RTCS

Views on the News

August 14, 2010

Views on the News*

Many American voices are lamenting the need for a rebirth of this nation after the Democrats are tossed out of office in the midterm elections in November of 2010, but that will only be the first step of rejuvenation. There are those Americans among us who believe a second revolution is as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise, and they believe the countdown has begun. I don’t think anyone in his or her right mind and aware of current events in the United States could possibly deny that The American government has failed the citizens of the US, and they have failed miserably. The government is so completely out of touch with the people who sent them there to represent them and their concerns that it has bred a cascade of anger and frustration among the American electorate. Like a snowball rolling downhill, it has increased in size, intensity, volume, and the ability to crush, that which lies in its path. To say America is seething with anger is to voice an understatement that would certainly break any stand records. American citizens are preparing for what they perceive will be a battle to reclaim their country from the Socialists, the Marxists, the Progressives, and the odd Communist, or two, tossed in among the far left liberals. It is clear the American Republic cannot survive if it continues on the path the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party controlled Congress has forced upon the American people. Those who voted for Obama in 2008 wanted “Change,” not “Chains,” but it is now clear that “Chains” is what we have, not change. I am convinced the only thing restraining Americans from manning barricades in the streets of America is the proximity of the midterm election in just a few weeks.  Never in my adult life have I seen American citizens so anxious to get to the polls and cast a ballot repudiating and denouncing the Obama and Democratic Party agenda. The folks in the Obama Regime and Obama’s lapdogs in the Mainstream Media are pretending not to notice.  Believe me, they have noticed and they scared witless, and they know what is coming in November. If there is to be a second American Revolution, it must be won at the ballot box because only a purge of Democrats from the US Congress will give America relief and allow us to begin reclaiming our dearly beloved Republic we call America.

(“Is a Second American Revolution in the Offing?” by J.D. Longstreet dated August 9, 2010 published by American Daily at http://americandaily.com/index.php/article/4241 )

 

President Obama is under water in public opinion polls, judged more unfavorably than favorably, and is a political liability to his party. There’s a nonpartisan, non-ideological measure created by Fred Greenstein that uses six criteria to evaluate the performance of a President. It is a bit subjective but still renders a valid verdict. These six criteria can be used to grade a candidate as well as a sitting president:

·    PUBLIC COMMUNICATION. This has been a glaring Obama weakness as President. He’s a good explainer but a poor persuader and he doesn’t inspire. Obama is over-exposed by appearing in public too often, and the public has lost interest.

·    POLITICAL SKILL. Obama has been a smashing success in putting his stamp on policies and getting them enacted: economic stimulus, health care, financial reform. However Obama has failed at fostering and husbanding public support.

·    VISION. A vision is a set of guiding principles that make a President’s policies hang together as a coherent whole. Obama’s vision is that the federal government should intervene more aggressively in just about everything, but unpopular in 2010.

·    ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY. As best one can tell, Obama has organized his administration effectively. A President’s success in designing “effective institutional arrangements” may not become totally clear until after he leaves office.

·    COGNITIVE STYLE. Obama definitely is a master when it comes to acquiring and sifting information and using it effectively. Obama always seems to have plenty of relevant information that he can call up. He’s impressive at trotting out details.

·    EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. It’s the ability to control one’s emotions and not let them detract from a president’s mission. Obama, with his cool demeanor, is fair at this but recently he’s been peevish in public—not a good sign.

The problem for Obama on these six criteria is that he does well when measured by the three less important ones—cognitive style, organizational ability, and emotional intelligence. On the big ones—communication, political skill, vision—he slips. This evaluation, better than poll results, explains why Obama is in so much trouble, and the sad truth is that he has shown nothing to make one believe that he will improve in any of the criteria that he is weak.

(“How Does Obama Measure Up?” by Fred Barnes dated August 16, 2010 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/how-does-obama-measure )

 

Prior to 1913, there was no federal income tax, the states had rights and representation in Washington, D.C., there was no Federal Reserve Bank, and the federal government lived under the enumerated powers afforded within the U.S. Constitution. The 16th Amendment to the Constitution gave the Congress the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration. Since 1913, the federal tax code has been used as a primary tool of leftist social engineering, in which the people have been forced to fund a government they no longer recognize and no longer support. The U.S. Congress has a mere 11% approval rating today, and the executive branch is supported only by the 28% of citizens who benefit personally from the robbing of fellow citizens. The states are now fiscal dependents of the federal government, and the federal government is a twenty-trillion-pound ape trampling through the rose garden of American life. Prior to 1913, the Senate was elected by each state legislature and represented the interests of the states, namely state sovereignty and states' rights. The 17th Amendment changed Senators to be directly elected, and reduced the Senate to just an extension of the people’s House of Representatives. The year 1913 gave birth to today's interpretation of the abused "supremacy clause" -- a wholly anti-American notion that the federal government has unlimited, "supreme" power over the states and the people. The recent situation in Arizona, where the Feds sued the state for attempting to enforce existing immigration laws that the Feds refuse to enforce, is but one glaring example of federal tyranny made possible by the 17th Amendment. The Federal Reserve System was established to provide a stabilizing factor to occasional extreme volatility in the financial markets, usually caused by overreaching speculative trading by only a handful of eager investors. From that moment forward, it would not be private investors who bailed out failing banks, but American taxpayers. Even worse, there would be no end to the printing of money and accumulation of public debt once the federal government via the Federal Reserve had what would be treated as a bottomless well from which to draw cash. Beginning in 2001, the Bush administration tried for seven years to convince Democrats, including Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, that there was impending trouble with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but to no avail. It was the Federal Reserve and American taxpayers who would be held accountable for the misdeeds of Democrat incompetency and a refusal to address the growing mortgage problem until there were no good options left. In the end, the Obama administration would drive the nation from $10 trillion in debt to $14 trillion in just their first two years in office, with trillions more in unfunded social spending aimed at propping up the failing labor unions that will keep them in political power. The year 1913 was one of the worst years in American history, as the people thereafter became fiscally responsible for the unethical actions of a few in banking and government. The states lost their representation in the Senate, state sovereignty, and rights, while the Fed grabbed "supreme powers" and the Federal Reserve became the arm of government that would sink the nation in a mountain of debt. In 2010, Democrats now control both houses of Congress, the White House, the press, and the courts, and the 1st, 2nd, and 10th Amendment initiatives underway in the states today are necessary due to the events of 1913. Maybe it is time for a Constitutional Convention to repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments as the first steps to reverse the damage done to this country.

(“1913 Was a Very Bad Year” by J.B. Williams dated August 8, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/08/1913_was_a_very_bad_year.html )

 

The Obama administration is the most economically incompetent administration since the Great Depression and they continue to make disastrous decisions. Two years into the Obama era, when the U.S. should be enjoying a booming recovery from the 2007-08 meltdown, with millions of new jobs and higher incomes for all, all we see is economic stagnation from the unbelievably foolish policies pursued by the White House and the Democrat-controlled Congress. Whether it's the $862 billion "stimulus" that turned into a welfare program for bankrupt states and public unions, or the $700 billion TARP program that became a giant dish of pork for Democrats and their supporters, or the job-killing duo of health care and financial reform, Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al. seem oblivious to the deep and lasting damage they're doing to America's economy. America has lost 4.1 million jobs since Obama took office and 7.7 million since the recession began in December 2007, and the Great Recession looks like 10% unemployment is the “new norm.” Since most of the jobs lost have been under this administration, there is no way Obamanomics can be called anything but a failure. We've watched in amazement as the ruling Democrats continue to repeat their mistakes from the 1990s that caused our crisis, including leaving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac untouched and raising spending by an incredible $17 trillion over the next 10 years. Instead of slashing spending, as common sense and economic reality would dictate, some want to let Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire. The regulatory and tax siege has sent America's entrepreneurial, job and wealth-creating class reeling. Virtually no one in Obama's cabinet has any experience of note in business or the private sector. As with most progressives, they believe bigger government is always the solution to our problems, which explains their egregious incompetence. The light is going on over the heads of Obama's own advisers. In addition to Romer, who foolishly forecast in 2009 that unemployment wouldn't go above 8% if the $862 billion stimulus was passed, Budget Director Peter Orszag, his reputation damaged after gilding the data in Obama's budget for two years, also is leaving. Rather than rising to the occasion and dealing with the challenge, they whine and blame the previous administration, and abandon the sinking ship. Changing key personnel will not fix the problems, unless and until the policies change, the economy will only muddle along at best and at worst, tumble back into recession. Voters are recognizing that electing Barak Obama President was a terrible mistake, so starting in November they will have opportunities to begin reversing that mistake and start undoing the damage.

(“The Propaganda of Incompetents” dated August 6, 2010 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/543025/201008061900/The-Propaganda-Of-Incompetents.aspx

This Recession Is Not Like the Others” by Ron Ross dated August 12, 2010 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2010/08/12/this-recession-is-not-like-the )

 

The nation is facing a full-blown employment crisis and policy makers in Washington are not responding with anything like the sense of urgency that is needed. The reason the unemployment rate has not been higher is because more and more people are leaving the labor force because they just stopped looking for work. Strangely enough when we compile our official jobless statistics, they are no longer counted as unemployed. Over the past three months, 1,155,000 unemployed people dropped out of the active labor force and were not counted as unemployed. Even ignoring population growth, if these unemployed had not dropped out of the labor force, simple arithmetic shows that the official unemployment rate would have risen from 9.9% in April to 10.2% in July, rather than fallen to 9.5%. Because of normal growth in the working-age population, the labor force increases by roughly 150,000 to 200,000 people per month. We have a large number of people who have just given up hope of finding a job. Nearly 45% of the 14.6 million men and women officially counted as unemployed have been out of work for six months or longer. Nearly a million and a half people have been out of work for at least 99 weeks, and not all of them qualified for jobless benefits. When you combine the long-term unemployed with those who are dropping out and those who are working part-time because they can’t find anything else, it is just far beyond anything we’ve seen in the job market since the 1930s. At some point we’re going to have to claw our way out of this denial. With 14.6 million people officially jobless, and 5.9 million who have stopped looking but say they want a job, and 8.5 million who are working part time but would like to work full time, you end up with nearly 30 million Americans who cannot find the work they want and desperately need. According to a Rasmussen survey only 8% of Americans rate the economy as good or excellent, while 55% say it is in poor shape. Consumer confidence has fallen in the last two months to a new 2010 low. We’re not heading toward the danger zone; we’re there; and the U.S. will not remain a stable society if this great employment crisis is not addressed head-on, and soon.

(“The Horror Show” by Bob Herbert dated August 9, 2010 published by The New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/opinion/10herbert.html?_r=1&ref=opinion )

 

The causes of our current financial meltdown didn’t happen overnight, but go back to the early 1990s, when President Clinton first made it official U.S. policy to encourage lending to what were called "low- and moderate-income borrowers." By 1994, Clinton's "National Homeownership Strategy" started a nationwide push to lower mortgage-lending standards to get more poor people into homes. The question arose: How could you force banks to lend to people who couldn't pay them back? The White House answered by using the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, originally intended to ensure that banks lent in communities where they had branches, to force banks to make loans to minorities and the poor. To fund it all, the White House turned to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to build a massive, multitrillion-dollar market for U.S. subprime mortgages. In November 2000, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo issued a press release trumpeting the government's reckless plans: "HUD Announces New Regulations to Provide $2.4 Trillion in Mortgages for Affordable Housing for 28.1 Million Families." Despite repeated efforts in Congress by Republicans to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007, powerful Democrats refused to cooperate. Fannie and Freddie continued to feed the housing bubble with trillions of dollars in publicly guaranteed money, until it was too late, and the sad fact is that they're still doing so. Even today, nine of 10 new mortgages are backed by Fannie and Freddie, and the two GSEs account for more than half the $10.7 trillion in mortgages outstanding. Fingerprints of the CRA, Fannie and Freddie, and the politicians who used them, are all over this monstrous fiscal crime. Yet, even as this government failure has been definitively revealed through painstaking research, the Obama administration has weirdly insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still deserve our support. Fannie Mae is now working with the National Council of State Housing Agencies to let people buy houses with little or no down payment just like the GSEs did at the height of the housing bubble. Last week, Freddie Mac was also promoting no-down payment loans, this time through an array of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs. These programs will do nothing but delay the inevitable housing market correction. Instead of letting the market sort out what these homes are really worth, the Obama administration is only prolonging economic hardship by making it harder for new home buyers to afford a moderately priced home and making it harder for those who need to move for work to sell their current homes. Last August, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that Fannie and Freddie could cost us $389 billion over the next decade, but others say the bill could be as much as $1 trillion and neither Fannie nor Freddie was addressed in the so-called “Financial Reform” bill that President Obama just signed.

(“Still Oblivious to Meltdown’s Cause” dated August 9, 2010 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/543139/201008091903/Still-Oblivious-To-Meltdowns-Cause.aspx

The Dodd-Frank Bailout is Already Here” by Conn Carroll dated August 12, 2010 published by The Hertiage Foundation at http://blog.heritage.org/2010/08/12/morning-bell-the-dodd-frank-bailout-is-already-here/ )

 

The collapse of state governments is the next crisis that will be the central event of the first half of next year and Obama is only delaying the inevitable. The notion of states seeking a handout from the federal government is a constitutional perversion.  The sovereign states have the authority to raise revenue (through taxing and borrowing) and the power to control the way that revenue is spent.  If a state faces a budget shortfall, it is a self-inflicted problem and its government has no right to shake down the citizens of neighboring states to redress its improvidence. State and local governments and school boards are hostages to the public employee labor unions that control their finances through their contracts and their politics with their donations and votes. These nominally democratic government bodies are as much under the sway of their union captors as the auto companies are of the UAW. When a Republican Congress turns off the spigot of federal bailouts, the municipal and state bond markets are going to take the hint and stop buying state paper at any interest rate. California will find its debt has become unmarketable and will come begging Congress for relief. First it will seek federal money and then its demands will escalate into a federal guarantee of its state debt. The Greek financial crisis will come to our shores in the form of state bankruptcies. The Republican solution to state financial distress should be simple: The party should insist on a change in the federal bankruptcy law providing for a procedure for state bankruptcy (none now exists). This process must call for abrogation of all state and local public employee union contracts as is usually done in private sector bankruptcies. By freeing states and local governments (including school boards) of their union obligations on wages, work rules, staffing, and pensions, they have a chance to survive and even to prosper. Merely subsidizing these massive expenditures just prolongs the misery of the states in question. By my count the $26 Billion state bailout of state education and Medicaid is the fifth such redistribution of wealth from conservative to liberal, free spending states and does nothing to fix the underlying spending problems that caused the state deficits. The coming state bankruptcies offer an opportunity for reform and the Republican Congress, backed by newly elected Republican state governments, give us precisely the opportunity we need.

(“Overspending Will Lead to Collapse of State Governments” by Dick Morris dated August 5, 2010 published by News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/blogs/Morris/id-32

The great state bailout swindle” by Howard Anglin dated August 12, 2010 published by The Daily Caller at http://dailycaller.com/2010/08/12/the-great-state-bailout-swindle/ )

 

Apparently Federal Judge Vaughn Walker is truly a visionary because peering at the 14th Amendment, Walker found something there the authors of the Amendment never knew they put there, and even the Warren Court never found there: The states of the Union must recognize same-sex marriages as equal to traditional marriage. Judge Walker listed 80 supposed “findings of fact” (FF) as evidence that Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Unfortunately, many of those 80 findings were not facts at all, but really lies, distortions, or opinions. With his discovery, Walker declared Proposition 8, by which 5.5 million Californians voted to prohibit state recognition of gay marriage, null and void. Walker ruled that what the people of California voted for is irrelevant, and you cannot vote to take away constitutional rights. If the Walker decision is upheld by the Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court, homosexual marriage will be imposed on a nation where, in 31 out of 31 state referenda, the people have rejected it as an absurdity. This is not just judicial activism; this is judicial tyranny. Thus, the Supreme Court purged Christianity from the public schools and public square of a nation whose Presidents from Wilson to Truman to Carter declared her to be a Christian country. Thus, the Supreme Court peered into the ninth amendment and found a constitutional right to engage in homosexual acts and procure abortions, both of which had been crimes. Walker says the only motivations behind Proposition 8 had been "biases" and "moral disapproval," and "moral disapproval ... has never been a rational basis for legislation." What else is the basis for laws against polygamy and incest? What else was the basis for the Mann Act, which prevented a man from taking his girlfriend across the state line to a motel? What is the basis for prohibiting prostitution, a free exchange of money for sexual favors, if not "moral disapproval"? What the judge is saying with this opinion is that the majority cannot define morality, and, even if it does, it cannot impose it. We are defenseless against what we believe to be moral decadence. Not even a judge can change the meaning of words. In every language known to man, marriage is defined as a union of a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. As Lincoln said, "How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg." "Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license," said the judge. He is calling opponents of gay marriage irrational. This is not just an insult to the intelligence of those Californians who have rejected gay marriage, but to a majority of Americans. Through history, all the great religions have condemned homosexuality and all the great nations have proscribed or punished it. None ever placed homosexual liaisons on the same plane as traditional marriage, which is the bedrock institution of any healthy society. This is nothing but Walker's personal opinion. Historically, from the late Roman Empire to Weimar, flagrant homosexuality has been associated with sick societies, decadent cultures and dying civilizations, and today would appear to be no exception.

(“The Solomon of San Francisco” by Pat Buchanan dated August 10, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/PatBuchanan/2010/08/10/the_solomon_of_san_francisco

Top Ten Gay Marriage False ‘Facts’ Part I” by Frank Turek dated August 12, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/FrankTurek/2010/08/12/top_ten_gay_marriage_false_%E2%80%9Cfacts%E2%80%9D_part_1 )

 

The latest Democrat overreach is the euphemistically named "Livable Communities Act" that masks, with feel-good rhetoric and lofty concepts like "smart growth" and "sustainable development," a top-down central planning approach to dictate where we live and work and how we travel. Livable Communities will be overseen by bureaucrats in the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Transportation and implemented through local governments. Social engineering is at the heart of the Livable Communities Act, where federal planners hope to reduce personal mobility as measured in vehicle miles traveled and shift housing patterns from single-family homes in the suburbs to small apartments in cramped central cities. This quintessentially middle-class version of the American Dream has long been derided by elites and environmentalists, who recast suburbs as a wasteful sprawl and liken automobile use to a destructive addiction. They want to delegitimize this land use pattern, restrict automobile use, and make suburban housing less affordable. Absent from their advocacy is any acknowledgment that cars and suburbia are not just expressions of freedom, but indispensable contributors to our prosperity. Not surprisingly, those in the lowest socioeconomic status travel significantly less than middle-class drivers. The poor have what Smart Growth advocates call transportation choice, meaning they are dependent on someone else's schedule or limited to what is available within walking range of a transit hub. Auto-mobility, by contrast, provides independence by empowering users to go where they want when they want. Walking, bicycling, and public transportation offer mobility, but only at lower levels compared to automobiles. It is unrealistic to think central planners can retrofit cities around transit lines and bike paths to bring within range all that can be reached by automobiles, and the trade-off is diminished opportunities along with extremely high densities in crowded, stacked central cities. In addition to mobility, property rights, private enterprise, and affordable homeownership are also threatened under this command-and-control legislation, despite the clever catchphrases that soften its message.

(“The Livable Communities Act” by Ed Braddy dated August 11, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/08/the_livable_communities_act_1.html )

 

The spread of sharia law to the entire world is part of jihad, and it is deceptive, or at best a mistake, not to see the civil aspects of sharia law as part of and an extension of its penal code, and to block it when it rears its ugly head. The first Sharia Council was begun in Birmingham, England in 1982. Muslim tribunal courts begun passing sharia judgments in August 2007 in Great Britain. In September 2008, Richard Edwards of the Telegraph reported that five sharia courts had been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford, and Manchester, and Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The British government had "quietly sanctioned" the sharia courts and made their rulings "enforceable with the full power of the judicial system." Opposition leaders in Britain voiced their deep concerns about a dual legal system. Nonetheless, Muslims had taken advantage of a British clause in the Arbitration Act of 1996, where under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case. Furthermore, "the proceedings are not recorded, nor are there any searchable legal judgments. Nor is there any real right to appeal." Because sharia law is absolute. Yet, by October 2008, secret talks were underway to bring Islamic sharia law courts to Scotland. Again, many raised concerns about the establishment of a "dual legal system." By June 2009, "at least 85 Islamic sharia courts" were operating in Britain. Sharia is a dangerous doctrine of civil arbitration, its rejection from binding arbitration. Attempts to set up sharia courts in Canada in 2005 were abandoned after protests. Since the Jewish community and the Catholic community did not want Muslims introducing sharia into Canada, they accepted the decision to ban all religious arbitration in Ontario, including their own respective tribunals. It behooves every American to seriously consider what is happening as sharia law advocates continue to insinuate their beliefs into this country, since sharia law is antithetical to freedom and equality. A classic example of real disinformation (sharia permitted lies called taqqiya) is the claim that there is no conflict with the U.S. Constitution in sharia law. Even the most superficial review of sharia shows that statement to be preposterous and misleading.  Among other Constitution-affronting features, Islamic law prohibits democratic law-making.  It requires the replacement of constitutions and governments like ours with a global theocracy governed by Islamic law.  It brutalizes women and otherwise treats them as second-class citizens and authorizes the murder of homosexuals and apostates. Sharia is, in short, wholly incompatible with our legal system, freedoms and way of life. The evidence continues to mount that the Islamists will keep chipping away until they have sharia law here if we do not push back, and push back hard!

(“Sharia Law in Canada and Britain” by Eileen F. Toplansky dated August 8, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/08/sharia_law_in_canada_and_brita.html

Coming to Grips with Shariah” by Frank Gaffney dated August 9, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/FrankGaffney/2010/08/09/coming_to_grips_with_shariah )

 

* 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:

·  Abortion at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/abortion.php

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

·  Health Care at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/healthcare.php

·  Taxes at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/taxes.php

·  Welfare at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/welfare.php

·  Defense at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/defense.php

·  Terrorism at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/terrorism.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com