Views on the News
March 5, 2011
Views on the News*
Just four months after posting historic election gains, Republicans are experiencing a reality check that President Obama will be a lot tougher to defeat in 2012 than he looked late last year. Obama is not consciously trying to harm America and is a conventional American President and politician with conventional political goals and aspirations. The matter of his motivations will doubtless be a ripe controversy for future historians, but will matter little to contemporary Americans, who will suffer regardless. Obama’s idealism burns with such pure, all-consuming heat that he remains blissfully unconcerned with minor matters like his electoral future. Thinking that Obama is a conventional American politician who will react in predictable, rational ways to common American political stimuli is a common mistake. Obama is a doctrinaire socialist who does not see that the pursuit of socialist policies is harmful to America and harmful to his electoral prospects. He simply can’t bring himself to believe that the public won’t ultimately be grateful to him and catapult him back into the White House. Recall that he has, on more than one occasion, said that people ought to be thanking him for imposing socialist policies, and in making those statements, seemed genuinely puzzled and angry that they were not. Let us also keep in mind that socialism, like Marxism, is fundamentally incompatible with freedom, democracy, and capitalism as embodied in America’s founding documents and as practiced in America. If Obama is indeed a socialist then his belief system, his way of thinking, is innately hostile to America. Socialism and American democracy cannot coexist, so if he is pursuing socialist policies, American democracy must, of necessity, be weakened or destroyed. It may be argued that Mr. Obama’s expressed and implied beliefs and actions merely reflect a profound lack of experience, perhaps even utter incompetence, and there is doubtless some significant element of this present in the Obama administration at virtually all levels. Mere incompetence cannot adequately explain away Mr. Obama’s background, his expressed and implied beliefs, or his associations, appointments, and official actions. He sees a world where his rhetoric and the force of his personality and matchless intellect can and will cause transformative change. He sees as one of his guiding principles the necessity and morality of redistributing wealth. He sees a world where foreign policy is an annoying distraction from his true interest in “fundamentally changing America.” This is a significant part of the reason why Obama fails so badly in foreign policy: he speaks not as the President of the United States, willing and able to use its might and prestige to further American interests, but as Barack Obama, who routinely disparages America’s might and prestige, seeks to further his interests, and diminishes not only his office but the nation it exists to serve. His ego keeps him from understanding this distinction, but it is surely appreciated by foreign leaders who fear and respect him not. In the 2012 election, the GOP standard bearer should not make the same mistake made by Senator John McCain. He (or she) must be willing and able to criticize every negative and foolish aspect of Obama’s ideas, policies, associations, appointments, and beliefs. He must be willing and able to point out exactly why Obama is not fit to occupy the Oval Office. Republicans underestimate President Obama at their own peril. Policy differences must be emphasized and differences in results made stark, contrasting Obama’s words with his actions. Most importantly he will have to win re-election with historically high unemployment. The Republican candidate must make plain that the office of the President does not exist to empower its occupant to “fundamentally change” America, to ignore the Constitution, and to gain ultimate, intimate power over the lives of its citizens, but to faithfully uphold the Constitution and to ensure individual dignity and liberty and demonstrate how Republicans can be trusted to do a better job.
(“Well Meaning or Not, Obama Threatens America” by Mike McDaniels dated February 26, 2011 published by Pajamas Media at http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/well-meaning-or-not-obama-threatens-america/
“GOP reality check: Obama looking tougher to beat in 2012” by Jonathan Martin dated February 28, 2011 published by Politico at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/50308.html )
President Obama has been unilaterally taking steps to increase the cost of gasoline for two years to accelerate the transition from petroleum based energy to alternative energy sources, irrespective of the costs and the damage to our economy. The Obama administration's policies are causing Americans to pay far more for gasoline and other fuels than necessary. America is awash in fossil-fuel energy sources with almost 30% of the world's coal and 80% of the world's oil shale, which contains an estimated three times the recoverable oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. Canada, with its oil sands, has the world's third-highest oil reserves, after the United States and Saudi Arabia. New technologies that enable low-cost natural gas production from shale mean that many countries, including the United States, will have gas for centuries at current production rates. The Obama administration has a hatred of fossil fuels and is determined to reduce their use despite the economic damage. Meanwhile Obama announced a new energy policy that included a goal that by 2035, 80% of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources. Here are ten things you need to know about gas prices that you may not hear reported elsewhere:
· Gas Prices Are Skyrocketing Under President Obama - At the end of President George W. Bush’s two terms in office, prices were 9% lower than when he took office (adjusted for inflation). When President Obama was inaugurated; the average price of a gallon of gas was $1.83, and today, that average is $3.14.
· President Obama Has Crippled Domestic Oil Exploration - Putting aside calls from some who want to increase domestic exploration to areas in Alaska and elsewhere, President Obama has completely shut down the existing oil drilling infrastructure in the U.S. At least 103 permits are awaiting review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. The Secretary of the Interior has finally approved the first deep water permit since the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico since Obama “lifted” his deepwater drilling moratorium in October 2010. Obama also reversed an earlier decision by his administration to open access to coastal waters for exploration, instead placing a seven-year ban on drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and Eastern Gulf of Mexico as part of the government’s 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf Program. ANWR is not the only place to acquire oil in Alaska. The Obama Administration is holding up a permit for the first oil to be produced from the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska.
· The Obama “Permitorium” is Costing the Government Much-Needed Revenue - The Gulf accounts for more than 25% of domestic oil production. With production in the Gulf expected to drop in 2011 by 220,000 barrels per day, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates the U.S. will suffer $3.7 million in lost revenue per day as a result of lost royalties. If that holds, the federal government would lose more than $1.35 billion this year from royalty payments.
· The Obama Administration Has Been Held in Contempt of Court - Federal District Court Judge Martin Feldman held the Obama Interior Department in contempt of court on February 2, 2011, for dismissively ignoring his ruling to cease the drilling moratorium which the judge had previously struck down as “arbitrary and capricious.” Judge Feldman has since given the Administration 30 days to act on permits it has needlessly and purposefully delayed saying inaction was “not a lawful option.”
· Jobs Are Being Killed by Obama’s Oil Policies - As a direct result of Obama’s oil policies, companies that help supply our domestic energy needs are going out of business. Most recently, Houston-based Seahawk Drilling filed for bankruptcy.
· And More Jobs Are Being Killed - Vendors, suppliers, even restaurants and retailers are losing ground or going out of business as a result of the economically crippling policies Obama has unilaterally imposed. According to Reuters, many of the thirty-plus deepwater rigs in the Gulf have moved to other markets. Each rig directly employs approximately 200 people, but that doesn’t even count the ripple effect across the nation. Meanwhile the Obama Administration committed at least $2 billion in 2009 towards Petrobras, one of the largest Brazilian offshore oil drilling companies in the world.
· Decreasing Our Domestic Supply Increases Foreign Dependence - Even Energy Secretary Steven Chu admits that “any disruption in the Middle East means a partial disruption in the oil we import. Rather than face this reality, Secretary Chu ridiculously called for an increase in renewable energy investments, which is a complete non-sequitur.
· Renewable Energy Is Not the Answer to Mideast Turmoil - Petroleum accounts for less than 1% of electricity production. Wind and solar, which do not produce transportation fuel can only replace coal and natural gas, of which America has an abundant supply. As for biomass, over 40% of domestic corn supply goes to ethanol, which provides less than 10% of our transportation fuel and causes food prices to increase.
· Regulations and Delays: The Obama EPA has added costly new regulations to refineries in the name of global warming, while the Obama Interior Department issues new rules that make it much harder to develop natural resources on government land. The EPA is also denying approval of the Keystone pipeline which would increase the amount of oil the U.S. receives from our friendly neighbor Canada by over a million barrels per day.
· The Middle East Is Not the Sole Cause of Rising Oil Prices - Global oil prices have been rising steadily for months based on variety of factors including those listed above and as the world economy pulls out of a recession. In fact, Egypt is not a major producer of petroleum, and only 2-3% of the world’s supply moves through the Suez Canal. Certain spikes are not abnormal and can be more easily weathered with a smarter domestic energy strategy.
It was Secretary Chu who, in the name of environmental radicalism, stated in 2008: “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Yet even if such CO2-free sources as nuclear and hydro power turn out to qualify as 'clean energy', reaching the target would still mean boosting the output of all such sources from where it stands today, at just over 30% of the total, to the President's goal of 80%. This transition would require replacing over 60% of existing fossil-fired power plants with non-fossil fuel based energy; further, it would mean doing so within just 25 years. Analysis of policies like those that Obama proposes shows that the costs of so large a change in so short a time span could more than double electricity prices. It makes no sense for the United States to hobble itself with less and more costly energy while much of the rest of the world is greatly increasing its use of fossil fuels. It would seem President Obama and Secretary Chu are getting their wish to suppress energy production as a means to force Americans to use unaffordable alternative energies, and we are paying more and more for this strategy every day.
(“10 Things You Need to Know About High Gas Prices and Obama’s Oil Policy” by Rory Cooper dated February 23, 2011 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://blog.heritage.org/2011/02/23/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-high-gas-prices-and-obama%E2%80%99s-oil-policy/
“Energy Policy: Obama’s Double Vision” by Lee Lane and Paul Bernstein dated February 25, 2011 published by Real Clear Science at http://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2011/02/25/energy_policy_obamas_double_vision_106229.html
“Obama’s Energy Policies Wreaking Havoc on US” by Richard Rahn dated March 1, 2011 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/Rahn/oil-energy-shale/2011/03/01/id/387845
“Libya, Gas Prices, Ken Salazar, and You” by Daniel Kish dated March 3, 2011 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=42096 )
Obama just announced he will NOT defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), designed to block gay marriage legalization and it is not a coincidence that Marxist doctrine teaches marriage is a subset of the state. By stating he will not honor legally passed statutes, Obama openly rejects the rule of law. He has pushed the Presidency from a defender of our laws into being its destroyer. He swore an oath to defend the whole Constitution. Obama has made a unilateral decision putting US law of marriage on a course to include homosexual relations. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed into law by Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Steny Hoyer, and James Clyburn, familiar today as part of the Democratic leadership in Congress, all voted for DOMA as backbenchers in '96. The President’s contention that DOMA so utterly lacks constitutionality that his administration won’t even defend it in court surely is as stunning an indictment of the President’s infidelity to executing the law as it is of the judgment of his party’s present Congressional leadership. The purpose of the law was to keep states that allow gay marriage from forcing these marriages on other states, under the Full Faith & Credit clause of the US Constitution. Thirty-seven states have their own Defense of Marriage Acts, while 30 states have constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage, including the three states (Arizona, California, and Florida) that passed constitutional amendments in November 2008. The bill also includes a definition of “marriage”: the word `marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word `spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. Natural Law defines “marriage” as the union of a single man and woman, in a monogamous union. Gay marriage is not acceptable because it does not naturally produce offspring. Barring outside intervention, natural fruit of the womb never occurs. So, a central purposes of marriage—procreation—can never be naturally fulfilled in a gay marriage. Now Obama, in deciding to be a one-man Supreme Court has raised the specter of tyranny and put all Americans on notice he will use any power to further his wild, leftist dreams. While this would be ideal for Marxists who want anarchy to achieve their goals, for the rest of us it could represent a recreation of the French Revolution. In contrast, the official position of Marxism is that religion is a hoax, the Ten Commandments are rejected and no humanistic replacement for these absolutes has ever been established, so there is no such thing as a universal right or wrong in Marxism. Given the lack of any genuine moral center, the position of socialism on such issues as marriage has one overriding concern. Specifically, Marx and other socialist writers were huge critics of the traditional family, detecting a bulwark against progress. Because families tend to be entities preserving traditional practice, socialists wanted the family unit smashed so the state could adopt the role of arranging procreation and the raising of children into the tenets of leftism. Therefore, true leftists favor allowing gay marriage, group marriage, or procreation outside marital bond; given that marriage has been an institution resistant to Marxism. Once the family unit has been broken down, and reformatted like so much beef into baloney, there will be no intact carrier of traditional views, outside the church. Once society chooses to accept gay marriage, the church then becomes corrupt, also spouting party doctrines from emasculated pulpits. The Democrats' reversal on DOMA reveals the rapid radicalization of their party, the myth of a don’t-push-your-morality-on-us ethos motivating gay marriage, and a one-size-fits-all contempt for federalism. Therefore, Obama must be impeached before total tyranny or anarchy dissolves America into murderous chaos, or historical irrelevancy.
(“Why Obama Refuses to defend Marriage: Marxist Theology vs. Natural Law” by Kelly O’Connell dated February 27, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/33832
“Democratic (Not!) Party” by Daniel J. Flynn dated February 28, 2011 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=42028 )
Of all the deceptive arguments and tactics ObamaCare’s apologists employed to jam their government takeover of health care through Congress, none was more egregious than the CLASS Act fraud. Those who conducted the campaign to force ObamaCare through Congress in 2009 and 2010 made a whole series of fraudulent arguments:
· “You can keep the plan you have today if you like it.”
· “Premiums will go down, not up by $2,500 per year for those with existing coverage.”
· “We can cover 32 million people with heavily subsidized and expansive third-party insurance, and it won’t cost the American people anything.”
· “The only people who will pay the $800 billion of ObamaCare’s new taxes over the next decade are the rich.”
And unfortunately all of that is plainly false, of course, and most Americans know it, which is one reason the November 2010 election turned out the way it did. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act was sold as a miraculous twofer: The new program would provide both a self-financing, voluntary, long-term-care insurance program for those needing continuous assistance with daily living, and it would reduce the deficit to boot! CLASS is expected by CBO to produce deficit reduction over the next ten years only because the program’s rules require participants to pay premiums for five years before they become eligible for benefits. So, at startup, there is the illusion of a surplus as participants begin paying premiums but very few of them qualify for any benefits. But, very quickly, those excess premiums will be needed to liquidate the entitlement obligations that participants will be earning. It’s another example of ObamaCare’s shameless double-counting. What’s worse, the CLASS Act is a ticking entitlement time bomb. Every expert who has looked at it reaches the same conclusion: It’s a poorly designed and ill-advised program that will suffer from severe adverse selection. Because it is voluntary, it will attract mainly enrollees who are at a higher risk of actually needing the benefit. Consequently, the premiums will need to be set very high, which will only make it even less attractive to healthy workers, who generally aren’t that interested in long-term-care insurance anyway. Very quickly after the first decade, CLASS’s finances will become untenable. The premiums, though very high, will still be insufficient to cover all of the entitlement benefits earned and expected by participants. As the program rushes toward insolvency, the only options will be to cut promised benefits, raise premiums even more, or bail the program out with taxpayer subsidies. So, far from being a program that eases budgetary pressure, CLASS is actually a perfect example of all that is wrong in federal budgeting. It was sold under false pretenses as short-term deficit reduction when, in reality, it puts American taxpayers at great risk of another expensive bailout. The only way CLASS works is if millions of healthy workers sign up for a program even as sick workers who are likely to benefit are screened and kept out. The most serious threat to the nation’s long-term prosperity is runaway federal entitlement spending, and the CLASS Act is the perfect example of how not to create a new federal entitlement program.
(“Obamacare and the CLASS Fraud” by James C. Capretta dated February 28, 2011 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/260824/obamacare-and-class-fraud-james-c-capretta )
Throughout U.S. history, the most prominent union clashes largely involved employees squaring off against big corporate owners over how to share profits, but the recent state budget controversies feature union members bargaining against state and local governments over wages and benefits provided by taxpayers. The shift reflects the profound changes in American unionism. Last year, for the first time in American history, a majority of union members worked for the government rather than private firms. About 36% of government workers, or 7.6 million people, are members of unions, compared with about 7% of private-sector workers, or 7.1 million people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly 90% of government employees in the United States are employed at the state and local level. A very large number of them, many millions, belong to public-sector unions. State and local bureaucrats are much more likely to be unionized than federal bureaucrats; 19% of federal workers are unionized, but 30% of state workers are, and 43% of local workers. With that evolution comes different tactics and politics because public sector unions are fundamentally different. Government workers were not exploited. They were never squeezed the same way as workers in the private sector were, because they had civil-service protections. When a union makes demands of a private firm, the workers and the owners can easily see that there is a natural limit on how high compensation can go. If compensation for workers is too high it will force the firm to close or result in jobs shifting overseas. Government workers, meanwhile, can demand wages based on how much tax money is available. With many government services standing essentially as monopolies, it is more difficult for customers to shift. Public-sector workers are not overpaid in wages, but their benefits are more than people in the private sector receive, and without the free market to naturally limit demands, public sector costs have become unsustainable.
(“Ohio, Wisconsin shine spotlight on new union battle: Government workers vs. taxpayers” by Peter Whoriskey and Amy Gardner dated February 28, 2011 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/27/AR2011022703945.html?hpid=topnews
“Government Unions 101: What Public-Sector Unions Won’t Tell You” dated February 28, 2011 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Factsheets/2011/02/Government-Unions-101-What-Public-Sector-Unions-Wont-Tell-You )
Reports indicate that protestors, encouraged by the toppling of two autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt, are everywhere gathering in the Middle East, from Algeria to Iran and in many states in between, and the question is yet to be answered whether this is a cry for freedom or a cry for a new Caliphate, a longing for days long past when Arabs and Muslims ruled much of the known world? On a less grandiose note, is it merely the collective resentment of those who have not shared in the economic prosperity enjoyed by elites in their countries. What makes the situation in the Middle East fascinating and complex is that movement we see on the Arab street is probably a combination of all these groups and others as well. For almost a century the Arab and Muslim world has been wrestling with the ideas of modernity, freedom, democracy and economic liberalism. It has not been an easy journey -- and it is one complicated by the legacies of colonialism, Arab-Israeli war and superpower conflicts that embroiled the region in issues beyond its control. Liberalism as an idea gave way to many twisted forms of monarchy, socialism, Pan Arabism, reactionary Islamism, autocracy and tyranny. Wounded Arab pride, faced with the superiority of Israeli arms and Western economic might, turned to the strong man who would restore pride -- first Nasser, who had a vision of sorts, and then inferior tyrants like Saddam, Assad and Qaddafi, all promising to stand down the enemies of the Arab street. Conspiracy, violence, repression, mass murder, all were justified in the name of Arab and Muslim pride. It is a delicate dance -- the forces of repression are never far from the mob. The military is still the supreme source of power in the Arab state. Patriarchy and reactionary ideas still have a deep hold on many Arabs. It is too early yet to tell if today's uprisings constitute a genuine vision or simply unchannelled frustrations -- but surely well meaning observers can hope that this is a first step toward a more open democratic civil society.
(“Has the Middle East Berlin Wall fallen?” by George Shadroui dated February 28, 2011 published by Intellectual Conservative at http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2011/02/28/has-the-middle-east-berlin-wall-fallen/ )
* 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:
· Immigration at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/immigration.php