Views on the News

Views on the News*

  June 11, 2016


The Progressive Establishment, abetted by most news and information outlets, State Media, and Academia, have distorted our founding truths in much of what we hear and watch, not unlike the Soviet Union’s Pravda and China’s People’s Daily. The term, “State Media” has been an apt descriptor for every administration’s media pawns since WWII, but in the past seven years, collaboration by government and friendly outlets has reached new heights of deception and perhaps, illegality.  The Congressional Research Service (CRS) pointed out there’s been nothing new about the White House’s use of government resources for propaganda in recent decades, but in the early years of the Obama administration, it had already leveraged ties to the arts and entertainment community to embed propaganda in the content of television programming and artwork.  The CRS stipulated: “The President’s right to sell his policy recommendations to Congress and the public is not disputed; however, using the resources of the federal government to activate a sophisticated propaganda and lobbying campaign is an abuse of office….”  The Obama administration’s 2010 expenditure was at least $945M to promote ObamaCare, along with other progressive agenda items.  In a story that carried a distinct lack of outrage from State Media, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor at the White House and brother to CBS President David Rhodes, apparently orchestrated the West Wing effort to buy, via The Ploughshares Fund, an “echo chamber” with various media outlets, such as NPR, to deceive Americans about the nasty realities of the Iran deal.  Our “press” is no longer so free, inasmuch as much of today’s State Media is inextricably circled with Academia and the Progressive Establishment.  As repeaters, not reporters, of talking points provided by their political masters, State Media operatives have been the dupes of a philosophy that bodes an end for the America of Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan.  It’s entangling reach of ownership by what are likely four of the top five TV-Radio-Print-Cable companies is outlined by one source, but this is just a small slice of what they have controlled in the recent past and today, and what we’ve watched or listened to:

·    Comcast: NBC Universal, the NBC network, Telemundo, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Oxygen, CNBC World, 24 TV stations, Comcast Sports, and pieces of the Weather Channel, A&E, The History Channel, Lifetime, FEARnet, PBS Kids Sprout, as well as several online outlets, and Universal Studios in Hollywood.

·    Disney: ABC television network, ESPN, the Disney Channel, Pixar Animation, and pieces of A&E, Lifetime, Biography, and The History Channel.

·    Time-Warner: Warner Brothers Television, TBS, TNT, TCM, CNN International, CNN, HLN, HBO, Cinemax, and magazines, such as Time, People, Sports Illustrated, Life, InStyle, Real Simple, Fortune, Southern Living, and Entertainment Weekly. TW also owns Warner Brothers Pictures, New Line Cinema, Castle Rock, and others.

·    CBS: CBS Corporation, Showtime, Smithsonian Networks, CBS Sports, CBS Studios, 29 television stations, CBS Radio & 130 radio stations, CNET, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, Scribner, CBS Films, and others.

·    News Corp with Fox Broadcasting, 27 television stations, Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Sports, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, TV Guide, Barron’s, Harper Collins Publishing, 20th Century Fox, Searchlight Pictures, and National Geographic U.S., among others.  News Corp’s Fox brand is one small segment of the media empire and the only one generally regarded to be other than pervasively liberal.

That’s only the top five and doesn’t include Internet masters like Facebook, Yahoo, Google, and a legion of other information managers.  As for Academia, the progressive agenda has been successful in our colleges and universities.  Over 30% of those who have attended school beyond an undergrad degree have “down the line” liberal views on iconic issues, in contrast to just 10% of the population as a whole.  Social management is the progressive objective, and most media and academic organs march under that banner.  A vast left-wing conspiracy controls our education and information systems.  The U.S. Constitution’s guarantees and the truths we treasure will fade into historical irrelevance if a progressive agenda succeeds, so we must have change this November.

(“The Rigged Information Game” by John P. Warren dated June 3, 2016 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/johnpwarren/2016/06/03/the-rigged-information-game-n2173154 )

Conservatives care about logic; liberals care about emotion.  Conservatives care about whether a program works or not; liberals care about how supporting a program makes them feel.  Conservatives take the positions they do because they believe they’re best for society; liberals take the positions they do because they make them feel and look compassionate or superior to hold those positions.  Once you understand those basics, it’s very easy to see why both sides hold the positions they do on most issues and to comprehend why there’s so little middle ground.  Once you get the mentalities, you can predict where each side will come down on issues.  99 times out of 100, liberals’ “compassion” is nothing more than “virtue signaling.”  They’re offering to take your money and give it to someone else.  They’re offering to take rights away from other people that they don’t care about.  They’re saying people are racist, bigoted, sexist or homophobic for disagreeing with them.  The problem with all this pointless virtue signaling is that because there is no real cost to it, there are no limits to it.  This creates a situation where people have to keep on upping the ante to stand out.  If racism is almost universally despised, how do you get credit for being more sensitive about race than other people?  You find new things to call racist.  Eventually, when liberals moved beyond parody when it came to race issues, they showed they were compassionate by obsessing over the 3% of the American population that’s gay.  If everything on the liberal wish list for minorities, gays and transgenders were to happen tomorrow, a new list of demands or some new series of pet groups that need to be protected would spring up almost instantaneously.  That’s because it’s not about the specifics; it’s about an arms race between liberals trying to signal their virtue by being willing to go further than other people in being conspicuously compassionate while getting in some cheap shots on their political opponents at the same time.  The problem with this is that compassion, real or fake, has little to do with what makes a society successful. Capitalism is not warm and fuzzy.  Contrary to common perception, diversity and sensitivity to women’s issues are not what makes a military successful.  The most effective policies are often not very forgiving or compassionate.  So, when you have a large block of the country that completely abandons what works for whatever makes liberals feel good and look more “compassionate,” it creates enormous amounts of dysfunction.

(“Why Liberals Are So Obsessed With Racism, Homosexuality and Transexualism” by John Hawkins dated June 4, 2016 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2016/06/04/why-liberals-are-so-obsessed-with-racism-homosexuality-and-transsexualism-n2173342 )

A lot of investors and economists are making the case that the May jobs report was a weird, one-off, statistical glitch, and that stronger employment is on the way, or they may well be wrong.  If you smooth out the numbers with a three-month moving average, job increases have been slowing for five months.  This spells trouble for the economy.  If you step back and look at the whole business sector, he U.S. has been in a mild business recession for as much as a year, if not longer.  Business fixed investment in equipment, software, plants, buildings, and so forth has been slowing for six straight quarters, and even went negative in the first quarter on a year-on-year basis.  Behind this business-investment slowdown, the broadest measure of profits from the GDP accounts, which very closely tracks IRS profits, has been negative for the past three quarters measured year-on-year.  This slump began in the second half of 2014, almost two years ago.  Profits are the mother's milk of stocks and the lifeblood of the economy.  Stocks have been flat over the past year as profits and business investment has been weakening.  Core capital goods, including orders, shipments, and backlogs, have turned negative over the past three months and across the past year.  This is a proxy for business investment, and it's not a good omen.  Finally, the closely watched ISM reports for manufacturing and services are barely above 50.  In other words, they point to the front end of a recession.  On the manufacturing side, key indicators like production and employment are below year-ago levels.  New orders are flat.  On the services side, the overall index is below year-ago levels, as is employment and new orders.  The overall economy is not yet in recession.  The business economy has been slipping for quite some time.  If falling profits and business investment continues, the jobs slowdown will follow suit, if it hasn't already.  As for Fed watching, in this environment the Fed should stay put, and no rate hikes.  Now is the time to turn away from monetary policy and focus instead on fiscal solutions to the ailing economy.  Slashing business tax rates to 15% for large and small companies and overturning burdensome regulations is what the economy needs to get out of the doldrums and bring business investment back.  The U.S. would be the most hospitable investment destination in the world.  America would win the global race for capital.  Cash would be put to work in productivity-enhancing investments, and the economy would grow by 4 or 5% for years.  Real interest rates, reflecting higher economic returns, would rise as a sign of economic health.  Then the Fed could normalize its policies by following market rates higher.  That's my vision for the future, but alas, we're going to have to wait until next year.

(“A Business Recession Looms” by Larry Kudlow dated June 4, 2016 published by Real Clear Markets at http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2016/06/04/a_business_recession_looms_102204.html )


Thanks to Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Socialism is on everyone’s mind, because like so many in our media and universities, they claim it’s a glorious idea.  Usually thought of as an economic philosophy, Socialism is more sweeping than that.  It dictates how all of society must be organized: it claims to be fairer; it claims to deliver happiness; it is a philosophy of life that steals the life right out of you.  The central vision, indeed the central requirement, is that everyone be equal and cooperative.  Competition is evil.  Striving for success is scorned.  In order to obtain the promised benefits, you agree to be a cog in the machine.  In Socialism, everything you have, and everything you are, is given to you by other people.  If you keep quiet and behave, authorities will pat you on the head, take care of your basic needs, and say you are a successful human being.  You don’t earn or build anything yourself.  In Socialism, you give up every goal that used to be considered worthy and ennobling. That’s the swindle, because socialist leaders enjoy this trade because they get to dominate everyone else.  You get to be a peasant.  You are supposed to settle for being a member of the herd.  In return, you forgo the ambitions that traditionally motivated people: money, advancement, prestige, helping your family, a new car, etc.  After almost everyone has agreed to be a member of the herd, only the bosses, the ruling elite, the people at the top, are striving and achieving in their lives. Only they get the satisfaction of working toward a goal.  Some historians say that totalitarian regimes killed 100 million people during the 20th century.  Socialists and Communists always want more power for themselves. Your job is to do what you are told.  For all practical purposes, you are a slave.  As for Socialism versus Communism, the difference is that Socialists try to convince you to surrender your freedom, whereas Communists forcefully seize your freedom, but you can end up at the same point.

(“Why Socialism Is A Bad Deal” by Bruce Dietrick Price dated June 6, 2016 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/article/why-socialism-is-a-bad-deal )

The U.S. economy has been going nowhere for seven years, and there are increasing fears that it is going into a recession with only 38,000 jobs being created last month.  At the same time, Venezuela, the country with the largest oil reserves on the planet, is sinking into economic chaos.  The disease is the same, only the fever is higher in Venezuela.  Politicians, at least going back to ancient Rome (with its bread and circuses), quickly understood that they could buy temporary support from the people if they were promised “free stuff.”  As Margaret Thatcher famously said: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”  The Obama administration, realizing it could not get major tax and spending proposals through Congress, resorted to sleight of hand by lying about the true costs of many of their programs, notably ObamaCare.  They also used various regulations to enhance their control over the economy without doing serious cost-benefit analysis, which has resulted in a massive misallocation of resources. Some estimates now show the costs of regulations have exceeded the cost of the tax system.  Perhaps most destructive of all, they followed near-zero interest rate policies (in part to disguise the true cost of the government debt) that hit savers with what is, in effect, a huge tax increase to finance this scheme.  A saver who used to expect perhaps 3% on savings, above the rate of inflation, now receives less than the rate of inflation.  This again has resulted in a massive misallocation of resources from productive to less- or non-productive activities that destroy economic growth and job creation.  Every student or even casual observer of socialism knows that it always fails because it destroys the incentives for hard work, creativity and initiative.  Most countries that have tried it end up as thuggish places because more and more coercion is required to control the people.  Sixty years ago, Cuba and Venezuela were the richest counties on the Caribbean and were only exceeded by Argentina in per capita income in Latin America.  During the past 60 years, the United States has had real growth of about 3% per year, respectable but not spectacular.  Poorer developing countries normally grow at a faster rate until their per capita incomes begin to reach the levels of the rich countries, at which point growth tends to slow.  Cuba, the darling of the left, has become relatively poorer compared to the United States and almost all of Latin America, with a total loss of civil liberties, and the many naive swallow the Kool-Aid and overlook the continuing disaster.  Sixty years ago, South Korea was desperately poor, much poorer than Cuba or Venezuela, but now is a rich country with a per-capita income 65% of the U.S.  This miracle was achieved by embracing free-market economics.  Sweden and Switzerland were both high-income developed countries 60 years ago, but while Sweden built a comprehensive welfare state, Switzerland maintained a smaller government approach.  The Swedish model ran into difficulty in the 1980s and 1990s, so the level-headed Swedes partially reversed course by reducing tax rates and the relative size of government, including instituting a voucher system for education and Chilean-like largely private social security system, which enabled them to grow again.  The smaller Swiss model worked even better, allowing them to overtake the U.S. in per capita income.  Venezuela grew rapidly on the basis of oil revenues, and by 1978 per capita incomes were almost 70% of those in the United States, but as a result of welfare statism and socialism, its relative incomes are back where they were 60 years ago, the stores are empty and people are hungry.  Socialism has at least a two-century unblemished record of untold human misery.  Prosperity and freedom can only flourish when the majority stands up to those who advocate the childlike fantasy of socialism.

(“The fatal sickness of free stuff” by Richard W. Rahn dated June 6, 2016 published by The Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/6/richard-rahn-socialism-triggers-downward-spiral/ )


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.


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY