RTCS

Views on the News

December 19, 2009

Views on the News*

Obama is slowly raising the heat to “boil the (American) frog” as his technique to implement socialism in this country, before the voters realize the damage being done to them. Ludwig von Mises demonstrated a society based on Communism would not survive politically, and it also could not survive economically. If the hard socialism of Communism produces economic and societal collapse quickly, Mises theorized, the soft, incremental socialism of the West, popularized recently as the “Third Way” by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, would produce poverty in stages. Every bureaucratic intervention in the market reduces long-term wealth creation, even if it provides a temporary boost to the economy. In time, this reduction of wealth is blamed on the inefficiencies of the remaining “unfettered” market, which provokes calls for greater intervention, ad infinitum. Health care is a perfect example of the incremental socialization process. Government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid began by providing limited assistance to the old and the indigent. As health-care costs rose, these programs were expanded and new ones, such as S-CHIP, were added. The government now pays 32% of all non-military health-care bills, up from 6% in 1960. The remaining private expenditures are heavily regulated, resulting in the anticipated economic chaos. Under ObamaCare, the situation can only grow worse. Today, 71 years after Fannie Mae was founded, the central government provides a stunning 90% of the liquidity in the mortgage market, enabled by the Federal Reserve’s repurchase of 85% of new mortgages with freshly printed money. Banking is next. The economic laws described by Mises that brought down Communism apply equally to the American brand of soft socialism. Market forces will soon lay waste to American central planning just as surely as they did to the Soviet version two decades ago. The crises in housing, health care, and banking, the inevitable results of intentional government intervention, are but harbingers of greater instability in our way of life.

(“Socialism in Stages” by Dan Oliver, Jr. dated December 15, 2009 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZjcyY2ZlYzhhZmM4YTY2ZGZjMjdkYTk0ZDdlNTI1OTk= )

 

It is becoming very obvious that Obama is as self-absorbed as he is delusional. President Obama won last year vowing to change the way Washington works. Democrats clung to his coattails and won commanding control of Congress. In less than 12 months, though, all the Democrats' promises of honesty, openness and common sense have sunken into the same old sordid sewer that has forever defined Washington as the loathsome, dishonest and wasteful place that it is. While most Americans are worried about the financial destruction of our country and our resulting inability to bequeath our heirs a land of liberty, Obama is fretting over the stresses the job is placing on him. Obama insists economic growth has returned and job recovery is just a matter of time, but many Americans are not so sure of either. Meanwhile most Americans are sure that his unwavering debt path is unsustainable and suicidal. When the George W. Bush economy was humming for almost eight years, Obama and his media friends gave Bush no credit because, they said, we were experiencing "jobless growth." These partisan charlatans characterized 4.5% unemployment as "joblessness." What does that make 10%, especially in light of Obama's promise to keep it less than 8%? "In 2002, when (Bush's) tax cuts kicked in and the economy began 65 months of uninterrupted growth, critics said: But it is a 'jobless recovery,' (even though) the unemployment rate steadily declined (to) 4.5%." remarked George Will. Lawrence Kudlow wrote “Right now total employment in the U.S. stands at a record high of 144 million. This is a big number, while 4.6% unemployment is a low number." The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 23% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President, while 42% Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19, another all time low. Overall, 44% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance and that is the lowest level yet measured for this President. In Democrats case, "delusional" may be an understatement since there is a very obvious disconnect between Obama’s impression of himself and his plunging approval ratings.

(“Like a Stone” by John Steele Gordon dated December 13, 2009 published by Commentary Magazine at http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/gordon/195001

If B’s Were F’s, Obama Still Wouldn’t Deserve a B-Plus” by David Limbaugh dated December 15, 2009 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/DavidLimbaugh/2009/12/15/if_bs_were_fs,_obama_still_wouldnt_deserve_a_b-plus

Just win, baby! (Even if the people lose)” by Charles Hurt dated December 15, 2009 published by New York Post at http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/just_win_baby_even_if_the_people_IZVxYEW51uvZQY0l6kW7JN )

 

Despite a recession and record $1.4 trillion budget deficit, Congress continues to spend and earmark as if nothing has changed in the economy. Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 after blasting the proliferation of earmarks under Republican rule--and then broke nearly every promise to scale them back. Now Democrat leaders are attempting to rush through a mammoth, 1,088-page fiscal year (FY) 2010 omnibus appropriation bill that provides an 8% discretionary spending hike for the third consecutive year and includes 5,224 earmarks (bringing the FY 2010 total to 8,939). Assuming passage of the omnibus bill and a separate defense appropriations bill, the three-year-old Democratic congressional majority will have spent $561 billion more than the baseline level for discretionary programs, pushed up the 2011-20 discretionary spending baseline by $1.7 trillion--nearly $1,500 per household annually, and been responsible for three of the five highest earmark years in American history. Discretionary federal spending increased overall by about 9% this year, far outpacing inflation. These spending bills represent a complete denial of America's deteriorating fiscal situation. Runaway spending and budget deficits threaten to steeply increase interest rates and eventually result in painful tax increases. If Congress cannot even reduce the number of pork projects in this environment, there is little reason to believe they are ready to make the truly difficult choices on large programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Congress is leading America down a path that could soon require tax increases of more than $10,000 per household just to balance the budget. Meanwhile, Congress is preparing to raise the federal debt ceiling so the government can keep borrowing to pay for all of this extra spending. How is that “Hope” and “Change” doing on the budget… horrible!!!

(“Business as Usual in Washington: Another Bloated, Pork-Filled Omnibus Spending Bill” by Brian M. Riedl dated December 10, 2009 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm2728.cfm

Senate pig-out” dated December 15, 2009 published by The Philadelphia Inquirer at http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20091215_Editorial__Senate_pig-out.html )

 

The White House thinks it can jawbone banks into lending to people they don't want to lend to, but we've been down this road before, and it led all the way to the 2007 financial meltdown. Our current economic ills are largely due to just the kind of government meddling we now see in the financial markets. In this, President Obama is treading the very same ground as President Clinton and President Bush in pushing banks to make risky loans they shouldn't make, and it will have the same dire results. For those who don't remember, the federal government became more involved than ever in determining how banks make their loans, and to what customers, thanks to the creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of the wreckage of the Great Depression. They were followed by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 and the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992. Go back to the 1970s and early 1990s you'll see that, just as today, bankers were criticized heavily for their alleged racism and lack of concern for the poor. President after president lambasted them for not lending more to support presidential social policies. By 2000, President Clinton's HUD required half of Fannie Mae's loan originations to go to poor and moderate-income borrowers, whether they could pay on the loans or not. It marked the triumph of leftist politics over financial common sense. This is how the subprime meltdown, the source of our current financial troubles, came about. Banks had a choice: make bad loans or face more scrutiny when it came time to raise capital or to merge with other banks. Banks have nearly $1 trillion in reserves, so why don't they lend them? Simply put, banks can't sneeze without government permission, and worse, they don't know what taxes or regulations they'll face in coming years. Any “stimulus” applied by government has less to do with creating the recovery than letting politicians take credit when the recovery happens. There is a V-shaped recovery underway, and it can be credited to the dynamism of the capitalist system, not the growth of government interference in the free market. Unfortunately, government spending and stimulus is costing jobs and growth, and the economy would be doing even better, and unemployment would be lower if government had stayed out of the way.

(“Bashing the Banks” dated December 14, 2009 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=515263

The Recession Is Over – No Thanks to Stimulus” by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein dated December 15, 2009 published by Forbes Magazine at http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/14/larry-summers-recession-recovery-opinions-columnists-wesbury-stein.html )

 

A hidden danger in both the Senate and House health care bills is the inclusion of a totally new entitlement program hidden in the depths of these massive bills. The public is growing wary of the cost of ObamaCare, but there is one budget-busting provision that hasn't received the attention it deserves: a new long-term care entitlement. Known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, or Class Act, this entitlement is in both the House and Senate bills. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the House and Senate health-care bills will reduce federal deficits over the next 10 years by $138 billion and $130 billion, respectively. The lion's share of the savings, $101.6 billion and $72.5 billion, would be realized by the long-term care program. Private long-term care insurance works like other insurance policies in that those who buy policies pay premiums over a prolonged period of time. The premiums pay for the benefits they may eventually receive and cover the benefits for those who need immediate care. With budget accounting, the program will pile up more revenues than its costs, but only in the short run. In the long run, it will blow a hole in the federal budget because unlike private insurance, the program won't invest its early surpluses. Instead the program will hand over its revenues to the feds, who will promptly spend it. In return, the program's administrators would receive federal IOUs, just as Medicare and Social Security do. These are nothing more than liabilities that have to be repaid, either by taxes or borrowing. It is hard not to conclude that a major motivation for the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act is to make ObamaCare look fiscally better over CBO's official 10-year budget horizon.

(“Congress’s Long-Term Care Bomb” by Scott Harrington dated December 13, 2009 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703499404574562240508080098.html )

 

The biggest danger of both the Senate and House health care bills is the massive government bureaucracies that will emerge as the legislation takes effect. The Democrats' colossal health care takeover threatens to unleash forces that will ultimately overwhelm the doctor-patient relationship, ration our health care, and stifle innovation and excellence in the medical field. A massive government bureaucracy soon acquires a life of its own, with dominion over its constituency that no politician dares attempt to rein in.

Perhaps the greatest expansion of power will be in the Department of Health and Human Services. The Secretary of HHS will become the monarch of the health care kingdom. The Senate health bill contains the word "secretary" 2,500 times, and that "[t]he legislation lists 1,697 times where the Secretary of Health and Human Services is given the authority to create, determine or define things in the bill." In a massive power shift, the Secretary of HHS would take over insurance regulation from the states and would define qualified plans, what they cover, what they should cost, and whom should be covered. Competition and choice, the president's favorite buzz words, will disappear as HHS becomes the focal point of central planning for health care.

A second epicenter in the new health care infrastructure will be the IRS, which is poised to assume a powerful role in rulings, collections, and enforcement of health care mandates and taxes. There is a provision in the Senate bill for a reporting requirement similar to the current W-2, dispelling any remaining illusions of a compassionate government-run program.

Embedded in the legislation is the Independent Medicare Advisory Board, one of 118 new boards, commissions, and programs making up a third power center that will have immense control over life and death. This board, with fifteen members appointed by the president, would have extraordinary powers, not subject to judicial review, to dictate what is covered and thus what treatments, drugs, and procedures patients can get. With a set budget, the board would become a rationing commission in a "radical change for U.S. health care." The core problem with government-run health care is that it doesn't make decisions in the best interests of patients, but in the best interests of government. The Senate bill contains a labyrinth of regulations defining the operation of the Medicare Advisory Board -- "target growth rate," "implementation year," "inflationary payment update," "direct subsidy payments," "base beneficiary percentage"...and on and on. The bill's green eye-shade language may be numbing, but its long-term effect on health care will be devastating, as physician discretion is displaced by government fiat.

A fourth empire is the expanded burden of unfunded Medicaid mandates on the states. A massive Medicaid increase will initially be federally subsidized, but after five years, it will be shifted back to the states. The House bill increases Medicaid up to 150% of the poverty level, and the Senate bill increases it up to 133%.  Offloading some of the increased insurance cost to the states by adding to the Medicaid rolls further disguises the real cost of the legislation.

A fifth enormous burden of a perversely different sort is the rampant Medicare fraud that stands to expand in a Medicare-for-all health system. The federal government has had forty years to figure out how to control Medicare fraud, but it is still pervasive. So we have the HHS, the IRS, the Medicare Advisory Commission, expanded Medicaid, and expanded turf for Medicare and Medicaid fraud, each a leviathan of big government excess in its own right.

If Obama passes health care reform, he’ll depend on a series of historic “firsts.” It’d be the first time Congress had passed a major new entitlement program without bipartisan support; it’d be the first time it passed such a program without popular support; and the first time it passed such a program without knowing or particularly caring what’s in it. The latest CNN poll/Opinion Research Poll shows 61 to 36 vote against ObamaCare! The Republicans are correct in strongly challenging the Democrats bureaucratic health care nightmare, because unlike the Star Trek Borg, “resistance is NOT futile…” it is imperative!

(“The ObamaCare Leviathan” by Joseph Smith dated December 13, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/the_obamacare_leviathan.html

Slipshod Social Democracy” by Rich Lowry dated December 15, 2009 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MGQ0NTU2NzU0N2Q2NzE5NDk5NmUyMTBjOTg1OTc1MTA= )

 

The Democrats are pushing a radical overhaul of the world’s most advanced health-care system, a bill opposed by the majority of American voters, and at a cost of a trillion dollars paid by massive taxes, penalties, and cuts in coverage and totally ignores obvious reforms. The most obvious, commonsense health care reforms that would benefit American citizens have been stonewalled. Reforms that can bring health costs down without imposing government restrictions and mandates are being ignored, as if they just don’t exist. Here are the six most obvious such reforms:

·    Congress should create a national market for health insurance, so people can shop for insurance they actually want to buy at competitive prices. Government action can immediately lower the price of health insurance through the private-insurance market by breaking down these anti-competitive barriers that are responsible for huge state-to-state variations in prices for identical health coverage.

·    Rather than increase mandates and create a powerful government health-insurance exchange, it is time to eliminate the government mandates that have severely distorted our health-insurance markets. State governments can immediately start repealing these costly and ill-advised regulations.

·    Government can empower individual Americans and their families by revamping the tax treatment of health-care expenses, so that all Americans can become shoppers for their health insurance. This single policy change would reduce health expenditures by hundreds of billions of dollars, while eliminating the crippling burden of health costs on American businesses created by historical accident rather than thoughtful intention.

·    Policymakers should expand the availability of, and simplify the rules pertaining to, lower-cost health plans with health savings accounts (HSAs), such as high-deductible plans for catastrophic coverage. Instead of eliminating these options, Congress should permit more flexibility in alternative employer contributions (such as “disease management accounts”) and support tax-reform proposals that allow parents to transfer HSA balances from their own accounts into their children’s accounts.

·    Government should force transparency on hospitals and doctors, so Americans have information about physician credentials, care quality, and treatment options, which would help them to make informed, value-based decisions. Public knowledge of price would encourage competitive pricing by both hospitals and doctors. Price visibility is essential to induce competition, yet Congress has ignored the issue.

·    Policymakers should have the courage to buck their friends in the legal profession and fight for effective tort reform. Rather than forcing doctors to practice costly defensive medicine, how about providing alternative courts, which would compensate victims more quickly, reduce costs, and enhance incentives for doctors and hospitals to take appropriate precautions against medical errors, or how about promoting legislation to cap non-economic damages at a reasonable level while permitting full compensation for economic damages?

While our elected Senators and Congressmen debate their proposals to wholly reconfigure America’s health-care system and bankrupt our children and future generations, they continue to deny that clear alternative reforms exist to lower health-care costs, increase insurance choices, and maintain the excellence of our medical system. If Congress enacts reforms that remove artificial barriers and constructively open markets to competition, private-sector creativity will generate innovative, low-cost insurance products for the tens of millions of newly empowered value-conscious shoppers.

(“Commonsense Health-Care Reform” by Scott W. Atlas dated December 14, 2009 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YmVlNjMyOGVlNjQ0ZmUwYjIyMWY5OGY2ZTBlYTM5MmU= )

 

The global warming myth along with the Environmental Protection Agency, have become the hammer and sickle of eco-Marxism - the new green-red alliance that seeks to destroy capitalism and the sovereign nation-state. Radical environmentalists are forging a new socialist post-democracy that is slowly undermining representative government. The United Nations climate-change summit in Copenhagen represents a major victory for international socialism. It also marks the triumph of ideological fanaticism over reality.

President Obama has again underachieved on the international stage with a symbolic, but toothless “deal” with non-binding mandates and complemented with a Hillary Clinton commitment for a “climate aid fund” for guilt payoffs to third world countries. National governments will claim major cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, but without any consequences for failure. President Obama vows to reduce American carbon-dioxide levels that will require transforming the economy to become de-industrialized. Draconian taxes on traditional energy sources - oil, gas, electricity, coal - will need to be imposed to discourage their use. Massive regulations to create a low-carbon society will permanently retard growth rates, empowering the state to erect a command-and-control economy. This will lead to a corporatist bureaucratic ruling elite - one that fuses big government, big labor and big business in the service of a new statist green economy. The proposed plan includes creating two new international agencies designed to transfer technology and money from developed Western states such as the United States to undeveloped Third World Countries. These international agencies would be responsible for not only enacting their own “legally-binding” environmental laws but also for funding and assisting the environmental agendas of Third World states and accountable to this international body, to implement the policies.

The 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall should have exposed the failure of socialism. The left simply moved from championing the class struggle to global-warming alarmism. Its goal remains the same: to smash free markets and impose economic collectivism. Just like the communists before them, radical environmentalists are driven by secular utopianism. They are followers of a pseudo-religion, except salvation is to be found in this world rather than the next. They demonstrate the irrationalism and imperviousness to facts and empirical evidence akin to a cult. The objective science shows that, instead of heating up, global temperatures have been cooling over the past decade. Man-made global warming is the most destructive myth of our time - a massive fraud built upon junk science. This is the real meaning of Climategate, the greatest scandal in modern science. The hacked e-mails of leading climate scientists at East Anglia University - the research nerve center for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - reveal that scientific data has been deliberately manipulated and suppressed to further a politicized agenda. Climate-change alarmists have been distorting their computer models to preserve the fiction that the Earth's atmospheric temperatures have been climbing because of carbon dioxide emissions.

Fear-mongers such as former Vice President Al Gore refuse to concede the truth. Gore and his fellow green socialists have been warning about Armageddon for more than a decade. Melting ice caps, rising sea levels, cities like New York and San Francisco under water, crippling droughts, mass starvation, hundreds of millions of "climate-change refugees" - these are the supposed disastrous consequences of unadulterated capitalism. With cap-and-trade stalled in the U.S. Senate, moderate Democrats increasingly wary of its high costs and public opinion skeptical of man-made global warming, the Obama administration is resorting to a regulatory regime to implement its radical green agenda.

Ignoring any inconvenient facts that conflicted, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week made a historic announcement: Carbon dioxide will be considered a "pollutant." Using clean-air laws, the EPA claims the authority to impose massive taxes and regulations across the entire economy. The regulatory state will establish a de facto cap-and-trade system in the absence of congressional action. The EPA's announcement marks a major political watershed: the rise of a socialist ruling class that is unaccountable to the voters. Instead of relying on democratic consent and persuasion, Obama is using regulatory agencies to impose his "Green New Deal." Liberals once believed in respecting the popular will and democratic procedures, but now, even those values can be abandoned in the mad dash to "save the planet."

(“A convenient lie” by Jeffrey T. Kuhner dated December 13, 2009 published by The Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/dec/13/a-convenient-lie/

Climate Treaty Would Create Global Agencies to Transfer Money and Technology from U.S. and Other Developed Countries to Third World” by Matt Cover dated December 14, 2009 published by Cybercast News Service at http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/58471

The Surprise at Copenhagan” By David Buckner dated December 15, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/the_surprise_at_copenhagen.html

Climate deal falls short” by Glenn Thrush and Louise Roug dated December 18, 2009 published by Politico at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/30794.html

The EPA’s Power Grab” by Steven F. Hayward dated December 28, 2009 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/017/356hmijf.asp )

 

In eleven short months, the Obama administration has made more mistakes on energy policy than did Jimmy Carter in his entire term, and that's saying something. If the president wishes to free American from dependence on foreign oil, he should be encouraging the production of reliable energy supplies in this country. Unfortunately all that he has done, including promotion of aggressive new EPA enforcement intended to address the fictitious "problem" of climate change, discourages new exploration and production. Not only has the president done nothing to promote new supplies of energy, he has done much to impede them. American oil companies are now afraid to pursue new exploration because of the onerous regulatory, tax, and environmental policies being proposed or already set in place by the Obama administration and by Congress. Meanwhile, just as Obama's assault on the domestic oil industry has blocked new exploration, foreign companies are buying up leases and bringing new supplies online. As a result, America will be even more dependent on foreign suppliers than it was before Obama became president. What major new discoveries of oil and gas have been announced in North America since the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006?  Other than sizable natural gas fields (including the Barnett shale in Texas and the Haynesville field in Louisiana) which the EPA and state environmental regulators are doing everything possible to impede, the answer is, none. There has been no major development of Rocky Mountain oil shale because Secretary Salazar does not wish it to proceed. There's been no expiration of offshore continental shelf in the Atlantic and Pacific, and in much of the Gulf of Mexico, because federal policy has blocked even the preliminary surveys that would reveal what enormous riches lie beneath our own waters. Obama refuses to allow new exploration because of his political indebtedness to the environmentalist lobby. Even the nation's Gulf of Mexico leases are being bought up by Chinese, Norwegian, and other foreign oil companies, in part because of the uncertain environmental and tax policies under which America's own oil companies must operate.

Instead of promoting exploration and development of energy resources by American companies, Obama seems fixated on passing new regulations specifically designed to retard new production. In a time when gasoline prices are once again rising and weighing on the budgets of ordinary Americans, Obama seems determined to restrict exploration and thus force prices up further. Meanwhile, the EPA threatens action against refiners, oil and gas producers, and coal companies. Already it has curtailed Appalachian mountain-top coal operations, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs at a time when the national unemployment rate is over 10% and the rate within Appalachia is considerably higher. Most of the proposals for the Copenhagen conference would have the effect of reducing new production of oil and gas by imposing draconian carbon taxes.

The commonsense solution to rising energy prices is an energy policy that supports new expiration and production. It's not really that difficult to figure out that when supplies dwindle and are subjected to higher taxation, future prices will rise. Obama is fond of speaking of future environmental catastrophes that might arise from global warming. All the time, however, the real catastrophe facing the United States is the loss of access to adequate energy resources. Unlike Al Gore's mystical vision of the seas rising and then parting to make way for windmills and solar farms, the resource catastrophe that we now face is real and its effects are imminent. Without adequate energy resources, we can expect a future of rising prices and short supplies. Rising energy prices will lead to inflation throughout the economy, fewer jobs, less wealth, and less consumer spending. In the absence of cheap power, we can foresee the decline of our economy and with it the decline of military force necessary to defend ourselves against future enemies. With his policy of blocking development of fossil fuels and nuclear energy, Obama has set America on a perilous course weakening us domestically and internationally.

(“The Obama energy fiasco” by Jeffrey Folks dated December 13, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/the_obama_energy_fiasco.html )

 

Obama’s Afghanistan “strategy” is actually a political plan to appease the Left and baffle the Right while he accomplishes as little as possible with a defined exit strategy and predefined blame strategy. There are two things to bear in mind in considering any Obama speech, and they go double for those that touch on national security. First, the President is an Alinskyite, so steeped in the ideology of the seminal community organizer that he became a top instructor in Alinskyite tactics for other up-and-coming radicals. Alinksyites are fifth-column radicals who have the same goals as open revolutionaries: overthrowing the existing free-market republic and replacing it with a radical’s utopia. But Alinskyites are more sophisticated, patient, and practical, hollowing out the system from within, appropriating the appearance and argot of mainstream society. Their single, animating ambition is to overthrow the capitalist social order, which they claim to see as racist, corrupt, exploitative, imperialist, etc. Apart from that goal, everything else is negotiable: They reserve the right to take any position on any matter, to say anything at any time, based on the ebb and flow of popular opinion, since this disguise keeps them politically viable while they radically transform society. The second thing to bear in mind is that the President is a power politician who shrewdly reads the vulnerabilities of both his opponents and his backers. He frames national security as a distraction from his more important work socializing our economy. Alinsky’s principles hold that open radicals unwittingly betray the cause by honestly urging their radicalism on a society that doesn’t want it. The trick, which Obama has internalized, is to masquerade as a concerned but benign member of that society and speak in high-minded abstractions – “our values,” “social justice,” “equality,” “dignity,” and the like. It is a long march, and compromises, like surging troops in order to withdraw troops, have to be made along the way, since those compromises keep Alinskyites politically viable. Placed in this framework, President Obama’s West Point speech was totally predictable. During the presidential campaign, he and his party cynically raised the Afghanistan mission to a noble calling, not because they thought it really was one but because it made their political attack on the war in Iraq more effective. At this point, they can’t afford to abandon the noble calling: Even the legacy media couldn’t protect them from the fallout, which would have intensified when the Taliban overran Karzai - right about the time we headed into our 2010 midterm elections. So we can’t leave, but we can’t wage war either. The Obama Left can tolerate, barely, the appearance of waging war, if that’s what it takes to prevent rank-and-file Democrats from revolting. He is content with the illusion that more troops means more resolve to fight and kill the enemy. So Obama knew he’d be fine politically as long as he agreed to send some reinforcements - low-balled, but reasonably close to the 40,000 extra troops in McChrystal’s request. Now the president can continue purporting to define the mission, in his own words, “narrowly… as disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al-Qaeda and its extremist allies.” Our “unwavering resolve” for this task will last 18 months, during which time we will continue solidifying the new narrative that the war is not ours but Afghanistan’s and that the hapless Karzai isn’t producing results fast enough. That will get Democrats through the midterms. In the middle of 2011, the “taking into account conditions on the ground” part of Obama’s strategy will kick in. If, by talking down Karzai, the Left succeeds in souring the country on the Afghanistan enterprise such that the president’s reelection chances won’t be impaired by a withdrawal, the president will pull out. If the noble cause is still popularly perceived as noble, Obama will reprise the West Point two-step: satisfying the Right by staying the course, and satisfying the Left by re-promising a phased withdrawal in about 18 months, so that those resources can be invested here at home in rebuilding our economy and putting Americans back to work (unemployment should be hovering around 12 percent by then)… that’s the plan.

(“Alinsky Does Afghanistan” by Andrew C. McCarthy dated December 4, 2009 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MzRhOGIzZWNiN2FkZDIwNDEwOTcyYWY4OWJlYmNkNTg= )

 

* 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. Individual issue updates this week include:

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

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

·    United Nations at http://returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/unitednations.php

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.returntocommonsensesite.com