American Elephants


“Half The Battle Is Just Showing Up” by The Elephant's Child

More “Quantitative Easing” From Mr. Bernanke, Which Will Accomplish…? by The Elephant's Child

More jobs were created per month last year than this year. Since January, job growth has averaged 139,000 per month. In 2011 the average was 153,000. Not good. You have to subtract the somewhere around 130,000–150.000 people who dropped out of the labor force each month. Doesn’t leave you a lot of gain. At this year’s pace, it would take 11 years to get the unemployment rate back down to 5%.

That simply won’t do, so the Federal Reserve has announced a third round of printing out lots of money, better known as “quantitative easing” or QE3. This is an effort to boost Obama’s election chances. People who know Bernanke say he harbors no illusions that it will actually result in a stronger economy. Instead he is trying to stave off economic disaster —a severe recession — because the economic policy offered by the Obama White House is such a disaster.

The Fed does this by buying bonds from the big banks, which drives down interest rates. The lower interest rates are supposed to attract businesses to borrow more, but businesses don’t take on more risk when risk is punished with more regulation and higher costs.

— Mr. Bernanke said Americans shouldn’t complain about not getting any interest on their savings because they’ll benefit in the long term from a better economy spurred by low rates. Lord Keynes famously said “In the long term, we’re all dead.”

— Making government borrowing essentially free encourages Congress to spend, but when interest rates go back up we have to pay interest on all that debt.

— The third big risk is future inflation. Mr. Bernanke notes that it remain low, but the Fed’s core inflation rate ignores the run-up in food and energy prices. You will notice that the price of gas is back up over $4 and the media never mentions it.

The stock market likes the move. Ratings firm Egan-Jones cut its credit rating on the U.S. government to AA– from AA citing its opinion that quantitative easing will hurt the economy and the country’s credit rating. They also set a negative watch, citing a lack of progress in cutting the mounting federal debt. Moody’s, S&P and Fitch all have a negative outlook.

Recovery? No sign of one. The folks at Reason have a wonderful graphic to illustrate “The Recovery That Wasn’t”  You’ll have to do a bit of enlarging, but don’t miss the two graphs in the center. The Obama administration in their own words. As Richard Epstein said, Obama doesn’t have the necessary skill set. Like understanding Say’s Law, for example.

Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832) lent his name to the bedrock proposition of classical economics: Supply creates its own demand. That is, manufacturers pay workers to make widgets, and workers use their pay to buy widgets. Savers lend their money to investors who build widget factories, and the factories’ profits go to repay principal and interest. A higher price will call forth more widgets, higher wages will call forth more widgetmakers, and higher returns will call forth more investment. Unless the government gets in the way, for example by fixing prices, markets will clear and everyone will live happily ever after.

Or from the University of Chicago on efficient markets: The stock market incorporates all available information. The thousands or millions of collective decisions incorporated in a market-determined price cannot be duplicated or even understood by one mind. You can’t beat the market because it’s smarter than you are.  Intellectually, the only task is trying to determine what the market is telling you.

Or the basic notion of Expectations: Economics being a branch of human behavior, reality is often less important than perception. The behavior of consumers and investors will depend on the economic conditions of the moment only as the present shapes what conditions they expect to pertain in the future.

Obama does not believe in the free market. He said so. Nor does he believe in Capitalism, and the Democrats, st the DNC, were quite ready to outlaw profit.



National Security Leaks Are Fine If They Make the President Look Good. by The Elephant's Child

We have been deeply concerned about security leaks from the Obama administration. Tuesday in an interview with CBS’ Norah O’Donnell, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta threatened legal action against the Navy SEAL who wrote, under a pen name, about the raid that killed terrorist Osama bin Laden.  Panetta said that any sanctions against the SEAL, who wrote No Easy Day under the pen name Mark Owen about the raid into bin Laden’s Pakistan hideaway, would be intended to send a message that others who were entrusted with national security secrets should not divulge what they know.

Norah O’Donnell then asked Panetta directly: What’s the difference between what the SEAL did and the leaks that have come from the administration to journalists and filmmakers? Panetta said:

There’s a fundamental difference.  The people that presented some of the details of the operations were authorized to do that by the president of the United States, who has the authority to do that, and inform the American people as to what happened.  In this case, that was not the case. And that’s the difference.

Releasing the names of leaders of the SEAL team that killed bin Laden to Hollywood producers who were working on the film about the raid Zero Dark Thirty, intended for release, only coincidentally of course, just before the 2012 presidential election is fine. Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers, who released the information is still at his job. No one in the administration has faced any penalty for the many damaging leaks of other operations including Obama’s “kill list,” US assistance to the rebellion in Syria, and the continuing cyber war against Iran. The president authorized those leaks himself, because he is the president.

The government may, however, come down like a ton  of bricks on Mark Owen. The leaks from the administration put SEAL team members lives at risk. Might help if the president attended some of his National Security briefings. The president and members of his administration don’t have to mind the legalities, because Obama is the president.



The Very Best Vanity License Plate Ever! by The Elephant's Child
September 14, 2012, 11:55 am
Filed under: Art, Entertainment, Freedom, Humor | Tags: , ,

 



Don’t Blame Obama, He Was Busy Fundraising. by The Elephant's Child

Britain’s Independent newspaper has a story revealing “the inside story of the US envoy’s assassination: America was warned of embassy attack but did nothing.”

The killings of the US ambassador to Libya and three of his staff were likely to have been the result of a serious and continuing security breach, The Independent can reveal.

American officials believe the attack was planned, but Chris Stevens had been back in the country only a short while and the details of his visit to Benghazi, where he and his staff died, were meant to be confidential.

The US administration is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the “safe house” in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed “safe”.

Politico reports that the Obama administration is flatly denying the report that diplomats were killed as a result of a “continuing security breach,” and “no intelligence indicating that the attack was premeditated.” It was 9/11 and the Embassies were unprepared.

The administration said:

Shawn Turner, spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, emailed: “This is absolutely wrong. We are not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.”

That’s silly. The attackers were armed with mortars and RPGs, that’s not a spontaneous action. The film was just an excuse, and the administration should be blaming the attackers and their planners, not a stupid amateur film which was just an excuse.

In the Wall Street Journal, Hussain Haqqani, a professor at Boston University who served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S in 2008-2011, wrote:

The attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions this week—beginning in Egypt and Libya, and moving to Yemen and other Muslim countries—came under cover of riots against an obscure online video insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. But the mob violence and assaults should be seen for what they really are: an effort by Islamists to garner support and mobilize their base by exacerbating anti-Western sentiments. …

Yet the momentary triumph of burning another country’s flag or setting on fire a Western business or embassy building is a poor but widespread substitute for global success that eludes the modern world’s 1.5 billion Muslims. Violent protest represents the lower rung of the ladder of rage; terrorism is its higher form. …

…the U.S. would do well to remember Osama bin Laden’s comment not long after the Sept. 11 attacks: “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.” America should do nothing that enables Islamists to portray the nation as the weak horse.

Barry Rubin, writing at Pajamas Media writes under a headline saying “Egypt Kicks Sand in Obama’s Face; Obama Gives Money, Arms, and Apologies”  Ouch.

But note well that everyone — except the Western media — understands that holding such a demonstration at the U.S. embassy in Cairo on September 11 means supporting the September 11 attack. The Egyptian government knew the time of the demonstration and the participants — it was all publicly announced — yet Egyptian security forces did not protect the embassy. And so the demonstrators scaled the wall, entered the compound, tore up the American flag, and put up the historic revolutionary flag of Islam (the eighth century black one, not the seventh century green one) in its stead. Why didn’t Egyptian security forces stop them? It was a deliberate decision no doubt taken at the highest level.

Rather than expose the phony excuse for the demonstration and condemn the Egyptian government’s behavior, the U.S. government groveled. It issued statements in English apologizing for the fact that someone had exercised his right of free speech within its country. The tweets it sent out in Arabic were even worse, pitiful pleas of the we-are-on-your-side-against-this-terrible-Islamophobia variety. And will Egypt’s failure to protect the embassy — because it is on the side of America’s enemies — have any effect on the Obama administration’s helping the Egyptian government get two German submarines (against Israel’s efforts), taking $1 billion off Egypt’s debt, and having a nice meeting with the visiting Egyptian president (while refusing to meet Israel’s prime minister, this supposedly super-pro-Israel president)? You know the answer.

This is a policy of institutionalized cowardice unprecedented in U.S. history.

Do read the whole of this one. It’s eye-opening, and follow his links. I am so grateful that we no longer have to rely on the “mainstream media”who no longer practice journalism, but are simply the PR arm of the Obama White House, and can find other sources for our news.

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