Sunday, September 14, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Put prisoner swap deal in perspective

sowell column sig

By
From page A9 | June 15, 2014 |

People are arguing about what the U.S. got out of the deal that swapped five top-level terrorist leaders for one American soldier who was, at best, absent from his post in a war zone. Soldiers who served in the same unit with him call him a deserter.

The key to this deal, however, is less likely to be what the U.S. got out of the deal than it is about what Barack Obama got out of the deal. If nothing else, it instantly got the veterans’ hospitals scandals off the front pages of newspapers and pushed these scandals aside on television news programs.

It was a clear winner for Barack Obama. That may be all that matters to Barack Obama.

People who are questioning the president’s competence seem not to want to believe that any president of the United States would knowingly damage this country’s interests.

One of the problems of many fundamentally decent people is that they find it hard to understand people who are not fundamentally decent, or whose moral compass points in a different direction from theirs.

Many people who are painfully disappointed with President Obama have no real reason to be. The man’s whole previous history, from childhood on, was shaped by a whole series of people, beginning with his mother, whose vision of America was very much like that of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose church Barack Obama belonged to for 20 long years.

Obama is not a stupid man. There is no way that he could have sat in that church all that time without knowing how Jeremiah Wright hated America, and how his vision of the world was one in which “white folks’ greed runs a world in need.”

Even if the Reverend Wright had been the only such person in Barack Obama’s life – and he was not – it should have been enough to keep him out of the White House.

“Innocent until proven guilty” is a good rule in a court of law, which has the power to deprive a defendant of liberty or life. But it is mindless and dangerous nonsense to apply that standard outside that context – especially when choosing a president of the United States, who holds in his hands the liberty and lives of millions of Americans.

People who are disappointed with Barack Obama have no right to be. It is they whom others have a right to be disappointed with. Instead of taking their role as citizens seriously, they chose to vote on the basis of racial symbolism, glib rhetoric and wishful thinking.

Moreover, many are already talking about choosing the next president of the United States on the basis of demographic symbolism – to have “the first woman president.” If she is elected on that basis, will any criticism of what she does in the White House be denounced as based on anti-woman bias, as criticisms of President Obama have been repeatedly denounced as racism?

What if we have the first Hispanic president or the first Jewish president? Will any criticism of their actions in the White House be silenced by accusations of prejudice?

We may yet become the first nation to die from a terminal case of frivolity. Other great nations in history have been threatened by barbarians at the gates. We may be the first to be threatened by self-indulgent silliness inside the gates.

As for Barack Obama, you cannot judge any president’s competence by the results of his policies, without first knowing what he was trying to achieve.

Many wise and decent people assume automatically that President Obama was trying to serve the interests of America. From that standpoint, he has failed abysmally, both at home and abroad. That should legitimately call his competence into question.

But what if his vision of the world is one in which the wealth and power of those at the top, whether at home or internationally, are deeply resented, and have been throughout his life, under the tutelage of a whole series of resenters? What if his goal is to redress that imbalance?

Who can say that he has failed, when the fundamental institutions of this country have been successfully and perhaps irretrievably undermined, and when the positions of America and its allies on the world stage have been similarly, and even more dangerously, undermined around the world?

Thomas Sowell is an author, economist and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 40 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 3:50 am

    It must be hard to be you, Thomas.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Teach5thJune 15, 2014 - 9:13 am

    RLW - it must be hard to read the truth about Obama and not be able to accept it. What's probably even harder is that you can't dismiss and shut Sowell up by calling him a racist.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 9:40 am

    T5: I fail to see the racism in that remark. None was intended. But, for the record, just about everyone raised in the U.S. is racist to some degree. It's the degree that matters.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 9:47 am

    T5: I have no trouble accepting all the truth about Obama. As for Sowell, my remark was about his continued frustration that people haven't accepted his "truth" after all these years of trying. It must feel like a wasted life.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 15, 2014 - 1:06 pm

    Teach5th, wow you concocted "r*cism" from rlw's remark? You sink to a new low every time you crawl in here. I'll ask you as I did the absent Mr. Madronich. Do you have evidence to substantiate your claim to the "truth about Obama?" Please cite the facts in your own words in context. Thank you.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Teach5thJune 15, 2014 - 3:44 pm

    Geez -CD - follow any of the news stories about him! If it's not Bengazi ( what difference does it make especially since no one seems to know where he was as it was occurring. And, in the White House asleep doesn't absolve him or his Sec. Of State from responsibility); the IRS scandal (what scandal? Any proof seems to be lost - hmmm); the incessant VA scandal --- is that still going on? let me check the newspapers, says O, and see what's going on. Until then . . . I will say I'm really upset by what's happening . . . Then there's the recent 5-4-1 exchange. What I said about signing statements before I was president has no bearing on what I do AFTER I become king ---uh, er-president..... This community organizer is in so far over his head he doesn't know what's going on. (Quick -let me check the newspapers and see what's going on in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, can you just leave me alone? I'm ready to tee off.....

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 4:13 pm

    T5: You and your ilk think your lists are persuasive. They're not. Spare us the volume and focus on one thing at a time. We've discussed each of these "scandals" ad nauseum, and we're not about to go over each one again. The only one that is a serious problem is the VA. And nobody except people like you is politicizing it. Congress is practically unanimous in its efforts to correct the problem, and Republicans have been resisting the cheap shots at Obama. I assume that's because Republican administrations didn't catch the problems either. It took "the most transparent administration in history" to turn over the rocks and see the creepy-crawlies hidden underneath. The VA revelation and our response is a victory for America. Let's leave it at that.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 15, 2014 - 5:33 pm

    Teach5th, nice non-answer. As usual. You're like all the other GOP apologists here bring nonsense and never back it up. Just like what we've become used to. Thank you for once again making me look a lot smarter than I really am! :) FORE!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 2realJune 15, 2014 - 9:16 am

    Obama sucks. O.ne B.ig A.ss M.istake A.merica!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 9:42 am

    A sentiment found in ALL your comment. It must be hard to be you, too.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithJune 15, 2014 - 9:47 am

    One of Sowell's best columns. He is a brave man. I hope he has a good tax attorney to help fight off the IRS thugs that will no doubt come a'callin. Sowell has captured the essence of what Rush Limbaugh meant six years ago when he said he hoped Obama fails. It also goes a long way toward explaining the behavior of the "party of no."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 9:50 am

    Good Lord man, it must be hard to be YOU to. At least Rush gets paid a lot.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 9:52 am

    *too

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithJune 15, 2014 - 12:41 pm

    Yes, rlw: You are finally starting to get it. The last six years have been very hard on me and millions of people like me. But don't take that as a plea for sympathy. Just stating a fact.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 2:32 pm

    How exactly have you suffered?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 2realJune 15, 2014 - 10:12 am

    Rlw895, open your eyes to the truth. Your right, it is hard to be me, a proud born american with a muslim atheist in office.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 2:35 pm

    Mr.S: Is 2r one of your "millions?"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 15, 2014 - 2:43 pm

    Rlw895, 2real is the quintessential god-lover, r*cist and gay h*m*phobe that loves to spread his hypocritical gibberish here.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 4:18 pm

    CD: You think I don't know. He's like a caricature or an archetype. I just want to know if when Mr.S counts his "millions" like him, he includes 2real.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithJune 15, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    Rlw: Judging from the comments I have seen, I would say that 2R is one of the millions who, like me, have had a hard time accepting this administration's policies/decisions/behaviors/agenda, etc. That much should be obvious. So what are you implying here? That, too, is obvious. But go ahead and explain it. You're the one who wouldn't let it go:>)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 9:12 pm

    Only (1) be careful; you're known by the company you keep, and (2) if those are your millions, I'm not impressed.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagJune 15, 2014 - 10:22 am

    I think he worst president of my time Jimmy carter record is about to be beat, In time B.O will take that honor.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 2:38 pm

    Let's hope no one is worse than Bush/Cheney, ever again. Obama will always benefit by the contrast.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagJune 15, 2014 - 3:30 pm

    RW I am not sire if you are old enough, Do you remember odd even days? and 13% home mortgage loans?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 4:24 pm

    Jag: Oh sure. That's when OPEC formed. The price of gas went all the way up to $0.55.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagJune 15, 2014 - 5:00 pm

    wow you almost made that sound like good times,, but I remember waiting in line at a gas station for an hour to get gas as a kid and not getting gas unless on certain days, I also remember my parents home loan was 13%, I am not a Bush fan either but times were certainly better then Carter. Even with that said B.O is about to take the honor..

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MarkJune 15, 2014 - 3:14 pm

    Jag, I hope next time you vote for a president who makes education a priority.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagJune 15, 2014 - 3:44 pm

    Mark, I would never vote for a president based on education because I think education is not the government responsibility, it should be the responsibility of the parents who have kids to go out find and pay the best they can for their children, at the same time we should not have local school taxes a districts if we chose not to use the basic government schools, I should be able to spend my money on whatever school I choose for my children,

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithJune 15, 2014 - 5:11 pm

    Jag: I agree that BO should take that honor. Unfortunately, he probably will get a more favorable treatment than he deserves from the journalists and historians. (( Now sit back and watch rlw jump all over that one:>) ))

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SaJune 15, 2014 - 5:57 pm

    If Obama sucks, how bad were Bush and Cheney?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagJune 15, 2014 - 6:45 pm

    sorry SA I have to disagree with the first word of your question, (IF) how about we start out with (sense) but sense you ask about Bush he sucks (your word) just a little bit less then B.O

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 15, 2014 - 9:40 pm

    Yes, Mr.S, I'll jump all over that one. Is there is NO evidence or analysis by anyone now or in the future that you would find persuasive to change you opinion about Obama? It's sounding like irrational opposition to me. In the closing moments of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin asked each member to "doubt a little of his infallibility" and sign the document. You should do the same and give Obama a chance. It's better late than never.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithJune 15, 2014 - 9:51 pm

    Rlw: I like your second sentence so much that I will turn it back to you. Irrational opposition vs irrational support, perhaps? My mind is pretty much made up on this one, however. Unfortunately for "my side" We must be content to wait for this, too, to pass.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 16, 2014 - 12:22 am

    Mr.S: That's just nonsense. I can think of many things Obama might do that would lose my support. In fact there are things he does that I don't support. I don't couch irrational support any more than you do. But you're practically confessing to being an irrational opponent and justifying it the idea that there are irrational supporters. That's no justification at all. It's like saying all those black people support Obama no matter what, so us white people need to oppose him no matter what.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithJune 16, 2014 - 7:22 am

    Again with the race card, rlw? Sheesh! Many posts ago I pointed out that Obama has irrational supporters from more than the Black demographic. You are walking, talking proof of that, my friend. And unless Kirchubel uses a fake photo in the DR, so is he. Lol!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895@sbcglobal.netJune 16, 2014 - 10:39 am

    Mr.S: Call it what you want, but no one should be deterred from facing problem racism when it a occurs. When you visualize an "irrational supporter" of Obama, it's not my face that appears, it's a black one. Just like when you visualize a "welfare mom," it's not a white face you see.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 2realJune 15, 2014 - 5:57 pm

    Its funny how you grown men cant stand up like a man and admit obama was a very poor choice. Man up the guy is the all time worst president.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SaJune 15, 2014 - 5:59 pm

    I would choose Obama's left toe to run the country than Bush!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Let's hear it for his toe.....June 15, 2014 - 7:14 pm

    I wish we did have Obama's left toe running the country; the rest of him destroying us bit by bit, faster and faster.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SamJune 15, 2014 - 6:33 pm

    2real funny how you don't stand up like man and use your real name. Man up and recognize your poor choices believing a dead guy is helping you.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

The show goes on for American Canyon comic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1

 
David Lew: Chuckles keep coming despite cancer battle

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Walk to End Alzheimer’s brings out supporters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Council candidate leads cleanup day, youth rally

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
How to help prevent sports-related eye injuries

By Betsey Campbell, MPH | From Page: C4

Birthday party brings writers, musicians in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Beware of invading plant species

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4, 2 Comments

 
Vacaville Grad Nite needs volunteers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

CHP announces senior driving class

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5, 7 Comments

 
Solano drug court plans reunion

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5

 
Time to sell? Who can say with certainty?

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

Nut Tree Airport to see runway work

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B7, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Risk a key factor in investment decisions

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B8

 
County graduates complete basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Suisun City police: Sept. 12, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 12, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

.

US / World

AP Enterprise: al-Qaida’s Syrian cell alarms US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Football coach moves game for daughter’s wedding

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
The old ways are no way for Army drill sergeants

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C6

Rescuers end ocean search for Navy fighter pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
2 homes destroyed in Northern California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Feds chase treasure hunter turned fugitive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Will Apple’s digital wallet kill the card swipe?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Transgender girl crowned homecoming princess

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Man sues after losing 5 toes in Colorado jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Syrians attacked in Lebanon after soldiers killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Ukraine government repels rebel attack on airport

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Pope urges world to shed apathy toward new threats

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

 
Just take care of it

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 12 Comments

 
Campaign signs mean little, really

By Glen Faison | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

Hold the line with Local 39

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoons: Sept. 14, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A8

Sound off for Sept. 14, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Know of any new taxes?

By Rod Keck | From Page: A9, 14 Comments

 
President a success or failure?

By Thomas Sowell | From Page: A9, 11 Comments

Scottish independence tied to national identity

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A9

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 14, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

‘Tammi’ and I are getting serious, but her friends don’t like me

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 14, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

 
Americans Ferris, Fowler on Booker Prize shortlist

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

NASCAR’s Kenseth behind anti-bullying kids’ book

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Solano volleyball preview: Falcons look to repeat as BVC champs

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers look for win against Bears in Levi’s opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders’ Carr to make home debut vs. familiar foe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Rodney walks in run in 10th to give A’s 3-2 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Mayweather remains unbeaten despite bite complaint

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Travis Bowl results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B3

Stars Recreation results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B3

 
Contador beats Froome to win Vuelta 20th stage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

DeJoria, Enders-Stevens top NHRA qualifying

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
McIlroy, Horschel tied for Tour Championship lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

No. 15 Stanford rebounds from loss, tops Army 35-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
College football Top 25

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

This date in sports history for Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sports on TV for Sunday, Sept. 14, 2013

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

Kyle Busch wins Trucks Series race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Kevin Harvick wins again for JR Motorsports

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Where’s the tape? America responds to video

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Ambrose leaving NASCAR to return to Australia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Gordon covets elusive 5th title as Chase begins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Rice saga puts quiet Ravens owner in spotlight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Peterson booked and released from Texas jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Business

Hackerspaces help techies turn ideas into reality

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
On the money: Options abound for selling used mobile phones

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

US threatened Yahoo with huge fine over emails

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Recalls this week: smoke alarms, generators

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Tech Tips: Sprint’s good rates come with a price

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
Sponsors keep close watch on NFL investigation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Obituaries

Patricia C. “Pat” Child

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Barbara J. McGee

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Olga Mae Schaffer Lilienthal

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Minnie Lee Dixon

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics