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Views on the News

Views on the News*

August 22, 2015

 

Dissatisfaction with politics and politicians is swelling across the nation.  This profound discontent is what's playing out in the 2016 presidential race.  Senator Bernie Sanders and billionaire developer Donald Trump have emerged as the middle fingers of American politics.  Seen as outsiders, they're drawing attention on the ground and in the polls as they tap into our anger and our angst.  Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are the insiders, unable to relate to the rest of us.  Clinton is shackled by her six-figure speechmaking fee, her family foundation as the multimillion-dollar nexus of government and business, and an email controversy that's just the latest reminder that she plays by her own rules.  Bush is viewed as the epitome of crony capitalism.  After stepping down as Florida's governor, he made millions as an adviser to Lehman Brothers and Barclays.  They were seen as pivotal parts of a banking system that drove our economy into the ground before being rescued by a huge government bailout.  It's the infection of alienation, and it's bipartisan, and cases are being found everywhere.  It's politically connected crime at the town, the city, county and the state levels.  These local incidents are part of a larger fabric that cloaks our political scene like a moth-eaten suit.  Stitch all those actions together, and people on the outside see a system easily gamed by those in it, a system set up in some cases to allow those in it to profit at the public's expense.  It's insidious, it sucks out the public's soul, and it stinks.  Many officials do walk a straight line.  Some of what goes on might not be illegal, but it is wrong.  Politics always has been a kind of friends-and-family enterprise, but in tough times, when so many folks are wondering whether the ground beneath them will turn to quicksand, it feels like the tipping point is near.  The people are rejecting business as usual, and they “refuse to take it anymore.”

(“America’s had it with gov’t dysfunction” dated August 14, 2015 published by Newsday at http://www.newsday.com/opinion/editorial/steven-schlesinger-harendra-singh-ed-morris-sr-and-more-we-ve-had-it-with-corruption-1.10740838 )

The question of Hillary Clinton’s insecure emails looks more and more like a growing scandal.  At first, there was concern her private emails might include incriminating communications about her handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack, but now, it appears she may have illegally stored classified government emails on an unsafe personal server, left unencrypted for three months, and possibly obstructed justice by refusing to turn them over.  Eventually, she turned over about 30,000 emails to the FBI, amounting to almost half the emails on the server.  She refused to turn over the entire server, claiming that the rest of the emails were personal and unrelated to her job as Secretary of State.  Finally, however, she agreed to hand over the server and a thumb drive containing copies of the emails.  The intelligence community’s inspector general, Charles McCullough, reported to Congress that the investigation had found several violations of security policy in her personal emails, which were mislabeled as unclassified.  Doing a random audit of 40 of her emails, he found that 10% were classified but not been designated as such.  Clinton’s protege and assistant Huma Abedin, whom Clinton has said she thinks of as a daughter, was asked to turn over her emails multiple times, but the State Department stalled for her, saying she never received the requests, which were sent both by email and surface mail.  Once Congress reads through the emails, Clinton could be in more trouble.  Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy wants to know whether she ordered security forces in Benghazi to “stand down.”  So far, Clinton has not produced several emails regarding Benghazi, which are known to exist since there were 15 in Sydney Blumenthal’s email cache that he turned over to the Benghazi Committee.  Since Clinton has already made a sworn statement to a judge that she turned over all the emails, her actions could constitute perjury or obstruction of justice.  A Clinton spokesperson has said since the information was not labeled, she couldn’t have known it was classified.  Clinton is also trying to claim that the emails magically became classified later.  The inspectors general have said the emails “contained classified information when they were generated,” and “that information remains classified today.”  General Petraeus was indicted, prosecuted and convicted for having confidential, the lowest level, materials in a desk drawer in his house.  Amazingly, some in the mainstream media are dismissing what could amount to piles of felonies, endangering the lives of millions of Americans.

(“Hillary’s Emails are the Gift that Keeps on Giving” by Rachel Alexander dated August 14, 2015 published by The Stream at https://stream.org/servergate-hillarys-emails-gift-keeps-giving/ )

Grass-roots conservatives believe that their policies can make America great again, that they can make Americans more secure and prosperous.  Many of them still believe in traditional values, which are now in disrepute.  They are appalled at the systematic assault on their ideas in our public schools, our universities, the media and Hollywood.  They are horrified by the attacks on their liberties, but they have not surrendered.  They see America disintegrating rapidly and little being done to stop it.  They detect no sense of urgency from their elected representatives, and they wonder whether they are living in an alternate universe.  It's true that the Republicans don't control the executive branch, but that's no excuse for always caving and giving sissified overtures of bipartisanship to an implacable bully President.  President Obama is a lawless renegade, flouting the Constitution and the rule of law and mocking his opponents as if they were the ones overreaching, but too often, Republicans sit on their hands, refusing to exercise their powers to stop him.  It's not just that they're impotent to stop Obama, they forfeit the bully pulpit, forcing the grass roots to publicly oppose these outrages.  Liberal Democrats have relentlessly pressed their case, placing their propaganda mouthpieces in our educational system and dominating Hollywood and the media with a monolithically radical message.  Conservatives might still hold on to a slight majority, but they are no longer just a voluntarily silent one; we're a self-muzzled one.  The simplest explanation is that liberal propaganda has succeeded in making conservatives look uncompassionate, racist, sexist and homophobic.  It has even made Christians seem mean-spirited.  Liberals trade almost exclusively on identity politics, painting all Republicans and conservatives, except those who pander to them, as haters.  The irony is that liberal policies harm the people they purport to help.  The welfare state has devastated the nuclear family.  Black families have been hit the hardest.  Their economic policies have devastated the workforce.  Blacks have been hit the hardest.  Their top-down education mandates serve the teachers unions but trap minority children in vastly inferior and dangerous inner-city schools. Their campaign against law enforcement and cops has turned our cities into war zones. Black youths are being hit the hardest.  Their abandonment of border security and illegal grants of amnesty are putting us all at risk.  Blocking of entitlement reform is bankrupting America.  Onerous taxes and regulations are impoverishing America and destroying businesses and jobs.  Blacks have been hit the hardest.  Their savage support for abortion on demand is killing millions of babies and has devalued life across the board.  Black babies are hardest hit.  The gutting of the military and refusal to fight in the war on terror are destroying our national security.  Conservatives believe their values are grounded in moral absolutes, are tried and tested, and are overwhelmingly beneficial to society. They believe their policies demonstrate real compassion because they are based on results, not empty rhetoric and false promises.  Conservatives are tired of being vilified.  They long for government leaders who will fight back without apology.  They want a President who will not just campaign as a conservative but also implement conservative policies when elected.  They want America to be strong again and self-aware of its positive impact on the world.  The grass roots has seen very little of these things from the ruling class.  That's why they're rejecting most insiders and supporting outsiders and those inside who are genuinely trying to change the status quo.  It has become abundantly obvious that Obama miscalculated, that he pushed too far too fast instead of allowing liberalism to continue to grow incrementally.  Obama’s arrogance in impatiently accelerating statism is what will bring the unrepresented majority to a boil, and leading to a dramatic reversal of his fundamental transformation.

(“Has the Unrepresented Majority Finally Reached Its Boiling Point?” by David Limbaugh dated August 18, 2015 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/2015/08/18/has-the-unrepresented-majority-finally-reached-its-boiling-point-n2040005 )

The new narrative of structural racism allows everyone to duck the challenges faced by the black population.  Ta-Nehisi Coates in his new book, Between the World and Me, tells his 14-year-old son that nothing has changed and that racism is still the essence of America.  White prosperity was built on black suffering, which created the privileges that white people enjoy today.  Black-on-black carnage is the poisoned fruit of white supremacy, and is embedded in a structure that is dominated by whites.  If you are white, you have an unfair advantage based solely on your skin color, and you are part of the problem.  The racial horrors of the past are undeniable, but the reality of black life has changed immensely since the ’50s.  Black governors, mayors, and a President are the new normal.  Black families are far more prosperous.  Although discrimination has by no means disappeared, social attitudes have undergone a revolution.  Yet even as racial attitudes and racial equality evolve, enlightened people rush to don the shroud of guilt.  Much of the liberal establishment today is obsessed with white supremacy, and what to do about it.  Schoolteachers are required to take “cultural proficiency training,” so that they can “recognize the impact of systemic oppression of people in America who are not heterosexual white men.”  When Coates published an article in The Atlantic last year calling for trillions in reparations, it was received with widespread enthusiasm.  Some black intellectuals, however, are not all crazy about the cult of Coates.  The doctrine of structural racism according to Coates has become a new form of liberal religion.  His book is not so much an intellectual argument as a fiery testament from the pulpit.  White progressives have embraced the gospel because it allows them to feel absolved from the charge of racism.  By professing their guilt, they can also display their virtue to their peers.  If structural racism is to blame for black violence, then communities will never be able to heal themselves.  In Coates’s world, race is destiny.  Where is today’s equivalent of Martin Luther King, who preached a narrative of progress, hope, and redemption?  Tragically, he doesn’t exist, and if he did, nobody would listen to him.  The tragedy of race relations in America today is that nihilism and rage are a bigger draw.

(“White America dons the shroud of guilt” by Margaret Wente dated August 15, 2015 published by The Globe and Mail at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/white-america-dons-the-shroud-of-guilt/article25971483/ )

Many in the pro-family movement have long stressed that the cultural Marxist left’s belligerent push for the judicial fiction that is “gay marriage” was never about gaining “equal access” to this biologically exclusive male-female institution, but, rather, is, and has always been, about control.  While there are many layers to unfold, the almost instant explosion in government-sanctioned, anti-Christian extremism on display post Obergefell v. Hodges, confirms the poisonous three-fold agenda that underlies the “social justice” mob’s flowery “marriage equality” propaganda: 1) the ultimate destruction of marriage, 2) forced affirmation of sexual deviancy under penalty of law, and 3) the eventual criminalization of Christianity.  The homosexual endgame is not to achieve so-called “marriage equality” but, rather, to render marriage reality meaningless.  The goal is to water down marriage until marriage is pointless. And as evidenced by the burgeoning legal push for polygamous and incestuous “marriages,” even for the “right” to marry” a robot, sexual anarchists are well on their way to achieving this goal.  Next a County Clerk was found who had religious objections to same-sex “marriage” and refused to issue a marriage license based on a violation of her First Amendment right to religious free exercise and the biblical mandate that she must not participate in this explicitly sinful activity.  The plaintiffs in this case only sought licenses from this Clerk after learning of her religious objections to same-sex “marriage” and they refused to obtain a license elsewhere.  If the clerk is forced to issue counterfeit same-sex “marriage” licenses, she would not only be disobeying God and directly participating in expressly sinful activity, she would be violating her constitutional oath, since the law was changed unconstitutionally by unelected judges redefining the definition of marriage after she took her oath of office.  Americans are guaranteed the freedom to live and work consistent with their faith.  Government has a duty to protect people’s freedom to follow their beliefs personally and professionally rather than force them to adopt the government’s views.  The strategy is to deny Christian free exercise a little at a time. Judges across our fruity plain simply order from the bench that millions of Christians must either deny recognition of God’s natural order and Christ’s admonition to “go and sin no more,” or face prison for “contempt of court.”  Welcome to America 2015, where evil is good, men are women, judges are tyrants, and Christians are persona non grata.

(“The ‘Gay Marriage’ Gauntlet: Time to Choose” by Matt Barber dated August 17, 2015 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/mattbarber/2015/08/17/the-gay-marriage-gauntlet-time-to-choose-n2039288 )

The U.S. is experiencing its worst recovery and expansion since the Great Depression, and the commentariat is puzzled.  An ambitious new gauge of economic and personal freedom shows that the U.S., once a bastion of the free economy, has gone backward.  The "Human Freedom Index," a joint effort of the Fraser Institute, The Liberales Institut and the Cato Institute, seeks to measure all aspects of freedom: personal, civil and economic.  Its findings for the U.S. are troubling: We now rank 20th in freedom worldwide, down from 17th in 2008.  In other words, we're less free under Barack Obama.  The survey measures 152 countries by 12 broad criteria ranging from the rule of law and freedom of expression to the size of government and regulation.  Most troubling is that not only has the U.S. slipped but the whole world has "stagnated."  After the 2007-2008 financial crisis, in many countries, but the U.S. in particular, "crisis taxes were raised, financial markets reregulated, free trade restricted, loose monetary policies introduced."  Rising freedom is highly correlated with rising incomes.  It could be said that freedom is almost a necessary condition for economic growth.  On this score, the last eight years have been tough.  Cato's isn't the only report to find this.  The Cox School of Business at SMU has for decades issued an "Economic Freedom of the World" report, noting that, despite a global trend toward more freedom, U.S. economic freedom is in decline.  We're no longer even in the top 15.  The Heritage Foundation has for years also put out its “Index of Economic Freedom.”  It too shows the U.S. losing ground, and we peaked in 2007.  So we're becoming less free, not more.  There's been much hand-wringing in Washington, the mainstream media and elsewhere over the pathetic 2% GDP growth of the Obama years and the decline in the share of the population with jobs.  As these indexes show, the steady decline in economic and personal freedom since the financial meltdown in 2007 and 2008 is almost certainly to blame.  We've tried the far-left Democratic nostrums — higher taxes, bigger government, soaring debt, more regulation, Keynesian stimulus. They all restrict freedom, and they haven't worked.  The next President should reverse the failed top-down policies of the Obama era, and free the economy, and watch it boom.

(“Is Economic Malaise of Obama Years Due to a Loss of Freedom” dated August 19, 2015 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/081915-767329-as-obama-years-show-less-freedom-means-less-economic-output.htm )

The United States might not be prepared to fight a sustained military conflict with Russia, and this is not the first time in recent weeks Pentagon officials have raised flags about the Russia threat and the U.S. lack of preparedness to deal with it.  The most obvious lesson here is to come up with a plan to deter Russia and make up for the readiness gaps, although these things take years and a big bump in resources to do.  There’s a deeper, more critical lesson policymakers and voters should not miss, because the United States isn’t flat-footed only when it comes to a potential conflict with Russia.  China is also challenging the United States in key areas like cyber-security and in missile development.  Here’s the problem: since the end of the Cold War the idea of war with modern countries with highly sophisticated militaries with nuclear weapons has seemed so unlikely, if not impossible, that U.S. leaders simply haven’t given it as much thought or devoted the necessary resources to keep elements of the military force, especially the nuclear deterrent, fully modernized.  Since the Al Qaeda attack on September 11th, 2001, most defense planning and resourcing has gone towards combating Islamist radicals in the Middle East at the expense of defense planning for war with state actors.  The mere mention of a threat from Russia or China was resisted because the pervasive belief that modern countries have “evolved” beyond those blood-thirsty eras of the past.  Although technical advancements and cultural shifts make modern countries look different than they once did, the nature of international relations evolves no more than the nature of human beings evolves.  Some things will never change, because human nature doesn’t change and the root causes of war don’t either.  Thucydides, in studying the causes of wars, observed that people are motivated to go to war for a variety of reasons, including “honor, fear, and interest.”  As long as people remain self-interested, it is always possible they will threaten war.  The past 6 years have shown what happens when national leaders formulate security policy based on an idealistic view of people, countries, and international relations.  When Russia invaded Ukraine, Secretary Kerry remarked, “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text,” as though Secretary Kerry really believes that the 21st century ushered in a new era in which land-grabs are simply inconceivable.  President Obama said in his first U.N. address, “No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation.”  It sure is a pleasant thought, but a quick glance at the global state of affairs shows it has absolutely no basis in reality, and anyone who holds this view should be denied the responsibility of safeguarding the American people.  In 2009 President Obama laid out his “Prague Agenda” that called for steps that would bring the world down a path to zero nuclear weapons.  The Prague Agenda is rooted in idealism, the false premises that countries are basically good and deserving of equal treatment, and that arms control, not war or the fear of war, keeps nations in place.  One can look to the Prague Agenda for what is behind many of the Obama administration’s foreign policy blunders.  The President said that Iran has a “rightful place in the community of nations, politically and economically.”  All evidence suggests the entire Iran Deal rests on the belief that despite Iran’s Islamist inclinations and clear objective to become the preeminent power in the Middle East, it will become a beacon of pluralism and human flourishing once flushed with cash and forgiven for its past (and current and ongoing) transgressions.  The Prague Agenda is also what is behind the New START Treaty with Russia, which will further reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal.  Indeed, since the Cold War, the U.S. has cut the arsenal, ceased to test it, and failed to adequately modernize it.  Russia has invaded a sovereign nation, shown blatant disregard for agreements and treaties, moved nuclear weapons front and center in its military strategy, and has even threatened to employ nuclear weapons.  China is also becoming more aggressively expansionist and is in the midst of undergoing its own nuclear and missile modernization program.  Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, regimes with values very different with those of the United States, will be motivated by “honor, fear, and interest” just as rulers have since the beginning of time.  They will pursue military capabilities and strategies that will directly conflict with those of the United States.  What the United States needs in power are realists who understand that given human nature war is always possible and we better earnestly seek to deter the most dangerous kind and prepare to win should deterrence fail.

(“U.S. Foreign Policy is Overdue for Some Realism” by Rebeccah Heinrichs dated August 16, 2015 published by Real Clear Defense at http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2015/08/16/us_foreign_policy_is_overdue_for_some_realism_108368.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 sections:

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

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/