RTCS

Views on the News

July 31, 2010

Views on the News*

Obama’s poll numbers are falling for three reasons clear to any amateur student of politics. First, the voters in 2008 did not vote for liberal change, but for change from the costly and lengthy Bush wars, deficits, spending policies, and immigration proposals. Obama voters were also motivated by a desire to elect our first African-American President, fear over the September 2008 financial meltdown, a lackluster McCain campaign, and the strange perception that Obama was a centrist. Since his election, Obama has outdone the average Bush deficits by a factor of four or five. His brief “stimulus” became the prelude to a gorge-the-beast reordering of American society. Meanwhile, after demagoguing as a candidate everything from Guantanamo to Iraq, Obama in office has kept in place almost every major security protocol that Bush had established. He has broken his promises to close Guantanamo, try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York, and pull out of Iraq. This has meant alienating his shrinking base while being exposed as a hypocrite to suddenly wiser and less forgiving independents. Second, after ramming through his health-care bill without either bipartisan support or public approval, Obama is polling badly on just about every hot-button issue. The electorate simply does not want cap-and-trade, amnesty, more deficits, and higher taxes. Rather, it prefers to produce more oil and gas, and more hydroelectric and nuclear power; it wants to follow the Arizona immigration model; it wants to cut spending; and it wants to balance the budget. The Left may be disheartened that Obama has not borrowed more for green-energy subsidies, has not yet rammed through an amnesty for illegal immigrants, and has not spent more money trying to stimulate the economy. But these are not the reasons that Obama is sinking in the polls. Third, the problem is not that Obama is insufficiently attuned to race, but that he is perceived (fairly or unfairly) to be obsessed with it. Since 2008, both Barack and Michelle Obama have committed a series of gaffes that appeared to reflect an attachment to identity politics. Taken together, these divisive musings have fostered the impression that the first couple is excessively concerned with racial issues. Obama and his supporters have somehow convinced themselves that 2008 was the result either of (1) a left-wing American majority that finally came out of the shadows, or (2) a mesmerizing personality that by sheer force of rhetoric and charisma could take America where it otherwise did not wish to go, but neither is true. America remains a center-right country, and Obama, the teleprompter messiah, has grown tiresome and fortunately has only two more years! 

(“Obama’s Real Problem” by Victor Davis Hanson dated July 28, 2010 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/438743/obamas-real-problem/victor-davis-hanson )

 

The most important question for Americans is it possible to block and reverse Barack Obama’s fundamental transformation of American society into a European socialist state before the damage he does to his country is irreparable? The United States is now governed by a rogue administration, founded not on the Constitution but on lies, one broken campaign promise after another, and attempts to ignore or scamper around the principles of the Fathers. We are observing an establishment that is unwilling to defend the nation’s borders from drug cartel violence and illegal immigration, forcing unread bills through Congress in the dark of night, embarking on a socialized medicine program it cannot afford and which has not worked wherever else it has been tried, plunging the nation into bankruptcy with misnamed “stimulus spending,” unsustainable entitlements and exponential debt, refusing to drill safely on land to reduce its dependence on foreign oil supplies, utterly incapable of dealing with cataclysms like the Gulf oil spill, touting an impractical, premature and ruinously exorbitant Green Energy policy, considering cap-and-trade legislation when it has become undeniably clear that Global Warming research is a profoundly unsettled and perhaps even a false science, scrubbing all reference to Islamic terror from its official documents and pursuing a foreign policy that might accurately be described as geopolitically suicidal. It is quite a list, but unfortunately an accurate one. This is an administration that could just as well have been put in place by America’s most relentless enemies. It is headed by a President with deep roots in a neo-Marxist social movement and associational ties with a host of disreputable characters. This is a president who has embarked on a diplomatic approach of appeasing the country’s despotic competitors and adversaries, with whom he appears to have more in common than with the majority of his own countrymen. The most significant issue for Americans today, then, or at any rate for those who profess to love their country and who fear for its future, is how to stymie the current president prior to 2012. Obama is plainly a hyperactive President, busy dismantling his country with systematic rigor. This is why the coming November is so important: it may not only reclaim lost ground but notably weaken Obama’s chances of success in seeking a second term. Barring Obama and his party’s electoral chastening in 2010, by the time 2012 arrives, what we will very likely see is the following: more socialized, i.e., nationalized industries and bloated entitlement programs; a grinding recession, if not a depression, and traumatic levels of unemployment for which Obama can no longer blame the previous administration and expect to get away with it; twelve to fifteen million enfranchised illegals swelling the welfare and voting rolls; a growing and increasingly bitter racial divide; more terrorist attacks; deep Islamic inroads into the body politic; public resentment reaching critical proportions and more states acting on their own initiative; and former allies moving into the orbit of America’s enemies. America is disintegrating fragment by fragment across the entire map of its existence, and the decline is accelerating under the worst possible president at the worst possible time. Its enemies are rejoicing and growing ever bolder in their calculations, convinced that they can challenge residual American power with relative impunity. The American people must rouse itself from its torpor, find a way to purge itself of its parasitical and treasonable elements before it is too late, and unite around the inherent virtues of the country: a noble Constitution, legitimate pride in accomplishment, a potent military which functions as it is supposed to, entrepreneurial and innovative vigor, sensible economic policies, melting-pot immigration as opposed to multicultural infiltration, Emersonian self-reliance and, most crucially, limited government and 2010 is the place to start.

(“Can He Be Stopped?” by David Solway dated July 23, 2010 published by Front Page Magazine at http://frontpagemag.com/2010/07/23/2012/ )

 

"Trust," confidence in the honesty, reliability and fairness of people and things, is essential to democracy, a free market economy and the financial system, but the breach of trust in recent years by our government and major financial institutions has been enormously damaging on many levels. Restoring trust between the government and the governed and between the captains of industry and the people who invest in their companies and buy their goods and services will be very challenging. There were so many breakdowns leading up to the most recent economic crisis it is difficult to do more than enumerate some of the most important: reckless growth of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac encouraged by government leaders; failure of the government to deal with the real estate bubble; excessive high-risk growth in major financial institutions; unwise and highly pro-cyclical regulatory and accounting policies; a politicized and fragmented financial regulatory system; rating agencies pursuing short-term profits at the expense of long-term excellence; and excessive borrowing and spending in the public and private sectors. Once the crisis took hold, misguided actions by government leaders escalated what should have been a controllable situation into a full-blown crisis of confidence. With the Treasury at the helm, the government careened from one crisis to the next with inconsistent ad hoc solutions, which created the sense that no one was in charge with a coherent strategy. Treasury threw together a plan (the "TARP") to use taxpayer funds to purchase $700 billion of toxic assets from financial institutions. The plan was sold to Congress using highly inflammatory language ("financial Armageddon!"), which scared the public even more and deepened the economic downturn. Treasury lost faith in its own plan and abandoned it almost immediately, so instead of purchasing toxic assets, it invested TARP funds in large financial institutions whether or not needed or wanted. To add insult to injury, Treasury also invested TARP funds in General Motors and Chrysler and their finance company arms, which was clearly not intended by Congress. Government policy remains heavily focused on Wall Street and large institutions. The recently passed financial reform legislation adds to the widespread feeling that the system is rigged. The legislation does not address the major causes of the crisis, would not have prevented it from happening, and most certainly will not prevent the next crisis. The fact that politicians are repeatedly making exaggerated and false claims about the legislation fuels the public's cynicism. They say it ends too big to fail while leaving in place a dysfunctional regulatory system overseeing five major banks that control over half of the banking system and cannot be allowed to fail without causing economic chaos. They brag about the new "watchdog" the Systemic Risk Council, created to identify and control developing systemic risks. They fail to mention that the Council will be staffed and run by the very agencies--the Treasury, Federal Reserve, SEC and others--that led us into the crisis. I believe a critical first step in restoring trust in government is for voters to send a very strong message in November, because most of the individuals who brought us to the economic brink remain in place. We no longer trust our current politicians to be honest, competent and fair, so we need to elect people to Congress we can trust to put the government's fiscal house in order and bring proper regulation to the financial sector, both of which are critical to getting the economy going again and restoring our faith in government and the American dream.  

(“Too Big to Trust” by William M. Isaac dated July 21, 2010 published by Forbes at http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/19/banks-trust-regulation-opinions-columnist-william-m-isaac.html )

 

Housing and Urban Development is one of two federal agencies regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with HUD supervising the mortgage giants' congressionally chartered "affordable housing" mission. HUD is at the heart of the subprime scandal, yet it's empowered as never before by the new Financial Reform Act (FinReg). It'll manage various slush funds underwriting more Acorn-type housing activism. In the run-up to the subprime crisis, HUD gutted underwriting standards at Fannie and Freddie to help them meet a 50%-plus affordable lending quota. HUD also authorized the now-toxic twins to receive credits toward these affordable-lending goals by purchasing and issuing subprime securities. So HUD not only drove Fannie and Freddie headlong into the subprime market, but also helped create the subprime securities market, thereby spreading the mortgage-backed securities risk on Wall Street. Its relationship with Fannie and Freddie won't change under the new law. FinReg doesn't rein in HUD, just like it doesn't rein in Fannie or Freddie. Far from reforming HUD, the new law gives the agency even more power over the housing industry — including setting up new grant programs that will funnel billions of dollar in aid to the same housing-rights activists and community organizers that originally pushed lenders off the subprime cliff. Before the subprime crisis, ACORN was a HUD-certified agency. So was the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, whose founder is a self-described anti-bank "terrorist." Another HUD partner is the Border Fair Housing & Economic Justice Center, which promotes "affordable housing" for Mexican immigrants, including illegal aliens. These are not temporary programs. Community organizers will demand they stay fully funded, indefinitely and therefore are destined to grow into bureaucratic fiefdoms. Grant money won't go directly to homeowners, but instead will be funneled through community organizers, who in turn will have new license to orchestrate corporate shakedowns. FinReg also authorizes HUD's secretary to establish a multiyear program of grants to community banks to "enable low- and moderate-income individuals to establish one or more accounts in a federally insured depository institution." HUD will encourage such banks to cater to illegal immigrants while taxpayers subsidize their losses. With the new powers vested in HUD in the name of reforming Wall Street, the affirmative-lending racket has officially been bureaucratized.

(“HUD’s New Slush Funds, Thanks to FinReg” dated July 29, 2010 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/542067/201007291858/HUDs-New-Slush-Funds-Thanks-To-FinReg.aspx )

 

 

Britain's National Health Service (NHS) was frequently cited by Democrats as an example of where the U.S. health system might be headed: coverage for all, but with lower quality, long waits for major surgery and denial of care when the government decides the procedure is not "cost effective," but it is now failing even in Great Britain. Anyone who believes a U.S. health care system based on the NHS model can somehow fare better than Britain's had better consider this recent headline and story from London's Sunday Telegraph: "Axe Falls on NHS Services; Hip operations, cataract surgery and IVF rationed; Cancer care, maternity, pediatric services at risk." Rationing is a way of life and it is something the unconfirmed, recess-appointed U.S. health care czar, Donald Berwick, strongly favors. Nursing homes for the elderly would be closed, the number of hospital beds for the mentally ill reduced and general practitioners would be discouraged from sending patients to hospitals. Accident and emergency department services would also be cut. Doctors across the UK have already been told that their patients can have certain operations only if they are given 'prior approval' by the Primary Care Trust, with each authorization made on a 'case by case' basis." When cost, rather than the value of life becomes supreme, rationing will inevitably lead to other cost-cutting policies. Despite protestations from those who favored ObamaCare that "death panels" would not be part of the equation, you can count on them. They will, of course, be called something else to hide their true intent. It has taken the NHS 62 years to progress from its initial idealistic goals get to this point of pragmatic failure. America's journey into a national health care system should progress a lot faster given the declared goals of Donald Berwick and his tone deaf ear to the NHS downfall.  

(“National Health Service: It’s Coming to America” by Cal Thomas dated July 29, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/CalThomas/2010/07/29/national_health_service_its_coming_to_america )

 

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act), a new underfunded stealth entitlement program, was included, but not featured, in the recently enacted health law. The CLASS Act’s stated purpose is to provide a fully funded insurance program for long-term-care (LTC) assistance. The program has no bearing on the other provisions of the new law, which are aimed at expanding and regulating health insurance coverage for acute care. The Obama Administration and Congress chose to attach the CLASS Act to the broader health legislation for one reason only: It made the budget numbers look better on paper. The CLASS Act hitched a ride on the health law to help hide the near-term budgetary costs of a major MedicAid expansion and a new subsidy program for health insurance. In so doing, Congress created another ticking entitlement time bomb that is certain to explode on future taxpayers if not defused sooner rather than later. The CLASS Act is a national insurance program for LTC assistance. Current workers pay premiums, set by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and then qualify for financial assistance, also determined by HHS, should they meet the LTC-assistance criteria. CLASS is voluntary, so employers can choose to enroll their workers in the program, and employees can opt out on a worker-by-worker basis. CLASS is funded on a pay-as-you-go basis. Premium payments from current workers will finance benefit payouts for beneficiaries, mainly disabled and retired former workers, who qualify for assistance. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that CLASS will produce a total $70 billion surplus by 2019, but this surplus is temporary, resulting from a mismatch between CLASS’s evolution and the 10-year window used for congressional budget assessments. CLASS’s program rules require that participants pay five years’ worth of premiums before becoming eligible for payouts, which means that CLASS will begin collecting premiums in 2011, but not pay out benefits until 2016. From that point forward, annual program surpluses will begin declining as CLASS pays benefits to an escalating population of retiring baby boomers. The Administration and Congressional leaders will have already spent that $70 billion initial surplus to partially cover the massive, multi-trillion-dollar costs of their other health care ambitions. So when the CLASS Act runs short of funding, Congress will have to either tax or borrow an additional $70 billion to compensate for having already spent the CLASS Act funds on another entitlement program. CLASS is designed similarly to the Social Security program. Its initial surpluses will be diverted into other government spending. Eventually, the program will fall into deficit and (without accumulated assets, only IOUs) leave future taxpayers on the hook for promises made long ago. Like all Ponzi schemes, the early CLASS participants will get full benefits, while later participants (and, in this case, taxpayers) lose their shirts so REPEAL now before this new entitlement program even begins to spiral out of control!

(“The CLASS Act: Repeal Now, or Face Permanent Taxpayer Bailout Later” by James C. Capretta and Brian M. Riedl dated July 22, 2010 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/07/The-CLASS-Act-Repeal-Now-or-Face-Permanent-Taxpayer-Bailout-Later

(“No CLASS: How Congress Saddled Taxpayers with Another Costly Entitlement” by Brian Blase dated July 29, 2010 published by The Heritage Foundation at )

 

Although racism exists, it has been marginalized in American society since racism among whites became almost universally unacceptable because most people grew up drinking from the same water fountains, eating at the same lunch counters, and have never seen government-approved racism against black Americans. White kids grow up with posters of black athletes on our walls, listened to rap music, and go to school with black kids all of our lives. We've never had to reform or "give up our racist ways" because the overwhelming majority of us were never racist in the first place. Although this is a taboo subject that's seldom fully discussed in public, being black is often an advantage, not a disadvantage, when it comes to work or going to school. Talented black students have a much easier time getting into schools of their choice and getting scholarships than white students. The government actually discriminates against white people in an effort to favor black workers. Businesses will often work harder to recruit talented black workers for diversity purposes and are more reluctant to fire black workers because they fear lawsuits. The advantages of being black in today's society are larger and more pervasive than the disadvantages black Americans face because of their race. As evidence of actual bigotry against black Americans has become more and more scarce, the cries of racism have gotten ever louder. Anything and everything that's harmful to the agenda of the left inevitably gets labeled as racist. We now live in an Orwellian world where the government openly discriminates against white Americans, most black Americans openly advocate discriminating in their favor based on the color of their skin, and businesses and schools discriminate in favor of black Americans.

(“Charges of Racism Are About Politics” by John Hawkins dated July 27, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=38260 )

 

The commission appointed by President Obama to investigate the Gulf oil spill (the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling) does not include a single member with specialized knowledge of petroleum engineering, but the commission was really meant to regulate and tax the oil and gas companies out of business. Its report will likely issue a blueprint on how to restrict drilling while extorting profits from oil companies by way of new fees and regulation. There are two crucial lessons to be learned from the Deepwater Horizon accident, but it is doubtful whether the commission will comprehend either of them. The first is that "best practices" exist which, had they been strictly adhered to, may have prevented the Deepwater Horizon accident. The second lesson is that the Deepwater Horizon, however flawed its management might have been, had the capacity to produce a great deal of oil and gas. Based on the enormous flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon and others among the 33 deep-water rigs operating in the Gulf, it is clear that vast reserves of oil and gas exist off America's shores. These reserves are enough to make the United States energy-independent; enough to revive our flagging economy; and enough to produce jobs for hundreds of thousands of workers and to create secondary and tertiary jobs for millions of others. Deep-water drilling has the potential to transform America from the slow-growth, high-unemployment welfare state that President Obama envisages into a prosperous, full-employment economy. For most Americans, new drilling and the energy independence that comes with it seem like a good thing, but that is the very reason why the President has appointed a commission hostile to increased drilling. The success of the free market in the United States depends to a great extent on the availability of cheap energy. By cutting off the supply of oil, natural gas, and coal, Obama ensures a continuation of high unemployment and an extended period of slow growth, and with these, the expansion of the socialist welfare state, so the fight over drilling, in this sense, is nothing less than a struggle for the future of capitalism in America.

(“The Anti-Drilling Commission” by Jeffrey Folks dated July 26, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/07/the_antidrilling_commission.html )

 

The GOP finds itself in an advantageous situation for the upcoming elections in November with an anti incumbent sentiment, and increasingly unpopular President, and anger at the Democratic agenda. The Obama Presidency, not even halfway through its first term, has set this country on the road to political, military, and economic ruin. But that was the goal of the socialists-in-charge all along:

·    Step 1) wreck everything;

·    Step 2) proclaim a crisis demanding state intervention; and

·    Step 3) create massive new government programs to increase the power of the state, and weaken the rights of the individual.

The GOP must be clear in how it intends to govern because America cannot afford to replace socialist with socialist-lite. Repeal it all, since nothing that President Obama has done has helped to alleviate the problems our country has faced; if anything his rampant statism has made it worse. There are no good points of President Obama’s agenda worth preserving anyway. The Republican party must promise that, if elected, they will work to erase every vestige of the Obama agenda until they are successful in doing so. Yes, Obama will veto any and all attempts to erase his agenda, but we cannot allow that to be a deterrent. Trying to repeal might not be successful, but it will be worthwhile. It will show the American people which party stands for individual freedom, and economic growth. The Republicans plan should:

·    Repeal ObamaCare, and defund until enough votes are available;

·    Next repeal the Dodd/ Frank bill, and defund until enough votes are available;

·    Then repeal the stimulus spending bill, and recover any unspent funds.

If Democratic control is not taken away we will see the stampede towards socialism go unabated, our economic situation will continue to worsen, and our constitutional rights usurped by a federal leviathan, so there is only one option: Repeal it all

(“Repeal It All” by Craig Chamberlain dated July 25, 2010 published by The Land of the Free at http://www.thelandofthefree.net/conservativeopinion/2010/07/25/repeal-it-all/ )

 

* 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/welcome/politics.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com