American Elephants


It Would Have Been Cheaper to Just Give Them Away! by The Elephant's Child
October 29, 2009, 3:23 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: ,

The “Cash for Clunkers” program continues to provide entertainment.  It seems that the stimulus program which offered new car buyers a maximum $4,500 (taxable) for turning in an old gas guzzler, cost American taxpayers $24,000 for each new car sold.

According to an analysis by the automotive information form Edmunds.com in Santa Monica, California, the government could have done almost as well if they had just given the cars away.

Now, GMAC Financial Services Inc. and the Treasury Department are in talks to prop up the lender with its third bailout.  The U.S. Government is likely to inject $2.8 billion to $5.6 billion of capital into Government Motors financial arm, on top of the $12.5 billion that GMAC has received since Dec. 2008. But they want to keep making loans to people who cannot afford to pay them back.  Time to set the brakes.



This Is What They’re After. Why Do They Feel The Need To Lie About It? by The Elephant's Child

National Review featured a symposium today, with the question “Can ObamaCare Be Stopped?” The consensus was, yes it can, if Congress starts listening to the American people. The American people are worried about the economy, not health care, which is pretty low on their list of priorities.  They think health care should be reformed, but they are deeply concerned about the cost.

Democrats make it clear that their aim is single-payer, government-run health care, but they never explain why.  They have wanted single-payer, government-run health care practically forever, but most of the people we see in the video above are members of Congress, and they have not the slightest intention of participating in such a plan themselves.  That should tell you a whole lot about the plan.

The experience of other countries should lead to a lot more serious reflection and careful planning that have been evident in anything we have heard about the Democrat plans. And despite all the promises of transparency, we haven’t seen any plan at all.

Above all, consider the tendency of everyone involved to lie about the contents of legislation, write the bills in closed back rooms and refuse to allow anyone to see them.

The impression in Washington is that there was a lot of push back this summer with the Tea Parties and Town Hall Meetings, but that interest has declined.

Congress needs to know what people’s concerns are.  They don’t, I am told pay attention to emails, but they do pay attention to phone calls, especially when the volume is high.  Call your congressional representatives in both the House and  the Senate, not just once but daily.  Let them know how you feel.

For your congressman’s phone number, check your phone book under U.S. Government, or go to http://www.house.gov or http://www.senate.gov. and follow directions.  The bill will be harder to pass in the Senate, so your senators are more important.  While you’re at it, call some of the blue dog Democrats, especially those in first year seats. Call over and over again, tell your friends and relatives to do so as well.



Blackfive’s Uncle Jimbo Shares His Thoughts About Afghanistan. by The Elephant's Child
October 29, 2009, 2:11 am
Filed under: Freedom, History, Military, Terrorism | Tags: , , ,


Earn Cash for Turning in Tax-Dodging Democrats! by American Elephant
October 29, 2009, 1:24 am
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Liberalism, News, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Chicago to pay rewards for citizens who turn in tax-cheating neighbors. A person could make a fortune just turning in the Chicago natives in the Obama administration!

Ahh, but it only counts if the tax cheats are businesses. So, since no one in the tax-evading Obama administration or corrupt Democrat congress has ever worked a real job, I guess they remain safe from paying for their felonious, tax-dodging ways.

Funny how it always works out that way!



Only a Tiny Amount of CO2, and They Want to Rearrange the Entire Economy! by The Elephant's Child
October 28, 2009, 3:12 am
Filed under: Energy, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

The percentage of carbon dioxide (CO2) is the atmosphere is really very small.  The percentage of the CO2 that is derived from human causes is very, very small.  Most of the CO2 in the atmosphere rises from the sea and has nothing to do with people at all.

You know in the videos that you see about global warming, they always show great black factory smokestacks belching out grey-white clouds of horrible pollution?  Not pollution.  It’s water vapor — steam.  Most of the “greenhouse gasses” aren’t CO2 at all, they are water vapor in the form of clouds, mist and fog.

The Waxman-Markey House climate bill is estimated to cut Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by a cumulative $9.4 trillion by 2015.  Emission permit costs for energy  could top $300 billion a year by 2035. A typical family of four could pay $829 more annually just for electricity, and up to $4,600 for energy, food and consumer goods.

This is a massive wealth transfer to carbon traders, bureaucrats, activists and other preferred groups from hydrocarbon users.  Massive job killer.  According to European experience in Spain and Germany, the much touted “green jobs” come at the expense of two jobs in the regular economy for every green job.

All for perfectly natural global warming and cooling — which the planet has always done, warming and cooling.  It has been vastly warmer in the past— the finest weather known to man — and a lot cooler too.  This is a phony crisis, for a very tiny amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Carbon dioxide is essential to life.  Without it, we wouldn’t be here.  Do you suppose that Waxman, Markey, Boxer and Kerry all flunked high school biology?



And You Were Saying About the Outrageous Profits of the Health Insurance Companies? by The Elephant's Child

60 Minutes did a fine report on Medicare fraud this past Sunday.  Medicare fraud is now estimated to total about $60 billion a year. The government insurance program that provides health care to 46 million elderly and disabled Americans provides a rich income stream for criminals who are constantly finding new ways to steal much of the half-trillion dollars that are paid out in Medicare benefits.

In South Florida, the only visible evidence of the crime are thousands of tiny clinics and pharmacies that occupy low-rent strip malls.  $60 billion is a lot of money.  Medicare loses seven times as much money to fraud than the combined profits of the 14 health insurance companies listed on the Fortune 500.

The reason that the “public option” is supposedly better than private insurance is the government’s low administrative costs.  The major reason why private insurance has higher administrative costs is that unlike the federal government, the private insurance companies make a serious effort to combat fraud. (emphasis added)



A Little History of Health Care Cost Estimates and Actual Results. by The Elephant's Child
October 27, 2009, 12:46 am
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Politics | Tags: , ,

Let’s start with the fact that the Democrats want single-payer, government-run health care.  I cannot fathom why they think this would be a good idea, since it has proved so damaging everywhere else.  Damaging to the economy, damaging to the patients who depend on it, and damaging to the medical system itself, and damaging to the society.

But Democrats (Liberals/ Progressives) believe in their good intentions, are uninterested in studies, experience or history, and don’t care much about consequences.  That’s why when they are in pursuit of their enlightened aims, their claims get more and more preposterous.

Washington has just run a $1.4 trillion budget deficit for fiscal 2009three times the deficit in 2008 under the evil George W. Bush.  And we have just been told that a new health-care entitlement will reduce the red ink by $81 billion over ten years.

The theory is that a more involved federal role by those brilliant folks in Congress will restrain costs and thus make health care more affordable.  Stop laughing, it isn’t funny.

Before the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, health care inflation ran only slightly faster than overall inflation.  In the years since, medical inflation has increased 2.3 times faster than inflation in the regular economy.  Much of this represents advances in technology and new treatments, but the idea of government as thrifty is plain silly.

The Wall Street Journal examined the record of Congressional forecasters in predicting costs.

ED-AK368_1healt_D_20091019182913The record is not good.  Most government programs cost far more than they were estimated to cost, and of course Congress usually cannot keep their hands off and continually tinkers.

The $81 billion “reduction” in cost came from the CBO estimate applied to the Baucus bill which existed only as a bunch of concepts.  We need a good  CBO estimate of whatever they have added in the back room, behind closed doors.  Whatever the estimate, history tells us that it will cost far more.

You will notice that only George Bush’s Prescription Drug benefit came in under predicted cost, but I have read that the Democrats are anxious to fill in the “donut hole” which was the device that brought the program in under estimates, along with greater use of generics, and lower participation by seniors.

Peter Orzag , now White House Budget Director, told Congress when he ran the Congressional Budget Office that the “primary cause” of the cost savings is that “the pricing is coming in better than anticipated, and that is likely a reflection of the competition that’s occurring in the private market.” Competition?  Who knew! The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreed, adding that when given choices “beneficiaries have overwhelmingly selected less costly drug plans.”

There is a lesson there, but apparently no one is paying attention.



Just in Time for Halloween: Scary Mary! by American Elephant
October 26, 2009, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Humor, Movies, YouTube | Tags: , ,

The horrifying tale of a magical nanny with a disturbing obsession with small children*:

…and for those who prefer more “wholesome” fare, a lighthearted, feel-good, family-flick called “Shining”*:

*please tell me no one is gullible enough to need a warning that this is sarcasm.



So What’s a Progressive? They Say They’re All Progressives Now. by The Elephant's Child

In a recent article from the blog at The American Heritage Foundation, the author quoted an excerpt from historian Thomas G. West, author of The Progressive Revolution in Politics and Political Science:

The Founders thought that laws should be made by a body of elected officials with roots in local communities. They should not be “experts,” but they should have “most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society” (Madison). The wisdom in question was the kind on display in The Federalist, which relentlessly dissected the political errors of the previous decade in terms accessible to any person of intelligence and common sense.

The Progressives wanted to sweep away what they regarded as this amateurism in politics. … Only those educated in the top universities, preferably in the social sciences, were thought to be capable of governing. Politics was regarded as too complex for common sense to cope with. … Only government agencies staffed by experts informed by the most advanced modern science could manage tasks previously handled within the private sphere.

The Progressives did not intend to abolish democracy, to be sure. They wanted the people’s will to be more efficiently translated into government policy. But what democracy meant for the Progressives is that the people would take power out of the hands of locally elected officials and political parties and place it instead into the hands of the central government, which would in turn establish administrative agencies run by neutral experts, scientifically trained, to translate the people’s inchoate will into concrete policies.

This, the blog says, is why you have Obama’s Energy Secretary telling auto makers how they must build cars.  This is why Obama’s health care plan empowers a panel of “experts” to reorganize one-sixth of our economy from the top down.  Commonsense questions like “Won’t our electricity bills go up if we mandate power companies to use more expensive alternative energy sources?” and “Won’t our health insurance premiums go up if everyone is charged the same price and nobody can be refused coverage”” can’t be tolerated.  People voicing such criticisms must be isolated and silenced.



Lies, Deceit, Fraud, Falsehood and Misrepresentation. by The Elephant's Child

hoax n. An act intended to deceive or trick, either as a practical joke or as a serious fraud.

Last Monday, the wire services, cable news stations and Web sites reported that the U.S. Chamber fo Commerce had recanted its opposition to climate-change legislation.  Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal wrote:

It was a hoax.  Incredibly (well maybe not so incredibly), the hoax was perpetrated by an activist group in a room at the National Press Club in Washington in front of reporters who’ve risen to the top of their industry.  The hoaxers had created a fake web site and faked a Chamber press release.

The made-up press conference ran about 20 minutes until someone from the real Chamber of Commerce showed up yelling. “This is a fraud!”  Too late.  Credulous TV and wire reporters had sent the Chamber’s climate flip-flop into an already confused world.

With fakery everywhere—some of it amusing, some of it not funny—people’s ability to know where things fall on the spectrum between fact and falsity becomes so compromised that they retreat into a shell of cynicism about everything.  And there is a lot to process; 9/11 deniers, Iranian Holocaust deniers, Obama birthers.  Lily Tomlin provided the epigraph for our age: “I try to be cynical, but it’s hard to keep up.” (…)

One can argue that all this reality bending remains harmless.  Much of it’s just entertainment and the rest is reversible.  People adjust.  Living deep inside this new electronic forest, the human animal has learned to adapt.  But the one presumably important area of life that seems to be having a hard time adapting to the reality of pandemic doubt is politics.

American politics long ago came up with its own word for shaping reality—spin.  Being professionals, the politicians got away with a lot of it.

Now with more people decked out in protective coats of cynicism, it’s gotten harder for the pols to sell their grand schemes.  Ask President Obama.

The whole article is available here. The credulity and willingness of the press to believe anything that fits with their political leanings is distressing.  But when you are told a lie by an authority and believe it and act on it, the ripples of that lie go on and on, damaging everything they touch.

This president has no compunctions about “the facts” he uses to try to sell his health reform plan, including the fact that there is, as yet, no health reform plan. There is a Senate Finance Committee bill (the Baucus Bill) which is not yet put into legal language, so it doesn’t really exist and the committee members who voted it out were voting for a bunch of concepts, not prospective laws.  There’s the old dead House bill, and a new one that is being written in back rooms with closed doors, and much of it passes far beyond “hoax” to outright fraud.

Much of our economy is being rearranged (and bankrupted) to “save the world” from a global warming that simply is a normal function of a climate that is always warming and cooling; and from CO2 that is not a pollutant, not a cause of global warming, and only a trace gas in the atmosphere.

Far from everyone having to worry about their “carbon footprint”, most of the CO2 in the atmosphere rises from the oceans in a long cycle of hundreds of years.  CO2 is necessary to life itself, for it is a natural fertilizer—it makes plants grow.  No CO2, no life.  That simple.  We do not have enough of it, for we are still recovering from the last ice age.  The times in the past when we had far more CO2 in the atmosphere were far more beneficial to all life on earth.

You may call it spin, but it really qualifies as serious fraud.



Irresponsible, Opportunistic, Corrupt President Causes National Panic for Political Gain by American Elephant

Flu

flu2

Obama declares swine flu a national emergency, becoming the ONLY national leader in the entire world to have done so.

Meanwhile the regular seasonal flu affects far more people, and causes far more death than the swine flu ever will. For all the hysteria whipped up by Obama and his administration, the H1N1 “swine” flu  has killed 1,000 people this year — plain old seasonal influenza, on the other hand, kills over 30 times that many people — an average of 36,000 Americans every year– and I don’t see Obama calling it a “national emergency.”

The number of seasonal influenza-associated (i.e., seasonal flu-related) deaths varies from year to year because flu seasons often fluctuate in length and severity. CDC estimated that about 36,000 people died of seasonal flu-related causes each year, on average, during the 1990s in the United States. [Center for Disease Control]

Nor will Obama declare the plain old seasonal flu an emergency because it is not sensational and he can’t use it to whip up fear and political support for his fascist health care takeover.

Meanwhile, the hysteria Obama is whipping up over swine flu will result in more deaths, not less, as millions of people who don’t need vaccines clog the system, making it harder for those who need the vaccine to get one. The vaccine is already in short supply. And will cost taxpayers billions more as the declaration makes federal dollars available to for Obama’s marketing ploy.

But that is the self-described Motus Operandi of this most corrupt, Alinskyite thug — “never let a crisis go to waste.” And when there isn’t a real crisis handy, manufacture one.

Can’t we impeach this crook yet?



Green Porn! by The Elephant's Child
October 24, 2009, 2:56 am
Filed under: Environment, Politics, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Environmental extremists in the United Kingdom are probably even “greener” than our own native eco-extremists, but this commercial shown on British television steps over any number of lines. Truth is just one of them.

After more than 350 public complaints, the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority is reviewing the commercial for “scaremongering” and “misleading the public.”

Janet Daley of The Telegraph calls it “propaganda in the strict technical sense of the word.”

That is to say, it is an attempt by the state to manipulate opinion and evoke emotional reactions without offering argument or evidence for its case. It accepts uncritically the most extreme rendition of the anthropogenic global warming narrative as if it were entirely uncontentious and presents it in the most sentimentally evocative possible way (ie as a threat to one’s own children and to defenseless creatures generally). It uses the techniques once associated with totalitarian societies not to persuade (which is what advertising properly does) but to coerce: to create fear and guilt. And to what purpose? Without offering constructive argument or serious explanation of the options, we can only assume that this is a campaign designed to browbeat the public into accepting any new restrictions or “green” taxes which government may choose to impose. Fortunately, it seems that ordinary people still have the independence of mind to know when they are being bullied.

The environmental movement has long depended on baby animals —whatever is cute and furry.  Polar bears were claimed to be “threatened” specifically to help prevent any drilling for petroleum in Alaska or offshore in the Northern Slope.  Adult bears are handsome, and cubs are adorable. They have thrived in warmer times and cooler times (climate is always changing) for over 150,000 years, but environmental lawyers needed a photogenic symbol to assist their case in court.

It is indeed green porn.




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