American Elephants


It Would Help If This Government Understood How Jobs Are Created or Lost. by The Elephant's Child
November 13, 2011, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

President Obama felt that calling attention to corporate executives’ use of corporate jets would endear him to ordinary folks who had to travel by uncomfortable crowded airlines and get patted down by TSA gropers.  Republicans tried to remind of the unfortunate “luxury” tax on yachts that was tried before, to no avail.  Hawker Beechcraft has issued 60-day layoff notices to 300 employees, including 210 salaried and 90 hourly workers.  A source said that more layoffs could come in February. Bad news for Wichita, Kansas. Surely new taxes and presidential disapproval of corporate jets could have nothing to do with sales of small to midsize business aircraft being weak.

Stryker, a maker of artificial hips and knees will cut 5 percent of their workforce by the end of next year in order to reduce costs in the face of new fees on medical device makers required by ObamaCare.  The job cuts will reduce the Kalamazoo-based company’s pretax operating costs by more than $100 million, when the medical-device tax is expected to take effect.  That’s another 1,000 manufacturing jobs lost. The President has assured us that the new taxes will have no effect.

Perhaps Siga Technologies will add some jobs.  The Obama administration has awarded a $433 million no-bid contract to Siga Technologies — not quite half-a-billion. The Obama administration has been aggressively promoting this project for an experimental smallpox drug, in spite of great uncertainty over whether it is needed, or if it is needed whether it will actually work.

Siga was awarded the contract to produce the drug in May, though a “sole-source” deal in which it was the only company asked to submit a proposal.  The contract calls for Siga to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug for the nation’s biodefense stockpile.  The price —about $255 per dose — was decidedly over what the government’s experts had said was a reasonable estimate according to internal documents.

The controlling shareholder in Siga Technologies is Ronald Perelman, one of those billionaires that Obama points out don’t pay enough taxes. Perelman is a major party donor, and Perelman had given up to $50,000 to fund Obama’s inauguration bash.  But Perelman gives to Republicans as well.

In theory, smallpox was eradicated globally in 1978.  The virus still exists in labs in America and in Russia. Siga’s drug is not a vaccine, but a pill that is supposed to help those who have been exposed to the virus for too long to be able be helped by a vaccine.  Now on the Siga’s Board of Directors is Andy Stern, until recently the head of SEIU, and the White House’s most frequent visitor.  Doug Powers found an interesting and applicable quotation form senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama on October 2, 2008:

I will finally end the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all. The days of sweetheart deals for Halliburton and the like will be over when I’m in the White House.

The U.S. already has a stockpile of 300 million doses of smallpox vaccine. Vaccination can protect against smallpox if it is given soon enough after infection.  It is not known if the new vaccine is effective, since no one has smallpox any more.



Incoherent Indignation Eventually Becomes Tiresome. by The Elephant's Child
November 13, 2011, 7:16 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, News of the Weird | Tags: , ,

The Portland police have removed the Occupy people from Chapman Square and two other parks  where they have been camped, and park service people are swamping out the debris with dump trucks and loaders. As they are cleared, chain-link fences are being installed around the parks to keep them from being reoccupied.

The Obamavilles seem to think that they are accomplishing something but no one really has any idea what they are on about. Lots of vague complaints about student loans, debt, lack of jobs, and the rich and the banks. incoherent indignation pretty much sums it up. Long on indignation, short on accurate information.

As all demonstrations, there are the initial students with raging hormones anxious to express their feelings, and then the socialists, anarchists and communists show up, but other than tearing down the everything, they aren’t very articulate. Cities have made the politically correct mistake of confusing the right to peacefully assemble with the perfectly reasonable idea that you don’t get to camp out in city parks.

Portland has moved people out of the parks, cleaned up after them, and avoided confrontation. A lot of people have offered to help clean up the parks and help restore them.

Salt Lake and Denver have been cleared out, there have been arrests. Sacramento courts affirm that there is no right to camp out all night.  More death, more rape.

Time to pack up and go on home.



Victor Davis Hanson On the 2012 Election And the State of the World. by The Elephant's Child

Professor of Classics, historian, scholar at the Hoover Institution, and California farmer Victor Davis Hanson is right at the top of my most admired people list.  Whether you agree with him or not, he is always worth listening to, always clear-thinking and always worth your time.



The Peculiarities of U.S.Foreign Policy On Display. by The Elephant's Child

Headline from Britain’s Daily Mail: “Obama reads riot act to European leaders in late night hone calls and orders them to take more dramatic action on debt crisis.”

President Obama made telephone calls to German Chancellor Angle Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkosy and  Italian President Giorgio Napolitano late Thursday night, demanding more dramatic action to avoid a eurozone meltdown.  That must have gone over well.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said “The crisis in Europe remains the central challenge to global growth. It is crucial that Europe move quickly to put in place a strong plan to restore financial stability.”

He added that all of the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Community were directly affected by the Eurozone crisis and encouraged them to take steps to “strengthen growth in the face of these pressures from Europe.” He revealed that Obama was looking to hitch the U.S. economy to growth opportunities in Asia, where he is embarking on an eight day tour that he hoped would help power the recovery he needs for re-election.

So the president who has racked up more debt than all the rest of our presidents put together believes that the best thing he can take to the Asia-Pacific conference is that he has lectured Europe on their behalf. Think they’ll buy that?

In the meantime, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to the National Democratic Institute in Washington, saying that “Situations vary dramatically from country to country.”

The Obama administration’s decision to not intervene in Syria and Bahrain stems from a variety of factors, including the perceived risk to U.S. forces, the imperatives of the fight against al-Qaeda, and the need to defend American allies and to keep foreign oil supplies flowing, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday night. …

In Syria, Butcher Assad has killed over 3500 of his own people, but the administration has resisted all calls for intervention.  In Bahrain, the ruling monarchy has cracked down on Shiite protesters who are, they say, promoted by Iran.

There will be times when not all of our interests align…that is just reality, Clinton said.

That’s for sure. For the folks at home, Obama is happy to remind us that we are not exceptional, and just one among many equal nations. Then, turnabout, he feels free to lecture the heads of state in Europe as if he were president of the world, with some sort of expertise in economics that gives him the right to chew them out.

American foreign policy must be bewildering for other nations.  It is certainly bewildering for me. We celebrated “Arab Spring” which has turned the nations of North Africa over to the Muslim Brotherhood. Uganda has said that the Lord’s Resistance Army has diminished so much that it’s not much of a worry any more, so now we send troops to help. We “keep foreign oil supplies flowing” while shutting down energy and jobs at home. Iran is close to a bomb, and Obama heads out for a nine-day tour.  Very, very strange.




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