Views on the News
Views on the News*
February 1, 2014
The fanfare for the President's annual speech to Congress has gotten absurd, but especially so in 2014, when nothing this President does matters, since he is irrelevant, inconsequential, insignificant. His words have become hollow, empty, useless and worthless, neither here nor there nor anywhere, fully deprived of practical significance, the lamest of lame ducks. He is, in the end, just pushing rope, squashing water, pounding sand. Which is why his speech drew the smallest audience since the 2000 address of President Bill Clinton, a man whom few wanted to listen to after he had (falsely) told the public he "did not have sexual relations with that woman." When the verbose speech was broken down afterward, all that was left was small ball, tiny inconsequential promises of action that affect few Americans. In his "year of action," the President vowed a dozen executive actions, including the pledge to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers and a promise to speed up "ConnectEd," whatever that is. The President has stood still on his most important priority since the very first day he took office. "The state of our economy calls for action: bold and swift," he said on a frigid Jan. 20, 2009. Five years later, he said this in this State of the Union: "Average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by — let alone get ahead. And too many still aren't working at all." History will record that those five years were his five years. The State of the Union, the President was finally admitting, is dismal - wages aren't increasing, millions are without work, millennials are moving back home with their parents, government spending is crushing economic recovery. To the famous Reagan question: Are you better off? The answer across America is no!
(“State of the Union moot as Obama becomes irrelevant” by Joseph Curl dated January 30, 2014 published by Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/29/curl-state-of-the-union-moot-as-obama-becomes-irre/ )
Evidence continues to mount that President Obama's legacy when he leaves office in 2017 will be best captured by the phrase “Great Divider.” For his fifth year in the Oval Office, Obama's “partisan gap,” the difference in the two major parties' approval rating of a president, is 71 points, as measured by Gallup. Obama’s overall tenure tells the rest of the polarization story: “Obama's first, second, third, and fourth years in office were the most polarized for any president's first, second, third, or fourth years," Gallup found. One year into his second term, there is no reason to think Obama is softening his approach. If anything, Obama is doubling down on programs and policies that are certain to divide the country even further. First, the president is refusing to be reasonable or realistic about Obamacare, which is proving a bigger train wreck than anyone could have imagined. For him, and his Democrat congressional allies, it’s full-speed ahead and damn those obstructionist Republicans for putting up legislative obstacles, either in the form of bills passed by the House or GOP senators offering amendments and insisting on open debate and recorded votes in an election year. No matter that five million or more Americans have already lost their preferred health insurance, millions more are losing access to the doctors and care providers they like or must have, and costs are skyrocketing for inferior coverage. These problems will intensify and grow more damaging, as will the campaign rhetoric, in the coming months as voters prepare to go to the polls in November. Second, Obama is determined to focus on an issue that ranks near the bottom of concerns for the vast majority of Americans. Two-thirds of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction and half say getting the economy moving again is the most important issue. Only 13% of those surveyed pointed to income inequality as the country’s most important issue despite the fact Obama has made it the top priority of his second term. Income inequality is less valuable an indicator of societal economic health than wealth inequality because the latter measures total assets available to an individual. There is less wealth inequality now than 25 years ago, but don’t expect to hear that in the Great Divider’s State of the Union address next week.
(“The Great Divider is the ‘most polarizing’ president ever” dated January 24, 2014 published by Washington Examiner at http://washingtonexaminer.com/examiner-editorial-the-great-divider-is-the-most-polarizing-president-ever/article/2542804 )
Throughout his economically-troubled presidency, Barack Obama's governing strategy has been one of political distraction: Blaming his failures on others in an attempt to convince enough Americans that he's not at all responsible for an underperforming, jobless economy. His latest, duplicitous shell game is to raise the issue of income inequality, which he blames on heartless business people and Republican lawmakers who refuse to buy into his dubious, job-killing plan to raise the nation's minimum wage and enact a bundle of new big-spending programs to help the unemployed. He's trying to shift our attention from the real reasons behind the growing income gap: weak economic growth and the nationwide dearth of full time jobs. These are the issues he campaigned on in 2008, but now he says it is long term, income inequality, not jobs, that is "the defining challenge of our time." The liberal news media has bought into his sleight of hand side-show, producing a rash of stories about low-income Americans to prove that his new diagnosis is the right one. Wiser economists who know better say that poverty and lower incomes are the symptoms of the disease that Obama and the Democrats never talk about: a relentless, sub-par, job-cutting, under-invested, over-taxed economy. Higher taxes and more government are not the solution to the high unemployment that plagues our country, they're the problem. The cost of creating jobs is being driven up by harmful tax rates and government regulation. The bureaucratic quagmire created by complex and ineffective business regulations makes it easier to produce in Asia than in America. The highest corporate tax rates among major industrialized countries make the cost of investing here too high. Obama's big spending agenda over the last five years has contributed to income inequality. A full employment economy that is growing at 5% and producing its own energy would increase federal tax revenues. Obama's record on economic growth is a poor one, and not showing any evidence that it will get any better. Obama's depressed economy has been slumbering in the 2% range, year over year, far too slowly to lower the unemployment rate to 6% anytime soon. Meantime, the President and his advisers are frantically searching for new excuses to convince Americans that the persistently weak, jobless economy is not his fault. Meanwhile a band of liberal economists are manufacturing studies to help him make his case. The American people are not fooled. Obama's programs and policies are to blame for this dreadful economy that has plunged millions of our fellow citizens into lives of quiet desperation.
(“Obama’s Deceitful Blame-Shifting Game” by Donald Lambro dated January 24, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/donaldlambro/2014/01/24/obamas-deceitful-blameshifting-game-n1783679 )
The Obama administration has turned the executive branch loose on its enemies as a part of a disturbing and unprecedented trend toward delegitimizing political differences and marginalizing conservatives. President Obama has used multiple agencies in the government to harass and intimidate political opponents to an extent greater even than former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, both threatened with impeachment:
• The DOJ indicted conservative author, activist and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza, producer of the critical film "2016: Obama's America," on spurious charges of campaign fraud.
• One of the few conservative political action committees in Hollywood, the 1,500-member Friends of Abe, has found its application to the IRS for tax-exempt status strangely held up.
• S&P Ratings Services was warned they would be held "accountable" for its downgrade of U.S. Treasury debt, before being charged in a $5 billion mortgage fraud case.
• Conservative guerrilla filmmaker James O'Keefe, whose revealing videos of misconduct led to the dismantling of ACORN, is being audited by New York for a second time.
• New IRS rules on 501(c)(4) nonprofit groups leave labor unions and big business groups unmolested, but have a negative impact on Tea Party and other conservative groups.
These are not mere coincidences; they are a pattern of legal and regulatory abuse that extends throughout the government's executive branch. A group of nine state attorneys general, including those of Texas and Florida, two of the three largest states in the nation, warned in a recent report of the "continued disdain for the Constitution and laws shown by the Obama administration." The fealty of our national media to this President remains too strong to permit the reporting of simple truth. As a result, many Americans are unaware of the systematic destruction of the rule of law taking place. Does anyone remember the gunrunning to Mexico? How about the Benghazi attack? The 2012 IRS scandal, which tried to throw the election to Obama? How about the abuses of the National Security Agency? How about the unilateral changes to the ObamaCare law? The unconstitutional appointments to the National Labor Relations Board ring a bell? To a degree once thought impossible, the Presidency has been politicized and its enforcement arms used to pursue and punish Obama's political enemies. It's part of an Alinskyite strategy for politicizing every decision and marginalizing all who oppose his "fundamental transformation" of America. The best remedy is one available now, this year: the ballot box, so Americans need to reclaim the rule of law soon, or risk losing it forever.
(“Obama Uses Government to Harass, Intimidate Foes” dated January 24, 2014 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/012414-687585-lawless-use-of-executive-branch-for-political-purposes.htm )
In July 2008, candidate Obama outlined his goals: "Instead of alienating ourselves from the world, I want America, once again, to lead... I will focus this strategy on goals essential to making America safer: ending the war in Iraq responsibly; finishing the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban; securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states; achieving true energy security; rebuilding our alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century... [and] to engage China on common interests." but evaluating these goals, it seems that the President has pretty much failed. Part of that is a failure of leadership since he assumed office, and part of that was his naiveté as a candidate, with no experience on the world stage other than speech-giving, making promises that simply could not be kept." The breakdown of his goals can be seen regarding certain areas:
• Russia has been allowed to sabotage issues vital to America's national security. Vladimir Putin wrote an op-ed in the New York Times and recently lectured Americans on the necessity of the NSA, clearly taking advantage of the president's ability to lead from behind. Because of our stumbling, we have given Putin the opportunity to act more dominant than he should.
• China does not respect or fear the US as evidenced by their recent actions in the South China Sea and the Hainan Island. China's recent actions alienated everyone in the area and caused the US to put more weight on that part of the world. Meanwhile President Obama shows no leadership when it comes to engaging the Chinese economically.
• In 2008, President Obama spoke of preventing rogue nations from nuclear capabilities but has currently entered into a six-month agreement with Iran. He did not get the Iranians to crank back their nuclear program, did not tighten the sanctions, and appeared desperate to get an agreement. These partial piecemeal deals will slowly and surely undue the sanctions while they slowly and surely advance the Iranians nuclear program.
• Candidate Obama wanted to end the war in Iraq responsibly. Obama’s inability to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement was a major diplomatic mistake, considering al-Qaeda is back and the Iranians are now using that airspace to bring weapons to Syria?
• The War on Terror is far from over. The President did not decimate al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or Islamist extremists. All the groups are related, work towards the same goal, and believe in the same ideology. The U.S. is losing more influence in the Middle East as the fundamentalist Islamists make more of an impact.
No one would give Obama high marks regarding his foreign policy decisions and they certainly do not think he achieved his goals as outlined in July 2008. No one knows what this President's broad strategic vision is that guide policy. It is unclear which regimes Obama considers "monstrous and evil. Obama needs to speak clearly and realistically as Reagan did about Russia. Neither our allies nor our enemies can predict when this administration will want to intervene, when they'll stand firm, when they'll back down. Foreign policy under president Obama is ad hoc, contradictory, and unpredictable. Perhaps the best way to summarize the President's foreign policy is that he has failed to achieve his outlined 2008 goals, because he lacks leadership and displays weakness.
(“Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy: An Utter Failure” by Elise Cooper dated January 26, 2014 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/01/barack_obamas_foreign_policy_an_utter_failure.html )
There is growing dissatisfaction with both party organizations, so the way to bring the GOP back at the national level is to hold the party leadership to the pledges it has made for generations. There is a struggle going on between Establishment Republicans in Washington, D.C. and many state capitals and the party’s grassroots - conservatives, Tea Party, and local activists. Whether the issue is a hard-fought Republican primary or different tactics on repealing ObamaCare, whether the question is Common Core in education, or expanding Medicaid at the state level, there are going to be differences of opinion. Not every difference of opinion means a difference of principle. Conservatives firmly hold to Founding principles of constitutional government. Conservatives press for economic liberty, traditional family values, and a bristling national defense. Needless to say, the Obama administration is for none of these things. These conservatives can and should press for conservative alternatives to harmful liberal policies. The Republican leadership must first understand that conservatives will not pledge allegiance to a party machine that takes them for granted and that only weakly opposes liberal initiatives. The new age of the Internet affords conservatives many new outlets to organize and inform grassroots supporters outside of the dying liberal news media, both print and TV. Second, conservatives must be prepared to identify and back our true friends and resist those elites who only want to get along by going along. Third, the GOP leaders must understand that the path to electoral success requires active and enthusiastic support by the conservative grassroots. When party elites stiff-arm conservative candidates and principles, they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. As conservatives, we can take the winning message of economic liberty, family values, and strong defense into minority neighborhoods and share our hopes and dreams with new supporters in churches and synagogues. The current administration is the most hostile to religious liberty in our history. Our free market economy, our retirement and our children’s future has been placed in jeopardy. Republicans can fight hard for principles and candidates who can win while articulating and defending the policies that unite us because liberty is the cause and unity is the goal.
(“The Fight for Principle in the GOP” by Ken Blackwell dated January 25, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/kenblackwell/2014/01/25/the-fight-for-principle-in-the-gop-n1784319 )
* 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:
· Civil Rights at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/civilrights.php
· Education at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/education.php