RTCS

Views on the News

June 19, 2010

Views on the News*

Aristotle wrote in Book V of "The Politics, "When one begins with an initial error, it is inevitable that one should end badly," and most everything Obama thought before he took office has proven to be false. Almost 17 months into his Presidency, things are going badly for Obama on multiple fronts. He entered office with, and has governed based on, several initial errors:

·    Obama entered office believing that when it came to international relations, opposition to America was largely based on the personality and policies of his predecessor. Stalemates and conflicts were caused by the inflexibility and confrontational approach of George W. Bush. Obama's extended hand has been met with clenched fists. His global American apology tour has been met with disdain. Iran particularly has become more intransigent, more aggressive, and more brutal since Obama was sworn in as president. We have no progress to show for his efforts. Quite the opposite. Obama is viewed as irresolute and unreliable by our enemies (including Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea), by our competitors (like Russia and China) and by our allies (like Israel, Brazil, Honduras, Poland, the Czech Republic, Georgia, India, the United Kingdom and even Afghanistan). Today America is in a more feeble position and our relations with allies and adversaries are generally in worse shape than they were pre-Obama Presidency.

·    Barack Obama assumed office in the aftermath of the near-collapse of our financial system. The debt and deficit skyrocketed to record post-World War II levels. But rather than addressing this fiscal crisis, Obama used it to push through a sweeping liberal domestic agenda, most especially the federal government's unprecedented involvement in our health care system. What they did instead was compound the crisis. Obama's agenda has made our fiscal situation significantly worse, with the debt estimated to double in five years and triple in 10 years.

·    Another false assumption is that Obama's election marked a significant ideological shift within the electorate. The President and his aides believed the public wanted the federal government to increase its size, cost and reach. Obama and his team thought that in the aftermath of his election and in light of the circumstances he faced, trust in government would increase. Actually, trust in government was fairly low when Obama took office, and his attempt to create a new progressive era has eroded it further. Today the public's trust in government is near an all-time low.

·    Barack Obama was the least experienced and least prepared chief executive in our lifetime. Yet he began his presidency having made extravagant promises, even by the standards of a political campaign. Obama looks impotent on everything from closing Guantánamo Bay to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, from stopping Iran's march toward nuclear weapons to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During the Obama era, America is more, not less, polarized. The partisan divide is growing rather than receding. Millions of jobs have been lost rather than added. Unemployment has gone up rather than down. The country is becoming more conservative, not more liberal. And the Democratic Party is running away from Obama's agenda rather than embracing it.

The man who campaign aides referred to as the "Black Jesus" is not only imperfect, he at times looks overwhelmed and overmatched, and there is now talk about a failed presidency, a Carter redux and a political massacre for Democrats in November.

(“Obama and ‘Initial error’ on Diplomacy, Domestic Issues, and Expectation” by Peter Wehner dated June 10, 2010 published by Politics Daily at http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/06/10/obama-and-initial-error-on-diplomacy-domestic-issues-and-exp/ )

 

President Obama continues a cycle of deceit and prevarication, but the question is: to whom is he lying and is there anyone who still believes what he says? On June 5th, The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the employment numbers for May, and Obama quickly articulated, “the economy is getting stronger…the private sector hiring is growing, too.”

·    Jobs are lie number one: although there were 431,000 new jobs added in May, 411,000 were for temporary Census Bureau employees while there were only 41,000 legitimate private sector jobs created. The economy needs to create 100,000 private sector jobs per month to maintain pace with current population growth, but the country has surpassed 100,000 private sector jobs once in 17 months, and the economic indicators paint a bleak picture. Compounding this misdirection is that the Census Bureau has been accused of hiring and firing employees to drive up the jobs numbers.

·    The health care reform bill is lie number two: the CBO Director released his Health Costs and the Federal Budget, annulling the misrepresentations Obama provided the country while claiming that the health care reform bill would reduce costs, insure more people, and save the government money, all without reading a single word of the bill, and being utterly ignorant of its contents. With unsustainable spending, three results will occur, according to the CBO: 1) Those with health insurance will have less money available for other needs; 2) It will be harder for the uninsured to buy insurance; 3) Government spending on Medicare and Medicaid will break federal and state budgets.

·    Lie number three is: whether the White House and Barack Obama broke the federal election law trying to affect the outcome of a federal election. The evolution of Obama’s lie: When directly confronted about Sestak’s statement that the Obama administration offered him a job for dropping out of the campaign against Arlen Specter, the first official response by Obama was emphatic and absolute denial; That evolved into “an official response shortly on the Sestak issue;” That evolved into Obama admitting offering Sestak a position to “avoid a decisive Senate primary” against Specter. It is customary for newly elected Presidents to reward select supporters with jobs in the administration, sans qualifications, for their efforts behind helping them get elected, which is the largest contributor to the political Peter Principle that plagues this country, but is legal. What is not legal, and is a violation of federal law, is to offer someone a job in the administration for future benefits to the President, or to circumvent the integrity of the Democratic election process by denying the voting public the right to vote on all candidates.

Our President has a disturbing habit of believing that when he asserts something to be true, that Americans are not allowed to question him on the veracity. Congressman Darrell Issa asked Eric Holder’s Justice Department to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate these allegations. Eric Holder told Issa that the Justice Department will not appoint a Special Counsel to investigate the Obama administration. Obama’s ace in the hole is Eric Holder as Attorney General, which is akin to having Al Capone’s accountant audit his books for irregularities, and report the findings to Elliot Ness, so this administration’s crisis of trust will continue to hemorrhage.

(“Another Week, another Throng of Lies by Barack Obama” by Jim Byrd dated June 12, 2010 published by The Land of the Free at http://www.thelandofthefree.net/conservativeopinion/2010/06/12/another-week-another-throng-of-lies-by-barack-obama/ )

The federal government's handling of the disaster gets a worse grade in polling than did the government's response five years ago to Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans, because like President Bush then, President Obama now is criticized as having been slow to respond to a national crisis. Two months into the ongoing Gulf oil disaster, Obama is still playing the political blame game instead of seeking a solution to the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history. His famous coolness doesn't naturally translate into the empathy and anger liberals feel is part of the de rigueur feel-your-pain emoting necessary for a disaster, especially one associated with a left-wing villain like an oil company. Obama only knows how to blame this whole mess is Bush's fault. Remember that all the regulatory decisions came on Obama's watch and that his administration had plenty of warnings about the cozy relationship between regulators and oil firms and had time to clean it up. Of course, no one yet knows for sure what was the cause of the explosion toppling the rig and setting off the spill. Thousands upon thousands of wells have been drilled in the Gulf without a previous major spill, hardly evidence of systemic failure by regulators. Rather than projecting anger by searching for BP asses to kick and concentrating on a technical challenge he can't control, Obama should focus on what government can do. He should be exhibiting calm, cool competence by daily displaying how the federal government is organizing and carrying out the massive cleanup operation this disaster demands. Instead there have been 17 countries, with experience in dealing with such spills, who have offered to send needed ships and oil-removal equipment into the area, and have been spurned by Obama. The President has failed to waive the Jones Act for foreign ships, who want to assist in the cleanup efforts. The question is whether the Obama administration is so absorbed by its blame-game strategy that it does not see the need to immediately respond to such offers at a time when it can help reduce the size and scope of the oil-damaged shorelines, beaches, marshes and wildlife. The only assistance Obama has sought has been from the Center for American Progress, an ultra-liberal think tank that has maintained close ties to the White House and is led by former Clinton White House aide John Podesta, who has no experience is this kind of crisis. The other question is whether the Obama administration is intentionally scaling back clean-up efforts in the gulf in an attempt to maximize the damage so Democrats in Congress will have an excuse to take effective control over yet another major sector of our economy and impose crippling and draconian new taxes on the American people? It turns out that the administration-ordered moratorium on deep-water drilling was based on political considerations, not the advice of National Academy of Engineering experts. Obama followed that action, not by sending in an armada of ships and equipment to combat the spreading oil, but by sending his Attorney General and a team of government lawyers to Louisiana with threats of lawsuits. Obama has 26 separate federal agencies involved, who do not coordinate and confuse administration decision-making. Apparently Obama thinks there is not enough bureaucracy, so he named a oil spill czar to help Thad Allen, who used to be the on-site focal point, who was appointed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and assists Energy Secretary Steven Chu, environmental czar Carol Browner, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the rest of his self-declared "all hands on deck" gaggle. He also appointed the "National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling," tasked with providing recommendations on how we can prevent and mitigate the impact of any future spills that result from offshore drilling. BP mistakes make them clearly responsible for the oil leak in the Gulf and are responsible for plugging the hole, but Obama and his gaggle of federal bureaucrats are clearly responsible for the cleanup and the inept results so far!

(“Spill puts Obama on slippery slope” by Steve Huntley dated June 11, 2010 published by Chicago Sun Times at http://www.suntimes.com/news/huntley/2380658,CST-EDT-HUNT11.article

Mr. President, Just Fix, Don’t Finger-Point” by Donald Lambro dated June 15, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/DonaldLambro/2010/06/15/mr_president,_just_fix,_dont_finger-point

Stuck on Stupid: Obama’s Czar Fetish” by Michelle Malkin dated June 16, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=37517

Jones Act Complicates Messy Situation for Obama” by Robert B. Bluey dated June 17, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=37541

Could the Obama Administration be Blocking Gulf Clean-up Efforts Intentionally” by Floyd and Mary Beth Brown dated June 18, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/FloydandMaryBethBrown/2010/06/18/could_the_obama_administration_be_blocking_gulf_clean-up_efforts_intentionally )

 

Contrary to the Mainstream Media template, Obama’s socialist policies have elongated the recession into a multi-year “Great Recession” anchored by an overwhelming debt load. The average recession since World War II has been 10 months and the previously longest since then has been 16 months. Now, 30 months after the recession officially began in December 2007, unemployment remains stuck at nearly 10%, and the National Bureau of Economic Research, the official scorekeeper on the matter, says it can't yet determine that the recession is over. Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress have lost its ability to create the millions of jobs that will be needed to keep pace with the yearly flood of new job-seekers entering the workforce. The reason, economists and other critics say, is the administration’s anti-capitalist, anti-free enterprise, anti-free market policies that are impeding investment and venture capital formation, punishing U.S. businesses with higher taxes and new mandates like ObamaCare, “cap-and-tax” energy fees and draconian financial regulations coupled with threats to let the Bush tax cuts expire that are already having a preemptive job-killing effect on payrolls and economic growth.  At the same time America's public debt recently exceeded 13 trillion, which is more than 90% of the country's GDP. Public debts of more than 60% of GDP are considered unhealthy and debts above 90% of GDP cause severe disruptions in the country's financial framework and the economy at large. According to the Obama administration, America's public debt will exceed 100% of GDP in the next fiscal year. History shows that most countries whose debt exceeds this mark are rarely able to control it and this level of indebtedness usually leads to currency debasement. Debts of more than 100% of GDP were almost always contracted as a result of extraordinary one-time expenditures, usually war. America's debt, on the other hand, is a result of decades of structural deficits. This means that we have grown accustomed to spending more than we can afford. If we want to solve our debt problem, we must slash spending and start running surpluses. The problem is that it may prove impossible to break the spending habit. Every proposal for a reduction is met with hysteria from some special interest, and then amplified by the media. Many people thought Barack Obama would save America from its troubles, but unfortunately, they were wrong. When it comes to America's finances, the President is doing exactly the wrong thing. We are headed toward an abyss, and instead of braking, he has slammed down the accelerator. The President, however, does not seem to realize that one cannot borrow his way out of debt. No one can defy the laws of finance forever, and when the day of reckoning finally arrives, the dollar will collapse. This level of debt doesn’t even begin to cover the real indebtedness of American governments at the federal, state, and local levels, because governments don’t count up their liabilities the same way businesses do. Beyond the official federal debt, there is another $2.5 trillion or so in state and local debt, according to Federal Reserve figures. In addition with a handful of exceptions, practically every state’s pension fund is poised to run out of money in the coming decades. A federal bailout is almost inevitable, which means that those $3 Trillion of state obligations will probably end up on the national balance sheet in one form or another. The debt numbers start to get really hairy when you add in liabilities under Social Security and Medicare, when you account for the present value of those future payments in the same way that businesses have to account for the obligations they incur. Start with the entitlements and those numbers get run-for-the-hills ugly in a hurry: a combined $106 trillion in liabilities for Social Security and Medicare. Depending on how you account for it, another half a trillion or so in liabilities related to the government’s guarantee of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and securities supported under the bailouts. When you add up all the liabilities, the U.S. is really facing debt of $130 trillion or so, or just under ten times the official national debt, and not only unsustainable, but catastrophic!

(“America’s Predicament” by Vasko Kohlmayer dated June 10, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/06/americas_predicament.html

Great Depression Ghosts Haunt Dem Prospects” by David Paul Kuhn dated June 11, 2010 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/06/13/great_depression_ghosts_haunt_dem_prospects_obama_double_dip_midterm_105931.html

The Other National Debt” by Kevin Williamson dated June 14, 2010 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/436123/the-other-national-debt/kevin-williamson

Obama’s ‘Killing Great American Jobs’ Machine” by Donald Lambro dated June 17, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=37531 )

President Obama and his allies kicked off an unusual, and perhaps unprecedented, taxpayer-subsidized political campaign this week to sell to the public a legislative program and cover revelations on the already signed bill. Internal administration documents reveal that up to 51% of employers may have to relinquish their current health care coverage because of ObamaCare, after Obama promised repeatedly that people could keep their current coverage. Obama claimed his plan would reduce the deficit and claimed the arguments of his critics were not “anchored in reality.” A greater percentage of seniors enrolled in Medicare, the 25% participating in Medicare Advantage, will see their benefits cut because the White House ultimately wants to kill the program for ideological reasons. Seniors are about to learn that if they like their plan, they can’t keep it. The president’s interest in the doughnut hole also suggests the PR campaign is willfully overlooking and exacerbating a much greater threat, Medicare’s $38 trillion unfunded liabilities. Borrowing from future generations and foreign governments to pay for rebate checks represents the kind of perverse short-term decision making that has brought our nation to the edge of a fiscal black hole. At best, throwing rebate checks at Medicare is an exercise in futility that will postpone real reform. The President made a number of other claims that weren’t anchored in reality, such as his claim that his plan will reduce the deficit. When real-world accounting is applied to health care spending and necessary expenses like the doctor fix are included, all of the so-called savings evaporate. Even the Congressional Budget Office, which the White House cites as its authoritative source, has contradicted the White House. This new PR campaign has nothing to do with improving the health of Americans and everything to do with improving the job security of politicians who voted for this bill against the wishes of their constituents. Turning federal agencies into de facto direct mail and political advertising branches of the Democratic political establishment will refill the swamp and remind voters why they loathe Washington. The American people have studied this law more intently than the politicians and unelected staff who wrote it. They have made decisions based on information, not misinformation. The latest tracking poll from the nonpartisan health care think tank the Kaiser Family Foundation shows just 29% of Americans think they would be "better off" under the Affordable Care Act, compared to 42% who believed that in November. The Obama campaign’s rhetoric of victimization is not a comeback at Republicans but an insult to the millions of Americans who did their homework and made good faith, informed judgments about a bill that fixed the wrong problem.

(“Obamacare PR campaign anchored in spin, not reality” by Tom Coburn dated June 10, 2010 published by The Washington Examiner at http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/OpEd-Contributor/Sen-Tom-Coburn-Obamacare-PR-campaign-anchored-in-spin-not-reality-96054264.html

Keep Your Health Plan Under Overhaul? Probably Not, Gov’t Analysis Concludes” by David Hogberg and Sean Higgins dated June 11, 2010 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/537208/201006111932/Keep-Your-Health-Plan-Under-Overhaul-Probably-Not-Govt-Analysis-Concludes.aspx )

 

The 987-page American Power Act (APA) aims to reduce 2005 levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 80% by 2050, the same target that the House version passed last year, but would kill jobs and protect large corporations at the expense of the consumer, all for a minimal effect on the earth’s temperature. Despite promises of consumer protection, however, the economic effects are the same. The purpose of the bill is to drive energy prices high enough to reduce consumption. In effect, consumers would be forced to pay more for less energy. APA attempts to shield the economic pain from consumers by passing two-thirds of the carbon permit revenue back to the consumer through energy discounts or direct rebates. Adding to the public’s uncertainty is the controversy surrounding the validity of global warming concerns. The benefits of the Kerry–Lieberman are almost nonexistent. According to an analysis by climatologist Paul C. Knappenberger, the global temperature reduction from APA would be .077 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050 and 0.200 degrees by 2100. It is nonsensical to think that the U.S. would benefit by denying itself its least expensive and most relied upon fuels. The unfortunate reality is that electric vehicles currently cannot compete, even with lavish subsidies. APA is a significant tax on energy that would reduce Americans’ income, destroy jobs, and greatly shrink the economy, and no amount of protections or rebates would save consumers from skyrocketing energy costs, and worst of all, there would be little environmental benefit to show for it.

(“American Power Act: Oil Spill Does Not Justify Wrecking the Economy” by Nicolas D. Loris dated June 8, 2010 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/06/American-Power-Act-Oil-Spill-Does-Not-Justify-Wrecking-the-Economy )

 

Americans can not be allowed to believe the Muslim “agitprop” that seeks to rewrite history to justify Islamic genocidal aims towards Israel. Israel is a sovereign nation and has been since May 16, 1948, and its ancient sovereignty dates back to the days of David and Solomon. Arabs who live in Israel are called Israelis because they are citizens there. They number more than a million and, while most are Muslim, about nine percent are Christian. So, while the enemies of Israel talk exclusively in terms of its Jewish population, they are ignoring a sizeable number who are Muslims. It need also be said the Arabs enjoy freedoms that their counterparts in other Middle Eastern nations do not. Palestinians are not living in a state of “occupation,” since they have repeatedly been offered a state of their own, but have refused it for some six decades and prefer to exist as wards of the United Nations. What is astonishing is the way the Arab nations surrounding Israel and who have attacked it repeatedly nonetheless regard Israel as the aggressor.  The network of leftists and Islamic fascists behind the Gaza ambush has been trying to create a media extravaganza to make Israel look bad before the world for decades. The contrived Turkish-led aid flotilla crisis was intended to force Israel to lift its arms blockade of Gaza. First there was the “humanitarian” flotilla running the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which included one ship filled with men who violently resisted the boarding by Israelis under long established international law regarding blockades. Tons of humanitarian aid is routinely delivered daily to Gaza after inspection. The inspection is necessary because, since having withdrawn from Gaza as a gesture of peace in 2005, the area has been used to launch thousands of rockets. Even the Egyptians who share a border with Gaza maintain a comparable blockade to ensure weapons are not smuggled into the Hamas hotbed of hatred for Israel. The blockade was initiated in 2007 and boarding the ships are perfectly legal and in full compliance with the Helsinki Principles on the Law of Maritime Neutrality. Arab nations insisted they were “occupiers” in a land in which Jews had lived for 3,500 years and called their home despite an exile that had existed for 2,000 years prior to the reestablishment of Israel. What worries Israelis these days and should worry Americans as well is the policy of the Obama administration that has clearly turned against Israel, emboldening its enemies. It shames the history of friendship that has existed since Israel was reestablished over sixty years ago. It is an invitation for war in the Middle East, one that has been joined by Turkey, a nation that has abandoned its history of secular governance in favor of the Islamism that threatens Western nations in particular and the world in general. Obama is now trying to use the flotilla crisis to force concessions from Israel, but instead America needs to assert its support for Israel, its only Middle East ally.

(“Awaiting Armageddon” by Alan Caruba dated June 12, 2010 published by American Daily at http://americandaily.com/index.php/article/3711

Misinformation About Gaza and the Flotilla Debacle” by Maurice Ostroff dated June 16, 2010 published by Intellectual Conservative at http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2010/06/16/misinformation-about-gaza-and-the-flotilla-debacle/ )

 

* 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:

·         Politics at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/politics.php

·         Responsibilities at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/responsibilities.php

·         Role of Media at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/roleofmedia.php

·         Changing Language at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/changinglanguage.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com