Views on the News – 12/31/2011
By: David Coughlin
Obama continues to do things, say things, and direct things that are harmful to this country and also to his deteriorating reputation. Yes, there are many things that could be listed as his worst mistakes this year. Here are nine that stand out as particularly egregious:
· Sending a budget to Capitol Hill that didn’t get one vote: Nothing better represents the disconnect between Washington and the rest of the country as Obama’s attitude towards passing a budget, that did not even earn a single vote of confidence.
· Predicting the economic recovery: This administration likes to brag about accomplishments in an economy that has underachieved bay every measure. Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, MACT and the Keystone Pipeline show an administration that will pick narrow, special interests every time over real results.
· Spiking the “football” on Osama bin Laden:
· Obama claims too much credit for “getting” Osama bin Laden, since the US Intelligence Community along with our armed forces deserved all of the credit. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have gone to war, while the rest of the country and its political leadership has gone to the mall.
· Solyndra: The economic futility of the regime in Washington was best displayed by the decision to “invest” US taxpayers’ money in Solyndra, even knowing that the company would fail. Even after getting caught, then lying and getting caught in the lie about the decisions surrounding the DOE program that made the Solyndra investment possible.
· Fast and Furious: The breathtaking cynicism shown by our top law-enforcement administration officials as they lied to Congress about what they knew and when they knew it regarding Fast and Furious.
· Vacations 1, 2 & 3: $4 million dollars for a Christmas vacation is a bit much. The money part isn’t the worst of it, because this year Obama was notably absent during the start up to the war in Libya, the aftermath of the debt ceiling negotiations, the S&P downgrade, and the Japanese tsunami.
· Keystone Pipeline: The dilemma that all Democrat Presidents face is how to govern while keeping your whack-job coalition together. He has had to punt on making a decision on the Keystone Pipeline to satisfy the progressives and the American people who want jobs.
· Libya: Nothing cried hypocrisy more than Obama’s decision to start a war (time-limited, scope-limited kinetic military activity) in Libya over European oil. He only succeeded in confusing everyone on his goals, objectives, and tactics.
· Debt Ceiling: In February, Obama presented a budget that called for more deficit spending, more borrowing, more debt while pretending to be concerned about the deficit. He wasn’t and isn’t, and is just trying to raise taxes.
Incomprehensible, aimless, and ineffective are three words to describe Obama’s actions this year. Now he is back on the campaign trail selling bankrupt ideas to a rapidly bankrupting nation and surprised that the country is not embracing his failed ideas.
(“Obama’s Top Boners of 2011” by John Ransom dated December 24, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/johnransom/2011/12/24/obamas_top_boners_of_2011 )
The relationship between Barack Obama and his media continues to flourish with the same ardor as it has from the opening days of the 2008 campaign. The latest example is private sessions the White House has held with certain favorites not for the purpose of imparting news but for advising how to spin it. An all-star list of progressive and liberal media folks was invited to the White House to chat with President Obama over coffee in the Roosevelt Room. This session was all about “messaging,” how to smear the President’s political opponents, both in the Congress and on the campaign trail, with a single coordinated voice to maximize the impact. This is the stuff Public Relations flaks do. If these participants aren’t about to disclose what the White House has told them to report, why should the public believe anything they say? Such bar-lowering events are why an increasingly savvy public finds the mainstream media increasingly irrelevant. It may be fun for these reporters to get invited to the White House and then bounce party-line blog posts at each other and call it news, but the reading and listening public is getting stiffed, with no way of knowing what’s coordinated from above and what isn’t. This kind of partisan dishonesty can influence elections and should be seen as an outrage to the concept of a free press in a democracy. The mainstream media is in the pocket of President Obama and the Democrat Party, but as more people realize this incestuous relationship, the more they abandon these media outlets and their businesses continue to deteriorate.
(“Obama’s Media Flying Monkeys Get Their Marching Orders, Gear Up to Do Battle” dated December 21, 2011 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/Article/595569/201112211859/media-bias-rears-its-pro-obama-head-once-again.htm )
Republican hopes in the 2012 election are based on a belief that there is a resurgence of American pride and a feeling of exceptionalism that resonates outside the Washington beltway and beyond the hearing of the political Ruling Elite. Republicans nurture old-fashioned goals like saving America from fiscal bankruptcy, economic stagnation and a European-style entitlement state. This country is yearning for someone who can reclaim its founding principles of economic freedom and free markets to preserve the American Idea. Paul Ryan’s “A Roadmap for America’s Future,” was a serious step in the right direction that got under President Obama’s skin. The comprehensive budget of deep spending cuts, entitlement reform, and tax simplification was designed to limit government and unleash growth at the same time. This effort marked Ryan as the most influential thinker in today’s GOP. The Ryan “Path to Prosperity” budget was passed by the House this past spring. In effect, it became Republican policy, but unfortunately, things went downhill after that. Congress was then unable to leverage this blueprint into legislative successes. Tea Party enthusiasm hasn’t yet translated into the kind of reforms we need because only one-third of the government has only limited political power. The belief is that there is a shift to the right in the country, “toward free-market approval.” Ryan says, “The country will not accept a permanent class of technocrats that will diminish freedom, enhance crony capitalism and allow the economy to enter some sort of managed decline.” Ryan talks about “reclaiming founding principles,” and about “fighting paternalistic, arrogant, and condescending government elites who want to equalize outcomes, create new entitlement rights and promote less self-government by the citizenry.” Republicans are offering a completely different vision from the one Obama outlined in his Osawatomie, Kansas campaign speech. The objectives are to stop Obama’s attempt to add to the New Deal / Great Society with the statist universal-healthcare program called ObamaCare and an effective nationalization of the energy and financial sectors. Republicans completely reject Obama’s divisive, big-government, tax-the-rich leftist populism which reinforces what Ronald Reagan always said, “Government works for the people, the people don’t work for government. “
(“Paul Ryan’s Old-Fashioned American Vision” by Lawrence Kudlow dated December 22, 2011 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=48293 )
Despite what President Obama believes, we are not one nation among many, we are the United States of America, the greatest nation on earth, and the last best hope for humanity. The only thing standing between the United States and continued exceptionalism is the dreary delirium of Barack Obama, whose dismal socialist policies have been a spectacular disaster for the nation.
· First, we were told that the Russians were going to bury us. Exposed as a nation of hundreds of millions of impoverished people, desperate to escape, communism floundered and failed, finding its true place on the ash heap of history, except to progressives of course, who repackaged the failed ideology as a means to win the future. With a negative birthrate, an aging population and a society that will soon be majority Islamic, in a few decades, they will be lucky if they can bury themselves.
· Then, it was the Japanese who were going to bury us. 30 years ago, we were told they would overtake us in 20 years, but their economy has barely grown in 2 decades. With a negative birth rate they are on track to become the oldest society the world has ever seen.
· Now they say, the Chinese that will bury us. China has almost a half a billion people, 35% of their population, living on less than 2 dollars a day, 40 million people still living in caves. If you think Barack Obama spent a lot of money on stimulus, you don’t know the Chinese. Unlike in America, this was mostly done through increased bank lending, instead of government expenditures. They now have entire empty cities, roads to nowhere and gleaming airports with no travelers.
America, because of immigration and a birthrate near replacement level, will not be aging the way Russia, Japan, Europe and China are. Despite Barack Obama’s best effort, we have comparatively little racial, religious and economic strife, a moderately free press, and the most economic freedom and mobility the world has ever known. We have a dynamic economy and are still the world’s largest manufacturer. America is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. Due to improvements in technology, we now have potential fossil fuel resources to last us 200 years or more. Since much of it is on federal lands, some have said the royalties to the Treasury have the potential to pay off the national debt. Four more years of this President will leave the nation miserable and divided, with high unemployment, a moribund economy and a bloated bureaucracy. With another term, Barack Obama will continue his transformation of America into a land of perpetual trillion dollar deficits and a national debt measured in the tens of trillions of dollars. We will be weak militarily, morally and economically. Lesser nations, like those discussed here, would not survive 8 years of hope and change, but we will not be defeated. The only thing standing between America and continued preeminence is Barack Obama, and the sooner we realize that, and rid the nation of the abomination of his Presidency, the better.
(“America’s Greatness Will Defeat Obama” by William L. Gensert dated December 28, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/12/americas_greatness_will_defeat_obama.html )
Time magazine calls 2011 the year of the protestor since Time imagines a global revolt against capitalism, but in reality this is really the year of socialism’s implosion. It took 22 years for the news to travel from Eastern Europe to the Mediterranean that Marx was a fool. The means changed from fax machines to Facebook, but the ends remained the same: toppling socialist governments. It’s true that 2011 has happened before with 1989 being the most recent instance, but Santayana’s words aren’t the cliché; it’s the people who keep repeating the past who are. It’s also true that 2011 is the year that the media redacted socialism as the object of objections. Writing about unrest around the Mediterranean without mentioning “socialism” is like talking about Occupy Wall Street without saying “capitalism.” One can only link the very different demonstrators by ignoring why they demonstrate. Greeks learned that George Papandreou, prime minister of Greece and president of the Socialist International (SI), couldn’t effectively perform both jobs simultaneously, but his destruction of Greece hasn’t disqualified him as the head of the SI, though. The Western media didn’t call Muammar Gaddafi’s country the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, but he did. In Syria, the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, whose motto is “unity, liberty, socialism,” upheld the last of these principles by firing upon its own citizens. Hosni Mubarak’s Egyptian government was a member in good standing of the Socialist International for thirty years. Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian merchant whose self-immolation sparked 2011’s Middle Eastern wildfire, protested, in Time’s words, the state “making him jump through bureaucratic hoops” because he was fighting against the big government that Occupy Wall Street is fighting for. In Tahir Square, they changed the world, but in Zuccotti Park they didn’t even change their clothes. Western protestors wanted the government to give them things, while Middle Eastern protestors wanted their governments to leave them alone. Halfway around the world this may be the “year of the protestor,” but closer to home it is just the year of the fauxtestor.
(“The Year of the Fauxtestor” by Daniel J. Flynn dated December 26, 2011 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=48368 )
Three years after the financial crisis and the bailouts, and we’re not much better off: “Too Big To Fail” remains, banking profits are sinking and those big, overregulated banks can’t manage to lend to small businesses. Maybe it’s time to stop protecting this failed business model, and finally begin to break up the nation’s largest banks. Making them smaller and less “systemically” important may be the only way to get them to lend more. If they hold less capital, they can start taking some risks without a chance of blowing up the whole financial system. The obvious way to force the banks to get small and fast is to again split commercial from investment banking making it so that no bank can roll the dice in the securities markets if it wants its deposits backed up by federal insurance. In 1999, President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress drove a stake through the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which had officially divided those activities. The megabank rapidly became the order of the day, as mergers and acquisitions built such behemoths as Bank of America, while old-line investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley felt compelled to snap up commercial-banking units to better compete. The sales job from Wall Street told us that being big had competitive advantages – it let US banks go toe to toe with huge foreign players. However as profits exploded, the big banks’ fatal flaw was largely ignored: They were too big to manage. It only became obvious when the banking crisis hit, and the guys managing the megabanks suddenly found out they were basically insolvent and sitting on countless billions in toxic loans and investments, and that without a taxpayer bailout, the collapse of such large and interconnected banks threatened to bring down the global financial system. Somehow, that experience failed to convince the banks’ overseers that “bigger isn’t better,” after all, far from it. From the Dodd-Frank law to the new Basel global-banking standards, the trend is just the opposite. The result: Fewer than a dozen US banks now hold about 75% of all bank assets, but because they’re so big, regulators force them to hold mountains of capital, lest they crater the global financial system with a single screw-up. With all the new rules and regulations, the nation’s big banks still aren’t doing what most Americans believed the bailouts were designed get them to do: lending to small- and mid-sized businesses that are the engines of post-recession economic growth.
(“Break up the banks” by Charles Gasparino dated December 22, 2011 published by New York Post at http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/break_up_the_banks_j3vm2GlC4JIbIKmcH2sT0H )
Economists have been living in a fantasy land since the 1930s, hoping that the next implementation of Keynesian economics will be successful despite a history of failure. Many of the basic precepts taught today are wrong: Governments can stabilize economies; government spending stimulates economic growth, ditto easy money from a central bank; free markets are inherently unstable. John Maynard Keynes even propagated the pernicious notion that wasteful spending was better than no spending, when he talked about the virtue of paying people to dig holes and then fill them up. Most governments still cling to the Keynesian fantasy, but reality is upending this deadening dogma. The western European debt crisis, led by feckless Greece, is continuing to have a profound and positive policy impact here in the U.S., to the point that even President Obama pays occasional lip service to restraining spending. We’ll still suffer from the prevailing yet wrongheaded economic theology, but profound reform is in the air. The question for 2012 is whether we can survive another year of nonsensical economic policies before salvation comes with a new President in 2013. Twelve months from now we’ll be able to relish the prospect of dramatically lower tax rates on both business and personal incomes via a flat tax or, at the least, a dramatic simplification of the current tax horror. All GOP candidates favor repealing the ObamaCare abomination. At a time when the Internet is giving us more access to information and personalized services than ever before, it’s obscenely preposterous that the world’s mightiest nation would, in effect, nationalize its health care system, one-sixth of the economy. The notion that bureaucrats can manage any part of the economy better than free markets has always been false, and never more so than in the age of the Internet. GOP presidential aspirants are beginning to understand the fundamental need to stabilize the dollar, beginning with an overhaul of the Federal Reserve. All these hopefuls, to varying degrees, are also rallying around the basic precepts of reforming entitlements, first espoused by Representative Paul Ryan. What could wreck the year is another crisis in the banking system à la 2008–09, 1933 or the panic of 1907. The U.S. needs to get its banking act together. To have the federal and state governments wage war on banks for mortgage mistakes that emanated from the last decade’s binge undermines today’s economy. Since they don’t know their liabilities, banks aren’t lending to private businesses the way they normally do. The 2012 elections will replace (unrealistic) Hope and (regressive) Change with a Restoration of a Free Market Economy and Unleashing our Entrepreneurial Spirit.
(“To Save the Economy Scrap the Keynesian Fantasy” by Steve Forbes dated December 21, 2011 published by Forbes Magazine at http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveforbes/2011/12/21/to-save-the-economy-scrap-the-keynesian-fantasy/ )
Isolation is one fundamental element that is absolutely necessary for an isolationist foreign policy, but unfortunately the world does not allow such isolation. That is the most important part of the equation that isolationists fail to include in their calculations. Regardless of our foreign policy, we are still a target. Whatever our calculations are, potential enemies may have calculations entirely different from our own. They don’t just react to what we do, they have their own plans and agendas. Passivity isn’t a defense for the ostrich or for a nation. With the jet plane and the intercontinental ballistic missile, isolationism became completely unworkable without strong deterrence. It’s not impossible to have an isolationist foreign policy today, to cut any alliances with the rest of the world, but there’s a fundamental difference between a responsible and an irresponsible isolationist policy. A responsible isolationist policy recognizes that we have enemies who will act regardless of what we do and prepares against the possibility of war without actively seeking it out. An irresponsible isolationist foreign policy however acts as if we have no enemies and that any talk that we have enemies is a conspiracy to bring us into a war. It accepts every bit of enemy propaganda as gospel and assumes that if we just “stop bothering them,” they’ll “stop bothering us”. It assumes that the enemy is entirely motivated by our actions, that any conflict we are in is the result of our foreign policy and that isolationism will avert any such conflicts. Rather than recognizing that a military buildup is an important deterrent to war, it attacks military buildups as provocative. It assumes that the only possible reason why we might be attacked are foreign entanglements and if we just tuck our heads in then there will be no conflict. The absurdity of this approach when it comes to the current clash of civilizations with Islam is obvious enough. This isn’t a conflict that dates back from 1991 or 1948 or even the First Barbary War in 1805, but rather a war that predates the United States and modern day Europe. It is a conflict that goes back over a thousand years to the decline and fall of the eastern remains of the Roman Empire and the rise of Islam as a militant unification ideology to fill that void. American foreign policy can’t turn back the clock on that history. It can affect events in the present day, but it can’t undo the roots of a conflict that it has inherited. American foreign policy had a good deal to do with the rise of Islamic states built on petrodollars, but isolationism is certainly not going to make them go away. Islamic attacks against the United States may emerge from various micro-events, but the macro-event from which they originate is the shared history of the Western world and the ongoing conflict between the Muslim world and the West. To Islam, America is not an island, it is another outpost of an enemy civilization that must be subdued so that the way of Mohammed will triumph around the world. Rationalism isolationism accepts that war may be inevitable but chooses to meet it on our terms. Irrational isolationism, which often carries with it defeatist and treasonous overtones, accepts the enemy’s justifications for the conflicts and assumes that if we modify our behavior accordingly that there will be no need for war. Technological development means that the old boundaries are all but gone. Immigration means that the enemy population is already here. The rise of Islam means that war is inevitable, all that remains are the details, which battle, on what terms and in what form, and the larger detail of who will win.
(“Between Responsible and Irresponsible Isolationism” by Daniel Greenfield dated December 22, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/43419 )
The more things change, the more they stay the same and nothing could attest to that fact more than the Israel-Arab conflict, which in reality is the Israel-Islamist conflict. This is not a territorial dispute between Israel and those Arabs who call themselves Palestinians, though it is framed as such. No, the stark reality of the Muslim war against the Jewish state is rooted in one fundamental fact: namely, the unchangeable refusal by Muslims to ever accept a non-Islamic nation in territory once conquered in the name of Allah, even if that nation, the Jewish nation, precedes Islam by millennia. Peace overtures and endless territorial concessions by tiny Israel to the giant Muslim and Arab world have been, and are, as worthless as a thirsty soul in the desert seeking to survive by staggering towards an inviting mirage. The world is fast succumbing to a veritable anti-Israel propaganda blitzkrieg, believed by legions of the confused and gullible who worship at the altar of moral equivalence and liberal kumbaya. Those still willing to see clearly have to accept that Israel’s Muslim neighbors will never be able to reconcile themselves with a non-Muslim state unless Islam reforms itself, and Islam cannot do that without self-imploding. Even now, Iran’s mullahs and the devil-clown Mahmoud Ahmadinejad call not only for the destruction of the embattled Jewish state, but also for the extermination of Jews worldwide. In this they echo the same call by Gaza’s Hamas rulers, who are the junior partner of the Muslim Brotherhood. That such words are not condemned utterly by nation-states reveals the moral decay so prevalent in the world today, just 66 years since the Holocaust ended. Entire books have been written about the basic facts of Israel’s place in the family of nations as both a state and a people. Their purpose has been to explain why Israel and its people claim the right to an independent state in a small corner of the Middle East, roughly one quarter of the geographical area known as Palestine. It is Judea and Samaria (known by its Jordanian name, the West Bank) which now a hostile world wishes to snatch from Israel and give to the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians. This will create an anti-Israel terror-state within the ancient Jewish patrimony and biblical heartland. How strange that the more than 3,000-year-old names, Judea and Samaria, can so easily be supplanted by a name, the “West Bank,” employed by the occupying Jordanian Legion, which existed for a mere nineteen years, from 1948 to 1967. The basic facts, which should be self-evident, need to be repeated again and again, as Golda Meir urged nearly forty years ago. The Jews maintained a continuous presence in their homeland, and it is this continuity which gives them an absolute, inalienable right of self-determination, historically, spiritually, and politically, in the reconstituted Jewish state. Throughout the dark centuries of exile, Jewish pilgrims and refugees returned again and again to restore the ancestral Jewish homeland. Jewish prayers and festivals recited and celebrated in synagogues throughout the Diaspora, then as now, are based in large part upon the agricultural cycle of ancient Israel attesting yet again to the inextricable spiritual and aboriginal links with the ancestral homeland. Jewish ties have remained unbroken since Abraham, the first Jew, came to Hebron, the other Jewish holy city, and purchased a burial plot for his wife Sarah, his son Isaac, his grandson Jacob, and some of their wives. These are the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people, who are buried in Hebron. The truth is that Jews always maintained a continuous presence in their own land despite the depredations of a succession of alien occupiers. There is an absolute continuity between the Israel of the Bible and the Israel of today. It is the same land, the same people, the same language, the same God, the same prophets, the same holy Book. There has never been a time in the last 35 centuries when there haven’t been Jews living in Israel, sometimes as a sovereign nation, sometimes as isolated enclaves occupied by an enemy power. The Israel Big Lie of today is to deny that Jews have a right to this land and they forfeited that right with their exile 2,000 years ago, since it ignores the continuity of the Jewish people in Israel and tries to replace them with invented “Palistinians” as historic heirs.
(“Israel: Some Basic Facts” by Victor Sharpe dated December 23, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/12/israel_some_basic_facts.html )
David Coughlin is a political pundit, editor of the policy action planning web site “Return to Common Sense,” and an active member of the White Plains Tea Party. He retired from IBM after a short career in the U.S. Army. He currently resides with his wife of 40 years in Hawthorne, NY. He was educated at West Point (Bachelor of Science, 1971) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Masters, Administrative Science, 1976).