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Views on the News

Views on the News*

April 26, 2014

                            

The American public has had plenty of experience with President who lie in recent years.  Almost every President has shaded things a bit, but three modern ones have been unabashed bull artists: Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and, of course, Barack Obama.  Clinton ultimately got a pass for his prevarications.  Nixon didn’t.  Neither deserved one, but our current liar-President deserves one even less, because his lies have been of substance, affecting policy.  Nixon and Clinton just lied in self-defense - normal human cowardice.  Obama is something else again, since he lies proactively and often reflexively.  The red line against Syrian chemical weapons is a perfect example.  Did Obama ever have any intention of following up on that?  Who knows?  Does the President himself know he is lying?  I am not sure.  Obama would not be the first person to think that pronouncing something made it so - and he has spent his life from a very young age surrounded by people who have not contradicted him.  It’s a form of what shrinks call “magical thinking” and is an indication of a disconnected personality.  Obama’s lies have far greater impact than the other Presidents’ because almost no one across an increasingly fractious world believes him anymore.  What a relief that must be to the Iranians not to have to pay attention to his huffing and puffing about sanctions or whatever pathetic amount of saber-rattling, already pro forma, he might do.  The nuclear talks can now go on in the spirit to which the mullahs are accustomed - a charade.  Could a man who could not even be honest about the details of a health insurance plan be trusted to negotiate the enrichment of uranium in a secretive country on another continent governed by religious fanatics who have been hiding their activities for decades and for whom deception is a way of life?  After all, it was only a few years ago that Iranian democracy protestors by the hundreds of thousands were marching in the streets of Tehran shouting “Obama, Obama, are you with us, or are you with them?”  but I’m pretty sure we all now know the answer to that one.

(“Iran Won’t Have a Nuclear Weapon. Period!” by Roger L. Simon dated April 20, 2014 publishded by PJ Media at http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2014/04/20/iran-wont-have-a-nuclear-weapon-period/ )

No party has better separated people more than the modern Democrats.  By every means, and some simply created anew for convenience sake, Democrats categorize by everything.  The individual does not exist to Democrats, beyond props to be used at their events and speeches.  To them, we are nothing but clumps of ethnicities, melanin, genitals and wallets.  Our ancestry, color, sexuality and income are but a few of the ways Democrats divide us. They then assign blame for whatever problem du jour presents itself to those who somehow don’t share their sameness.  Academia has long been the petri dish from which progressives spread their divisive hatred.  And spread it has, like a cold on a plane.  The monster they created is now turning on the very institutions they’ve used to embed their hatred.  Now we have “micro-aggressions” which is damn near anything where people from two different groups interact and racism, sexism or homophobia occur, but in such a way that either or both of the participants are unaware of them.  A micro-aggression is, say, racism so subtle that no one involved is aware it happened until later or an uninvolved third party brings it to their attention.  UCLA had a bout of micro-aggression last year when a professor was accused of bias because “grammar and spelling corrections he made on their (students’) dissertation proposals as a form of ‘micro-aggression.’ Apparently correcting grammar and spelling is now racist and this outrage led to a sit-in.  Soon, these martyrs will graduate and be unable to find work.  In an honestly educated person, a dose of reality and their awful job prospects would cause them to rethink and question everything their liberal professors drilled into their heads.  After all, Democrats are fond of saying “Question authority,” but the “Question authority” crowd is the authority, and has been for years.  That’s why you don’t hear that much anymore.  Hopefully someday they will realize they’ve been lied to, that’s it’s hard to get ahead, or even get a job, when you’ve spent your life nailing yourself to a cross; then maybe they’ll fully turn against the people who taught them how to hammer.

(“The Grievance Industry’s Spawn” by Derek Hunter dated April 21, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/derekhunter/2014/04/20/the-grievance-industrys-spawn-n1826505 )

 

Barack Obama is getting a number of critical report cards on his foreign and domestic policies lately. Janet Yellen, in her first monetary policy address as the head of the Federal Reserve Board, said the labor markets were still weak, and that it will likely take two years or more before the U.S. fully recovers from its recession.  This means it will have taken Obama's administration nearly eight years to lift our economy out of its long and painful lethargy.  She expressed grave concern that the economy's 6.7% unemployment rate was still significantly above the jobless level the Fed considers normal.  Obama has been spending tens of billions of dollars on a wasteful, duplicative maze of job-training programs that do nothing to create new jobs.  That would require much stronger economic growth, but under his anti-job policies, growth has been painfully slow, less than 2% last year, and job creation remains anemic.  Recently the President has turned to one of his party's threadbare fallback positions, including raising the minimum wage to $10.10.  The Congressional Budget Office slapped down his idea, saying that it would destroy at least 500,000 primarily low-wage jobs and possibly as many as 1 million.  With his party facing its toughest election challenges in years, and burdened with persistently high unemployment, Obama is playing the race, gender and class cards.  Fabricating fear and injustice, such tactics keep the economy in slow gear and make worse the very people the President professes to help.  The lackluster economy and his unpopular ObamaCare law will be the overriding political issues in the November elections.  Obama's failures extend across the foreign policy landscape, too.  Some of the criticism is even coming from the liberal news media.  The Washington Post took the President to task for his failed policy, announced three years ago, to refocus U.S. attention on Asia, which his advisers said would become a pillar of his foreign policy.  The result, as Obama prepares to travel to the region, has been a loss of confidence among some U.S. allies about the administration's commitment at a time of escalating regional tensions.  Relations between Japan and South Korea are at one of the lowest points since World War II, and China has provoked both with aggressive actions at sea despite a personal plea from Vice President Biden in December.  Under this administration, it has become a much more challenging strategic landscape.  Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rolled out the policy in 2011, announcing that the new U.S. strategy would turn away from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and shift attention to China's growing dominance.  But their "pivot" strategy has since turned into a series of stumbles in the past year, with one crisis after another in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and in Asia.  A quick look around the world shows the rest of Obama's foreign policies are in shambles.  A militarily aggressive Russia, under Vladimir Putin's dream of rebuilding the old Soviet Union, has seized the Crimea peninsula and is now plotting to seize Eastern Ukraine, too.  Many observers think the Baltic states will be his next target, as he tests the West's resolve, while Obama talks only of stepping up economic sanctions and diplomatic efforts.  In the Middle East, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has for many months been escalating his saturation bombing assault on rebel-held towns, killing thousands of innocent civilians, with hardly a peep from the White House.  Elsewhere, the Taliban is stepping up its lethal attacks in Afghanistan's central cities, and terrorist bombings are tearing Iraq apart.  In recent weeks, U.S. intelligence has been picking up growing threats from al-Qaida cells across the region, which refutes another Obama claim in his 2012 campaign that he had al-Qaida "on the run."

(“Both at Home and Abroad, Obama’s Presidency I Floundering” by Donald Lambro dated April 19, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/donaldlambro/2014/04/19/both-at-home-and-abroad-obamas-presidency-is-floundering-n1825967 )

Even in 2008, Team Obama instinctively knew that the American people would never accept the kind of state-dictated healthcare regime it wished to impose.  Thus, the collection of guarantees they knew would not and could not be honored were born: “If you like your healthcare plan, doctor, medical provider, and prescription drug regimen, you can keep them, period.”  The administration took two important lessons away from the ferocious opposition which nearly derailed ObamaCare’s passage in March 2010.  The first lesson was that it would have to modify the law gradually and implement it invisibly.  We have seen 40 changes, almost all calibrated to minimize electoral damage while slowly strengthening the greedy hand’s grip on the nation’s medical delivery system.  Collectively, these changes have fundamentally altered and even directly contradicted the law Congress passed, to the point where it is a deception to call today’s resulting contraption “the Affordable Care Act.”  It’s now ObamaCare, meaning that it’s whatever Obama, the White House, the now-departed Kathleen Sebelius and her nominated successor Sylvia Burwell want it to be.  As to the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov, “nobody’s this stupid and incompetent.”  What has become clear in the interim is the botched execution’s immediate purpose: to make quantifiable accountability impossible (longer-term, it’s about foisting single-payer on a resistant populace).  Thus, we’re forced to accept the absurd, made-up metric of 8 million Americans “enrolled,” but we can’t determine how many of those who signed up have actually paid their first premium (which buys them only 90 days of coverage), or how many of them are newly insured.  Now the Census Bureau tells us that we really want to, but we won’t have reliable or consistent year-over-year comparisons of health insurance coverage until after this fall’s House and Senate elections - How obviously convenient.  Meanwhile, insurers are relying on government-estimated lump-sum subsidy payments because HealthCare.gov’s back end has not been built.  In some states, doctors and other providers are treating many who they can only hope are covered.  Specialty treatment” hospitals which have been arbitrarily shoved out of ObamaCare plan networks are providing untold amounts of unsustainable free care to child and adult patients.  The second lesson the administration learned was that it must do everything it can to make opponents’ lives miserable and to water down their efforts.  This is where the Internal Revenue Service comes in.  The agency’s selective targeting of Tea Party, Republican, and certain conservative groups, sometimes “coinciding with visits from other regulatory and law enforcement agencies, was once thought to be solely about neutralizing their effectiveness during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.  We now know that it was designed to make an example of at least one group” by subjecting their leaders to criminal prosecution.  Given the laundry list of unaffiliated federal agencies involved in the targeting effort, it takes an entity above all of those agencies to coordinate their actions, and that entity can only be the White House.

(“The ‘We Do What We Want, Bleep You’ Administration” by Tom Blumer dated April 21, 2014 published by PJ Media at http://pjmedia.com/blog/the-we-do-what-we-want-bleep-you-administration/ )

 

The modern-day green movement, which is not run by people who primarily want to keep the air we breathe and the water we drink clean, or safeguard endangered species like tigers and bald eagles, or prevent urban blight, is instead really wants to impede economic growth, material progress, and free market capitalism.  The environmental movement has been hijacked by those who worship the created and not the creator.  They regard industrialization as retrograde, resource extraction as evil, and human beings as net destroyers of the planet.  Groups like the Environmental Defense Fund argue out loud that America would be better off keeping its resources buried in the ground, even though the shale gas revolution has done more to reduce U.S. carbon emissions than all of the windmills built since the Middle Ages.  The greens are against almost all forms of electric power, except those that are prohibitively expensive.  They are against oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and hydro, which together account about 90% of our electric power production.  They want wind and solar energy, which produce about 3% of our electricity and aren’t even green.  Maybe Republicans should start warning Americans, especially young ones, about what could happen if the green lunatics get their way, when rolling blackouts make the lights and iPods go dark.  They’re not likely to do this, which is why conservatives should do it for them.  In reality, green is not cool; green is retrograde.  The greatest empowering, life-saving, and prosperity-creating invention perhaps of all time, electric power, is a blessing, not an evil.  We must awaken Americans to the insanity of modern greens.  The best line of attack might be to expose them as power-grabbing elitists, whose plans would do grievous harm to the poor and disadvantaged that they pretend to care about.  The dirty little secret of the modern environmental movement is that it has become a luxury good for the uber-rich.  Its policies, from carbon taxes, to renewable energy standards, to crushing regulations on coal plants, would impose high costs on the people who can least afford to pay the tab.  Among Americans outside the White House and the headquarters of the Environmental Defense Fund, supporters of the Keystone pipeline outnumber opponents by more than two to one.  One study found that the natural gas boom has saved low-income families more than $4 billion a year in utility and heating costs.  For the financially pinched poor and middle class, drilling is a godsend, and they want more of it.  Ask the Germans, who are ditching expensive green wind and solar projects as fast as they can to save their flagging economy.  The Left’s opposition to domestic energy production, and more broadly, a carbon-based industrial economy, offers Republicans a once-in-a-generation opportunity to win back the old Reagan Democrat swing voters.  These are middle-class, blue-collar workers who care about their families and their jobs, not the snail darter or the prairie chicken.  The jobs that the greens are trying to outsource are their jobs. What Nancy Pelosi and her Sierra Club friends don’t understand is that after five years of Obama’s green “investments” and nearly 20 million unemployed or underemployed, most Americans are much more interested in saving their jobs than the planet.  Republicans need to connect the dots for middle-class voters: The greatest threat to their livelihood is radical environmentalism, so blue-collar Americans should reject the green agenda because the job they save may be their own

(“Greens are Reds” by Stephen Moore dated May 2014 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/articles/58755/greens-are-reds )

 

A nation without adequate energy production is a nation in decline and that has been the President’s agenda since the day he took office in 2009.  He even announced his war on coal during the 2008 campaign even though, at the time, it was providing fifty percent of the electricity being utilized.  It’s useful to know that the U.S. has huge coal reserves, enough to provide energy for hundreds of years and reduce our debt through its export to nations such as Japan.  It increased coal-fired power generation by 10% in 2013 while Germany’s coal use reached the highest level since 1990.  The White House held a “Solar Summit” to continue promoting subsidies for solar panels and the Energy Department has announced another $15 million in “solar market pathways” to fund local government’s use of solar energy.  Its “Capital Solar Challenge” is directing federal agencies, military bases, and other federally subsidized buildings to use solar power.  According to the Institute for Energy Research, “solar energy provides two-tenths of one percent of the total energy consumed in the United States. While the amount of solar electricity capacity in the U.S. has increased in recent years…it still only accounts for 0.1% of net electricity generated… the least among the renewable sources of hydroelectric, biomass, wind and solar.”  In addition to the millions lost in earlier loans to solar companies like Solyndra that failed not long after pocketing our tax dollars, Obama is using the power of the federal government to waste more money on this unpredictable (the Sun only shines in the daytime and clouds can get in the way) source of energy whose “solar farms” take up many acres just to provide a fraction of what a coal-fired or natural gas powered plant does.  This isn’t some loony environmental theory at work although the Greens oppose all manner of energy provision and use whether it is coal, oil or natural gas.  They always find an excuse to oppose mining or extracting it.  This is a direct attack on the provision of energy, fueled by any source, that America needs to function and meeting the needs of its population, manufacturing, and all other uses.  Even Congress, seems incapable of over-ruling or overcoming Obama’s war on the provision of energy sources.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released new data showing that federal onshore oil and natural gas leases and drilling permits are at the lowest levels in more than a decade.  Leases to companies exploring the potential of oil and natural gas reserves were down in 2013 from 1.8 million acres the year before to 1.2 million, the smallest area since records began to be maintained in 1988!  We have a President who gives daily evidence of his contempt both for those who voted for him and those who did not.  His anti-energy agenda impacts on the creation of jobs, causes manufacturing to delay expansion or to go off-shore, reduces the revenue the government needs to reduce its debts and deficits, and drives up the cost of energy for everyone, and he is doing this in one of the most energy-rich nations on the planet.

(“Obama’s War on U.S. Energy” by Alan Caruba dated April 21, 2014 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/62555 )

Government officials routinely and reflexively lie to the press, since they lie to themselves all the time.  In President Obama’s upcoming trip to Asia, he’s going to tell our allies face to face that America is committed more than ever to their security and prosperity.  In ordinary times, the trip and the promise would mean a great deal to the Japanese, South Koreans and Filipinos nervous about trade and China’s aggressive military moves, but these are not ordinary times and Barack Obama is no ordinary President.  Consider that it’s been three years since Obama first declared a “pivot” to Asia as part of a strategic rebalancing of American interests, but the promise proved hollow and Asia is not alone in feeling misled.

·    Ask the Syrians about Obama’s promise to act if their government crossed his “red line” and used chemical weapons.  

·    Ask Israelis, Saudis, Jordanians and others in the Mideast about Obama’s pledge that America would never allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.

·    Ask Ukrainians about his pledge that we will stand with them as they fight for democracy against Vladimir Putin. The last promise wasn’t so much a lie as a sick joke, since Obama meant we would send military rations and warm socks, but no weapons or intelligence to help Ukraine’s outgunned army.

If that were all the President had done to cause mistrust, it would be enough, but it’s not just foreigners who have been misled.  Worst of all, Obama lies to his fellow Americans - all the time!  Most infamous was his claim that, under ObamaCare, “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”  Not far behind was his insistence that the terror attack on Benghazi was the spontaneous result of a protest against an anti-Muslim video.  Assorted promises to lift the economy, unite the country, get to the bottom of the IRS scandal and be transparent are so routinely violated that they hardly register as false anymore.  A Fox News poll showed that over 60% of voters think he intentionally misleads them about important matters some or most of the time.  Abraham Lincoln, supposedly an Obama hero, warned about the corrosive effect of failing to be honest.  Nearly six years in office, much of the world is united only in not trusting his word.  Although it’s possible Obama intended to stand up to Syria’s Assad, or to Iran’s mullahs, or to Putin or China, the fact that he hasn’t is all that matters.  The result is that, while the United States remains the lone superpower, we are not feared by the world’s most malevolent forces.  America’s leaders lack credibility among friend and foe alike is without precedent, and absent a sudden stiffening of spine and a President whose word is his bond, the world is heading toward a catastrophe.

(“Obama’s lies have led to global mistrust” by Michael Goodwin dated April 23, 2014 published by New York Post at http://nypost.com/2014/04/23/obamas-lies-have-led-to-global-mistrust/ )

 

The United States is on the brink of committing a cardinal sin in foreign policy: antagonizing two major powers simultaneously.  There are frictions in bilateral ties with both Moscow and Beijing that have reached alarming levels.  It is a disturbing development that could cause major geopolitical headaches for Washington unless the Obama administration takes prompt corrective measures and sets more coherent priorities.  Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea has created a deep freeze in relations that were already rather frosty.  Although few knowledgeable Americans agreed with Mitt Romney’s assertion in the 2012 presidential campaign that Russia was the principal geopolitical adversary of the United States, there were surging sources of friction even before the onset of the Crimea crisis, including sharp disagreements over policy toward Syria and Iran.  The Crimea episode has made matters dramatically worse, with Washington and its European Union allies imposing economic sanctions on Russia, and the Kremlin responding with (mostly symbolic) sanctions of its own.  Washington’s relations with Beijing also have become noticeably more contentious.  Beijing has been increasingly irritated by U.S. stances on a variety of issues. Washington’s position regarding China’s territorial disputes with neighboring states in both the South China and East China seas is an especially prominent grievance.  The simultaneous deterioration of U.S. relations with Russia and China is more than a little worrisome; it violates an important admonition that Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made during the Cold War.  He believed that Washington should take steps to make certain that its ties to both Beijing and Moscow were always closer than their ties to each other.  Washington’s conduct may even be pushing Russia and China together, causing them to mute their own serious differences, including border disputes going back into the nineteenth century and ongoing political and economic competition in Central Asia—to deal with more pressing worries about the United States.  Ideally, the United States should seek to repair relations with both countries.  If Obama administration officials cannot bring themselves to adopt that approach, they should at least choose one major power to be the designated adversary, not antagonize both governments.  That means setting explicit policy priorities and making choices.   Russia may seem to be the more worrisome potential adversary in some categories, China in others, but making such complex assessments is the challenge confronting any effective foreign policy.  Dodging that task and creating the risk of making adversaries of both Moscow and Beijing, which appears to be the current U.S. approach, is not an intelligent option, and down that path lie frustration and potential disaster.

(“Washington’s Biggest Strategic Mistake” by Ted Galen Carpenter dated April 18, 2014 published by The National Interest at http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/washingtons-biggest-strategic-mistake-10274 )

 

* 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:

·  Crime at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/crime.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com