Views on the News

December 1, 2012

Views on the News*  

Mitt Romney was castigated for comparing Obama to a Santa Claus and Rush Limbaugh, who set the Santa Claus metaphor in motion the day after the election, accused the Democrats of buying votes with taxpayer money.  Limbaugh and Romney are entirely correct, but the situation is more complex than the superficial characterizations of the Santa Claus remarks.  Some legitimately need assistance: the disabled, the elderly, single mothers, those temporarily down on their luck. Republicans have never opposed a temporary safety net for these people.  Every time the left invents a new "right," it creates a voting bloc demanding government protection and provision of new benefits.  Welfare cheats driving Cadillacs, students demanding free college education, double dipping government employees, crony capitalists feeding at the government trough, corrupt SEIU thugs, and lazy people on disability are not phantasms of hardhearted conservatives.  Governor Patrick announced that illegal immigrants would be granted in-state tuition at UMass. The Santa Claus metaphor is illuminating: children believe that Santa Claus magically brings free gifts.  Mature people over the age of ten recognize that these gifts come from parents and others who sacrifice to purchase things for their children.  The problem is not that a majority of Americans cast their votes selfishly, but that too many perceive Republicans as being selfish, that a vote for Democrats is a vote to help the less fortunate.  Self-reliance is no longer a virtue today. Any attempt to rein in spending is impugned as eliminating government entirely.  Obama said in October, "We're told by our opponents that since government can't do everything, it should do almost nothing." These crude exaggerations are laughable, but the press repeats them and too many voters believe them.  Republicans have to convince voters that it's not a "drastic cut in services" to maintain government at its current Leviathan size rather than allowing it to continue expanding; that condemning generations to a life of dependence on government is not compassionate, nor is 15% unemployment; that the true spirit of Christmas Present is to encourage success over dependence; and that the best Christmas present is a job; and of course we have to continue to maintain our safety nets, provided by family, church, private charities and, yes, government agencies.

(“Obama’s Santa Claus Presidency” by Peter Wilson dated November 24, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/obamas_santa_claus_presidency.html )

At this moment I am convinced that the Republican Party doesn't even know what it believes in anymore, and this lack of a coherent narrative is a root cause of the election loss.  Moderates are blaming conservatives.  Tea Partiers are blaming moderates.  Various people are taking broadsides at Ann Coulter, Bill Kristol, Chris Christie, Grover Norquist, and, above all, Mitt Romney.  The Paul supporters are promising to withhold any support from the GOP unless they support libertarian ideas.  The establishment wants the party to slide to the left in an effort to woo minority voters.  Some are saying that it is time to raise taxes, others are furious at the suggestion.  Many are claiming that a strong third party is necessary to ensure survival.  It goes without saying that a third party may provide a means to restore America to conservative ideals, but it will also guarantee that conservatives never win a national election again.  This is a lot bigger than an election.  This is a matter of principle, of ideology.  Planks are more than just parts of a ship.  A political party must have a clearly defined and articulated set of values.  If potential voters are drawn to those values the party wins.  If not, they lose.  It is really a simple premise: belief that the U.S. Constitution is the rock on which or country is founded; belief that a large federal government is a threat to individual liberty; belief that the free enterprise system is the best system to ensure prosperity to the most people possible; and belief that socialism is dangerous.  If you believe it, THEN SAY IT plainly, unabashedly, and without reservation.  These are the basic premises that our candidates must run on.  They must offer examples from history on why they are right.  They have to offer facts and solutions. Show the citizenry the record of big government / high taxes versus small government / low taxes.   We have proven methods of success - run on them!   This is not the time for moderates or moderation.  Republicans must provide a crystal clear alternative to the voters: a leviathan, intrusive federal government or a small, responsive government that believes in the individual and the rights of the individual states.  So we may have one more chance.  Are Republicans going to offer an alternative, or are they going to compromise with the forces and ideals that are causing our demise, because the future of our nation is more important than electing a quasi liberal that happens to have an R by his or her name.

(“The GOP must fight for its principles, or die” by David Garth dated November 25, 2012 published by American thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/11/the_gop_must_fight_for_its_principles_or_die.html )

Post-presidential election commentary has focused on demographic trends, but there is another trend that should also be noted, and that is cultural Marxism, a movement that seeks the elimination of codes of behavior, binding obligations, and moral standards.  With President Obama's re-election, this drift will intensify.  Cultural Marxists aim to convert our country from a virtue-based community to a wilderness of wildly autonomous selves.  This state-sanctioned amorality will be bureaucratically implemented and ignored by a pornography-addled media invested in the system's success.  Resistance to this attack on virtue will occur in the social issue trenches, be exhausting but faith-enabled, and likely require court intervention.  However, because broken homes, broken marriages, sexually transmitted diseases, and incarcerated youths are still widely unpopular, values-oriented Democrats and social conservatives should reject cultural Marxism.  To summarize, cultural Marxism rejects good things: faith, family, children, love of others, the home, and the womb are "oppressive institutions," threats to self-fulfillment in a conflict-filled jungle.  Realization of the good and happiness presupposes knowledge of reality.  Our hearts and minds tell us one thing.  Cultural Marxists see it differently and thus destroy much that is good:

Destruction of the Good

Cultural Marxist Goal

"Oppressive Institutions" (Targets)

No-fault divorce

Happiness, marriage & commitment

Nontraditional families

Children & productive adults

Gay marriage

Children, marriage & adoptions

Recreational sex

Procreative sex, chastity & societal continuity


The marital act, efficacy & disease prevention


 Happiness, children, disease prevention & societal continuity


Children (particularly female & black children), justice and love


Grandma & Grandpa,  love & the value of suffering shared

No public religious displays



Chastity & marriage

Drug legalization

Temperance & intelligence

Societies embracing cultural Marxism are waning.  The European Union's moral relativism and exclusion of Christian morality from the public square have led to the "end of Europe".  The CIA concurs: France, the U.K., Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Germany, and Italy have fallen below their replacement fertility rates.  Cultural Marxism doesn't work.  It is unreasonable, has victims, and is societal suicide.  Many black voters are cultural Marxists.  Barack Obama embraced gay marriage between 2008 and 2012, and his black support barely budged.  Likewise, black illegitimate births have peaked at 72.5% of all black births, and nearly half of all young black women have genital herpes.  Black Americans are also major aborters.  Since Roe v. Wade, one-third of the black population has been eliminated: 13 million black babies totaling 40+% of all abortions, despite that only 6% of U.S. women are black.  This nihilistic self-induced genocide is consistent with cultural Marxism.  Some combination of cultural Marxism, redistribution, and race preference seems likely to hold black voters back, even if to their detriment.  There has been much debate about whether the Hispanic story is different.  Hispanics have also seen increases in illegitimate births, particularly in acculturated generations. However, studies have shown a tendency for Hispanic mothers to subsequently marry at relatively high rates, particularly in the early years following an out-of-wedlock birth.  Hispanics are also moving away from liberal coasts to more conservative flyover country, interestingly to "states that are among the stingiest for public benefits."  In these states, the Hispanic work ethic is observed to be strong, and Hispanics are active parishioners.  So Hispanics do seem like a promising audience for a virtues platform and a conservative partnership, particularly with the legal citizenship stumbling block removed.  In fact, virtuous Hispanics can be a much-needed societal leavening agent, hopefully acculturating our pop culture rather than being acculturated by it.  Asian voters may represent a similar opportunity.  For the Marxist, materialism is everything, and free stuff is the natural delivery system with which a voting base and cultural Marxism might be established.  So the choice boils down to free stuff / cultural chaos / misery versus work / order / happiness, which is really just the difference between vice and virtue, given that sloth is vice and industry virtue.  Virtue is always the right choice, whether or not a voting majority is ever established.  A move away from love-based virtue toward self-based autonomy is unreasonable and a flight from truth.  Finally, cultural Marxism will result in a slothful societal euthanasia.  The real question is whether the country will reject cultural Marxism as a near-term act of will or a by-default act of extinction.  Take heart:  The immutable disadvantage of cultural Marxism is that it is untrue.  Waning utopia is an oxymoron, radically autonomous people are lonely, adversarial feminists are angry, porn addicts are sad and fatherless families are struggling.   Sanity seeks the good which it finds in virtue, from which comes happiness and happiness cannot come from radical autonomy, so let's hope the country sees this, seeks happiness through excellence, and votes virtue.

(“The New Normal: Turning Back Cultural Marxism” by Keith Riler dated November 25, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/the_new_normal_turning_back_cultural_marxism.html )

As Washington wrestles with the roughly $600 billion "fiscal cliff" and the 2013 budget, the far greater fiscal challenge of the U.S. government's unfunded pension and health-care liabilities remains offstage and the total U.S. liability approaches $90 Trillion.  The full extent of the problem has remained hidden from policy makers and the public because of less than transparent government financial statements.  For years, the government has gotten by without having to produce the kind of financial statements that are required of most significant for-profit and nonprofit enterprises.  The U.S. Treasury "balance sheet" does list liabilities such as Treasury debt issued to the public, federal employee pensions, and post-retirement health benefits. However the U.S. Treasury "balance sheet" does not include the unfunded liabilities of Medicare, Social Security and other outsized and very real obligations.  We most often hear about the alarming $15.96 trillion national debt (more than 100% of GDP), and the 2012 budget deficit of $1.1 trillion (6.97% of GDP). As dangerous as those numbers are, they do not begin to tell the story of the federal government's true liabilities.  The actual liabilities of the federal government, including Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees' future retirement benefits, already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP.  For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion.  Borrowing on this scale could eclipse the capacity of global capital markets, and bankrupt not only the programs themselves but the entire federal government.  These real-world impacts will be felt when currently unfunded liabilities need to be paid.  In theory, the Medicare and Social Security trust funds have at least some money to pay a portion of the bills that are coming due.  In actuality, the cupboard is bare: 100% of the payroll taxes for these programs were spent in the same year they were collected.  When the accrued expenses of the government's entitlement programs are counted, it becomes clear that to collect enough tax revenue just to avoid going deeper into debt would require over $8 trillion in tax collections annually.  That is the total of the average annual accrued liabilities of just the two largest entitlement programs, plus the annual cash deficit.  Nothing like that $8 trillion amount is available for the IRS to target.  Neither the public nor policy makers will be able to fully understand and deal with our financial condition unless the government publishes financial statements that present the government's largest financial liabilities in accordance with well-established norms in the private sector.

(“Why $16 Trillion Only Hints at the true U.S. Debt” by Chris Cox and Bill Archer dated November 26, 2012 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323353204578127374039087636.html?KEYWORDS=cox+and+archer )


After the less than stellar performance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the hurricane Sandy natural disaster, Americans may well wonder if any federal agency can be counted on to successfully accomplish its designated mission efficiently.  Particularly when we also read that the U.S. Postal Service is expecting a net loss of $15.9 billion this year due to declining mail volume and associated revenue. We learned almost simultaneously that the Federal Housing Authority, another self-funding agency, is expected to lose $16.8 billion and will probably require a bailout.  Coupled these facts with the knowledge that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are broke, Medicare and Medicaid are close to bankrupt, and numerous other federal agencies suffer from redundancy, are mismanaged, have appreciable inefficiencies, and also suffer from funding issues.  FEMA was a department enacted with a high purpose: to address the twin concerns of civil defense and disaster mitigation. Specifically, its two core missions are, (1) to improve the federal government's ability to survive a foreign attack (e.g. a nuclear war), and (2) to assist state and local authorities in responding to natural disasters. From its inception FEMA has been a study in evolution of purpose, organization, usage, and politicization. FEMA has often attracted negative attention during natural disasters, attention that triggered in-depth investigations, initiated mission adjustments, caused revisions in organizational structure, and improvements in strategies and tactics. Each change has further exacerbated FEMA's disaster resolution problems. The changes have also increased its politicization, its use of patronage as a reward, and the distribution of "pork barrel" funds to cronies of the sitting the President.  Yet major natural disasters, beginning with hurricane Andrew in 1992, the South Florida hurricanes of 2004, and hurricane Katrina in 2005, exposed material deficiencies in FEMA's response capabilities. In fairness, a number of the criticisms cited were a function of a misinterpretation of FEMA's charter and mission. FEMA's core mission was to "assist local and state agencies" in responding to natural disasters, not to function as the primary or secondary responder. Nevertheless, FEMA clearly was not structured to deal with mega disasters and an in-depth review after Katrina in 2005 exposed appreciable shortcomings, shortcomings that had already been revealed in at least three assessments subsequent to hurricane Andrew in 1992. These deficiencies included:

·    Lack of fast-reaction forces which could be quickly added to the trained personnel already on staff in each of FEMA's 11 preparedness districts that respond to area disasters.

·    No workable budget. FEMA's budget allocates 60% of the available funds to each state equally, not on a risk basis, therefore leaving a funding amount too small to deal with a specific major problem in any jurisdiction.

·    No ability or technology to communicate within and/or outside the area of destruction during and immediately after an incident.

·    Lack of clear, predetermined lines of communication between local and state governments and the specific individuals representing each of the responding entities.

·    No ability and necessary equipment/supplies to preposition in advance of a pending disaster (water, generators, fuel, food, blankets, temporary shelter, etc.) and a super group deployable at ground zero of the disaster area.

·    No clear standards for interacting with the victims of a tragedy and a tested methodology for setting realistic expectations regarding future actions and interactions.

During 2003, FEMA was incorporated into the newly created Department of Homeland Security (DHS), therefore losing its independence and adding complexity.  Prior to the founding of DHS, FEMA had begun to morph into a highly politicized entity, since it retained the ability to grant large sums of funding (read pork) to state and local governments (and cronies), and its staffing was largely by appointment at both the federal and district levels. Funding to states and local entities followed the number of disaster declarations cited by the administration in power. George H.W. Bush averaged 43.5 declarations per year, Bill Clinton averaged 89.5 per year, George W. Bush averaged 129.6 per year, and now an incredible 153.0 per year (thru 2011) under Barack Obama. The Obama record is astonishing since within this time-frame no terrorist attacks occurred, no Category 2 or higher hurricanes happened, and no earthquake with a force of 6.0 or more on the Richter Scale struck.  After the founding of DHS and its detailed reviews of FEMA, after the Katrina FEMA collapse and many more reviews and adjustments, after Irene, a $20 billion disaster, and further investigations, FEMA has shown little or no improvement in dealing with the Sandy recovery. Like so many other federal agencies and departments, FEMA remains incapable of satisfying its core missions, and Americans have an obligation to demand the elimination of agencies and / or departments that can no longer perform as designed and promised.

(“FEMA: Another Federal Disaster” by Jim O’Sullivan dated November 26, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/another_federal_disaster.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:

·  Politics at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/politics.php

·  Budget at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/budget.php

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

·  Judiciary at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/judiciary.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY