Views on the News
Views on the News*
August 2, 2014
President Obama has emotionally checked out of his job two years early, prematurely packing his bags in hopes for an early departure. The fact that the press would find relevance in speculating on Obama’s post-White House residence and identify California as the kind of scene the future ex-president would want to hang out in when he leaves office is perhaps telling. Obama has increasingly been spending his time at trendy restaurants and fancy, late-night dinner parties with celebrities and various intellectuals. Rubbing elbows with the rich and elite is fine enough, but unfortunately, the work suffers. The degree to which he is now phoning it in, sleepwalking perfunctorily through his second term, is astonishing. Based on his recent handling of situations much more serious than a possible post-Presidential move to sunny California, it seems as if “No Drama Obama” is no longer even worried about keeping up appearances; he doesn’t care enough to fake it. Meanwhile: a) Obama played many rounds of golf, b) he attended numerous fund-raisers, and c) he dined on barbecue in Texas and burgers in Delaware. Despite a less-than-perfect first term, the public believed enough in his “hope and change” mantra to return him to office, a move reminiscent of Samuel Johnson’s observation about second marriages being “a triumph of hope over experience.” If Obama were worried about bad optics, about appearing out of touch, he might play a bit less golf (another lesson he could have learned from his predecessor). Obama’s not dumb, and he’s clearly capable of marshalling an effective propaganda campaign when he wants to. The only thing that makes sense is that he is exhausted and, perhaps, has checked out of the job early. If Nero fiddled while Rome burned, then Obama is dining out, golfing, and raising money while the world collapses.
(“Barack Obama has already checked out of his job” by Matt K. Lewis dated July 26, 2014 published by the UK Telegraph at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/10992654/Barack-Obama-has-already-checked-out-of-his-job.html )
President Obama insists on flirting with impeachment even as House Republican leaders insist there’s no such possibility. Secure in the knowledge that impeachment is not the same as removal from office, Obama brings up the topic on his own and with bold defiance. Obama uses a passive-aggressive strategy that can be judged as a political maneuver, a personality disorder, or both. Martyrdom goes well with a Messiah complex and Obama’s speeches are a non-stop litany of depicting himself as a victim of Republicans. Already operating beyond the constitutional bounds of presidential power, Obama’s strategy is to push the bounds further rather than pulling back. Impeachment would be his crowning badge of victimhood, the ultimate symbol to rally his base, asking that they protect him by guaranteeing a Democrat majority in the U.S. Senate. His every speech aims to mock Republicans while he projects serenity in the face of adversity, such a calm that he need not engage personally with any crisis, not even the human flood he created on our southern border. His behavior matches the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of passive-aggressive behavior, “a habitual pattern of passive resistance to expected work requirements, opposition, stubbornness, and negativistic attitudes in response to requirements for normal performance levels expected of others.” Often, such persons see themselves as blameless victims, projecting fault onto others. Commonly, they follow erratic paths and cause constant conflicts. If not a personality disorder, such behavior can also be deliberately used to assert power, as described in one Psychology Today article, “By denying feelings of anger, withdrawing from direct communication, casting themselves in the role of victim, and sabotaging others’ success, passive aggressive persons create feelings in others of being on an emotional roller coaster.” CNN’s pollsters find that 57% of Republicans support impeachment, compared with 33% of Americans overall. Obama’s actions and inactions definitely merit impeachment, but that does not make it prudent to pursue impeachment. Impeachment is not truly a disgrace in progressive circles, since Bill Clinton has able to convert his impeachment into a badge of honor.
(“Obama wants to be impeached” by Ernest Istook dated July 25, 2014 published by Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/25/istook-obama-wants-be-impeached/ )
The attention of the American people is increasingly drawn to an incredibly wide and varied series of foreign and domestic crises and scandals. The USA is witnessing a spectacular failure of leadership, characterized by: manifold manifestations of misguided analysis; timid, confused and inappropriate responses to pressing concerns; as well as deceitful and unlawful actions by the executive branch of government. In every instance, at least one of the underlying causes of the crisis can be traced to the policies, attitudes and actions of the Obama administration. The question that the American people must ask themselves is how they could have empowered this rank amateur by placing him in a position to do the enormous harm that he has. Americans elevated to the Presidency a man: with no executive or managerial experience; whose background (including his mentors) was rife with leftist radicals; who made no secret of his disdain for America and his desire to transform it from a constitutional republic into a collectivist, centrally-managed, Euro-style social welfare state; who also made no attempt to hide his contempt for free market capitalism; and whose vision of America was not that of a nation dedicated to individual liberty, which faithfulness to that dedication had saved the world twice from totalitarianism. Instead he saw an America defined by the warts that he identified: slavery; brutalization of the native peoples; discrimination against women and minorities; confinement of Japanese-Americans; pillage of foreign lands and unequal distribution of wealth. His America needed fixing, a “fundamental transformation.” Armed with enormous self-confidence (that frequently spilled over into arrogance), copious charm, an engaging style, a soothing and eloquent voice, and aided by a compliant media, he convinced the public that he would “heal America.” In fact, his intent was to “remake America.” America committed not just a reckless act by electing Obama, but arguably an act of national suicide – twice! The multiple crises are a direct consequence of Obama’s transformational program. Obama seems at times bewildered, at other times disinterested. He is bewildered because he didn’t anticipate the developments – he believes his own propaganda and thinks that nearly everyone appreciates his actions. The jolts and shocks from his misguided policies are a genuine surprise for him, but he is also disinterested because he doesn’t care for the most part. Certainly he doesn’t care about the international crises – his total fixation is on remaking America. Moreover, many of the domestic crises don’t prove a threat to his transformational efforts (they even help sometimes). The last President who doubted America’s overall goodness and who made attempts to fix us was Jimmy Carter. If this country survives, we will look back and wonder how we could have been so insane as to elect Barack Obama President of the United States.
(“Is It a Coincidence that Obama is Beset by Multiple Crises?” by Ron Lipsman dated July 29, 2014 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/64905 )
Crony capitalism, or crony socialism, crony government, corporatism, or just plain cronyism perverts markets by picking winners and losers as a way to obtain wealth for powerful lawmakers and their fund-raisers and friends. Rampant cronyism is one of the most insidious outgrowths of a government gone wild, and has become a swirling vortex of self sustaining and systemic corruption. There are at least three very different varieties of cronyism.
· The first type is that of tax breaks and other incentives for professional stadia expansion projects or big industrial plants and the like. Government should not be involved in these issues, but there is a potentially redeeming cost/benefit outcome for the taxpayers. Cities and/or states are bargaining on behalf of their citizens against other jurisdictions. If a deal is a good one, there are more winners than just the directly involved companies.
· The second type is the GE model, where a company cozies up to government in order to get regulations and laws passed that punish their competitors. There are no winners in these models except for the companies and the lawmakers they have donated to.
· The third type is the Solyndra model, where a faux market is first fabricated out of thin air, and vast sums of wealth are simply transferred to cronies as a way for them to enter these non-existent markets. This template generally fails by design because there is no real market and yet the initial owners, who are invariably big donors for the election winners, seem to always manage to walk away with millions they drew in salaries and consulting fees prior to bankruptcy. Almost everybody loses except the handful of donors, candidates, and phony entrepreneurs involved directly.
The governments that gave the incentives win through a long-term stream of increased tax revenues due to the local economic growth. These tax incentive situations often end up as win/win/win outcomes. The Solyndra model or the GE model never end up this way. Conservatives should certainly keep the pressure up on exposing and stamping out cronyism wherever they can, but let’s not get distracted. Our Founders charged us with establishing and maintaining a more perfect union, not a utopia, so stamping out the worst of the crony deals would be a lot more perfect situation than we have now.
(“The Three Faces of Cronyism” by C. Edmund Wright dated August 1, 2014 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/08/the_three_faces_of_cronyism.html )
For the past 50 years, the government’s annual poverty rate has hardly changed at all with 15% of Americans still live in poverty, roughly the same rate as the mid-1960s when the War on Poverty was just starting. After adjusting for inflation, federal and state welfare spending today is 16 times greater than it was when President Johnson launched the War on Poverty. The U.S. Bureau of the Census defines a family as poor if its annual “income” falls below specific poverty income thresholds. In counting “income,” the Census includes wages and salaries but excludes nearly all welfare benefits. The federal government runs over 80 means-tested welfare programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and targeted social services to poor and low-income Americans. Of the $916 billion in means-tested welfare spending in 2012, the Census counted only about 3 percent as “income” for purposes of measuring poverty. The Census poverty numbers do provide a very useful measure of “self-sufficiency”: the ability of a family to sustain an income above the poverty threshold without welfare assistance. The Census is accurate in reporting there has been no improvement in self-sufficiency for the past 45 years. Ironically, self-sufficiency was President Johnson’s original goal in launching his War on Poverty. He explicitly sought to reduce the future need for welfare by making lower-income Americans productive and self-sufficient. By this standard, the War on Poverty has been a catastrophic failure. After spending more than $20 trillion on Johnson’s war, many Americans are less capable of self-support than when the war began. This lack of progress is, in a major part, due to the welfare system itself. Welfare breaks down the habits and norms that lead to self-reliance, especially those of marriage and work. It thereby generates a pattern of increasing inter-generational dependence. The welfare state is self-perpetuating: By undermining productive social norms, welfare creates a need for even greater assistance in the future, so reforms should focus on these programs’ incentive structure to point the way toward self-sufficiency.
(“The War on Poverty Has Been a Catastrophic Failure” by Robert Rector dated July 28, 2014 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://dailysignal.com/2014/07/28/index-culture-opportunity/ )
World leaders are increasingly pointing to U.S. President Obama’s failures in the Middle East. Every Muslim nation the U.S. has interfered in – whether to promote “democracy,” as in the much ballyhooed “Arab Spring,” or to defeat “terrorism” and/or eliminate “WMD” – has seen the empowerment of Islamists, followed by chaos, conflict, and constant atrocities. Consider Iraq today, one decade after the U.S. took down Saddam Hussein, bringing “freedom” and “democracy” to the Iraqi people: now an Islamic caliphate exists, enforcing the savageries of sharia – from stoning women accused of adultery to crucifying others, burning churches, and forcing Christians to convert to Islam, pay “taxes” (jizya) and embrace third-class status, or face the sword. Libya, Afghanistan, and rebel-controlled areas of Syria are little better. The only nation still trying to hang in there is Egypt, thanks to the anti-Muslim Brotherhood revolution. To recap Egypt: the Obama administration turned its back on a 30-year-long U.S. ally, the secularist Mubarak, to embrace the Islamist Morsi, and some of the worst Muslim persecution of Christians – the litmus test of “radicalization” – took place against the Copts during Morsi’s one year of rule. Egypt’s current president, Sisi, warned that “religion [code for 'Islam'] is being used to destroy neighboring countries” – a reference to the empowerment of Islamists in the same failed nations, namely, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan – all the handiwork of U.S. leadership in general, Obama’s administration in particular.
(“World Leaders Lambast Obama’s ‘Failures’ in the Middle East” by Raymond Ibrahim dated July 27, 2014 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/07/world_leaders_lambast_obamas_failures_in_the_middle_east.html )
Hillary Clinton is the “dominant candidate” for President in 2016 which also makes her an attractive target for Republicans Clinton. Republicans need to position Clinton as the de facto “incumbent Presidential candidate” and hold her accountable for the unpopular, failed policies of President Obama as if they were her very own. This tactic was successfully employed against Republicans by Obama and the Democrats during the last two presidential elections. Two years from now the GOP can win if Republicans have forged a strong campaign message against the record and policies of an Obama/Clinton ticket. Such a linking strategy must be fully implemented before the beginning of 2016 in order to balance the incumbent-like presidential organizational advantages Hillary Clinton’s team is currently building. If Clinton does decide to run for President, she has been building a campaign organization for at least three years. Republicans need to start connecting her with Obama’s domestic and foreign policy failures, because Republicans have a ready-made 2016 message that is clear, effective and true.
(“Dr. Clinton and Mr. Ohhh!” by Myra Adams dated July 25, 2014 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/383810/dr-clinton-and-mr-ohhh-myra-adams)
* 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:
· Employment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/employment.php