freedom of the press are so vital to our system.  The First Amendment doesn't just apply to an elite group of print and broadcast media outlets, as much as those elitists seem to wish it did.  It applies to every American citizen and every media institution, including conservative talk radio, Fox News and other alternative media sources.  The takeaway here is that in their heart of hearts, many in the liberal media champion free speech not across the board but selectively, to ensure the unbalanced dissemination of their own biased viewpoint.  This is why they are so threatened by the advent of the alternative media, why they and their liberal colleagues in government are forever trying to invoke the Fairness Doctrine to suppress alternative viewpoints, and why almost all efforts to suppress speech in this country come from the political left.  Don't be fooled by the liberal media's phony protests about their essential role in preserving good and honest government, because it is not honest government they seek but one that advances their shared liberal agenda. 

(“The Delusional Self-Importance of the Liberal Media” by David Limbaugh dated January 5, 2016 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/2016/01/05/the-delusional-selfimportance-of-the-liberal-media-n2099853 )


World leaders, the super-rich, their pet nonprofits, their media boosters, and their allies in the global apparat, gathered in Paris to hammer out a deal to transform the planet, and our lives.  No one asks much about what the states and the communities, the electorate, or even Congress, thinks of the arrangement, because the executive now presumes to rule on these issues.  For many of the world’s leading countries (China, Russia, Saudi Arabia) such top-down edicts are fine and dandy, particularly since their supreme leaders won’t have to adhere to them if inconvenienced.  The desire for centralized control is also spreading among the shrinking remnant of actual democracies, where political give and take is baked into the system.  Under President Obama, rule by decree has become commonplace, with federal edicts dictating policies on everything from immigration and labor laws to climate change.  The current President is also building on a trend: Since 1910 the federal government has doubled its share of government spending to 60%.  Its share of GDP has now grown to the highest level since World War II.  Today climate change has become the killer app for expanding state control, but the authoritarian urge is hardly limited to climate-related issues.  Already the disconnect between the hoi polloi and the new bureaucratic master race has spawned a powerful blowback, as evidenced by the rise of rightist, even quasi-fascist parties throughout the old continent.  The people at the top, including much of the business leadership, may like the idea of a central European master-state, but support for the EU is at record low.  In some ways, the extreme discontent in America, epitomized by the xenophobic Trump campaign, reflects a similar opposition to bureaucratic overreach.  This conflict can be expected to grow as new federal initiatives, initiatives that seek, among other things, to enforce racial and class “balance” in neighborhoods and high-density housing in low-density suburbs, stomp on even the pretense that cities might have any control over their immediate environment.  In contemporary North American and the EU, the ascendant controlling power comes from a new configuration of the cognitively superior, i.e., the academy, the mainstream media, and the entertainment and technology communities.  This new centralist ruling class, unlike the Tories, relies not on tradition, Christianity, or social hierarchy to justify its actions, but worships instead at the altar of expertise and political correctness.  Ironically this is occurring at a time when many progressives celebrates localism in terms of food and culture.  Yet some of the same progressives who promote localism often simultaneously favor centralized control of everything from planning and zoning to education.  Advocates of strict land-use policies claim that traditional architecture and increased densities will enable us to once again enjoy the kind of “meaningful community” that supposedly cannot be achieved in conventional suburbs.  In the process, long-standing local control is being squeezed out of existence. As the Obama era grinds to its denouement, grassroots democracy, once favored by liberals, is losing its historic appeal to the left.  The new progressive mindset was laid out recently that openly called for the creation of a “technocracy” to determine energy, economic, and land-use policies.  Mechanisms like the market or even technological change are simply not up to the challenge.  The vagaries of America’s political system have contributed to the left’s growing embrace of centralism.  The Republican ascendency in virtually all states away from the coasts all but guarantees their control of most legislative branches.  In contrast, the Democrat control of major cities, particularly along the coasts, and their ability to woo voters who come out only every four years, gives them a tremendous advantage on the presidential level.  The centralization of power reflects disturbing tendencies in our economic life.  Despite all the hopes for a more distributed, less concentrated “new economy,” we appear to be moving ever more toward economic centralization on a massive scale.  Part of this is driven by the relentless growth of large financial institutions, the very folks who precipitated the financial crisis with their ill-advised speculations.  The increasing power of the central state, in contrast, is the bane of small companies, who are far less well-positioned to deal with ever-increasingly regulation.  Overall for the first time in recent memory, more businesses are being destroyed than created.  Concurrently, the middle class is shrinking, and seeing its share of the economy steadily diminish.  Yet there’s a problem with centralization: People don’t trust the very institutions that would be charged with carrying out their policies.  Levels of trust for the dominant institutions like the federal government, Congress, the courts, big banks, media, and the academy are at historically low levels.  Roughly half of all Americans, according to Gallup, now consider the federal government “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.”  Critically this blowback is not among conservatives or exurbanites.  Even millennials, who have tended to the left, are skeptical about over-centralized government.  A recent National Journal  poll showed that they, like most Americans, are not enamored of top-down solutions: Less than a third favor federal over locally-based solutions.  Simply put, there is no huge appetite for ever expanding federal power among the majority of the populace.  As Alexis de Tocqueville noted in the 1830s, the genius of this republic lies not in its central state, but in its dispersion, voluntary association, and ideological diversity.

(“How Liberals Are the New Autocrats” by Joel Kotkin dated January 3, 2016 published by The Daily Beast at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/01/03/how-liberals-are-the-new-autocrats.html )

The latest CNN/ORC poll shows that more Americans think terrorists are winning their war against the United States than at any time since 9/11.  The survey shows public discontent with the White House approach to be even greater than in the depths of George W. Bush’s Iraq debacle.  60% of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of terrorism; 64% of his approach to ISIS.  The White House is sure to point to the recent good news: US-aided Iraqi troops dislodged Islamic State fighters from Ramadi, seven months after the terrorists seized the Iraqi city.  It remains to be seen if the Iraqis can follow up on the Ramadi win, or if the government will let its Shiite militias run wild, pushing the Sunni locals into the arms of the next terror group to come calling.  Yet, in the 16 months since Obama announced his “degrade and ultimately destroyapproach, ISIS has acquired satellites around the Muslim world, from Libya to Afghanistan to the Sinai peninsula.  Meanwhile, Al Qaeda again has bases in Afghanistan, with more on the way, as the Taliban controls more of the country than it has since 2001.  Gen. John Campbell, the US commander in Afghanistan, warned Congress in October: “Al Qaeda has attempted to rebuild its support networks and planning capabilities with the intention of reconstituting its strike capabilities against the US homeland and Western interests.” Only constant American pressure, he warns, is keeping the threat at bay, but President Obama is still drawing down US forces there.  The American public is all- too-right to disbelieve Obama’s brags, and instead trust its own “lying eyes.”

(“Why America is right to think Obama’s losing the War on Terror” dated January 1, 2016 published by New York Post at http://nypost.com/2016/01/01/why-america-is-right-to-think-obamas-losing-the-war-on-terror/ )


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:

·    Preface at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/welcome/preface.php

·    Taxes at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/taxes.php

·    Asia at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/asia.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY