American Elephants

Man of Mystery or Actor Playing a Role? by The Elephant's Child

It is only two weeks until the election, and Barack Obama remains a man of mystery.  He has played a role, revealing little of himself.  It’s like his autobiography, some people are made up, and conversations are made up, and some people are composites, but other than being partly fiction, how much is real?  His supporters seem more enchanted than informed.

So what do we know about his positions? First, he claims to be for free trade. It is just that he votes against it every time it comes up for a vote.   He voted against the Free Trade Agreement with Columbia, one of our closest allies in South America.  He voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement and he has stated that he wants to re-negotiate NAFTA, which has been hugely successful for us and for Canada and Mexico.  Canada is already negotiating a new free trade agreement with France because they are worried about the U.S.  The Smoot-Hawley tariffs were a major cause of the Great Depression.  The current credit crisis would seem to be an exceptionally poor time to be opposing free trade which has been nothing but a benefit to our country, and to the world.

Obama is opposed to Capitalism, which is simply the name Karl Marx gave to the natural workings of the free market.  You hear it over and over in his positions.  He doesn’t like “big business”, as if being big is somehow worse than being small or middle sized.  He is offended by businesses that report healthy profits, apparently in the belief that there is something wrong with profit — which is the only reason that a business exists, even a small business.  This odd idea, that profit is bad, doesn’t affect you unless you work for a business or sell to a business, or buy things like groceries and clothing, or use things like oil and gas and electricity and water.

He has pushed a bill to rein in CEO pay. There are very few people who are capable of running large corporations, and they don’t get there without a long learning period and vast experience, unlike some politicians. A skilled CEO can make a difference of billions in corporate profit and growth, or rescue a corporation from going under.  Obama is offended that corporations sometimes have to lay people off.  This shows a vast ignorance of how business operates, but Obama has never worked for business, and seems to feel that it is somehow a lesser occupation than a “service” job — feeding at the public trough.  Perhaps Mr. Obama can point out where the power to regulate pay occurs in the constitution.

Obama seems to know that small business creates most of the new jobs in this country. He just doesn’t understand what a small business is.  According to a Gallup survey conducted for the National Federation of Independent Business conducted at the beginning of the year, only 10% of businesses that hire between one and nine employees would pay the Obama tax.  But 19.5% of employers with 10 to 19 employees would be hit by the tax, and 50% of firms with 20 to 249 workers would pay the tax. His plan is an incentive to hire fewer workers.

Third, Obama believes in redistribution, a policy that is opposed by majorities of every political party. Someone who believes in wealth resistribution usually labors under the misconception that there is a pie of wealth and that one needs to divide it into equal slices. The economy is not a pie, but grows to meet the needs of the participants. You do not help people by making them dependent on the government — that helps only politicians who want reliable voters, for if you are dependent you cannot vote against those who give you sustenance. Obama’s tax plan is simply a back-door return to welfare.

You will notice that all solutions in Obama’s world involve passing out taxpayer money and more government control. But if there is one thing we have learned, it is that government does not do things well. Although we have long experience with foreign aid and it’s propensity to line the pockets or Swiss bank accounts of some dictator, Obama is ready to pass out billions to alleviate world poverty. Very little foreign aid ever reaches the intended recipients.  What actually alleviates world poverty is free trade.  There is very substantial evidence for that.

Fourth, Obama wants the EPA to regulate CO2. You remember, the stuff you breathe out. This would put the EPA in charge of regulating your lawnmower, your chainsaw, your motorcycle or your boat, a really bad idea.  He wants to do this to force Congress to pass taxes on carbon dioxide or some kind of cap-and-trade program. This would be disastrous for the economy. Even the Europeans realize a financial crisis is not the time for climate pacts on CO2 reduction. CO2 is not a pollutant, and is not a cause of global warming.  Europe is realizing that ethanol was a bad idea, but Obama is still supporting it. Economists have warned that cap-and-trade or carbon taxes could devastate the economy, but environmental organizations don’t care.

Fifth, Obama has a nasty tendency to try to silence his critics. His campaign sent out e-mails to get supporters to shut down a talk show that was interviewing scholar Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center about his research into Acorn and the Annenberg Challenge, and again when author David Freddoso appeared on the same program.  He demanded that the Justice Department investigate the Bush administration for Republicans’ allegations that ACORN was committing vote fraud. The attempts to silence his critics by playing the race card are numerous. The most recent claim is that the word “socialism” is a code word for blacks.

Sixth,The Employer Free Choice Act is a startling deprivation of workers’ freedom.  It forces union recognition without elections and employment contracts through mandatory arbitration thereafter.  Workers no longer would get a choice of whether to belong to a union or not.  It’s something the unions want, and Obama owes the unions for their support.

Obama has promised something new, hope and change, but all his ideas are borrowed from the past in the presumption that old tired Democrat ideas will be different if we just do it again.  Roosevelt’s bad ideas prolonged the Great Depression, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society was a flop.  Doing the same thing over and over again is…probably a mistake.

Preconditions, diplomacy and complications. by The Elephant's Child
October 22, 2008, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Election 2008, Liberalism, Military, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

In an earlier campaign debate, Barack Obama chastised George W. Bush for not meeting with the leaders of enemy countries, and said that he was willing to meet with Ahmadinejad, Chavez or any of the others without preconditions.  He repeated that several times, but lately he has changed the wording a bit.  He said that he didn’t say he would meet with them without “preparation,” of course he would need preparation, just not “preconditions.”  He meant to differentiate between himself and John McCain who rejects unconditional talks with Iran, and get in a good dig at George Bush while he was at it.

Meanwhile, the issue has been widely discussed in Iran.  Reporters from the state news agency asked a high-ranking official for his views on talks with the United States.  It seems that Iran has it’s own “preconditions” and a summit meeting is probably not in the cards any time soon.

The Vice President for Media Affairs, Mehdi Kalhor, said that the U.S. must do two things before summit talks can take place.  First, American military forces must leave the Middle East.  Second, the U.S. must end its support for Israel.  Until the United States does both things, talks are not on the agenda.

So that lets Obama off the hook, with some embarrassment, but doesn’t go very far towards solving the problem of Iran.  If Mr. Obama wins the election, he may find that solving it is quite a bit more complicated than talking to Iran without “preconditions.”

The 20 Best Halloween Movies Ever! by American Elephant

It’s that time of year again! October is here, the weather has turned crisp if not downright cold, the days are markedly shorter, and the grocery stores are already bursting with candy and pumpkins.

Fall has arrived and Halloween is almost upon us.

I love Halloween. Witches, goblins, ghosts and ghouls. Carving pumpkins, trick or treating on foggy nights. (Okay, I haven’t gone trick or treating in ages, but I do like to go all out on the house.) I’ve just never out-grown my love for the fun of Halloween.

And there have always been certain movies that to me are “Halloween movies” — not necessarily because they’re scary (Friday the 13th and Jaws are among the most popular horror movies ever, for example, but what do a killer fish at the beach and a madman at summer camp have to do with Halloween?) — but because they put you in mind of full moons, foggy nights, spooky stories and a crackling fire. Or because they conjure up rich visions of classic Halloween legends: werewolves, witches, vampires and other assorted things that go bump in the night.

So what are your favorite fall and Halloween movies? Which films get you most anxious for All Hallows Eve? Click on comments and let us know!

Here are my favorite films to watch every October (in no particular order.) Scary, spooky, fearsome or funny — it’s an eclectic mix of genres — each one is guaranteed to be a ghoulishly good treat. (Click images for reviews and trailers.)

The Halloweeniest 2

Sleepy Hollow Hocus Pocus Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Bram Stoker's Dracula

E.T. Poltergeist The Witches of Eastwick Harry Potter

The Craft The Nightmare Before Christmas Young Frankenstein Addams Family Values

Scary Movie Halloween Practical Magic The Lost Boys

The Others The Night of the Living Dead An American Werewolf in London Monster House


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