Views on the News

Views on the News*

August 16, 2014


Incumbent Republican Senators Kansas and Tennessee won their respective primaries, defeating their Tea Party challengers, but don’t confuse birth pains with death throesThe Tea Party is on its way in, folks, not on its way out.  Change is hard and doesn’t happen overnight.  The undeniable facts are that America has huge problems, that these problems have been growing and festering for years while being ignored by our political class in Washington, and the American people are very unhappy with the state of affairs.  Three of four Americans say they not satisfied with the direction of the country and the most recent Gallup approval rating for Congress stands at 15%.  For the first time since this poll has been conducted, more than half of Americans, 51%, express disapproval of their own congressman.  The Tea Party captures a groundswell of dissatisfaction with business-as-usual in how our country is being run.  These emotions are as strong, and as legitimate, as ever.  Tea Party sentiments point to troubles in America flowing from the erosion and undermining of American institutions.  It is about restoring strength and viability to our institutions – certainly not undermining trust in them.  The most central of American institutions is our Constitution.  A priority of lawmakers and political leadership should be to work within its framework, not try to skirt around its edges.  The constitutionally defined job of the executive branch is to carry out the law, not rewrite it.  It is not the Tea Party undermining America’s most fundamental institution, but our national leaders.  Government taxes citizens and promises future pension, health care, and other benefits in return, except the future costs to provide these benefits far exceed the taxes now being paid.  The “fiscal gap,” which is not formally reported anywhere, estimates this gap today to be $210 trillion, which would require an immediate increase of 59% in tax revenue to cover it.  America is sinking while our so-called political leadership is fiddling.  The movement for major change in America is not going away.  Anyone who thinks the Tea Party is history has got to feel the same way about our country

(“Don’t mistake Tea Party birth pains for death throes” by Star Parker dated August 9, 2014 published by American Clarion at http://www.americanclarion.com/dont-mistake-tea-party-birth-pains-death-throes-32901 )


Non-stop 24/7 bad news is having a negative psychological impact because of this exposure to constant barrage of tragedy.  The current trend of breathless, protracted coverage of tragedy and calamity can be traced back to the Oklahoma City bombings.  Almost two decades later, news outlets, facing pressure from an endlessly multiplying array of competitors all zeroing in on the same stories, have greater incentive than ever before to ramp up their coverage of scary, emotionally wrenching stories.  It can be hard, sometimes, not to see media coverage as an “unrelenting flow” of negativity, especially when it’s so loudly amplified by social media.  It’s important to state what a steady diet of bad news won’t do.  It won’t give you PTSD, anxiety, or depression if you weren’t predisposed toward those conditions.  Those of us without mental illness could be affected in different, subtler ways that could have a major long-term impact.  In addition to a burgeoning sense of helplessness, cognitive shortcuts triggered by the news can also lead us to gradually see the world as a darker and darker place, chipping away at certain optimistic tendencies.  The consequences of this are one thing if you live in an age in which, once or twice an evening, you’ll see a short, bloody dispatch from a war going on across the world.  That’s a problem, because when people are led to believe things are falling apart, it affects their decision-making and their politics, whether or not their pessimism is warranted.  When people overestimate the world’s awfulness, there do appear to be real consequences.  The world is in the midst of a decades-long trend of actually becoming better: safer and healthier and more humane.  We just have the bad stuff shouted into our ears louder than ever before.  The only way to fight back against the unnecessary coarsening of our outlook is to “Just turn it off,” that is, take a break from the news.  Seek out some context and some understanding as to why certain pieces of information affect you in certain ways.  It’s both unrealistic and undesirable to construct bubbles that keep out the world’s bad news, but there’s a difference between being informed and being obsessive, and it’s a line that’s very easy to accidentally slide across in an age when there’s so much scary information zipping around.

(“What All This Bad News Is Doing to Us” by Jesse Singal dated August 9, 2014 published by New York Magazine at http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/what-all-this-bad-news-is-doing-to-us.html )

Obama and the Democrats are facing a disaster at the voting booth in November with his ratings have hit all-time lows. 70% of the public believes America is headed in the wrong direction, and polls are ranking Obama the worst President since WWII— lower than even Nixon or Carter.  ObamaCare also rates at all-time lows as it just experienced one of the biggest month-to-month opinion drops in the history of polling.  America is being destroyed by the “murder of the middle class.”  It is a deliberate, purposeful, and planned destruction. Every day, the middle class sees their jobs being destroyed and replaced by low wage part-time jobs and/or government checks. Every day, their bills for gasoline, electric, groceries, and health insurance goes up. Every day, their job prospects, income, and assets go down.  Little by little, the proud middle class is being forced to grovel for government checks or subsidies just to survive.  It is not happening by accident, mistake, or coincidence. This is a purposeful plan and it is succeeding.  Middle class Americans are finally learning to watch what Obama does, not what he says.  Obama’s policies are helping the super-rich, the corporate elite, and the poor, but those same policies are murdering middle class mobility and opportunity, raising costs, and destroying the livelihoods of middle class Americans.  ObamaCare is no longer a theory in a campaign speech as America’s middle class is now living and experiencing it firsthand.  ObamaCare demands this middle aged couple pay to cover pregnancy, prenatal, sex change surgery, and abortions— none of which they’ll ever need in his remaining lifetime.  The middle class has to pay extra to cover the costs of the 30 million people receiving ObamaCare for free.  The middle class is being financially murdered, and now, they know it.  It’s hitting their pocketbooks hard.  Many conservative pundits may have predicted it before, but now, the cat is out of the bag.  ObamaCare is no longer a theory on paper, or political promises at a campaign rally.  ObamaCare is the law and people are experiencing it, and it is destroying middle class lives from coast to coast.  That was the plan all along.  It was never about improving healthcare.  It was always about income redistribution to shift the cost to the middle class.  It was always about making the middle class poor and dependent on government.  Yes, Obama has been successful in his purposeful plan to murder the middle class, but wait until he sees what we’re going to do to him and his Democrat allies in November - the middle class will have their revenge.

(“Obama is About to Experience “the Revenge of the Middle Class’” by Wayne Allyn Root dated August 12, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/wayneallynroot/2014/08/12/obama-is-about-to-experience-the-revenge-of-the-middle-class-n1877737 )


No one is debating whether the socialist moment has arrived, since the people in this nation are either championing it or fighting a rear guard action against it.  Socialism’s big moments arrive when people feel helpless. It does well during depressions and recessions, and that’s how we ended up with FDR, Clinton and Obama.  The debate over the libertarian moment and its train schedule is a debate about ideas and issues rather than people, and it’s the people who make the moment.  Socialism is a sleazy insurance salesman whose product may be bad, but people are a lot more likely to buy it when they’re worried about the future.  Europe turned to socialism after its people lost confidence in the future and themselves. America is turning to socialism after a similar crisis of confidence.  Reagan’s greatest gift to his country was averting a similar implosion by trading the malaise of the Carter years for a sense of national confidence.  Aside from all his policies, he kept the sense of failure at bay.  Cheerleaders for the libertarian moment note that confidence in government is low, but so is confidence in the future. Those who don’t believe in the future also don’t believe in themselves. Without a sense of individual confidence and competence, there is no libertarian moment.  It’s not enough to realize that government has failed. People also have to believe that they can succeed.  The libertarian moment can only arrive when people have more confidence in their ability to succeed on their own than they do in the institutions of government.  The libertarian moment hasn’t arrived just because Americans decide that their country is run by incompetent thieves.  It won’t make them any more willing to change than many of the migrants arriving from south of the border and looking for an even bigger big government than the corrupt totalitarian mess that they left behind.  It’s easy to sell the future as libertarian if you prioritize social liberalism over fiscal conservatism.  There is no libertarian moment without fiscal conservatism.  The libertarian paradox is that those Americans who stand to benefit the most from fiscal conservatism are also social conservatives.  Fiscal conservatism has something to offer prosperous middle class families who are less likely to be enthusiastic about social liberalism.  The mix of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism is appealing to wealthy men.  It’s much less appealing to a single mother raising two kids, a family in the ghetto or for that matter a family in one of the suburbs that host much of the actual drug trade.  Libertarianism was rooted in the individualism of a society where values and character were taken for granted.  A society where single motherhood is the norm, where families are vanishing and there is no meaningful sense of adulthood is a place where social liberalism is popular and fiscal conservatism is an act of wanton cruelty.  The only way to bring fiscal conservatism and social liberalism together is responsibility.  The left accepts social liberalism and rejects fiscal conservatism because it rejects individual responsibility.  There is no libertarianism without individualism and there is no individualism without individual responsibility.  Without responsibility, social liberalism is a gateway drug to socialism.  The trendy libertarianism of the moment is too focused on removing laws and not nearly as conscious of what laws everyone will live by.  That is why its moment will never come.  It advocates ideas such as amnesty without considering the consequences.  Like its socialist counterpart, libertarianism insists that something must work because its ideas say that it will, but it does not take into account how people actually behave.  Government is not the enemy. It is a symptom of the problem. There is no way to get rid of a nanny state, until the child grows up.  The libertarian moment will come not when there are no laws, but when everyone lives responsibly by their own laws.

(“Why the Libertarian Moment Isn’t Here” by Daniel Greenfield dated August 15, 2014 published by Front Page Magazine at http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/dgreenfield/why-the-libertarian-moment-isnt-here/ )


The chief law enforcement officer of the United States is the Attorney General, who is charged with the investigations and prosecutions of Federal crimes.  However our Attorney General selectively seeks out crimes to investigate and turns a blind eye to those crimes and scandals that will discredit his political interests.  Our Founding Fathers crafted a form of government that was supposed to have power distributed across the three main branches of government.  They were wary of concentrating too much power in any single component of government.  They installed checks and balances against the concentration of governmental power so as to steer America clear of any despot coming into total control of our government, but “time and tide” have eroded their vision.  The office of the Attorney General has become a political extension of the President, choosing what to investigate, what to prosecute, what documents to share with the Congress, and what to tell the American people.  The sad fact is that the chief law enforcement officer of the United States has often become more of a “political pawn with a badge.  We claim to be a nation of laws and we boast that we have “equal protection under the law.”  The recent IRS scandals have shown just how jaded the “equal protection” mantra has become.  Even the most political of Attorneys General has had to function in good faith to enforce some laws.  The Courts cannot take on the responsibility of the Office of the Attorney General.  That would present too much of a conflict of interest for the judges, and, certainly the Congress is no place for the law enforcement arm of government.  Allowing the contempt for the law to go unchecked is equally destructive to our Republic.  The Attorney General should be barred from acting in his office until he has been re-confirmed each year.  This all may sound a bit radical, but it could provide a constitutionally mandated forum for forcing some disclosure of the more politically driven agendas that seem to creep into the workings of the Office of the Attorney General.  Light” is a great disinfectant and a little constitutionally mandated “light” shining into the actions of the Attorney General just might bring pause to that office when they undertake politics over “blind enforcement of the law”.

(“What to do about politicization of the Attorney General’s office?” by Richard Kline dated August 11, 2014 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/08/what_to_do_about_the_politicization_of_the_attorney_generals_office.html )

Barack Obama deliberately set out to lose the war in Iraq, and he did.  He defied the advice of his joint chiefs of staff to secure America’s formidable military presence and keep 20,000 troops in country, and left Iraq to its own devices and the tender mercies of Iran.  In doing so, he betrayed every American and Iraqi who gave his life to create a free Iraq and keep it out of the clutches of the terrorists.  Iraq is now a war zone dominated by the terrorist forces of the Islamic State, whose rise Obama’s policies fostered.  Both his secretaries of state praised the animal Bashar Assad as a “reformer” and a man of “peace,” helping him to thwart his domestic opposition.  The Islamic State was born out of the Syrian chaos that ensued.  Far worse was Obama’s open support for America’s mortal enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood, spawner of al-Qaeda and Hamas.  During the “Arab Spring,” Obama essentially put America’s weight behind the legitimization of this murderous organization that had been outlawed for 40 years for its assassinations and conspiracies against the Egyptian regime.  During the Brotherhood’s brief tenure as the government in Egypt Obama gave these genocidal zealots more than a billion dollars in American aid and F-16 fighter-bombers that could easily reach Israel’s major population centers, which for 60 years the Brotherhood had sworn to destroy.  By his feckless interventions in the Middle East, and his tacit support for the chief organization of Islam’s terror war against the West, Obama has set the Middle East on fire.  His illegal intervention in Libya violated every principle that Obama and the Democrats invoked to attack President Bush and undermine America’s war against the Saddam regime and the terrorists in Iraq.  Thanks to Obama, Libya is now in the hands of the terrorists and thousands of Libyans are fleeing to Tunisia and Egypt. Thanks to Obama, the Christian communities of Iraq, which date back to the time of Christ, are being slaughtered.  Because of Obama’s aversion to America’s role as a keeper of international peace, the tyrant Putin has been able to swallow Crimea and threaten the rest of Ukraine. Since his election in 2009, Obama’s policies have been responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people and will result in the deaths of tens of thousands more. Thanks to his efforts to destroy America’s borders, Americans may be included in this grim toll.  This series of acts showed Obama’s contempt for the American military, contempt for the American people, and sympathy for America’s enemies, an attitude that has been revealed over and over again.

(“Obama’s Treachery and Republican Silence” by David Horowitz dated August 9, 2014 published by Front Page Magazine at http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/david-horowitz/obamas-treachery-and-republican-silence/ )


In the early days after 9/11 President Bush defined the war against “Islamic fascists” who were waging the “decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, but Obama re-defined the struggle as a limited engagement that could be ended with calendar driven benchmarks.  For a time, many liberals bought into the idea that America was heading into a generational struggle with jihadism.  That consensus evaporated in the hot rage ignited by the Iraq war.  By the time President Obama was elected, even the war in Afghanistan, once the good war according to most Iraq-war critics, had become an emotional albatross.  This was a triumph for the new enlightened consensus that the war on terror wasn’t really a war at all.  Obama viewed terrorism as a manageable problem for the experts, not a civilization struggle.  When new threats emerged, the White House dismissed them with the whitewash that “core al-Qaeda” was “on the run.”  All pretenders to al-Qaeda’s mantle were little more than a “jayvee” squad, as Obama put it.  One jayvee squad, the self-styled Islamic State formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, now controls the territorial equivalent of Britain and is one of the best-equipped and ideologically committed military forces in the Middle East.  The Islamic State’s atrocities are too numerous and too horrible to list here. It includes rape and slavery, religious cleansing, mass murder, public crucifixions, and beheadings.  No one in the West wants a generational struggle with jihadism any more than Israel wants perpetual war with Hamas in Gaza. The problem is the enemy always gets a vote and the Middle East may become the West’s Gaza, and, so far, nobody has a good answer for what to do about it.

(“The West’s Gaza” by Jonah Goldberg dated August 13, 2014 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/385276/wests-gaza-jonah-goldberg )


* 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:

·  Family at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/family.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY