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Views on the News

Views on the News*

June 6, 2015

 

President Barack Obama's stance is that the debate is settled and climate change is a fact.  This "settled science" vision about climate is held by many, including those in academia, but to call any science settled is sheer idiocy.  Many ideas taken as facts today will be shown to be wrong as early as five years from now.  Many academics know that to call any science settled is nonsense, but their leftist politics and lack of academic integrity prevent them from criticizing public officials and the media for misleading a gullible public about global warming.  The concept of white privilege, along with diversity and multiculturalism, is part of today's campus craze.  Millions of dollars are spent on conferences and other forums teaching students about the horrors of white privilege.  The bottom line to this campus nonsense is that "privilege" has become the new word for "personal achievement."  President Obama has often said the wealthiest Americans must make sacrifices to better the lives of poor people.  Obama talked about asking "from society's lottery winners to just make that modest investment," but Congress doesn't ask people for money.  Through intimidation, threats and coercion, it takes people's earnings.  If people don't comply, the agents of Congress will imprison them.  Most instructive for us is that Obama's remarks were made at a university. Not a single professor has said anything about his suggestion that people accumulate great wealth by winning life's lottery, which is just more evidence about the level of corruption among today's academics.

(“Intellectual Dishonesty” by Walter E. Williams dated June 3, 2015 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2015/06/03/intellectual-dishonesty-n2006462 )

It was Albert Einstein who defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” but insanity is more accurately the substitution of fantasy for realityWholesale denial of reality is not limited to just the occasional individual, because insanity can and does afflict whole groups of people.  The Left has so suppressed the knowledge of reality and has so affixed itself to delusion that the crowds who comprise it and who follow it would have been straitjacketed a decade or two ago.  There are some insane ideas masquerading as truth by progressives:

·    Gender fluidity” - Translated from newspeak into everyday language, “gender fluidity” means that any man can declare himself by fiat to be a woman, or vice versa. 

·    Abortion - The unborn within the womb is not really human but is “potential human life.” 

·    Money - Money may, like gender, be declared to be “money” strictly by fiat without any particular regard to underlying worth. 

·    Morality - No system of morality; no governmental structure, and no religion can be acknowledged as having a position of superiority in comparison with another.  

·    Global Order - The entire world order, material and societal, can be completely retrofitted in accordance with progressive thinking with only good results.

In order for the Left to maintain their dogma, certain realities must be excluded from thinking.  In order to believe in the current dogmas of the Left, including the spurious quasi religion of “manmade climate change,” one must suspend huge chunks of reality, effectually denying elements and evidence of the created order (science) as well as refusing to see the nature of humanity and society as they really are (philosophy and theology).  The Left’s denial of reality also means concealment of its ultimate goals.  Among those goals are the wish for absolute rule and the conversion of humans by force rather than by reason and persuasion.  There is collateral damage that must be accepted if the Left is to succeed.  There are things human beings cannot change just because humans want them to change and/or plan detailed programs to change them.  Among those realities are the basic material and spiritual constitution of human beings and the powerlessness of humans in the face of an unremittingly unchanging natural order.  There are certain limitations built into the universe; certain fundamentals none of us can change.  The attempt to change or destroy fundamental realities results not in transformation of the fixed order of being, but in mere phantasmagorical fantasies that ultimately result in madness.  Since so much of what the Left is promulgating is in fact certain untruth, it must continually seek to cut off rational debates.  It abhors questions about the veracity of its dogma and praxis.  Leftists believe it is vitally important to prohibit questions that might undermine them or their system’s credibility.  Leftism is only to be believed, and never questioned.  Believing Christians and devout Jews have ideas about the created order that are the polar opposite of the Left.  They believe that created reality is a God given thing to which humans gratefully accommodate themselves.  They do not believe that the created order was or is made by human beings.  For progressives, religious beliefs are to be silenced and quashed.  In order to silence questions from the masses which it seeks to indoctrinate, progressives seek to erase opposition by shutting down free speech while pursuing the total destruction of any resistance.  The creation of multifarious governmental, bureaucratic and administrative initiatives designed to destroy the current societal order and to “fundamentally transform” the nation and the world according to the fantastical dreams of an elite.  To accomplish such a transformation requires the ascendance of atheism and the deification of Man as God.  No cost, human or material, is too great in order to achieve the leftist dream.  As we observe the destruction being wreaked on our country by leftist progressives, it is obvious that their goal to destroy the old order and to fundamentally transform the world is ultimately an exercise in futility, and meanwhile, the attempts to create a fantasy society are having disastrous consequences

 (“The Left Goes Insane” by Fay Voshell dated May 31, 2015 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/05/the_left_goes_insane.html )

 

Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said a Social Security Trust Fund does not exist and that the U.S. is “way underestimating” the size of its national debt.  The notion that we have a trust fund is nonsense – that trust fund has no meaning whatsoever except for the fact as an all private fund to benefit programs, if it runs out of money, you can only pay out in cash flows that come in but the probability that will happen is not particularly high.  Lawrence Lindsey, former assistant to the President on economic policy in the Bush administration, said the national debt is closer to 300% of GDP with unfunded obligations for Social Security and Medicare included, which is higher than Greece’s debt currently.  The White House and Congress are avoiding the fact that the government has committed itself to paying for pensions the nation cannot afford.  The whole balance sheet is a contingent liability.  Now to be sure, while it’s contingent, there’s no interest payments but ultimately that overhangs the structure because we have committed in so many different ways to guarantee this, because the U.S. government has backed not only Fannie and Freddie but a whole series of financial institutions and, regrettably, it is also non-financial institutions.

(“U.S. ‘Way Underestimating’ the National Debt” by Nicholas Ballasy dated May 30, 2015 published by PJ Media at http://pjmedia.com/blog/greenspan-u-s-way-underestimating-the-national-debt/ )

First-quarter real GDP actually declined by 0.7%, according to latest revisions, creating much new talk about recession.  There is no recession, but the trouble is, there continues to be virtually no recovery.  The economy has expanded about 1.5% over the past two quarters, 2.4% at an annual rate over the past two years, and about 2.3% during this six-year, so-called recovery.  That’s the real problem; not a one-quarter snowstorm or inaccurate seasonal adjustments.   Following the deepest recession since World War II, a normal recovery should have featured an outsized rebound.  What must we do to restore America’s long-term economic-growth performance, which is roughly 3.4% per year? Answer: 5% growth for the next decade.  The absence of normal growth is a big part of 15 million fewer jobs and a 10.8% U-6 unemployment rate (marginally attached workers, part-timers who want full-time work, people who have given up).  According to the CBO, a 1% increase in real economic growth would lower the deficit by about $3 trillion over ten years.  In other words, growth solves a lot of problems.  It’s exactly what we need to get back to America’s long-term prosperity trend, which had long ensured our world leadership.  Unfortunately, it’s just as Ronald Reagan warned: Weakness at home creates weakness abroad.  In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, distinguished economist Martin Feldstein made a plea for tax-cut policies that would generate much faster growth.  In particular, he argued for more capital investment, which by the way, adjusted for inflation, hasn’t increased in 20 years.  If we want more risk and innovation, and more take-home pay for the middle class, we must look hard at pro-growth tax reform.  That’s the most efficient pro-growth approach: incentive-oriented, economically neutral, tax-rate reduction.  Targeted tax credits are inefficient government planning. And they won’t produce growth.   I would also like a 20% corporate tax rate, along with territorial-based repatriation and cash expensing for investment, all of which would offer the greatest benefit to middle-income earners.  A 5% growth target gets the ball rolling in the right direction, but the Democrats won’t do it and luckily the Republicans can.

(“The GOP Needs a 5% Growth Target” by Larry Kudlow dated May 30, 2015 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/419088/gop-needs-5-percent-growth-target-larry-kudlow )

The more we spend on the poor, the harder it seems for them to attain decent, productive lives in loving families. The federal government has spent $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs since the beginning of the War on Poverty in 1965, but the poverty rate is nearly the same today as in 1969, fluctuating between roughly 11 and 15 percent over that time period.  The left often claims the Founders were indifferent to the poor, suggesting that New Deal America ended callousness and indifference.  Many on the right think the Founders advocated only for charitable donations as the means of poverty relief.  America always has had laws providing for the poor. The real difference between the Founders’ welfare policies and today’s is over how, not whether, government should help those in need.  Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin believed government has an obligation to help the poor.  Both thought welfare policies should support children, the disabled, widows and others who could not work.  But any aid policy, they insisted, would include work-requirements for the able-bodied.  Rather than making welfare a generational inheritance, Franklin thought it should assist the poor in overcoming poverty as expediently as possible: “I am for doing good to the poor.…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”  Moreover, local, rather than federal, officials administered this welfare, since they were more likely to know the particular needs of recipients and could distinguish between the deserving poor (the disabled and involuntarily unemployed) and the undeserving poor (those capable of work but preferring not to).  The Founders sought to provide aid in a way that would help the deserving poor but minimize incentives for recipients to act irresponsibly.  They wanted to protect the rights of taxpayers by preventing corruption and abuses in welfare aid.  Above all, the Founders saw the family and life-long marriage as the primary means of support for everyone, rich and poor alike.  By the mid-20th century, intellectual opinion began to peel away the stigma attached to the behavioral aspects of poverty, and progressive politicians increased the benefits and number of welfare recipients.  During the New Deal, despite major expansions of welfare programs, the Founders’ approach remained intact at least to this extent: These programs still distinguished between the deserving and undeserving poor—a distinction based on moral conduct.  Until the mid-1960s, free markets, secure property rights, strong family policy and minimal taxation and regulation supported a culture of work and entrepreneurship. Through the rise of modern liberalism’s redefinition of rights and justice, welfare was officially reconceived as a right that could be demanded by anyone in need, regardless of conduct or circumstances.  Among the most destructive features of the post-1965 welfare regime has been its unintentional dismantling of the family.  By making welfare wages higher than working wages, the government essentially replaced fathers with a government check. The state became many families’ primary provider.  Even more perverse, for many single mothers, marrying a working man may actually be a financial burden rather than a support because the marriage can diminish government benefits.  Though modern welfare programs grant more benefits to a greater number of individuals than the Founders ever fathomed, the Founders’ approach to welfare policy was effective in providing for the minimal needs of the poor and dramatically reducing poverty over time.  Based on today’s living standards, the poverty rate fell from something like 90% in the Founding era to 12% by 1969.  If the goal of welfare is to provide for those in need while respecting the rights of all, Americans would do well to ponder the Founders’ outlook on welfare as a limited system, concerned with helping the poor who truly are in need and encouraging those who are able to work to leave their poverty behind as soon as possible.

(“The Founders’ Model of Welfare Actually Reduced Poverty” by Thomas West dated May 30, 2015 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://dailysignal.com/2015/05/30/the-founders-model-of-welfare-actually-reduced-poverty/ )

 

Since World War II, America has clearly won only one of five major conflicts: Operation Desert Storm.  Korea was a bloody stalemate, Vietnam an “outright military defeat,” and both Afghanistan and Iraq hardly look like victories.  While there is some question whether the military has truly “lost” its wars, there is no question that most of our postwar conflicts have been much longer than anticipated, less decisive than hoped, and far more costly than promised.  The gap between America and its recent enemies is clear: “It’s limited war for Americans, and total war for those fighting Americans. The United States has more power; its foes have more willpower.”  Our jihadist foes use every weapon at their disposal, deploy them indiscriminately, and have no regard at all for innocent life.  They will do whatever it takes to win.  Our nation, by contrast, sacrifices American lives to protect the innocent, deploys the smallest possible fraction of its military force, and will withdraw well before victory is secured.  The best military in the world is ineffective if a critical mass of our citizens lack the will to deploy it effectively and then endure through adversity.  In fact, those two concepts are related: The perception of effectiveness is inextricably linked to the willingness to endure; and Americans are losing the will to fight because we first lack the willingness to deploy the military effectively.  While only a small minority of Americans are true pacifists, there is a much larger number, mainly in the Left and segments of the libertarian Right, who are functionally anti-war when it comes to the use of American military power.  The functional pacifist declares as a “war crime” virtually any civilian death, conceives the ideal form of warfare as somehow more “clean” than even big-city policing, and places ever-escalating constraints on the use of force.  This pacifism reconceives the military as essentially armed cultural engagement, and it attempts to regulate true military conflict out of existence.  At the same time that the Left and the libertarian Right reconceive the use of force, excessively idealistic conservatives exaggerate its potential cultural and political effectiveness. For example, had he Surge been conceived solely as a military effort to crush al-Qaeda, it would have been an unmitigated success.  Instead, the Bush administration aspired to use the Surge not only to defeat our enemies in the field but also to establish key political benchmarks that proved entirely unattainable.  Of course there has to be some government in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that government need not be a democracy, and if the goal is democracy, it need not happen anytime soon.  Even hampered by absurd rules of engagement, we’re too strong to face military defeat, but we also render ourselves too weak to truly win.  Nor will we ever have the ability to remake violent, tribal societies within the timeframe demanded by political and economic realities.  In such an environment, a failure of will is nearly inevitable.  To avoid repeating those mistakes, it’s time for bold political and cultural leadership to remake our view of both the awesome power and profound limits of American power.  We can do both more (in terms of raw power) and less (in terms of precision) militarily than most Americans realize.  We can do far less culturally than most Americans hope.  In the absence of an immediately perceived existential threat, Americans will persist in their naiveté, denial, and ideological blindness.  I fear history will repeat itself, as America will have just enough will to avert catastrophe but not enough will to win.

(“Why America Has Lost the Will to Win Wars” by David French dated June 3, 2015 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/419278/why-america-has-lost-will-win-wars-david-french )

 

* 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:

·     Media at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/media.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/