American Elephants


The Magnificent Michael Ramirez Strikes Again! by The Elephant's Child
September 16, 2010, 7:31 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, News, Politics | Tags: , ,

My admiration of the work of political cartoonist Michael Ramirez knows no bounds. I think he is simply terrific, and he’s on a roll lately. This is priceless.  His work is featured daily at Investors.com. The IBD Editorials are consistently excellent.

He recently published the first-ever collection of his work Everyone Has The Right To My Opinion. Political cartoons would seem to be ephemeral since they are reflections on the daily scene, but they are not.  I have a small collection of some of my favorites of Mr. Ramirez’ cartoons, and they not only remain funny, but provide a deservedly snarky look at history.



“The Tragedy of the Commons” Revisited. by The Elephant's Child

There’s trouble in Mongolia.  Traditional cashmere goat herders are losing everything as the lands they have herded for centuries have become overgrazed with the intrusion of modern economics and the rise in the value of cashmere wool.  It is once again the “tragedy of the commons” demonstrated.

When lands are shared — the commons — no one in particular is responsible for caring for them and seeing that they are not overgrazed.  The rise in price for cashmere wool has meant that more herders enter the business and existing herders attempt to raise more goats.  Overgrazing of the best pastures is inevitable.  If herders owned their own lands, they would take care to avoid overgrazing — since no one owns the lands, overgrazing results in increasing desertification.

This theory applies to public lands all over the world, and to different problems like water resources, timber, grazing lands and so on. Our federal government has done a poor job of managing the public’s natural resources as it struggles to balance public land uses like recreation, logging and grazing on the one hand and preservation of the natural state on the other.

The environmental movement is working hard to transfer more lands to public ownership.  Private ownership means that lands are better cared for, but have less public access.   Some environmental organizations have attempted to get an environmentally concerned public to donate lands which they contract to preserve, then been castigated as it is found that they turn over parts of the donated lands to money-making projects.

America’s system of national parks has been the envy of the world, but the pressure of overuse and under-budgeting has had its effect. Another result of the growth of government is that there is less money available for those  traditional efforts. There are no easy or simple answers, and the problems are very difficult.



If It Won’t Sell, Just Change the Name! by The Elephant's Child

Flagging public support?  What to do?  First, you make a huge deal out of an upcoming change, which turns out to be a pathetic logo change (see below).

But there is also flagging public support for administration efforts to regulate emissions.  So what you need is not some scientific rationale behind those efforts but you need — to change the name.  This is the administration that has brought usman-caused disaster,” “overseas contingency operation,” “The Public-Private Investment Plan,” or “The Challenge of Legacy Assets.” They apparently have a deep belief in the power of more carefully chosen words.

It will no longer be “global warming,” the public is to start using the term “global climate disruption.” White House science adviser John Holdren urged people to start using the phrase during a speech in Oslo last week.  He said global warming has long been criticized as inaccurate (possibly because the earth is currently cooling?), and a “dangerous misnomer” for a problem far more complicated than a rise in temperature.

Congress is preparing to adjourn for the season without completing work on a stalled climate bill, according to Fox News.  “They’re trying to come up with more politically palatable ways to sell some of this stuff,” said pollster Adam Geller, who noted that they had rolled out a new logo, and now refer to the Bush tax cuts as “middle-class tax cuts.”He said the term “global warming” makes the cause easy to ridicule whenever there’s a snowstorm.

Holdren believes that the word “disruption” will help to point out the impact of all the alarming problems caused by global warming global climate disruption, previously celebrated in Al Gore’s slide show.  GOP lawmakers have already re-branded “cap-and-trade” to a  more accurate “cap-and-tax” so the game of changing hearts and minds with terminology is played by both parties.  “Are they going to change the name of weathermen to disruption analysts?” quipped one GOP strategist.




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