Views on the News

Views on the News*

February 20, 2016


Barack Obama has turned the United States into a banana republic through his autocratic style of governance, rejection of constitutional principles, and corruption, wrecking the modern world’s first and greatest republic.  His likely successors on either the Democrat or Republican side will continue America’s slide into confused autocratic, corrupt, and authoritarian rule.  History demonstrates that once caudillos come to power, their most likely successors are other caudillos. Obama is a caudillo, and so would be Clinton, Sanders, or Trump as president.  This is the model that has dominated international governance since nationalist revolutions between the 18th and 20th Centuries superseded monarchal dynasties.  Democracy and freedom, in all their connotations, are the exception to the rule in human history.  The political revolutions that began in Britain, its American colonies and France in the 18th Century mostly successfully rejected that model.  Most nations today could be said to be under the rule of caudillos, whether their names are Castro, Erdogan, or Mugabe.  That doesn’t mean that the societies that these strongmen rule are desirable or prosperous, only that as a model of governance they pretend to be democratic, easily enrich elites, and are relatively simple to maintain.  This is true regardless of confessional orientation or even the absence of it.  The caudillo model fits well whether the government is dominated by Catholics, Muslims, or is secular.  Obama grew up under such a government in Indonesia.  He has basically sought to displace the American constitutional model with the corrupt philo-Islamic authoritarianism of his stepfather’s homeland.  To a large extent he has succeeded, ignoring constitutional limitations on his power, attempting to dominate national politics and secure elections through a cult of personality, and favoring ethnicities, races and cohorts that that support his power base.  All this might be marked down as an anomaly attributable to Obama’s status as the first African-American president, fraught as that position is with the weight of history, and Obama’s own unusual background.  The caudillo model is hard to displace once installed, because superficially caudillos reject the general ideological framework of monarchal rule and outright dictatorship, and use the trappings and rhetoric of republicanism to maintain legitimacy and repress revolutionary fervor.  Rome essentially slid into this model after Caesar overthrew the republic.  From Augustus on Rome became a monarchy masquerading as republic.  The Caesars maintained the trappings of republicanism, the Senate, consuls and magistrates while they actually ruled as absolute monarchs.  Post-enlightenment caudillo rule has been about as successful in most of the globe.  America under Obama nicely fits this model, because he rules as a virtual monarch, manipulating a vast bureaucratic regulatory state, while playing lip service to the other branches of government and republican principles, aided and abetted by what largely amounts to a government-controlled media.  Among the best evidence that Obama has established caudillo rule is that leading candidates to succeed him (Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump) will likely follow this model, thus institutionalizing the caudillo in the U.S.  Clinton would most closely adhere to the Obama method, a corrupt philo-Islamic regime that maintains power by manipulating the bureaucratic machine and favoring certain constituencies.  Sanders would invoke a socialist model along the lines of the Castros or countless other “social-democratic” autocracies.  Trump would follow whatever his own narcissistic and idiosyncratic conception of governance turns out to be, but it will assuredly be autocratic and based on a cult of personality.  The past two elections have proven Democrats are comfortable with this model, so electing a second caudillo is not a problem for that party.  Trump presents a conundrum for Republicans, because his supporters assert that he is a revolutionary, the man who will overthrow the ingrained elitism and privilege of modern bureaucratic republican governance.  Trump’s people are akin to supporters of Caesar, enraptured by a man, and so intent on attacking a rich and corrupt Senate that they are willing to accept an autocrat in its place.   Trump’s supporters are so put out by Republicans and republicanism that if they don’t have their way they won’t vote for anyone else in the national election, throwing it to a Democrat, but more and more there is the feeling that, in the words of one of those Democrats, what difference does it make? 

(“Our Once and Future Caudillos” by Jonathan F. Keller dated February 16, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/02/our_once_and_future_caudillos.html )

If you read nothing but the New York Times, the Washington Post, and watched nothing but cable news, you’d think that Ted Cruz is a dangerous fringe reactionary, who could never be elected President.  Election results tell us Cruz came in first in Iowa, and third in New Hampshire.  Iowa is a very conservative state, with a large evangelical population.  New Hampshire, not so much, it’s always been a populist, reactionary place.  If Cruz were the dangerous fringe reactionary, we’d expect him to win in NH, but Trump won big.  Kasich got a good bounce from New Hampshire in South Carolina, but he’s barely cracking double digits, because he’s not electable as a conservative nor is he a threat to Cruz’s electability.  Rubio is very electable, but not at Cruz’s expense.  The biggest argument for Rubio is that he’s electable.  The Cruz/Rubio feud is causing confusion and division among conservatives, but it will not hurt Cruz’s electability.  Cruz is electable because he’s the real thing: A genuine Constitutional Conservative who is visited nightly by Antonin Scalia’s visage at the foot of his bed, encouraging him to keep the faith.  Cruz is a genuine Christian, who is recognizable by his fruit, not his talk.  Trump’s continual tirades (Trumpertantrums) against Cruz, repeating the words “dishonest” and “lie” ad nauseum only reinforce Cruz’s electability among Christians, who know the truth from another source.  That kind of straightforward, consistent honesty wins elections.  Reagan had it, along with another quality Cruz possesses: Civility.  Call it politeness, cordiality, gentility, or amenity.  Cruz throws arguments hard and fast, but never insults his fellow candidates.  He reacts to attacks on his family and character with laughter.  Cruz is running a solid second place, slightly ahead of or tied with Rubio in South Carolina.  Cruz plus Rubio beats Trump there.  Take Kasich and Bush out of the race, and either Cruz or Rubio beat Trump.  Trump is maxed out–he can’t get more popular.  There’s only one way for Trump to go and it’s down, unless and until he veers left.  Cruz can only get more popular and in a general election against Hillary, he will devastate her, despite the fear and venom of the left’s mouthpieces, and against Sanders, it wouldn’t even be close.

(“Ted Cruz is Very Electable” by Steve Berman dated February 16, 2016 published by The Resurgent at http://theresurgent.com/ted-cruz-is-very-electable/?mc_cid=e23f446a88&mc_eid=3062050a98 )


Eight years ago, when the country was evaluating a different group of Presidential hopefuls, Americans witnessed perhaps the most glaring and consequential example of ideological media bias of our lifetime: the coronation of Barack Obama.  The junior senator from Illinois just wasn’t covered by the press the way that Presidential candidates typically are, even when they’re Democrats.  There was almost no appetite outside of the conservative media for exploring his past: Very rarely was he asked about various controversial passages in his memoirs, and journalists unearthed little about his college life.  Even Obama’s close relationships with radical associates drew a collective eye roll.  Obama wasn’t properly vetted, and it wasn’t hard to figure out why, because in the eyes of the mainstream media, he was simply too big to fail.  Obama was a progressive’s dream: a charismatic true believer in liberal ideology, with an unparalleled gift for selling historically failed ideas to an impressionable electorate through soaring platitudes, baritone eloquence, and the unspoken promise of exoneration from our nation’s grim racial history.  The significance of his candidacy superseded journalistic professionalism and ethics to a degree that we had never before seen.  Republican politicians had long taken the high road when confronting the media deck stacked against them.  Republicans saw nothing to be gained in challenging journalists and news organizations.  Throughout the 2012 primary season, Gingrich often drew attention to the double standards, false premises, and improper editorializing used against him and the other Republican candidates by members of the media.  Bias continues to be a very serious problem within the profession responsible for providing information to the citizens of a free society.  In our current election cycle, we’ve heard Presidential contenders decrying media bias on an almost daily basis.  A good amount of the media-scolding coming from today’s candidates, however, is warrantless.  Journalists are supposed to hold Presidential candidates accountable for what they say and do.  They’re supposed to vet someone running for the highest office in the land, even if they failed to do so eight years ago.  An uncomfortable inquiry isn’t necessarily “an attack.”  If they are unhappy with their coverage, they are masking the significance of our country’s very real problem with media bias.  Media bias is in danger of becoming the Republican party’s version of Hillary Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy,” a victim card played by individuals who refuse to take responsibility for their own weaknesses and mistakes.

(“Overdoing the ‘Media Bias’ Complaint” by John Daly dated February 16, 2016 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431378/media-bias-gop-candidates-dont-play-victim-card )


When is the last time you heard a liberal politician propose a program that would actually help businesses grow and create more jobs?  It's never that, because it's always a money grab through hidden taxes and regulations to force businesses and successful people to support programs for those who are failing in life.  They never blame the individual for their own bad decisions.  They always blame Wall Street, big business and rich people.  They’ve painted a conspiracy theory of billionaires plotting to steal from the poor, but it’s not true.  Just take a look at the list of policies they want to pass and fund:

·    First, there’s universal pre-K.  This is meant to help children who are most afflicted by poverty.  According to a study by The University of Kansas, the average child from a high-income family hears about 50 million words by the time he's four. By contrast, a child on welfare hears just over 15 million words.  To the constituent voter of a Democrat, free daycare is enough of a bribe to get the vote.

·    Next, there’s free college for everyone.  Since liberal elites like Clinton and even Sanders, who've never actually worked in the private sector, they have no idea how their policies negatively impact the people they want to help.   Moreover, if you flood our colleges and institutions with students who otherwise wouldn’t go, then it will devalue a four-year degree.  You can give a loser all the college credits in the world, and if they don’t learn personal responsibility or how to overcome adversity, then they are still be a loser.

·    Thirdly, to pay for all of these bribes, we have to find the money.  What better way to pay for these kickbacks than to turn to America's job creators and strip some of their wealth and revenue, and redistribute it into government run programs?  Now that everyone has a college degree, we can start working on the next crisis: not enough jobs for all these well-educated idiots who will require even more government programs and taxes.

·    Fourth, there is the effort to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour (living wage).  Of the 289 stores Walmart is closing, dozens are shutting down because they can’t keep up with this ‘living wage’ being forced on them.  The average number of Walmart employees is over 3000 workers.  So, for every store that these liberals force out of business, they've given a few people a raise and cost thousands more their jobs.

·    Finally, there is the universal paid-leave initiative by the liberals. This invented tragedy asserts that parents should have more time to spend with their children once their baby is born.  Wouldn’t it be better to calculate career and family planning decisions, in advance, and budget for them? 

I thought the purpose of businesses in America was to pay people commensurate with their skills and knowledge, make a profit and reward their shareholders for their risk.  A well-run, successful and profitable business can in turn be a remarkable tool for community service.  As more businesses struggle to hit their margins as a result of government regulation, there will be less goodwill and more division from American businesses.  Successful people are successful because they adapt to the circumstances around them.  They find ways to succeed despite life’s challenges.  Successful people use discipline to continue being successful.  People who vote for liberals like Sanders and Clinton are confused, emotionally immature and lack the discipline to actually create the change they so desire.

(“The Race to the Left: Rewarding Failure” by Bryan Crabtree dated February 13, 2016 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/bryancrabtree/2016/02/13/the-race-to-the-left--rewarding-failure-n2118447 )

When one man, Justice Anthony Kennedy, acting as the deciding swing vote on the Supreme Court, declared that “gay marriage” was now the law of land for a country of some 320 million persons, he may as well have been seated on a planet other than the one originally occupied by the men who wrote the Constitution.  Note that the new nation was titled “United” and not “Uniform” States of America.  America was never intended to be culturally and politically homogenous from sea to shining sea, though we hadn’t quite gotten there as yet.  Here we are today, rolled flat by the wheels of the federal Juggernaut with nary a peep of protest by our local, state and federal representatives or executives.  Therein does lie the basic distinction between Conservatism and Originalism.  Conservatism relates to one’s position regarding an issue, originalism to the manner or by what means that decision is made.  Employing the courts to make and enforce cultural or moral decisions is one way of ensuring societal discord.  It didn’t work with court-ordered busing that was intended to achieve racial integration of public schools.  It still hasn’t settled the abortion-on-demand issue.  It certainly won’t peacefully and permanently institutionalize gay marriage no matter what Justice Kennedy or anyone else thinks.  How did the Supreme Court get to the point where it felt authorized to question and decide upon the legitimacy of state marriage statutes?  Part of the answer may be found in what the Founders were unable to imagine or consider that the implicit use of English common law, the original foundation of American law, in the normal course of jurisprudence would not fully survive the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution.  That being the case, the Founders never explicitly included the use and importance common law principle in the design of the Constitution though it certainly is, or at least was and should be, implicit in its function.  One common law principle that has essentially disappeared from use is that of jury nullification.  As described by Madison, jury nullification would provide the final defense against a tyrannical government.  It was intended as a direct veto over government power by ordinary citizens.  What it does mean is that a jury has a right to decide what is just even if its decision may be contrary to prior interpretation of a particular law. The jury may, regarding the specific case before it, judge the law to be unjust or unjustly applied.  In 1895 the Supreme Court in Sparf v. U.S. ruled that jury nullification did not apply to the federal court system or cases.  Another example of how common law principle has been disregarded or sidestepped is related to the vast increase in the number of federal criminal laws.  Consider, for instance, federal “hate crime” statutes.  Even if a person is acquitted of violating a state criminal statute, that same person may be tried and convicted of a federal hate crime for that very same act.  Of course, ignoring, distorting or misinterpreting common law principle is only a piece of the very large puzzle of how our federal government stealthily, though boldly, evolved into the overbearing behemoth that it is today.  America bears little resemblance to the Republic that it once was.  The federal government is a massive bureaucracy quite determined to retain its pay and privileges.  It has purchased the vote of a goodly portion of the electorate through programs of questionable benefit to the country as whole.  Its future is to be assured through the progressive indoctrination of children in the public K-12 school system.  America’s military is underfunded and its traditions have been scuttled.  The armed forces are now a laboratory for social experimentation rather than combat.  A large segment of the American people are more interested in and distracted by celebrity, sport, video games, internet porn and fantasy entertainment.  To no small extent we are a population frozen in an extended adolescence.  Distracting and worrisome crises are manufactured at will by the government, tax-exempt foundations and other NGOs.  Big, Bad Business, the giant corporations, are out to rob and kill you while they’re here to save you.  Global warming, intentionally morphed into climate change, is the all-time champion of such charades.  This and much more seemingly goes on forever while the federal agency alphabet soup of the IRS, EPA, INS, DEA, ATF, FBI, VA, USDA, SSA, SBA, NSA, NOAA, HHS, BIA, CIA and whoever or whatever else spend your tax dollars mucking-up ordinary citizens’ lives and strangling the economy with ever more burdensome regulation.  When they run out of your money, the Treasury Department will gladly conjure more money up with the cooperation of the Federal Reserve.  You just have to pay the interest.  Yes, we have an election coming up in November, but I haven’t heard any of the candidates offer realistic proposals on how we’re even going to begin dealing with all, most or any of the above.  I don’t see any presidential candidate on the horizon who can cut through the Gordian Knot of our political bewilderment and frustration.

(“It is Possible to Restrain the Federal Judiciary or Downsize the Federal Government” by Dennis Sevakis dated February 13, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/02/is_it_possible_to_restrain_the_federal_judiciary_or_downsize_the_federal_government.html )

President Woodrow Wilson led the United States into World War I and then into the negotiations that produced the debacle of the Treaty of Versailles, essentially winning victory without peace.  To “peace without victory” they added a new objective, “war without victory,” which America pursued in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Syria.  Ronald Reagan was actually the first President to set out to win the Cold War, and he did win it, thanks to a combination of good strategy and good fortune.  Barack Obama has said all along that his purpose was not to win but to end our wars in the Middle East.  Yet even though his heart is not in them, he has extended the American military’s involvement in the Afghan fight and returned troops to the war in Iraq.  Obama is quite prepared to conscript us all into wars on poverty, racism, disease, and other homegrown evils—wars without final victory, to be sure, but certain to keep the government growing, and all the more idealistic for it.  Not only is President Obama prepared to use force abroad, particularly if it’s for misguided humanitarian purposes, as in the disastrous intervention in Libya, he is even prepared to enjoy using force abroad.  He boasts of getting Osama bin Laden, and of hurling thunderbolts of death, Zeus-like, against individual terrorists within range of our drones.  Worthy of one of the lesser Roman Emperors, Obama’s declamations are meant to counter “all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker.”  America is, currently, the most powerful nation on Earth, and America is growing weaker and our enemies stronger.  China’s defense spending, for example, has for years been increasing at double-digit rates; ours has declined in recent years, increased at low single-digit rates before then, and always includes billions in wages and benefits.  So long as these trends continue, at some point the two curves will cross.  Analysts of American foreign policy have noticed the accumulating mistakes of the Obama Administration.  In Ukraine, the South China Sea, Syria, Iran, North Korea, and many other places, Obama has been wrong-footed, surprised by events and, even worse, by the kind of motives and conduct he thought history had abolished long ago.  The fear of terrorists with nuclear weapons has not disappeared just because no one wants to think about it.  Countries (and terrorist groups) that believe in winning their wars have a powerful advantage over countries that believe victory is optional, at best, and embarrassing and uncivilized, at worst.  From the end of the Napoleonic Wars to August 1914, a general war in Europe appeared obsolete, impossible, contrary to all the interests of Europe’s great and civilized nations.  If conservatives have a single thought to offer on foreign affairs, it is this: if there will be another war, and we had better win it, for the sake of a just and lasting peace.

(“War Without Victory” by Charles Kesler dated February 18, 2016 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/02/18/war_without_victory_129701.html )


There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news.  I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning.  Updates have been made this week to the following sections:

·    Economy at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/economy.php

·    Energy at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/energy.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY