American Elephants


Hooray for the Irish! by The Elephant's Child

Let’s hear a cheer for the Irish! We dance an Irish jig! We thunder on our bohdran! The Treaty of Lisbon, which we have written about before, is intended to be a new constitution for the European Union. The Constitution was turned down earlier by the French and the Dutch. Well! EU Bureaucrats were offended, and to prevent a replay of such rejection, the bureaucrats turned the constitution into a treaty, so that no one would have to bother their little heads about anything so unnecessary as an actual vote. Subject governments quickly approved the “treaty” except for the Irish where the people were guaranteed a vote, by law. Today the Irish rejected the treaty.

This is an American view of something that is admittedly, none of my business. But, to an American mind, giving up your national sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy should at least be put to a vote.

The French minister for European affairs told LCI television that “The most important thing is that the ratification process must continue in the other countries and then we shall see with the Irish what type of legal arrangement could be found”. So there. Andrew Duff, British MEP said ” I think the Irish prime minister, Brian Cowen, will have to explain himself at the summit.” The New York Times quotes French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner saying: “It would be very, very troubling that we would not be able to count on the Irish who counted a lot on Europe’s money.”

The striking economic growth of Ireland’s economy was due, not to EU subsidies, but to radical tax cuts and deregulation which have boosted the Irish to genuine prosperity. That the Irish might not want to subject their economy to the vast corrupt bureaucracy of the EU. seems more a matter of common sense than rebellion.



Losing Your Freedom… a Little at a Time by The Elephant's Child

How much are you willing to allow the government to interfere in your life? To what extent are you willing to give up personal freedoms? We have already been told what kind of shower heads we may have, and what kind of toilets we shall have in our bathrooms. Soon, we will have to change from incandescent lightbulbs to the fluorescent kind. California is considering outlawing fireplaces. When is enough enough? When do you get out the pitchfork and march on city hall or your congressman’s office?

Today, the Japanese government institutes its compulsory “flab checks” for all workers over the age of 40. To stem Japan’s “soaring obesity,” the health ministry has mandated that all waistlines among its 56 million workers over age 40 be below ‘regulation size’ of 33.5 inches (for men). Any company failing to bring its employees’ weight under control — as well as the weights of their family members — will be fined up to 10% of its earnings by the government.

According to government officials as reported by the Independent, 27 million Japanese — that’s about half of all adult workers! — have health indices (cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and BMI) that don’t meet ideal numbers. They will be targeted for mandatory medical intervention. That means compulsory medication, because, as we know, health indices have been set so low that most adults with normal aging will fall on the wrong side.

You can imagine the array of weight loss gimmicks and health and fitness machines now being marketed. And “special undergarments” for Japanese businessmen (girdles) are now popular. [Read the whole thing.]

This is happening in a country with almost no fat people. We live in a country where both of the candidates for the Democratic Party nomination want to install government-controlled health care. If you find the idea of government-paid health care appealing (and please remember that the only money the government has, it gets from you) then, having given them control of the purse-strings, you have given them control of your health and your body. It might be wise to keep the Japanese in mind.

Certainly a part of this is the current “fad” of deep concern about obesity, in the media. When the buzz reaches a certain level, bureaucracies feel they must “do something”. And that, too, is a problem.

“A free society, if it is to remain free, requires citizens who take the risk of standing up to be counted, on the issues of the day.”

~Walter Wriston



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