In Dangerous Waters,
Obama Faith Falters
President Delivers Policy Americans Want
When the Ship Started Taking on Water
Last fall, in the UWFR November 27 issue we said, “…In our estimation of history’s reckoning, September
10 will be the last day the President’s words mattered, when at 9:12 PM EDST,
the President stood still at his own red line, turned back, and made his
words cease to convey any consequence to friend and foe alike.” And, we added that we were now headed unto
“dangerous waters.” We noted in our March
5 Alert that we were now in those waters.
Well, now we are even deeper into them, as the world looks more and
more like the last years of the 1970’s.
At that time in November, most pundits from
the left and right were focused on the debacle of Obamacare as the most
consequential, and many dismissed the long-term importance of the President’s
non-action in Syria, especially those on the left, but even many on the
right, citing (correctly) that most Americans just don’t care about foreign
affairs. Trouble with that assessment
was that it either assumed there would not be huge consequences from that
fateful act, or if there were, that most Americans would not take note. But there were and they do. See the latest polling reported by The
Seemingly validating our forecast from last
in The Wall Street Journal, Daniel
Henninger said, “If there's one Obama foreign-policy decision that sticks in
anyone's mind it is the "red line" in Syria.” Actually, we are not sure that is yet
true. What he should have said is “If
there's one Obama foreign-policy decision that SHOULD stick in anyone's mind
it is the "red line" in Syria.”
But, in due time, it will be so (news today from The Hague regarding
self-declared chemical weapons notwithstanding).
Media Begins to Abandon Ship
Now, even President Barack Obama’s friends
Washington Post, The
New York Times, and even The
New Republic (liberal-progressive journal), have begun to openly
express disappointment, frustration, and even disgust with the President’s
foreign policy. The New Republic also featured on its May 26 issue a cover story
consisting of a major essay aimed squarely at the President’s foreign policy,
Don’t Get to Retire”.
Reading the expressions of disapproval, one
will find different explanations for what they perceive as the reason for the
president’s collapsing foreign policy.
The reality is that while the nation sports more ideologues than ever
that will either 1) always find the President at fault, or 2) always find the
President blameless, the center of the American public will judge the
President by the effects of his policy.
As we took pains to detail in our UWFR issue of September 7, Americans
tend to retroactively support or forsake a president based on the actual
success or failures of his policies, and quickly forget whether they personally
supported or opposed a president’s military action in a particular
situation. As they say, success has
many fathers, and failure is an orphan.
the Results, Intellectually-Challenged Person
We have repeatedly
pointed out that the President is indeed doing, at a nuts-and bolts
level, what most Americans want done in each foreign policy scenario. What he is not doing is leading. And, we have equally repeatedly pointed out
that this will not spare him the public’s scorn in the end. A poll reported by The
Washington Examiner illustrates this dichotomy, as it reports that
Americans agree with his specific policy in Ukraine (as they did with his
policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc.) yet see him as a weak leader in
dealing with his counterpart in Russia and elsewhere. Americans will not generally connect
through cause-and-effect the unfolding developments around the world to their
original specific opinions, but they do perceive that developments in many
places around the world have taken a turn for the worse, and Mr. Obama has been
the president for the last 5 ½ years.
Just like with Obamacare, you can go point
by point on the specifics of what the President has done in Ukraine, Syria,
Iraq Afghanistan, Iran, China Sea, Israel-Palestinian Authority, and they
will agree with the specific actions.
But, you ask about the whole, and just as with Obamacare, they
disapprove. This is what “leading from
behind” looks like, and Americans don’t like what they see.
to Stay Course
He Is Able)
We see no indication that the President
will re-consider his policy of world-wide disengagement, and even if he did,
he has little political leverage – except for whatever American military
muscle he actually uses (Ironically, but predictably, because he has said so
much and done so little, only after he deploys military power will he now be
able to broker any deal in Iraq, or elsewhere).
The President remains convinced, against
all historical evidence, that the way to a more secure, stable, and ‘just’
world, is for the world’s leading power to retreat (even to the point of
surrendering America’s nominal control of the Internet, which to date has
made it very difficult for dictatorial and totalitarian regimes to restrict
the flow of information). He believes
that if only we model ‘correct’ international behavior enough, then other
countries will follow our example.
That this has not worked with Russia, or China, or Egypt, or Iran, or
North Korea, or Syria, and that millions are now worse off, thousands have
died, and that the world is currently more unstable as a result, does not
dissuade him. That some nation-states
are persisting in their “19th Century” thinking convinces him only
that we must persevere in our example – even if now and then we still have to
“do something” to prevent total disaster while we allow time for the world to
learn to follow the rules.
Fundamental Ideological Flaw
The main critical flaw in this dominant
strain of liberal-progressive thinking is the assumption that all others around
the world want what we want. But, this
is not true even in our own communities, where we all see the need to
maintain a police force, knowing full well that setting an example for our
fellow citizens is not enough. Every
single day, in our own city, we apply violent and deadly force, or the threat
of it, to maintain order, or restore it where it is broken. In the larger world, there is no police
force other than the might of the most powerful nation. Historical evidence shows that when there
is a strong leading power, there is less war.
When strong powers become weak, that is when wars break out, as other
powers with different values and ideas seize the opportunity for their own
Understanding Can Lead to Use of Force
Former President Richard M. Nixon, in his
book “1999: Victory Without War”, made the point that conflict is often not
about misunderstanding, as liberal-progressives like to imagine, but rather,
from perfect understanding. It is
often the realization and perfect comprehension of two parties that they do
not share the same goals or values, and do not want the same future. Someone wants to invade your house, or your
country? Words and modeling behavior will not dissuade them.
Next time a far-left
liberal-progressive claims that all conflict is from simple
misunderstanding, and all that is needed is more communication, ask him if he
or she thinks that would work with the Tea Party, or Republicans. (Funny thing about liberal-progressives
these days, and also some libertarians: they see more promise in working
things out with murderous dictators than they do with their own fellow
Americans, their neighbors and fellow citizens who hold socially conservative
ideas). Ask your liberal-progressive
friend if it is true that there has never been a conflict with another person
she could not resolve with more words of understanding.
Obama Sought World Approval
He Got Contempt
The second fundamental flaw in this same
liberal-progressive (and libertarian, and right-wing isolationist)
non-interventionist thinking is that a forceful American foreign policy
causes the world to hate us, while pacifist entreaties, and unilateral
concessions and disengagement leads the world to like us and be more
cooperative. Aside from the very
visible foreign policy debacles that recall the waning days of the hapless
Carter presidency, the polls have been in for some time now, and the results
are almost unanimous across the globe:
President Obama, and the U.S., are viewed far less favorably now than
when the President first took office in January of 2009. A comprehensive Pew
survey showed that it did not matter whether the respondents were
pro-West Europeans, or anti-West Arabs; from 2009 thru 2012, views of
President Obama became less favorable everywhere – except Russia. And, this survey was taken before the
compounding crises of the last year.
Continued column 2 >
Ultrapolis World Forecast
Ultrapolis Project –
at Texas GOP Convention. Delegates at the second
general assembly of the 2014 Texas Republican State Convention, by some
news accounts the largest political party convention in the world, welcome
Texas’ junior U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.
The voting strength of the assembly was north of 8,000, represented
by delegates from the state’s thirty-one state senatorial districts. The convention featured individual senate
district caucuses, committee meetings, and three general assembly sessions
that themselves included a heated and lengthy debate over the party
platform, and speeches from GOP headliners from across the state and the
nation, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY),
and convention favorite Senator Cruz.
< From column 1
Russians, of course that has also more recently turned against Mr. Obama
and the U.S. as reported by the Los
Angeles Times in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis.
Failures Will Stress Democrat Unity
Allies of Hillary
Clinton will try to put the word out through news stories that Secretary
Clinton was often in disagreement with the President, and will damage
Barack Obama’s reputation as much as is necessary. Democratic opponents of Ms. Clinton, of
which there are many, will work to make sure she stays strongly connected
to President Obama’s foreign policy.
Either way, President Obama will not enjoy the broad-based party
farewell President Ronald Reagan received in 1989.
Hold On to Your Seats
As we said before
regarding the domestic policies, the Democrats in Congress, looking to
2016, will be doing everything they can to get a hold of the nation’s
foreign policy reins as well, which are now flailing wildly out of anyone’s
control, having been deliberately dropped between the galloping horses and
the wagon of the nation’s stage coach - with the full endorsement of the
passengers. In the meantime, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Libya,
Egypt, Israel-Palestinian Authority, et al, all will continue to languish
as our foreign policy advances, in fits and starts, only in reaction to
pleas from our allies. Expect a wild and chaotic bumpy ride in the coming
months, and pray to high heaven the wheels do not start coming off before
January 2017; because if they do, we will pay for it with American lives.
Derelict or Deliberate?
Numbers Don’t Add Up
Or, Just Don’t Appear
Numbers Bait & Switch
April 1, 2014 PBS Newshour
On a report
regarding the Congressional opposition to more spending on federal pre-school
program Head Start, the news reporter dutifully asked Peter Barnett,
Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (Head Start
promoter), about a report showing Head Start gains completely disappearing
by the third grade.
The report gave
most of the air time to Mr. Barnett, and only half as much to the
Republican Congressman who explained why there was opposition to more money
for Head Start. But, Barnett argued
that the $80 billion spent on the pre-school program saved money down the
line in education and social costs.
He repeatedly referred to $80 billion vs. future costs of not having
Head Start (over $700 for every person who pays income tax in the U.S.).
responding to the report, smiling at his own obvious clarity that inferior
minds amusingly fail to see, said:
It’s like a relay race.
You can’t say I ran a really good first lap, so now I can walk the
next, right? You’re going to lose the race if you do that. Well, pre-school’s the same way. It’s a really good first lap. You have to keep running hard.
it is not just $80 billion we have to spend on Head Start, after all. That is just lap 1. By his own admission, we would need to
continue the program all the way to college to be able to actually keep the
gains, and all his comparisons to the program’s cost of $80 billion were
useless - except to hook us in like a salesperson that gets you to buy by
only mentioning a portion of a price, and neglecting to tell you until
after you have bought a product that it is useless without all the
The reporter did
not address the implication of the answer.
April 9, 2014 CBS This Morning
Watching CBS This Morning, one would notice that
nearly every other day features a ‘news’ story that clearly presents a
leftist view of women in the workplace.
anchorwoman on This Morning on
CBS said she was “shocked” that more women are staying home (personal
opinion anyone?), Deborah Gillis, President & CEO of Catalyst (a
research firm) explained, in carefully paced and toned words meant to
signal the seriousness of her thoughts:
There’s [sic] a couple of things that I think that are
happening there. If you look at the
increase in the number of women staying at home, it’s tied to the economic
downturns; more women are staying at home because they can’t find a
job. Another is really a question
about, is work worth it? And, if
women are not being paid fairly and equally then families are going to make
choices about who stays at home and who doesn’t, particularly when you take
into account costs of daycare and other things.
She did not cite
research to back up her thoughts, but presented her thoughts as if they
were backed by research, perhaps because that
very same Pew study indicated that most women who stay at home chose it
voluntarily. The percentage that
actually cited the lack of jobs as the reason was 6%. Furthermore, her comments about women
not being able to find work as the reason for staying home more than men
makes no sense when unemployment is higher
The segment on This Morning was clearly presented as
merely informative and educational.
In reality, some statistics were presented by a research firm whose
CEO clearly has an opinion of what she would like to find, followed by her
actual opinion presented as part of the research. The anchors were all sympathetic and
asked not a single challenging question.
this topic we noted that almost all media interviews on the same report,
asking why women were choosing to stay home in greater numbers than before,
featured responses that always started with “it may be” or “I think”
followed by speculation a feminist would approve, and not what was in the
We take this
issue up often only because the media coverage is so biased and
relentlessly misleading on this issue.
Our position is:
It is okay for men to be the one staying home, but it may also be true that
women are generally more naturally-inclined to do this, and policies trying
to force a 50/50 result may actually cause harm (see the next item below).
Globe and Mail
Makes 12 = 85
On the above
point, here’s a story in Toronto’s Globe
and Mail from 2011 that
ought to worry some who are considering having dad stay at home. Yet, even this story, while dutifully
reporting the statistics of greater divorce rates with stay-at-home dads,
misleads again, trying to make it look like men are just as happy as women
to stay home. It says, “In Sweden,
land of Ikea and common sense, 85 per cent of the country's fathers now choose
to stay home with the kids.” Yet,
further down it says only 12% of households there have stay-at-home
dads. Looking further into that
number, we discovered it is 85% choose to be home for any period of time,
and only after the government bribed dads to do it with use it or lose it
vacation time only available to dads.
Skiing in Houston?
Fate Still Unknown
Last Fall Houston voters, mostly those
living outside the loop, voted against a plan that would have converted the
crumbling Astrodome (boasting a permanent and iconic name before names for
all taxpayer-funded landmarks were open to the highest bidder), to an
exhibition hall. Some say that many
of these voters, living in places like Copperfield and Cypress-Fairbanks,
have no sense for history, living as they do in places that prize parking
lot and strip mall convenience over cultural heritage. Perhaps.
But, a credible case has also been made
by many that the plan proposed to save the Astrodome was neither
well-conceived nor well-explained to the public.
Despite the vote, the ultimate fate of
the dome is still unknown, with discussions still ongoing at the
One reader, our good friend Andrew
Fletcher, suggested that the dome be converted to an indoor snow skiing
facility, like the one that the dynamic city of Dubai built. That actually could be quite an asset for
a city so far from skiing resorts, particularly for talent Houston may want
to attract from western cities.
The dome should be saved. It is the first
structure of its kind built by humans. Preserved, years from now it would
become a truly historical site, and not just one of those we see along so
many Texas highways with nothing but an open field and few words to look
Houston has few historically significant
structures of world significance. Actually, we only have one. And, it is
huge. Here we are, about to destroy it, with plans to do to it what we have
done with so much of the little historical architecture we do have in our
city: turn it into another parking lot. It is why we in Houston have the
reputation around the world as being a city just about business, only
business, and nothing more.
Another Door to Privacy
Huffington Post Now Requires Use of
Facebook to Comment
the Conversation” to Corporate Monopoly
As of June 2, anyone wanting to comment on any
story in the Huffington Post must now do so through a Facebook
account, and allow a link that can have any other reader eventually find
you. Imagine if The New York Times had a policy that said that the only letters
to the editor they will receive have to be mailed by UPS, and only if they
come complete with a list of all your contacts and other personal details.
We have many concerns regarding Facebook,
and this is just one more. More to
come on this in future issues.
All we will say for now is, Facebook
BTW, Join our Facebook Group!
Incidentally, we have a group page on Facebook,
if you would like to join!
You must be a Facebook user to comment on that group’s
postings. Sorry, it is the reality of
the world we live in. But, nearly
everything we say there will be included on our pages here in some way, and
you don’t need any account of any kind to comment here. You can use our comment button below,
email, or even write an actual letter, just follow the basic rules noted
On Bullies and
to Personal Letter
I read your
personal letter [UWFR
2/10/2014 - "Personal Letter: Truth
Independent of the Self"] from your Ultrapolis website
last night and was so moved by your honesty. I too have felt many times isolated and a
square peg in around hole for being who I am. Very few people get my gay conservative
Catholic Christian views along with my conservative political beliefs. Living in California I will never expect
to find anyone who has the same core values and beliefs as myself. But, I am ok with that. Just wanted you to let you know you are
not alone – I share many of the same beliefs.
San Francisco, CA
continuing Ultrapolis. Today's
reading [UWFR 2/10/2014] brought
me back to my junior high and college years. I was a really skinny guy
going through the public school system with my share of bullies. I learned
to fight and actually win some. I also was lucky enough to find two large
athletic boys who decided to befriend me. I helped them with schoolwork and
they had my back. I will always remember
Frank and Julian. My nemeses crossed both racial lines. I wasn't popular
among the black students (in fact they did most of the bullying) and young
white boys seeking to bolster their social standing. I learned to simply be
me and stand up for myself. I was voted class favorite, I served on student
council for four years and I even wrote a speech for the Texas State
Organization of Student Councils.
I am constantly
amazed at your perspective and intellect and perhaps most importantly your
ability to verbalize so well your thoughts and perspectives.
I still cannot
read or watch a bullying story without cringing. I try to donate to
help but nothing has impacted me as much as my being bullied (for reasons
not known to me) as a kid.
Reaction to X-posure
of Liberal-Progressive Enlightenment
[#$@$%]!!!!!!! I've lived a sheltered life [Re:
UWFR 2/10/2014 – “Progressive Enlightenment on Display”].
record cannot be beat. One can
follow the herd chasing the latest hyperbolic, melodramatic, and
soon-forgotten micro-trend on Facebook and Twitter, or one can be wisely
and judiciously in front of it with UWFR.
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