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Views on the News

Views on the News*

October 17, 2015

 

President John F. Kennedy famously said, “But I dream things that never were—and I say: ‘Why not?’” but today’s progressive, Democrat party, and their propagandist creature, the MSM, twists perceptions of truth with the same ease and disdain as it would JFK’s inspiring words of leadership into:I habitually say things that are untrue—and never were.”  It is the oxymoronic concept of “leading from behind;” the abdication of responsibility by those who would lead, but are incapable of accepting the inherent responsibility (and veracity) that comes with the job.  Irresponsible power wielded without the check and balance of law promotes widespread government corruption and ultimately degenerates society into chaos.  Serious character flaws notwithstanding, that is the underlying reason for Obama’s (and Hillary’s) bold-faced dishonesty with the American people wholly ignored (or greatly diminished) by an abetting MSM.  The political optics of promoting “big lies” always serves the modern-day Democrat’s primary purpose of self-promotion: maintaining and/or expanding personal political power via overreaching government “control” and the corresponding erosion of individual freedom and liberty.  That is why the powers-that-be in the Obama Administration disregard the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights with such maddening regularity.  Historically, America threw off the yoke of British imperialism for far less than what Obama and his ultra-Constitutional minions have done collectively behind the shield of faceless big government on almost a daily basis.  Obama is clearly out-of-his-depth.  Couple that community-organizing incompetence with a profound anti-American ideology and one sees a man who has skated through the Presidency leaving disasters at home and abroad in his wake with little more than a winsome smile, his ethnicity, and a detached coolness that appeals to gaff-prone Joe Biden as well as empty-headed  millennials who don’t differentiate between style and substance.  Obama is a Machiavellian leader of capricious whims: exactly what did America gain from normalizing relations with the brutal, repressive Castro regime after 53 years?  In retrospect, his views would make JFK a mainstream Republican of today especially in light of his emphasis on public integrity and fiscal conservatism.  Indeed, JFK would not recognize what his Democrat party has metastasized into: anti-American progressivism so extreme that an unapologetic socialist, Bernie “90% tax rate” Sanders is mounting a spirited campaign on the Democrat side for President in 2016.  Today, there is no daylight between mainstream Democrats and their unchecked, socialistic authoritarianism where the State, not the individual, is king.  JFK was pro-government programs, but as a means of their original intention, temporary assistance, not what they’ve mutated into: multigenerational economic cradle-to-grave government dependence.  JFK wanted to create economic circumstances conducive to his fellow citizens reaching their individual potential.  Progressives a la Obama and his fellow Democrats want just the opposite: to bring everyone down to the same basic level of subsistence with all economic power and decision-making flowing like manna from a centralized, autocratic government they helm.  To them, this elite ruling class of “public servant” influence-peddling millionaires beyond the fray, it is better to reign in America divided against itself, distracted by blame.  This is the true meaning and purpose of Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of America.  To make a political analogy, Obama progressives wish to extinguish Lady Liberty’s flame by covering her with the muzzling black robe of the Burka, the Muslim women’s garb of silent submission to Islam.

(“JFK Democrats no resemblance to Obama, progressives” by David L. Hunter dated October 11, 2015 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/75969 )

Americans of both parties and across ideological lines are angry.  The seven most recent national polls (CBS, IBD, USA Today, Pew, NBC News, and Fox News) reveal that the combined total percentage of support for all of the announced Democrats running for the Democrat nomination (Clinton, Webb, Chafee, and O'Malley) is below 50%.  It is not just that Democrats are turned off by Clinton; they are turned off by all the Democrats officially in the race.  These same seven most recent national polls show that the combined support for the nomination by the three Republicans who have never held elective office (Trump, Carson, and Fiorina) is more than 50% of the all respondents.  If that seems astonishing, consider that the office that has long been considered the second most important in our federal system, Speaker of the House, is today an office that no one really seems to want.  The division in America is not "Democrat" vs. "Republican," but rather a division that places in one camp all the politicians who derive their power and their wealth from the federal government.  Let us call the first political party the "Party of Washington," a gaggle of not only politicians, but federal judges and entrenched bureaucrats, as well as the media, which is assigned to cover Washington.  Every time the federal government does anything, these folks get a piece of the action.  Legislation is passed, executive orders are decreed, rules are adopted, and judicial orders are pronounced, with all the members of the Party of Washington gaining something, even as so many of them protest that they oppose a particular action.  The Clintons are perfect examples of the Party of Washington They have grown fabulously rich without really doing anything at all except broker power and rake in hundreds of millions of dollars.  The federal government is, to these folks, something to use for personal gain.  The counties surrounding Washington are the richest in America, perhaps the richest in the world.  The Party of America is sprawling, disorganized, and united only by the idea that nothing the federal government does any longer works to the general welfare of honest Americans.  Even those few essentially federal constitutional duties like protecting our borders, defending our nation, and insuring that money is sound are done incompetently and indifferently by the Party of WashingtonThe loud and angry murmuring across America to all the politicians in Washington is the spontaneous voice of the Party of America.  Those in that party do not trust politicians, especially career politicians and particularly those livelong Washington politicians whose background is in law or academia or some similar pursuit that is a practical appendage of the Washington establishment.  The man or woman who wins the Presidency in 2016 and who also wins the presidency with a true mandate for revolutionary reform will be the candidate who runs against the entire Washington establishment and who makes very specific promises about what he will do if elected.  The candidate who wins will be the candidate who runs directly against Washington, with its festering carbuncles of power and influence.  That candidate will be not so much a politician who promises to "get things done" in Washington, but rather the candidate who promises to "get things undone."  The Party of Washington is the enemy of hope in America today, so we wait for someone to end this reign of arrogance, larceny, and collusion with an army of determined Americans to support a new and needed revolution.

(“The Party of Washington” by Bruce Walker dated October 14, 2015 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/10/the_party_of_washington.html )

 

Perpetually stuck in a time warp, progressives habitually misconstrue the societal dynamics of 1963 with those of 2015, the legitimate Civil Rights movement with illegitimate Occupy movement rabble-rousing and more recently Black Lives Matter thuggery.  As the black race constitutes only 13% of the U.S. population, the fact is it was white votes that propelled Obama's ascendancy to the highest office in the land not once, but twice.  This was the fulfillment of MLK's "dream," a circumstance frankly unimaginable to anyone in 1963.  It was done as a symbol of cultural healing, in good faith and with the best intentions.  Obama has responded by wrecking the joint, most notably the economy, with 8 trillion dollars in added national debt, wasted stimulus funneled to political donors, and ObamaCare (socialized medicine) bureaucracy that will burn though $1 trillion a year.  His tax-and-spend policies have caused corporate inversion, the mass exodus of capital and jobs overseas, 93 million Americans pushed out of the workforce, and 1 out of 7 (45.5 million) Americans on food stamps.  Law is flagrantly disregarded by Obama, in clear violation of his oath of office. Furthermore, every mass killing on a school campus and/or death of a black person by a police officer or a white perpetrator (regardless of mitigating circumstances) is utilized by him to promote the fiction that America is still a racist country à la 1963.  Progressives abetted by the MSM wholly disregard the widespread advances toward equal treatment of minorities in favor of magnifying isolated tragedies in order to politically demonize whole groups like cops, conservatives, and the white race, in short, anyone who is not a Democrat.  Perhaps the best measure of the difference between America of 2015 and 1963 can be gleaned from the restrained response of police to Black Lives Matter malfeasance and aggression.  That nonviolent reaction is something MLK would have instantly recognized and respected.  As a proponent of individual character, MLK would not have used broad strokes to prematurely condemn cops before all the facts are known.  Likewise, he would have recognized the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, and Michael Brown as what they are: isolated, unfortunate incidents not indicative of a general undercurrent of racism in Obama's America.  MLK and the Civil Rights protest movement were about Christian fairness and truth. However, only a superficial analysis would conclude that Black Lives Matter is actually the Civil Rights movement's antithesis: built on lies and misrepresentations of events not reflective of the much improved treatment of blacks by whites.  

(“Progressives stuck in 1963” by David L. Hunter dated October 13, 2015 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/10/progressives_stuck_in_1963.html )

 

It is no secret that since the civil-rights movement, liberals have controlled black politics, so much so, that blacks are automatically assumed to be liberal.  For years, despite growing evidence to the contrary, it was taken as an indisputable fact of life that big-government socialism was the answer to black social and economic problems.  Liberal blacks have peddled for years that black conservatives are not "real."  Ben Carson's story is certainly not a story that black liberals want told as a black story.  The idea of a young black man rising from a ghetto in Detroit to head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and attributing his achievement to values, hard work, and education (not to government programs) is the last thing any self-respecting liberal wants conveyed as typical.  Certainly there is no "secret sauce" for becoming one of the world's leading pediatric neurosurgeons, but there is a "secret sauce" for rising out of poverty in America.  Brookings Institute scholar Ron Haskins lays it out in three rules for not being poor in America: "Complete at least a high school education, work full-time, and wait until age 21 and get married before having a baby."  People who followed all three of these rules had only a 2% chance of being in poor and a 72% chance of joining the middle class.  Over the 40 years from 1974 to 2014, black household poverty rates changed from 30% to 26.2%.  Not exactly a meaningful change, particularly given the trillions spent on anti-poverty programs.  Black poverty is centered on single-parent black households.  The breakdown of the black family, and the almost tripling of black out-of-wedlock births over this 40-year period, is the product of displacement of traditional family values with welfare state programs.  These welfare state programs, and the propping up of union-controlled failing inner-city public schools, are babies of the liberal establishment.  It is ridiculous to suggest that some blacks are "real" and others are not, but it is not ridiculous to suggest that some solutions to black problems are "real" and others are not.  The "real" solutions for black problems begin with giving black parents alternatives to the failed public schools where poor black children are trapped, restoring the black family, once the pillar of black life in America, and building a culture of ownership and entrepreneurship.  Ben Carson is a poster child for these conservative solutions, and surely why liberals would be so upset when anyone would refer to him as a "real black."

(“Blacks Don’t Have to Stay on Liberal Plantation” by Star Parker dated October 13, 2015 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-on-the-right/101315-775393-star-parker-despite-trillions-spent-big-government-hasnt-bettered-lives-of-blacks.htm )

The price tag for the audacious Obamanomics experiment, the bailouts, the debt, the stimulus plans, the printing of cheap money, is astronomical: nearly $12 trillion.  That's the sum of the $8.3 trillion added to the national debt since the day Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy for all the government spending and the $3.5 trillion of easy money flushed into the economy by the Federal Reserve through the initial monetary expansion -- QE1, QE2 and QE3.  This huge number helps explains why Americans aren't buying into this "recovery," and why they flatly reject Barack Obama's proclamation that everything is so much better than when he entered office.  It explains why a majority of Americans think the economy is headed in the wrong direction, even as the government statistics on jobs and inflation suggest improvement.  It explains why Obama's policies were so thoroughly dismissed during the midterm elections.  Maybe Americans are still clinging to old-fashioned virtues, but their common sense tells them that you don't borrow and inflate your way to prosperity.  There is no denying that the scale of government spending paid for with IOUs and the printing of money is nearly unprecedented in American history.  No one knows how the story ends, but in other countries it hasn't been a pretty picture.  On the borrowing front, economists can argue whether the debt "stimulus" helped bump up growth when the money was spent.  Now that the money has all been doled out and flushed through the economy, there is no stimulus left, just the hangover effect of $8 trillion in unpaid bills… that must be paid eventually.  Government debt isn't inherently evil.  It depends on what you use the money for.  We borrowed trillions (in today's dollars) to win World War II, and it was worth it.  We borrowed another $2 trillion during the Reagan years to finance winning the Cold War and rebuilding the private economy with growth hormone tax cuts.  What do we have to show for Obama's $8.3 trillion in debt, besides bankrupt borrowers, a lack of shovel-ready jobs, or an ObamaCare dysfunctional website?  Amazingly, we've opened up the floodgates on borrowing even at a time when we've severely slashed the military budget.  The question none of the Obama enthusiasts dare answer is what happens if and when interest rates start to drift back upward.  Each single percentage point rise in rates causes the U.S. deficit to rise by nearly $1.8 trillion over 10 years.  So a 300 basis point rise in rates, nothing more than a return to normalcy, would mean more than $5 trillion rise in federal deficits.  If that happens, the debt servicing costs would grow astronomically and interest payments would become the biggest expense item in the budget.  The $3.5 trillion in quantitative easing has become the crack cocaine of Wall Street.  Based on historical experience, when other nations have tried to print their way to prosperity, the story hasn't had a happy ending.  For Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico and others, easy money policies have crashed state economies and ended in misery, and the poor have been hurt the most.  The ruling class keeps advising us that we should stop worrying and be happy.  The problem for the architects of these policies is that the workers and voters aren't buying it because this new math doesn’t add up.

(“America’s $12 Trillion House of Cards” by Stephen Moore dated October 13, 2015 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/stephenmoore/2015/10/13/americas-12-trillion-house-of-cards-n2064833 )

As Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute and other scholars have thoroughly documented, the crash of 2008 was caused by the Federal Reserve’s easy money policies for nearly a decade, government housing policies that led to preposterous mortgage loans being issued, and massive over-leverage of government, companies, and households.  Since Washington doesn’t understand what went wrong in 2007 and 2008, so the Fed, the White House and Congress are recreating the very same conditions for another financial bubble.  If it pops, we could replay the same devastating effects as occurred during the first bubble in 1999 and 2000. It is doing so in four ways:

·      First, the Dodd-Frank regulations are causing one of the greatest consolidations of the banking industry since the Great Depression.  Only really big banks have the size to spread the costs of Dodd-Frank compliance officers and costs.  So we have created a competitive advantage that allows the sharks to swallow the minnows.  Meanwhile, the “too big to fail” safety net to Bank of America, Citi, and other titans exacerbates this cost advantage of big banks and thus makes bailouts even more likely in the future.

·      Second, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are engaged in the same low interest rate lending mania of 2004-07 and the Obama administration is on a Bush-like home-ownership push.  The two government enterprises are back issuing taxpayer guarantees on mortgages with as little as 3 percent down payment. Have we learned nothing at all?

·      Third, the Fed refused to raise interest rates off zero in September, and, hello, that easy money policy is how we got into the mess in 2000 and then in 2008. Wall Street cheered Janet Yellen’s decision to keep the cheap dollars flowing.

·      Finally, there is the saturation of debt. When the crisis hit in 2008 the national debt stood at a little under $10 trillion.  Now we are at $18 trillion.  Government is hopelessly over-leveraged.  The interest rate exposure is enormous with each one percentage point rise in long term rates causing the servicing costs of the debt to rise by about $1 trillion over 10 years.  Meanwhile, on top of that, the Fed owns at least $1 trillion in mortgage debt and so if housing markets fall again, taxpayers get double walloped.

The point is that government and politicians have no learning curve.  All of the conditions of financial wreckage are reappearing.  Congress should require at least 8-10% downpayments on all government insured mortgages.  They should repeal all or part of the Dodd-Frank bill that is destroying community banks, while promising voters they will never again bail out a bank or financial institution.  Finally, they should be urging the Fed to restore sound money by gradually raising short term interest rates.  The Presidential candidates should start warning voters that Washington is rebuilding another financial house of cards.

(“The Fed, the White House and Congress are setting up the next financial bubble” by Stephen Moore dated October 11, 2015 published by The Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/11/stephen-moore-fed-white-house-congress-revise-fina/ )

When the federal government sets up an artificial market for selling health insurance, sets the prices, subsidizes the premiums, goads people to buy who’ve never before been able to afford it, forbids profits and bans anyone who actually knows what they’re doing from running the darn things, what could possibly go wrong?  The economic model is failing, the state exchanges are turning out to be complete disasters, and of the 11.7 million people who signed up for health insurance with subsidized premiums, nearly 2 million of them still can’t pay their premiums.  Some churn is inevitable, but the Congressional Budget Office estimated two years ago that some 13 million would participate in 2015, and its most recent revision in March of this year still pegged the figure at 11 million.  The attrition problem going away given ObamaCare’s high and rising costs, as well as its low quality that is approaching Medicaid levels of coverage.  The plans simply don’t offer good value for the money.  Even under the most optimistic assumptions, half of the formerly uninsured take on both a higher financial burden and lower welfare.  In other words, ObamaCare harms the people it is supposed to help.  This is not a prescription for a healthy, durable program.  Democrats thought it would be a huge win to get as many people as possible “covered” and to have the policies under which they were covered pay for as many basic things as possible.  They were sure that if the number of enrollees rose, they could control the cost of the premiums.  Unfortunately, the entire premise behind that thought is flawed.  What makes health care so expensive is the fact that everyone relies on third parties to pay for the most rudimentary things like basic doctor’s office visits that folks can and should pay for out of pocket.  Liberals will tell you government has to pay for this stuff because no one will go for “preventive” visits unless it’s free to them, but actual behavior doesn’t bear that out.  Non-emergency uses of ERs on the rise, which is exactly the opposite of what ObamaCare’s champions said would happen.  Overall health care costs are soaring as a signficant chunk of those signing up through ObamaCare are really signing up through expanded Medicaid, which limits doctor reimbursements while exploding demand on the system.  The ObamaCare economic model was never feasible, and now we’re seeing the inevitable result of that.  The fact that the mainstream media won’t tell you this is the most damning thing of all here.  At least Democrats tell you their mission in life is to redistribute wealth and give you free stuff and the media claims to be in the business of informing the public, but they’re the biggest liars of all.

(“ObamaCare exchanges collapsing, enrollment plummeting” by Dan Calabrese dated October 14, 2015 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/article/76043 )

One way to define Barack Obama’s foreign policy is as a Doctrine of Restraint.  It is clear, not least to the Kremlin, that this president is skeptical of the efficacy of military force, wary of foreign interventions that may become long-term commitments, convinced the era of American-imposed solutions is over, and inclined to see the United States as less an indispensable power than an indispensable partner.  He has, in effect, been talking down American power.  President Vladimir Putin has seized on this profound foreign policy shift in the White House.  He may mock Putin’s forays as distractions from a plummeting Russian economy, but the fact remains that Putin has reasserted Russian power in the vacuum created by American retrenchment and appears determined to shape the outcome in Syria using means that Obama has chosen never to deploy.  Russia’s Syrian foray may be overreach, but for now the initiative appears to lie in the Kremlin, with the White House as reactive power.  Obama’s Doctrine of Restraint reflects circumstance and temperament.  He was elected to lead a nation exhausted by the two longest and most expensive wars in its history.  Iraq and Afghanistan consumed trillions without yielding victory.  His priority was domestic: first recovery from the 2008 meltdown and then a more equitable and inclusive society.  The real pivot was not to Asia but to home.  The President was intellectually persuaded of the need to redefine America’s foreign-policy heft in an interconnected world of more equal powers, and temperamentally inclined to prudence and diplomacy over force.  American power might still be dominant but could no longer be determinant.  When the most powerful nation on earth and chief underwriter of global security focuses on its limitations, others take note, perceiving new opportunity and new risk.  Instability can become contagious.  In Afghanistan, in Libya and most devastatingly in Syria, Obama has seemed beset by ambivalence: a surge undermined by a date certain for Afghan withdrawal; a lead-from-behind military campaign to oust Libya’s dictator with zero follow-up plan; a statement more than four years ago that “the time has come” for President Bashar al-Assad to “step aside” without any strategy to make that happen, and a “red line” on chemical weapons that was not upheld.  All this has said to Russia’s Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping that this is a time of wound-licking American incoherence.  The home pivot has yielded a revived economy (at least for some) and given all Americans access to health insurance.  Yet the cost of the Doctrine of Restraint has been very high.  The world is more dangerous than in recent memory.  Obama’s skepticism about American power, his readiness to disengage from Europe and his catastrophic tiptoeing on Syria have left the Middle East in generational conflict, Europe unstable and Putin strutting the stage. 

(“Obama’s Doctrine of Restraint” by Roger Cohen dated October 12, 2015 published by The New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/opinion/obamas-doctrine-of-restraint.html?ref=opinion )

 

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:

·    Latin America at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/latinamerica.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/