Views on the News

April 14, 2012

Views on the News*  

Karl Marx said history repeats itself, "first as tragedy, then as farce," but Barack Obama has reversed that because his first term was certainly farce and his second will be tragedy.  Obama has “Forrest Gumped” his way through his Presidency, except without the success, charm, and endearing sweetness of the original.  He has given America three and a half years of farce, even if no one is laughing.  Sold as a bipartisan moderate, a post-racial healer, a transformative leader, we were told he would not just solve our problems, but heal the earth and save humanity.  The President has governed as a hyper-partisan, race-baiting, barely present tyrant with absolutely no leadership skills and little regard for the constitution.  In less than four years, he has reduced America to the laughingstock of the world.  He talks of "flexibility," while he plots both unilateral disarmament and the scrapping of missile defense.  With no deterrent and no defensive capability, the nation will be defenseless and impotent.  Unemployment has ravaged America; economic stagnation has destroyed families and futures.  Good people have been demonized simply for being successful; business has been terrified by threats of confiscatory taxation and the relentless assault of regulatory fiat.  Obama's trillion-dollar stimulus stimulated nothing, except the wallets of political backers and crony capitalist pals.  It actually made the economy worse by diverting money from productive business investment into the Obama for President slush fund, which is really all the stimulus ever was.  ObamaCare is more unpopular with every passing day, while the Supreme Court seems likely to overturn the entire abominable mess.  Our President, who once lectured on Constitutional law, made statements showing how ignorant he is about the Constitution, judicial review, checks and balances, and the separation of powers.  People have died from his policies, although hundreds of Hispanics in Mexico who perished as a result of his administration's Fast and Furious program apparently don't count.  Our President, who believes himself the living embodiment of American exceptionalism, veers wildly between bragging about how successful he is and puling loudly about how unfairly he is being treated.  He boasts of his accomplishments, which amount to nothing more than brazenly redefining abject failure as success, or taking credit for things he had nothing to do with.  To hear Barack tell it, no other President has done more for the fossil fuel industry, cut taxes for the middle class, been more supportive of business, cut regulation, or done more to increase employment and help the economy recover.  Most laughable is his assertion that no President has ever done more to control spending, despite the $5 trillion in debt he has added in less than four years.  With a second term, he is on track to add more debt in eight years than all the Presidents who came before him combined.  His budgets are a joke, with last year's failing in the Senate 97-0, and this year's losing in the House 414-0, and even Democrats won't vote for them.  It is Obama's version of the "big lie," a lie told so often that it is accepted as truth.  The Obama variation entails many lies, big and small, told over and over again in mellifluous tone, with aggressive confidence and a joking manner that implies that anyone who doesn't believe all he says is an idiot.  To him, Americans are morons, so intimidated by his brilliance that they will buy into his bull, become backers of Barack, and re-up on hope and change this November.  The secret to his success is that he is able to convince people that if they believe him and not what they see with their own eyes, they are geniuses, just like him.  Unemployment, at over 8%, is at the highest protracted level since the Great Depression.  The economy is moribund, with the worst recovery, also since the Depression.  Government spending, as a percentage of GDP, is the highest since WWII.  The percentage of people employed is at its lowest level in 30 years; gasoline prices are the highest ever.  America, internationally, is at its greatest risk since the fall of the USSR.  Yet Barack constantly talks about how wonderful things are and how great he has been.  America is circling the drain, and despite the farce that has been Obama's first term, he has his hand on the handle...and with re-election, Obama is ready to flush.

(“Obama as Farce” by William L. Gensert dated April 11, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/04/obama_as_farce.html )

When you're losing an argument, change the subject; so when you're President Obama and if you're losing a reelection argument, change the subject and attack the source.  In 2008, mired in recession, the country turned to Obama but by 2011, the GDP growth rate was only 1.7% since Obamanomics is simply not working, gas prices are soaring, electricity rates are skyrocketing, and the jobless rate is too high, so it must be time to change the subject and attack.  The first distraction was contraceptives and Obama attacked the "Republican war on women".  New regulations to implement ObamaCare forced all employers to include contraceptives, female sterilization, and "morning after" abortion pills in "health care" coverage, the Catholic Church said no, citing its moral opposition and the First Amendment right to freedom of worship.  So when the Church started winning in the court of public opinion with a straight from the ACLU playbook civil rights campaign, Obama changed the subject again.  Next he tried to distract the nation by inserting himself prematurely into a tragic shooting in Florida.  When Obama is really losing a political argument, he resorts to the race card which is guaranteed to put Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson on TV for at least two weeks and distract people’s minds off the price of food and gas.  The latest distraction is the Supreme Court, performing their ObamaCare review which left the President fuming, so he now threatens the Supreme Court for doing their jobs.  ObamaCare has never commanded a majority of public support in any poll and current polling indicates it is more unpopular than ever.  What can Obama do when he's run out of diversions, when his change of subjects strategy is not working, when his attacks fizzle, when the failure of his policies becomes too apparent to too many voters, and his re-election chances look dim?  The answer is Cheat.  Obama announced that "Unlawful Presence Waivers" would be granted to anyone illegally in the U.S. if they can show they are a relative of a U.S. citizen.  Bingo, instant amnesty, No Congress needed.  Couple that with the Department of Justice jihad against any state that would require voter identification at the polls and what do you get?  Undocumented Democrats tipping the scales in November in swing states like Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Florida.  The Obama reelection playbook is as clear as a bell: If you can’t win with issues, win by any means possible, legal or illegal!

(“Change the subject and attack” by Roger Hedgecock dated April 6, 2012 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=50653 )

The shape of President Obama’s re-election strategy is coming clear, and it is a very negative, pessimistic view of America that he offers.  The key elements:

·    Don’t run on your record; run as if there were no incumbent

·    Stress class warfare; exploit fear of Republican spending cuts. Harp on the negatives.

·    Hide the negatives about your record in a miasma of general pessimism. (Medicare was broken before we got here; headwinds slowed the economy.)

The only modern incumbent to run away from his record and win was Harry Truman in the aftermath of World War II and the Roosevelt era.  Obama supporters seem to be betting that a decided shift in our political culture in the past decade has transformed class envy and “save government spending” demagoguery into a way to win a majority.  Perhaps Obama’s people have polling that suggests things are different now, that the country is so embittered and divided that sunny optimism and appeals to national unity strike a false note with voters.  Alternately, it may all just be an attempt to revive the 2008 Obama coalition by igniting divisive passions to amplify turnout among his old base.  Obama’s appeals to fear, envy and class antagonisms haven’t been working lately, but even if they start to, he’s sacrificing the themes of optimism and hope.  A dour, bitter Obama, lashing out at the rich and peddling fear of the Republicans, can’t compete with a sunny, smiling Mitt Romney who will be peddling his restoration of hope and prosperity campaign theme in stark contrast to Obama’s doom and gloom.

(“O’s losing strategy” by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann dated April 8, 2012 published by New York Post at http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/losing_strategy_DoYOpnBYcI5Rph7qqvIxtO )


America is at a crossroads because the latest jobs report shows that two years into recovery the U.S. economy is still woefully underperforming, adding only 120,000 new jobs in March, about half the rate of job growth of the previous three months which were, themselves, somewhat disappointing for this stage of recovery.  Perhaps the most striking aspect of the jobs report is the extent to which the labor market was little changed, an impression the report returns to repeatedly:

·    The unemployment rate at 8.2%, still two full percentage points higher than the peak during the 2001 recession, was little changed.

·    The number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) was little changed in March.

·    Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men (7.6%), adult women (7.4%), teenagers (25.0%), whites (7.3%), blacks (14.0%), and Hispanics (10.3%) showed little or no change.

·    The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was essentially unchanged at 5.3 million in March.

·    The civilian labor force participation rate (63.8%) and the employment-population ratio (58.5%) were little changed in March.

·    In March, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier.

·    Among the marginally attached, there were 865,000 discouraged workers in March, about the same as a year earlier.

Thankfully, the economy continues to create jobs, yet growth can only be described at this stage as spotty, anemic, and disappointing.  America’s economy should, instead, be booming.  That confirms once again that President Obama’s economic policies not only have failed to spur recovery, but have almost certainly held recovery back by increasing regulatory costs, increasing uncertainty, ballooning the budget deficit, and constantly threatening higher taxes consistent with a political ideology antithetical to economic prosperity.  Today’s job growth once again raises serious questions why America’s economy is not doing, much, much better.  Meager growth is not good enough, and the country’s fiscal realities are nothing future generations can bank on, especially with an unbalanced budget, a mounting tax burden, debt that’s too high, energy that costs too much, and a military that is stretched too thin.  America has a choice: will it choose to accept its current path of mediocrity and ignore the fiscal crisis that it faces, or will it choose to confront its challenges head on and enact policies that will lead to a sounder, stronger future; and we will have our answer in November.

(“Obama Economy Leaves Little Changed” by Mike Brownfield dated April 6, 2012 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://blog.heritage.org/2012/04/06/morning-bell-obama-economy-leaves-little-unchanged/ )

Socialism is defined as: 1) Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy; and 2) The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory midway between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved; and the latter definition clearly describes Obama’s agenda for America.  Every time those of us who clearly see America’s President for what he is and dare to speak out publicly about the dangers to American freedom and liberty Obama’s agenda presents, we are attacked as ignorant boobs.  The attacks themselves are a key part of the way socialism works, silence those who would warn of the danger socialism presents.  As Obama is campaigning for another chance to bring America to her knees, there are those on the socialist plantation in America preparing to flock to the polls and vote to draw the chains of socialism even tighter around themselves and all Americans.  They are the people the fathers of Marxism and communism referred to as: “useful idiots.”  Our Congress is a very good example of where the American people are at this moment in history – split, divided.  The GOP has never gone up against a candidate as devious, unscrupulous, and self-assured as Obama.  Obama is what I would call “neo-evil,” and I do not think the Republicans are anywhere near ready for that with which they are about to be inundated.  A man who will attack the Supreme Court in a State of the Union Address, with the court sitting right in front of him, and then issue thinly veiled threats at them, again, over the fifty-fifty chance that his signature achievement, ObamaCare, might be ruled unconstitutional, is capable of doing whatever he feels is necessary to secure a second term as President.  Obama’s machine has been at work since his first election.  They are dug-in in all 50 states just awaiting the word to begin shredding the Republican nominee.  A socialist is a person who has decided that capitalism doesn’t work and is striving toward communism.  Socialism is only the middle phase between capitalism and communism, and that middle phase is where Obama is today and he is striving toward the latter, and he intends to drag America into the cesspool with him, and the question is whether the American voters will endorse this direction in November or reject it outright.

(“Socialist Obama Envisions a Socialist America” by J.D. Longstreet dated April 6, 2012 published by Canada Free Press at http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/45813 )


The best way to understand the Dodd-Frank Act is to think of it as ObamaCare for the financial industry, and all the Republican Presidential candidates have called for repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act.  Most Americans have no idea how radical this legislation really is.  Like its health care counterpart, it leaves the members of the massive financial services industry as privately owned firms, but blankets them with so much regulation that they are no longer really independent operators.  If the act is fully implemented, a U.S. industry once so aggressive and innovative that it came to dominate the world’s financial markets will be reduced to a ward of the U.S. government.  The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) is a new agency made up of all the federal financial regulators: the SEC, the CFTC, the Comptroller of the Currency (regulator of national banks), the FDIC (regulator of most state-chartered banks and insurer of all banks), and of course the Federal Reserve.  The chairman of this body is the Secretary of the Treasury, who has now been given authority, through the FSOC, over all the financial regulators.  Under Dodd-Frank, the council is also exempt from the Federal Advisory Committee Act, so its meetings are not open to the press or public.  In other words, longstanding policies that were intended to promote confidence in the independence of regulatory decision-making have now been wiped away by the act, which has in effect placed all the financial regulators under the direction of the Treasury Secretary.  The council may designate any financial firm as a “systemically important financial institution” (SIFI), if in the council’s judgment its failure could cause “instability in the U.S economy.  This applies to all financial firms—insurers, securities firms, finance companies, hedge funds, pension funds, perhaps even mutual funds and private equity firms, and of course banks.  All banks and bank holding companies with assets of more than $50 billion are designated as SIFIs in the act, but the designation of nonbank financial firms as SIFIs is left to the FSOC.  Designation as a SIFI could have profound effects on the future of the U.S. financial system.  In effect, it is a statement by the government that any firm so designated is too big to fail.  The results of this policy are visible in the banking field, where the largest firms are acknowledged to be too big to fail and have been shown to have lower costs of funds than their smaller competitors.  This is logical, since extending credit to a financial institution that is deemed too big to fail is bound to be safer than making the same loan to a competitor that is unlikely to receive government support.  The lower cost of funds of Fannie and Freddie, a benefit derived from their government connections, enabled them to drive all competition from the sector of the housing finance market they were allowed to cover.  Accordingly, if as expected the FSOC goes forward with its SIFI designations this year, the entire financial services industry will be set on a course toward domination by a few large firms that have been chosen for special government attention.  A firm designated as a SIFI is then turned over to the Fed for what the act calls “stringent” regulation and supervision.  The Fed’s authority is plenary, with the ability to control the firm’s leverage, liquidity, capital, and activities.  All of these large firms are in competition with one another, so the Fed has the power to pick winners and losers among business models.  The Fed, in other words, has now been substituted for the market itself in allocating resources to competing industries.  One of the dangers here is a huge increase in what has come to be called “crony capitalism.”  Under Dodd-Frank an unwholesome partnership between the government and big finance is actually legislated.  Treasury policy and Fed policy have been virtually indistinguishable since 2008, and the Dodd-Frank Act tightens this alliance by placing the Fed chair under the direction of the Treasury secretary in the FSOC.  The Fed’s direct control over the day-to-day operations of the SIFIs it will supervise thus gives both the Treasury secretary and the Fed chair an opportunity to exert pressure on the largest financial firms for support of administration policy.  The Treasury secretary’s power under the Dodd-Frank Act is not limited to control over SIFIs.  Any financial firm is subject to seizure by the Secretary if he believes that it is in danger of failure and that its failure will cause financial instability.  If the firm objects, it can request a court hearing, but the hearing is secret (it’s even a crime to disclose it) and the court has a single day to make a decision.  If the court does not act, the secretary can seize the firm and hand it over to the FDIC for liquidation.  The Dodd-Frank Act is over 800 pages in its enrolled version and was rushed through the Democrat Congress, with almost no Republican votes, in a little over a year from the time the Obama administration announced its plans, and if it survives it will have as profound an effect on the future of the U.S. financial system as ObamaCare will have on health care

(“ObamaCare for the Financial Industry” by Peter J. Wallison dated April 9, 2012 published by The weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/obamacare-financial-industry_634902.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:

·  Environment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/environment.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY