Views on the News

Views on the News*

June 21, 2014


There is an underground populist movement alive and well in this country, moderate in tone, but big in impact.  Populism is much more complicated than most people realize; it cannot be manufactured, cannot be forced, and no one person or handful of people can claim to inspire it.  Populism is driven by personal economics, disconnection from representative government and frustration with the lack of power to change either.  When Eric Cantor lost his primary race, it wasn't because he wasn't conservative enough for his base.  In reality the TEA Party Movement is not a GOP phenomenon, but a populist movement at its core.  The TEA Party is dissatisfied with both political parties.  Cantor lost touch with his constituency; he became too Washington, too associated with the D.C.-bubble brand; he forgot how to relate and to be that guy from his district.  A common thread weaves Cantor's race to others and it's populism.  It is a cautionary thread, yet most people in Washington do not understand this moderate-in-tone populist wave.  First, the wave is not going to take out every incumbent; second, it will have broad impact on both parties; third, it is relatively invisible because it has no name, no brand or party allegiance.  What Cantor's loss should tell Washington is that local politics matter, but Washington tends to listen only to what the pundits, strategists, reporters and experts in Washington says.  Many of those Washingtonians have never stepped into “flyover country” unless they are in a bubble-wrapped press bus that feeds them their talking points and keeps them from listening to the locals in a meaningful way.  A judgment call is being made across the country, and it is this: “Are you one of us, or have you left us for Washington?  The elected incumbents who get caught on the wrong side of that question will be upended in this year's elections, and they will serve as a warning to those running for office in 2016, to shed the Washington bubble.

(“Emerging Populism Bursting Washington Bubble” by Salena Zito dated June 15, 2014 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/06/15/emerging_populism_bursting_washington_bubble_122995.html )

Today’s progressives lie when the truth would suffice, and they hold on to that lie, even doubling down on it, regardless of what evidence to the contrary comes to light.  When President Obama’s “If you like your plan you can keep your plan” lie was finally and irrefutably exposed, he didn’t apologize or explain why he’d lied.  Instead he just said he was sorry people got the wrong impression from his words, which, of course, could not have been clearer.  At least we can understand the rationale for that lie, but lately, we’ve heard lies that are every bit as obvious but completely inexplicable.  When Bowe Bergdahl was traded for five of the worst Taliban terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, the White House unleashed a flurry of lies when none were necessary.  Americans never would support leaving a soldier, even a deserter, in the hands of our enemies. The President made a bad deal, but he brought an American home, but if he had stuck with the truth, he would not have been able to jut out his chin in celebratory self-aggrandizement, but he would have put the matter to rest by now – bad deal and all.  People will tolerate bad decisions much more than they will lying.  The obvious nature of the Bergdahl lies had to have been clear to the White House.  They knew about what his fellow soldiers had said and about the military’s own investigation of Bowe’s desertion, but they chose to go with the lie anyway.  Moreover, once confronted with the truth, the White House didn’t admit it or even attempt to finesse it; it doubled down on the lie.  Instead of letting it go, which most of us would have understood, the administration now finds itself in the position of fending off Republicans and criticizing the soldiers who actually did serve honorably but refused to stay silent.  Speaking to Diane Sawyer of ABC News, Clinton claimed that she and the future First Man were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001.  This was a blatantly transparent attempt at connecting with average voters who are struggling under Barack Obama’s economy, but even in the most technical sense, that proclamation is an easily disprovable lie that serves zero purpose.  So why lie when all of this is public record? Why put out obvious untruths when the truth would have sufficed? Are they sociopaths? Are they so insulated from contrary opinions in their sycophantic inner circles that they believe these lies? Or are they just so used to getting away with it that they throw caution to the wind knowing they will ultimately be given a pass because they have the media in their back pocket? Republicans need to prepare themselves now for boxing a shadow in 2016 because whoever the Democrat nominee is it’s pretty clear he or she won’t be bound by past deeds, words, or even reality.

(“Progressives and the Unnecessary Lie” by Derek Hunter dated June 15, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/derekhunter/2014/06/15/progressives-and-the-unnecessary-lie-n1851260 )


A few years ago, Congress narrowly defeated passage of legislation to implement a “cap and trade” program that would have made fossil fuels more expensive.  Cap and trade would have been the mother of all excise taxes, transferring large sums of money from users of electricity (i.e., all of us) to Uncle Sam.  Penalizing consumption of CO2 would have been a body blow to America’s energy-based economy.  The EPA now proposes to do what Congress didn’t do.  It has proposed mandating a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions by the year 2050.  In doing so, it is supported by a Supreme Court ruling that greenhouse gases are to be defined as “pollutants” under the Clean Air Act.  The economy’s growth rate is negative; furthermore, the case for taking costly action to address the alleged threat of anthropogenic global warming is even weaker now than it was five years ago.  The supposed scientific case for the AGW theory has collapsed.  The EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” of 2009 (which purports to demonstrate the dangers of CO2) has been invalidated by the failure of real-world data to support each of the three ‘lines of evidence’ on which EPA purported to rely in reaching its Finding.  Indeed, the data completely demolish and refute the finding.  The claim that 97% of climate scientists agree that human activity is likely responsible for the earth getting warmer is fiction.  What is particularly ironic about the EPA continuing to press on with its anti-carbon jihad is that even some of the scientists who have advocated stringent anti-carbon rules essentially exploded their own case several years ago when they began to tell us that the earth is likely to cool for a few decades before entering a prolonged period of rapid warming.  Alarmists are finally conceding the main argument of global warming skeptics: Other forces, particularly solar variations, overwhelm the greenhouse effect.  The unfathomable irrationality of the EPA’s new edict is seen in this: The IPCC’s own figures project a reduction of a minuscule 0.08°C by the year 2050 if the U.S. were to eliminate all CO2 emissions.  Presumably, reducing such emissions by the proposed smaller amount, 30%, would make even less of a difference.  Since progressives, like socialists, prefer to control “the commanding heights” of the economy, it’s only natural that, after doing much to increase government control of health care, finance, and education, Team Obama now craves increased control over energy.  The question is what should be done to free us from the counterproductive war against carbon-based energy:

·    First, Congress should undo the damage done by the Supreme Court and curb the EPA’s bureaucratic overreach by passing legislation that states simply: For purposes of U.S. law, greenhouse gases are not to be defined or categorized as “pollutants.”

·    Second, no member of Congress, staff, or any of their relations may ever invest in any enterprise pertaining to green energy or climate change.

Some day we will look back at global warming alarmism and be amazed that so many people were enthralled by such phantasmagoria, but at present the threat is painfully real.

(“How to Stop the EPA’s Jihad Against Carbon” by Mark Hendrickson dated June 13, 2014 published by Forbes at http://www.forbes.com/sites/markhendrickson/2014/06/13/how-to-stop-the-epas-jihad-against-carbon/ )

The federal government projects that total revenues for the entire year will reach just slightly more than $3 trillion, but even with this unprecedented flow of cash into the nation’s Treasury, the October-May deficit is an astounding $436 billion with May’s deficit alone totaling almost $130 billion.  Rather than holding the spending line so revenues could catch up with spending, the federal government is projected to spend $3.65 trillion for the year, more than ever in history.  In fact, federal spending in this fiscal year is jumping by almost $200 billion according to Treasury Department projections.  With almost two/thirds of all federal government spending on automatic pilot, the growth of outlays is mushrooming even with receipts projected to double from 2009 to 2019.  If the projected increase in federal government expenditures only rise by 2% over the next two years rather than the current 9.3% rise, and the receipts remained as projected, the deficit would be reduced to $256 billion in just those two years.  Incredibly, a 2% increase in federal government spending over the next two years would lower the increase in the national debt by more than half a trillion dollars over that time.  Of course, capping spending growth will require tough choices by Congress on the large social welfare portion of the budget that automatically increases without a vote.  These changes would be tough with reforms and policy choices needed to stop their projected runaway growth.  However, failure to make even minor changes that slow their growth, consign our country to an additional $3.1 trillion in indebtedness before the end of the decade.  It would be irresponsible for the federal government to, as projected, consume virtually every new dollar it receives rather than trying to balance the budget by 2020 by capping the growth of government.  On paper it is a simple math problem to control budget deficits, the only question is will Congress have the political will to solve it.

(“Spending Goes Up But the Budget Doesn’t Balance” by Rick Manning dated June 18, 2014 published by American Clarion at http://www.americanclarion.com/spending-goes-budget-doesnt-balance-31597 )


While our attention is focused on events in the Middle East, a domestic enemy of the nation is doing everything in its power to kill the provision of electricity to the nation and, at the same time, to control every drop of water in the United States, an attack on its agricultural sector, and that enemy is the Environmental Protection Agency.  Like the rest of the Obama administration, it has no regard for real science and continues to reinterpret the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.  It has an agenda that threatens every aspect of life in the nation.  In addition to implementing President Obama’s “war on coal” that is depriving the nation of coal-fired plants that provide electricity, the EPA has announced a proposed rule titled “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act”, redefining “nearly everything wet as ‘waters of the United States or WOTUS—and potentially subject us all to permits and fines.”  WOTUS gives untrustworthy federal bureaucrats custody of every watershed, creates crushing new power to coerce all who keep America going and offers no benefit to the victimized and demoralized tax-paying public.  There are acts that limit agencies such as the EPA from going beyond their designated powers.  They are the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act.  Only Congress has the authority to make such sweeping changes.  In two Supreme Court decisions, one in 2001 and another in 2006, rejected regulation of “isolated waters” by the EPA.  It does not matter to the EPA or the Obama administration what the Supreme Court has ruled Congress has enacted in the Clean Water Act, nor the Clean Air Act, because we are witnessing an EPA that is acting as a criminal enterprise and it must be stopped before it imposes so much damage on the nation that it destroys it.

(“The EPA is America’s Other Enemy” by Alan Caruba dated June 19, 2014 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/63932 )

We now have a pretty good idea of what the world looks like when American leadership is withdrawn and when a power vacuum opens up: it gets filled.  From Ukraine, through Afghanistan and Iraq all the way to the East China Sea, the world's dictatorships and terror groups smell weakness in Washington, and they have adjusted their posture accordingly.  To be sure, any one of those conflict zones, and all the others besides, were problematic to start with.  On that most toxic of all modern conflicts, the Iraq war, we have long been of the opinion that reasonable people can disagree about whether the 2003 intervention was the right course of action or whether aggressive containment might have been a better option.  But simply washing one's hands of Iraq would have been as irresponsible in 2003 as it is today, when the increasingly hopeless Obama administration appears to have been taken by surprise at the consequences of its own incompetence.  There were never going to be any easy options in Iraq, or for that matter in Ukraine, Afghanistan and elsewhere.  Leadership is not about things being easy, it's about taking the really tough decisions, and sometimes getting things wrong.  But above all else it's about being there, having your hand firmly on the rudder, and letting everyone know what you stand for and what you won't stand for.  Sound like Barack Obama: actually, it doesn't, and that's the core problem.  Throwing one's hands in the air and shrugging one's shoulders is a sure way to guarantee the ascendance of the bad guys.  That applies to ISIS; it applies to the Taliban; it applies to Vladimir Putin's Russia; and it applies to China.  Don't expect a world with strong American leadership to be easy.  Don't expect straight lines or an absence of complexity.  Without American leadership, do expect things to deteriorate rapidly, and don't take our word for it; just look around you.

(“From Iraq to Ukraine: The disaster of Obama’s world” dated June 14, 2014 published by The Commentator at http://www.thecommentator.com/article/5018/from_iraq_to_ukraine_the_disaster_of_obama_s_world )


Rarely has a U.S. President been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. Too many times to count, Obama has told us he is "ending" the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as if wishing made it so, and now his rhetoric has now come crashing into reality. Watching the black-clad ISIS jihadists take territory once secured by American blood is final proof, if any were needed, that America's enemies are not "decimated."  They are emboldened and on the march.  Our President doesn't seem to care.  Iraq is at risk of falling to a radical Islamic terror group and Obama is talking climate change.  Terrorists take control of more territory and resources than ever before in history, and he goes golfing.  He seems blithely unaware, or indifferent to the fact, that a resurgent al Qaeda presents a clear and present danger to the United States of America.  When Obama came into office in 2009, al Qaeda in Iraq had been largely defeated, thanks primarily to the heroic efforts of U.S. armed forces during the surge.  Obama had only to negotiate an agreement to leave behind some residual U.S. forces, training and intelligence capabilities to secure the peace. Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.  The tragedy unfolding in Iraq today is only part of the story.  Al Qaeda and its affiliates are resurgent across the globe.  According to a recent Rand study, between 2010 and 2013, there was a 58% increase in the number of Salafi-jihadist terror groups around the world, and during that same period, the number of terrorists doubled.  This President is willfully blind to the impact of his policies.  Despite the threat to America unfolding across the Middle East, aided by his abandonment of Iraq, he has announced that he will follow the same policy in Afghanistan.  Despite clear evidence of the dire need for American leadership around the world, the desperation of our allies and the glee of our enemies, Obama seems determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch.  Indeed, the speed of the terrorists' takeover of territory in Iraq has been matched only by the speed of American decline on his watch.  It is time the president and his allies faced some hard truths: America remains at war, and withdrawing troops from the field of battle while our enemies stay in the fight does not "end" wars.  Weakness and retreat are provocative, and U.S. withdrawal from the world is disastrous and puts our own security at risk.  Al Qaeda and its affiliates are resurgent and they present a security threat not seen since the Cold War.  Defeating them will require a strategy, not a fantasy; it will require sustained difficult military, intelligence and diplomatic efforts, not empty misleading rhetoric; it will require rebuilding America's military capacity, reversing the Obama policies that have weakened our armed forces and reduced our ability to influence events around the world; American freedom will not be secured by empty threats, meaningless red lines, leading from behind, abandoning our allies, appeasing our enemies, or apologizing for our proud nation, all hallmarks of the Obama doctrine. Our security, and the security of our friends around the world, can only be guaranteed with a fundamental reversal of the policies of the past six years.  Obama is on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom.

(“The Collapsing Obama Doctrine” by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney dated June 17, 2014 published by Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/articles/dick-cheney-and-liz-cheney-the-collapsing-obama-doctrine-1403046522 )


* 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

·  National Culture at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/philosophy.php

·  Terrorism at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/terrorism.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY