RTCS

Views on the News

August 13, 2011

Views on the News*

Even in the midst of all the Obama Regime destruction, America has something to celebrate: TEA Party Patriots are keeping Obama from completing his threatened Fundamental Transformation of AmericaTEA Party remains a valid outpouring of popular opinion about the growth of government and taxes. The TEA Party movement is made up of middle class, sensible, God-fearing and Constitution-loving Americans is all that stands between us and the corrupt politicians. Freedom lovers everywhere owe the TEA Party admiration and gratitude. It has long defied belief how far the Obama Regime would go to demonize the Grandmas and Grandpas in the TEA Party Movement. Thanks to the Gallup Poll, we now know why. The percentage of Americans who expressly state that they are supporters of the Tea Party movement is currently about as large at 22% of the population as the 21% who say they are liberals, according to recent but separate Gallup polls. After nearly three years of trying to edge America over the abyss, Obama and his ridiculous ring of czars and movie stars are vastly outnumbered by the “enemy”. Not only are the Lib-Left seriously outnumbered by the TEA Party, at 41% of the population, self-described conservatives outnumber both TEA Party movement supporters and liberals by nearly 2-to-1. Interestingly, 21% of Americans described themselves as liberals which is the same percentage that described themselves as liberals in Gallup surveys in 2010 and 2009. Even with all the unelected czars at his command; even with the mainstream media in his tank; even with all the money and all the propaganda in his bag of tricks, the Liberals are not growing under the Marxist in Chief, but remain at a breathtaking standstill.

(“The glorious truth: Tea Party Movement outnumbers Obama Libs!” by Judi McLeod dated August 6, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/39186 )

Freedom may make us uncomfortable at times because the price of freedom is trust in the freedom of another, but the Rule of Law transcends the human desire to control and demands mutual respect for freedom and it is that reciprocity that ensures a just society. The Rule of Law is the reign of equal justice through a legal framework -- a basic rulebook.  This rulebook defines the role, powers, and limitations of a government, along with the rights and immunities of the citizens.  A good rulebook is simple and has a legal modification process (much like our amendment system) but is neither dead nor living.  This framework, a compact between the citizens in a society, is etched in stone and not subject to fluidity or selective interpretation.  An economy is a collection of consumer and producer decisions and does not bend to the will of government.  Government, at its best, can only guess at or react to changes in the market.  Repeated government intervention into a market adds to the uncertainty government promises to eliminate.  Most regulation injects artificial rules and facilitates booms and busts, often to protect the current ruling class and their favored constituents.  The Rule of Law demands equal freedom of choice, not a freedom dependent upon government approval or political affiliation. Humans sought mutual respect for rights, not a sliding scale of rights that gives way to social and political goals.  Whatever your views on the Founders or the history of the U.S. Constitution, we must return to our founding document and the Rule of Law.  We must engage the future with a self-interested focus on liberty and not on our empty desires of government.  If we are indeed the American exception to a world history rife with tyranny and oppression, if our torch bends towards freedom, then let us set the fire anew and reforge our destiny and return to our Constitution.

(“In Defense of Our Document” by Michael Hoag dated August 7, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/in_defense_of_our_document.html )

How many times have we heard it said that Barack Obama is the smartest President ever, but I don't buy it, since I just think the President isn't very bright. Socrates taught that wisdom begins in the recognition of how little we know. Obama is perpetually intent on telling us how much he knows. Aristotle wrote that the type of intelligence most needed in politics is prudence, which in turn requires experience. Obama came to office with no experience. Much is made of the President's rhetorical gifts. This is the sort of thing that can be credited only by people who think that a command of English syntax is a mark of great intellectual distinction. Can anyone recall a memorable phrase from one of Mr. Obama's big speeches that didn't amount to cliché? Then there is Obama as political tactician:

·    He makes predictions that prove false.

·    He makes promises he cannot honor.

·    He raises expectations he cannot meet.

·    He reneges on commitments made in private.

·    He surrenders positions staked in public.

·    He is absent from issues in which he has a duty to be involved.

·    He is overbearing when he ought to be absent.

Then there's his habit of never trimming his sails, much less tacking to the prevailing wind. Obama appears to consider himself immune from error. It explains his insulting and politically inept habit of suggesting, whether the issue is health care, or Arab-Israeli peace, or change we can believe in at some point in God's good time, that the fault always lies in the failure of his audiences to listen attentively. In politics, a failure of communication is always the fault of the communicator. It takes actual smarts to understand that glibness and self-belief are not sufficient proof of genuine intelligence. Stupid is as stupid does, said the great philosopher Forrest Gump, and the Presidency of Barack Obama is a case study in stupid does.

(“Is Obama Smart?” by Bret Stephens dated August 9, 2011 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904140604576495932704234052.html )

 

The report on economic growth for the second quarter of 2011 completes the burial of Obamanomics, and the model of a national welfare system with comprehensive entitlements, which is paid for by the wealth created through capitalist endeavor, has been found unsustainable. It is the aspiration of President Obama and his liberal Democrats, who want the United States to become a European-style social democracy. The economy grew a paltry 1.3% for the quarter, with reported growth for the first quarter reduced from a meager 1.8% to a negligible 0.4%. The economy for the entire year so far has actually grown less than the weak growth we thought we had for the first quarter alone. This catastrophic failure for America's working people has resulted from President Obama doggedly following exactly the opposite of Reaganomics in every detail. In particular, Obama returned to the failed Keynesian economics of the 1970s with a vengeance. He deployed the entire arsenal of neo-Keynesian policies to lift domestic demand, including nearly a $1 trillion in stimulus, plus a battalion of temporary and targeted programs: cash for clunkers, cash for caulkers, tax credits for homebuyers, 99 weeks of jobless benefits, 'clean energy' grants, subsidies to states, and so much more. Keynesian economics has never worked, not when it was born in the 1930s and not when it finally crashed and burned in the 1970s with double-digit inflation, roaring unemployment, and deep recession all at the same time. Keynesian economics survives not as a matter of logic, but because it provides cover for what the politicians want to do: increase spending and deficits to buy votes for their political machines. What drives economic growth and prosperity, however, is not government spending and deficits, but incentives for production. That was the insight behind Reaganomics, and the reason why it was so successful. Lower tax rates increase the incentives for production by allowing producers to keep more of what they produce. Deregulation increases incentives for production by reducing the costs of production, increasing the resulting reward. Restrained, anti-inflation monetary policy expands the incentives for investment to increase production because investors know the value of their investment will not be depreciated by inflation and a declining dollar. The TEA Party was convinced that the entitlement culture and benefits programs which the Democrats were determined to preserve and extend with tax rises could only lead to the diminution of that robust economic freedom that had created the American historical miracle. We have arrived at the endgame of what was an untenable doctrine: to pay for the kind of entitlements that populations have been led to expect by their politicians, the wealth-creating sector has to be taxed to a degree that makes it almost impossible for it to create the wealth that is needed to pay for the entitlements that populations have been led to expect, etc, etc. A general correction of the imbalance between wealth production and wealth redistribution is now a matter of basic necessity, not ideological preference. The disgrace of Obamanomics is that its rigid, unreconstructed Keynesian economics was discredited in both theory and practice over 30 years ago, and this runaway Keynesian spending spree has already driven the nation to the edge of bankruptcy.

(“The Disgrace of Obamanomics” by Peter Ferrara dated August 3, 2011 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2011/08/03/the-disgrace-of-obamanomics

If we are to survive the looming catastrophe, we need to face the truth” by Janet Daley dated August 6, 2011 published by Telegraph at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/janetdaley/8685945/If-we-are-to-survive-the-looming-catastrophe-we-need-to-face-the-truth.html )

Standard and Poor’s downgraded the nation’s top-notch AAA credit rating, the first downgrade in U.S. history and a dramatic vote of no-confidence in the world’s largest economy and its political leadership, and unless drastic changes are made further downgrades are promised. The downgrade reflected their view that the effectiveness, stability and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than they envisioned when they assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner declared back in April there was “no risk” that the U.S. would have its credit rating downgraded. On July 14th, the firm placed the country on “CreditWatch Negative,” stating there was a 50% chance it would cut the long-term rating in the next 90 days. The House “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan was the only plan considered that met the S&P’s criteria of an agreement that “would be enacted and maintained throughout the decade.” S&P was looking for $4 trillion in cuts in the recent debt ceiling agreement, but the final deal called for half that amount, and only after additional negotiations by a 12-member committee, which aren’t due to be submitted until Thanksgiving. Moody’s and Fitch credit agencies affirmed the government’s platinum rating, though both firms cautioned that a downgrade could occur if the next rounds in deficit cuts prove unsatisfactory. A single downgrade could have little bearing on the market, but a move by all three main ratings agencies would likely force huge investment funds that must hold only the safest of bonds to sell en masse. In the short term, this unprecedented news will hammer national prestige, hike interest rates, and heap short-term agony on an already achy nation. However, this startling downgrade may supply the face-down-in-the-gutter moment that Washington’s bipartisan spendaholics desperately need to hit rock bottom, grow up, and enter rehab. S&P also announced it was issuing a “negative outlook,” raising the possibility of additional downgrades in the next two years. Washington refuses to learn what millions of overextended Americans recognize daily: One cannot escape debt by tunneling ever deeper into it. A serious re-evaluation about the size and nature of government is essential. Many Americans have lost sight of the reality that government functions best from the local level outward, not the national level inward. The monumental amount of waste that occurs in a process which essentially involves the states sending money to Washington, only to have Washington send it back, can no longer be tolerated.  The monumental immorality of a country in which half its population is tethered to a government underwritten by the other half must also be addressed. On the revenue side, fundamental tax reform, as opposed to class warfare, must be undertaken. Eliminating loopholes is a no-brainer, both economically and morally, as it will give Americans the sense that everyone is paying their “fair share.” There is no viable substitute for putting more Americans back to work. President Obama seems in denial when he declares “No matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a triple-A country.” China’s state-run newspaper, Xinhua News Agency, explained exactly what our current dilemma necessitates. ”To cure its addiction to debts, the United States has to re-establish the common sense principle that one should live within its means,” it said. Right now the country still has the power to re-establish common sense principles, but Americans should make no mistake: if we continue to kick the fiscal can down the road, common sense principles will be imposed on us, not by us.

(“U.S. loses AAA credit rating from S&P” by Josh Boak and Carrie Budoff Brown dated August 5, 2011 published by Politico at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/60778.html

America: Downgraded & Degraded” by Arnold Ahlert dated August 6, 2011 published by Front Page Magazine at http://frontpagemag.com/2011/08/06/america-downgraded-degraded/

Debt Downgrade” by Deroy Murdock dated August 8, 2011 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/273878/debt-downgrade-deroy-murdock )

 

When Standard & Poor's lowered our credit rating, it wasn't just a fiscal reality, it was symbolic of a man who has downgraded the White House, the Constitution, human life, foreign policy, and race relations -- and America herself - Welcome to the reign of President Downgrade. The U.S. is the nation that defeated Nazism, stood down communism, and helped spread democracy and freedom wherever these ethereal blessings could take root.  It is the land that has provided 300 million people of all races, creeds, and colors unprecedented wealth and human rights.  For these reasons and others, American presidents generally exhibited a healthy patriotism, but not President Downgrade:

·    He started this downgrade even before taking office.  In a 2008 Berlin speech he said, "I know my country has not perfected itself.  At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people.  We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions." 

·    Within months of taking office, he had already apologized for America on foreign soil.  In 2009 he said that the U.S. "has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive" toward Europe when speaking to, of all peoples, the French.  

·    He has downgraded our Constitution as well, with his effort to turn us into a top-down, command-control socialist state.  He has undermined the rule of law and our system of checks and balances and has further subverted the Natural Economy; he has visited on us blatantly unconstitutional ObamaCare, which was bought but not paid for with bribery and backroom deals; he has in a sense nationalized the banks, the financial arena, and automakers; and he next wants to institute a cap-and-trade scam that would give Big Brother a vice-grip around the private sector's neck, to name just a few of President Downgrade's constitutional trespasses. 

·    He has downgraded foreign policy by snubbing longtime allies such as Britain and Israel.  Perhaps even worse, he has bowed to potentates in reality, and to the world metaphorically.  As to the latter, his tendency to behave as if he is ashamed of his country tells other leaders he is a weak sister who can be had.  Moreover, people generally are contemptuous of those who throw their own under the bus; no one respects a traitor. 

·    President Downgrade seeks to downgrade human life with his opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, his lifting of the ban on overseas abortion funding, and ObamaCare's taxpayer financing of abortion through insurance plans.

·    He has downgraded the White House by inviting thuggish rappers into its once-hallowed halls and by introducing a new level of informality. 

·    Post-racial Mr. Downgrade has downgraded race relations as well.  He presides over a Department of Justice that, whistleblowers have informed, will not pursue voting-rights cases in which the victims are white and the victimizers are minorities. 

There is something worse than having a President Downgrade: having a people downgraded to the point at which they would elect him.  In 2008, Americans saw a Chicago-machine thug, an urban rube, a radical Alinskyite who owned the Senate's most left-wing voting record (even to the left of that body's only avowed socialist), a man who sat in the "U.S. of KKKA" church for 20 years, and they pulled the lever for him.  Upgrading the White House is relatively easy; that takes only one usual election or unusual impeachment proceeding, but upgrading the culture, restoring hearts and minds so they deserve freedom and not fetters, is a different matter entirely.

(“President Downgrade” by Selwyn Duke dated August 10, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/president_downgrade.html )

 

Out on the campaign trail, President Obama is again proposing more federal spending as his answer to sluggish growth and jobs, but these spending ideas didn’t work the first time you tried them and certainly won’t work any better now, Mr. President. Barack Obama is a liberal ideologue who is intellectually incapable of any change from his core leftist beliefs:

·    He wants more infrastructure spending, undoubtedly in the form of an infrastructure bank, an idea borrowed from Latin America, where bloated and corrupt bureaucratic construction agencies have helped bankrupt any number of countries in the past.

·    He wants to lengthen 99-week unemployment insurance, although numerous studies have shown that continuous unemployment benefits are associated with higher unemployment.

·    And he wants to extend the temporary payroll tax credit, which is not a permanent reduction in marginal tax rates, has no incentive effect, has not worked so far, and is really a form of federal spending, not real tax relief.

When he signed the debt-ceiling bill, the President reverted to form and ranted on about the need to raise tax rates on successful earners, investors, and small businesses. He’s trying to bring back tax hikes as part of the phase-two special committee seeking additional deficit reduction, even though his own party rebuffed him on this in the late stages of the debt talks. All this is a prescription to grow government, not the economy.  The most recent unemployment rate slipped to 9.1%, but that’s mostly because nearly 200,000 workers left the civilian labor force. Another negative is the household employment survey, which fell 38,000 in July after dropping nearly half a million in June. That survey measures job creation among small owner-operated businesses or the lack thereof. Seven times the President or the Democrats have announced a “pivot” to jobs since 2009. The fact that Obama et al keep having to “pivot” towards jobs tells you that they’re not actually paying attention to jobs or prioritizing economic growth. The latest economic numbers reflect the Democrat’s lack of focus and their lack of understanding of how the economy works. Over two years of so-called economic recovery, growth has averaged about 2.5%. It fell to less than 1% in the first half of this year, largely from a commodity-price shock that included oil, gasoline, and food price spikes. The most current outlook is a return to the sub-par 2.5% growth trend rather than dip back into recession, but unemployment may hover around 9% right up to election time next year and throwing more money at the problems won’t do it, Mr. President.

(“Let’s ‘Pivot to Jobs,’ for at least the Seventh Time” by Bryan Preston dated August 3, 2011 published by Pajamas Media at http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/08/03/lets-pivot-to-jobs-for-at-least-the-seventh-time/More Obama Spending Won’t Do It” by Larry Kudlow dated August 6, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/larrykudlow/2011/08/06/more_obama_spending_won%e2%80%99t_do_it )

 

The time is now to change strategy and reposition our armed forces for present and future operations and before we commit our Armed Forces into any conflict, the policy must firmly answer the question:” is this enemy a threat to the United States and the American people? Military decision makers have bankrupted the United States, are decimating our Armed Forces by continuing critical budget cuts, wearing out our military equipment and wearing down our force structure with extended operations in the Middle East. Our nation simply does not have the human and financial resources to continue investing blood and treasure into nation building enterprises or foreign aid packages into the Middle East. The war against mainstream Islamic Jihadist forces and a sick ideology has been and will continue to be one requiring unconventional solutions. The White House and the Pentagon either do not understand this, or are in abject fear of calling this a war against a manifestly evil ideology, cloaked in the robes of a so-called religion. We can strike the enemy from any of our established friendly (domestic and overseas) and seaborne “Lily Pads” when intelligence dictates clear and present dangers to America, its people, its interests and its assets. Lily Pads are established bases in safe areas where joint force operations can be launched at any time. Based on well-established human and technical intelligence operations, we can hit any enemy target globally; with precision, decisiveness, lethality, and assured success. Between the years of 2001 through early 2003, the war in Afghanistan was won by the United States. It was won because United States Special Operations Command was granted control over the country to incorporate plans of execution to rid Taliban from control of Afghanistan. The tactical and operational plans created by our Special Operatives were sound and executable proving success. They covertly struck hard from “lily pads”, overwhelming the enemy, without warning. Striking from a set base is easy to track, and the enemy is warned early, allowing them to ambush in proactive ways, rather than the previous need to react. When will we realize that you cannot “Nation-Build” in an area of conflict until the enemy is totally defeated? We are there to spread Democracy and Nation Build, while the house is still on fire; a nightmare. We have made great and innovative technological advances in weapons systems; in the air, sea and ground, communications, advanced intelligence systems, and command and control systems but we must have new and adaptive strategies. Our military is for national security, defending our country, and defeating our enemies before they bring havoc and harm to our citizens. Unfortunately, American leaders are increasingly trying to transform this magnificent force into one optimized for counterinsurgency and humanitarian missions using conventional war strategies followed on by long-term military occupations.

(“Revise U.S. Military Strategy Now – Part II” by Paul E. Vallely dated August 6, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/39215)

 

The terrible violence in Oslo was the killing of innocent people in the name of religious and political hatred, but when Christians are in the minority and Muslims in the majority, are we equally upset by murder, intimidation and religious hatred? The world is standing silent as Christians living in Muslim-majority lands are killed, and their killers are venerated. Today, Christians, regardless of affiliation, are being systematically harassed, persecuted, and murdered throughout the Middle East, the region of the globe from which Christianity first emerged.  Churches have been bombed and those attending Christian services have been killed.  Christian homes have been ransacked and cemeteries have been destroyed.  Converts from Islam to Christianity are considered apostates and subject to severe punishment.  Christians once represented significant populations in the Middle East; the Copts of Egypt, the Assyro-Chaldeans of Iraq, the Maronites of Lebanon, and the Southern Sudanese.  Yet from the later part of the 20th century until today, the indigenous Christians are becoming refugees in the face of Muslim violence and persecution:

·    Lebanon was once 60% Christian, but today there are only 1.5 million Lebanese Christians, approximately a third of the country. 

·    In Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, Christians were once 90% of the population, but are now a very small fraction of that. 

·    In Iraq, roughly only a third of all of Christians prior to the war remain. 

·    In Turkey, the head of the Catholic Church in Turkey, Bishop Luigi Padovese, was repeatedly stabbed and then decapitated.

·    In Saudi Arabia, a Muslim nation that purports to be America's ally, it is still a crime to hold private religious ceremonies for any faith other than Islam. 

We in the West tend to gloss over these incidents, but we should not be so dismissive.  The treatment of religious minorities, or any minorities, often tells us a great deal about the majority.  If Islamic majorities hear no moral outrage and receive no resistance when they harass Christians, why stop the incitement and intolerance? There is only one historical metaphor for today's Middle East Christians: The Jews of Europe in the decades prior to the Holocaust.  Like today's Christians, the Jews of Europe were a minority, once thriving and at peace with their neighbors.  They, too, were subject to discrimination by state authorities and orchestrated violence.  Those who left Europe as refugees were the lucky ones; those left behind became victims of genocide.  The lesson we learn is a simple one: If we do not protect the freedom of conscience in all societies, the dark hatred of religious bigotry is sure to inflict damage on an unimaginable scale

(“The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East” by Cheryl Halpern dated August 7, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/the_persecution_of_christians_in_the_middle_east.html )

 

* 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:

·  Bibliography at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/welcome/bibliography.php

·  Politics at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/politics.php

·  Economy at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/economy.php

·  Foreign Aid at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/aid.php

·  United Nations at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/unitednations.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com