Views on the News
May 11, 2013
Views on the News*
The magical spell that President Barack Obama has placed on Americans is unraveling because his words no longer match the self-evident facts. His rambling filibusters at press conferences invite more questions than provide needed clarity. Because of the stream of broken promises: you can keep the healthcare insurance you have, healthcare costs will go down, unemployment won't go above 8%, the national debt will be reduced in my first term, using chemical weapons is a "red line" that requires a stronger response - more and more Americans are losing trust in their President. Montana Democrat Max Baucus is leaving the Senate, but he confessed in March that the health care law is "a huge train wreck coming down." The design and implementation of online insurance exchanges to serve 20 million people across 34 states is terribly behind schedule and the cost is estimated to be $240 billion more than planned. P. J. O'Rourke's observed: "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free." Even as he blamed Republicans for the sequester, a bipartisan Congress, facing rage from their constituents, put an end to President Obama administration's politically motivated airport delays. Obama's hometown Chicago Tribune slammed the Obama administration for making "a terrible miscalculation" by encouraging the FAA's "phony crisis." If an ObamaCare "train wreck" and a "phony" air traffic controller crisis aren't enough, he continues to raise taxes instead of taking spending cuts seriously. Even the conservative-bating Bill Maher seems to have had enough. Welcome to what conservatives have known since President Obama was elected, he's all hat and no cattle. Talk is cheap except when the President does it and his policies are as bankrupt as his budget. In spite of the liberal media whitewash, our "emperor" has no clothes, but at least now more know it.
(“The Emperor Has No Clothes” by Terry Paulson dated May 6, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/terrypaulson/2013/05/06/the-emperor-has-no-clothes-n1584773 )
In the old Soviet Union, the bosses of the Kremlin had no interest in their subjects knowing anything about the world or having any honest opinions expressed, so the Soviet media suppressed all real news and purged all serious intellectual inquiry, and this is what America is beginning to look like today. Anything negative either was not mentioned or was consigned to fillers on page fifty of the news. Savvy Soviet subjects learned quickly to utterly ignore the front pages and to search and squint at the tiniest bits of news to find out what was really happening. The media, wholly controlled at every level by the dull Politburo functionaries who desired only to hold their power, perks, and coerced prestige, existed for a single purpose: prevent any real news from reaching the ordinary Soviet Union citizen. The American leftist establishment media, which includes entertainment, education, and all the other conveyor belts of information and ideas, ignore the vast ocean of muck which could affect the political bosses in Washington and instead either present absurdly fluffy pieces intended to make sock puppets like Obama look good or portray the notional enemies of the people as vicious and corrupt. Not only is there no news, as such, in much of American media today, but much the news presented is never presented as anything but political propaganda. There are no longer any "schools of thought" in the media or in academia or in any other edifice of establishment leftism. The notional competitors among the media never actually compete in the realm of philosophy, ideas, or even news stories. All news, all education, all recreation was consumed with hatred of whoever the Inner Party demanded was the enemy, and those "enemies" could change, literally, overnight, and with pseudo-news intended to create the pretense of information while scrupulously stripping off anything of genuine substance or value in understanding the world. Our weapon against this capricious indifference to reality supported by the left is our calculated indifference to anything its pseudo-media proclaims. We should learn from those Soviet subjects who learned how to cope with a reality in which all institutional professions was simply a variation of propaganda, so they ignored the bosses of information, education, and culture, and we Americans must learn to ignore the mainstream media propagandas and seek our information from alternative sources.
(“The Sovietized American Media” by Bruce Walker dated May 5, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/05/the_sovietized_american_media.html )
The days of the modern welfare state look to be numbered, because even the most redistributive President in history can’t change the laws of arithmetic. The song of demographic unsustainability remains the same on both sides of the Atlantic. From Nicosia to Athens, London to Washington, D.C., the benefits promised to seniors and others before Western people stopped having babies will be shouldered in the years to come by a shrinking cadre of younger taxpayers. Borrowing for consumption effectively hides the real level of taxation from the public, “until the implosion.” Any non-economist checking the financial pages can see that the welfare states of the West are living on borrowed time. All of which raises a radical and interesting question also overlooked so far: Could the failure of the cradle-to-grave state have the unforeseen consequence of reinvigorating another institution that’s been ailing for some time across the Western world, i.e., what you might call the cradle-to-grave family? Some serious thinkers have also remarked over the years on the zero-sum game that is the power struggle between family and state. Only the family has continued throughout history and still continues to undermine the ‘State.’ The welfare state has interrupted the organic bonds of family in ways too numerous to count. It’s the welfare state that has effectively bankrolled via many programs the expensive pan-Western fallout of the sexual revolution: the unprecedented levels of divorce, family breakup, out-of-wedlock births, and other trends that have turned the modern state into an inefficient but all-encompassing substitute for a man of the house. Statism has been an engine of family destruction. All of which leads to a contrarian thought: Might the dark ages of the welfare state end in a family renaissance? If the welfare states of the West finally do implode, it’s hard to think of any institution but the family that could step into that vacuum. When politics forces the truth that taking care of one’s own is less ruinous than having the state do it, it’s just possible that personal choices could come to reflect that fact. The ongoing travails of the unsustainable state might yet refurbish the family nest somewhere down the road.
(“The Post-Welfare State Family” by Mary Eberstadt dated May 6, 2013 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/post-welfare-state-family_719175.html )
Obviously, there is a spending problem in Washington, D.C., and the reason for it is no mystery. The largest expenditure in Obama's budget, and the largest federal outlay in every budget since 1970, is an expense item labeled "payments for individuals," which includes spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, disability payments, and other federal welfare subsidies. These payments constituted 65% of all federal spending in 2012 and are expected to grow to 70% in 2016. The federal government has essentially become a wealth-redistribution center, for it collects enormous sums of money through taxation ($2.45 trillion total in 2012) and then distributes this money to select people in countless "payments for individuals" ($2.3 trillion spent in 2012). The leftover money isn't nearly enough to pay for the interest on the national debt, not to mention the other government functions that must also be funded, like national defense. So the federal government borrows more and more money by the day just to keep operating. Tim Geithner confessed that the federal government's level of social welfare spending could not endure for long. These welfare commitments are not just unsustainable; they are also unconstitutional, for the Constitution grants no power to the federal government to redistribute national wealth. In spite of the Constitution's limits, federal welfare spending began in earnest in the 1930s with President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs. In the face of many legal challenges, the Roosevelt administration defended the government's broad spending authority under the "general welfare" clause claiming any kind of federal spending is permissible under the Constitution as long as it aims to provide for the general welfare. This is not what our founders intended. For some time, the Supreme Court shared this understanding of the Constitution's limits on federal spending, ruling that Congress could spend money only in support of the Constitution's enumerated powers. In 1937, the Supreme Court suddenly reversed its position and sanctioned Roosevelt's broad spending power. Since that time, politicians peddling in "payments for individuals" have expanded federal social welfare programs without regard for their sustainability or their actual constitutionality -- and without any real accountability. So it should come as no surprise that President Obama would ignore his treasury secretary's warning about our nation's dangerous fiscal course and instead accelerate federal welfare spending in his 2014 budget. Obama has proven to be just another pandering politician, eager to satisfy the fleeting wants of the people today, no matter what the cost may be tomorrow.
(“Unsustainable and Unconstitutional General Welfare Spending” by Brian Vanyo dated May 6, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/05/unsustainable_and_unconstitutional_general_welfare_spending.html )
Congress rammed ObamaCare through without many members even reading the bill, and now Congress is applying that same frantic, complex, pie-in-the-sky legislating to immigration. The similarities are frightening:
· Extreme Costs - ObamaCare will add $6.2 trillion to the primary deficit over the next 75 years. Heritage calculated that a general amnesty would cost some $2.5 trillion, after considering what legalized immigrants would likely pay in taxes and receive in government benefits and services.
· False Promises - “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” is the most famous broken promise of ObamaCare. The immigration bill will give legal status and eventual citizenship to those who came here unlawfully, and the rest are just promises.
· Have to Pass It to See What’s In It - Nancy Pelosi said Congress would have to pass ObamaCare “to see what’s in it.” The immigration bill does the same thing, allowing unelected bureaucrats to think up all the details later.
· Piles on Already Broken, and Broke, Entitlement Programs - ObamaCare will add millions of people to the Medicaid rolls, which are already unsustainable. The immigration bill would add millions to the number of people on various taxpayer-funded benefits, from Medicare and Social Security to welfare, which are also bankrupt.
· Perks for Special Interests – With a bill this size, Congress starts loading on special-interest deals that are less likely to be noticed in the chaos. The immigration bill is carrying all sorts of special-interest goodies, not to mention a bonanza for immigration lawyers.
This isn’t the way Congress should make laws because it’s only making the same mistakes all over again, and we’ll be paying for them.
(“5 Ways the Immigration Bill is Like Obamacare” by Amy Payne dated May 2, 2013 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://blog.heritage.org/2013/05/02/morning-bell-5-ways-the-immigration-bill-is-like-obamacare/
It will be exactly 40 years ago this May 17th that the Senate Watergate Committee, a special, broad committee convened by the United States Senate, began hearings to investigate the Watergate burglaries and a criminal cover-up of those activities. At the epicenter of those hearings was then-President Richard Nixon. Facing impeachment proceedings, then-President Richard M. Nixon resigned, assuming his place in American history as the only President ever to resign. It was described as the worst scandal in U.S. history… perhaps until now. If history tells us anything, it tells us that it’s not just about the crime; it’s also about the cover-up. It’s about seeking the truth but being stonewalled at every turn, and being treated as subjects undeserving of the truth rather than citizens asking reasonable questions but being denied answers. The same level of inquiries that unraveled the complexities of the Watergate cover-up are required to unravel the ball of lies that surrounds the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including a sitting U.S. Ambassador. The State Department’s Accountability Review Board failed to thoroughly review what happened, producing a report that was somewhere between radically incomplete and positively misleading. It also failed to hold any high-ranking political appointees accountable for anything, while assigning culpability to four midlevel career civil servants. The board’s performance was so egregious that it’s now being investigated by the State Department Inspector General. Unraveling this ball of lies will reveal official government actions that have been and continue to be performed in our name but without our consent. It will reveal a government agenda that has have spun wildly out of control, leaving no one accountable as we stand at a very critical moment in world history. It’s about a cover-up of monumental proportions that is reminiscent of the cover-up of a generation ago. Ultimately, it’s about getting the truth, which has been kept from each of us through lies of commission and omission, clever semantics, and outright refusals to provide answers to important questions. There are new details that administration officials misled the public in its initial public assessments of the attack, withheld relevant information that may have been politically damaging, waged “subtle intimidation” campaigns against multiple government employees who sought to testify about the attack, and neglected evidence in its own internal investigation of the attack and its aftermath. There are a number of areas that the previous “whitewash” investigations have barely scratched the surface:
· Who was ultimately responsible and personally liable for the lax security in Benghazi prior to the attack? (Clinton, Obama, or ?)
o Who in the State Department was supervising the arms “buyback” program?
o Were there any violations of international arms agreements committed?
o Who was responsible for providing adequate security to State Department personnel?
- Why were repeated requests for security denied?
o Why were previous attacks discounted or ignored?
o Why was Ambassador Steven’s security (SST) team removed?
o What security situation threat would warrant increased security in Libya?
o Was the abysmal state of security a failure of leadership, naïve incompetence, or criminal dereliction of duty?
· Who was ultimately responsible and personally liable for the lack of any rescue and response to the attack? (Obama, Panetta, or ?)
o How soon after the attack was the drone overhead to monitor the situation?
o What forces were available to reinforce and rescue Americans in Benghazi?
o Why were gunships or other air assets not used to provide support?
o Who ordered Special Forces in Tripoli to “stand-down” any rescue attempt?
o Who ordered the AfriComm commander to “stand-down” any rescue attempt?
o Why was General Ham’s retirement hastily announced and replacement identified?
o Why did Defense Secretary declare there were “no forces close enough to assist”?
o Was the refusal to support people on the ground a failure of leadership, a case of risk adverse CYA, or criminal dereliction of duty?
· Who was ultimately responsible and personally liable for the misleading media narrative after the attack? (Obama, Clinton, or ?)
o Who approved the sanitized Talking Points Memo that removed any reference to the real attackers and reasons for the attack?
o Why did the Secretary of State cut her counter-terrorism bureau out of the loop?
o Why did Susan Rice persist in her false narrative for a week after facts were known?
o Why did the White House and State Department persist in blaming the internet video for the attacks two weeks after they knew it was not the cause?
o Why did it take two weeks to admit that it was a terrorist attack by al Qaeda?
o Why did the administration try to blame the intelligence community for lack of warning when repeated warnings were issued months before and ignored?
o How much of the media narrative was driven by election politics and how much by the objective desire for accuracy?
o Why were witnesses intimidated and threatened to force their silence?
o Was the government cover-up just a failure of national leadership, a case of bureaucratic blame-shifting, or full-fledged criminal dereliction of duty?
Forty years ago, investigative reporters and journalists sensed blood in the water and chased the blood trail until the bitter end. They operated with less information than today. Yet today, investigating exactly what transpired in Benghazi seems to be limited to two Fox News reporters, Adam Housley and Jennifer Griffen, and Sharyl Attkisson, CBS News. They seem to be the only modern day investigative journalists who could unravel the cover-up that is Benghazi, rivaling those who broke the Watergate cover-up a generation ago. The differences between Watergate and Benghazi are as many as the years that separate the two events, but the question is whether anyone will ever be held personally responsible for mistakes made and their actions to cover-up these mistakes for political purposes?
(“Unraveling the Benghazi cover-up” by Doug Hagmann” dated May 3, 2013 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/54948
“Benghazi Boils Over” by Alana Goodman dated May 3, 2013 published by Washington Free Beacon at http://freebeacon.com/benghazi-boils-over/
“Inaction and Deception” by William Kristol dated May 20, 2013 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/inaction-and-deception_722021.html )
The so-called “Obama Doctrine” is founded on political expediency, and depends on ad hoc responses to crises based on a calculation of electoral advantage, but stale left-wing ideology also has a malign role to play. The murder of our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, which took place six weeks before the Presidential election is exhibit number one. Obama and his advisors knew the Benghazi disaster falsified the triumphalist narrative that al Qaeda was “decimated” and that the “tide of war is receding,” and so it had to be spun into a spontaneous demonstration over an obscure Internet video. Subordinating foreign policy to politics is typical behavior for Democrats. Most post-Vietnam Democrats are stealth pacifists, suspicious of American military power and committed to Kantian pipe dreams of internationalism and multilateralism, and American guilt and retreat. They also know most voters expect the government to do something when America’s enemies commit acts of aggression against our interests. Hence Democrats must calculate what minimum response they can afford at the least political cost. The Democratic repertoire of responses relies first on diplomatic ritual: stern statements of “concern,” photogenic “conferences,” “summits,” and “commissions,” and carefully calibrated escalations of rhetoric the subtle purpose of which is to sneakily tighten the triggers of action so nothing will end up being done. Obama’s response to the Syria crisis illustrates this modus operandi in which verbal bluster is used to camouflage the unwillingness to act. If diplomatic bluster doesn’t work, then sanctions become the next option for doing nothing while pretending to do something. Next come cruise missiles, drones, and air attacks, which look good on television and have minimal chance of American casualties. Bill Clinton used air attacks in the Balkans in the ’90s when the horrific images of ethnic cleansing, massacres, and concentration camps, all redolent of World War II and hence politically toxic, compelled NATO, which means in effect the U.S., to bomb the Serbs. Worse, Clinton’s response to the series of al Qaeda attacks on our military and embassies in that decade was to fire cruise missiles at sand and tents and a pharmaceutical company. Obama has made an art of such showy camouflage. In Libya he “led from behind” with American air power, carrying water for the French and British, with seemingly no thought for what would be left after the creepy but defanged Gaddafi was eliminated. His promiscuous use of drones to pick off al Qaeda “leaders” is another version of the same tactic. Obama looks willing to kill the stray terrorist lieutenant, who of course is immediately replaced by another, and any family members in the vicinity, while in effect doing nothing to stem the growing tide of al Qaeda’s global growth and aggression. Political expediency is the most obvious dimension of the Obama Doctrine. The other is the musty leftist narrative of America’s neo-colonialist and neo-imperialist foreign policy crimes committed in service to the evil capitalist need for resources and markets, whether it is the excesses of the Cold War, the support of autocrats and dictators, the unholy armaments industry, or the thirst for oil, the whole catalog of stale clichés. As Obama said, there is no American exceptionalism and so America cannot be trusted with its military power. So we must apologize and retreat, as Obama famously did in his 2009 Cairo speech. We must increase aid to those, like the Muslim Brothers, who want to destroy us, and distance ourselves from our staunch allies like Israel, the “little Satan” to America’s “great Satan.” Thus we can atone for our sins and be accepted by the “global community,” and we can pacify our enemies who, after all, attack us only because we have harmed them with our selfish aggression. Our ideologically corrupted universities are the source of the Obama Doctrine, and his administration has graphically demonstrated the malign effects and dangers to our national security and interests that have resulted from joining power to bad ideas and political opportunism.
(“The Obama Doctrine: Politics First & American Sin” by Bruce Thornton dated May 7, 2013 published by Front Page Magazine at http://frontpagemag.com/2013/bruce-thornton/the-obama-doctrine-politics-first-american-sin/ )
* 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
· National Defense at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/defense.php
· Terrorism at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/terrorism.php