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Views on the News

Views on the News*

February 22, 2014

                            

In the business world, a diligent board of directors would have long ago fired CEO Obama.  A long list of problems, especially one suggesting even a hint of fraud, that fails to generate a satisfactory board response would stir shareholders and lenders to demand the resignation of not only the CEO and other key employees, but also its directors.  Our government's CEO is Barack Obama, its board of directors is Congress, its workforce consists of a growing multitude of Big Government bureaucracies, and its bank is the unaccountable monopoly of the Federal Reserve.  Hardly anyone with any power in that vast organization seems to represent the interests of We the People (the shareholders).  The Democrat-media complex can ridicule political opposition as "fringe" or "extremist," but the ticking of the 17-trillion-dollar debt clock is becoming harder to ignore.   Our future generations will no longer expect the reward of dividends in their pursuit of happiness.  Not only has the financial value of our shares turned upside-down, but the attached voting value has become diluted.  We fret, we complain, we comment at conservative blogs, we watch Fox News, but nothing seems to change.  Nothing, except more strokes of Obama's pen and the "coincidences" of the frequency of IRS (and other federal agencies) harassment of people who dare to speak out.  We're becoming numb to the overwhelming "magnitude of the misdeeds."  The ability of courts and Congress to stop Obama is limited.  The political fallout of the Clinton affair is often cited as a reason to avoid the I-word, as if lying under oath about an affair with an intern is somehow comparable to the destruction of our Constitution.  Even after his admission that Obama's offenses are legitimate grounds for impeachment, for political reasons, impeachment is not an option.  Although impeachment is the proper remedy for the long and provable list of Obama's offenses, it's not guilt that matters; it's political will.  Perhaps the question should be: At what point will Americans decide that it does make a difference, and scream the warning "impeach"?  Until a majority of Americans realize that the office of the Presidency is much more special than any person who occupies it, the red line of impeachment for this President will never be crossed.

(“Where is the Red Line of Impeachment?” by Cindy Simpson dated February 15, 2014 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/02/where_is_the_red_line_of_impeachment.html )

The trouble with progressives is not just that they eventually run out of other people’s money, as Margaret Thatcher observed, it’s that progressives find new ways every day to project their own dysfunctional worldview on the rest of us.  Non-progressive Americans are aghast at not only the moral meltdown but the rise of dictatorial executive power in Washington, as explained to us by the President in his State of the Union address, in which he reduced Congress to a helpmate at best.  As for whether the culture is rotten, ask any anxious parent whose child is out of sight for more than five minutes.  As the moral, marriage-based culture collapses, the government grows bigger to pick up the pieces.  In such a culture, it’s easy for the President and his media allies to stoke the fires of envy and spread more dependency.  It works even better when the people are stoned.  Having softened us up with cultural rot, the Left is driving for total political control, with little effective opposition.  To suggest we can just tune out the cultural, political and social mayhem and go about our business is a non-starter, because there is no escape.  There is no earned money that is not considered fair game for confiscation in the name of progress and “equality.”  The worst sin of all in the age of iron-fisted, progressive “tolerance” is to react to moral degradation by failing to facilitate it.  America is not only morally confused but obsessed with bad behavior.  The real problem is not lack of sophistication but the numbing of conscience, and beneath that is contempt for God, the Author of morality.  Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values… Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan.  Meanwhile, those with faith in God and a love for a free America need to hold tight, pray for revival and become more actively involved in what needs to be a mighty tide of resistance.

(“Cultural Rot and Its Political Fallout” by Robert Knight dated February 15, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/robertknight/2014/02/15/cultural-rot-and-its-political-fallout-n1795151 )

Since the 1980s, the Democrat party has become more the party of a lifestyle liberalism than the party of the working class that it was in its heyday, roughly the period from the 1920s through the late 1970s.  From a movement mounting a leftist critique of capitalist excess and sensitive to the plight of economic have-nots, liberalism has largely become a series of mannered cultural positions on behalf of capitalism’s winners, especially those in academic or government jobs or with close ties to the state.  This new liberalism combines trust in a ruthless meritocracy, one that places themselves at the top, with faith in big government.  Barack Obama is the perfect embodiment of this new liberalism. Educated first in the socialism of his parents, then in the anti-American diatribes of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and working through the big-government carnival of Chicago politics, the President is an elitist for elitists and a big-government supporter for those seeking its ever-greater largesse.  Modern liberalism broke with Progressivism, and its obsessions with economic redistribution and cultural politics constitute an adversarial position intentionally taken.  It was combined with a hatred of what was seen as a repressive Middle America.  Liberals in fact blamed what Mencken called the “booboisie” for the failure of enlightened politics. These benighted folk needed to be educated, through politics, government programs, and the larger culture, into the correct line of thought. This snobbery has dogged liberalism ever since; liberals prefer dependents to engaged citizens.  Upper-class elites preach the values of unlimited autonomy but actually live lives more similar to those of the middle class they disdain.  They treat these values as their private preserve, even as the poor whom they profess to care about suffer the consequences of their ideology.  Thus their embrace of non-traditional families, which became so numerous as a result of the social revolutions of the 1960s, has contributed to family breakdown throughout society.  Although the Republicans pay rhetorical heed to middle-class values, most Republican politicians have become just as much attuned to big government and elitism as the Democrats have.  Rather than the European-style welfare state liberals intend, what is more likely is a Third World–style system of a thin elite layer on top, supported by a bloated underclass, with a shrinking middle as the object of the anger of both. 

(“Liberalism Transformed” by Gerald J. Russello dated February 19, 2014 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/371377/liberalism-transformed-gerald-j-russello )

 

'Income inequality" has emerged as the issue du jour in national politics, threatening to displace the unpopular health-care law and the slow-growing economy this election year.  Democrats from President Obama to the new mayor of New York City are leading the charge on behalf of the "99%."  This crusade is based on three questionable claims.  One is that the wealthy are mostly Wall Street bankers benefitting from rising stock and real estate prices, or executives who pay themselves extravagant salaries.  Another claim is that such people unfairly benefit from a system that taxes capital gains at half the highest marginal rate paid by those who earn salaries and wages.  Then there is the assertion that the "super rich" have abundant funds that can be taxed to improve the living standards of everyone else.  All of these claims are false, but by promoting them, the president and his supporters may hope to distract attention from ObamaCare and the economy.  A taxpayer needed a taxable income of $307,000 to enter the top 1%, a figure that hardly qualifies as "rich" today, especially in cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco.  The top 1% consists primarily of salaried executives at nonfinancial businesses (30%) and secondarily of doctors (14%), people working in finance (13%) and lawyers (8%).  The vast majority must have earned their salaries in small- and medium-size businesses, not in the largest firms and definitely not in finance.  The top 1%, and especially the top 0.1%, also includes a growing number of professional athletes who have joined a long list of actors and artistic performers, and scores of college football or basketball coaches.  All of these performers earn their incomes in highly competitive environments and through the voluntary patronage of consumers.  The top earners depend heavily on salaries.  In 2010 the top 1% earned 36% of their incomes from salaries and wages (what the CBO calls labor income), 22% from businesses, farms and partnerships, and just 19% from capital gains.  The top income earners today are not 'rentiers' deriving their incomes from past wealth but rather are the 'working rich,' highly paid employees or new entrepreneurs who have not yet accumulated fortunes comparable to those accumulated during the Gilded Age.  The typical "rich" person today is someone who works for a salary and accumulates stocks and bonds through savings, retirement plans and (for business executives) stock options.  From 1980 to 2010, as the top 1% increased their share of total before-tax income to 15% from 9%, their share of the individual income tax soared to 39% of the total paid, up from 17%.  Most were paying federal taxes at the highest marginal rate: In 1980 that rate was 70% and in 2010 it was 35.5%, but it has now climbed back to 39.6%.  The share of federal taxes paid climbed dramatically in those 30 years even as marginal rates were cut almost in half.  According to the White House budget office, in 2010 the federal government raised approximately $900 billion from the individual income tax, of which about $350 billion (39%) was paid by the top 1% of income earners.  The remainder of total federal tax collections (nearly $2.2 trillion in total) was paid through corporate, payroll, estate and excise taxes.  The individual income tax accounts for slightly less than half of federal revenue and the top 1% already pays a substantial share of that total.  Most of the wealth owned by the top 1%, and especially by the "super rich" in the top 0.1%, is also held in stocks, bonds and real estate that are not subject to income taxes until sold.  The shift in incomes in favor of the wealthy has been due to several large forces, including a world-wide boom in asset prices, the rise of global markets, and technological innovation that has increased the earning power of the well educated.  At a time of slow economic growth, mounting government debt, a stalemated politics and the impending retirement of the "baby boomers," the attacks on the "one percent" look more and more like a diversion from the nation's real problems.

(“The Truth About the ‘One Percent’” by James Piereson dated February 18, 2014 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303519404579352551767664072 )

The non-partisan CBO finally reported the truth that ObamaCare is the perfect job-killing machine.  Millions have already been downsized from full-time to part-time work and now we know from the CBO that an additional 2.3 million jobs will be eliminated.  Obama’s Kool-Aid drinking supporters are so far in the tank that when the CBO courageously pointed out that ObamaCare makes it less likely millions of Americans will want to work, they called it “choice.”  Obama’s propagandists painted it a wonderful development.  It is time to stop treading lightly and being politically correct.  This is communism, pure and simple.  Anyone who thinks “the American Dream” is to choose to stay home, not work, and collect a government check is reading directly from Karl Marx.  Anyone who thinks some people (who vote 100% Democrat) should have a “choice” not to work, by stealing the money of others, is reading directly from “the Communist Manifesto.”  Personally, I think “choice” is great.  You can choose to not work anytime you want, but if you need to steal my money to do it, that’s called theft, not choice.  Middle class wage earners are being ripped off to pay for free-loaders.  That means middle class people are having their “choices” taken away from them.  I guess in Obama’s playbook one man’s choice is another man’s slavery.  Obama faces a middle class revolt, maybe even a GOP landslide like 2010.  His internal polls show a disaster headed his way.  Knowing Democrats can no longer get elected, or re-elected, Obama has decided to go it alone.  Without regard for the law, the Constitution, or the American people, he has obviously decided to do the most damage possible to America during his final three years. He’s finally taken off the mask and shown himself to be the true communist tyrant he is.  Obama no longer cares to hide his radical Marxist ideology, because it’s now clear it’s “pedal to the metal” towards the destruction of America.

(“One Week of Unimaginable Destruction by Obama” by Wayne Allyn Root dated February 16, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/wayneallynroot/2014/02/16/one-week-of-unimaginable-destruction-by-obama-n1795185 )

 

Diversity does not mean any more "variety" or "points of difference," at least as it used to be defined, but instead, diversity has become an industry synonymous with orthodoxy and intolerance, especially in its homogeneity of political thought.  When campuses sloganeer "celebrate diversity," that does not mean encouraging all sorts of political views.  If it did, faculties and student groups would better reflect U.S. political realities and might fall roughly into two equal groups: liberal and conservative.  Nor does diversity mean consistently ensuring that institutions should reflect "what America looks like."  Do we really want all institutions to weigh diversity rather than merit so that coveted spots reflect the race and gender percentages of American society?  Gender disparity is absolutely stunning on American campuses. Women now earn about 61% of all associate degrees and 57% of all bachelor's degrees.  With such disproportionate gender representation, do we need outreach offices on campus to weigh maleness in admissions?  Diversity Inc. is also based on a number of other fundamental shaky assumptions.  Race, gender and politics are supposed to count far more in a diverse society than other key differences.  Does Diversity Inc. rely on genetic testing, family documents, general appearance, trilled pronunciation, accented names, or just personal assurance to pass judgment on who should be advantaged in any measurement of diversity?  Diversity came into vogue after affirmative action became unworkable in the 1980s. Given the multiplicity of ethnicities, huge influxes of new immigrants and a growing rate of inter-marriage, it became almost impossible to adjudicate historical grievances and dole out legal remedies.  On a zero-sum campus short of resources, the industry of diversity and related "studies" classes that focus on gender or racial differences and grievances crowd out exactly the sort of disciplines that provide the skills (mastery of languages, literature, science, engineering, business and math) that best prep non-traditional graduates for a shot at well-compensated careers.

(“The Outdated Business Model of Diversity Inc.” by Victor Davis Hanson dated February 20, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/victordavishanson/2014/02/20/the-outdated-business-model-of-diversity-inc-n1797275 )

 

The notion that there is something unconstitutional about not buying into the equivalency of genderless marriage to gendered marriage has seized the imagination of those who hold power.  The American people have not fallen in love with the notion of same sex marriage, not by a long shot.  The idea of same sex marriage didn't win at the ballot box in November 2012, or at the U. S. Supreme Court last June, or among certain jurists and legislators since then: The marketing strategy developed by leftist social psychologists did.  Over the years, the Left has diligently developed strategies which win.  They don't promote ideas which win on their own merit; in fact, they have had amazing success promoting ideas that most people would normally reject.  The process being used is known as Availability Cascades.

“An AVAILABILITY CASCADE is a self-reinforcing process of collective belief formation by which an expressed perception triggers a chain reaction that give the perception increasing plausibility through its rising availability in public discourse.  The driving mechanism involves a combination of informational and reputational motives: Individuals endorse the perception partly by learning from the apparent beliefs of others and partly by distorting their public responses in the interest of maintaining social acceptance.”

In other words, thinking which once was completely implausible outside only small fringe groups, rapidly gains social acceptance, dominance even, because individuals fear that if they don't publicly support this novel idea, they will appear unsophisticated, behind the times and will become a social outcast in one's place of work, school, neighborhood, church, or even in one's own family.  The process has proven to work so well, that the White House last year announced the creation of its Behavioral Insights Team, whose mission is to find subtle and unobvious ways to control our behavior.  No tactic of the powers opposing Judeo-Christian mores has proven more effective than Political Correctness, wielded skillfully by the Radical Left.  Information and opinion cascades promulgated by the Left are meant to overwhelm and intimidate. They cause otherwise freethinking individuals to engage in preference falsification due to the threat of social isolation.  The Media plays an enormous role in creating information and opinion cascades by controlling the narrative, i.e., the flow of both information and opinion.  In this way, the Left has been wildly successful in the Manufacture of Consent, leading people to falsely conclude that implausible notions, such as same sex marriage, are inevitable, when they are not.  But the processes which have led to the surprising success of the Radical Left are also its Achilles Heel.  Consent that is manufactured is not real.  They haven't won in the arena of ideas: They have won through tactics of manipulation, engineered by social scientists, psychologists, clever political operatives and legions of volunteers.  As such, the moral high ground the Radical Left now seems to enjoy is extremely fragile.  Popular support has been fabricated.  Their only hope of maintaining this perceived moral high ground is to continue to suppress free speech and religion because they can't risk the proclamation of Truth, either robust expressions in public forums or whispers in private, whether it be the truth of the Gospel, the truth of natural law, or even simple common sense.  We can no longer remain silent. We need solid citizen legislators, citizen journalists, and citizen activists to step up to the plate and start filling positions at every level of government, to fill the blogosphere, the airwaves and opinion pages with authentic, pro-human, pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-liberty views. We need to wrest away the narrative from the radical, anti-humanist Left and put an end to the dull drumbeat, the one-note regressive samba, that dominates the media and juridical and legislative chambers today.  It is time to stop being manipulated by the Left!

(“Manufacturing Consent on Same Sex Marriage” by Doug Mainwaring dated February 18, 2014 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/02/manufacturing_consent_on_same_sex_marriage.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 issue sections:

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

                                      

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com