American Elephants

What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats II? by The Elephant's Child

There is a big difference in the way that Democrats and Republicans approach policy.  Understanding the basic differences are important.  These, of course, are over-simplified generalities, and they don’t apply to every Republican or every Democrat. Over time, though, it’s a pretty good guide.

Democrats are the party of good intentions.  They really do mean well.  They want to help the underdog and the needy.  Because they mean well, they especially resent being criticized.  Questioning the possible consequences of the policy is simply obstruction and downright meanness.  If a policy does not work, it is either because of Republican obstruction, or because not enough money was invested to make it successful. The answer is better funding.

Republicans care about consequences.  And they care about liberty.  They are not impressed with good intentions.  They want to know if it works.  And if it doesn’t work, they want to get rid of it and start over with something that will work.  That doesn’t mean that they always know what will work.  They don’t.  Everybody often has a different idea, and some of the ideas are really dreadful.  But they care about workable policies that do what they are intended to do.  Liberty is not negotiable, but infringements on liberty are sometimes poorly understood.

These differences are especially noticeable in the two parties think-tanks.  Democrat think-tanks are devoted to discovering ways to win policy debates, and raise funds.  They are often very successful at this work.

Conservative think-tanks are devoted to figuring out what works.  They do studies and write summaries and argue with the authors of competing studies.  Then they try to get people to read their long studies and to understand the complications involved in policies.  They write articles and make speeches to conservative groups.

Democrats make up sound bites that are focus group tested.

Feel free to make additions or subtractions or just argue if you choose.

Stress Relief. Tommy Emmanuel playing “Saltwater.” by The Elephant's Child
February 5, 2009, 7:57 pm
Filed under: Entertainment, Music

Cool website of the day. by The Elephant's Child
February 5, 2009, 7:43 pm
Filed under: Cool Site of the Day, Entertainment

Amazing art that can be seen only from high altitude, from Web Urbanist.  Crop circles you have never seen before and transformers to surprise.  Enjoy.

Obama warns of catastrophe if the stimulus isn’t passed right now. It will be a catastrophe if it IS passed! by The Elephant's Child

What is gradually becoming clear, is that this stimulus package was created by making a list of  political paybacks to organizations that went all out to support the Democrat cause in the recent election.  The big unions supported Democrats with both vast funds, and with door to door electioneering, as did the environmental organizations. There is an old fashioned word that describes this process.  It’s called graft.

After payback to the big unions, greenies, trial lawyers, teachers union, and bailouts to the states, National Endowment for the Arts, WIC program, federal child care, Pell grants, “neighborhood stabilization”, community development block grants, the Smithsonian, fixing up Cabinet Department buildings, Amtrack, honeybee producers, historic preservation, green technology loan guarantees, carbon-capture demonstration projects — for a list of 50 “worthy” projects, see here.

Once they had a long list of desirable projects, they assigned monetary values to each one.  The amounts assigned don’t seem to have any relationship to anything.

I noted earlier that they budgeted $4.5 billion for the bigger, smarter and more energy-efficient electric grid, but industry estimates back in 2004 put the price tag at $165 billion — not just a little off, but 36 times more.  And the industry said that the grid was not particularly job intensive, but was basically a software project with technology that was yet to be invented.  Uh huh.  No immediate jobs and pie-in-the-sky inventions yet to be invented.

Today there is another example from those hard-nosed engineers and mechanics at Popular Mechanics who explain the popular idea of “Shovel-Ready Infrastructure Projects”.  The article can be found here.

Such blatantly sloppy appropriations of taxpayer money, and debt laden on our children and grandchildren, speaks volumes about the sensitivity of members of Congress to the well being of their constituents, and the extent to which they are out of touch with the folks back home.

The Audacity of “Hitting the Ground Running” by The Elephant's Child

A President of the United States has many new lessons to learn as he takes office. Every word that he utters in public is analyzed by governments all over the world for clues to the inner man, and to the American character and intentions.

Observers often wondered why George W. Bush seemed to speak in short bursts, and often mangled words; yet in informal conversation he spoke easily and eloquently. He may have mangled words —’ misunderestimated’ comes quickly to mind — but there were no verbal gaffes.  Mr. Bush was well aware that his words would be closely analyzed, and he spoke with great care, if in short bursts.

Observers particularly watch for signs of weakness.  Suddenly North Korea is testing new longer range missiles, and has broken off talks with South Korea, and is doing some saber rattling.  Kyrgyzstan has begun moves to close a U.S. military air base in the former Soviet republic, which is vital for U.S. led troops fighting in Afghanistan, after securing Russian financial aid  promises of more than $2 billion in credit and aid — equal to about half of Kyrgyzstan’s gross domestic product.

Protesters are marching in Vladivostok and Moscow as the Russian economy implodes.  There are repeated reports of trouble in China.  The financial crisis is not just in this country.

The Obama campaign apparently commenced negotiations with Iran and  Syria long before American voters went to the polls, in violation of Federal Law and simple propriety.  The chief Iranian spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Elham, responded to Obama’s public peace feelers with contempt:  “This request means Western ideology has become passive, that capitalist thought and the system of domination have failed.” Iran is working on long range missiles, as well as what they insist is simple nuclear power. A good percentage of the population of Iran is pro-democracy and pro-American, and opposed to their government.  Iran has just launched its first satellite into space.

Anti-trade provisions in the stimulus bill have antagonized most of our trade partners with “buy American” provisions.  Those provisions were demanded by the Unions who supported Obama so heavily in the past election and by protectionist members of Congress.  Canada and the EU have warned that such a trade policy in the middle of a global economic downturn could ignite a trade war; and that such policies were disastrous in the Great Depression.  Obama is trying to change the wording.

The Times of India has noticed that Obama has already issued 17 exceptions to his no-lobbyists position for White House hires.  The Telegraph in London notes that the “Sheen Already Coming Off Obama’s Presidency.”

Obama has had a very bad first two weeks.  He needs to realize that the campaign is over.  It’s time to stop blaming Bush, and face up like a man to the fact that what happens now is on his plate.  He has duties now, not to his campaign supporters, but directly to the American people.

That’s what that oath he took was all about.

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