American Elephants

Optimism or Pessimism — It’s Your Choice! by The Elephant's Child

Pessimism reigns. All is gloom. The jobs picture has not improved. President Obama has been at the G-20 meeting in Cannes peddling advice that was not well received, and blaming Congressional Republicans from abroad, which is beyond tacky. The various Occupy protests grow increasingly violent as their police blotter lengthens, and public disgust with the movement grows.

President Obama has embraced the Occupy movement’s war on “the 1%” as right in line with his beliefs. Unfortunately now it’s his albatross.  ACORN has sponsored OWS and is now frantically burning papers and erasing hard drives to deny their association with the protests. George Soros has been a major supporter, and the Unions have been actively supportive with both money and thugs. Unprepared cities are now having to face up to the problems caused by their earlier hands-off tolerance, and are learning a lesson.

Arab Spring seems to be a  Muslim Brotherhood event, rather than a blooming of any kind of democracy. Israel is under increasing threat as the administration continues in its misunderstanding of “the peace process.” Anti-Semitism has been a feature of many of the OWS protests, including occupying an Israeli consulate. Iran continues working on their bomb. The president’s efforts are spent in campaigning, even when there is not a campaign event, and the election is a whole year from today. There just doesn’t seem to be good news out there.

There are, however, signs of change in the air.  Green dreams are meeting harsh financial reality, not only here, but across Europe as well. Once they’ve started looking, European countries are discovering bountiful shale deposits. Russia and Iran were counting on gas pipelines as a subtle weapon to hold over Europe’s economy.  But the new deposits can supply plenty of natural gas without fear of Russia shutting off the tap. The Greens are trying to claim that “fracking” is dangerous, but that won’t fly since it is merely a combination of two well-tested technologies.

The Mediterranean, in the wake of Israel’s discoveries, has become the new hot area for the search for oil and natural gas. Britain, faced with skyrocketing energy bills and large sectors of the population faced with energy poverty, is coming to her senses, and ending support for wind farms.

Americans may have a degree of tolerance for young idealists, and even some drums, but that does not extend to old-line communists, anarchists, and those who can’t get over their long ago hippie days. If governments cannot keep order, the people get rid of the governments.

ObamaCare does not fully take over until 2014, but the bits that have taken effect are breaking down. The Long Term Care portion of Medicare has been discarded or is about to be discarded because it cannot work. A new poll shows that less than 20% of doctors would want their children to go into medicine.  Sixty percent of doctors say they are now considering retiring or quitting active care.  A majority (54.2%) say they are likely to stop accepting Medicaid patients — just when the government has tried to get the uninsured 45% of the population on Medicaid.

Obama’s investment in Fisker Motors has the sexy Fisker Karma ($100,000 ea.) creating jobs in Finland, and here at home, Chevy Volts plugged in to home charging stations are catching fire.  They don’t seem to know yet if it’s the charging station or the car at fault. But there goes $40,000 down the tube, if the garage doesn’t go too.

The Obama administration has turned down a Congressional subpoena to produce the details of the Solyndra scandal. Congress is also pressing for details on the Fast and Furious scandal where the federal government forced gun dealers to sell weapons to Mexican cartels, and managed to get 200 people killed.  Tipping point. There’s too much evidence of gangster government out there, and it’s too late for cover-ups.

These things seem like more bad news, but they are, instead, signs of change.  Tipping points, coming up. Americans have a world-class talent for muddling through. When the silly OWS kids made their plaintive, whiny signs — ordinary Americans made their own, making fun of the so-called 99%.  When your protests becomes a source of satire and humor, it’s essentially over.  When all the Medicaid patients signed up for ObamaCare cannot find a physician, it’s over. When more jobs are created in China and Finland than in America — Obama’s vaunted jobs program is over.  When people are dying of cold because their government fell in love with unworkable windmills — that’s over too.

So it’s a glass half-empty or half-full kind of thing.  It all depends on how you look at it. Pessimism can drag you down or act as an agent of change — a tipping point — that is a harbinger of better things to come. .

A Sad Tale of Ignorance, Bumbling, and Incompetence. by The Elephant's Child

The Department of Energy received $35.2 billion from President Obama’s stimulus program.  The Inspector General of the Energy department, Gregory Friedman, has been investigating just where the money has gone.  Mr. Friedman concluded that spending $8 billion more than DOE’s annual budget was challenging.  The celebrated shovel-ready projects were admittedly not shovel-ready. Few actual shovel-ready projects existed. Even President Obama admitted it.

We have written on the problems of excessive government regulation, business has complained of excessive regulation, now taxpayers are paying interest on $15 billion in funds borrowed — that haven’t even been spent two years later. Human Events reported:

Besides having insufficiently large armies of bureaucrats ready to spend the money, state governments also ran afoul of federal regulations that clogged their stimulus plumbing.  “One state had only spent 30 percent of its State Energy Program funds two years after they had become available,” explains the Inspector General.  “We found that this was due to the time needed to comply with regulatory requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act – issues that affected other jurisdictions as well.”

The Davis-Bacon Act forces the government to pay union-scale wages to contractors, even if they don’t employ unionized workforces.  It’s supposed to prevent non-union shops from stealing all those tasty government construction jobs from union shops that can’t compete with them on labor costs.

When work did get done, the results were not impressive.  The Weatherization Program enjoyed a one thousand percent increase in funding, but Friedman reports that “weatherization work was often of poor quality,” and “9 of the 17 weatherized homes we visited failed inspections because of substandard workmanship.”

More than 100 criminal investigations have been initiated into the DOE handling of 4% of the Stimulus program. There have been five  criminal prosecutions and over $2.3 million in stolen stimulus loot has been retrieved. Recipients complained about “the overly complex and burdensome reporting requirements.”

So there you go — your government at work — altering and illuminating the tasks of bureaucracy for you and your descendents. It just makes you proud, doesn’t it?

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