The President might worry about Vladimir Putin, the U.S. economy or the truth about the Affordable Care Act, but instead he raises issues about the "War on Women". Our friend Michael Medved takes him on in the Wall Street Journal.
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Discovery senior fellow Scott Powell is in the Detroit News today with an op-ed that tracks close to my own thinking. At some point these arguments have to reach the stage of front page controversy. If American public opinion agree with the need to exploit the U.S. advantage in gas and oil, the President may well be forced to change his position. That is a big "if".
Many observers in both parties agree that expansion of North American oil and gas supplies is one way to lower the world prices of energy and therefore put pressure on the Russians (and Venezuelans, for that matter) who rely on oil and gas to support their wobbly economies.
But President Obama's decision not to decide on Keystone is worse than his heretofore weak reactions to Russia's depredations in Eastern Ukraine. He has put the Keystone Pipeline decision on still further study delay, fearing, one expects, disapproval from environmental groups that oppose the pipeline (or any new energy production other than windmills and solar panels). Once again he acts on domestic political concerns rather than international security.
Red state Democrats in the Senate have said before that they favor the pipeline, as do almost all Republicans. For Obama now to plead the need for more time sounds disingenuous coming from the President who finds no obstacles at all to changing written law (The Affordable Care Act) on a moment's notice.
People are making many allusions these days to the 1930s when the West tried to ignore the growth of fascism and anti-semitism in Europe and did ignore the oppressions of Soviet Russia. Jews were persecuted and the U.S. pretended not to notice, and, in any event, did nothing.
Today Russia evokes the kind of propaganda "Newspeak" that George Orwell warned about, also in the 1930s. In this mode, words mean what the propaganda order says and nothing else, even if the truth is the opposite. Mr. Putin imputes to his targets in Ukraine the "fascistic" danger that in reality he himself has established in Russia and the "mob" and "hooligan" tactics employed by Russian forces in East Ukraine. Now comes as well the old familiar evil of anti-semitism, manifest in appalling attempts by pro-Russian forces in Donetsk, Ukraine to force Jews there to "register" and prove their rights to property, etc. Or face deportation.
When I was a young man working for the N.Y. Herald Tribune in 1965 I wound up in India, hoping to cover the war of India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Since the government wouldn't let me even near the front they mollified me with visits to socially significant projects in the country-side from agricultural production (which was to skyrocket later in the century) and hospital construction--to population control.
Discovery-linked scientist Michael Egnor posts this week at Evolution New and Views about some of the consequences of India's population control policies. We have heard a great deal about the coercive policies in China, but somehow the blackmail of India by the West in the later 1960s under LBJ and the effective genocide and gender-cide that resulted from Western government and foundation pressure to meet population controls has received far too little notice. From the standpoint of history, eugenics in India paints an ugly picture.
A new attempt to cover the news objectively--by progressive pundit Ezra Klein at Vox.com--has National Review's Patrick Brennan protesting. Ezra Klein, a well-known polemicist on MSNBC promises to explain the news fairly. Is he kidding?
You can cut through all the hype about getting the real news, at least when it comes to politics, economics, science and culture--by finding out if contrasting views on these subjects are given a chance to speak (as I would put it) in their own voice. Seldom can one count on a reporter, let alone an analyst, to present both sides fairly. He won't feel obliged to do so under the journalistic ethics that apply today, when youth go into journalism as an alternative to politics and regard it as their mission to present their idea of the truth. Moreover, the reporter seldom if ever can report with complete fairness because he doesn't really consider both points of view defensible.
That is why the protagonists in any debate need to be heard in their own voice--not interpreted by rivals or enemies, or analyzed by reporters who think they know a viewpoint, but don't.
For years George Gilder, Discovery Senior Fellow and author of the new Knowledge and Power, has been railing against federal laws and regulations that prosecute investors and others who have "insider" information. The result of these laws is to make the market more volatile as investors make fewer informed decisions. The subject warrants a chapter in Knowledge and Power.
It also warrants an excellent column by Wall Street Journal tech writer, Gordon Crovitz,
Slowly the liberal left--that is, the ones are not committed to illiberal suppression of opposing viewpoints--is finding its voice. Now it even comes from The Nation.
Of course, Liberals Against Viewpoint Supprression have to cover themselves by warning that when things change, and the left in Washington, DC finds itself no longer in charge, liberalism will rue its present willingness to suppress politically incorrect speech.
In fact, that won't happen. There is no way the right could completely take charge in America anytime soon. Even a clean, Reagan-like conservative sweep in the federal elections this year and 2016 would still leave in place a judiciary branch leaning to the left (outside the narrowly divided Supreme Court), a uniformly left wing and intolerant higher education system and the almost equally "progressive" media.
However,one still feels some satisfaction and relief that at least some liberals have not yet lost their minds. Maybe some doors to intellectual diversity will open now.
The good news is that the Obama Administration has responded to Russia's invasion of Crimea and its current subversion of Eastern Ukraine. The bad news is that the response is an amazing preemptory surrender of US nuclear power, even in advance of treaty obligations--and even after Russia repeatedly broken its treaty commitments.
This news has been downplayed so much that you almost have to hunt for it. Using Google, guess where you can find this story? Answer: At RT: "Russia Today," the Kremlin sponsored site.
What happens when the U.S. is seen to be hesitant? Authoritarians press their advantage.
The Obama Administration response to the subversion and occupation of Crimea was to shake John Kerry's locks furiously and threaten to hold its breath until it turned blue. Russia was not impressed, and now the Kremlin is attempting to subvert Eastern Ukraine. Of course, the attempt is obvious, but the Russian people don't know and their government doesn't care.
Watching this, what do you think the Chinese are think? They think that this would be a good time to press their interests in islands in the South China sea. They will use force, if necessary, they say. The U.S. response is stuttering vagueness by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.