Views on the News
Views on the News*
June 1, 2019
The standoff between the president and Congress is part of a conspiracy to sicken America with a "truth-resistant cancer" based on hatred of Trump for his "many successes: record-low unemployment, a roaring economy, his unwavering support for Israel, the revitalization of manufacturing in the U.S., tax cuts that have worked spectacularly on several levels." The metaphor of cancer is powerful and spot-on. Democrats hate Trump not really for his successes or any of that. They hate him just because they hate him: no reason, no rationale, no thought. Three years ago, I asked a onetime friend what she didn't like about Trump. "He breathes!" she shouted. I thought she was goofing around and asked what, specifically, was so objectionable. "He's a liar!" I pointed out that probably everybody in politics and most people in life can be justly accused of that, but it didn't matter. She hated Trump just because she hated Trump. There's no reasoning with people like this. Donald Trump at one time was the toast of New York. They ran spreads on him in the broadsheets and magazines: the way he dressed, his coifs, his limousines, his buildings, his family. They sought his opinion on everything: men's hairstyles, women's hairstyles, men's shoes, women's clothing, babies, cars, whatever. He was on talk shows, and the audiences, near 100% liberal, cheered him wildly. Then he ran for president opposite lefty fave Hillary. Overnight, Trump became the most hated man on the planet, not for anything he'd done or said, but because he dared stand up to the Establishment Left. The more vitriol they poured on him, the more effectively he ridiculed them. Rather than whine and fold, he stood taller and taller; and clobbered them; knocked them out. Now there's no forgiving him. There wouldn't have been anyway, no matter what, but you know how it is: leftists scramble for some "reason" for blowing cover and bringing their vileness into the open. Donald Trump beat and now is about to take down the entire cancerous infrastructure hiding out in sinecures within the U.S. government, dodging and ducking, waiting for the Trump Era to blow over so they can safely reassert their lawless, anti-America, hate-America, anything-but-America power. Ridding us of this “cancerous” burden and those poisons will alone Make America Great Again.
(“Hating the president just for fun” by Richard Jack Raail dated May 25, 2019 published by American Thinker at https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/05/hating_the_president_just_for_fun.html )
On every level, the Obama administration couldn’t break with neo-liberalism. We’re living with its failures today. While Roosevelt bemoaned the “host of unemployed citizens fac[ing] the grim problem of existence” and promised that his “greatest primary task is to put people to work,” Obama declined to stress joblessness or what was then called “public works.” While Roosevelt assailed the “money changers” over “their stubbornness and their own incompetence,” Obama attacked “recriminations and worn-out dogmas” while extolling “risk-takers,” “doers,” and “makers of things.” Roosevelt “unhesitatingly” assumed leadership over what he called the “trained and loyal army” of the American people, and threatened to ask Congress for “broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency,” as if it was a foreign power. Obama took a philosophical tack, claiming the “stale political arguments” of the past were over, deciding that the market’s “power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched” and that the only question about government was “whether it works.” The Obama administration’s handling of the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath, and the Democrat establishment’s response to it included mistakes, false assumptions, and timidities that, over Obama’s eight years, helped deliver the electorate into the hands of Trump. Despite Hillary Clinton’s primary loss, the Obama presidency essentially became the second Clinton administration that she and her family’s entourage had been planning for, with Obama surprising John Podesta by tapping him to lead his transition. Podesta staffed top posts with Clintonite neoliberals, ensuring their ideology predominated in the administration. This was compounded by the thinness of Obama’s own bench of personnel, with a bemused Podesta remarking, “He travels light.” Obama “no longer pursued his own tentatively progressive agenda.” That agenda all but disappeared by the end of the year, with Obama’s Clintonite advisors electing to grant only tepid funding to some of these measures. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, chosen precisely for the Wall Street-friendly credentials that would reassure the finance sector, was almost mono-maniacally focused on protecting the interests of banks. Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag was a deficit hawk who wanted to put fiscal policy on a fast track toward a balanced budget. Larry Summers, chair of the National Economic Council, believed too much debt was the country’s economic problem, opposed infrastructure investment, and habitually dialed back proposals based on what he believed could pass Congress. They systematically scaled down Obama’s ambitions, narrowing the range of possibilities available to the president, and ensuring the road to recovery would be longer, slower, and ultimately incomplete. Expanding unemployment compensation was ruled out. Long-term infrastructure projects were rejected, unless they were smaller, “shovel-ready” ones that could “get into the economic bloodstream as quickly as possible.” Geithner convinced the team the amount of bailout money was nonnegotiable, but the stimulus total was lopped down again and again to the point of just barely being adequate. They wouldn’t pursue a more ambitious size without “supply-side” measures like tax cuts, and that would make it impossible to balance the budget later on. Besides, a stimulus that was too big “could spook markets or the public.” Sometimes the opposition to robust measures was nakedly ideological. Geithner and Summers opposed cramdown, or allowing bankruptcy judges to reduce the size of a mortgage, on the basis of property rights, worrying that ignoring the sanctity of contracts would undermine confidence in the lending system. When Fannie Mae CEO Herb Allison proposed using eminent domain to condemn and take over fraudulent loans at a fraction of their face value and lowering their interest rates, an idea supported by academics and already successfully trialled with General Motors and Chrysler, the Obama team demurred, afraid to let the government meddle in the private sector in such a major way. As Allison recounts, the thinking was: “We don’t want to appear as though we’re socialists.” It’s ironic that Obama’s defenders point to Republican obstructionism to explain away his administration’s inadequacies, when the primary source of obstructionism was coming from inside the house. Obama’s outsourcing of his administration’s transition process to Clintonites, combined with his lack of commitment to a progressive political vision, hemmed him in and undermined the economic recovery, particularly since his advisors underestimated the scale of the crisis. David Axelrod candidly admits being shocked to hear a second Great Depression was a possibility, believing the first had been simply “something that is part of history” and not “something that could reoccur.” The cool, calm, collected Obama did not use the bully pulpit to sell the public and Congress on his agenda. He failed to tie the stimulus to any grander overarching program or vision, like fighting climate change or rebuilding infrastructure. What we might consider Obama’s most admirable personal qualities, his preternatural calm, his even temper, ended up being his greatest weaknesses in the field of politics. Obama did just enough, and just in the nick of time, to secure reelection, but the recovery he presided over was lopsided and brittle enough to engender a voter backlash that Trump seized on. It wasn’t so much that Trump won the votes of disillusioned Obama voters (though he did win some of those in strategically crucial places) but rather that Obama’s voters couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to turn out again, a point confirmed by on-the-ground reporting. Democrat-aligned pundits and a large part of the Democrat electorate, yearn for a return to the “normalcy” of the Obama years. For rank-and-file voters exhausted by Trump and not always deeply engaged in the day-to-day tussle of politics, this isn’t so surprising. The Obama administration that came into power in 2009 was ill-equipped, temperamentally and ideologically, to carry out a break with the disastrous road of the previous decades. While Obama is reported to have privately lashed out at Hillary Clinton’s hapless campaign after her 2016 loss, he refused to acknowledge his own role in what happened, believing he left office with a “strong record and healthy economy” and there was “no way Americans would turn on him.” Doubts are emerging about the fairy-tales the Democrat establishment has been telling itself. When the dam will finally burst, but another dent is always welcome.
(“How Obama Failed” by Branko Marcetic dated May 25, 2019 published by Jacobin at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/05/obama-white-house-financial-crisis-hundt )
The first rule of any Marxist revolution is that rules are fine if they advance the cause or cripple opponents. The rules can be discarded the minute they get in the way. That’s the way America’s Marxists, socialists and liberals operate when it comes to the Constitution, especially the First Amendment (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.) When they are legalizing obscenity and destroying community standards, the Left’s attorneys, spearheaded by the ACLU, take a “no-exceptions” view. America’s founders intended protections became for the ACLU a get-out-of-jail-free card for pornographers, terrorists and even for men who possess child pornography. Today, the Left is actively suppressing constitutionally protected speech they don’t like. What began on campuses has spread to society at large. Ask the folks at Chick-fil-A if you don’t believe me, and the ACLU is not beating a path to their door to help. The Left has also redefined civil rights, warping the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended Jim Crow laws. Now the Left are moving beyond immutable characteristics such as race, color, national origin and sex, and expanding to include something entirely different – volitional behavior with enormous moral implications. Civil rights laws containing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” now pose a dangerous threat to civil liberties. America’s newsrooms are full of people who honestly believe that America needs to be taken down and replaced with a socialist, pansexual, atheist regime that brooks no dissent. Studies abound about the media’s leftist bias, but all you have to do is turn on CNN or pick up a major newspaper to see the daily drumbeat against the Left’s main enemies: the family and the church. When the workers of the world failed to unite and trigger an economic upheaval in the 20th Century, the Left adopted a different strategy. Communist theorists Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse and the Frankfurt School saw that a cultural revolution, including educational indoctrination and media propaganda, could weaken society and lead to political revolution. That’s why the Left embraces pornography, abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage and transgenderism. Strong families produce strong, independent people. As families weaken, so does the church, where people learn a different Gospel from that of Karl Marx. By wrecking families, you can wreck churches, a twofer for the Left. One of the Left’s most effective tactics is to coin new meanings and then use them to stigmatize opposition: abortion became “choice”; homosexuality became “gay”; smut became “porn” and then “erotica”; normalcy became “hate”; voter ID laws became “voter suppression”; and border security became “racism.” The courts are black-robed enablers in this lurch to the left. Culturally corrosive Supreme Court justices discovered a constitutional “right” to abortion in 1973 and then a “right” to brideless or groomless marriages in 2015. This creation of “marriage equality” turned proponents of natural marriage into bigots who despise equality. The propaganda can be astoundingly overt. The president of a 220-year-old Catholic prep school wrote a letter urging inclusion of same-sex union announcements, a direct rebuke of church teaching, in the alumnae magazine. The most loving, compassionate thing a Christian can do is not to encourage sinful behavior but to share the good news about a Savior who forgives any repentant soul’s sins. The media has become dominated by a Marxist mindset, by weeding out anyone who thinks otherwise, and they have a steady supply of young journalists fresh from campuses where Marxist professors ply their trade. It’s time to tune out the fake news, the fake law and the fake academics, and bypassing the Marxists’ rewrite of the Constitution, and applying the real document’s timeless framework of liberty to our current situation.
(“Rejecting the Marxists’ Version of the Constitution” by Robert Knight dated May 28, 2019 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/robertknight/2019/05/28/rejecting-the-marxists-version-of-the-constitution-n2546929 )
Did the Democrats pick the wrong electoral cycle to jump their particular abortion-cheering, fetus-destroying, and sensibility-unsettling shark? For a certain kind of Republican voter, who has problems with Donald Trump’s temperament and with the programmatic agenda of the national Democrats, the decision to vote ”no” on the Democrats and on their agenda just got a whole lot easier. For years, polling in the U.S. and the world has been unchanged and unchanging: 60% or so of respondents support permitting abortion in the first trimester, 30% or so in the second, and down to the low teens in the third. For years, presidential candidates on both sides have threaded the needle, appeasing the base while giving those who dissent leeway enough to vote for them anyhow. Then, sometime in 2018, the needles were tossed, the goalposts upended, and the word went forth to any Democrat even dreaming of running for office that the new rules were unquestioned support for all abortions anywhere under any conditions, to the moment of birth and beyond. The new composition of the Supreme Court supposedly indicated that Roe v. Wade would be overturned was the excuse that pro-abortion extremists have seized upon to do what they want to do anyway. It was 2016 when Hillary Clinton, our first female nominee, ran for president with a more aggressive and rigorous abortion rights platform than had been seen in a major party’s agenda before. Gone was her husband’s abortion rights platform of “safe, legal, and rare." Gone were the moral concerns voiced by Obama. In their place was her dictum that pro-life sentiments should never be voiced in her party. The first candidate openly endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Hillary barnstormed with its statuesque leader, surrounded by mobs of overbearing and shrieking young women, holding boisterous rallies throughout the Midwest. Then with the election, the verdict came due: Hillary Clinton lost the overall Catholic vote by seven points, after President Obama had won it in the previous two elections. In heavily Catholic states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, she lost by a hair, the last by less than 1%. What 2016 proved is that people will vote for someone they don’t like if the opposition is made to seem even less attractive. That’s precisely what the Left’s new approach to abortion is likely to do. Voters have proved that they will vote for Trump, even if they didn't much like him because issues matter, so we’ll see in the 2020 election.
(“Are Democrats choosing to lose?” by Noemie Emery dated May 28, 2019 published by The Washington Examiner at https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/are-democrats-choosing-to-lose )
First came Donald Trump’s stunning victory in 2016, after a campaign in which he rejected the “scientific consensus” on catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), and proved true to his rhetoric by withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords. Then France was rocked by the “yellow vests” movement that started with protests against a tax on fuel that President Emmanuel Macron, in true globalist technocratic fashion, proposed as a way to “nudge” the masses into using less of the carbon-based energy allegedly heating the planet. Now comes Australia, where contrary to the predictions of the globalist elite, the anti-carbon progressive who had proposed job-killing regulations to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030, failed to defeat the conservative incumbent who would rather save jobs than “save the planet.” Climate change is looking like a losing election issue. The global technocrats, for whom Climate Change has been one of those “crises that progressives never let go to waste,” no doubt are wishing they could “dissolve the people” rather than change the government through democratic elections. Persuading free citizens with arguments based on fact, or with appeals to their interests, is difficult when your “crisis” is nothing more than a politicized hypothesis based on appeals to authority, rigged computer simulations, and apocalyptic predictions laced with insults to the skeptics’ intelligence and morals. The politicians should have seen the signs of global warming’s declining utility as an electoral scare-tactic. In the U.S., “climate change” for years has ranked low on the list of issues voters are concerned about. Before last year’s midterm elections, in a Gallup Poll “climate change” ranked next to last of 12 issues that voters judged “extremely/very important,” just above investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Moreover, we’ve had decades now of hysterical predictions followed by “never mind” when they are belied by facts, along with the vicious demonization and ostracization of scientists who question the dominant narrative of CAGW. The hypocrisy of this very unscientific demand for unquestioned obeisance not to a scientific fact, but to a working hypothesis has now become blatantly obvious. Real science, which is usually reluctant to claim it’s “settled,” works quite the opposite. Even a layman with practical wisdom can see that the purveyors of “climate change” who make such ad hominem attacks and invent a “consensus” are up to no good. There’s also the hinky marketing decision to switch “global warming” to “climate change,” a substitution forced by the two-decades hiatus in significant rises in temperatures even as emissions of CO2 increased by gigatons. There’s the implicit claim that CO2, which makes up 0.04% of the atmosphere, can override the sun as the prime factor in global climate change. Selling climate change is going to require a much more definite and complete, truly scientific, not “sciency,” explanation of how global climate, with its numerous systems and sub-systems and intricate feedback-loops, works before we gouge the world’s economy for trillions of dollars. Too much of global warming science is still speculative and provisional, while the gaps in knowledge, such as the precise role of water vapor, are filled with assumptions that when plugged into a computer simulation, just happen always to confirm the CAGW hypothesis. Other questionable practices, from manipulated weather-station data, to graphs designed to “hide the decline” in temperatures over time, are more evidence that something other than real science is at work. So too does the media’s silencing of counter-arguments and contrary evidence that challenge the CAGW orthodoxy. The most damning evidence of CAGW’s duplicity is that even if it was correct, all the expensive solutions to the problem ballyhooed at Global Warming, Inc. conventions like the Paris Climate Accords would not even begin to solve the problem. The weaknesses of the CAGW consensus suggests not a scientific activity, but a nature-worship cult attached to a lucrative scam that is worth billions in research grants and green-energy pork. Climate change advocates ignore the longer patterns of climate change associated with the sun. The political operatives of the technocratic global elite might think average voters are “smelly Wal-Mart shoppers,” “irredeemable deplorables,” “bitter clingers,” or as one Australian journalist said of the voters who rejected the left’s anti-carbon proposals, “morons.” After several decades of global warming hype and hysteria, voters can see the hypocrisy of champagne socialists supporting polices that they can easily afford, but will hurt the poor and working class, and devastate the developing world that needs cheap energy for its economies to flourish and provide their peoples with the basic comforts of life like electricity. More important, the people know when they are being insulted and scorned because they dare to question their “bright” betters about “settled science.” Perhaps these recent elections signal that people across the globe have had enough of our internationalist self-appointed Platonic “Guardians” and their “noble lies.” Perhaps citizen autonomy and self-rule are making a comeback, so let’s hope so.
(“Climate Change is a Political Loser” by Bruce Thornton dated May 28, 2019 published by Front Page Magazine at https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/273850/climate-change-political-loser-bruce-thornton )
In the European Parliament elections, parties critical of the direction of the European Union made substantial, but not decisive, gains. For the first time since 1979, when direct election of deputies by party lists was introduced, neither of the big formations will command a majority. About a quarter of the European Parliament’s 750 seats will be occupied by deputies representing variously named Euro-sceptics, “populists,” “extreme rightists,” “nationalists,” “sovereignists.” The major formations, which band together for the purpose of forming parliamentary blocs, are the center right conservatives who sit as the PPE, European People’s Party, and the non-communist left, who sit as the Party of European Socialists or, for the latest edition, Socialists and Democrats. However, the Euro-sceptics can at best hope for the Euro-parliamentary equivalent of a minority government, since they will not hold anything close to a majority of the seats either. But a “minority government” is dubious, primarily because the parliament’s role in the governance of the European Union is minor. It can exert a feeble objection to the executive’s decisions, but it cannot command it to adopt its preferred initiatives. Not only is the executive, called the Commission, in Brussels, not in Strasbourg with the parliament, it is more beholden to the national governments than to the European parliamentarians. Under Euro-sceptic leadership, the Strasbourg Parliament may be able to restrain the administrative tyranny of the Brussels super-state, and gradually push the European Union in the direction of local power and what we might term nation-states’ rights. Keep in mind that while no single party, establishment or skeptic, commands a majority in the new parliament, the establishment types are still stronger. A coalition of center-right conservatives and center-liberals, or Greens, or some other combination, can maintain the broad lines of what has been the mainstream Euro-establishment program, based on the principle of a single market. None of the rebels, except the British ones, favor leaving the EU. They want to reform the Union from within, and they have various notions of what this entails. The establishment will be able to play on their needs and national interests, for example, in bartering transfer payments (aka European Structural Funds, in plain English welfare) for votes on environmental or even border-control issues. In recent years, the dominant, super-statist European agenda has been criticized as favoring market capitalism at the expense of the welfare state policies that were conceived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (by conservative as well as social-democratic parties) and were implemented in various forms after World War II. The gains of the anti-Establishment parties are by no means unexpected. They have been making progress for some time in national polls, precisely because of the perceived (and often real) sense that the welfare-state is not working as promised, while wealth inequalities have been widening. France’s Rassemblement National came in second in the last presidential election, ahead of the center-left neo-Gaullists and the center-left Socialists. Italy’s Lega sits in the current governing coalition as the dominant partner. Although these parties are called “extreme right,” they are such mainly in their championing of traditional views of national sovereignty. They are not necessarily free-market liberals by any means, and in fact they are good examples of why Friedrich Hayek, a very traditional central European gentleman and political philosopher, eschewed the term conservative and referred to himself as a liberal. The fact of the matter is that the Euro-sceptics, outside Britain, are primarily interested in the national question, and that does not mean they have a common vision. The governing party in Hungary, Fidesz, which until recently sat with the PPE in the Strasbourg Parliament, made its mark by staunchly opposing the European establishment’s migration policy. It never objected to EU transfer payments. Immigration was also the emblematic issue of the French National movement by whatever name, as well as the Italian Lega. It is not at all clear how well the various new anti-establishment Euro-deputies will get along, if at all. The championing of common European values against large influxes of non-European migrants may serve as a usable slogan, but these values have not in the past prevented sovereign European states from committing mass murder against one another. As in previous Euro-parliament elections, the voting carries symbolic importance for national politics. Slightly ahead (22% to 21%) of Macron, Marine Le Pen will press for heightened spending in depressed regions, as well as restrictions on immigration, and will carry these themes into the next presidential and national parliamentary electoral cycles. Matteo Salvini, will also favor policies to limit immigration, while arguing that Italy should not be under the fiscal and budgetary discipline of the EU Commission. In England, Nigel Farage may launch a bid for a third-party conquest of the next Parliament, or else will make a deal with the “hard-Brexit” Conservatives who will be taking over the leadership of their party from Theresa May in coming weeks. The results of these elections were a shock but not necessarily an earthquake, and the elections may have a useful consequence for U.S. policy.
(“What Next in Europe?” by Roger Kaplan dated May 28, 2019 published by The American Spectator at https://spectator.org/what-next-in-europe/ )
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. No updates have been made this week to the issue sections.