Views on the News
Views on the News*
June 28, 2014
Institutional derangement driven by unchecked Presidential aggrandizement did not begin with Barack Obama, but his offenses against the separation of powers have been egregious in quantity and qualitatively different. Regarding immigration, health care, welfare, education, drug policy and more, Obama has suspended, waived and rewritten laws, including the Affordable Care Act. Presidents must exercise some discretion in interpreting laws, must have some latitude in allocating finite resources to the enforcement of laws and must have some freedom to act in the absence of law. Obama, however, has perpetrated more than 40 suspensions of laws. Congress cannot reverse egregious executive aggressions such as Obama’s without robust judicial assistance. It is, however, difficult to satisfy the criteria that the Constitution and case law require for Congress to establish “standing” to seek judicial redress for executive usurpations injurious to the legislative institution. Courts, understandably fearful of being inundated by lawsuits from small factions of disgruntled legislators, have been wary of granting legislative standing. Some say the judicial branch should not intervene because if Americans are so supine that they tolerate representatives who tolerate such executive excesses, they deserve to forfeit constitutional government. For the judiciary, it would be dereliction of the duty to protect the government’s constitutional structure. It would be perverse for courts to adhere to a doctrine of congressional standing so strict that it precludes judicial defense of the separation of powers. Advocates of extreme judicial quietism to punish the supine people leave the people’s representatives no recourse short of the extreme and disproportionate “self help” of impeachment. Surely courts should not encourage this. The cumbersome and divisive blunderbuss process of impeachment should be a rare recourse, and furthermore, it would punish a President for anti-constitutional behavior but would not correct the injury done to the rule of law.
(“Stopping a lawless president” by George F. Will dated June 20. 2014 published by Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-f-will-stopping-a-lawless-president/2014/06/20/377c4d6e-f7e5-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html )
It has been persuasively argued that President Obama is impeachable on many grounds. Having joked that he could do anything he wants, Obama is guilty of running roughshod over the Constitution, bypassing Congress and governing by executive decree, stuffing his administration with Muslim Brotherhood operatives, making common cause with America’s enemies and betraying its allies, promoting the global warming scam at enormous cost to the taxpayer, accepting illicit campaign donations, failing to defend U.S. soil against illegal border crossings, being in contempt of federal court for his oil-drilling moratorium in the Gulf, allowing the IRS to target conservative nonprofits seeking tax-exempt status, approving via his attorney general Operation Fast and Furious, concocting the Benghazi cover-up, and constantly and illegally rewriting the rules of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, at least 29 times to date. A more comprehensive record of Obama’s ethical violations and misdemeanors lists 51 reasons for impeachment, some of which may be comparatively borderline, but others are flagrant. We are confronted with the dispiriting spectacle of an ectopic presidency cobbling together broken promise after broken promise to advance an agenda that grows more suspect with every passing day. That impeachment proceedings have not been initiated to date has nothing to do with Obama’s culpability; rather it is testament to the lack of integrity, courage and political will within the American political class, in particular the fear among Republicans of jeopardizing the upcoming congressional elections or of being considered “racist.” Much has been and continues to be written about what is probably the most mendacious administration in American political history. The fact that so many of Obama’s vital records are sealed or problematic should have raised alarm bells and disqualified his candidacy in the years before he assumed office, or at least have alerted a sentient electorate to the ethical and political travesty his Presidency would become. Many are now experiencing buyer’s remorse, spasms of retro-cognition, but the slightest degree of early attention to Obama’s defective résumé would have avoided such metaleptic regret or rueful hindsight. So insidious a burlesque as his Presidency would become should have been obvious to any serious voter. When one follows the trajectory of Obama’s career, one knows that one is dealing with a man who is a liar from the egg, a man for whom suppressing the truth or lying outright is the daily fare of his existence, and tracking the President’s innumerable lies has become something of an Internet sport. There are three forms of lying: misrepresentation (saying other than what is the case), exaggeration (saying more than what is the case), and omission (saying less than what is the case). Obama is guilty on all three counts; to cite a mere few examples:
· Misrepresentation: America is no more exceptional than any other nation; America’s crimes need to be apologized for; his will be a transparent presidency; the Benghazi terror attack was caused by a 14 minute YouTube video; you can keep your doctor; etc.
· Exaggeration: his administration will lead to the receding of the seas and the healing of the planet; Kansas tornado fatalities are far greater than they actually were; personally slashed the Illinois welfare rolls by 80%; etc.
· Omission: as mentioned above, the array of sealed records regarding his past, his affiliations, and his education, thus depriving us of vital information regarding his competency and qualifications for the office of President.
Instances of all three categories of misconduct can be multiplied indefinitely, a sorry spectacle of malfeasance and guilefulness. It is high time to assert the political will to impeach a rogue President, because failure to do so is tantamount to the existential impeachment of a nation in the court of authentic justice.
(“To Impeach or Not to Impeach” by David Solvay dated June 25, 2014 published by PJ Media at http://pjmedia.com/blog/impeach-or-not/ )
We live in a strange time because historically, reporters and editors have believed that their job is to disseminate news, but that is no longer true. Now, most reporters and editors believe that their principal function is to prevent people from learning things they are better off not knowing. Day after day, they run interference for their party, the Democrats, blockading inconvenient stories from making the news is job number one.
· Fast and Furious - The Obama administration deliberately encouraged guns to be sold illegally and transferred to Mexican drug lords, and hundreds of Mexicans and at least one or two Americans died as a result. No one was ever held personally accountable!
· Benghazi - four dead Americans, including an ambassador who had pleaded with his own State Department, run by Hillary Clinton, for security that never came. Mysteries abound: what was the ambassador doing in Benghazi anyway? Why did the CIA have an “annex” nearby? Why didn’t the administration even attempt to send help to the Americans while they were under attack? Where were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as the disaster unfolded, and what instructions did they give? Was Obama too concerned with his fundraising trip to Las Vegas to pay any attention to the Americans who were besieged in Benghazi? And where did the crazy story of the internet video come from, anyway? Why did one of the alleged ringleaders of the attack give one interview after another to American news outlets while the Obama administration did nothing to apprehend him, or any other participant in the attack, for nearly two years? No one was ever held personally accountable!
· VA - A year or two ago, leftists like Paul Krugman were touting the VA as evidence that socialized medicine is a smashing success. The deeper the investigation gets, the more systemic the abuses are revealed, but this did not stop performance bonuses to be awarded. Mightn’t the current scandal tell us something about the desirability of government-administered medicine? No one was ever held personally accountable!
· IRS - The IRS, urged on by Democrat Party politicians, has gone to considerable lengths to suppress conservative-oriented nonprofit organizations. Among many other things, it sent 1.1 million pages of documents, some of them confidential materials that it is a felony to disclose, to the FBI, encouraging the FBI to stir up criminal prosecutions of conservative donors. When its activities came to light, the IRS stonewalled and likely destroyed incriminating documents, while its key employee refused to testify under oath, relying on her privilege against self-incrimination. No one was ever held personally accountable!
It is impossible to understand our press’s supine performance without acknowledging that most reporters and editors are Democrat Party operatives who would rather conceal the news than report it. Look what the “mainstream media” did with an inconsequential lane closure on a bridge! There is nothing “elite” about the New York Times or the Washington Post, although the Post’s editorial board is actually pretty good. I can’t imagine anyone claiming that the CBS, ABC or NBC evening news shows are “elite.” All of the mainstream news outlets are, in fact, low-grade and partisan, entitled to no deference or credence.
(“Media Bias and the Obama Scandals” by John Hinderaker dated June 24, 2014 published by Powerline at http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/06/media-bias-and-the-obama-scandals.php )
Americans overwhelmingly express confidence in those institutions historically connected with conservatism and overwhelmingly express little faith in those institutions historically connected with leftism. The Gallup June 19th poll story provides a clear picture of how conservative Americans feel when identifying those institutions they trust or do not trust. The first five institutions in which Americans say that they have “a great deal” of confidence or “quite a lot” of confidence are, in order: the military, small business, the police, churches, and the medical system. The bottom of the list include from the bottom up: Congress, television news, news on the internet, big business, organized labor, and newspapers. Three of those six are arms of the establishment news media. Congress is an institution that activist conservatives instinctively distrust, and big labor is entirely controlled by the left. “Big business” is seen as fawning supplicants for adulation by the left. While conservatives certainly support businesses growing wealthy in the free market, it is small business that conservatives love and trust. Big business seems to be in bed with the Washington insiders, and political correctness reeks from every commercial and every public statement made by these corporate giants. Banks are right in the middle of the institutional trust list, which is probably where most conservatives would place them: willing to use the federal government to protect their interests, just like other big business, but operating largely within a free market, where incompetence is punished and efficiency is rewarded. Institutions nestled in leftism have suffered a dramatic loss of trust over the last half century. In four decades, American confidence in public schools fell an incredible 40%. Television news, whose level of trust was first measured in 1993, has nosedived from 47% in 1973 to 18% in the latest Gallup Poll. The Supreme Court in 1985 had 51% of Americans persuaded to have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence, although ten years later that dropped to 44%, then dropped again ten years later to 41%, and in the latest Gallup Poll, confidence had dropped to only 30%. Meanwhile trust in more conservative institutions has increased over this same time period. In the last twenty years, confidence in the military was actually increased. Confidence in the police has stayed about the same, and confidence in the medical system has actually jumped up a bit. Only organized religion, among institutions conservatives would be expected to trust, has declined, although the percentage of people who distrust organized religions has actually dropped a bit, too, and the politically correct bent of many mainline churches may account for this distrust. Belief in God remains high among Americans and highest among conservatives, as it has in every poll in the last seventy years. What the "trust in institution" polls conducted by Gallup really show is what the Battleground Poll, the Gallup Poll questions on ideology, and Survey USA and other polling organizations have been reporting for some time: America is overwhelmingly conservative. The institutions most trusted by conservatives are also the institutions Americans generally trust. Every time the issue of American ideological demographics is tested, the result is always the same: America is a deeply conservative nation, manipulated by entrenched cadres of the left.
(“Gallup Poll of Trust Shows Conservative America” by Bruce Walker dated June 24, 2014 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/06/gallup_poll_of_trust_shows_conservative_america.html )
Government is just another word for things we choose to do together, but like a lot of things politicians say, this sounds good and unfortunately it isn't the least bit true. Many of the things government does, we don't choose; many of the things we choose, government doesn't do; and whatever gets done, we're not the ones doing it; and those who are doing it often interpret their mandates selfishly. The American people did "choose" to provide first-class medical care for our veterans, but we didn't do it. We set up the Veterans Administration to do it. However some of the people who work for and run the Veterans Administration had a stronger interest in other things, such as fat bonuses, and low workloads in comfy offices. Thus we find that, even though veterans were dying, and books were being cooked, every single VA senior executive received an evaluation of "fully successful" or better over a 4-year period. At least 65% of them received bonuses ("performance awards"). All while veterans around the country were suffering and dying because of delayed care. The executives got these bonuses because they cooked the books, because the bonuses were more important to them than the veterans' care. The problem with the VA is that, like every other large organization, it's not a machine that runs itself, but instead it's a collection of people and people tend to act in their own self interest. Left to their own devices, people will tend to make choices that produce a more comfortable life for them, and that produce a higher paycheck. As public choice economics notes, voters vote their pocketbooks, and so, in a different way, do public "servants." Changing personnel at the top won't make a difference for long, because people will quickly revert to their own interests. If you want to get better service out of people, then you need to make it in their interest to provide it. That's what the VA's evaluation system is supposed to do, but it's not surprising that when an institution essentially rates itself, it won't hand out many failing grades. In the world of businesses subject to competition, the consumers provide the evaluation system that matters. If you do a bad job, they go elsewhere. Businesses not subject to competition, monopolies, notoriously provide poorer service, and government is the ultimate monopoly. The strongest priority of most bureaucracies is the welfare of the bureaucracy and the bureaucrats it employs, not whatever the bureaucracy is actually supposed to be doing.
(“Problems with collective action” by Glenn Harlan Reynolds dated June 23, 2014 published by USA Today at http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/06/23/va-collective-action-veterans-healthcare-government-scandal-column/11235623/ )
People who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid known as climate change are not just “deniers;” we are guilty of a “nihilistic refusal” to address the issue, according to a Washington Post editorial. The actual nihilists are those who refuse to accept any scientific information that undermines their claim that the globe is warming and humans are responsible for it. Cults are like that, because regardless of evidence contradicting their beliefs, cultists persist in blind faith. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been adjusting' its records by replacing real temperatures with data fabricated' by computer models. The effect of this has been to downgrade earlier temperatures and to exaggerate those from recent decades to give the impression that the Earth has been warming up much more than is justified by the actual data. The global warmers are the ones refusing to discuss, debate or even mention the growing body of science questioning and disproving their theories. They also mostly ignore news of manipulated climate models and the serious concerns of scientists who no longer believe the climate is changing significantly. Many in the media, including some newspaper editorial pages, refuse to broadcast or print information that challenges and in some cases refutes arguments about global warming, claiming it is “settled science.” It is nothing of the kind, as any open-minded person can see by a simple Google search. Polls show the public has far greater concerns. An April Gallup poll affirms previous findings: “Warming has generally ranked last among Americans' environmental worries each time Gallup has measured them with this question over the years.” Government is not the final arbiter of truth, yet the global-warming cultists worship at its shrine, so they try to convince the public what they should worry about.
(“On climate change, who are the real ‘deniers’?” by Cal Thomas dated June 25, 2014 published by http://washingtonexaminer.com/on-climate-change-who-are-the-real-deniers/article/2550196 )
Immigration is not being reformed; it is the United States of America that is being reformed and reshaped. The consequences of that reformation are not only linguistic, but political since amnesty’s reshaping of America will make conservative political positions untenable. A political shift that will bury small government as thoroughly as the gold standard isn’t just to the advantage of the Democrat Party. Many assume that illegal alien amnesty means cheap votes for Democrats and cheap labor for Republicans, but that’s only partly true. There are powerful men in both parties who believe that the United States must “reform” to be more like Europe; that it must have a stronger central government and more controlling social policies. Amnesty is an opportunity to reshape national politics by eliminating opposition to everything from Common Core (support for Common Core in California is at 77% among Latinos and 57% among whites) to Global Warming crackdowns (90% of Latinos want government action) and nationalized health care (74% support “public option” government health care). Super-Amnesty, many times bigger than the last amnesty, will kill conservative politics. Taxes will go on rising, and government will grow unstoppably bigger. There can be no conservative case for amnesty because there is no such thing as a conservative case for a policy that will not have a conservative outcome. It’s possible to make a conservative case for just about anything by breaking conservatism down to a handful of supposed principles such as “free enterprise” or “stronger families” and then overlaying those principles on a policy. That same technique can be used to make a conservative case for nationalizing health care or child slavery. The piecemeal principles argument is fine for constructing talking points, but it’s also cheap sophistry. It can be used to prove anything which means that it also proves nothing. The only meaningful argument for a policy is based on outcomes. If the outcome of a conservative policy is more liberalism, it was never a conservative policy to begin with. That is the simplest and most reliable acid test of any “conservative” policy agenda. For those holding out hope on the social conservative front, the majority supports gay marriage and opposes abortion by only a narrow margin. These aren’t racial or ethnic differences, they are political culture differences. Immigrants from brutal totalitarian left-wing dictatorships, like Cuba or the USSR, often lean to the right. However immigrants from countries that lean to the left without being giant death camps, tend to also lean to the left. Amnesty advocates claim that legalization will assimilate illegal aliens. They will be “assimilated” by the same left-wing social system that they have already been living in. They will be assimilated by public schools and state universities, by community activist groups and media outlets and by all the other arms of the Democrat Party and its left-wing satellites. Republican advocates of amnesty speak of this country as a beacon of freedom, and they’re right. The American culture of freedom is already under siege. Immigration should serve America’s culture of freedom. Anything else would be unfair to Americans and to the generations of future immigrants. There can be no conservative case for Super-Amnesty unless it can be argued that it will make the country more conservative, freer and less taxed than it is today. Instead the numbers show that Super-Amnesty will create overwhelming support for government power, less freedom and higher taxes. Super-Amnesty is radical social change in a can. Conservatives don’t believe in radical social change. The solution to this social problem is not to reject the law, abandon borders and citizenship, but to affirm these things in the face of their violation; we do not fight theft by rejecting ownership, instead we defend the value of human labor; we do not stop killing by making excuses for murderers, but by championing the value of human life; we do not protect marriage by redefining it so that it means nothing, but by recommitting to the family; and we do not end violations of the border by watering down American citizenship, but by strengthening it. Making America more Socialist can never be a conservative policy because authentic conservatism is not misled by talking points that speak of conservative principles because it accepts nothing less than a conservative outcome.
(“There Is No Conservative Case for Amnesty” by Daniel Greenfield dated June 24, 2014 published by Front Page Magazine at http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/dgreenfield/there-is-no-conservative-case-for-amnesty/ )
The President’s “no war, no way” policy isn’t working. Americans may be war-weary, but that only means they assume Obama’s policies will actually end the wars and bring peace. Clearly, Iraq is exploding into a major new war that our continued presence could possibly have prevented. By the same token, our precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan may result in the Taliban’s return to power. Obama is banking on the gamble that we can walk away without any damage to our security. After all, this is the essence of “ending” a war versus actually winning it. So long as we’re not dragged back into the fighting, the thinking goes, there’s really no skin off our nose if our side loses. By withdrawing from Afghanistan on a timetable dictated by politics, not military conditions on the ground, we are leaving our friends to their own fate. This implies not only that the original purpose of fighting the war, preventing safe havens for terrorists who can kill us, was not worth it, but also that all our sacrifices could be in vain. The President seems to believe the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot deteriorate enough to drag us back in. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and in Iraq and Afghanistan we are failing mightily in the prevention department. Make no mistake: It was Obama, not President George W. Bush, who failed in that particular duty. When Obama entered office in 2009, Iraq was in fairly good shape. The war was not yet over, but if we’d maintained a residual military force for training and advising Iraq’s security forces and for counterterrorism missions, the ISIS threat would have been mitigated. We are left with an escalating civil war in Iraq that could very well have been prevented. President Obama’s shortsighted focus on pulling out of Iraq not only left a power vacuum now being filled by Iran and Islamist terrorists; it risks a greater conflagration that pales in comparison with what we are now seeing. Once again we seem to be learning the wrong historical lessons. For America, it’s not merely “staying out” of wars that prevents them; it’s a strong engagement on the ground with training, diplomacy and military support to deter attacks on us and our allies.
(“Obama’s ‘No War, No Way’ Policy Isn’t Working” by Kim Holmes dated June 22, 2014 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://dailysignal.com/2014/06/22/missteps-iraq-lead-war/ )
* 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. There are no updates this week to the issue sections.