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Views on the News

Views on the News*

March 5, 2016

 

Many Americans shook their heads in 2008 wondering how in the world President Obama was elected when he had told us plainly that he wanted to “fundamentally transform” our country, and then, the perplexity increased when he was reelected in 2012 long after his radical policies and disdain for the Constitution were abundantly evident.  Unbelievably, after suffering through the effrontery of the Obama Administration’s arrogance and his flaunting of executive actions instead of bipartisanship, the nation is now enthralled with Donald Trump’s bombastic, flamboyant, but empty promises, based solely on his ability to capitalize on the public’s anger and to manipulate people’s fears, rather than specific policy proposals or potential for effective constitutional governance, to come in and liberate us from the overweening government bureaucrats with their endless thirst for control and restore America’s greatness.  Clearly, Donald Trump is a brash, arrogant bully with a “yuuge” ego who sees things in black and white, winners and losers. Trump offends sensibilities with unpresidential behavior, crudities and bad manners, along with insults and accusations of lying against other candidates.  Still, the more obnoxious he has become, the better his ratings.  He has tapped into middle-America’s need for a “straight-up guy” who’ll “tell things like they are” without any consideration for how he offends the PC crowd.  The public has had enough of politicians who talk out of “both sides of their mouths” to say one thing to the voters during election campaigns while planning to do another.  The public doesn’t believe any politician; they want an outsider.  So how did we get to the point that it was possible for Obama to be elected and for Trump to be a serious contender for the presidency?

·    Nebulous Faith: Despite President Obama’s claims to the contrary, America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.  A significant majority of Americans identify as Christian; at the same time, church attendance is not keeping up with population increases.  Established churches where orthodox beliefs are captured in doctrinal statements and taught in classes are being replaced by non-denominational churches that focus more on “worship” than on “doctrine.”  In this postmodern age of moral relativism, faith, along with truth, has come to be defined however anyone wants to define it, rather than determined by a life that responds to God’s grace through devoted consistency in living out the moral principles in scripture.  Evangelicals figure prominently among Trump supporters and high profile Evangelical leaders have endorsed Trump in spite of the lack of consistency between his actions and their Christian principles and moral values.

·    PC Education: There are major problems with public education in America and consequently the numbers of homeschooled students is up by nearly 62% in the last ten years.  More and more people are questioning the value of a college education when students spend more time in drunken stupors, participating in demonstrations, and partying than in studying.  Moreover, parents are alarmed that colleges and universities are being converted into centers of growing intolerance for differing points of view -- especially for conservative ideas. Ironically, civility and respectful debate are rare while diversity and inclusion are emphasized.  Emotions and feelings are important and hard thinking is rarely taught or experienced.  Politically Correct language is the norm; nothing can be allowed that offends the proliferating collection of victims on the Left.

·    Cultural Disintegration: There is no way to overstate the influence of the media and entertainment industries in shaping attitudes and values. In many respects both Obama and Trump are products of the media.  President and Mrs. Obama have been media darlings since their earliest days on the national scene. With his ability to play to the crowd, Trump is always good for headlines.  Neither man sees a distinction between politics and entertainment.  The public wants something to talk about and they totally reject anything dull, boring, or routine.  Their attitude is: Don’t bother me with facts; my mind is already made up.

Cynics tell us that we get the leader we deserve, but the phrase has become a cliché because so much experience seems to confirm it.

(“How Did We Get Obama and Trump?” by Janice Shaw Crouse dated February 27, 2016 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/02/how_did_we_get_obama_and_trump.html )

President Obama is boxed in a state of paralysis, more so than typical lame-duck Presidents.  His hard-left politics have insidiously eroded the Democrat Party, which has lost both houses of Congress and the vast majority of the state legislatures, state elected offices, and governorships.   Obama issues a new initiative - and the nation snoozes.  He wastes the day on the golf links - and the nation snoozes.  He smears his critics, invites a rapper to the White House whose latest album cover has a dead white judge lying in front of the White House - and the nation snoozes.  He cozies up to America’s enemies and snubs our friends - and the nation snoozes.  For the nth time, he blusters about closing down Guantanamo - and the nation snoozes.  He opens the border even wider to welcome in more illegal aliens and future constituents - and the nation snoozes.  Lame duckestry means not even being able to wake up your opponents.  There is so far no Obama legacy, except the creation of Donald Trump, a $20 trillion debt and zero interest rates, and the gift of flat energy prices that came despite not because of Obama’s efforts.  Almost every major bureaucracy is awash in scandal or charges of incompetence.  ObamaCare, borne of rank partisanship and serial mendacity, can survive until 2017, only by bailouts and executive-order manipulations.  Americans shrug that Obama has left the world abroad a far scarier place.  We gave up our golden special relationship with Israel for one of dross with an Islamist and roundly disliked Turkey that, logically, now dislikes us.  What was astonishing about Obama’s empty red lines that finished off any lingering sense of U.S. credibility and deterrence in the Middle East was that after issuing such threats and then ignoring them, Obama then blamed the UN and the U.S. Congress for setting them!  Obama has reminded us how savage is human nature, by demonstrating that a vicious thug like Putin won more of an amoral world’s respect for his savagery than a whining Obama earned pity for his diffidence.  Obama cannot address the massive debt he has run up.  He cannot address entitlement reform.  He has neither the imagination to offer solutions, nor the disposition to share accomplishment with any other than himself, even if he had the political clout to compromise and reach consensus.  Perhaps no single individual has done more to erode racial reconciliation than did Barack Obama.  Obama’s racial legacy is the strange phenomenon of whiny, wealthy black elites acting hurt and oppressed if rewards to elites such as themselves are not doled out on the basis of racial percentages.  Christians are baited at their prayer breakfasts with pseudo-historical snipes at the Crusades.  Cairo-speech mytho-histories pass for foreign policy.  Euphemisms about terrorism only empower radical Islam.  Nothing in the last eight years is sustainable or can be emulated.  Race relations will change after Obama for the simple reason that if they were to continue on his segregationist trajectory we would quite soon end up like Bosnia or Beirut.  Fiscal policy will change, because if we followed Obama’s Bank of China credit-card binge borrowing of another $10 trillion in the next eight years, the country would implode. Monetary policy will change because eight more years of zero interest would wipe out the age-old idea of the wisdom of saving money altogether. Government policy will change because the bureaucracy cannot endure legions of more Lois Lerners, Lisa Jacksons, Kathleen Sebeliuses, Hilda Solises, or Eric Holders.  Health care will change after Obama, because if ObamaCare were to persist, the entire country would turn to cash-only concierge medicine.  Foreign policy will change after Obama, because to persist with his policies would lead to four or five major theater wars, a nuclear Middle East, Russia in the Baltic states, and Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan as client states of China.  Immigration will change, because to follow Obama’s open borders policy is to arbitrarily declare federal law null and void, and to establish the roots of a new third world country, neither American nor Mexican, along the border, but inside the United States. The media will change after Obama because it is about to be enshrined as an embarrassing government Ministry of Truth.  We are witnessing the lamest of the lame-duck Presidencies, with the power neither to act nor inspire, nor even to shock or surprise.

(“Obama: The Lamest Duck” by Victor Davis Hanson dated February 28, 2016 published by PJ Media at https://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/obama-the-lamest-duck/ )

The good news is that the economy is growing at 2% and that there’s no recession in sight.  The bad news is that the economy is growing at 2%.  It’s been doing so for nearly 15 years under both Democrat and Republican administrations.  After 25 quarters of “recovery” under Obama, it has increased a total of only 14.3%.  Real middle-class wages are still flat-lining, because these folks get nothing out of 2% growth.  Subpar economic growth never really came up in the Republican debate in Houston.  Rather than growth, we got more cat fights.  From 1950 to 2000, the U.S. economy grew at an average rate of 3.5%.  There is a big difference between 2% and 3.5% growth.  It’s not abstract or theoretical.  Essentially, the middle class has not gotten a raise in 15 years.  A new report from Sentier Research finds that median household income (adjusted for inflation) at the end of 2015 is almost exactly where it was at the end of 2000.  Not surprisingly, the middle class is cranky and angry.  They are voting for change, as in throw-the-bums-out change.  The middle class is saying the system is rigged against them, and they want to change who’s running the system.  Middle-class people who haven’t seen a raise in all these years don’t want to punish success, and they’re not jealous of those who have done well, because they just want their piece of the pie.  While the pie itself has stopped growing, the individual slices have gotten smaller.  With the GDP report for the fourth quarter ended in December, we know that the inflation-adjusted economy is growing at 1.9% over the last year.  Business fixed investment, the category that produces good-paying jobs, is growing at 1.6%.  Research has shown that middle-income wage earners would benefit most from a large reduction in corporate tax rates.  The corporate tax is not a rich-man’s tax.  Corporations don’t even pay it.  They just pass the tax on in terms of lower wages and benefits, higher consumer prices, and less stockholder value.  The single-most stimulative program for reigniting economic growth is to slash the corporate tax rate to 15% for large C-corps and small S-corps, go to immediate tax deductions for new investment, and make it easy for firms to repatriate their overseas earnings.  It’s a middle-class tax cut that, if you combine that with regulatory rollbacks and a stable dollar, within less than a year the U.S. economy can break out of its doldrums.

(“Two-percent Growth Is a Loser for the Angry Middle Class But Where’s the GOP Solution?” by Larry Kudlow dated February 27, 2016 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/larrykudlow/2016/02/27/twopercent-growth-is-a-loser-for-the-angry-middle-class-but-wheres-the-gop-solution-n2125629 )

Americans in large numbers are turning off TV newscasts, canceling subscriptions to newspapers, and seeking other sources of news.  Distrust of the national media has hit an all-time high.  According to a recent Gallup poll, six in ten Americans now have little or no confidence in the national media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.  A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 65% of Americans believe that the national news media have a negative effect on our country.  Americans are frustrated because they know that many of the “news stories” they read are only opinion columns in disguise.  If the story does not fit the liberal worldview, then facts are ignored, dissent is silenced, and Americans are told what to think.  One of the worst examples of one-sided, biased reporting involves global warming.  Those who reject the liberal viewpoint that climate change is the greatest threat to our country are ridiculed and ignored.  Liberal groups continue to attempt to silence debate.  The repeated claims that “the debate is over” and that “97% of scientists agree that human-caused global warming is real” are false and mislead the public.  The source of this “97%” myth is a discredited study that attempted to categorize scholarly articles on climate change by the position the papers took on the issue, but most of the papers never took a position on climate change at all.  This has not stopped the liberal national media from touting this illegitimate statistic.  Silencing debate is contrary to the scientific method.  If these groups were confident about their arguments, they would welcome more debate to test their theories.  Scientists who are not alarmists agree that climate change is a complex subject with many variables.  The liberal national media instead chooses to focus on human contributions and usually fails to provide both sides.  For example, the national media hyped NASA’s finding that 2014 was the hottest year on record, but ignored the footnote that revealed that NASA was only 38% certain this was accurate.  Too often, these alarmist announcements are based on manipulations of existing data.  Particularly regrettable is that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fails to include all relevant data sources in its monthly temperature news releases.  Atmospheric satellite data, considered by many to be the most reliable, has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades.  This fact is well documented, but it does not fit the liberal politics of the administration or the national media.  NOAA also published a controversial study last year where scientists altered global surface temperature data and widely publicized their results as refuting the two-decade pause in global warming.  A new peer-reviewed study was published in the journal Nature that, according to one of the authors, shows “reduced rates of surface warming” and “essentially refutes” NOAA’s study.  Americans will continue to distrust the liberal national media until the media provide objective coverage of the news.  Americans deserve all the facts that surround climate change, not just those that the national media want to promote.

(“The Inconvenient Facts the Media Ignore About Climate Change” by Lamar Smith dated February 26, 2016 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://dailysignal.com//print?post_id=249868 )

 

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.  No updates have been made this week to the issue sections.

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/