American Elephants

RIP Patti Page by American Elephant
January 3, 2013, 11:03 pm
Filed under: Music, News, Pop Culture | Tags: , ,

This song has been stuck in my head since I heard the news. What a beautiful voice. She will be missed!

Page died on New Year’s Day in Encinitas, Calif., according to publicist Schatzi Hageman, ending one of pop music’s most diverse careers. She was 85 and just five weeks away from being honored at the Grammy Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy.

Page achieved several career milestones in American pop culture, but she’ll be remembered for indelible hits that crossed the artificial categorizations of music and remained atop the charts for months to reach a truly national audience. [read more…]

A Little Chart About Spending and Taxes and Budgets. by The Elephant's Child

Tax Hike In Perspective

Barack Obama has no intention of giving up on spending. He wants to hike taxes more. As long as he is spending, and handing out benefits to the people, they will not desert him. His view of the presidency is a constant campaign. He has never stopped campaigning and started governing.

“He will lay out tax-hike demands, give no quarter on spending, not waver and, as the deadline approaches, use his bully pulpit and the media to cow the GOP into the sort of wrangling that led to this week’s defeat.” That’s Kim Strassel in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The tweet posted below demonstrates such a mindless ignorance of the world, humanity and history, that it is hard to grasp. Once we have defaulted on our debts and no one has jobs, who will feed him?

All these boring numbers, complicated graphs, confusing talk about debt and spending and defaulting and unemployment rates — that are just too unpleasant to think about —  all have consequences.

The Democrats are unconcerned with the level of spending. They are unconcerned with the level of debt. The United States Senate has, in defiance of the law, refused to pass a budget for over 1,000 days. Why?

The president is not just unconcerned with the level of spending, he has made it quite clear that he has no intention whatsoever of cutting back. He has been warned about the debt. He has been warned about  the risk of default. He has been warned by the first decline in our national credit rating in history and notified by the credit rating agencies that we must pay attention or there will be further decline. These are not just printed words on paper, they bear real consequences.

We were warned early on, that Obama did not have the experience or the necessary skill-set for the office to which he aspired. That has proven to be true. The recession, which was not the worst since the Great Depression, ended, officially, in June of 2009. There should have been a brisk recovery. Instead we got the worst recovery since the Great Depression, as a direct result of this president’s policies.

The U.S. in in the midst of an energy revolution. We have abundant oil and gas that would fuel an economic boom, in despite of the efforts of the president to shut down as much discovery and production as possible.  The technology that is changing the world is mostly American. “The nation’s farms export more produce than ever before at record prices. Americans eat the safest and cheapest food on the planet.”

The president talks openly of income redistribution and the inequality between the rich and the poor, as if it is his job to eliminate inequality. Yet after four years in office we have an all-time record 46.2 million people in America living in poverty. We have an all-time record of the highest  youth unemployment in history rising to 17.5% unemployed. 47,710,324 individuals are receiving food stamps. And the number of Americans no longer in the labor force has risen to 88,921,000.

However his campaign donors have been abundantly rewarded with millions.

Apparently no one has noticed that the warm, caring speeches and remarks by the president all have expiration dates — all too quickly reached.

Revealing Tweet of the Day: by The Elephant's Child


It is always helpful when members of the opposition tell you what they really think.

The “Cliff” Deal, Or The Lesser of Two Evils? by The Elephant's Child

The Fiscal Cliff deal is not a happy one,but it is better than the alternative.  Much of politics seems to end up in lesser of two evils territory. Then you get into a philosophical debate about when you can accept any evil. Republicans may have learned that Barack Obama does not negotiate. “Bipartisan” is a word he may use in speeches and remarks but it means no more than his other careless self-glorifying words; it does not occur in his actions.

The stopgap bill signed to avert he fiscal cliff and spare most taxpayers from sharply higher taxes left Republicans despondent, Democrats publicly obedient, but privately furious, because it didn’t soak enough of the rich. Mr. Obama said it fell short of “my preference” for “a larger agreement, a bigger deal, a grand bargain.”

And of course he blamed congressional Republicans for his failure to get the deal he wanted. Unlike former presidents, Mr. Obama does not believe that he has any personal obligation to bring about a compromise. The serious negotiating is left to subordinates, he skipped the final talks on the fiscal-cliff deal, only to appear on television to inform “members of both parties” that he and the American people were anxiously awaiting a last-minute accord, as if he were uninvolved in the budget wrangling. When it was all over, he sent out a video to tell his supporters that his success was all due to their efforts.

President Obama cultivates no allies in Congress; he attacks them in speeches and public remarks. He may come back at a crucial stage of the negotiations with new demands. He announced that he had not agreed to any spending cuts and would not agree to any in the future. Mr. Obama’s approach is that he gets to win, because he is the president, and important.

The tax changes included in the bill hashed out includes the first increases in the top income-tax rates in nearly twenty years. For millions of wage earners, the immediate effect is the end ot the two-percentage point payroll-tax cut that was part of a 2010 deal. It is called the payroll-tax, but lowered the employee portion of the Social Security tax, putting Social Security in even more dire straits. The expiration of this stimulus will cost working Americans $125 billion a year.

The top rate on ordinary income for joint filers earning more than $450,000 a year, who already pay far more than their fair share, will rise to 39.6% ($400,000 for single filers).

Here’s the interesting part. Perhaps you remember that the Democrats have been railing against “the Bush tax cuts” for 12 years. The Bush tax cuts have just been made permanent for 99% of the American people.

The alternative minimum tax has been adjusted to keep it from enveloping more taxpayers than it was designed to do. The current fix expired at the beginning of 2012.

The estate and gift tax exemption remains at $5 million or more per individual vs. the $3.5 million sought by the president. The current 35% top rate increases to 40%.

The definition of  the rich does not include General Electric, Citigroup, Diageo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, the American Wind Energy Association and the Motion Picture Association of America, NASCAR, StarKist Tuna. Corporate Welfare still reigns.

The tax on the rich will not bring in the money intended. The economy will not recover as quickly as Mr. Obama has assumed. And we still have some big battles ahead. Raising the taxes to 100% on the rich would not make a significant cut in the deficit.  We are spending way more than we take in. That simply does not work in the long run. Democrats do not want any cuts in spending. They do not want any reform in entitlements. Hey, the markets went up, what’s the big deal? The markets, like the Democrats are dealing with the short term. They are concerned with their personal power and the next election. A “grand bargain” indeed.


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