American Elephants

An Ordinary Food Court and a Surprise Christmas Celebration! by The Elephant's Child
December 7, 2010, 6:29 pm
Filed under: Entertainment, Music | Tags: , ,

In some places, they are banning Christmas trees, but they cannot stamp out Christmas.  Here a “flash mob”  startles shoppers eating their lunch in a food court.  I love these, but I haven’t been in the right place at the right time yet.

The Angry Left is Completely Furious! by The Elephant's Child

The Liberals are furious.  And they are very specific.  How dare Obama give in on raising taxes on the rich?  The Left was enraged by the Bush tax cuts in the first place. The logic is a little hard to follow.

Republicans believe that money belongs to the people who earn it with their work.  They believe that people should be able to keep as much of their own money as possible.  Some government is necessary, and it must be paid for, but spending the people’s money unnecessarily is immoral.

The Left believes that money belongs to the government, and is needed to pay for all the good things that government will do for the people.  America will become a better country. More fair.  More equitable.  A more worthy member of the world community of nations.

You can see right off the bat, that they aren’t going to get along.

Liberals hate “the rich.” They deny that any significant portion of those who earn high incomes represent small businesses.  Rich people gained their wealth improperly if not illegally, and they are not entitled to any of it. There is too much of a gap between the disgusting filthy rich and the deserving poor, and it should at the very least be a much smaller gap.

Conservatives are very willing to help the poor to get jobs and work to advance themselves.  But they simply don’t get why someone who has earned a lot of money by their own hard work deserves the adjective “filthy.” Nor do they understand why someone becomes “deserving” by not graduating from high school, having children out-of-wedlock, not bothering to get married, and expecting someone else to pay for them.

Conservatives are not into class warfare, and want a form of government that encourages everyone to work hard and become rich or richer.  They think that being dependent on government handouts is demeaning, and does nothing to help the poor.

President Obama is furious that he had to extend the current tax rate on top-earners in order to get Republican cooperation in extending the tax rates for the middle class.  He said that tax cuts for the rich are the GOP’s “holy grail” and “central economic doctrine.”

“I will be happy to see the Republicans test whether I am itching for a fight on a l range of issues.  I suspect they will find I am,” Obama said angrily.

The White House is hoping to portray President Obama as “the last reasonable man.” That, too should be interesting.  The payroll tax holiday is not a complete holiday as I had thought, but only a 2% reduction for the worker.  It will provide a more direct demand stimulus than all the previous money that Obama just dumped into the economy that accomplished nothing.

Obama believes, he says, that the Recovery Act (the stimulus) worked, and the economy just needs more.  He clearly believes in Keynesian economics.  Republicans cite evidence that Keynesian stimulus has never worked, and point out that supply side economics has a history of working under Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and George W. Bush.  There’s not much that the two sides agree upon. Can Obama portray himself as a reasonable centrist?  Doesn’t seem in character to me.

Remember Pearl Harbor. by The Elephant's Child
December 7, 2010, 2:44 pm
Filed under: History, Military, News | Tags: , ,

Government Takeover Continues: Internet, News, Health Care, Energy, Transportation, Housing, Finance, Food Supply. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration’s drive to control or regulate every sector of the economy continues apace.  Yesterday it was “Food Safety” which slapped unneeded regulation on a food industry with a record of significantly declining problems of food safety.  It is, after all, very much in the food sector’s self-interest to police themselves very carefully. They have the example of the phony Alar scare promoted by  Fenton Communications, to remind them.

Now Julian Genachowski, Federal Communications Commission Chairman, has announced plans to adopt net neutrality regulations over the objections of lawmakers and in spite of a federal court ruling in April that said the FCC lacked the authority  from Congress to restrict how Internet service providers manage traffic on their networks.

Only two weeks ago, Mr. Genachowski was telling state utility regulators in a speech that “the economy and jobs” would be the “primary focus” of the FCC.  “We’re focused on seizing the opportunities of communication technologies to catalyze private investment, foster job creation, compete globally and create broad opportunity in the United States,” he said.. “Our sector — the information technologies and communications sector — can play a big role in driving economic success for the U.S. in the near-term and the long-term.” Uh huh.

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell said the five-member commission, which is controlled by Democrats, will soon vote to “upend three decades of bipartisan and international consensus that the internet is best able to thrive in the absence of regulation.  By choosing this highly interventionist course, the Commission is ignoring the will” of Congress. (emphasis added)

Last year internet service providers spent nearly $60 billion to deploy next-generation networks to customers across the country. Sticking the telecom industry with new rules to hamper capital investment would lead to years of litigation and regulatory uncertainty —another set of the kind of job killing in which the Obama administration specializes. This is also an indication that Obama plans to circumvent Congress by using his administrative agencies to accomplish his plans.

Another FCC Commissioner, Michael  Copps, has suggested that news broadcasters should be subject to a new “public values test” every four years. He suggested that a broadcaster’s license renewal should be contingent on proof that they meet a prospective set of federal criteria.  They should prove they have made a meaningful commitment to public affairs and news programming (for instance by showing they depict women and minorities) report more to the government about which shows they plan to air, offer more disclosure on who funds political ads and devote 25 percent of their time to local news.  Rep Joe Barton (R-TX) responded “I hope…that you do not mean to suggest that it is the job of the federal government, through the [FCC] to determine the content that is available for Americans to consume.”

We know that Obama hates Fox News, but these efforts to exert control over every segment of the American economy are completely out of line.  The Left has always believed that things are more efficiently done by the government, an idea that is belied by the results achieved by government.  There’s not much that couldn’t be done more efficiently and cheaper by private enterprise.

These efforts at control and regulation exceed anything I’ve seen before, and would seem more at home in a banana republic.  Oil prices are climbing sharply as the price of crude has gone up — to some extent due to taking American oil from the Gulf of Mexico off the market.

Electricity from wind farms is many times more expensive than that from ordinary coal or natural gas-fired plants.  And due to the intermittent nature of both wind and solar they cannot produce electricity in any significant amount.  Obama’s efforts to force Americans to accept his fantasy of a clean green economy will fail completely if our experience is the same as that of the other nations that have tried it.

Efforts to transform the transportation sector have bogged down in  the unwanted Volt,  the failure of ethanol, Obama’s missing “shovel-ready” projects, high-speed trains to nowhere, cash for clunkers, and the auto bailout that mostly enriched the unions.

The housing sector is a mystery shrouded in the books of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which are unavailable. Nobody seems to know what has happened to all the “toxic assets” that were causing the problems, nor to what extent the inventory of foreclosed homes is being sold.

The Dodd/Frank financial bill does not address the very major problem of businesses deemed “Too Big To Fail.”  They all apparently remain too big to fail.  The bill is full of pages and pages of regulations, but whether any actually fix problems is unknown.  Many large corporations have chosen to improve their bottom lines by rent seeking, which seems to be welcomed by the government.

ObamaCare is designed to gradually funnel everyone into single-payer government-controlled health care. It will cost far more than the health care that they claimed was too expensive, there will not be enough doctors to serve the newly insured, and quality and service will deteriorate as wait-times and costs increase.

Those are the sectors of the economy over which I see the Obama administration attempting to exert ever more control — and in most cases the real regulation has not yet been issued.  We have only the broad generalities outlined by Congress, which then go to new offices of government employees which will develop the regulations in all their particular detail.

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