Views on the News
Views on the News*
May 2, 2015
One of the basic responsibilities of the executive branch is to execute the law faithfully, but the Obama Administration has no problem ignoring this duty to create its own rules. Instead of working with Congress on substantive, collaborative legislation, the President has routinely opted to govern by decree, empowering bureaucrats at the expense of the democratic process. His misguided approach puts partisan politics, not the will of the people, at the forefront of decision-making in Washington. One of the Constitution’s most comprehensive protections is the 10th Amendment, which puts a clear limit on the federal government’s reach. Ratified on December 15, 1791, it states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Despite these constitutional protections, our personal lives and state authority continue to be affected by federal oversteps. Like many individuals and businesses, we are frustrated by Washington’s red tape and bureaucratic authority. The President’s big-government agenda lacks transparency and accountability, intruding into our households, businesses, schools, and churches in alarming ways. The 2,700-page health-care law is a prime example of costly government interference, prompting the rise of health-care premiums and cancellations of insurance coverage. The same is true for onerous carbon dioxide rules that hurt U.S. energy independence and ultimately Americans’ wallets. Many of the President’s executive actions have ended up in the courts because of their overwhelming scope. Our Founding Fathers foresaw the danger of unchecked federal power. In the Constitution, they set forth guiding principles to protect limited government in the new republic. The Bill of Rights, which includes the 10th Amendment, was added to allay fears that individual freedoms could be curtailed by federal encroachment. Congress has a responsibility to challenge excessive executive action by upholding the Constitution’s time-tested system of checks and balances. The 10thAmendment is integral to this responsibility and the preservation of limited power. Obama has used executive measures to score partisan wins on controversial issues, but this tactic denies Americans the right to open and transparent debate, one of the core elements of a functioning democracy.
(“Restoring the 10th Amendment” by Roger Wicker dated April 24, 2015 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/senrogerwicker/2015/04/24/restoring-the-10th-amendment-n1990168 )
Hillary Clinton has been going politically bankrupt for a long time, and now face the prospect of sudden collapse. The ghosts of scandals past are gaining on her and time is not on her side. The compelling claims that she and Bill Clinton sold favors while she was Secretary of State for tens of millions of dollars for themselves and their foundation don’t need to meet the legal standard for bribery. She’s on political trial in a country where Clinton Fatigue alone could be a fatal verdict. After 25 years of corner-cutting and dishonest behavior, accumulation is her enemy. Each day threatens to deliver the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It may already have happened and we’re just waiting for public opinion to catch up to the facts. Hillary’s one big advantage is obvious : she’s the only serious contender for the Democrat nomination. Start with the fact that the sizzling reports of corrupt deals are coming from major news organizations that reliably tilt left. With supposed friends making the case against her, the tired Clinton defense that the attacks are partisan hit jobs has been demolished. After digging up so much dirt, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Reuters, Bloomberg News and others are not likely to be content with stonewalling and half-truths, especially given her recent lies about missing e-mails. The outlines of cozy relationships and key transactions are not in dispute, so the only issue is whether the millions the Clintons got amount to a quid pro quo. On the face of it, that’s certainly what they look like. There are several deals we know of, and more could emerge, that put money in the Clintons’ pockets while helping businesses, including some loathsome international figures, make a killing. It is preposterous to argue that it’s all a coincidence. Her position was further undercut when the family foundation announced it would refile five years of tax returns. In one three-year period, it omitted tens of millions in foreign contributions, reporting “zero” to the IRS. In another two-year period, it admitted to over-reporting government grants by more than $100 million. A foundation aide described the errors as “typographical,” which is bizarre and par for the Clinton course. Quinnipiac polls find 54% of Americans already say Clinton is not honest or trustworthy. Swing-state surveys show similar lopsided findings and each new sordid revelation will deepen the trust deficit. At this point in her life, it would take a near-miracle to change people’s basic view of her. If history is a guide, she’ll insist she did nothing wrong, offer ambiguous answers to specific questions, take offense at persistent reporters and end by playing the victim. She’ll follow up with a fund-raising pitch for money to keep “fighting for everyday Americans.” She has no other options because she can’t tell the truth, it will sink her.
(“Hillary on the brink of collapse” by Michael Goodwin dated April 25, 2015 published by New York Post at http://nypost.com/2015/04/25/hillary-on-the-brink-of-collapse/ )
Environmentalists undermine their own credibility with their long track record of failed predictions and bogus prognostications of doom. It has been 45 years now since the first Earth Day, and you would think that in this time frame, given the urgency with which we were told we had to confront the supposed threats to the environment at least one of the big environmental disasters should have come to fruition, but none have! The first Earth Day was in 1970 and many predictions still appear on the Internet and it is a comical litany of forecasting gone wrong. Here’s are the big seven environmentalist predictions that failed:
· Global Cooling - We were causing the ice age and bringing the glaciers down on our own heads. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. When global temperatures began to rise, the alarmists switched to global warming.
· Overpopulation - The biggest problem was the very existence of humans, who were going to keep growing unchecked, and going to swarm the surface of the Earth like locusts, destroying everything in our path until we eventually used it all up. The biggest demographic challenge today is declining population.
· Mass Starvation - By the year 2000, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions. By the year 2000, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine. The Green Revolution, which used new varieties of crops, fertilizers, pesticides, and improved agricultural practices to double or quadruple crop yields in precisely the places the doomsday predictions identified.
· Resource Depletion - In addition to running out of food, we were also supposed to run out of natural resources, such as nickel and copper, and above all we were running out of oil. The answer to all of the overpopulation, mass starvation, and resource depletion hysteria is the human power of innovation ability to overcome any obstacle.
· Mass Extinction - At the first Earth Day, it was believed that in 25 years, somewhere between 75% and 80% of all the species of living animals will be extinct. These breathless statistics about the number of species being lost is largely driven by the extinction of already rare species that evolved in isolation and in small numbers on oceanic islands, and which did not survive the contact with the outside world and invasive species.
· Renewable Energy - This isn’t a prediction about a disaster that didn’t happen. It’s a prediction about a solution that never materialized. All of the alternatives fall into two categories. There are those that are still too unreliable and expensive; and those which have gone from being the alternative championed by environmentalists to being the targets of the environmentalist anger. This is by far the most common trajectory. These alternatives to the energy sources they oppose now generate about 12% of the nation’s electricity, but only with massive subsidies, mandates, and tax breaks.
· Global Warming - After a multi-decade plateau in global temperatures, they are now at or below the low end of the range for all of the computer models that predicted global warming. If we go full circle, back to the failed prediction of global cooling, we can see the wider trend. After two or three decades of cooling temperatures, from the 1940s to 1970, environmentalists project a cooling trend, only to have the climate change on them. After a few decades of warmer temperatures, from the 1970s to the late 1990s, they all jumped onto the bandwagon of projecting a continued warming trend, and then the climate changed again. The environmental doomsayers extrapolate only from the trends that fit their apocalyptic vision while ignoring trends that don’t fit.
It’s almost as if they started with a preconceived conclusion and cast about for evidence to support it. By now you can get an idea for the major outlines of an environmental hysteria:
· start with assumption that man is “ravaging the Earth;”
· latch onto an unproven scientific hypothesis that fits this preconception;
· extrapolate wildly from half-formed theories and short-term trends to predict a future apocalypse;
· pressure a bunch of people with “Ph.D.” after their names to endorse it so you can say it’s a consensus of experts;
· get the press to broadcast it with even less nuance and get a bunch of Hollywood celebrities who failed Freshman biology to adopt it as their pet cause; and then
· quietly drop the whole thing when it doesn’t pan out—and move on with undiminished enthusiasm to the next environmental doomsday scenario.
When they assure us their newest doomsday predictions are really, really true this time, we’re not inclined to believe a single word they say.
(“Seven Big Failed Environmentalist Predictions” by Robert Tracinski dated April 24, 2015 published by The Federalist at http://thefederalist.com/2015/04/24/seven-big-failed-environmentalist-predictions/ )
Hyper-immigration is revolutionizing the United States. It is a little-known fact that our foreign-born population dropped more than 11% in the quarter century after World War II. Since 1970, however, we have become an irrational nation of hyper-immigration, as the foreign-born among us have exploded from fewer than 10 million to more than 41 million as of 2013 - a staggering 324.5% increase. Pure political motivation is at the root of this ongoing revolution. A new analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service for the Senate Judiciary Committee finds that during this hyper-immigration, incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans flat-lined, then dropped starting in 2000. By comparison, middle-class wages increased between 1945 and 1970. The Center for Immigration Studies found that, according to federal government data, "since 2000 all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal)." The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is "sending letters to all 9 million green card holders urging them to naturalize prior to the 2016 election." On top of that, deportations of illegals have plummeted by another 25% with just 117,181 immigrants deported in the six months since October. The annual flow of 1.1 million legal immigrants under the current system means more than 5 million new potential voters by 2024, and more than 8 million by 2028. Since most who vote support Democrats, the influx of these new voters would reduce or eliminate Republicans' ability to offer an alternative to big government.
(“A New Government Report Shows Hyper-Immigration’s Toll” dated April 24, 2015 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/042415-749638-congressional-report-documents-immigration-damage-to-middle-class.htm )
The godless left and Islam share a critical aim: they both wish to subjugate infidels, though how infidel is defined differs. Unfortunately we are the infidels: we of western virtues and values who hold Judeo-Christian beliefs because we’re obstacles to glorious futures for both. Both want us consigned to dhimmitude, second class status, with tribute being paid for the privilege. Marked differences and tensions exist between the left and Islam, to be sure, but the left is using Islam for its ends, and Islam is willingly being used. An argument has been made that the liberal left, in refusing to examine the problems of Islam, has betrayed its Enlightenment roots. While secular, feminist, and protective of free speech in dealing with its Western peers, the liberal left has been accused of abandoning its heritage in its quest for political correctness regarding Muslims. However, the left has a distinguished background of courting Islam as a weapon against Western capitalism and the whole Western Civilization. Leftism has expanded its agenda beyond Marx-focused economics. For the left to get us to dhimmitude, that means “deconstructing” our culture and society; upending our mores and traditions; shattering our institutions; demeaning faith and marginalizing the faithful. Its gains are evident all around us. From Marx onward, the left has operated by a simple rule vis-à-vis Islam: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The American left is unwilling to identify Islam as a foe. The Obama administration has already provided refuge for more Muslims than all the other nations in the world combined. In fact, it's been proven repeatedly that Muslims who have been given citizenship have been arrested for terrorist plots, aiding and abetting terrorist acts, providing material support to terrorist groups, and some have even returned overseas to fight American armed forces. The relationship between the left and Islam is complicated, however. The same leftist President Barack Obama, who is opening doors to Muslim immigrants, prosecutes a war, however selectively and poorly, against various militant Muslim factions overseas. The President is also straining to secure a deal with Iran that will finally give the Iranians nuclear weapons capability. His forays in regime change in the Middle East (invariably favoring factions hostile to the West) have helped spur turmoil and danger. Withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan have opened those lands to America’s enemies. The President’s enmity toward Israel (Netanyahu merely personifies) damages U.S. relations with a critical ally. The thread of Obama’s policies runs toward accommodation with militant Muslim factions (or nation, in the case of Iran). Perhaps our leftist President appreciates that while Islam is useful, it’s also dangerous. The Muslim lion is valuable when managed. Not every American identifying with the left acts from malice. There are followers and fellow travelers. Western Europeans long ago opened their borders to Muslims. The need originally was labor. Western Europe’s elites, left-dominated, have, post-World War II, imported millions of Muslims. By 2020, Muslims will account for 6% of Europe’s 744 million inhabitants. That’s 44.6 million largely unassimilated Mohammedans. In Europe, a backlash has begun to leftist policies that permit the creeping Islamization of the continent. Muslim violence is spurring the growth of rightist parties throughout Western Europe. It may be a harbinger of things to come in the U.S. with a Muslim population estimated at only 2.6 million nationally. That’s up from about 1 million souls in 2000. A fatal conceit exists on the left in its use of Islam: leftists are in every way superior to Muslims. Islam, violent and useful, though dangerous, is primitive and no match for the great minds and godless certitudes of “progressivism.” Islam can be used and then dispensed with, but the left underestimates the power of an ancient faith, and its faithful, at its own peril.
(“Where the Left and Islam intersect” by J. Robert Smith dated April 26, 2015 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/04/where_the_left_and_islam_intersect.html )
President Obama has been chasing a rainbow in his negotiations with Iran. He has forsaken decades of pledges to the civilized world from Presidents of both parties. He has misled the American people in repeatedly affirming that the U.S. would never allow revolutionary Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, which would guarantee a new arms race. Compare where we are today with the conditions Obama laid down two years ago:
· Enrichment - The Obama administration and U.N. Security Council insisted that Iran stop all uranium enrichment, but now the deal enshrines Iran’s right to enrich.
· Stockpile - Iran had 10,000 kilograms of enriched uranium, which the deal said wouldl be reduced to 300 kilograms with the remainder is to be exported to Russia and returned to Iran as fuel rods but Iran’s deputy foreign minister has already rejected this provison.
· Centrifuges - Iran has about 19,000 centrifuges, and the U.S. initially called for cutting that to between 500 and 1,500, but now allows 6,104 and even allows upgrading to advanced IR-8 centrifuges, which enrich uranium 20 times faster than the current models.
· Infrastructure - The closure of nuclear sites at Fordow, Natanz and Arak has been an American goal for a decade. Under the deal, the heavy-water nuclear plant at Arak, which produces plutonium, will remain, Natanz will remain open, and the Fordow facility, buried in a mountain fortress, will be converted into a “peaceful research” center.
· Missiles - U.S. negotiators dropped demands that Tehran restrict development of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could be used to deliver warheads.
· Duration - Initially the U.S. wanted the deal to last 20 years. Now the key terms sunset in 10 to 15 years.
· Enforcement - Iran has repeatedly violated its international agreements. In November the International Atomic Energy Agency caught Iran operating a new advanced IR-5 centrifuge. Disagreement about inspections under the deal persists.
· Sanctions - The deal gives Iran exactly what it wanted: permanent relief from economic sanctions in exchange for temporary restraints. Assuming that the West discovers a nuclear violation, it will be nearly impossible to reimpose today’s sanctions.
· Good behavior - Meanwhile, Ayatollah Khamenei continues to denounce the U.S. as the Great Satan, making clear that Iran doesn’t expect to normalize relations.
Here we are at the end of the rainbow, seemingly willing to concede nuclear capacity to Iran, a country we consider a principal threat. No wonder Saudi Arabia and Egypt are insisting on developing equivalent nuclear capabilities. America’s traditional allies have concluded that the U.S. has traded temporary cooperation from Iran for acquiescence to its ultimate hegemony. The sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table took years to put in place. They have impaired Iran’s ability to conduct trade in the global market. The banking freeze had a crippling effect, since international businesses will not risk being blacklisted by the U.S. and European Union to make a few dollars in Iran. Obama seems to be willfully ignoring Iran’s belligerent behavior and its growing influence over Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Yemen’s capital, San’a.
(“The President Daydreams on Iran” by Mortimer Zuckerman dated April 24, 2015 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-president-daydreams-on-iran-1429914121 )
* 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: