Views on the News
Views on the News*
April 4, 2015
The two-tier pattern of family structure that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s and continues to prevail today is not serving the kids very well. Harvard professor Robert Putnam published Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis which describes this phenomenon. Starting in the late 1960s, rates of divorce, unmarried births and single parenthood rose sharply among all segments of society. About a decade later they fell and leveled off among the college-educated, who almost entirely raise their kids in Ozzie-and-Harriet style families today, except that mom usually works outside the home. Among the bottom third of Americans in education and income, however, the negative trend accelerated. In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was alarmed that 26% of black births were to unmarried children. The rate is about twice that for the least educated third of Americans of all races today. Single parents have a hard job that some do well at it, but the data says those are the exception rather than the rule. On average and by a wide margin, children raised in single parent households do worse in school, have more trouble with the law and make less money and gain less satisfaction in life than those from the stable families of the upper third. Low-level wages and incomes, taking into account proper inflation measures and fringe benefits, have not fallen over the last 40 years. Food and clothing has become less expensive and most households classified as poor have smart-phones, microwaves and big-screen TVs that didn’t exist in ‘60s.
· increase the Earned Income Tax Credit;
· expand the child tax credit;
· reduce incarceration for minor offenses and helping ex-convicts;
· eliminate pay-for-play fees for extracurricular activities.
Other proposals sound unavailing, like moving low-education households to more upscale suburbs; Section 8 housing subsidies already do that. Child care centers and mandatory pre-school can make a difference haven't been supported by research. The government can’t do much, but high-education elites, with their strong family structures, can "preach what they practice." There are signs this is happening. Teenage birth and violent crime rates have been falling. Younger millennials may be learning delayed gratification and self-restraint, and maybe, as they grow older, divorce and single parenthood will become less common. (“Can Family Breakdown I Low-Education America Be Reversed? Maybe” by Michael Barone dated March 27, 2015 published by Washington Examiner at http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/can-family-breakdown-in-low-education-america-be-reversed-maybe/article/2561904 )
The Obama Administration’s is committed to using climate change to radically transform America. It reflects a determination to make the climate crisis industry so enormous that no one will be able to tear it down, even as computer models and disaster claims become less and less credible, and even if Republicans control Congress and the White House after 2016. they are pursuing this agenda despite global warming again being dead last in the latest Gallup poll of 15 issues of greatest concern to Americans: only 25% say they worry about it “a great deal,” despite steady hysteria; 24% are “not at all” worried about the climate. Climate Crisis, Inc. is using our tax and consumer dollars to advance six simultaneous strategies.
· Climate research. The government spends $2.5 billion per year on research that focuses on carbon dioxide, ignores powerful natural forces that drive climate change, and generates numerous reports and press releases warning of record high temperatures, melting icecaps, rising seas, stronger storms, more droughts and other “unprecedented” crises. The claims are contradicted by actual climate and weather records, so alarmists increasingly emphasize computer models that reinvent and substitute for reality.
· Renewable energy research and implementation grants, loans, subsidies and mandates drive projects to replace hydrocarbons that are still abundant and still 82% of all US energy consumed. Many recipients went bankrupt despite huge taxpayer grants and loan guarantees.
· Regulatory fiats increasingly substitute for laws and carbon taxes that Congress refuses to enact, due to concerns about economic and employment impacts, and because China, India and other countries’ CO2 emissions dwarf America’s. The Obama Administration is unleashing a host of new mandates and standards, based on arbitrary “social cost of carbon” calculations that assume fossil fuel use imposes numerous climate and other costs, but brings minimal or no economic or societal benefits. The rules will require onerous new energy efficiency and CO2 emission reduction standards that will send consumer costs skyrocketing, while channeling billions of dollars to retailers, installers, banks and mostly overseas manufacturers.
· A new UN climate treaty would limit fossil fuel use by developed countries, place no binding limits or timetables on developing nations, and redistribute hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries that claim they have been harmed by emissions and warming due to rich country hydrocarbon use. Even IPCC officials now openly brag that climate policy has “almost nothing” to do with protecting the environment, and everything to do with intentionally transforming the global economy and redistributing its wealth.
· Vicious personal attacks continue on scientists, businessmen, politicians and others who disagree publicly with the catechism of climate cataclysm. Alarmist pressure groups and Democrat members of Congress are out to destroy the studies, funding, reputations and careers of all who dare challenge climate disaster tautologies. No federal funds will go to states that include or focus on natural causes, historical records or models that have better track records than those employed by the IPCC, EPA and President.
· Thought control. In addition to vilifying climate chaos skeptics, alarmists are determined to control all thinking on the subject. They are terrified that people will find realist analyses and explanations far more persuasive. They refuse to debate skeptics, respond to NIPCC and other studies examining natural climate change and carbon dioxide benefits to wildlife and agriculture, or even admit there is no consensus.
States must refuse to play the climate crisis game. Through lawsuits, hearings, investigations and other actions, governors, legislators, AGs and other officials can delay EPA diktats, educate citizens about solar and other natural forces, and explain the huge costs and trifling benefits of these draconian regulations. Congress should demand an accounting of agency expenditures, require solid evidence for every climate claim and regulation, cross-examine Administration officials on details, and slash EPA and other agency budgets, so they cannot keep giving billions to pressure groups, propagandists and attack dogs.
(“The Tip of the Climate Spending Iceberg” by Paul Driessen dated March 28, 2015 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/pauldriessen/2015/03/28/the-tip-of-the-climate-spending-iceberg-n1977444 )
We are experiencing the “Greatest Invisible Depression” in the history of the United States; the Depression Era soup kitchens and lines are unseen, coming to the mail box in the form of welfare checks, yet the government cash machine, the Fed, keeps printing bogus trillions that have no backing in goods and services. According to economists, 5-6% unemployment represents FULL employment of the economy, yet millions of discouraged workers have conveniently disappeared from the government statistics. They are now perhaps found in three categories: disability recipients, the invisible Americans struggling on their own to survive, or the generational government-dependent Americans. We are living through the precipitous decline and fall of the American Empire, the most successful nation in the history of mankind. It is a sad spectacle to watch since its triumph has contributed to the success and prosperity of all humanity in spite of the revisionist lectures to the contrary coming from the progressives who enjoys shamelessly the spoils of American capitalism and free markets:
· The invading hordes of illegals colonize and vanquish the American Rome.
· The endemic political and economic corruption at all levels of government.
· The degradation of society, the moral decay, the destruction of the family unit.
· The declining health of its population, the demographic self-suicide.
· Diversity, progressive multiculturalism, renders the empire unable to absorb too many divergent and unfriendly cultures.
· Intolerance of Christianity and forced Islamization.
· The inability to keep the borders safe.
· The destruction of the economy from within.
· The unsafe reductions of the armed forces and “chickification” of its ranks.
· The total control of its population by changing the Constitution and the rule of law.
· A military event resulting in the victory of a conquering nation.
What happened to Rome? They built the world’s greatest empire, the greatest military, the longest network of roads, paved streets, raised pavements, city grids, indoor and outdoor plumbing, marble palaces, bridges, military portable hospitals, portable bridges, indoor and outdoor water fountains, public baths with heated swimming pools, heated marble floors, extensive gyms, self-supporting cupolas, eleven aqueducts, just to name a few things. The distant reaches of the Roman Empire came into contact with Rome through its law, taxation, census, and coinage. Many factors have been debated such as Christianity, the rise of Islam, moral decadence, greed, invasions by barbarians, especially Goths and Vandals, lead poisoning, monetary issues, inflation, corruption, military inability to rule such a vast empire and to defend its borders, even after it split into the Western and Eastern Empire. The warning from the Roman experience is that major catastrophic failures often arrive both suddenly and unanticipated. The fatal decline of the empire came from internal problems. The self-inflicted decline was impossible to determine when it reached the point of no return. The Roman Empire of the fourth century was in some ways undergoing the same kind of transformation as the modern nation-state in the face of globalization.
(“The ‘Greatest Invisible Depression’” by Ileana Johnson Paugh dated March 27, 2015 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/70770 )
Close your eyes and imagine that the Middle East countries and terrorists have nuclear weapons as their barbarism going nuclear blowing up cities, wiping out ethnic and religious groups and turning the region into cinders. Now open your eyes and realize you’ve seen the future, thanks to President Obama’s policies. My thinking is guided by a belief among American military and intelligence officials that a nuclear exchange would take place in the Mideast within five years of Iran getting the bomb. The fact that a top Saudi official wouldn’t answer a question about the kingdom’s plan to get nukes is an answer in itself. Proliferation in the world’s hottest spot was guaranteed once Obama abdicated American leadership, a decision that led our adversaries to conclude we would not stop them and our allies to conclude we would not protect them. Obama’s courtship of Iran and his willingness to let it go nuclear is speeding up the race to chaos. Iran wants it both ways, nukes and a free hand to impose its Islamic Revolution throughout the region. Against all good sense and the lessons of history, Obama is saying yes and yes. The fears reached a fever pitch when Iranian-allied Houthi rebels took over Yemen, chasing out our soldiers and allies with chants of “Death to America, death to Israel.” Iran long held designs on a Shia Crescent and control over Arab lands, which helps explain why Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others counted themselves as our allies. The nuclear program will have the United Nations stamp of approval, as will Iranian control of four Arab capitals — Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and now Sanaa, Yemen. Israel sees the pattern as insane and a threat because Iran has threatened to wipe it off the face of the earth. In retaliation for complaining about the nuke deal, Obama denounces our ally and threatens to “re-evaluate” our support for the Jewish state. The toxic brew of Islamic fanaticism and nuclear proliferation could ignite a world conflagration. These are grim thoughts, expressed because it is impossible to imagine any other outcome of Iran’s rise. Iran remains the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism and supports Hezbollah and Hamas and now the Houthis in Yemen. Remember, too, Iran muscle and munitions are keeping Bashar Assad still standing in Syria. The wholesale death and destruction there, an estimated 200,000 people killed and millions displaced within the country and out of it, could be a prototype of its new empire. While there are many dark and complex forces in play and blame to spread around, the most important catalyst of the violent disorder has been the reversal of America’s policies under Obama, and we have switched sides, an abomination that ensures a legacy of infamy.
(“Obama’s race to chaos” by Michael Goodwin dated March 28, 2015 published by http://nypost.com/2015/03/28/obamas-race-to-chaos/ )
Iran is already blocking the U.N.'s existing efforts to keep track of what is going on in its nuclear program which should tell anyone that any agreement with Iran will be utterly worthless in practice. It doesn't matter what the terms of the agreement are, if Iran can cheat. It is amazing that so few Americans are talking about what it would mean for the world's biggest sponsor of international terrorism, Iran, to have nuclear bombs, and to be developing intercontinental missiles that can deliver them far beyond the Middle East. Back during the years of the nuclear stand-off between the Soviet Union and the U.S., contemplating what a nuclear war would be like was called "thinking the unthinkable." The Soviet Union was never suicidal, so the fact that we could annihilate their cities if they attacked ours was a sufficient deterrent to a nuclear attack from them. It is now nearly 70 years since nuclear bombs were used in war. Long periods of safety in that respect have apparently led many to feel as if the danger is not real, but the dangers are even greater now and the nuclear bombs more devastating. Clearing the way for Iran to get nuclear bombs may be the most catastrophic decision in human history, and it can certainly change human history, irrevocably, for the worse. The road to World War II was strewn with arms-control agreements on paper that aggressor nations ignored in practice, but those agreements lulled the democracies into a false sense of security that led them to cut back on military spending while their enemies were building up the military forces to attack them.
(“Does Obama Think It’s OK for Iran to Have Nuclear Weapons?” by Thomas Sowell dated March 30, 2015 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-on-the-right/033015-745713-obama-sees-nothing-wrong-with-tehran-going-nuclear.htm )
An abscess of anger seems to gnaw at Hillary Clinton, but the reasons for her resentments remain unclear. The world’s oldest party, adrift in identity politics, clings, as shipwrecked sailors do to floating debris, to this odd feminist heroine. Her husband, having assured the 1992 electorate that voting for him meant getting “two for the price of one,” entrusted to her the project that he, in a harbinger of the next Democrat President’s mistake, made his immediate priority, health-care reform. Urged him to begin with welfare reform, just as wise Democrats wanted President Obama to devote 2009 to economic recovery rather than health care, perhaps sparing the nation six years and counting of economic sluggishness. Hillary Clinton enveloped her health-care deliberations in secrecy, assembling behind closed doors battalions of the best and the brightest (think of many Jonathan Grubers) weaving complexities for the good of, but beyond the comprehension of, the public. When her healthcare handiwork was unveiled, it was so baroque that neither house of a Congress controlled by her party would even vote on it. Clinton’s Senate interlude was an uneventful prelude to her 2008 Presidential quest, which earned her, as a consolation prize, the State Department. There her tenure was defined by the “reset” with Russia and by “regime-change-by-bombers” in Libya. Russia has responded by violently dismembering a European nation. Libya was the object of “humanitarian intervention,” an echo of Bill Clinton’s engagement in the Balkans that appealed to progressives because it was connected only tenuously to U.S. national interests. Today, Libya is a humanitarian calamity, a failed state convulsed by civil war and exporting jihadists. These episodes supposedly recommend a re-immersion in Clintonism, a phenomenon that in 2001 moved The Post to say that “the Clintons’ defining characteristic” is that “they have no capacity for embarrassment.” Bill Clinton punctuated his Presidency by pardoning the late Marc Rich, a fugitive who 17 years earlier had been indicted for tax evasion, fraud and racketeering. His former wife reportedly contributed more than $1 million to assorted Democrat causes, $450,000 for Clinton’s Presidential library and $10,000 to the legal defense fund necessitated by Clinton’s glandular life that led to the Supreme Court effectively disbarring him from practicing before it. A year before the Clintons decamped from Washington to begin planning their return to it, they began trucking away from the White House $190,000 worth of furnishings. The furnishings became, as things often do with the Clintons, another occasion for an “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” tiptoe along the ledge of illegality. Although the Clintons said that all the removed furnishings were personal gifts, they returned $28,000 worth of them. Another Clinton Presidency probably would include a reprise of the couple’s well-known patterns of behavior, so hopefully voters will make an informed choice.
(“Remembrance of Clintons past” by George F. Will dated March 27, 2015 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/remembrance-of-clintons-past/2015/03/27/839f5d3a-d3db-11e4-a62f-ee745911a4ff_story.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:
· National Culture at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/philosophy.php