Views on the News

September 4, 2010

Views on the News*

Washington, DC saw the first of a conservative one-two punch to the mid-section of the Democrat Congress that spells doom for the leftists in power and the end finally for many career politicians. This new conservatism began with the Tea Party movement but its real trigger was the seizure of the federal government through electoral double-talk and political stealth by the collectivists of Obama progressivism. Glenn Beck hosted the first rally of hundreds of thousands of citizens from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last weekend. The coming together of conservative Americans to protest the leftward tilt in this country can’t be ignored by the mainstream media or by the political elites who no longer represent their constituents. The people on the Mall and the millions more who watched the gathering with satisfaction rather than fear are quite simply sick of the left, and of its vast sneer toward the traditions, values and, yes, faith of the American middle class. America has been described as a 70/30 nation, with the 70% presently massively underrepresented in the federal government, the Manhattan-Beltway media elite and academia.

·    The 70% is appalled by the placebo economics practiced by the President and the Congress over the past two years, shocked by its profligacy with the wealth of the republic, and sickened by the looting of the next generation's opportunities.

·    The 70% did not want ObamaCare, but it has been thrust upon them.

·    The 70% did not want federal judges to declare "game over" in the complex discussion of what marriage is and means.

·    The 70% want a fence on the border that works, and do not want their concern over unregulated immigration dismissed as nativism.

·    The 70% are not ashamed of their belief in God, deeply resent being labeled bigots because they view ground zero as land that ought not to be exploited for "messaging" of any sort by any group.

·    The 70% believe that the federal government is remote and clueless, and that the Constitution's principles of enumerated and limited powers and the sovereignty of the states are vibrant, important core values to the republic.

·    The 70% think Iran is in the grip of an evil, theocratic fascism, and that Israel is our true friend and ally deserving of our full-throated support.

We are in the middle of a perilous economic passage to a new competitiveness across the globe. We are watching other countries across the globe respond to the new demands of competitiveness by shrinking the public sector and encouraging private-sector growth. But American education is crippled by bureaucracy and burdened by the inability of a political class to demand reform of the practices and pensions of the public sector. Children have been hostages of this countrywide collapse of common sense for a generation, despite wave after wave of "reform". Two years into what had been sold as a new politics and a new approach, the 70% are fully aware that they have been conned, suckered, and taken to the cleaners by a hyper-ideological amalgam of leftist public intellectuals, snarling bloggers, career politicians with limited abilities who are often corrupt, and a President wholly inexperienced in the management of complex problems who is in way over his head and prisoner to slogans and schemes that make for great campus debates -- but for disaster in the real world. On September 12th, the second act of this political play will be seen when another million people descend on Washington at the second Tea Party March with specific policies criticized and specific change proposed to return this country to We, the People.

(“Beck, Palin, Faith, Hope and Charity” by Daniel Halper dated August 28, 2010 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/beck-palin-faith-hope-and-charity

Seventy percent of Americans know they’ve been conned” by Hugh Hewitt dated August 29, 2010 published by The Washington Examiner at http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Seventy-percent-of-Americans-know-they_ve-been-conned-639878-101758743.html )


The economic "recovery" has been disappointing, and it has become increasingly clear that the blame lies with the policies of the Obama administration. In general, the current administration has been too focused on expanding government, redistributing more from rich to poor, and stimulating aggregate demand. In January President Obama said "We have to continue to work every single day to get our economy moving again. For most Americans, and for me, that means jobs." Six months later, following additional health-reform drama, arcane financial reform, a national immigration debate and a sluggish oil spill response, 67% of Americans said the President had not focused enough on job creation. In July the jobs report was again dreary, the President proceeded to enter the Manhattan mosque controversy, mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and address the nation on Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a President who has lost control of his public message. Unfortunately the President doesn't talk about job creation because he doesn't have much to say. The only thing the Obama administration has done is to expand unemployment-insurance eligibility to as much as 99 weeks from the standard 26 weeks. The unemployment insurance program involves a balance between compassion - providing for persons temporarily without work - and efficiency. The loss in efficiency results partly because the program subsidizes unemployment, causing insufficient job-search, job-acceptance and levels of employment. A further inefficiency concerns the distortions from the increases in taxes required to pay for the program. In a recession, it is more likely that individual unemployment reflects weak economic conditions, rather than individual decisions to choose leisure over work. Therefore, it is reasonable during a recession to adopt a more generous unemployment-insurance program. We have never experienced anything close to the blanket extension of eligibility to nearly two years. We have shifted toward a welfare program that resembles those in many Western European countries where generous unemployment-insurance programs have been found to raise unemployment rates. The Obama administration refuses to learn from European experience and has chosen to make the same mistakes and is surprised to be achieving the same dismal results.

(“The Folly of Subsidizing Unemployment” by Robert Barro dated August 30, 2010 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703959704575454431457720188.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Obama’s wandering economic message” by Michael Gerson dated September 1, 2010 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/31/AR2010083104744.html?nav%3Dhcmoduletmv&sub=AR )


Government anti-poverty programs that have grown to meet the needs of recession victims now serve a record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand. More than 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, the federal-state program aimed principally at the poor, up at least 17% since the recession began in December 2007. The program has grown even before the new health care law adds about 16 million people, beginning in 2014 more than 40 million people get food stamps, an increase of nearly 50% during the economic downturn, according to government data through May. The economic stimulus law signed by President Obama last year also boosted benefits. Close to 10 million receive unemployment insurance, nearly four times the number from 2007. More than 4.4 million people are on welfare, an 18% increase during the recession. Often, government programs aimed at helping the poor do more harm than good. Unfortunately, many of these programs foster long-term dependence. When you subsidize something, you will get more of it. Sadly, children raised in families on welfare are far more likely to remain dependent on government handouts throughout their adulthood. As caseloads for all the programs have soared, so have costs. The federal price tag for Medicaid has jumped 36% in two years, to $273 billion. Jobless benefits have soared from $43 billion to $160 billion. The food stamps program has risen 80%, to $70 billion. Welfare is up 24%, to $22 billion. Taken together, they cost more than Medicare. The steady climb in safety-net program caseloads and costs has come as a result of two factors: The recession has boosted the number who qualify under existing rules, and the White House, Congress and states have expanded eligibility and benefits and the cost of these anti-poverty programs is unsustainable.

(“Record number in government anti-poverty programs” by Richard Wolf dated August 30, 2010 published by USA Today at http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-08-30-1Asafetynet30_ST_N.htm

Record Numbers Dependent on Government Handouts” by Dick Armey dated September 2, 2010 published News Max at http://www.newsmax.com/DickArmey/Armeywelfareunemploymentbenefits/2010/09/02/id/369075 )


Barack Obama doesn’t like being commander in chief, isn’t good at it, and has relied on one tutor, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is leaving next year. Reliant on Mr. Gates, Mr. Obama has made limited efforts to know his service chiefs or top commanders, and has visited the Pentagon only once, not counting a Sept. 11 commemoration. He ended Mr. Bush’s practice of weekly videoconferences with commanders, preferring to work through the chain of command and wary, aides said, of being drawn into managing the wars. A year and a half into his presidency, Mr. Obama appears to be a reluctant warrior. Even as he draws down troops in Iraq, he has been abundantly willing to use force to advance national interests, tripling forces in Afghanistan, authorizing secret operations in Yemen and Somalia, and escalating drone strikes in Pakistan. A former adviser to the President, who like others insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the situation candidly, said that Mr. Obama’s relationship with the military was ‘troubled’ and that he ‘doesn’t have a handle on it.’ Last December, the President gave the military 30,000 more troops, but he compromised our Afghanistan war strategy for the sake of domestic politics, giving them only 18 months. He simply doesn’t want to do the things that are expected of the commander in chief, and the military’s ire is profound. The schisms among his team, though, are born in part out of uncertainty about his true commitment to see the wars through to a successful conclusion. This was a man not only unprepared to be President but disposed to shirk the most important aspect of the job, defense. It is a measure of his hubris and stubbornness that he has refused to “embrace” the role, that is, to commit in word and deed his full attention and effort to leading the country in war because he doesn’t want to be a wartime President. The only comfort one can draw from this appalling portrait is that perhaps, just perhaps, after November, when his dream of transforming America is crushed by an electoral blow-back, he will belatedly do his job.

(“He Really Doesn’t Want to be Commander in Chief” by Jennifer Rubin dated August 29, 2010 published by Commentary Magazine at http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/rubin/349226 )


America is the greatest defender of justice and well-being for Muslims, and our collective intelligentsia has for years refused to reveal the argument of "America helping Muslims" that could be saving so many more innocent human lives today and demobilizing the human predators rallying around the Ground Zero mosque funding. Americans have given thousands of their youngest, best and brightest in combat to save Muslims. This provides a number of important counterarguments to anti-American radicals who ground their rhetoric in the religion of Islam. In the 1995 military intervention in Yugoslavia, the United States lead a NATO military coalition, against the wishes of the United Nations, to rescue a Muslim minority from ethnic extermination by Serbian President Milosevic. Today, that minority enjoys a new sovereign state created for their benefit by the United States -- Kosovo. The United States, in its first war with the government of Iraq in 1991, liberated the 2.5  million Muslims of Kuwait. Since that time, Kuwait has consequently adopted a greater measure of political freedom, including the right of women to vote. In the second war with the anti-Muslim government of Saddam Hussein, the United States lost more than 4,000 men and women combating former Baathist radicals and al-Qaeda radicals in the country. The relative peace that has returned to Iraq since 2006 primarily benefits human life in Muslim communities of Iraq.  The Iraq war of 2003 ended the deadliest military rivalry ever fought since the end of World War II -- the Iran/Iraq war which killed more than one million Muslims, utilizing chemical weapons, forced conscription of teenage males, and an array of grotesque inhumanities that never received any media attention. Since at least 1973, roughly one trillion dollars has been transferred annually from the economies of Japan, the U.S., Europe, and China to the Middle Eastern oil-producing states. Many of those oil-producing states have chosen to use that wealth inappropriately, but the oil can hardly be argued to be "stolen" or "imperial American acquisitions." The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan brought to an end the inhumane rule of the Taliban for more than 20 million Muslims who live there. Today, those marginalized and dissident members of the Taliban ride about on motorcycles throwing acid in the faces of liberated schoolgirls across the countryside in hopes of returning to power.  In 2005, Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, populated by more than 200 million adherents, was struck by a deadly tsunami, which killed more than 150,000 people. The United States government provided almost one billion dollars in aid. Private charitable giving by private individual Americans provided another $800 million. 

·    More than $370 billion in remittances is provided annually by the United States economy to the world including countries such as Kuwait, Lebanon, and Iran. These funds benefit Muslim communities in these countries.

·    The United States does provide demonstrable religious freedom unlike any other place in the world. In sharp contrast, converts from Islam in Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia face death sentences for a well-known crime called "apostasy." 

·    The U.S. war on terrorism destroys radicals who have as their first and most significant victims Muslims who disagree with their violent supremacist interpretations of Islam. The terrorists disproportionately kill Muslims.   

We must all be prepared with reasons and arguments to defend beliefs such as American patriotism. The continuation of the "America mistreats Muslims" meme creates and bolsters the rationales motivating this violence around the world. These radicals have been taught and nurtured by our own self-deprecating intellectual communities as to the legitimate self-loathing Americans should feel for their "arrogance," "pride," "narrow-mindedness," and "callous feelings" toward the international body politic. The intellectual indictment is painfully false and misdirected at humanity's great heroes and nurturers rather than humanity's murdering thugs and the pundits who pander to these deadly radicals in the misguided view of "helping Muslims" are hurting us all -- the entire human family.   

(“Top Ten Things America Has Done for Muslims” by Ben Voth dated August 27, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/08/top_ten_things_america_has_don.html )


The proposed mosque near where the World Trade Center was attacked and destroyed, along with thousands of American lives, would be a 15-story middle finger to America. Our “betters” are telling us that we need to be more "tolerant" and more "sensitive" to the feelings of Muslims. If we are supposed to be sensitive to Muslims, why are Muslims not supposed to be sensitive to the feelings of millions of Americans, for whom 9/11 was the biggest national trauma since Pearl Harbor? There is no question that Muslims have a right to build a mosque where they chose to. The real question is why they chose that particular location, in a country that covers more than 3 million square miles. Can anyone in his right mind believe that this was intended to show solidarity with Americans, rather than solidarity with those who attacked America? That the President of the United States has joined the chorus of those calling the Ground Zero mosque a religious freedom issue tells us a lot about the moral dry rot that is undermining this country from within. In this, as in other things, Barack Obama is not so much the cause of our decline but the culmination of it. He had many predecessors and many contemporaries who represent the same mindset and the same malaise. There are people for whom moral preening has become a way of life. They are out in force denouncing critics of the Ground Zero mosque. The Muslim community in lower Manhattan doesn’t need a giant mosque, and can’t pay for one. All over the country, huge mosques are being constructed that are much larger than the local Muslim group really needs. Mosques aren’t just houses of worship. They’re centers of political power, from which plans are made to increase that power in various ways. Bending over backwards to allow a mosque near Ground Zero does not win friends; it loses respect, including self-respect.

(“The Mosque Controversy” by Thomas Sowell dated August 31, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2010/08/31/the_mosque_controversy

Why There Shouldn’t Be a Mosque at Ground Zero” by Pamela Geller dated September 4, 2010 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=38830 )


* 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:

·  Economy at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/economy.php

·  Education at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/education.php

·  Employment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/employment.php

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

·  Environment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/environment.php

·  Immigration at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/immigration.php

·  Asia at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/asia.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY