American Elephants

A Demagogue Spreading Fear and Terror by The Elephant's Child


The President is out on the campaign trail, trying desperately to spread fear and terror in hopes that the people will rise up and keep the Congress of the United States of America from allowing an automatic cut to programs that have increased more than 17% on average over the Obama Presidency — automatic cuts proposed and signed into law by President Obama himself.

According to the president and his budget office, the sequester cuts are indiscriminate, and spell out specific percentages that will be subtracted from federal projects, programs and activities. The White House claims it must now cut across the board regardless of how important the program is. Today he was in Newport News, Virginia to tell the people at Newport News Shipbuilding that  their jobs are in jeopardy “because Congress might allow a series of immediate, painful, arbitrary budget cuts to take place—known in Washington as the sequester. Now that’s a pretty bad name — sequester. … Instead of cutting out the government spending we don’t need — wasteful programs that don’t work, special interest tax loopholes and tax breaks — what the sequester does is it uses a meat cleaver approach to gut critical investments in things like education and national security and lifesaving medical research.”

This is such a monstrous, disgusting, pile of hooey. These are cuts in budget authority, cuts in the increased amount that Congress has authorized an agency to spend under specific programs. It allows an agency the legal authority to make contracts, plan spending, much of which may come in subsequent years. Budget outlays are monies the government will spend during the fiscal year. The sequester will force the government to trim around $40 billion in outlays over the next seven months between Friday and the 30th of September.

Mike Flynn draws an excellent analogy: “You have a credit card with a $10,000 limit. You currently have a $5,000 balance of the card. On Friday the credit card company cancels your card and demands immediate payment. You adjust your budget to pay off the $5,000 balance. To the media, however, the credit card company has just cut your budget by $10,000 since that was the amount you had been authorized to spend.”

There is so much absolute. stupid, abysmal waste in government that taxpayers should get out their pitchforks and storm Congress. As far back as I can remember, presidents have been appointing commissions to identify waste and corruption in government. Commissions and committees and even individual congressmen carefully identify wasteful programs, programs that don’t accomplish what was intended, misguided policies, and things that just plain don’t work. They are inevitable in a large bureaucracy, and the larger the bureaucracy, the more wasteful programs are. Always more commissions, promises tocut the waste, and it never happens.

Obama could have found hundreds of useless programs to cut, without harm to his earnest desires to spend more money. He has the legal power now to avoid spending-cut damage. He knows that, and we know that. This is posturing. He’s doing the same thing that cheesy County Commissioners do when their budget is threatened— parks will be closed, bathrooms locked, library hours slashed.  Obama has Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano out today claiming that with the threat of these disastrous budget cuts she could no longer protect the American people.

Even after the sequester, the federal government will spend $15 billion more than it did last year, and 30% more than it spent in 2007. Instead of protecting civilian defense workers, the president will continue to force the Pentagon to buy biofuels at $27 per gallon to promote his useless green agenda. The president has identified $2.7 billion of fraud and mismanagement in the food-stamp program.  Instead of protecting Medicare from a 2% cut, the president will ignore the $62 billion in annual waste that his administration has found in Medicare and Medicaid.

Are We Sheep? Needing to Be Told What to Do? by The Elephant's Child

Flock of sheep, New Zealand, Pacific

Professor Cass Sunstein of Harvard  cites research showing “that people make a lot of mistakes, and that those mistakes can prove extremely damaging.” He needed research to figure that out? Most of us have made mistakes, often big mistakes. Where Professor Sunstein goes awry is the assumption that there is some superior class of people who can override our bad decisions and fix everything for us.  This is the basic theory and agenda of the left.

They, educated at our most prestigious universities, clearly know better than we do what is right and good. As ordinary fallible human beings, we need be told how to manage by our betters. All of the troubles of the world perhaps descend from the unwarranted hubris of people who simply do not understand the human condition and accept the fallible nature of humanity.

Fredrich Hayek, the Austrian-American economist and Nobel Laureate devoted much of his brilliant career to describing how rationalism could never work. How can anything good happen, Hayek asked, if individuals cannot think and act for themselves. Rules preclude initiative. Regimentation precludes evolution. Letting accidents happen, mistakes be made, results in new ideas. Trial and error is the key to all progress. The Soviet system of rules and central planning is doomed to failure, Hayek stated fifty years ago, because it kills the human faculty that makes things work.

Justice Lewis Brandeis (Supreme Court: 1916 to 1939) said “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent…The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

Thomas Sowell reminds us today of the hubris of big government:

Government policies in the 1930s led to crops being plowed under, thousands of little pigs being slaughtered and buried, and milk being poured down sewers at a time when many Americans were suffering from hunger and diseases caused by malnutrition.

The Great Depression of the 1930s, in which millions of people were plunged into poverty in even the most prosperous nations, was needlessly prolonged by government policies now recognized in retrospect as foolish and irresponsible.

One of the key differences between mistakes that we make in our own lives and mistakes made by governments is that bad consequences force us to correct our own mistakes. But government officials cannot admit to making a mistake without jeopardizing their whole careers.

He adds: “Too many of today’s intellectual elite see themselves as our shepherds and us as their sheep. Tragically, too many of us are apparently willing to be sheep, in exchange for being taken care of, being relieved of the burdens of adult responsibility and being supplied with “free” stuff paid for by others.


A Quotation for Today: by The Elephant's Child
February 26, 2013, 8:24 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

“Finally, Americans must answer the Islamic world bluntly, and with pride rather than reticence, about why we support and always will protect the Israelis. Our sympathy is not attributable to some mythical Jewish lobby, a CIA plot to put down Islam, or a worldwide conspiracy of Zionists, It is simply because they are the Middle-Eastern state most like ourselves in their commitment to a free society-based on the rule of law and the consent of the governed. Our special relationship with Israel is open equally to an Islamic country that accepts the idea of democracy and the essence of freedom. We must, as a nation, cease the apologetic tone we have developed with the Arab world, and make it clear that their ministers who hector us are not legitimate without elections, their spokesmen are not journalists without a free press, and their intellectuals are not credible without liberty. The right to admonish Americans on questions of morality is not an entitlement, but something earned only through a shared commitment to constitutional government.”
……………………………………….Victor Davis Hanson: “War on all Fronts”

Are We Becoming Europe? by The Elephant's Child

Why anyone would want to imitate the catastrophe into which Europe has been descending is beyond me.  Food for thought.

An Unfortunate Day for the Country. by The Elephant's Child


Chuck Hagel has been confirmed as Secretary of Defense. In a Democrat-controlled Senate, it was always dubious that Republicans would be able to prevent it. There seems to be a sense in the Senate that a president is entitled to have his choices approved, at least when it is a Democrat president. If it is a Republican president’s nominees, all bets are off. I don’t get that.

Mr. Hagel is clearly not qualified for the office. The only thing his proponents were able to offer as a qualification was that he had served as an enlisted man in Vietnam and had received the purple heart for being wounded. Having served in combat may plausibly make a Secretary more concerned for the effect of combat on the troops, but the Hagel nomination should have been rejected on its own merit. He lacks the necessary executive skills and experience, embraces naïve and dangerous foreign policies, empathizes with our enemies, and completely misunderstands our relations with Israel.

The Defense Department is concerned with management, strategy, world affairs, readiness, development, procurement, supply. Mr. Hagel has shown no competence or understanding of in any of those sectors. President Obama has been quietly ridding the Pentagon of officers who dare to disagree with him, or offer advice he doesn’t like — some of our most outstanding generals. Mr. Obama wants to fund his welfare state, and a cooperative Secretary who will do his bidding without questioning, will make it easier.

President Obama, now that he has secured re-election, is ready to have as his cabinet appointees people who are completely in line with his own view of the world. Nuclear zero; the central problem in the Middle East is Israel; al Qaeda has been decimated; and if we are just less of a bully in the world, and stop throwing our weight around we will achieve some kind of world peace that the warmonger George W. Bush prevented— or something like that. We just need to talk to Iran and North Korea and stop picking on them and they will stop their attempts to get nuclear weapons to attack Israel and America.

Mark Bowden’s new book The Finish about the bin-Laden raid  discloses President Obama’s desire to capture bin Laden rather than kill him so that he could be tried in court. He quotes the president as saying he thought he would be in a strong political position to argue in favor of giving bin Laden the full rights of a criminal defendant if bin Laden went on trial for masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Frankly, my belief was if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al-Qaeda, in preventing him from appearing as a martyr,” Obama is quoted saying in an interview with Bowden.

Obamabelieved that affording terrorists “the full rights of criminal defendants would showcase America’s commitment to justice for even the worst of the worst,”

Obama’s warped view of Islamic terrorism; his idea that the Israeli conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah is the cause of Middle East troubles; his idea that Egypt is a potential friend and sending 20 F-16s to them is a bright idea, is beyond troubling. That he is carefully selecting cabinet secretaries who will carry out these damaging policies should not get automatic Senate approval, just because a president is entitled to his choices.

The Founding Fathers, when they said that the Senate should advise and consent to a President’s appointees surely meant that they were to seriously consider the caliber of the appointees and when they were unqualified, fail to consent.

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