Views on the News
Views on the News*
August 31, 2013
Evidence of the astonishing incompetence of the Obama administration continues to roll in. It started with the stimulus package. One-third of the money went to public employee union members, a political payoff not very stimulating to anyone else. Billions went to green energy loans, like the $500 million that the government lost in backing the obviously hapless Solyndra. Infrastructure projects, which the president continues to tout, never seem to get built. He's been talking about dredging the port of Charleston, to accommodate the big container ships coming in when the Panama Canal is widened, so the canal widening is scheduled to complete in 2014, but the target date for dredging the port of Charleston: 2024. When is comes to ObamaCare, he has already said the administration will not enforce the employer mandate, will not verify eligibility for insurance subsidies and will not require employer-provided policies to cap employees' out-of-pocket costs. The Constitution's requirement that the President take care to faithfully execute the laws apparently does not apply. ObamaCare administrators continue to miss deadlines set by the health care law, 41 of 82 of them. Then there's the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law. The administration as of July had missed 62% of the deadlines in that law. All of which indicates incompetence in drafting or in implementing the legislation, likely both. We have a President who delights in delivering partisan speeches to adoring audiences but doesn't seem interested in whether his administration gets results. I blame Franklin D. Roosevelt for making big government look easy, and politically rewarding. He set an example that most of his successors (Obama is just the latest) have a hard time duplicating. Roosevelt had a great gift for picking the right person for the right job, if he thought the job was important. FDR's knack for choosing the right person for important jobs resulted from some unknowable combination of knowledge and intuition. FDR also showed an overriding concern for getting results, but it's not clear that Obama shares that same focus on results.
(“Obama Administration: Its Incompetence Is Historic” by Michael Barone dated August 26, 2013 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/082613-668794-evidence-of-obama-administration-incompetence-piles-up.htm )
Barack Obama is well on his way at cementing his place as the worst President ever. He campaigned repeatedly in 2009 and 2010 "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," as he sold ObamaCare to the country. He made promises about ObamaCare that he couldn’t keep, and he put his personal integrity on the line. UPS announced it was dumping 15,000 spouses of UPS employees from their UPS health plans despite the President's many, many promises to the contrary. This announcement followed the news from New Jersey that ObamaCare's rollout there will end the low-cost, high-deductible plan that more than 106,000 Jersey folks liked and which presumably many of them would have preferred to keep. Meanwhile the cost of individual plans are set to rise on average 41% in Ohio, and another major insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross, has pulled out of the California market for small businesses. The media refuses to catalogue the consequences of the epic bill that went unread when it was passed without a single Republican vote in 2009, as most journalists just avert their eyes. Now that that the bodies of hundreds of gassed Syrian children are piling up in Damascus and scores of Christian churches are burned-out shells in Egypt, it is getting harder and harder to find anything to write about the President that doesn't underscore his incompetence. Obama's tenure is a vast desert of anti-achievement, a landscape of waste and ruin on every front at home and abroad, save on the ability to mobilize voters who don't understand the state of the country or the world. The President won re-election on the strength of technologies that enabled his minions to tap and turn out folks who simply are clueless that the man in the White House hasn't the foggiest idea of how to run the country. The prospect of 39 more months of the anti-president at the helm is daunting. No plans for anything except bus tours and college campus speeches, no idea how to invigorate a sputtering economy or trim a bloated budget. Since 1979 and the acquiescence of the transfer of Iran to religious zealots with world-enders and Hidden Imam-summoners among them, I didn't think it was possible for an American President to be ranked below Jimmy Carter on the competence list. Now we have Obama, with double the years that Carter had to more than double the wreckage of the Carter era, and every day he is making that bottom ranking more secure.
(“Is Obama the worst president ever?” by Hugh Hewitt dated August 25, 2013 published by Washington Examiner at http://washingtonexaminer.com/is-obama-the-worst-president-ever/article/2534688 )
Slowly at first, then all of a sudden, the Obama administration has devolved into the Obama regime, where Obama does whatever he wants. Those pesky impediments on his predecessors, namely, federal law, the separation of powers, and the Constitution, have proved as tough as tissue paper in containing Obama’s ambition to impose statism on America. “I have to figure out what I can do outside of Congress through executive actions,” Obama announced “Where I can act on my own, I’m going to act on my own. I won’t wait for Congress.” ObamaCare’s internal contradictions threaten to tear it apart, like a crippled satellite re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. In a move that, ironically, aligns him with the oft-bashed 1%, Obama gave employers with payrolls of more than 50 employees another year to offer health insurance, but nothing in ObamaCare empowers Obama to waive this mandate. When Congressional Democrats screamed that ObamaCare’s costs might prompt staff resignations, supposedly triggering a brain drain, Obama decided to extend subsidies to members of Congress and their employees. The Office of Personnel Management rescued them illegally, because the OPM has no authority to pay for insurance plans, nor does the Affordable Care Act permit either exchange contributions or a unilateral bump in congressional pay in return for less overall compensation. Once again, Obama, Mr. 99%, sided with big business, at the expense of patients, when he autocratically gave the nasty, greedy insurance companies an extra year to charge patients higher out-of-pocket expenses and delayed ObamaCare’s $6,350-per-individual and $12,700-per-family limits on such charges, and Obama also perpetrated this without legislative authority. Obama made three recess appointments to the five-member National Labor Relations Board on January 4, 2012, even though the Senate was not in recess; it technically was on a break, but holding pro forma sessions. Hence, the D.C. Circuit Court concluded that those nominations were “constitutionally invalid.” Without those members, the NLRB lacked a quorum, so that rendered bogus its decisions during the previous year. Regardless, the NLRB issued 112 rulings after the D.C. Circuit delegitimized those three members. The Third and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeals backed the D.C. Circuit’s opinion. The Senate on July 30 finally confirmed fresh NLRB appointees, who now compose a proper quorum. Congress failed to adopt the so-called DREAM Act, so Obama brazenly abandoned his duty to enforce existing law and instead shielded from deportation illegal aliens up to age 30 whose parents brought them here before age 16. Without legislative approval, Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program granted de facto amnesty and even work permits to at least 800,000 such illegals. Obama unveiled a brand-new $6 billion cell-phone tax to fund high-speed Internet links for government schools. Rather than support legislation for this tax, Obama expects his appointees to the Federal Communications Commission to impose it by edict. There is a way to get things done in Washington, and this is not it, but Obama sees things differently because for him, the Constitution is for chumps, and the law is for losers.
(“The Obama Regime” by Deroy Murdock dated August 23, 2013 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/356514/obama-regime-deroy-murdock )
Young people are almost always on the losing end of government patronage, because put simply, the state is screwing them. The amount of government distortion in the marketplace is colossal, and it disproportionally harms the less financially secure younger generation. In just a little over a decade the young have witnessed their futures being mortgaged to pay for two wars, corporate bailouts, and a failed economic stimulus. Federal government debt, as a percentage of GDP, has skyrocketed from about 58% in 2000 to more than 100%. The Federal Government is spending more and more; without regard to the fact that today’s young people are going to be paying for it all as future suffering taxpayers. To treat the current levels of government debt as remotely sustainable is insane yet the government continues to do so, no matter who is in power. To prevent young people from being bombarded with higher taxes to pay for the debt they had no part in creating, massive cuts in spending are necessary. In addition to the massive burden of government debt that is being placed on today’s young there is also the problem of their own, personal debt; mostly in the form of student loans. While it may seem as if the federal government is doing students a favor by lending them money so they can go to school now and pay it back later, it will, as the statistics are starting to show, completely backfire. The government is financing the tuition bubble and causing prices to climb, and colleges are taking advantage of this shortsighted government policy. Universities aren’t dumb; they realize if the government is going to continue to subsidize students, they can charge higher and higher prices. Instead of being assisted by the government, students are actually being harmed by the student loan policy. This bubble will eventually burst and the young will, again, get the short end of the stick. The area in which the young are arguably getting hurt the most is entitlements. We are told Social Security and Medicare act like pension programs. Throughout your working life you pay a certain amount from each paycheck into the program and when you retire, your savings are there for you to use. These programs are nothing but dressed-up Ponzi schemes. The money today’s workers’ pay in is used to subsidize today’s retirees and tomorrow’s workers will pay to subsidize tomorrow’s retirees. The money is spent immediately and with looming shortfalls in these programs’ funding, there is no guarantee any money will even be there for the workers of today. They are paying in with the possibility of getting nothing in return. For these reasons, to say nothing of their more permissive social attitudes and war-weariness, libertarian populism ought to be an attractive platform for young people. A platform devoted to limiting power concentrated in the state, but also power concentrated in corporations, is the solution young people need.
(“Libertarian popularism for a new generation” by Cory Massimino dated August 22, 2013 published by The Daily Caller at http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/22/libertarian-populism-for-a-new-generation/ )
Liberals are not only comfortable with the unending economic malaise under Obama; they positively welcome it because it helps them cement their control of society. Liberals are perfectly comfortable with Obama's unending recession. While conservatives are appalled at the human cost of long-term high unemployment and the lack of opportunity for Americans, liberals view the country's economic distress as key to solidifying liberal control of society which, in their minds, is equivalent with the good of all. That control will ensure that enlightened liberals will be able to force all to conform to liberal "truth." The Great Depression was a seminal event in modern liberalism in that it taught them that when people are scared and think that their only hope is the government they will trade freedom for perceived security. Even though FDR's programs did nothing to turn the U.S. economy around, people kept voting for him because in their minds he essentially ensured their lives by having the government provide for them. Conservatives wonder why areas suffering most from the Obama economy vote Democrat. The answer is that if you're out of a job and dependent on the government there is a strong incentive to vote for the politicians whom you believe are going to keep paying your bills, which is why we won't see a Republic mayor in Detroit in the near future. Conservatives also keep wondering why there is an apparent acceptance of the ongoing economic stagnation under Obama. The answer is that by using taxpayer money liberals have found a way to temporarily mitigate the economic pain caused by years of failed economic policies. So long as liberals can mitigate that pain, people will still believe in Democrat snake oil policies and keep voting for the Democrats:
· First, by providing a wide spectrum of government "assistance" ranging from food stamps to generous disability policies, liberals ensure that those who lack employment are not hurting enough to demand change but insecure enough to support more government.
· Second, liberals control the media, so that people are constantly told that living off the government is a perfectly legitimate thing to do; no need to feel bad for mooching off your fellow Americans. Liberals do this so Americans won't feel guilty voting for someone who will steal money from others to give to those dependent on the government.
· Third, liberals play on the compassion of America. Even hard-core conservatives are not eager to see their fellow citizens suffer. As a result, voters often feel guilty for voting against welfare programs, even when the higher tax rates translate into less economic freedom for workers.
Liberals welcome the bad economy because the one thing that will crush liberal dreams is an independent self-sufficient electorate. Free men and women who work and pay their own way are far less likely to vote in an overlord class that wishes to dictate even the minutia of day-to-day life. By obscuring the issue, liberals can get the votes of those voters who don't mind being taxed to help those truly in need. That's why the unending liberal propaganda machine ensures that most Americans, and all low-information voters, believe that everyone on the Federal dole is a hard-working guy or gal who's just going through a rough patch and is living in abject poverty while getting government aid. Additionally, liberals work to ensure that the average voter has no idea how much of their hard-earned money goes to the government; that's why liberals like to tax businesses and "the rich" even though in the end it's the consumer who pays those taxes through higher prices. Liberals love economic problems because those problems empower them; they believe they should rule, so they don't worry about the consequences inflicted on the unemployed. Obama has done nothing to reduce unemployment; as long as the government provides a cushy safety net for the unemployed and the employed don't how much they're being exploited liberals will keep winning elections. It's not all about the economy stupid; it's all about the will to power of liberals.
(“Why Liberals Love a Bad Economy” by Tom Trinko dated August 24, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/08/why_liberals_love_a_bad_economy.html )
Aside from the carnage in Benghazi, the most enduring image from Hillary Clinton's tenure as US Secretary of State was the fake remote control she brought with her to Moscow in 2009 with the word "Reset" in misspelled Russian embossed on it. Clinton's gimmick was meant to show that under President Barack Obama, American foreign policy would be fundamentally transformed. Since Obama and Clinton blamed much of the world's troubles on the misdeeds of their country, under their stewardship of US foreign policy, the US would reset everything. Five years later we realize that Clinton's embarrassing gesture was not a gimmick, but a dead serious pledge. Throughout the world, the Obama administration has radically altered America's policies, and disaster has followed. Never since America's establishment has the US appeared so untrustworthy, destructive, irrelevant and impotent. America's powerlessness in Syria is largely Obama's fault. At the outset of the Syrian civil war two-and-a-half years ago, Obama outsourced the development of Syria's opposition forces to Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. He had other options. A consortium of Syrian Kurds, moderate Sunnis, Christians and others came to Washington and begged for US assistance, but they were ignored. Obama's decision to outsource the US's Syria policy owed to his twin goals of demonstrating that the US would no longer try to dictate international outcomes, and of allying the US with Islamic fundamentalists. Both of these goals are transformative. In the first instance, Obama believes that anti-Americanism stems from America's actions. By accepting the mantel of global leadership, Obama believes the US insulted other nations, so to mitigate their anger, the US should abdicate leadership. As for courting Islamic fundamentalists, from his earliest days in office Obama insisted that since radical Islam is the most popular movement in the Islamic world, radical Islam is good and radical Muslims are America's friends. The Muslim Brotherhood has no problem collaborating with al-Qaida, because the latter was formed by Muslim Brothers. It shares the Brotherhood's basic ideology. Since al-Qaida has the most experienced fighters, its rise to leadership and domination of the Syrian opposition was a natural progression. In other words, Obama's decision to have Turkey form the Syrian opposition led inevitably to the current situation in which the Iranian- and Russian-backed Syrian regime is fighting an opposition dominated by al-Qaida. Under the façade of democracy, Erdogan has transformed Turkey into one of the most repressive countries in the world. Following the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt last month, Erdogan has openly admitted that he and his party are part and parcel of the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama forced Israel to apologize for defending itself against Turkish aggression, believing that Erdogan would then reinstate full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. Instead, Erdogan continued his assault on Israel, most recently accusing it of organizing the military coup in Egypt and the anti- Erdogan street protests in Turkey. As for Egypt, as with Syria, Obama's foreign policy vision for the US has left Washington with no options for improving the situation on the ground or for securing its own strategic interests. Clinton's Reset button was played up as a gimmick, but it was a solemn oath, and it was fulfilled. As a result, the world is a much more violent and dangerous place. The US and its allies are more threatened. The US's enemies from Moscow to Tehran to Venezuela are emboldened. Under Obama, America has made itself worse than irrelevant. In country after country, it has become dangerous to be a US ally. The world as a whole is a much more dangerous place as a consequence, and nothing short of a fundamental transformation of US foreign policy will suffice to begin to repair the damage.
(“Resetting U.S. Foreign Policy” by Caroline Glick dated August 24, 2013 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/08/24/resetting_us_foreign_policy_119703.html )
* There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news. I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning. Updates have been made this week to the following issue sections:
· American Culture at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/philosophya.php