American Elephants

President Barack Obama: Explaining the Inexplicable by The Elephant's Child

I am a great admirer of Richard Epstein. I like his mind and the way he thinks and I am fascinated with anyone who can speak for 20 or 30 minutes in complete sentences without pause and without a stumble. There is a perfect coordination between brain and mouth.

I am a slow thinker— clear enough, but s-l-o-w, and the connection between thought process and actual speech leaves much to be desired. I have made speeches that were much somewhat admired, but they were short and it was a struggle. This particular video from Uncommon Knowledge from the Hoover Institution is from March of 2009. It is nevertheless completely fascinating, but over 30 minutes long, if you can make the time.

Richard Epstein discusses his personal and professional associations with Barack Obama in the video starting at 20.36 and lasts around ten minutes if you are short on time. I have found his comments on Obama to be as good a guide as I can find, and have proven accurate as situations arise. It helps to explain the inexplicable.

There is a lot that is inexplicable. The man remains much of a mystery, and as we get deeper into the weeds of ObamaCare, it is more puzzling.  He does not change his mind. Once he has accepted ‘received knowledge’ he is not open to changing his mind. Hence, in spite of the collapse of the IPCC, Obama will pursue his pledge to stop global warming in its tracks. The failure of the stimulus merely means that he needs more infusions of wealth into the economy to stimulate it. See what you think.

President Obama Tries to Talk the Market Down! by The Elephant's Child

Many are beginning to notice that President Obama is overreaching in the current standoff over raising the debt limit. The heavy-handed effort to make the public suffer by boosting the levels of inconvenience have gone beyond inconvenience. He has tried to scare senior citizens by suggesting that they may not get their Social Security checks — a usual approach for Democrats but entirely uncalled for. Social Security is considered am essential service.

Obama keeps asserting that the debt limit has never been used “to extort a president or a government party.” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is trying to sell the same yarn, saying “until very recently, Congress typically raised the debt ceiling on a routine basis…the threat of default was not a bargaining chip in the negotiations.”

“That is simply untrue,” said Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Obama administration’s campaign to make the debt limit appear non-negotiable might reflect concern that Republican congressional strategy might actually work. Six out of 10 Americans say “it is right to require spending cuts when the debt ceiling is raised, even if it risks default,” according to a Sept. 26 Bloomberg poll. (Only 28% say “the debt ceiling should be raised when necessary, with no conditions.”)

One thing is certain: The debt limit has been a powerful negotiating tool in the last several decades. It has enabled the passage of important additional legislation.

According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress has voted 53 times from 1978 to 2013 to change the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling has increased from $742 billion to today’s $16 trillion.

[T]he debt limit has provided significant leverage to the minority party and has been a check on the power of the presidency.

Republicans today are playing a role that has been played many times. While the debt-limit kabuki inevitably roils markets as deadlines approach, the alternative absence of fiscal discipline would make government insolvency more probable in the fullness of time. …

Trying to separate ObamaCare from the debt limit, President Obama has asserted that his health law has “nothing to do with the budget.” His argument is eagerly echoed by an at-best ignorant media. The Affordable Care Act was passed under “reconciliation”—a legislative process that is used only for budget measures and which limits congressional debate.

The notion that legislation passed as part of a budget might be reconsidered as part of subsequent budget legislation should be uncontroversial. Perhaps that is why the administration has staked so much on its misrepresentation of history.

President Obama’s “overreach” has included trying to talk the market down. Why is the nation’s chief executive talking down the growth engine of the U.S economy? On Tuesday, the day the shutdown went into effect, the stock market rallied with the S&P index rising 0.8% and the NASDAQ rising 1.2%. So Obama went to work trying to kickstart a selloff. If he can scare the markets enough…

This is the most irresponsible behavior I have ever heard of from any president. Has there ever been a president who so misconstrued his role?

Obama Fails His Most Important Job by American Elephant

Obama Days Without Terrorist Attack

[click to enlarge]

Terrorists attacked the United States at home on September 11, 2001, 8 months into President Bush’s first year in office. We now know, from the 9/11 Commission, that one of the major reasons is because the Clinton administration had erected a “wall” that prevented the CIA and FBI from communicating with one another. After that horrific day, President Bush kept Americans safe at home for the rest of his two terms in office.

Five years into his presidency, Barack Obama cannot say the same thing.

America has been attacked again, by people we not only allowed to immigrate, but for whom we provided welfare as well. If the news media were remotely fair or balanced, or if a Republican were president, this failure is all they would be talking about. But it is not, so they are trying their hardest to ignore the administration’s failure altogether.

Our government was warned multiple times and did nothing. Americans deserve answers.

The Leftist Project for Growing Government. by The Elephant's Child

It was a very bad week for the administration. The Left sunk everything they had into an effort to recall Governor Scott Walker, and it didn’t work. The governor did exactly what he promised when elected, did battle with the unions over pension and healthcare benefits that the state could not afford, yet still left union workers with better benefits and lower cost for them than the average. Many pundits noted that the vastly public service union employees were still vastly overpaid.

The previous week was also a very bad, horrible, no good week. The monthly job report was a disaster, and the economy was close to a second phase of recession. And the president between demanding that the rich pay their “fair share” spent his time in campaign events with the very rich celebrities that he was disparaging.  Well, they know he didn’t really mean it, and their accountants will cope with any tax increase.

So what did the President do? He held a press conference to say that the private sector was just fine, and we needed more stimulus to help states and local governments to hire more cops and teachers and firefighters. We thought it was a bad move, but he was just being honest.

Later the same day, of course, he tried to take the remark back  and said the private sector wasn’t really fine, people were out of work. But the funny thing is, Harry Reid said exactly the same thing last October. And they both meant exactly what they said.

“The massive layoffs we’ve had in America today—of course they’re rooted in the last administration—and it’s very clear that private sector jobs are doing just fine. It’s the public sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation’s all about. And it’s unfortunate my friend the Republican Leader is complaining about that.”

We need to listen more carefully to the second part of Obama’s statement about the private sector.  He said:

If Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward, and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, ‘How do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry?’” Obama said. “Because the recipes that they’re promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market, and would result – I think most economists would estimate – in lower growth.

See, his heart is in the right place. He wants to put people back to work in government jobs, where the pay is high and the benefits large. And for ordinary working people, nice union construction jobs with lots of rules to protect their “rights.”

Well, we know that Democrats favor big government and Republicans believe in small government that is lean and does not do what is better done by state or local government, or by the people themselves. But this is ridiculous. They consider public sector jobs as high-paying middle class jobs, and more desirable jobs than anything in the private sector. Obama has continually referred to private sector jobs as “service jobs” and as admirable — because they are doing important things for other people.

I admire cops and firemen as much as anyone, and I admire teachers who do a good job., but the idea that all public sector jobs are something special and better than private sector jobs is baffling. Obama meant what he said the first time. Public sector jobs are the important ones, and you reward your friends in the public sector.

I don’t think that Obama grasps the idea that the rest of us are scandalized by his crony capitalism. That’s just how things are done in his mind in the public sector. At least that’s how things are done in Chicago. His entire career is based on people doing favors for him and knowing that he will return the favor when the opportunity presents. Bill Ayers got him the job running the Annenberg Challenge, the big failed Chicago school reform effort. That became his big resume enhancement. He got help in his elections when the sealed divorce records of his opponents magically were opened for the press. The Speaker of the Illinois legislature decided, reportedly, that he was going to “make himself a Senator,” and Obama won a magically almost uncontested race for the U.S. Senate.

He has had a lot of payback to do. That’s just the way things are done in the Chicago tradition. My next-door neighbors grew up in Illinois and had many tales about the longstanding political corruption there. Read again how Mayor Richard Daley enhanced his pension, all quite legally, of course.

Obama’s redistribution of wealth is meant to redistribute more wealth from the private sector to the public. The entire pursuit of climate change and energy legislation is meant to redistribute wealth. Has nothing to do with global warming, it is and always has been a power grab. The energy sector must become a publicly owned and controlled piggy bank. ObamaCare is in actuality another redistribution of wealth scheme. When the government owns the entire medical establishment, they have all of us suckers locked in.

The proper form of government is that with a special class of wise people in public service, advising, regulating, controlling and making life better for all us little people. They need large cadres of worker bees to fill the bureaucracy required to do all the good works that they will do. And if they enrich themselves and their friends in the process— well that’s just what they deserve, isn’t it?

Think how they enrich the private sector portions of the economy who support and depend on them, like their sycophants in the mainstream media. They support the left, the left supports them — with special information not accessible to others. We call them “leaks” but it’s just another kind of crony capitalism. Or ask yourself how it is that Katie Couric deserves a $4 million salary.  I rest my case.

ADDENDUM: According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the employment rate for government workers last month was just 4.2 percent, up slightlyl from 3.9 percent a year ago.  Compare to the construction industry( 14.2 percent unemployment), Leisure and hospitality services( 9.2 percent), agriculture (9,5 percent), professional and business services (8.5 percent) and wholesale and retail trade (8.1 percent)

Opposition to Keystone Pipeline is a Big Loser for Obama by The Elephant's Child

The House of Representatives passed legislation that extends transportation funding through September. Attached to the bill is a mandate for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. President Obama threatened to veto, but 69 Democrats abandoned the president to vote with the Republicans.The bill passed in the House 293 – 127. That is a significant number of defections.

Speaker John Boehner said” “The House is on record again in support of the Keystone XL pipeline — a project President Obama blocked, personally lobbied against, then tried to take credit for, and now says he’ll veto. There’s no telling where the president stands from one day to the next on Keystone, but he knows the pipeline has broad and bipartisan support in Congress and among the American people.”

President Obama was widely criticized for his opposition to the pipeline, and his objections had little support in fact. It was a major affront to the Canadians, and has certainly not improved relations with our closest neighbors. There are 20,000 jobs n prospect, many in construction, many permanent, and many spin-off jobs in the surrounding economy. The pipeline had been approved by the State Department and vetted by every applicable agency, but the Greens are opposed, because they are opposed to fossil fuels.

A lot of Democrats up for re-election are well aware of how popular the Keystone XL is, and support for the Keystone is growing in the Senate. In a vote last month 11 Democrats joined the Republicans 47 votes, which is not far from the 60 required to break Harry Reid’s filibuster. People want this thing.

This puts Obama in a very difficult position. If he chooses to veto, the veto would probably be upheld in the Senate, as overriding the veto would take 67 votes. But attempting to stop it would hurt Obama, who has already been badly damaged by his earlier intransigence. Obama may believe that Americans don’t know anything about  the problem, and won’t notice, but that would be a bad gamble.

An inevitability to be much desired.

Mandate? Mandate? What Mandate? by The Elephant's Child

Peter Suderman of the Reason Foundation remarks on the ObamaCare mandate:

The Obama administration has repeatedly and somewhat counterintuitively argued that the individual mandate to purchase health insurance is not, in fact, a requirement that compels anyone to purchase health insurance. Arguing the case in front of an appeals court in Atlanta, Neal Kumar Katyal, the Obama administration’s former acting solicitor general,told judges that the government is “not asking people to buy something they otherwise might not buy.”

Eventually, Katyal argued, everyone will need health care. Requiring individuals to purchase health insurance merely regulates how that care will be financed.

Katyal and other defenders of the mandate have used this idea that the provision merely regulates financing as a response to the concerns about the mandate’s novelty and the scope of congressional action it might allow. Congress already regulates the financing of health care, the argument goes; this would simply be a new way to regulate that financing. By minimizing the provision’s novelty, the law’s defenders can sidestep concerns about the breadth of power granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause should the mandate be ruled constitutional.

There’s a big difference between regulating commerce in which an individual has chosen to participate, and compelling someone to participate in a specific form of commerce in which they have chosen not to participate. The protestations that the pig in the poke is not a pig are getting increasingly weird.

The mandate doesn’t regulate commerce, it requires commerce. Unwanted commerce.


A New Poster from the RNC by The Elephant's Child

(click to enlarge)

The RNC came up with this satirical and very funny (and accurate) response to Obama’s new, professionally produced, campaign video. Don’t miss all the small type.

The Upcoming Publication of Radical-In-Chief. by The Elephant's Child
July 29, 2010, 6:30 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Politics, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Nearly two years into Barack Obama’s term as president, people are still trying to figure out just who he is, and what his beliefs are.  He is unusually controlled and reveals little of himself.  It’s not like labels like “radical” and “socialist” have not been thrown around.  But I’m not sure how much meaning people attach to those labels anymore.

The schools don’t teach about Nazism, Fascism, Communism and Socialism.  Thirty-year-olds have no personal memory of Communism,  for they were only 9 when the Berlin Wall fell  in 1989.

Leftists have tried to label Hitler’s Germany as a “right-wing” government although Nazi is an acronym for National Socialism, and in many ways was indistinguishable from Communism.  Socialism never works.  Wherever it is tried — it fails. The radical dreams never work out.  The examples of the Great Famine in Russia, and the Gulag; China’s Great Leap Forward, and the laogai; Korea; Vietnam; Cambodia’s killing fields;  East Germany; Eastern Europe; Cuba; and now Venezuela.  I only include the specially bad examples here, but the left never learns.

Stanley Kurtz is a serious and careful scholar who researched Barack Obama’s associations with Bill Ayres of Weathermen Days, and with ACORN, so carefully during the last presidential campaign.  He now has a new political biography of President Obama.  It will be published on October 19, by Simon and Schuster.  Here is the information from the press release.

Part biography, part history, part detective story, RADICAL-IN-CHIEF reveals the carefully hidden tale of Barack Obama’s political past.  Stanley Kurtz, whose research helped inject the Bill Ayers and ACORN issues into the 2008 presidential campaign, presents the results of more than two years of digging into President Obama’s radical political world.  The book is filled with previously unknown information about the president’s past, tied together by a bold argument about what Obama’s deepest political convictions really are.

RADICAL-IN-CHIEF marshals a wide array of never-before-seen evidence to establish that the president of the United States is indeed a socialist.  Tracing an unbroken thread of socialist activities and political partnerships, from Obama’s youth through his community organizing days and beyond, the book confirms that the president’s harshest critics have been right about his socialism all along.

RADICAL-IN-CHIEF also exposes the truth about community organizers–the socialist beliefs they hold and hide, and how they trained and groomed a president.  Obama’s community organizer colleagues had a strategy for slowly and stealthily turning the United States into a socialist nation.  The Obama administration is carrying out that strategy today.

This book will forever change our national debate about who Barack Obama is.

A Conversation With Dr. Richard Rubinstein. by The Elephant's Child

Roger Kimball quotes Barack Obama’s declaration to his followers, toward the end of October 2008, that he was only ” five days from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” A disturbing comment, and a clear declaration that his intent was to change America according to his own fancy, rather than to govern America according to the desires of the American people.

Dr. Richard L. Rubinstein, Yale fellow, “Distinguished Professor of the Year”, and Harvard PhD, states that President Obama’s intention is to “correct the historical mistake of the creation of the state of Israel.” Dr. Rubenstein states that president Obama, due to his family heritage, is extremely pro Muslim — to the point of “wanting to see the destruction of Israel.”

Obama, Dr. Rubinstein points out, is a “revolutionary” figure who is aiming to transform the “American political system and economic system” and America’s relationship to the rest of the world.

(h/t: Roger Kimball, Pajamas Media)

Repeating Common Fallacies Does Not Make Them True! by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s speech from the Oval Office on the BP Deepwater oil spill has been received with a unanimous boo from the American people and the pundits.  Even the Democrats hated it.   There remains plenty to object to in the speech, but I particularly want to point out some  of Obama’s oft repeated fallacies:

We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves.  That’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean — because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

False! The U.S. counts our oil reserves as those that are fully available for drilling.  This means that all those reserves in ANWR, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, California, off the East Coast, off the West Coast, everything where Democrats have blocked access are not counted in our reserves, though they are there.  If you count our real reserves, we have enough fossil fuels to last us for at least 300 years.  That’s three centuries!  And that ‘s just the oil that we know is there.  The “peak oil” folks have been out there for years, but they have always been wrong.

The reason we are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean is only because Democrat administrations have banned drilling in the easier places, where spills would not be a real challenge.  This is done to please environmental organizations who donate heavily to Democrat campaigns, and lobby a lot, and to enhance the coffers of favored green energy companies and rent-seeking corporations.

For decades we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered.  For decades, we have talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels.  And for decades we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires.  Time and again, the path forward has been blocked — not only by oil industry lobbyists but also by a lack of political courage and candor.

False! The days of cheap and easily accessible oil are numbered only by misguided actions of government. America does not have an “addiction” to fossil fuels.  Fossil fuels provide the energy that powers our society.  There is, at present and for the foreseeable future, no alternative.  We will be dependent on fossil fuels for at least the next 50 years.  Beyond that is just too remote to predict.

Lots of people are working on technologies they deem to have potential, but the potential only lasts as long as the subsidies.  There’s a lot of — “as soon as we have this big breakthrough.” They have been searching for a big breakthrough in batteries since the first electric car.  See the little pinky-peach wedge?  That and the dark blue wedge represent the portion of our electricity that is produced by wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels.  That’s Obama’s “clean energy economy.”

On the transportation side, the picture is much the same.  We now have 10% ethanol in our gasoline.  The environmental people and the ethanol scammers want to raise it to 15% but only 3% of our cars have flex-fuel engines that could accept that much ethanol.  Nobody is very sure that the 10% requirement is not damaging our cars.  It is also damaging all the gas-run things like lawn mowers, camp stoves, power tools, boat engines etc. Ethanol contains less energy than gasoline.  Takes more gallons than gasoline does to go the same distance.  To recharge an electric car battery takes something like 7 hours.  There are no charging stations.  The Chevy Volt goes 40 miles (supposedly) on a charge, costs around $40,000 without government subsidy.  This is also Obama’s “clean energy economy.”

Everywhere in the world, when the subsidies are ended, the wind, solar, ethanol, electric cars, all those ever-so promising technologies just stop.  Yes, there’s algae and solar-thermal and lots of really interesting experiments.  But they are not ready for prime time, and trying to make it so by shutting down producer wells and banning drilling, and putting more and more areas off-limits is not going to change that basic fact.  Nor is throwing buckets of money at people who promise miracles going to change that basic fact.

The Thrill Is Gone! by The Elephant's Child

There was a great wave of enthusiasm across the world when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, for various and sundry reasons, for few knew much about him.  After a year, the bloom, so-to-speak, is off the rose.  Probably most damaging was the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the new President after only a few days in office, and his acceptance of it.  That called the attention of the world to the premature nature of Obama worship, and the need to wait to see what he accomplishes.

Much of Europe has lost its enthusiasm, Massachusetts definitely did, the polls are way down, but now Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo has authorized the removal of a recently erected statue of Barack Obama as a child, from its current spot in a park in the city’s classy old Menteng neighborhood to the nearby school that he attended.

The order followed the creation of a Facebook group of Indonesians campaigning for the statue to be torn down. Newspapers and TV stations picked up on it, newswires picked it up, and the group’s membership has soared to over 50,000. Well, easy come, easy go.

“It’s Not About Me,” “It’s Not About Me.” Oh, Yes It Is. by The Elephant's Child

Presented for your enlightenment without comment.


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