Views on the News
April 30, 2011
Views on the News*
Barack Obama is our first Marxist-Leninist President, although he never quite uses those words, but in words and deeds he makes it clear beyond doubt. His two autobiographies all but say it: “I chose my friends carefully...tThe more politically active black students. ... the Marxist Professors and the structural feminists ... we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Euro-centrism, and patriarchy.” Obama wrapped himself in his own lifelong cult. Obama is our first Napoleonic president whose beliefs are far outside our political tradition. Obama acts like a Third World socialist, like his Kenyan father, and his thinking is stunningly rigid. He seems to be woefully ignorant about basic economics, science, and technology, international affairs, and the conventions of American politics. Obama calls Republicans "extremists," "radicals," and "unpatriotic." The left is unpatriotic by definition: They simply refuse to believe in "patria," the land of one's fathers and mothers. They are radical transnationalists who pin their faith in some imaginary worldwide command center that will finally solve all human conflict. Obama’s roots are in the class war of the 19th century, which has now turned into war of all against all: Women against the men, poor against the rich, blacks against whites, gays against straights. Our media constantly whip up such hatreds, and children learn them in the schools. Obama believes in internationalism, with grandiose egos like his own ruling the world. Karl Marx is not "progressive" but "retrogressive," because grandiose empires started six millennia ago in the great river valleys of the Old World, where city states amassed the power and ideological beliefs to conquer their neighbors. Americans are the luckiest people in the world, not only because of our material fortune, nor even because of our fundamental decency and good will. We are the luckiest because we can afford to be as dumb as a brick, fail to educate our children, remain blissfully ignorant of the dangers that have killed hundreds of millions of people in the last 50 years, indulge in all the newest drugs, the biggest quantities of alcohol, the widest range of cuisines and tastes, and the usual range of sensual self-indulgence... and we are still protected from doom. The reason for our astonishing luck can be summarized in a few words: It's the Constitution. We've been skating on our luck to the point of blind arrogance -- so much that our law schools are teaching their students the "revolutionary" fads of Marxism, explaining how to destroy the legal foundation that is the source of all our good fortune. "Revolution" is celebrated, but "revolution" is just a roll-over of power from one ruling class to another. Obama really belongs in the post-colonial socialist world, like his father, who also never understood that the land he visited so briefly to father a child, Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., represented the biggest revolution in political history. The US Constitution is the real revolution; the rebellions of the left are just reactionary throwbacks, because the American Revolution is radically new, a genuine step toward a different way of living and governing.
(“Obama Versus the Constitution” by James Lewis dated April 25, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/04/obama_versus_the_constitution.html )
According to Pew Research Center polls, the public is evenly divided over which party can do a better job of handling foreign policy, the job situation, Social Security reform, health care reform and many other issues, so it looks as if we’re back to the 50-50 stasis that has been the sad norm for the past few decades as the two parties run utterly familiar political campaigns. The Democrats are going to promise to raise taxes on the rich to preserve the welfare state, just as they have since 1980. The Republicans are going to vow to cut taxes and introduce market mechanisms to reform the welfare state, just as they have since 1980. As these problems have gone unaddressed, Americans have lost faith in the credibility of their political system, which is the one resource the entire regime is predicated upon. This loss of faith has contributed to a complex but dark national mood. The country is anxious, pessimistic, ashamed, helpless and defensive. The share of Americans who say they trust government to do the right thing most of the time is scuttling along at historic lows. Approval of Congress and most other institutions has slid to new lows. Seventy percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, according to The New York Times/CBS News poll; nearly two-thirds believe the nation is in decline, according to a variety of surveys; sixty-three percent of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling; and similar majorities oppose measures to make that sort of thing unnecessary. The country is not mobilized by this sense of crisis but immobilized by it. Obama has seen growing liberal disaffection and will have a hard time animating his base like he did in 2008 to breathe sufficient life into his campaign to give him any chance at all in 2012. Fully half of Americans disapprove of his job performance; 37% say they strongly disapprove. Obama has a larger problem in moving to the left. A President who attacks the rich and seeks to divide the country might be able to rely on the base to keep his approval ratings in the low 40s, but he has no way to get reelected. Obama will lose in 2012 for reasons very different from his victory in 2008. By the time the next election comes around, voters will see all around them evidence of his weakness and incompetence. It will increasingly be clear as inflation mounts and gas prices continue their upward progression. More and more it will be evident that this former community organizer is not up to the job and has no idea what he is doing. Obama cannot be reelected running like the candidate of 2008 because positioning on the left might suffice for winning the Democratic nomination or even election to an open seat, but it does not satisfy the national need for leadership, ability, skill and wisdom.
(“The Big Disconnect” by David Brooks dated April 25, 2011 published by The New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/opinion/26brooks.html?_r=1
“The President Turns Left” by Dick Morris dated April 27, 2011 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/04/27/the_president_turns_left_109676.html )
Most arguments for the expansion of government power boil down to distrust: distrust that poor people will be taken care of; distrust that businesses will run without corruption and abuse; or distrust that people will take care of their own retirement, health care, and safety needs. So long as enough people remain convinced that others are basically not trustworthy, these people will continue to support the illusion that the government can somehow correct for this shortcoming and make it all okay. Trust is the foundation of a free society. If we could not trust the average person to be reasonably considerate and responsible, then we might be inclined to think that we need lots of laws, and lots of other people in positions of power who can force those untrustworthy people into behaving well. The good news is that in a free society with a reasonably coherent rule of law, we do in fact have great reason to trust one another. Sure, there are bad people who do bad things and there are a lot of very good people who make mistakes or can be occasionally rude or deceitful. But most people are good people -- not perfect people, not ideal people, not the vision of moral purity that fuels the idealist's vision for humankind -- but good people. The hazards of modern life in a free society make up such a small percentage of the experience of most of us most of the time that we are shocked when anything bad happens to us or to somebody we know. The worldview that demands more and more control by the government because free people can't be trusted to help people in need, or take care of their retirement, or buy health insurance if they need it, or use the right language does not square with the degree of trust that we actually earn and enjoy in a free society. The use of government power -- beyond establishing a reasonably coherent rule of law is not necessary in order to enforce trustworthy behavior. We do trust one another tremendously already. It is our freedom that not only allows for such trust, but demands of each of us that we be trustworthy people ourselves. A free market rewards people for having greater empathy, being able to care about, inquire after, and discover what other people like and don't like, what they are interested in, and what they care about and asks us to live up to our greatest potential for trustworthiness, and by and large those expectations are met and surpassed.
(“Trust and Freedom” by Joel F. Wade dated April 23, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/04/trust_and_freedom.html )
The governing class in Washington has no excuse for not having addressed our spending issues and formulating a comprehensive federal debt retirement plan before we approached another debt ceiling threshold. At every possible opportunity, politicians convince themselves that it's always better to kick the can down the road, Democrats because they aren't remotely serious about debt reduction, Republicans because they're afraid of their own shadow. Each time we approach a leverage point (government shutdown, debt ceiling) where the Republicans could employ a little brinksmanship to force a recalcitrant Democratic Party to begin acting responsibly, they convince themselves that the possible consequences of pressing the issue aren't worth the risk. The irony is that by always capitulating to the Democrats' game plan to force inaction, Republicans are undermining their own goal of achieving a long-term solution to the debt crisis. Every time they cave, they are sending a signal to the public that the debt problem isn't really so bad as it seems. It's only a matter of time before the market responds to the persistent inaction of the political class. There is a growing sense that it really won't address the debt crisis in a meaningful way, and people soon will realize that we've been experiencing a counterfeit economic recovery that has been created by the feds' so-called "quantitative easing" policy. Congress has raised the debt ceiling 10 times since 2002, when it was $6.4 trillion, and it's now $14.29 trillion. The threat that the United States will default on its debt and the sky will fall doesn't ring true. We will pay our debt. The question is, what won't we pay when we shift money around to pay the debt? For once, the Republicans should play hardball and force Obama and the Democrats to cooperate with them in implementing a plan to reform entitlements and drastically cut spending as conditions to raising the debt ceiling. This may come as a shock, but Obama doesn't have much credibility with the people anymore and has even less political capital. The people who voted in November are still demanding action, and it's past time for Republicans to respond and let the chips fall.
(“Debt Ceiling? It’s Time for GOP to Let Chips Fall” by David Limbaugh dated April 26, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/2011/04/26/debt_ceiling_its_time_for_gop_to_let_chips_fall )
The Paul Ryan budget reform plan is based on three premises: 1) our economy is headed for a predictable disaster because of the ruinous levels of government spending; 2) we already have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, and we can’t load more income taxes onto entrepreneurs without expecting collateral harm to jobs and economic growth; and 3) therefore, we must cut spending and reform entitlements, and this would necessarily affect the nearly 70% of Americans who take more from the government than they pay in taxes. In general, when resources are perceived as unearned, people think it fair that they be split up somewhat evenly. But when merit is involved, people believe it is fair to reward it with more money. Most Americans believe we live in an opportunity society. It’s hardly a shock that seven in 10 Americans believe in the American dream. Politicians have denied the core American belief in opportunity at their peril. Since equality of opportunity is not universal, this validates, even more, that merit is more important. There is certainly a role for government in this system. Private markets can fail due to monopolies (which eliminate competition), externalities (such as pollution), the need for public goods (such as education, which is indispensable in an opportunity society), corruption and crime. Most economists agree that some social safety net is appropriate in a civilized society and when the government focuses on these things, it assists the free-enterprise system, but when a government that has overspent for years turns to tax increases instead of spending cuts simply for the sake of “fairness,” it weakens free enterprise, lowers opportunity and impoverishes us in many ways.
(“Obama says it’s only ‘fair’ to raise taxes on the rich. He’s wrong.” By Arthur C. Brooks dated April 22, 2011 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obama-says-its-fair-to-raise-taxes-on-the-rich-hes-wrong/2011/04/19/AFZYRmPE_story.html )
Across the nation, as states struggle fiscally, Republican-led legislatures are reining in spending to balance state budgets: government actually spending less today than it did yesterday, eliminating government programs, and reducing the number of public-sector workers where necessary. A complete contrast to the way in which government works at the federal level, such measures are foreign to many Americans. We are conditioned to the standard operating procedures of the runaway beast in Washington where government never actually gets smaller, but instead instinctively raises taxes, makes promises to reduce spending someday, or perhaps goes so far as to reduce the rate of future spending growth and calls it a "spending cut." While there are a myriad of factors behind the budget woes of various states, careful examination finds federal policy as a root cause over and over again. Another way of looking at this would be that previous state budgets were enlarged to spend money state governments typically do not have at their disposal. Federal stimulus dollars served as an additional source of revenue beyond what was available in state coffers. When government gets its hands on money you can count on it being spent. In essence, the federal government borrowed money to provide temporary funding for spending that states could not afford otherwise. Subsequently, state legislatures are now making necessary structural adjustments, resulting in spending cuts that are stricter than they would have been without the infusion of federal dollars. An ever growing number of economists agree that the nation's dramatic growth in deficit spending is hampering economic recovery. In sum, federal policy is having a direct negative impact on the revenue side of state budget equations. While there is no doubt that spending in Washington has been out of control for quite some time, under the one-party rule of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi, deficit spending accelerated into hyper-drive. What the feds could not borrow, they merely printed, consequently devaluing our currency and in turn shrinking the buying power of all Americans. As Washington's actions have shrunk the worth of the dollar they have driven up the price of oil, a globally traded commodity, resulting in higher gasoline prices. As consumers spend more on gasoline they have that much less to spend on everything else, only further depressing sales tax receipts. Let's not forget, in their zeal to pass the onerous ObamaCare scheme, not to mention threatening tax increases for a year and a half, Democrats in Washington effectively froze investment and hiring throughout the country. As destructive as Washington's actions are to the revenue side of some state balance sheets, they have also had a tremendous negative impact on the expenditure side. Unfunded federal mandates, particularly Medicaid, are driving some states to the brink of financial ruin, and ObamaCare only upped the ante. Due to the federal government's refusal to secure the border with Mexico and genuinely deal with at least 12 million illegal squatters, state law enforcement, public school, and healthcare service systems are being severely strained. The burden is particularly heavy in border states, with as many as one million undocumented aliens estimated residing in Texas alone. If Americans want to ensure that government can provide the basic services that citizens feel they deserve, then the first order of business should be to ensure that we are not paying for services for those who are in the country illegally. Ultimately, if Washington is going to push states to spend more money than they have, then individual states should be sending the feds the bill for their unfunded mandates.
(“State Budgets and the Misdirected Ire of Democrats” by George Scaggs dated April 23, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/04/state_budgets_and_the_misdirec.html )
The same person who promised to bankrupt coal plants and cause electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket” as a candidate would have us believe that he has nothing to do with Americans paying $4 or more a gallon at the gas pump now that he is President. Last week Obama feigned righteous anger towards “traders and speculators” whom he called responsible for our predicament. He promised to hunt down and prosecute any “manipulation in the oil markets”. In that case I guess Obama should arrest himself since no other individual on the planet is more responsible for rising gas prices than him. His goal has always been to make energy less affordable. Ever since taking office Obama has worked relentlessly to demonize “dirty” fossil fuels and replace them with prohibitively expensive “green” energy. His administration has shut down oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, outer continental shelf and Western states and has given the EPA free reign to unilaterally set carbon emission limits (energy taxes) on American industries without the approval or input of Congress. He has perpetuated the myth that America only has less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves. In reality the United States leads the world in recoverable fossil fuel deposits and given the right political environment, we wouldn’t have to import another drop of foreign oil for the next hundred years or so, if ever. Obama’s latest “solutions” will only make things worse. Irrespective of party affiliation many hold Obama personally responsible. Until the United States adopts a sensible energy policy that taps into our vast fossil fuel resources and stops throwing away billions on failed green technologies, gas prices will continue to rise.
(“President ‘Necessarily Skyrocket’ Obama Baffled by Rising Gas Prices” by Fred Dardick dated April 25, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/35840 )
Anyone who believes Planned Parenthood is primarily concerned with the health of women and girls needs to look at the record, because Planned Parenthood would have you believe that they were mainly focused on prevention, but they neglect to mention several statistics that illustrate its heavy (and increasing) involvement in abortion, as well as its practices that routinely place women’s health and safety secondary to its own bottom line. Consider five truths about an industry that receives more than $360 million in taxpayer subsidies annually:
· Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, performing (and profiting from) one out of every four abortions in the United States. In 2009, abortion was a “service” that Planned Parenthood provided to 12% of its patients overall, and to 97.6% of its patients who reported themselves pregnant. It performed 332,278 abortions in that one year alone, an average of 910 abortions every day. Abortion accounted for approximately 37% of Planned Parenthood’s health-care-center income in 2009.
· Planned Parenthood increases its abortion numbers with each passing year, bucking the nearly 20-year national trend of a decreasing abortion rate. Over the last twelve years it has dramatically reduced the other pregnancy-related services it provides. In 2009, Planned Parenthood made referrals for only 997 adoptions, in contrast to the 2,999 referrals it made in 1999. Similarly, Planned Parenthood’s clients for prenatal care dropped from 18,878 to only 7,021.
· Planned Parenthood affiliates have failed to be good stewards of taxpayer funds. Planned Parenthood does have sources of money other than the government dole. In its fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates reported receiving $308.2 million in “Private Contributions and Bequests.” It also made $404.9 million in “Health Center Income.”
· Planned Parenthood fights reasonable laws to protect women and girls because such laws might undermine its ability to make money. Planned Parenthood’s consistent and financially motivated opposition to federal and state legislation designed to protect women and girls makes clear that its abortion business trumps its professed concern for these women and girls.
· Planned Parenthood partners with those who sexually abuse and exploit women and girls. Substantial evidence suggests that Planned Parenthood, far from being a defender of women and girls, defends and abets those who sexually abuse and exploit them. Planned Parenthood has shown itself to be a perfect partner to the pimp, sex trafficker, or child abuser. It hides his crimes through its willful failure to report suspected sexual abuse of children to authorities and its refusal to comply with parental-involvement laws.
People do not need Planned Parenthood to stay in the abortion business; People do not need Planned Parenthood to protect adult men who prey on and abuse young girls; People do not need Planned Parenthood’s anti-woman, bottom-line-oriented view that pushes abortion at the expense of women’s health and safety; and above all, People do not need Planned Parenthood’s scandal-ridden and abortion-heavy business practices to be subsidized by taxpayer dollars.
(“Five Truths about Planned Parenthood” by Charmaine Yoest dated April 26, 2011 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/265590/five-truths-about-planned-parenthood-charmaine-yoest?page=1 )
The international left and its U.S. acolytes welcome decline as long-overdue payback for our past sins, while many American conservatives see it as the inevitable consequence of decades of bad policy decisions, but both are wrong. Comparing ourselves to the mistaken or exaggerated views of other nations' current performance and prospects, we simply increase a perception of decline that doesn't exist in fact. Regarding the economy, 2008 was a bad year, but the governmental policy mistakes that led to the recession (such as Fannie and Freddie) can be reversed, and so can the political mistakes that followed it (such as the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill). Pointing to the continuing strength of China's economy and straight-lining it forever may suggest U.S. decline, but China's economy will not grow at its present rate forever. Internal political and social strains are already taking their toll, and we will find out relatively soon just how real China's economic statistics actually are, and how much is derived from imaginary government planning figures, a common problem of Communist regimes. Anyone who thinks Europe is prospering needs to respond honestly to the question of which country's government bonds they are really prepared to buy. Regarding international geopolitics, observers cite Obama's indecisiveness, his deference to multilateral institutions and foreign governments, his embarrassment about America, and his general lack of interest in national security. All too true, but hardly evidence of decline that an unapologetic U.S. president couldn't fix after 2012. Americans still hold their fate in their hands, and there is no real reason to bet against us. We will once again confirm Churchill's observation that "you can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they've tried everything else." There is no decline that can't be reversed by electing a real President in 2012 to unleash our country's vibrant political and economic strengths.
(“Is America in Decline?” by John R. Bolton dated April 25, 2011 published by American Enterprise Institute at http://www.aei.org/article/103508 )
The Obama administration lacks a consistent foreign policy philosophy but has nevertheless established a predictable foreign policy pattern with predictable weak results.
· A popular revolt takes place in country X.
· President Obama is caught by surprise and says little.
· A few days later an administration spokesman weakly calls for "reform."
· A few more days of mounting protests and violence follow.
· Then, after an internal debate that spills out into the media, the President decides he must do something.
· But hoping to keep expectations low, his actions are limited in scope.
· A strategic opportunity is missed and the protesters in country X feel betrayed.
This record of serial indecision has damaged American interests. The Obama administration initially stood aloof from the Iranian Green Revolution, even though democratic regime change may be the only realistic alternative to American confrontation with the Tehran regime over its nuclear ambitions. In Libya, Obama waited until Benghazi was in the shadow of genocide before an incremental response. Obama has deployed American credibility in Libya -- eventually supporting regime change -- while pursuing policies that seem designed to result in stalemate. In Syria, the administration calls for "meaningful reforms" while Damascus employs mass violence against mass protests. It is no longer credible to blame these failures on inexperience -- an argument that years of experience tend to undermine. A novice can learn from his mistakes, but Obama apparently doesn't view these outcomes as mistaken. Since George W. Bush embraced democracy promotion, Obama would devalue it. Since Bush called out enemies, Obama would cultivate them, but the return to nuance turned out to be remarkably superficial. Obama's leadership style is the part of a college professor who has unlimited time to sift and debate his options, as though extended deliberation were a virtue and indecision had no cost. This strategy has been dubbed “leading from behind,” but in reality this is not a strategy, but a style of being a “follower.” Obama seems to have drunk deeply at the well of academic liberalism. He believes that American support would somehow stain or delegitimize national aspirations, even as protesters were appealing for our help. This sounds like the buzz of the faculty lounge than the leadership of an American president charged with defending and advancing history's noblest ideals. Foreign Policy requires a predictable response to international conditions, but our part-time professor turned President is clearly out of his depth and America is paying the price for his lack of experience and indecision.
(“Obama’s Serial Indecision” by Michael Gerson dated April 25, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelgerson/2011/04/25/obamas_serial_indecision )
* 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:
· Employment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/employment.php