Views on the News

Views on the News*

August 29, 2015


Donald Trump is not a conservative at all because to be a conservative, a person must support a number of principles including: limited government, free enterprise, rule of law, equal justice under law, individual rights, Judeo-Christian ethics, support of the classical virtues over the classical vices, opposition to corruption, adherence to truth, and support for the doctrines and system set forth by America’s founding fathers.  Trump fails these tests on every count.  Trump is not for free enterprise.  He is an extreme statist, far more radical than Barack Obama in numerous important areas of concern.  For example, Trump supports nationalized single-payer healthcare, a system that would put the lives of Americans in the hands of government bureaucrats.  He is a radical trade protectionist, supporting a system that enriches insiders who can arrange for government action to block foreign competition.  He is a practitioner and advocate of eminent domain, supporting a system that enriches insiders who can arrange for government action to dispossess ordinary Americans of their homes if that should be required to increase the oligarch’s profit.  He shows open contempt for such essential patriotic classical virtues as courage, building his own career through the promotion of greed and lust.  His general methodology is that of a demagogue, a mobilizer of passion against reason, an exemplar of democracy’s worst enemy.  The conservative case against illegal immigration is based on the support for rule of law, and Trump is certainly not a supporter of rule of law.  The primary argument advanced by immigration restrictionists, labor protectionism, is anti-free enterprise, and thus not a true conservative position.  There can be no place for the type of xenophobic demagoguery in which Trump has chosen to engage in the conservative movement.  In short, Trump is a national socialist, or perhaps “social nationalist” would be the better term.  He is a different type of nationalist/ socialist.  Perhaps the closest foreign analogy would be that of the Putin regime, which uses extreme nationalism to secure mob support for an unlimited government that serves the interests of those who control it, or those who can pay enough to influence it.  In the Putinite world, there are no laws that effectively restrain the strong or protect the weak.  The government is all powerful, and its bias is available for rent.  It’s not about whether your case is just or unjust; it’s about who you can buy.  It’s not that the system is corrupt, corruption is the system, and everyone knows it.  National socialism is not conservatism; it is the opposite of conservatism. Trump is not a Republican, and he is not a conservative.  Trump has openly stated that he will not accept the verdict of the voters in the primary process, so his campaign must be fired!

(“What is Donald Trump?” by Robert Zubrin dated August 24, 2015 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/08/8_20_2015_22_31.html )

About 30 years and before, the word “socialism” or “socialist” evoked a rather basal angst in the stomach of most Americans.  Socialism was then widely acknowledged as the archenemy and the antithesis of the American system.  Originally based on individual sovereignty, free markets and only limited government interference, the American system was contrary to the socialist system; a system based on widespread government control (even ownership of the means of production) and anti-individualism.  In World War II it was a fight against the National Socialists of Germany and their allies. The Cold War pitted us against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts were fought at least in part to push back the spread of socialism (and its close relative communism).  At its foundation socialism is a system that coercively controls the individual.  Regardless of whether or not the control is through voluntary assent, that coercion is ubiquitous and is a form of aggression: aggression against individual initiative and self reliance, individual sovereignty, and individual liberty.  Socialism has as its enemy, the individual.  In the 1940s the realizations of World War II put a plain and ugly face on socialism. Slowly, through the relentless power grabs of big-government elites, and through a generational turnover, that collectivist system, if not the word “socialism” itself, became less stigmatized.  Bernie Sanders is an avowed (and proud of it) socialist seeking the nomination for President of the U.S. on the Democrat Party ticket.  The socialist-like jabbering by Hillary Clinton, Elisabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Al Franken, Dick Durbin and MANY others show that this is not an exception.  Karl Marx, co-author of The Communist Manifesto in 1948, argued the inevitable transition of capitalist-based systems to socialism on their way to all-out communism.  Obama saw his own election to the pinnacle of political power as a colossal step in the socialist conquest to, in his own words, “fundamentally transform America.” Fundamental transformation of America means changing the basis of the American system; that is, transforming our capitalist, limited-government system into a socialist, unlimited-government state.  Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party of America candidate for President said in a 1944 speech: The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of “liberalism,” they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”  In 2009, Newsweek magazine’s cover boldly declared: “We Are All Socialists Now.”  This destructive trend must be reversed before all semblance of the individual is forever gone, hopelessly digested as an insignificant speck by the all-powerful leviathan state.

(“Socialism in the Mainstream” by Gary Hancock dated August 22, 2015 published by Intellectual Conservative at http://intellectualconservative.com/socialism-in-the-mainstream/ )

The "BlackLivesMatter" movement is focused on the wrong targets, to the detriment of blacks who would like to see real change and to the benefit of its powerful white liberal funders using the attacks on Sanders for political purposes that mean nothing for the problems that face our community.  The notion that some lives might matter less than others is meant to enrage, which just distracts us from what matters most.  The protesters are right that racial policing issues exist and some rotten policemen took actions that killed innocent people.  Those actions were inexcusable and they should be prosecuted to deter such acts in the future.  But unjust treatment from police did not fill our inner cities with people who face growing hopelessness.  Young men and women can't find jobs.  Parents don't have the skills to compete in a modern job market.  Far too many families are torn and tattered by self-inflicted wounds.  Violence often walks alongside people who have given up hope.  My mother knew what the problems were and us from them.  This is where we should march:

·    Let’s head down to the board of education. Teaching is a tough job and thank God there was a teacher who convinced me that I was not dumb, but our schools are failing and we have no power to abandon them.  The actions of rogue police officers take black lives one at a time.  Our public school system has destroyed black lives not in the ones and twos, but in whole generations.  The schools don’t teach and our children don’t learn.  Too many public schools are controlled by teachers unions focused more on the convenience and compensation of adults rather than the education of children who started out far behind.  Their failures don't kill as quickly, but they do kill surely as a bullet.

·    Let’s confront the entertainment industry that lines its pockets by glamorizing a life where black men are thugs and our women are trash.  Let’s tell them we plan to start talking with our wallets.  Demeaning women is not art, and it shouldn’t be profitable. Neither is glorifying violence and equating prison time with authenticity. 

·    Let’s go down to city hall. Living behind a door with three deadbolts is not living in freedom. Being too scared to walk around your block at night is not the pursuit of happiness we were all promised.

·    Let's go over to the crack house. We need to tear it down.  These monuments to our destruction deserve our active scorn not our silent acceptance.

·    We should go to Washington. For decades they have fought the "War on Poverty," and Poverty won, and we lost.  Over 19 trillion dollars has been wasted.  We certainly have not helped the poor “lift themselves out of the ruts of poverty” as LBJ promised; far from it. 

·    We should have a talk with the Democrat Party.  We don’t want to be clothed, fed and housed.  We want honor and dignity.  We don't want to be given public housing in nice neighborhoods.  We want an end to excuses that leave us without the means to buy our own houses where we choose to live.  We want the skills needed to compete, not a consolation prize of Section 8, Food Stamps and a lifetime of government dependence.

·    Finally, we need to go over to the Republican Party. We need to tell them they have ignored us for too long. They need to invite us in and listen to us. We need to communicate and find a different way.

There are so many things to be angry about when you are consumed by hopelessness. (“Generations of Stolen Black Dreams” by Ben Carson dated August 24, 2015 published by USA Today at http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/08/24/blacklivesmatter-sanders-clinton-anger-column/32055507/ )

America is both a place and an idea at the same time. Fundamentally, it is a place that would embrace us if we could prove that we shared in the idea.  Both of my parents are immigrants who both came over with their families.  Both came, not for the freebies that America provided but because they wanted to be Americans.  Both families came with skills as accountants, engineers, musicians, lawyers, artists, and writers.  They wanted their families to be more like America and made no attempt to change America to be more like them.  If they wanted to live in cities or suburbs, there are cities and suburbs all over the world. If they wanted to live near big lakes, mountains or deserts, there are big lakes, mountains and deserts all over the world.  They came to America “the idea”, not America the place.  Are the immigrants to America crossing the southern border illegally, doing so because they want to be Americans, or are they just looking for free stuff promised by Obama for themselves and their children?  Do the Muslims in Minnesota long to be Americans and live the American dream, or do they dream of returning to the Middle East and fighting the western Satan when they realize they can’t make America more like the Middle East?  Two brothers come to America with their Kyrgyz parents. America accepts them with open arms, providing them with food, healthcare, housing and the highest levels of education at no cost with no strings attached.  No expectations implied or assumed. Why then do the parents leave and the sons kill and maim hundreds in the name of their warped understanding of their religion or situation?  Their parents and family adopted the place and what it would give them and their children and never the idea of America and being American.  Unfortunately, there is no test that can prove that an immigrant is here to embrace the idea of America.  Learning some historical facts and reciting a pledge don’t make you American.  Being born in an American hospital doesn’t make you an American.  There’s no red pill to choose that makes you an American.  The idea of being American must be in your brain or in your heart.  I think that idea for many Americans has been lost.  Even our President has demonstrated that doesn’t know what the idea of being American is.  America must be perceived as an idea once again, instead of just a place on the map.

(“America the Place vs. America the Idea” by Dan Jappich dated August 23, 2015 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/08/america_the_place_vs_america_the_idea_.html )

The current interpretation of the 14th Amendment works as a magnet for parents across the globe.  According to Center for Immigration Studies, between 350,000 and 400,000 children are born annually to an illegal-alien mother residing in the United States, as many as one in ten births nationwide.   As of 2010, four out of five children of illegal aliens residing in the U.S. were born here, some 4 million kids.  The cost of this is not negligible.   The Department of Agriculture projected that a child born in 2013 would cost his parents $304,480 from birth to his eighteenth birthday.  Given that illegal-alien households are normally low-income households (three out of five illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children live at or near the poverty line), a significant portion of that cost will fall on the government.  According to CIS, 71% of illegal-alien headed households with children received some sort of welfare in 2009, compared with 39% of native-headed houses with children.  Illegal immigrants generally access welfare programs through their U.S.-born children, to whom government assistance is guaranteed.  Additionally, U.S.-born children of illegal aliens are entitled to American public schools, health care, and more, even though illegal-alien households rarely pay taxes.  Anchor babies” born to illegal aliens instantly qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability Income.  The 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which requires hospital emergency departments to treat all patients with an “emergency” (an infinitely malleable term), regardless of documentation or ability to pay, have facilitated the abuse of American health care by illegal aliens.  There are long-term costs, too.  U.S.-born children of illegal aliens can sponsor the immigration of family members once they come of age.  At 18, an “anchor baby” can sponsor an overseas spouse and unmarried children of his own; at 21, he can sponsor parents and siblings.  Illegal aliens with American-born children are much less likely to be deported, and has been enshrined in law with President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) policy, which would effectively grant amnesty to some 5 million illegal aliens, on top of the 2 to 3 million granted amnesty under his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.  Birth tourists,” persons from overseas, typically of some means, who acquire temporary visas in order to give birth in the United States.  Yet if middle-class Chinese (and Russian and Turkish and Nigerian) couples are incentivized by the 14th Amendment to travel to the U.S. to give birth, shouldn’t it be an even bigger draw for expecting mothers from Latin America, who typically live in much more difficult circumstances?  As an indicator of the power of immigration incentives, the massive influx of unaccompanied minors that converged on the U.S.–Mexico border last summer when news of DACA spread through Central America.  Anchor babies” are a largely preventable phenomenon, mainly by simply enforcing current immigration laws.  Stopping illegal immigration at the border, and instituting an actually effective visa-tracking system to crack down on overstays, would do much to discourage efforts to take advantage of American largesse.  Anchor babies” are a small component of our ongoing immigration crisis, and prioritizing border and visa enforcement to help end our much larger problems will do much to resolve this one, too.

(“The Very Real Economic Costs of Birthright Citizenship” by Ian Tuttle dated August 21, 2015 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/422921/birthright-citizenship-economic-costs-incentives )

A good part of the President's foreign policy travails in this region stem from a pattern of needlessly high-flying rhetoric.  Time after time again, Obama has gratuitously and unnecessarily raised expectations and then failed to deliver on them.  These largely self-inflicted wounds created an early gap between Obama's words and his administration's deeds, a gap that damaged America's credibility and fed doubts about U.S. resolve in the minds of allies and adversaries alike.  Far from learning from his mistakes, Obama has carried on his pattern of making commitments which he cannot deliver. Consider the following: 

·    Israeli-Palestinian peace:  No president since Jimmy Carter had invested so much so early in an issue that simply was not ready for prime time. The matter was made worse by administration calls for a comprehensive Israeli freeze on settlements that it was unwilling or unable to pressure Israel to accept, and for a peace agreement within two years, a notion that even then looked like a fantasy.  Today, Obama’s peace process lies in ruins. It has no credibility among Arabs and Israelis.

·    ‘Assad Must Go' and the Syrian Red-Line:  In response to the Assad regime's savage use of air and artillery strikes against civilians, including the use of barrel bombs, the President repeatedly called for the removal of the Syrian dictator and warned that the regime's use of chemical weapons was unacceptable, suggesting a tough U.S. response.  For a second time in the Middle East, on a crisis far more important than the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian problem, the President promised actions he did not take. There was no military response to the red line's crossing by Assad.  

·    Defeating ISIS:  Having first underestimated the danger of the Islamic State, characterizing it in 2014 as a JV team, the president soon began to talk of degrading and ultimately destroying the putative terror state.  None of the words he has used, first destroy, then defeat, seem to have any grounding in reality.  While the United States has had success in killing ISIS fighters and leaders, and in working with local allies to recover territory, the Islamic State seems here to stay. 

·    The Iran Agreement:  Here, there seems to be a tendency to oversell, with Kerry suggesting that inspections would be carried out forever or saying that the U.S. has absolute certainty that it will know what Iran may be hiding.  Selling the agreement to Congress is more difficult because of the administration's earlier commitments to seek anywhere, anytime inspections and to ensure that Tehran will come clean on the so-called possible military dimensions of Iran's past nuclear activities.

All administrations promise more than they can deliver.  This President claimed to be a realist, not a transformer, when it comes to the Middle East; and yet he continually fell into the expectations gap.  When you do not or will not act, words become substitutes for deeds. Part of the problem may be that the administration sees the world the way it wants it to be, not the way it really is.  To have credibility in foreign policy you must say what you mean, and mean what you say, but sadly the Obama administration has done exactly the opposite.

(“Obama’s Failure to Learn in the Middle East” by Aaron David Miller dated August 26, 2015 published by Real Clear World at http://www.realclearworld.com/blog/2015/08/obama_failure_to_learn_in_the_middle_east_111388.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:

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

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

·    National Culture at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/philosophy.php

·    Homeland Security at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/homelandsecurity.php

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


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY