Views on the News – 2/16/2013
By: David Coughlin
When the annals of Presidential nicknames are updated a few years hence, it will be obvious that Barack Obama began earning a certain designation virtually from the day he took office in 2009: The Great Divider. This will be an appendix to a list that includes The American Cincinnatus (Washington), The Apostle of Democracy (Jefferson), The Great Emancipator (Lincoln), and The Great Communicator (Reagan). The Great Divider is an apt choice for Obama. Much of the man’s political success owes to his penchant for dividing people into camps and appealing to one group by diminishing the other. In 2008, the President sold himself as a “uniter,” but Obama has failed to salute his own unity flag, because he hasn’t even flown it. Obama solicited ideas from diverse coalitions, on health care, deficit reduction, and business growth, but refused to listen. He pushed through a health care package with zero Republican support. He ignored his own deficit commission. He formed and then ignored and then disbanded a council of advisers drawn from the business sector. The essential thing we’ve learned about Barack Obama is his belief that his way is the only way, dividing the populace into the Enlightened Ones who agree with him and the Less-Than-Worthy who don’t. Obama’s frequent riffs that he won the election and is therefore entitled to prevail in policy debates ignore two key facts: The Republicans kept control of the House of Representatives and 48.98% of voters last year did not support this President. The Great Communicator promoted prosperity for all Americans rather than a transfer of wealth from the few to the many. A unity President would embrace sensible entitlement reform. He would use his pulpit to convince Americans that hard choices must be made to protect future generations from crushing debt. A unity President would not rail against a mythical “war on women” or the unproven assumption that recent fires, droughts and powerful storms are due to human-induced global warming. The Great Divider sorts people into those who can’t seem to survive without another government program and those who want to safeguard their assets against another unsustainable tax grab. He divides energy into the good green stuff he champions and the bad black stuff that powers the presidential jet between endless campaign appearances. To paraphrase Reagan, is this country more divided than it was four years ago? Of course it is and Obama is a prime reason. We need reasoned debate; a reasonable President; a uniter, but instead we have unearned, unwarranted, unrelenting scorn from The Great Divider.
(“President Barack Obama has earned ‘Great Divider’ label” dated February 10, 2013 published by The Oklahoman at http://newsok.com/president-barack-obama-has-earned-great-divider-label/article/3753277 )
If Frederick Douglass walked today’s ghettos, he would witness a new-age style of slavery, plantations without the lash and chains replaced with economic chains that are voluntarily worn. He would soon be outraged that government overseers are perpetuating generations of dependency through policies designed to capture the votes of the ignorant. In the old days, slave babies were separated from their mothers shortly after birth and placed in the care of others until they were old enough to be sold or rented out. Today, women with unwanted pregnancies can abort their babies, and overseers pay the clinic. Planned Parenthood sucks the babies from their mother’s wombs, and dumps their bodies into the trash. Today’s slaves live in cookie-cutter government housing. They receive food stamps, health benefits, and free cell phones. Even if jobs were available, they are not required to work. Bored youths kill each other for trivial reasons. Education is a right for everyone now, but educators have thrown away the effective alphabet and phonics method used in the blue-back speller and replaced it with whole language instruction, a technique that impedes learning. Over time, the result has been a population of poorly educated people, easily fooled into believing that the government is a benevolent caretaker (so long as it is run by Democrat overseers.) If Frederick Douglass could meet the inhabitants of the ghettos, he would have much to say: He would remind them that Knowledge is Power, and Knowledge is Freedom; and he would encourage them to take practical steps to master reading and writing by every means possible; to ask for help from educated people; to listen to educated speakers; and he will suggest that they learn to think for themselves, and not automatically accept and regurgitate every talking point from their government masters.
(“Against the Ghetto Plantation” by Jeanne Donovan dated February 10, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/02/against_the_ghetto_plantation.html )
President Obama’s has revealed his nanny statist’s dream of an entitlement culture, where the maximum number of people are dependent on the government from cradle to grave. Obama interprets our founding principles to include guaranteeing our individual freedom through the use of “collective action.” Even if some tangible economic or social benefit were to be gained by imposing such Orwellian restrictions, these “collective actions” remain morally wrong and anathema to our nation’s founding principles. Nanny statists such as Obama seek to expand their power by “protecting us from ourselves,” running the risk of depriving us of more than just our liberty. Like Obama’s war on coal, or the broad new taxing power ensconced in his socialized medicine law, the manipulation of choices within the free market is the most effective way for government to slip its tentacles deeper into our livelihoods. The greater control government exercises over our livelihoods, the easier it can drive us to dependency, the great unspoken goal of all bureaucracies. In recent years we have witnessed a dramatic escalation of the American welfare state, even as the economy “recovers.” Welfare programs cost American taxpayers $1.03 trillion in fiscal 2011, a 32% increase from fiscal 2008. This culture of dependency is crippling our nation, draining the treasury, sending deficits through the stratosphere and preventing our economy from experiencing a real, sustainable recovery. Until we stop paying people to sit on the sidelines, things will continue to get worse. When it comes to disposable income, the head of a household of four making minimum wage is better off than the head of a family of four making $60,000 a year, because when you factor in housing allowances, energy subsidies, food stamps, extended unemployment benefits and the rest of the welfare smorgasbord, it pays more to do nothing. No wonder our labor participation rate is at its lowest level in three decades. Millions of Americans have figured out they can live better by not getting a job. Last month the government of Japan announced its intention to trim welfare payments by nearly $1 billion as part of an effort to weed out the “comfortably poor.” One thing is clear: If our government continues to pay a growing segment of dependents to do nothing, we doom ourselves to eventual economic collapse.
(“President Obama Seeks To Build All-Encompassing Nanny State” by Bill Wilson dated February 8, 2013 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-viewpoint/020813-643783-obama-seeks-all-encompassing-nanny-state.htm )
Every job has a minimum requirement, the absolute very least that anyone can do without being considered a complete and utter failure. The minimum requirement for a Commander-in-Chief is to stick around when an American diplomatic mission is under fire, but Obama flunked even this minimal requirement by going to sleep and then flying off for a fundraiser in Vegas. The minimum requirement for a Secretary of State is to at least pretend to care why such an attack took place, but Hillary Clinton failed that minimum requirement by declaring that it didn’t matter why the attack happened. The minimum requirement for a Vice President is to avoid becoming a national embarrassment, but Biden has failed repeatedly at that. The minimum requirement for the country’s leading environmentalist is to refrain from selling a television news network created to promote an environmental message to one of the world’s leading petro-tyrannies, but Al Gore failed there. Obama, Clinton, Biden and Gore couldn’t even meet the lowest possible standard for their positions, but that’s not a problem in a Democrat Party that no longer has any standards. America’s newest Secretary of State, John Kerry, was wrong about every historical development since he became involved in politics. Senator John Kerry had vouched for the sincerity and credibility of everyone from Madame Binh to Daniel Ortega to Mohammed Morsi and for a career record somewhere between stupidity and treason; he was rewarded by being put in charge of implementing the foreign policy of the United States, but then again, Hillary Clinton had received that same job for losing to Barack Obama in the primaries. Kerry joins a Cabinet full of washed-up and scandal-prone figures like Attorney General Eric Holder, whose career should have ended after his role in the Clinton Administration’s Marc Rich pardon scandal, and Arne Duncan, who was rewarded for his failure to reform Chicago schools with the highest education job in the country. Then there’s Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius who violated the Hatch Act by campaigning at a government event. There is hardly anything that a Democrat can do wrong that will force him to resign, barring the combination of severe mental breakdowns and outrageous criminality, as in the cases of Congressman David Wu and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. Congresswoman Alcee Hastings bears the unique distinction of being one of only eight Federal officials in American history to be impeached and removed from office, but that hardly slowed down Hastings who ran for Congress and has been sitting there for twenty years and racking up even more scandals. Hastings however faces stiff competition from Congresswoman Maxine Waters who was chosen to be the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee despite helping her husband’s bank obtain millions in bailout money. Waters still lags behind Barney Frank, the former ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, whose reward for letting his home be used as a brothel was being given oversight over the nation’s financial services industry. Ethics investigations have become routine and toothless. The Democrat Party has accepted corruption as the new normal and has become comfortable in its disgrace because it no longer even bothers to deny the charges; instead like Obama or Clinton it shrugs off each charge and asks what difference does it make?
(“The Democratic Disgrace” by Daniel Greenfield dated February 12, 2013 published by Front Page Magazine at http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/the-democratic-disgrace/ )
President Barack Obama, our “Tele-Prompter-in-Chief,” delivered his State of the Union speech which was predictable and forgettable since it was based on clichés, strawmen, and failed ideas from the past, with very few new ideas for the future. Obama claimed that spending was under control, the national debt was no longer a problem, the war in Afghanistan had been won, the economic recovery was here, unemployment was fading and al Qaeda was a shadow of its former self. He also said “The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem.” But Obama then provided a plan for every problem, and in every case, the solution is more government! Two political responses from the Republican Party and the TEA Party movement were delivered by two potential 2016 Presidential nominees. Senator Marco Rubio delivered the Republican response to the President’s SOTU speech with a more dynamic brand of conservatism. Rubio recoiled from the Obama government-centric vision of growth and job creation. American opportunity comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. When they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs. Rubio highlighted that he doesn’t oppose Obama’s plans because he wants to protect the rich, but rather he opposes his plans because he wants to protect my neighbors. In choosing to focus on the contrast between President Obama’s government-centric approach and a conservative vision of opportunity, Rubio remarked that: “Obama believes it’s the cause of our problems that the economic downturn happened because our government didn’t tax enough, spend enough and control enough. And, therefore his solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.” Rubio addressed the debt deniers: “The real cause of our debt is that our government has been spending 1 trillion dollars more than it takes in every year. That’s why we need a balanced-budget amendment.” “Anyone who is in favor of leaving Medicare exactly the way it is right now is in favor of bankrupting it.” More government isn’t going to help you get ahead; more government isn’t going to create more opportunities; and more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private-sector jobs. Since more government breeds complicated rules and laws that a small business can’t afford to follow. Because many government programs that claim to help the middle class, often end up hurting them instead. Rubio offered a positive agenda aimed squarely at the middle class: domestic energy production, tax simplification, a lower corporate tax rate, education reform and immigration reform. On immigration, we need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally. But first, we must follow through on the broken promises of the past to secure our borders and enforce our laws. Senator Rand Paul delivered the TEA Party critique highlighting their agenda of smaller government, deep federal spending cuts, and congressional term limits. Reality never seems to intrude on this President’s world. He has his Bizarro-world ideology and he is sticking to it. The consequences of Barack Obama’s loose grasp on the real world are just going to have to work themselves out for now: he will win some, he will lose some, but hopefully he will lose more than he wins until the adults can get elected and return to lead the country.
(“Rubio responds and shines” by Jennifer Rubin dated February 12, 2013 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/02/12/rubio-responds-and-shines/ )
President Obama has cried Wolf so many times on jobs, that no one believes him anymore, so his latest “focus on job creation” will probably be just a lot of talk, and little action, as usual.
He’s made the same promise many times over the past four years:
· January 2009: “My economic agenda … begins with jobs.”
· November 2009: “This is my administration’s overriding focus.”
· January 2010: “We are going to have a sustained and relentless focus over the next several months on accelerating the pace of job creation, because that’s priority No. 1.”
· September 2010: “Our No. 1 focus has to be jobs, jobs, jobs.”
· December 2010: “My singular focus over the next two years is … jump-starting the economy so that we actually start making a dent in the unemployment rate.”
· January 2011: “My principal focus, my No. 1 focus, is going be making sure that we are … creating jobs not just now but well into the future.”
· November 2012: “Our top priority has to be jobs and growth.”
This time around, Obama says he has a “growth agenda,” but every time he has said this in the past, he’s only going to recycle the same failed liberal economic policies he’s been pushing for the past four years. Throw more taxpayer money at green energy while sticking it to the oil and gas industry, spend (sorry, “invest”) more on education and roads, raise taxes still higher on the rich in the name of fairness, and yammer on about growing the economy from “the middle out.” These jobs policies have already produced the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. In fact, had Obama’s recovery been merely average, the GDP would be $1.2 trillion bigger today, and there’d be 7.5 million more people with jobs. Under Obama, middle-class families have seen their incomes decline; millions have fallen into poverty; the income gap is widening, so why should we expect different results now?
(“Obama’s Latest Jobs Promise – Déjà vu All Over Again” dated February 8, 2013 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/020813-643803-obama-recycles-same-jobs-promise-same-policies.htm )
Outside of Washington, D.C., the Republican Party has never been in better shape, especially at the state level with Republican majorities in 27 state legislatures, or the 30 states with GOP governors. These governors are bright, talented and young, and they represent the diversity of America. From Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal in the South, to Chris Christie in the Northeast, to Scott Walker in the Midwest, and Susana Martinez and Brian Sandoval in the West, they represent the modern diversity of our country while running their states successfully. They also bring to the office time-tested conservative principles of lower taxes, less regulations and more opportunities for all. Meanwhile Democrats in Illinois and California are examples of the downward spiral caused by higher taxes, more regulations and less freedom. In those states, the debt is mounting, jobs are being lost and the people are fleeing to conservatively run states such as Texas, where opportunities abound. Nationally, the GOP, which holds a solid majority in the U.S. House, is in a unique position to rebound in 2014 as it did in 2010. The President, in both his State of the Union and inaugural addresses, restated his commitments to more spending, larger government and higher taxes. These are the very same priorities that were primarily responsible for the recessionary cycle we continue to experience. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated that we don’t have “a spending problem,” which seems right since never has a party spent so much and achieved so little. This country is about to fall off a fiscal precipice, and this President ignores all the warning signs. The GOP’s future success is inevitable given the Democrats’ economic mismanagement, so as the party of Lincoln, its future has never been more promising.
(“Republicans are ready to rebound” by Al Cardenas dated February 13, 2013 published by USA Today at http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/02/13/republicans-american-conservative-union/1918277/ )
When President Obama speaks about the environment, the first thing you must do is to ask yourself how much of what he said is true, how much was distorted, and how much is created out of thin air? Alarmist-in-Chief President Barack Obama proclaimed last month: “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.” Unfortunately there is no “overwhelming judgment of science” connecting raging fires, crippling droughts and more powerful storms with manmade climate change. The American Meteorological Society examined the claim that disaster-related financial losses increased because of manmade climate change by analyzing 22 previous studies regarding the alleged connection. All 22 studies show that increases in exposure and wealth are by far the most important drivers for growing disaster losses, or in summary when people build more stuff in harm’s way, it’s more likely to be harmed. No study identified changes in extreme weather due to anthropogenic climate change as the main driver for any remaining trend. Someone should tell the President. Since 1895, the “Impacts of observed climate change have little national significance.” Whatever changes may occur happen so slowly that adapting to them is easy, and doesn’t cost a dime in carbon taxes or renewable energy subsidies. Likewise, a large body of evidence demonstrates crop and livestock production will adapt to climate change. Moreover, increasing carbon dioxide, which the government is determined to reduce in the atmosphere, is likely increasing crop yields and will continue to do so. Headlines recently blared that 2012 was the hottest year on record for the continental United States, but while 2012 was the warmest year for the Lower 48 in the U.S. (not the globe, not North America, and not even the entire United States), it was only the ninth-warmest year globally in the past 34 years (the period for which accurate satellite data have been collected). The warmest year in that time period was 1998, which was only the fifth-warmest year on record, after 1934, 1921, 1931 and 1953. One of the greatest embarrassments for warming alarmists is that the average global temperature even by their measure has leveled off for 15 or 16 years. The U.K.’s Met Office, Britain’s keeper of global warming records, quietly conceded that not only has there been no statistically significant warming for 15 years, but that the office has revised its predictions for the next decade to anticipate a dramatically lower temperature increase than previously forecast. That’s two decades of no warming and the President still insists we do something about this because his agenda is political, not science-based problem solving.
(“Don’t panic about global warming” by Mark Landsbaum dated February 8, 2013 published by The Orange County register at http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/climate-495229-change-government.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).