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Views on the News

Views on the News*

February 13, 2016

 

In the United States of 2016 the occupant of the White House is someone steeped in and aggressively implementing statist ideology.  One of the two major political parties has as its only candidates for the presidency a dedicated lifelong socialist in Bernie Sanders and a newly declared socialist in Hillary Clinton.  In recent polls nearly 59% of Democrats say they would vote for a socialist candidate as well as nearly 50% of independents and even more frightening nearly 70% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 in the country claim they would vote for a socialist.  This phenomenon is due to two primary factors:

·    First, the ignorance of what socialism is and its overwhelming failure everywhere it has been tried.  This is due to the Left’s control of the entertainment/education establishment over the past 40 years, which has eventuated in indoctrination not education.

·    Second, the unwillingness of the opposition to vigorously defend capitalism and the founding tenets of this country.  Instead, the guiding principle became, as it took less effort, continual compromise with those whose single-minded objective was to establish a socialist nirvana and seize political power.

The major failing of this go-along-to-get-along mindset is the inability or unwillingness to understand that one cannot compromise with those whose driving ambition is to control others.  The avowed proponents of socialism/Marxism understand that the most dominant trait mankind has, as do all living creatures, is an innate desire to survive and prosper.  While some may willingly choose to pursue subsistence on their own terms, to the majority of the human race the path of least resistance is the most desired.  Many people are very open to the concept of a central authority providing them with the means of livelihood with no thought as to the how.  A secondary characteristic of human race, and the most dangerous, is the need, by some, to conquer or maintain total control over their fellow man.  The easiest course was to promise, in return for the support of the people, that the state through a new ruling class would provide the citizenry cradle to grave economic security.  Thus a Faustian bargain encompassing the desire by the majority for ease of survival and others for the need to rule would be entered into.  Within this arrangement is the seed of its own destruction.   The Soviet Union, as early as the 1920’s, proved that complete state control of the means of production was a colossal failure as it could not produce sufficient wealth to support the population, so their version of socialism (Communism) had to be enforced at the point of a gun or by starvation.  Capitalism, reflective of that portion of mankind choosing to seek subsistence on their own terms, does by its nature celebrate the success of the individual not the collective.  Individuals separately or together, driven by the motive of self-enrichment, produce goods or services desired by others.  In the process jobs and wealth are created thus benefiting society as a whole.  A massive tension exists between those who adhere to central government control and fealty to socialist philosophy and those who produce the wealth of a nation.  As the state inherently has more power than the individual and once socialist doctrine dominates the ruling class, government begins a relentless process of injecting itself into the affairs of the individual and producer class.  The reality is they cannot, as the economic engine of capitalism will not continue to produce wealth if it is increasingly put under the thumb of bureaucrats and central planners inevitably attempting to institute not only governmental management of the economy but also regulate the day-to-day activities of all citizens.  The motivation of the producer class will be stifled and they will either drop out, join the dependent class or simply move on to other more hospitable countries, a reality more in play than ever in today’s global economy.  In due course centralized governments will, as history has shown, turn to excessive and unsustainable borrowings as well as inflation to finance their societal obligations.  The contract between the statists and the citizens who were promised cradle to grave security cannot be maintained as the economic underpinning of this arrangement will quickly erode.  Social and economic chaos resulting in dramatically lower standards of living must inevitably ensue, and in some cases lead to violence or revolution.  No amount of promises, demonization of capitalism, seizure of the means of production, the takeover of the media, confiscatory taxes or the printing of money will re-institute prosperity or security for the populace.  These desperate actions only serve to accelerate the downward spiral.  Within the United States, because of the unrelenting socialist indoctrination of the people and the stealth takeover of the Democrat Party by the radical Left, plus the unwillingness of the only viable opposition, the Republican Party, to understand that one cannot compromise with those whose sole objective is the seizure of political power, this process is well on its way and the culmination, if not stopped now, the left will bring about the end of this nation as a bastion of freedom and opportunity.  There can no longer be any consideration of compromise with the now unabashed socialist Democrat Party.  They must be defeated and their gains rolled back.  This election may be the last opportunity to defeat these leftists and roll back their gains before it is too late.

(“No More Room for Compromise with the Socialist Agenda o the Democrats” by Steve McCann dated February 8, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/02/no_more_room_for_compromise_with_the_socialist_agenda_of_the_democrats.html )

It is no secret that middle-class Americans are angry at the government and the general state of things. The so-called anti-establishment candidates appear to be channeling that rage to their camps.  It is a raw undefined rage that is based more on frustrations and emotions than on concrete facts or convictions.  People are constantly assaulted by the gloomy mantra that state is broken and unable to provide for the nation, and government seems to be doing nothing well.  According to a recent poll by the Ripon Society, 69% of middle-class voters believe that the federal government is not doing enough for them.  It is not giving them value for their tax dollars or sufficient return on investment.  Ironically, those who complain about the shortcomings of the state doubt its ability to aid them.  Nearly two thirds of the same voters believe that government is part of the problem and not the solution to their woes.  Yet another 59% do not believe the government is even capable of delivering solutions of any kind.  The state is certainly not satisfying everyone’s desires, nor should it.  The state is trying to be something it isn’t.  When things go against their nature they cannot be expected to do anything good.  The state, as it has always been defined since Aristotle, is the political organization and order of the nation.  Its role is to safeguard the common good and facilitate virtuous life in common.  The state’s end is the ordering of the common good it is not to be the common good; it is not to provide for the common good; the state should not control the common good.  Despite all the good intentions that officials might have about helping society, when it tries to do all these things, it ends up doing them poorly.  Our problem is that we have become accustomed to a state that provides goods and service that it should not be providing.  We have let the modern state assume powers and absorb functions that are contrary to its nature.  It has incurred massive amounts of debt to pay for its follies.  This dysfunctional state has managed to do all these bad things extremely well.  The state is the supreme civil authority in the land.  It should use its power to preserve and protect the overall order.  It should do those things that only it can do.  That means defending the nation and keeping the public order.  It means establishing justice, setting standards, maintaining foreign relations, providing general direction and coordination, and fostering unity.  Then, it should leave everyone and everything else alone.  When the state’s sovereign power stays within its limits, less force and money are needed to maintain it. People are willing to sacrifice and even die to defend the nation, as our soldiers historically have given testimony. When the state abuses its power, as it now does, it becomes a great straitjacket to force strict compliance to the law.  It no longer facilitates virtuous life in common.  The common good is shattered into myriad self-interest groups that seek to play the system for all its worth.  Changing all this takes effort on the part of citizens and there is little indication that many are willing to forgo their benefits or ROI on tax dollars.  There are few signs that people are willing to look beyond self-interest and show any interest in the common good.  The breakdown of the present dysfunctional state may leave us with little choice in the matter, and when that happens, we must have the courage to freely return to a virtuous order in which the state assumes its proper role of doing what it should do well.

(“When Government Does Good Things Poorly” by John Horvat II dated February 12, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/02/when_government_does_good_things_poorly.html )

 

America’s abysmal 0.7% economic growth during the fourth quarter of 2015 meant the annual growth rate was an anemic 2.4% … and average annual growth for the six-year Obama era a pathetic 2.2%.  This is the worst recession recovery since World War II.  The White House insists that job growth is “strong,” averaging 280,000 each of the last three months of 2015 (and a mere 151,000 last month).  This deceptive claim hides the fact that 94 million Americans over age 16 are not working.  The horrid 62.6% labor force participation rate remains the worst in decades.  Many of the jobs created during the Obama era are part-time positions, held by people who want full-time work but cannot find it, and those part-time slots offer lower salaries, benefits and job security.  That means family bread winners must work several jobs to make ends meet, often suffering the adverse health effects of increased stress and sleep deprivation: ulcers, weight gain, strokes, heart attacks and more.  While the official jobless rate is 5.0% the real one is 10% or higher, since the official rate ignores those who have given up looking and dropped out of the analysis, or have entered the cash only, barter, pay-little-income-tax economy.  Moreover, jobless rates for black and Hispanic Americans are much higher.  What has gone wrong?

·    First of all, the Obama Administration has deliberately destroyed tens of thousands of jobs in the name of preventing “dangerous manmade climate change” and “fundamentally transforming” our energy, economic, social and legal systems, via its war on coal, oil, natural gas, manufacturing, and the vast majority of economic activities on government controlled lands in the western states and Alaska.

·    Second, government has simply gotten too big, powerful and unaccountable, at the local and state level, and especially at the federal level.  It is not coincidental that five of the ten wealthiest counties in the United States are in the Washington, DC area.  The President and his regulators are arrogant, incompetent, negligent, abusive and vindictive. While they still employ the formal regulatory process (draft rules, comment periods, reviews and final rulemaking), they increasingly avoid it via executive orders, guidance memos, informal bulletins and other tactics that bypass Executive branch limitations.

·    Government agencies and officials routinely coordinate or collude with activist groups to develop and promote policies and regulations, often employing secret personal email accounts, off-site meetings that avoid transparency, and million-dollar payments to activists who rubberstamp and promote the rules.  These shady, incompetent or blatantly illegal actions are shielded by colleagues, judges, laws, politicians and the media from any accountability, liability or penalty.  Policies and rules arising from these questionable to illegal means are rarely overturned by the courts.

Large corporations and wealthy individuals can often survive, even thrive, under these conditions, especially if they secure mandates, subsidies and government-guaranteed loans for their products.  They also use laws, regulations and bureaucracies to stifle competition. Small businesses cannot even read the mountains of laws and regulations, much less comprehend them or know they are in compliance.  You may despise politics, but the politicians and bureaucrats are hot on your trail, and Democrats running for President would put Obama’s policies on steroids, so get motivated, informed and involved, before our vibrant free enterprise republic is only a dim memory.  

(“The 0.7 Percent ‘Solution’” by Paul Driessen dated February 6, 2016 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/pauldriessen/2016/02/06/the-07-percent-solution-n2115569 )

The largest financial operation in the known universe is the United States federal government.  For fiscal 2009, that operation ran a budget deficit of $1.412 trillion, the all-time record, which translates into more than $3.868 billion a day, more than $161 million an hour, some $2.686 million a minute. That’s debt at $44,774 a second.  Obama ran four “official” back-to-back deficits of more than a trillion.  On Jan. 20, 2009, the day Obama was first sworn into office, the Total Public Debt Outstanding was $10.6 trillion and seven years later that debt was $18.9 trillion, an average of $1.185 trillion a year for seven years.  The Debt Held by the Public (i.e. the hard debt) fared a bit better, but also averaged more than a trillion a year for seven years.  However, after Republicans took control of the U.S. House in Jan. 2011, we began to see some control over spending, and deficits contracted.  The problem with balancing the budget is that the federal budget is a fraud.  The fraud really ramped up in 1969 with the adoption of the so-called “unified budget.”  Under the unified budget, there is the “on-budget” side and the “off-budget” side.  The on-budget side is said to be discretionary.  It is the side of the budget for which appropriations are made, where all spending must be accounted for.  The off-budget side of the budget is said to be mandatory.  This is the part of federal spending that is not subject to the budget process, where spending is “automatic,” where spending “must” be done.  The off-budget side is where we find entitlements, and that’s where Congress must go if they’re ever to get control over spending.  Since 2010, Social Security has been cash-flow negative. That means the revenue from the payroll tax isn’t enough to pay benefits.  So, monies are transferred from the “trust funds” (borrowed) back to the Social Security Administration to pay for benefits.  There is one simple change to federal spending and budgeting that would force Congress to take the action needed to protect America from the runaway spending of one type of entitlement and it is this: require all entitlements that have their own dedicated taxes, like the payroll tax that funds Social Security and Medicare, to operate solely off of those taxes.  Such entitlements would then become entirely separate from the rest of federal spending; revenues from dedicated taxes would not be used to pay for other programs.  Every benefit would be paid for with revenue coming directly out of dedicated taxes.  This change will be a hard sell, since government would have to admit to a massive fraud; they’ve been lying to us for decades about the nature of federal finance.  Remember that requiring Social Security and Medicare to operate solely off of cash-flow from their dedicated taxes is what’s supposed to happen anyway when the so-called “trust funds” run dry, but the “trust funds” are frauds.  Most of the “content” of the Social Security “trust fund” isn’t from surplus revenue from the payroll tax, it’s from “interest.”  That “interest” is also a fraud.  When money is borrowed in normal financial transactions, the borrower uses the borrowed funds to buy something, which has a marketable value, and which can be repossessed by the lender.  There’s another type of entitlement, programs that are not funded by their own dedicated tax, such as Medicaid and the ObamaCare subsidies, which are really pure welfare and their spending presents a different problem for Congress.  That $104B in increased healthcare spending happens to be almost exactly the size of the increase in the projected deficit for 2016.  The CBO “boosted its projections of federal outlays for Medicaid to reflect higher-than-expected spending and enrollment for newly eligible beneficiaries under the Affordable Care Act.”  This red ink will be even worse if more states expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.  Spending for Medicaid and ObamaCare subsidies isn’t budgeted; it’s automatic; it just happens.  If America elects a decent President this November, one of his/her first orders of business come 2017 will be urging Congress to balance the budget as soon as possible.  Congress will never balance the budget if they don’t get control over the “automatic” spending of entitlements.  We need to dispense with the very ideas of “entitlement” and “mandatory” spending.  All federal spending, including welfare like Medicaid and the ObamaCare subsidies, should come under the budget process. Americans can have as big a damned welfare state as they want as long as they pay for all of it themselves each and every year.  We’re still going into debt at a rate of about $1.5 billion a day, but Congress keeps postponing the reckoning, the fiscal Day of Judgment.  There are many huge issues facing the voter this year, and the deficit is woven into each of them.

(“The Ignored Campaign Issue the Deficit” by Jon N. Hall dated February 11, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/02/the_ignored_campaign_issue_the_deficit.html )

 

It’s time to end the donning of sackcloth and ashes to grieve over granddad’s gaffes.  Obama has been apologizing for everything American since before he took office and has only upped the ante since then, basically giving away the house to pander to, well, I’m not sure to whom he’s pandering other than Karl Marx.  We wept over herding Americans and Canadians of Japanese descent into internment camps because our parents and grand-parents suspected some of them might have been more loyal to their old country than their new. What seemed to many, including liberals, like a prudent precaution back then seems now, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, to be a crime against humanity.  If throwing money around to assuage our collective angst worked, there’d be no hard feelings, no hopeless aboriginals, no problems with Islamic fanatics who seem to hold a grudge against us for perceived slights centuries old.  As we try to right ancient wrongs we didn’t cause, we belly up to the banking machine and nothing changes.  It’s a never ending cycle that benefits lawyers and makes liberals feel good (which, of course, is what it’s all about with liberals).  It also manages to shut down discussion and disagreement, which is a large part of their point.  Here’s my solution: Let’s issue a “Universal Apology” right now, and write it in stone somewhere.  We’ll say how sorry we are for anything that in the future may be judged as bad, and beg the forgiveness of whomever we may someday be accused of having wronged.  The drawback to this “uber-apology” is that (since we’re admitting guilt going in) some lawyer will ensure there’s a judgment against us and the resulting pecuniary penalty could put a burden on generations yet unborn.  This madness has to end, so I’m going to do my part.  I’m going to take my four wheeled scourge of the environment down to the murdered innocent species store, then fire up the non-renewable-resource-wasting outdoor cooker and chomp down on some brisket of blameless bovine, with a side order of culled chicken children salad and washed down with the contents of a flask of fermented juice of trampled to death grapes.  My great great grandchildren can feel sorry on my behalf.  

(“Apologies R US” by Jim Bray dated February 5, 2016 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/article/apologies-r-us )

Our only hope of defeating Islamic terrorism is Islam, and that’s our whole counterterrorism strategy.  Islamic terrorism is not a separate component of Islam that can be cut off from it, because not only is it not un-Islamic, but it expresses Islamic religious imperatives.  Muslim religious leaders have occasionally issued fatwas against terrorism, but terrorism for Muslim clerics, like sex for Bill Clinton, is a matter of definition.  The tactics of terrorism, including suicide bombing and the murder of civilians, have been approved by fatwas from many of the same Islamic religious leaders that our establishment deems moderate.  The objective of terrorism, the subjugation of non-Muslims, has been the most fundamental Islamic imperative for the expansionistic religion since the days of Mohammed.  Our strategy, in Europe and America, under Bush and Obama, has been to artificially subdivide a Good Islam from a Bad Islam and to declare that Bad Islam is not really Islam.  Obama claims Islam “hijacked” a peaceful religion. Secretary of State Kerry calls Bad Islam’s followers, “apostates. ISIS speaks for no religion; it has no religion; which means the Islamic State must be a bunch of atheists.  It’s also an attempt at constructing an Islamic narrative.  Our leaders don’t care what we think, because they just want us to keep quiet and not offend Muslims.  Our counterterrorism strategy has been constructed to convince Good Islam to have nothing to do with Bad Islam.  Nothing so thoroughly proves that the difference between Bad Islam and Good Islam is a lie as the compulsive way that they warn that Good Muslims are capable of turning into Bad Muslims at any moment.  Offend a Good Muslim, criticize his religion, fail to integrate him, accommodate his every whim and censor what he dislikes and he’ll join ISIS and then he’ll become a Bad Muslim.  Nobody, they conclude, becomes an Islamic terrorist because of Islam, so instead there are a thousand unrelated issues, having nothing to do with Islam, which creates the Muslim terrorist.  There aren’t any metrics that distinguish Good Islam and Bad Islam.  We can’t discuss the existence of Bad Islam because it would reveal that Bad Islam and Good Islam are really the same thing.  The moderate Muslim Brotherhood wins democratic elections; then the extremist Muslim Brotherhood then burns down churches.  The moderate Palestinian Authority negotiates with Israel; then the extremist Palestinian Authority cheers the stabbing of a Jewish grandmother.  The moderate Iranian government signs a nuclear deal; then the extremist Iranian government calls for “Death to America.  Like the saintly Dr. Jekyll and the mean Mr. Hyde, Good Islam and Bad Islam are two halves of the same coin.  Good Islam borrowed all sorts of noble sentiments from Judaism and Christianity.  Our counterterrorism strategy is based on empowering Good Islam, on building coalitions with Muslims to fight terrorism and enlisting their cooperation in the War on Terror, but we’re trying to convince Dr. Jekyll to help us fight Mr. Hyde.  When we “empower” and “build coalitions” with Good Islam, we’re also empowering and building coalitions with Bad Islam.  Our leaders want Good Islam to shield us from Bad Islam.  Sunnis see their Jihadis as Good Islam and Shiites as Bad Islam; while Shiites look at it the other way around.  We adapt our societies and legal systems to Islamic norms and hope that it’s enough to let us join the Good Islam Coalition.  If we go on at this rate, the experts tell us that the only way to defeat Islamic terrorism is for us to become Muslims.  Only then will we become members in good standing of Good Islam.  The Jihad isn’t coming from some phantom website; it’s coming from our Muslim allies. It’s coming from the moderate Muslim leaders that our leaders pose with at anti-extremism conferences. And it’s coming from the mosques and homes of the Muslims living in America.  There is no Good Islam; there is no Bad Islam; there is just Islam.  

(“Our Good Islam/Bad Islam Strategy” by Daniel Greenfield dated February 11, 2016 published by Front Page Magazine at http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/261771/our-good-islambad-islam-strategy-daniel-greenfield )

 

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:

·    Politics at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/politics.php

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

·    Welfare at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/welfare.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/