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Views on the News

August 6, 2011

Views on the News*

I see America, warts and all and understand she isn't perfect, but she's the best and most prosperous, God-fearing, freedom-loving, independent nation the world has ever known, so I love America, and I only feel sorry for anyone who doesn't. A conservative takes a practical view of government, believing that government is a necessary evil.  We don't trust government because it grows like a cancer, and eventually like a cancer, it seeks to devour its host.  Government's greatest accomplishment is made when the people are left alone to prosper.  Exceptionalism, thy name is AmericaIt is our belief in ourselves and who we are that makes us great.  We do not think we are cut from a different cloth; we know we are.  We were born in blood from Divine Providence above: Lexington, Saratoga, Monmouth, Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse, Yorktown, Gettysburg, Belleau Wood, D-Day, Midway, The Bulge, Iwo Jima, Apollo 1, Apollo 13, Kuwait, 9/11. Even in tragedy, we grow our national character.  To see ourselves, we need look in a mirror and open our eyes.  To rebuild, we need only look to ourselves and to our children.  Poverty or plenty - it is not a difficult choice to make. We must teach our children to recognize liberal conditioning when they see it.  It is in television, advertising, and movies, and even in the cartoons they watch.  They must be taught to recognize assumptions presented as fact and question the "authority" that suggests it.  Then we must stand up for them against liberal teachers who fail them over idealism, not content.  It is critical that we help our children learn to recognize truth, to steer them through the rocks with their convictions intact so they may choose for themselves.  We must teach our children how to lead, not follow; teach them to investigate, to research, and to seek many sources, not just one; teach them how to truly learn; and for heaven's sake, teach them to read a real book instead of play Nintendo!

(“American by Birth, Exceptional by Choice” by Richard Pecore dated July 31, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/07/american_by_birth_exceptional_by_choice.html )

There comes a time and a point in history which indelibly define a President and such a moment has happened to Barack Obama: His incompetence, inability to lead, prevarications, petulance and immaturity in the debt ceiling crisis have indelibly created an image of abject failure in the minds of a critical mass of people in the United States and around the globeHe will never be able to overcome the portrait that has been etched in too many minds. Barack Obama's only interest in the debt ceiling debate was to raise the borrowing limit sufficiently to get by the next election, and as a cudgel to denigrate the Republicans.  The destruction wrought by the nearly $5.5 Trillion (more than a third of the total debt of a nation 222 years old) he will have added to the nation's balance sheet by the end of his term was immaterial, thus no detailed plan was forthcoming from the White House, and no lie or accusation aimed at the opposition was too absurd to tell.  The only matter of importance was his re-election; the long-term health of the country be damned. Little does Barack Obama understand that he has forever branded himself as an incompetent and failure.  His narcissism and lifelong history of receiving public adulation will not allow him to comprehend the damage.  He does not understand that now few will listen to his speeches, no matter how well delivered; that few will believe what he is saying, as he has lied and obfuscated the facts so often.  Many world leaders have already arrived at the conclusion that Barack Obama is a leader that cannot be trusted, the citizens of the United States are beginning to understand that he is a man without a core set of principles thus incapable of guiding the ship of state. The media, increasingly realizing their culpability in the nation's current state of affairs, has begun to ask more penetrating questions and grudgingly question Obama's fitness for office.  The Left has become more open in their criticism, as they now understand that the hero upon whom they vested so much hope is a hollow shell. The Obama Presidency is over.  He has abdicated all responsibility to the Congress, in particular the House of Representatives, which has little choice but to assume a role they are not structured to do: lead the country as best they can until November 2012.  The American people, suffering under the burden of high joblessness, eroding housing values, inflation and dramatically declining economic growth with no prospect of any immediate relief, are increasingly resigned to the fact that they must focus on surviving as best they can until the election. Obama has made permanent in the minds of a majority of American people the image of a man incapable of being President and there is nothing he can do in the remaining 16 months before the election, particularly as the United States is clearly headed into another severe economic downturn, to change that perception.

(“Obama’s Failed Presidency” by Steve McCann dated August 1, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/obamas_failed_presidency.html )

Remember when liberals claimed Barack Obama was "probably the smartest guy ever to become president" and was "a sort of god"? Today they say "we are watching him turn into Jimmy Carter right before our eyes," and the center point of his Presidency is "a disaster." So what changed exactly, Is President Obama really a different man today than he was before he entered the Oval Office? The same Illinois legislator who voted "present" 129 times is now the debt-crisis-AWOL President who refused to present a specific plan of his own. The same Presidential candidate who wanted to "spread the wealth" has unleashed redistributionist, collectivist policies on everything from health care and energy supply to runaway Keynesian spending and ever-increasing taxes. The hope and change of 2008 have given way to the joblessness and foreclosures of Obamanomics. The only thing worse than the abject failure of a liberal president, at least in the eyes of the liberal, is the undeniable failure of liberalism itself. To claim Mr. Obama has been a good president no longer even remotely passes the laugh test. Consider the results thus far of the Obama Presidency:

·    Over two million-private sector jobs have been lost.

·    Unemployment jumped from 7.8% to 9.2%.

·    First-quarter economic growth rate of just 0.4%.

·    A record 1 in 7 Americans is on food stamps.

·    Gasoline prices more than doubled, from $1.83 to $3.74 per gallon.

·    National debt increased 35%, to $14.5 trillion, or $137,000 for each taxpayer.

·    National unfunded liabilities increased 47%, to $114.9 trillion (and this does not yet include ObamaCare).

·    America is on the verge of losing its AAA credit rating.

What's worse, and was as easily predictable, is the systematic dishonesty Team Obama unleashed to persuade Americans to tolerate its big-government, collectivist agenda. So, as the liberal Obama Presidency becomes increasingly indefensible, the liberal is faced with an unthinkable dilemma: acknowledge the fundamental failure of his collectivist liberal philosophy, which tends toward socialism, or blame its failures on a single man whom, until just recently, the liberal deified. In the end, his failures as President are not because he couldn't faithfully execute the liberal collectivist philosophy, he ushered in the ObamaCare era, but, Barack Obama’s failures are instead because he bought into the failed philosophy in the first place.

(“Liberals’ unmaking of Barack Obama” by Milton R. Wolf dated August 2, 2011 published by The Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/aug/2/liberals-unmaking-of-barack-obama/ )

One of the most striking facts about the course of the Obama Presidency so far is that Obama has no constructive solutions for anything, which is one reason he campaigned on vague promises. It's why he established bogus metrics, such as "saved or created jobs." It's also why he's always pointing the finger of blame on others for his policy failures. Everyone knows by now that Obama's reckless and corrupt stimulus package failed to restrain unemployment as he had promised and that instead of accepting responsibility for it, he blamed Bush. He also played another familiar liberal card. He insisted his stimulus bill would have worked if he had been allowed to spend more money. So he started pushing for a second stimulus, all while increasing the government's regulatory stranglehold on business and cramming ObamaCare down our throats. All of which is to say that Obama is fresh out of ideas. Worse, he's the immovable force standing in the way of those who do have constructive proposals. He didn't even submit a plan during the debt ceiling negotiations, and his party's Senate majority hasn't presented a budget for more than 850 days. The GOP is far from perfect, but it has presented serious proposals to address the debt crisis, which include capping discretionary spending, restructuring entitlements, passing a balanced budget amendment and reforming the tax code. If a compromise passes, it will only be because Republicans have concluded that it's the best they can get in their effort to reduce the bleeding until 2012, when they hope to regain firm control of both political branches. If Congress doesn't start working this debt down, instead of whittling away at the rates of increase while the debt continues to expand, America will experience real financial collapse, and sooner than we may think. No matter how inept Obama is at many things, he is a master at propaganda and negative campaigning, but that's all he's got. The only policies he can bring himself to support cannot work. So as the 2012 election approaches, don't look for Obama to emphasize his record. Look for more deflection and scapegoating. Obama has no ideas except to foment phony crises, exploit real ones and demonize and scapegoat business, corporations, "the wealthy," insurance companies, oil companies, Republicans in general and, of course, President Bush. There is little doubt that most people now see through Obama and are prepared to reject him as divisive, destructive and wholly without any solutions to our very serious problems, and Republicans must overcome their fear of blame to capitalize on this opportuntity.

(“Obama is Fresh out of Ideas” by David Limbaugh dated August 2, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/2011/08/02/obama_is_fresh_out_of_ideas )

The Obama “leadership” style should be blindingly apparent: Do nothing, lie in wait, and then counter-attack. Obama never presents a plan if he can possibly help it, but deal exclusively in bromides and platitudes as he stakes out the moral “high ground” and gets ready to ambush the other guy. Think of it as the permanent Insurgency campaign. Meanwhile, have his media allies, talking parrots, and court lickspittles prepare the ground with standard-issue talking points.  He then uses the bully pulpit as a bludgeon against his political enemies. He makes cheap, demagogic appeals to his dwindling base of supporters to do his lobbying work for him. He says the same thing over and over, no matter how much TV time he decides to pre-empt. He adamantly refuses to be pinned down about the specifics of anything, and have his platoon of “Baghdad Bobs” continue to insist (as good liberals always do) that up is down, black is white, and wishes are really horses, if not actual unicorns. So the later Boehner walks into the trap, the quicker Harry Reid trumps him, and the sooner Obama can declare for the umpteenth time that the time for talk is over, emerge as a hero, and get the debt-ceiling debate safely past the shoals of the next election, which is all he really cares about. In case you hadn’t noticed, running for office is the only thing the “Punahou Kid” Teleprompter-in-Chief knows how to do.

(“The Permanent Insurgency” by Michael Walsh dated July 29, 2011 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/273144/permanent-insurgency-michael-walsh )

 

The 2012 equivalent of Ronald Reagan’s famous “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” will be:  “In your hometown, which do you see more of: ‘Hiring Now!’ signs or ‘Going Out of Business’ signs? Those trapped in the grip of the disastrous Obama economy already know the answer, and it terrifies David Axelord, David Plouffe, and President Barack Obama.  The Republican Presidential candidate who frames the debate this way will win. The sad and tragic economic facts are now undeniable, and they have absolutely nothing to do with ideology or party affiliation:

·    Every fifth man you pass on the sidewalk does not work.

·    Every seventh person you pass on the sidewalk is now on food stamps.

·    The average time an unemployed America remains out of work is now a jaw-dropping nine months (36 weeks).

·    The price of gas has risen 104% from the time of Obama’s inauguration.

·    Unemployment has risen from 7.8% to 9.2% since Obama’s inauguration.

·    Black Americans are now suffering their lowest levels of economic prosperity since the civil rights era of the 1960s.

·    Recent college graduates are now experiencing record unemployment with just 56% of college graduates able to find a job.

·    Obama has added more to the national debt than all U.S. Presidents from George Washington to Ronald Reagan, combined.

These facts will not change before Election Day.  Sadly, they are set in cement for the time being, as small business owners wisely refuse to expand hiring with so much fear and uncertainty in the air.  The Republican Presidential contender who will prevail must present the economic fork in the road before the American people thusly:  In the last three decades, our great nation has undergone two economic experiments to solve similar economic difficulties. The first of these experiments was performed by President Ronald Reagan who let Americans keep more of the money they earned and helped small, medium, and large businesses hire more people by cutting red tape.  The result:  the greatest peacetime economic expansion in American history and a gain of 18 million new jobs. The second economic experiment is the one we’re presently trapped in, performed by President Barack Obama who spent more of your money than all U.S. Presidents combined, seized 17% of the U.S. economy with the introduction of ObamaCare, and is in the process of raising taxes even higher.  The result:  16.2% of your neighbors can’t find enough work to make ends meet, food and gas prices are skyrocketing, and the country is broke and on the verge of total economic collapse. In short, Reagan’s economic experiment created “Hiring Now!” signs and Obama’s economic experiment has created “Going Out of Business” signs.  The Republican Presidential candidate who can clearly and plainly communicate this tale of two diametrically opposite visions for the future will be America’s next President.

(“A Tale of Two Signs: ‘Hiring Now!’ or ‘Going Out of Business’?” by Wynton C. Hall dated July 29, 2011 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=45177 )

 

The TEA Party is delivering a wake-up call to Congress by telling the truth and demanding solutions that actually work to fix our problems. Our capacity for self-delusion can be boundless, because deep down, we realize that we're kidding ourselves, and everyone we know realizes that we're kidding ourselves.  Little white lies, spoken so feelings won't be hurt, are one of the foundations of a civil society.  So after years of being literally fat, dumb, and happy, the unthinkable happens.  When people are faced with truth long denied, they can do one of two things: accept it and work to change the situation, or shoot the messenger. An epidemic of conservatism is sweeping across America. In January 2011, the TEA Party came to Washington in the form of a Republican House of Representatives.  They immediately started telling the truth:

o   America is drowning in debt.

o   The deficit is unsustainable.

o   Medicare is broke.

o   There is no Social Security trust fund.

o   The Obama stimulus was a trillion-dollar failure.

o   ObamaCare is a job-killing nightmare.

The response from the President and his party was predictable and boring: the TEA Party wants to take away your health care and kill your grandmother, blah, blah, blah. What was surprising was the vehement negativity from the Republican establishment.  Inside-the-Beltway conservative royalty flocked to friendly radio and TV shows and tut-tutted their disapproval.  Mind you, they weren't bothered over fourteen trillion dollars of debt.  Oh, no, it was the TEA Party Freshmen who upset their sensibilities, because the TEA Party broke the rules.  For decades, the elites of both parties have contentedly lied to themselves and each other. Washington, and those whose livelihood depends on the status quo, are furious: “How dare they tell me the truth?  When are these people going to learn how things are done around here? Thanks to the TEA Party movement, Conservatism is on the verge of a major victory that dwarfs the technical and actual realities of whatever the details of the resulting deficit deal contained. Yes, there is a long, long way to go, but the idea that America doesn't have to be governed for eternity as a debtor nation with a mammoth, out-of-control, ever-expanding government is winning the day. It is tipping the balance with increasing decisiveness against an idea that has become so much a part of conventional wisdom that even some conservatives, startlingly including, inexplicably, the Wall Street Journal, have displayed the wobblies at the thought of confronting the ever stronger TEA Party. Please, TEA Party congressmen, keep telling the truth, and expect those who've lied to themselves and each other for decades are going to scream and attack, but America is finally awaking from its long complacent slumber .  

(“Does This Deficit Make Me Look Fat?” by Carol Peracchio dated August 2, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/does_this_deficit_make_me_look_fat.html

American Tipping Point” by Jeffrey Lord dated August 2, 2011 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2011/08/02/american-tipping-point )

 

President Obama does not care much about deficits, other than worrying that big debt might matter in his re-election campaign. In his first three budgets, Obama borrowed nearly $5 trillion. Currently, the government is borrowing about 45% of everything that it spends. Obama's projected 10-year plan would add nearly $10 trillion to existing U.S. debt. This spring he proposed the largest annual deficit in U.S. peacetime history, which is why his $3.7 trillion budget for 2012 was rejected in the Senate by a 97-0 vote. In other words, under Obama, the government during the last three years has borrowed on average about $4 billion each day. Apparently in Obama's worldview there are advantages to deficits that explain his fondness for unprecedented borrowing. In Keynesian terms, massive government red ink is supposed to foster economic prosperity by creating goods and services that a purportedly less efficient private sector cannot. The administration certainly has added an additional 100,000 federal jobs and expanded food stamps to nearly 50 million recipients, and in the process enlarged the pool of potentially grateful constituents. This belief in the superior wisdom of the state explains why almost all the Cabinet secretaries in the Obama administration came out of state or federal government, not from private enterprise. Massive deficits not only empower more federal hiring and entitlements, but at some point lead to higher taxes. This “gorge-the-beast” notion is the flip-side of the Reagan-era idea of "starving the beast" of big government by cutting federal revenue through reduced tax rates. Higher taxes to Obama are not necessarily bad if they serve to redistribute income from the affluent to the less well off, a sort of "spread the wealth" government way of addressing the supposedly inherent unfairness of private-sector compensation. The downside of massive borrowing finally outweighed the upside of bigger government. The TEA Party-inspired midterm election brought Republicans to power in the House of Representatives and scared Congressional Democrats silly. That's why Democrats in the Senate voted unanimously to reject Obama's record-deficit 2012 budget, the sort of intervention that is the fiscal equivalent of a concerned family forcing a binging relative into rehab. The mega-borrowing also did not lead to the robust economic recovery of the cyclical sort that usually follows a steep recession: Unemployment is still at 9.2%; GDP remains anemic; energy prices are still sky-high; the housing market continues to be depressed; and consumer and business confidence is flat. Finally, it is almost impossible to find any major economist who still argues for greater deficits. Note that there is no current example that might suggest big deficit spending leads to national prosperity. The unsustainable debts of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain have nearly wrecked the European Union. Opposition to the President's budget proposals amounts to more than just a know-nothing rant about no taxes, period. The unease reflects genuine puzzlement, and anger, over a President addicted to debt, who suddenly wants to preach to others about their responsibility to pay back what he once so zealously advocated that we should borrow.

(“Obama’s Spending Addiction” by Victor Davis Hanson dated July 28, 2011 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/07/28/obamas_spending_addiction_110741.html )

 

After all these high-pressure weeks of intense negotiation between the executive and legislative branches, between the two parties in our two-party system and the two houses of Congress in our bicameral system and sausage factory, how was it that no agreement had been reached? Both sides have their principles, or at least prejudices, and are sticking with them, and aren't out just to score talking points. What we have here is a difference not just of opinion but of convictions:

·    From the Left, the President believes no deal, no compromise, and especially no tax (revenue Increase) is fair unless it raises the taxes the rich already pay. It's part of his political DNA: the rich must be punished, mainly for being rich, hence it's no deal unless it includes a tax increase for those in the uppermost brackets. End of negotiations.

·    From the Right, the Republican congressmen elected in 2010 who promised to oppose any tax increase at all, and not increase the national debt unless maybe government spending is cut by at least a like amount. They seem to believe that a promise is a promise, their word is their bond, and all that, but this mystifies our sophisticates in Washington, where everybody who's anybody knows political promises are made to be broken. End of negotiations.

Adherence to principle always scandalizes the respectables in both parties, but these unruly congressional types weren't compromising their principles on schedule. The spectacle of politicians whose word is their bond is actually refreshing because we didn't realize any were left. Refusing to play the game according to the well-established rules in Washington is supposed to prove that the system is dysfunctional, to coin an overworked cliché. All the TV commentators on this highly regarded panel were just reflecting the conventional wisdom, which as usual is more conventional than wisdom. This little impasse in Congressional halls demonstrates that the system is functioning, and not functioning, just as the writers of the Federalist Papers and the framers of the Constitution designed it since this system of divided government is supposed to work against itself as power checks power till somehow this Rube Goldberg treadmill clanks out the Will of the People.

(“Heretical Thought: The System is Working” by Paul Greenberg dated July 30, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/paulgreenberg/2011/07/30/heretical_thought_the_system_is_working )

 

* 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:

·  Energy at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/energy.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com