Views on the News
Views on the News*
September 6, 2014
The clock is ticking on this administration, and Obama knows it, and his legacy is one of disappointment. He has made a difference, but often his critics on the right and on the left have trouble recognizing it. What Obama has accomplished is to move American politics as far leftward as he could, wrecking (transforming) American health care, foreign policy, and constitutional norms in ways that will be difficult to reverse. If it isn’t overturned, ObamaCare assures him fame, however grudging. If the monstrosity is overturned, it assures him infamy, which is better than what he fears most, namely, obscurity. In 2011 Obama compared his legislative and foreign policy accomplishments with LBJ, FDR, and Lincoln. When he speaks of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” it’s these Presidents’ achievements he has in mind. The subsequent years have not been kind to his ambition, and he admits disappointment, and he tries to explain away what went wrong: First, and most important, it’s not his fault. He has never admitted a single serious mistake. The ObamaCare rollout was a fiasco, and as chief executive responsibility for it ultimately falls to him. His intentions were thoughtful and pure, but “others deserve the blame.” All of the scandals “never happened,” otherwise he would have done something about it. Second, it’s the Republicans. Obama proclaimed, “there is not a liberal America and a conservative America - there is the United States of America.” It sounded post-partisan and it was, though not in the sense most Americans thought. He thought that with a sufficiently big victory by the coalition for change (i.e., the Democrats), the GOP would have to adapt, would become a me-too party. The Republicans refused to capitulate and accept his ideas as law. One reason they didn’t is that, Obama and the Democrats peaked in 2008 and have gone downhill ever since, a decline that seems likely to continue in November. Hence his third plea in extenuation, that the times are not favorable. This President came into office exclaiming “Yes, we can!” and now dreads leaving office explaining, “No, we couldn’t.”
(“Mount Rushmore Expansion Plans on Hold” by Charles Kesler dated September 2, 2014 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/09/02/mount_rushmore_expansion_plans_on_hold_123830.html )
Competence is the ability to get things done, but many perfectly intelligent people have been labeled “incompetent,” when actually they are or have been quite competent, at achieving disasters. We have such a person, Barack Obama, sitting in the White House who is committed to disastrous ideology. Our present administration is very competent in the way its officials go about achieving their goals, using the incredible powers of bureaucracy and executive orders to bypass Congress and override the Constitution. They are perfectly competent in promoting and putting their toxically incompetent leftist ideology into effect. People who are competent at creating disasters are not necessarily dimwitted, their problem is not their stupidity; it is that their core ideas about how the world works are wrong. If their basic ideas are wrong, everything else goes wrong. History abounds with cases of bright people who have been zealously committed to wrong ideas they were expert in putting into action. It is not hard to find examples of how things have gone wrong because of bad ideas now in ascendency in Washington. A random list could include the incompetence of the ObamaCare website and the ACA in general; the incredible expense of trafficking alien children around the U.S. versus the cost of returning them to their own villages; the nonstop printing of trillions and trillions of dollars; the appalling waste and improper payments in Medicare and Medicaid; the corruption of the Food Stamp program and the misuse of the Social Security disabilities program. The competence to wreak havoc extends to whole nations, which can be completely run into the ground because defective ideology is effectively employed by a bunch of zealous, bright people who are wholeheartedly committed to bad ideas. When disaster producing ideas are the foundation stones of governance, no amount of finagling with business models; no new techniques or innovative means to improve efficiency; no new five-year planning commissions; no new agencies created to examine the problems of government will ever succeed in improving those governments, state and federal, as life-killing ideas have no ability whatever to enable society to flourish. As long as our leadership is committed to outdated, disproven and ruinous ideologies, the results will be the same as they have been wherever leftist ideals have been promoted and implemented: cataclysmic failure, both economic and societal. The American miracle that is our constitutional republic, along with the gifts it has imparted to the whole world, will not be revived and nursed back to health unless the incompetent ideology of the Left is firmly renounced across the board, both in faith and practice. Leftist ideology is an American political heresy that has no real roots in our history, no consonance with the independence-loving American character, no resonance with American’s highest ideals and therefore no real place in our society. In the final analysis, one must place a moral judgment on leftist ideology and its deleterious results. At every turn, leftist ideology has been proved incompetent in producing a flourishing society. It has always produced disaster. There is not one exception in all the Left’s brutal, inglorious and destructive history. Unless government is committed to and driven by ideals that support those goals, it is not just useless; it is not merely incompetent; it is corrupt and tyrannical.
(“The Incompetence of Leftist Ideology” by Kevin Wade and Fay Voshell dated August 31, 2014 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/08/the_incompetence_of_leftist_ideology_.html )
When the Attorney General of the United States makes false but racially incendiary claims about today's alleged "pernicious racism," Eric Holder is revealed as a more dangerous race-hustler than Al Sharpton. Holder complains about different prison rates, different school expulsion rates and longer prison sentences for black boys and men compared to white boys and men. He equates "equal rights" with "equal results." In Ferguson, Missouri, after announcing federal investigation into the cop-shooting death of an unarmed black teen, Holder said: "I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man. I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. ... I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me." The long-believed claim of "racism" on that highway has been investigated, and debunked – Twice! Numerous complaints of DWB (“Driving While Black”) were filed by blacks driving on the New Jersey Turnpike. New Jersey commissioned a study, checking motorists' speed with laser guns and photographing drivers of vehicles going 15 mph or more over the speed limit. It turned out that more speeders were black than white, which explained why cops pulled over black motorists so often. The U.S. Justice Department, which requested the study, did not want the results released to the public. Instead, they accused the researchers of using a "flawed methodology." The next year, New Jersey commissioned yet another study, and again, it turned out a disproportionately higher percentage of drivers on that stretch of highway were black, and that blacks were more likely than non-blacks to drive 80 miles per hour or faster. Again, critics called the study's methodology "flawed." Over 20 years ago, black liberal Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson said: "The sociological truths are that America, while still flawed in its race relations ... is now the least racist white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protection of minorities than any other society, white or black; offers more opportunities to a greater number of black persons than any other society, including all those of Africa." Holder, however, sees an America -- as to "race-relations" -- still mired in the 1950s. In a 1997 Time/CNN poll, a majority of black teens called racism a "big problem," but 89% of black teens called racism a "small problem" or "not a problem at all" in their own lives. In fact, nearly twice as many black teens than white teens called "failure to take advantage of available opportunities" a bigger problem than racism.
(“Eric Holder: A More Dangerous Race-Card Hustler Than Al Sharpton” by Larry Elder dated September 4, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/larryelder/2014/09/04/eric-holder-a-more-dangerous-racecard-hustler-than-al-sharpton-n1886861 )
The President has begun to try and convince voters that the American economy and American workers are better off than when I took office, but unfortunately it just isn’t true. A definition of being off-message is when a politician says things to people that differs from what they observe for themselves, and happy talk about the economy doesn’t fool anybody; it makes them angry. According to a George Washington University Battleground poll, 54% of voters disapprove of the job President Obama is doing on the economy. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 49% of Americans still think we are in a recession. The truth is, in many ways Americans are worse off today than they were before the recession. Sentier Research reported that median household income is down 4.8% from December 2007, when the recession began, and down 3.1% from the end of the recession in June 2009. The last time I checked, having less money is not an indication that you are better off. The Pew Charitable Trust found that from 2007 to 2014, not one state where the percentage of people working today is higher than the percentage of people who were working in that state before the recession. The labor force participation rate is still incredibly low, at only 62.9%. Democrats can crow about how the unemployment rate has now decreased to 6.2%, but the primary reason for that drop is not because people have gone into comfortable retirement; it’s because they can’t find a job. There are just too many bothersome facts about the lack of growth and jobs in today’s economy. This administration is the most anti-business administration since World War II, and people who want to work notice. I don’t ever expect the President to stand in front of a crowd and say “woe is me, I’m a failure,” but when he goes out there and pats himself on the back, crowing about the success of the Obama economy, he only makes his political situation worse.
(“The Obama economy is not working for the Democrats” by Ed Rogers dated September 3, 2014 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/09/03/the-insiders-the-obama-economy-is-not-working-for-the-democrats/ )
First it was the 2007 financial crisis; then it became the 2008 financial crisis; next it was the downturn of 2008-2009, now it dubbed the “Great Recession,” but unless the economy improves it may have to move on to the next label, the “Next Depression.” Contrary to the claims of politicians and their senior aides that the “summer of recovery” had arrived, the United States did not experience a V-shaped pattern of economic revival, as it did after the recessions of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the US economy remained far below its previous growth trend. Indeed, from 2005 to 2007, America’s real (inflation-adjusted) GDP grew at just over 3% annually. During the 2009 trough, the figure was 11% lower, and it has since dropped by an additional 5%. Cumulative output losses relative to the 1995-2007 trends now stand at 78% of annual GDP for the US. That is an extraordinarily large amount of foregone prosperity – and a far worse outcome than was expected. Inflation has been declining for so long that it is now threatening price stability, and inflation expectations continue to fall. The Federal Reserve under Janet Yellen is no longer wondering whether it is appropriate to stop purchasing long-term assets and raise interest rates until there is a significant upturn in employment. Instead, the Fed already is cutting its asset purchases and considering when, not whether, to raise interest rates. A year and a half ago, the potential output estimate was the Great Recession would ultimately cost the North Atlantic economy about 80% of one year’s GDP, or $13 trillion, in lost production. When do we admit that it is time to call what is happening by its true name: the Next Depression?
(“The Greater Depression” by J. Bradford DeLong dated August 28, 2014 published by Project Syndicate at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/j--bradford-delong-argues-that-it-is-time-to-call-what-is-happening-in-europe-and-the-us-by-its-true-name )
The Obama administration DOES have a strategy, but they prefer to appear indecisive. That’s because the strategy would likely provoke even greater criticism than the false confession of endless dithering. The actual strategy is detente first, and then a full alliance with Iran throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It has been on display since before the beginning of the Obama administration. During his first Presidential campaign in 2008, Obama used a secret back channel to Tehran to assure the mullahs that he was a friend of the Islamic Republic, and that they would be very happy with his policies. Ever since, his quest for an alliance with Iran has been conducted through at least four channels: Iraq, Switzerland (the official U.S. representative to Tehran), Oman and a variety of American intermediaries, the most notable is Valerie Jarrett, his closest adviser. In recent months, Middle Eastern leaders reported personal visits from Jarrett, who briefed them on her efforts to manage the Iranian relationship. The central theme in Obama’s outreach to Iran is his conviction that the United States has historically played a wicked role in the Middle East, and that the best things he can do for that part of the world is to limit and withdraw American military might, and empower our self-declared enemies, whose hostility to traditional American policies he largely shares. If we look at the current crisis through an Iranian lens, our apparent indecisiveness is easier to understand, for it systematically favors Iran’s interests. Tehran’s closest ally is Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Everything Iran does in the region revolves around the necessity of preserving Assad’s tyranny. It therefore made no sense to bomb Syria in the otherwise baffling about-face on the “red line” a year ago. In like manner, the refusal to take decisive action today against the Islamic State caters to Iranian and Syrian concerns. It is exceedingly unlikely that Obama will do anything that would threaten Assad’s rule or Iran’s power. To do so would be tantamount to abandoning his core strategy of creating a U.S.-Iranian alliance that would make Tehran the major regional power and Washington a friendly kibbitzer and adviser. It is even more unlikely that Obama and his spokespeople will confess to actually having a strategy, because of the political firestorm that would result, because it is better to be thought a fool than to remove all doubt.
(“Latest Big Lie: ‘We Have No Strategy” by Michael Ledeen dated August 29, 2014 published by PJ Media at http://pjmedia.com/michaelledeen/2014/08/29/latest-big-lie-we-have-no-strategy/ )
* 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:
· Bibliography at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/welcome/bibliography.php
· Environment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/environment.php
· Terrorism at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/terrorism.php