Views on the News

November 24, 2012

Views on the News*  

One day, scholars, analysts and others will ask why the media didn’t do its job this national election of posing questions and insisting on answers, but the media only made demands on Mitt Romney and other Republicans.  The press showed an amazing lack of curiosity when it came to the Democrats… especially if the issue involved President Obama.  There’s one set of rules for the Republican Party and another set for the Democratic Party.  When Mitt Romney dared to criticize President Obama’s policy after four Americans were needlessly killed in Benghazi, there were three full days of media attacks on the Republican candidate.  The media did not ask the President tough questions and demand that he be held accountable.  That didn’t happen because the media had a lot invested in Barack Obama and would not do anything to spoil his re-election.  The liberal media is a tremendous force.  The three big morning shows are watched by more than 15 million viewers daily.  Add to that, three nighttime network talk shows, each with an unapologetic liberal slant.  At the same time, the President’s policies are actively promoted by major newspapers like The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun Times, etc.  With such large reach, if liberal media outlets want to destroy a candidacy, they can, just by endlessly repeating certain themes.  If there’s anything to learn from this Presidential race, it’s that Republican candidates must do a better job bypassing liberal media outlets and reaching out directly to voters through social media, events and other tools that President Obama used decisively.

(“Obama’s Other Running Mate: The Media” by Adam Weiss dated November 15, 2012 published by Canada Free Press at http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/51108 )

America is on the verge of learning several vital lessons in the realms of economic and moral economy: lessons saturated in pain and hardship and as anchored in nature as universal gravitation or the science of hydraulics. First, actions have consequences; or to place a finer point on it: elections have consequences.  Those who told you tales that there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between either party or that the rich were just scaremongering with the bogeymen of: hyperinflation, a flood of coming pink slips, or even threats against grandma's Social Security check, were merely diverting the attention of pliant lemmings from the fiscal cliff looming dead ahead.  As always, those indolent, narcissistic and myopic wretches concerned foremost with milking the cash cow for reconstituted government cheese or Obama-phones - who live in the eternal present and don’t care for any bellies but their own, have found it in their collective Neanderthal interests to keep that moribund and creaking gravy train moving forward at any cost, even though the axles are broken and the resulting sparks threaten to melt down the entire exhausted monstrosity.  Yes, a regime that churns out byzantine regulatory edicts faster than a junkyard dog breeds fleas must now face the very real effects of its ideology on a host that was not healthy to begin with after four years of political transformation.  Having thrown corporations and small businesses an anvil instead of a life preserver, the progressive regime must now reap the consequences of employers' shedding employees to keep their heads above water so that they too do not become the thoughtless casualties of socialistic regression to anemic and rheumatic basket cases.  Second, it is far easier to destroy than to build. It has forever been the desire of Gnostic utopianism to ascend towards temporal perfection, and socialism is of this species in that it would above all else recast humanity into its own incarnation of denatured egalitarianism.  History teaches us that man exhibits a vast continuum of inequalities in every arena he puts his hand to, and that societies that encourage the flourishing and rewarding of these diverse talents, both prudentially through negative liberty and monetarily through acquisition, enrich themselves in the aggregate as a by-product - they do indeed prosper as a consequence of freedom.  The genius of this inequality is intrinsically anathema to socialism, and try as it may, it can never through its modalities create the wealth necessary for the good life - it can only deconstruct, redistribute, and eventually wither what it could not fabricate of its own.  Thus, what initially finds its beginning in altruism soon descends into coercion and rapaciousness before manifesting impoverishment, despair, and the final loss of liberty.  Once it has raided the coffers of its wealthy, it moves against the middle and working classes to support its oligarchy of toadies and technocratic managers - and as its sustenance dries up, the inevitable tyranny and anarchy becomes the sole endgame left as covetousness becomes the regime's last animating anti-virtue.  In absorbing these two vital lessons, America will endure a weeping and gnashing of teeth that not even the state-run media will be able to meliorate, with its diversionary spectacles and well-crafted bowing directed towards the preordained seats of power. Some lessons have the therapeutic capacity to either break us irrevocably or to raise us up from the dark caverns of our own self-absorbed hallucinations towards the chill light of redemption and knowledge, and it is up to us to choose which avenue we take.

(“Two Vital Lessons” by Glenn Fairman dated November 19, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/two_vital_lessons.html )


The Congressional Budget Office released its final tally on the federal government's "fourth consecutive year with a deficit above $1 trillion," and in return, America finished the fourth year of its worst peacetime economic recovery since the Depression.  If government spending was supposed to equal prosperity, America has not gotten what it's paid for.  The federal government spent $3.5 trillion in fiscal year 2012.  As the CBO observes: "Federal spending has totaled between $3.5 trillion and $3.6 trillion in each of the past four years."  Prior to these four years, government spending had never broken $3 trillion.  Not surprising these spending-stoked deficits have resulted in an enormous debt increase.  Prior to these past four years, federal debt held by the public equaled $5.8 trillion. The CBO projected that at the end of 2012, it would equal $11.3 trillion and in four years, this debt has essentially doubled.  For all this federal spending, deficits, and debt, what has America gotten in return - the worst economic recovery of any post-Depression period!  In 2009, the economy shrank 3.1%. In 2010, it grew 2.4%; in 2011, 1.8%; and in 2012, it is projected to rise 2.1%.  Average the real economic growth of these four years, and you come up with less than 1 percent growth, just 0.8%!  If Washington avoids the so-called "fiscal cliff," whereby spending is automatically cut and taxes raised at year's end, then the deficit will again exceed $1 trillion -- for a fifth consecutive year.  Even avoiding the fiscal cliff's projected recessionary impact, the CBO estimates the economy will only grow 1.7% -- less than in any of the three previous years!  Over the last four years, it has spent like never before, rung up deficits like never before, and accumulated debt equal to all it had run up before and all it has gotten in return is the worst economic recovery in its peacetime history.

(“Never Has Less Cost More” by J.T. Young dated November 19, 2012 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2012/11/19/never-has-less-cost-more )

The two most populous states, California and Texas, have a lot in common: a long coast, a sunny climate, a diverse population, plenty of oil in the ground, and Mexico to the south, but where they diverge is in their governance.  The American people and businesses are voting with their feet and their one-way truck rentals to escape California and its forced unionism, high taxes, and high unemployment rate for a better life in low-tax, business-friendly, right-to-work states like Texas.  Since 1990, Americans have been moving out of California to other states in large numbers.  The Golden State’s population growth in the last two decades has reached the national average only because of Latin and Asian immigration.  The problem is that Obama's economic policies are pushing the country to be more like the California people are leaving and less like the Texas they're flocking to.  Every dream program that the administration embraces, cap and trade, massive taxes on the rich, high-speed rail, is either in place or on the drawing boards in California.  Like President Obama, California's Governor Jerry Brown pushed for a substantial new tax on the "rich" that raises the top rate to 13.3%, a hike voters approved in November.  Even before these taxes kick in, California was the fourth most heavily taxed state, according to a ranking by the Tax Foundation.  Also like Obama, the state is regulation happy.  The Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranks California as one of the four worst states in terms of regulations.  The state also imposes one of the heaviest tax burdens on businesses.  As a result, California consistently ranks at or near the bottom for business friendliness and like Obama, who has pushed federal spending up to historic highs for the past four years, per-capita spending in California has climbed 42% from 2000 to 2010, even after adjusting for inflation.  The state is now one of the biggest spenders in the country.  Apologists for the Golden State frequently point to Texas’s flourishing oil and gas industry as the reason for success, but California ranks third in petroleum reserves.  The contrast in economic policies between California and Texas, which otherwise share many things in common, since both are big-population border states with lots of immigrants, could not be more striking.  The Lone Star state has one of the lowest tax burdens in the country, imposes far fewer regulations and taxes on business, and consistently comes in the top five in various rankings of business friendliness.  Chief Executive magazine has rated Texas the best state in the U.S. for business eight years in a row, citing "its business-friendly tax and regulatory environment," but also the quality of its workforce.  Also in sharp contrast to California, Texas has one of the lowest levels of per-capita spending, according to Govpro.com, and spending growth has been slower in Texas than California over the past decade.  California has become a state that people are increasingly trying to escape, and Texas a state people are increasingly migrating to.  According to Census data, California lost half a million people to other states between 2007 and 2010, while Texas, on the other hand, gained 394,000.  A study by the Manhattan Institute found that Californians have been leaving for states with better job prospects, lower taxes and better business climates.  In other words, states that are pursuing the kind of low-tax, limited government, free market policies Obama typically rejects.  The public may have voted to give Obama a second term, but many people in California are voting with their feet, leaving the state that's already put in place policies Obama has promised to keep pushing for four more years.

(“Obama Policies Copy Moribund California, Not Texas” by John Merline dated November 21, 2012 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/112112-634339-obama-embraces-calif-as-citizens-u-haul-to-texas.aspx )

The rockets falling on Israel have their origin not just in their Gaza launchers, but in the election results of November because it is no coincidence that the explosions we are seeing now on the evening news began after the election.  Like so many in the Middle East, Hamas leaders were holding their breath to see who they would have to deal with over the next four years.  Once the Muslim Brotherhood on both sides of the border, in Egypt and in Gaza, knew the outcome, the trigger was pressed and the violence began.  Meanwhile Obama, during his Thailand visit, tried to deny that the Hamas violence had anything to do with the Arab Spring, the shift that began with his infamous Cairo speech calling for democracy in Egypt, followed by the betrayal of Mubarak, which led to the Muslim Brotherhood taking control of Egypt through elections, as they had earlier taken control of Gaza through elections.  Like the attacks of September 11, 2012 Hamas’s rocket attacks are a show of Islamist strength.  The Muslim Brotherhood is playing Arafat’s old game of setting off violence and then charging money to put a stop to it.  Even as Israel prepares for a ground assault on Hamas, Obama has been working the phones with Islamist leaders in Turkey and Egypt to convince them to help him salvage the Islamist terrorist group with a ceasefire.  Hamas and its backers want a ceasefire, but they know that they can extract more concessions from Israel and America by appearing not to want one.  The cost of that ceasefire, like so much of Obama’s foreign policy, will be borne by Israel and America.  The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will get its payoff and Hamas will get its concessions.  A stronger administration would not have allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to wrap it around its fingers, but Obama brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power and is now dependent on the genie of Islamist democracy that he released from its iron bottle.  The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Gaza will get what it wants. Israel will walk away, not only sold out, but made painfully aware that its economy and security are dependent on the whims of Obama, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.  But this conflict is about more than just shaking down Washington for money and Israel for territory.  The Muslim Brotherhood hasn’t been able to deliver on its economic promises and domestic opposition is mounting.  If the Muslim Brotherhood can’t fix the economy, its alternative policy is the same one that another totalitarian party that ran on the economy, but then turned to a program of territorial expansionism and conquest, embraced.  War has no downside for the Muslim Brotherhood.  If it wins, then it will be able to lasso Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Syria into a local Caliphate.  If it loses, then its domestic military rivals will be humiliated, while the government will describe the defeat as a victory; just as Egyptian governments have done in all the previous wars.  The only obstacle to this scenario is America and that is why the Muslim Brotherhood waited for the outcome of the election before crossing the Rubicon in this latest assault on Israel, because now with another four years of Obama to look forward to, the Brotherhood knows that it has nothing to worry about.

(“Obama’s Gaza War” by Daniel Greenfield dated November 19, 2012 published by Front Page Magazine at http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/obamas-gaza-war/ )


* 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.  No updates this week to the issue sections.


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY