American Elephants

Spending, Appropriating, Mandating, Spending, Repeat Endlessly. by The Elephant's Child

Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) appeared before the camera after a vote on the House floor last night.  The members of Congress are about to go home for summer recess, and electioneering.  You can hardly expect them to deal with something like responsibility or the budget.


Free and Fair Elections or Permanent Electoral Dominance? by The Elephant's Child

In 2009, Senator John Cornyn of Texas co-authored a law mandating that states mail absentee ballots to military voters at least 45 days before the election, to be sure that members of the military were able to get their ballots returned in time to be counted.

In 2008 more than 17,000 Americans serving overseas were denied the vote.  This has not been uncommon in previous elections.  Military personnel are thought to lean conservative, and Democrat election officials have often gone to unusual lengths to find reasons to reject their ballots.

Both parties have had their turn at gerrymandering districts to their tastes, but Democrats have been unusually vigorous in their quest for ways to tilt election results.  Just plain old raising funds and explaining what you stand for to attract the attention of voters is not enough. Democrats are seeking  permanent electoral dominance.

There is the “Secretary of State Project”, designed in the last election to put special effort towards electing Democrats to the state secretary of state office because that official is in charge of elections.  Usually a minor office that nobody pays much attention to, but now it is receiving extra interest.  ACORN electoral fraud is a matter of record in many states, and busing in students to vote is common, as is encouraging voting by illegal immigrants.  And now they are attempting to codify the right of felons to vote.

Electoral fraud is nothing new.  You only have to read a little history of elections to see that the clean and proper process we want is far removed from reality — but I for one value my vote and want it to count — in a free and fair election.

The Clinton administration put “motor voter” laws in place that allow anyone to register to vote when they get their license tabs, without showing any proof of citizenship or eligibility to vote.  Democrats in my state (WA) have changed all elections to entirely mail-in ballots — a situation ripe for fraud.  Entire boxes of votes are suddenly “found” or “lost” as the situation demands.

Eric Holder’s Justice Department official Rebecca Wertz told a Feb. 1 conference of the National Association of Secretaries of State that the new law’s requirements are somehow open to interpretation.  On July 28, an attendee at that conference told the Washington Times that:

Ms. Wertz’s message was “totally undermining” the law. The earlier reports actually underplayed the effect of Ms. Wertz’s comments. “It was even more pronounced at the meeting,” said the source. “She undermined [the law] right in front of everybody. When I heard what she was saying, I thought: ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ … It was a clear reversal of roles for Justice to no longer be enforcing the law.”

Senator Cornyn has reacted forcefully.  He placed a hold on the nomination of  James M. Cole to be deputy attorney general until the attorney general ensures full protection for military voting rights, and associated civilian personnel stationed abroad. The senator wrote:

The statute does not create any discretion for the Executive Branch to decide whether or not to enforce its legal requirements.  Ms. Wertz’s comments fly in the face of the clear statutory language, undermine the provisions in question and jeopardize the voting rights of our men and women in uniform.

The senator presented four steps he wants Mr. Holder to take to ensure that states respect the 45-day deadline, including a demand that the Justice Department provide a state-by-state accounting of compliance efforts.  The hold on Mr. Cole, who is reportedly a personal friend of Mr. Holder is apt to grasp his attention.

Our troops deserve more respect, as does our electoral process.

Dreams of the Great Air Battles of the Past. by The Elephant's Child
July 29, 2010, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History, Military, Sports | Tags: , ,

This strange meeting of two generations took place in New Zealand in 2004.  A meeting of the most famous weapons from World War I and World War II:  A Sopwith Camel and a Spitfire, the latter flying almost at stall speed to keep in formation with the old timer.

“Real men don’t build ships in a bottle for a hobby.  Real Men get fools to remove the wheel chocks on the Sopwith Camel they built and then fly around with a Supermarine Spitfire.”

(h/t: The Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys)

Seventy-Six Million Americans: The Baby Boom Generation. by The Elephant's Child
July 29, 2010, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, History, Politics | Tags: , ,

Today’s senior citizens often speak about “the War.” Younger generations may wonder “Which one?” but for the older generation, there is only one that is “the War”.  It changed everything, and after VE Day and VJ Day, when they all came home, no one had any idea how much change was yet to come.

After “the War,” returning veterans flocked to America’s colleges and universities to take advantage of the GI Bill, one of America’s better ideas.  It made it possible for the young men who had given so much, and lost so many friends in the war, to go to college on the taxpayer’s dime. And they signed up and they married the girl they had left behind, and off they went.

Colleges and Universities were unprepared.  Barracks and Quonset huts became dormitories and housing for married students.  Cartoons in the New Yorker showed graduating classes of masses of young men, and on the sidelines, the chairs were filled with young women — each with a baby in her lap or in an adjacent buggy. The United States had a population of 140 million, soon to expand in a generation that changed America, and is still changing it.

In February of 1946 , exactly 9 months after VJ Day, there were 206,387 babies born in the United States.  In May, there were 233,452 babies, in June the number had swelled to 242,302.  In October births had spurted to 339,499.  An all-time high of 3.4 million babies had been born in the United States — one every nine seconds.  In 1947, 3.8 million babies were born.

Demographers were unimpressed.  The rise in births was sudden…but a classic case of satisfying pent-up demand. …In 1946, the Census bureau director said that the U.S. population would  not reach 163 million until the year 2000.¹

In eleven straight years from 1954 through 1964 there were more than 4 million babies born each year.  By 1964, four out of every ten people in the United States were under 20 and there were more children under 14 than there had been people in the entire nation in 1881.

They grew up on steak and milk and Wonder Bread that made strong bones and good teeth.  Advertisers quickly discovered that American mothers had created the biggest market in history, and from that moment on the boomers were surrounded with products created just for them.  There were Slinkys and Silly Putty, skateboards and hula hoops.  They grew up with bomb shelters and the knowledge that their world could someday end in a flash of light and heat.  They revolutionized everything they touched.

Car companies churned out station wagons, developers built Levittown,  housing tracts sprang up all over the country, with fenced back yards and patios for the barbecue and cul-de-sacs where the kids could ride their bikes in safety.  Malvinia Reynolds wrote a song about “little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky” when she saw the sprawl of suburban houses in Daly City, California that “all look just the same.”

The country has been dominated by the baby boom ever since 1946.  There were simply so many boomers that what they did and thought and bought influenced everything.    There was rock music and there were protests, assassinations, Vietnam, flower children.  Businesses who catered to the tastes of the boomers grew and succeeded.  Journalists who wrote stories about the boomers always had an audience.  But they were also the over-crowded generation, standing in line for school, for lunch, for concerts.

And now the first boomers are turning 65 next year, eligible for Social Security and Medicare, and the numbers of seniors will increase exponentially until 2026.  This is the problem unaddressed by the stimulus bill,  ignored by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, by Barack Obama, by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and untouched by any other bill drummed up in the back rooms of Congress, or in the White House.

Citizens alarmed by the profligate spending by Democrats are indicating in the polls that the upcoming election will be a difficult one for Democrats.  Democrats have fiercely resisted any effort to reform entitlements.  Claiming that Republicans will take away old folks Social Security and Medicare may gain them some votes from credulous senior citizens, but we have run out of time.  Reform is possible that will not harm those who depend on these programs. The problem will not go away, it must be faced.  Pretending otherwise is a recipe for real disaster.

¹Landon Y. Jones: Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation.

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.

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) Takes On Chris Matthews! by The Elephant's Child

You don’t want to take on Congressman Paul Ryan.  He knows what he’s talking about, and he has the answers at the tip of his tongue.  He knows his math and economics, and he understands the federal budget. His Road Map is a serious attempt to rein in the spending and put the entitlements on a sustainable path.  And he can explain every step.

Chris Matthews is a passionate activist for his beliefs, but even he recognizes that spending is a huge problem, and here he seems to recognize that the Obama administration is heading down a dangerous road.  He has the typical liberal doubts that ordinary people can understand such complicated problems.  From what I hear every day,  I think ordinary people may have a better understanding than the beltway crowd.

Small Business Doesn’t Much Like ObamaCare Either! by The Elephant's Child

Democrats are debating the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.  They particularly want to end any tax cuts that went to “the rich,” for they have been yapping about “tax cuts for the rich” for the last ten years.

This theme sounds good, and is a favorite populist sound bite.  What Democrats refuse to grasp, because they need that sound bite,  is that many of those who are defined as “the rich” are small business owners who file as individuals. If you own a business, even though you may employ many people, there are advantages to filing as an individual rather than incorporating.

Democrats are anxious to blame the Bush tax cuts, and the War in Iraq for the financial crisis.  “The Bush tax cuts substantially reduced 2006 revenues and expanded the budget deficit,” they say. ” Capital gains tax cuts do not pay for themselves,” they say.  “Raising taxes is the best way to raise revenue,” they say.  “The Bush tax cuts are to blame for the projected long-term budget deficits,” they say. No!  No!  Sorry! And just plain wrong!

The economy usually responds strongly to tax cuts.  Capital gains tax revenues doubled following the 2003 tax cut.  Higher tax revenues correlate with economic growth, not tax rates.  Pro-growth tax cuts support incentives for productive behavior.

Obama has already put in place all sorts of taxes and mandates that will make doing business harder, especially for small businesses, whether in ObamaCare or the Financial Reform bill or in new energy requirements and costs.  The uncertainty about what taxes will be raised, how new government bills will affect them when applied, and what rules will make their activities more difficult has business sitting on their hands and not hiring.  Obama has no one to blame but himself for the dismal unemployment scene, but he continues to blame Bush, and thus solves nothing, nothing at all.

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