American Elephants

Rhetoric v. Reality from Reason Magazine by The Elephant's Child

A Partisan Speech About What to Expect From Term 2. by The Elephant's Child

On these pages, I usually am disagreeing with President Obama’s policies. I recognize the importance, especially to Black Americans, of having a Black president. I never saw someone’s race as a barrier to elective office, but those who have suffered from discrimination see it as enabling full participation in a society they are not yet ready to accept as non-discriminatory, and I recognize that emotion.

On the other hand, I care deeply about policy, and reject the policies of the Progressive Party particularly because their ideas just don’t work.

I don’t watch TV, so did not see the inauguration, but I printed out the inaugural speech, because this is the first time that the president has made a statement of what we can expect from his second term, something he assiduously avoided throughout the campaign. As Mona Charen remarked today—”we recall that his campaign huddled early in 2012 and reflected that they could not run on his first-term record. Accordingly, the strategy was “Kill Romney.” Congratulations. That’s what we’re celebrating today.”

Mr. Obama clearly wanted to make an important, memorable speech. In a successful speech the memorable soaring phrases build up  from the body of the speech naturally as the full idea comes to fruition. Didn’t happen. They were just stuck in there.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

That was meant to be in the quotation books, but the soaring part doesn’t fit the rest. Nit-picking, of course, but I found that a real stopper.

After his first inauguration, Obama said in February 2009: “The federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life. It is only government that can break the vicious cycle where lost jobs lead to people spending less money which leads to even more layoffs.” That is what he pursued for four years, but it didn’t work out so well.  This time it was: “Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone.”Except that he didn’t mean that either, what he meant was:

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

Our wise government will come up with new business and new technology, and train people to do the new jobs, because we cannot leave such things to the so-called free market. Collectivism. Climate Change, the leftover roads and bridges, make friends with our enemies, economics grows out from the middle class, we believe in the rule of law, “we believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war,” “we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war.” — “who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends.”

And this gem: “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling a reasoned debate.” Mr. Absolute, who does not change his mind,  who goes for spectacle instead of substance every time, and who can’t resist name-calling of those who disagree with him. If you don’t agree with Barack Obama you are with the forces of darkness, you are evil and despicable. This was a partisan, divisive speech. He will be using his community organizing skills to form a permanent campaign to get his supporters to force Congress to pass the laws he wants.

And the mention of the debt, the deficit, the budget, spending? Sixteen trillion and heading up — and it’s not worth even mentioning.

Thomas Sowell: A Downward Trajectory by The Elephant's Child

If Congress Won’t Do What You Want, Just Bypass Them! by The Elephant's Child

You may not remember Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court decision that was first argued in March 2009, re-argued in September and finally decided on January 21, 2010. You can rest assured that Democrats remember.

Background: During the 2008 election campaign, the nonprofit group Citizens United wanted to make a film available on cable-on-demand that was critical of then-candidate Hillary Clinton.  Because Citizens United is organized as a corporation, under the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, its speech was banned.  The movie was not allowed to be shown, and the law was backed by criminal sanctions.  Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations — including nonprofit advocacy corporations — either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election.

The Democrats were OUTRAGED:  Corporations are not entitled to free speech, political expenditures are not “speech”, protections of the Free Speech Clause properly apply to individuals not corporations, this will corrupt the democratic process,  will radically increase powerful corporate influence in politics, blah, blah, blah. Democrats are afraid that corporations benefit Republicans, and free speech should not apply to anyone who might be critical of Democrats.

Democrats have never given up. A Senate bill titled the DISCLOSE Act — a bill they have been unable to get past the Senate, would require political organizations to publicly name their donors and the amounts they give. Now the Obama administration is attempting to bypass Congress and force publicly-traded companies to reveal their political donations through regulation. If Congress won’t pass the law we want, we will just do it with a regulation from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bypassing Congress

Obama does not understand the tripartite nature of the three divisions of government, does not accept the equal power of the other two branches, and wants to overrule the other two with executive orders or agency regulations. He does not grasp the limits of executive orders, and has no intention of paying attention to them anyway. File this under ‘arrogance.’

The free speech clause in the First Amendment to the Constitution refers specifically to political speech. If free speech only applies to speech that is pleasing to you, then it isn’t free, and it isn’t freedom, but tyranny.

The ruling in Citizens United is a straightforward application of basic First Amendment principles:  “When Government seeks to use its full power…to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought.  This is unlawful.  The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.”

What enrages Democrats even more than the idea of corporations engaging in political speech, is the idea of the Koch brothers making donations. These Libertarian philanthropists have become the Democrats’ boogie-men. They are blamed for everything, receive daily death threats, and Democrats just want to make them personally illegal. Whatever George Soros donates or controls is fine, as are all the massive donations from the Democracy Alliance representing big numbers of Democrat millionaires and billionaires.  Powerline has a collection of pieces on the Democrat’s War on the Koch Brothers, that is worth your time. It’s funny too.

In August, Obama participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” question-and-answer discussion in which he announced that he would consider amending the Constitution “to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it.)”

And only today he took an oath “to preserve, protect and defend…” Guess he didn’t mean it.

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