American Elephants


There They Go Again! Democrats Try to Shut You Up! by The Elephant's Child

shutterstock_105467189-630x286

Friday night news dump. As the media went home for the weekend, the Democrats sneaked in a last minute proposal that the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) be allowed to heavily regulate political content on the internet. They have in mind sites like YouTube, blogs, and the Drudge Report. Why? You can go to YouTube and watch campaign commercials, and even worse, find things that President Obama and other politicians said in the past, and demonstrate their constant overweening hypocrisy.  There’s no telling what awful things you will find on blogs, and the Drudge Report is simply an aggregator of news from — the media.

The problem, of course, is the First Amendment to the Constitution, which protects freedom of speech, most especially political speech. We cannot be a free people without free political speech. First thing you know, they will put you in jail for criticizing the president, or shut your business down, or subject you to an IRS audit.

Obama FEC Commissioner Ann M. Ravel announced that the FED was preparing new regulations to give itself control over videos, Internet-based political campaigns and other content on the web. She insisted that “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long overdue.”

Well, not exactly. The First Amendment was made permanent back in December of 1791, and has served us very well indeed, although the totalitarian sector of the Democratic Party keeps trying to get rid of it.

Democrats really don’t like criticism or being disagreed with. They have trouble defending their ideas, because they just say things, and have never, never done their homework. Rather than studying up on a policy and its inevitable consequences, they just want to pass it into law, and think that if there are problems, they’ll just add some regulations or make more laws. Evidence for that statement? I give you ObamaCare.

The vision of the left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also a vision of themselves — a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create “social justice” and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalted vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice, which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact-free arguments on the left, whether on gun control, minimum wages, or innumerable other issues — and why they react so visceraly to those who challenge their vision. ………………………………………….Tom Sowell 1/22/2014

FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, said that if regulation extends that far, then anybody who writes a political blog, runs a politically active news site or even chat room could be regulated. “I have been warning that my Democratic colleagues were moving to regulate media generally and the Internet specifically for almost a year now,” Goodman told FoxNews.com. “And today’s statement from Vice Chair Ravel confirms my warnings.”

FEC Vice Chair Ravel said:

Since its inception, this effort to protect individual bloggers and online commentators has been stretched to cover slickly-produced ads aired solely on the Internet but paid for by the same organizations and the same large contributors as the actual ads aired on TV,” she said. Ravel vowed to “bring together” people from “across the spectrum” next year to look at the issue.

This set off alarm bells, as it should.

“The FEC’s approach to free speech on the Internet should be hands-off,” Goodman said, urging the public to go to the FEC website to comment on the issue.



Ebola Is Not Airborne? Here’s A Slow-Motion Sneeze. by The Elephant's Child

img45b61dd7900d4reflections-mirror-5-image-sneeze

The administration keeps telling us that Ebola is not airborne, so we don’t need to worry. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.



The New York Times is Astonished At Republican Concern About Secret Service Failings by The Elephant's Child

The New York Times, the “paper of record,”is apparently astonished to find Republicans, who regularly criticize the president, showing concern for Secret Service failings in protecting the president and the White House. They assume that is merely a political ploy of some sort. They hate Republicans, want them permanently defeated, jailed, put in camps, killed, gone. They are unable to tolerate dissent, and believe that Republicans hate the president, and not only that, hate him because he is black. That is the theme they try to impress on blacks. If we don’t like the president’s policies, then we must wish him dead? Astonishing.

The headline today was “Showing Concern for the President, Even While Criticizing Him.” Even?

President Obama must be touched by all the concern Republicans are showing him these days. As Congress examines security breaches at the White House, even opposition lawmakers who have spent the last six years fighting his every initiative have expressed deep worry for his security.

“The American people want to know: Is the president safe?” Representative Darrell Issa of California, the Republican committee chairman who has made it his mission to investigate all sorts of Obama administration missteps, solemnly intoned as he opened a hearing into the lapses on Tuesday.

Yet it would not be all that surprising if Mr. Obama were a little wary of all the professed sympathy. Although the target of the legislative scrutiny is the Secret Service, not the president, the furor over security has left the White House on the defensive.

The American Interest noticed as well “GOP Taking Advantage of Events to Make WH Look Incompetent?”

Those horrible, mean, nasty Republicans are apparently “using” the revelations that the Secret Service isn’t being managed very well to create an impression of general incompetence at the White House. Here’s the money graph from the New York Times:

So unfair! Botch the public rollout of your most important domestic political program, fail to reform the VA after campaigning on a promise to do exactly that, and then make serial misjudgments about world affairs while Russia launches a war against Ukraine even as the U.S. goes back into Iraq—and those awful Republicans start a whisper campaign about your competence. Right before midterms, too! Have they no shame?

I am very critical of the president’s policies, and the Democrat Party’s policies. I believe they are responsible for the worst economic recovery ever.  The recent recession was not the worst recession since the Great Recession of the 1930s. It ended, officially, in 2009. ObamaCare is a badly conceived disaster. Immigration is an unfolding disaster. Federal agencies are corrupt and show no signs of improvement. Foreign policy is one misjudgment after another. I think Obama was unprepared for the office and mistook his ability to sway audiences with his speeches for qualification for the highest office. But I don’t hate him personally. I don’t wish him harm. I don’t know of any Republicans who do. I oppose his ideology with all my being, but he is the president, and I respect the office.

Democrats hated George W. Bush and wanted him dead, because he was a Republican and because he was president. They hated everything about him. They said so. They hated the way he walked. They hated the way he talked. They hated his “squint.” They hated that he was from Texas. Doubt me? Here is the evidence, if you have forgotten.



It’s Simple. Democrats Do Not Know How to Do Growth. by The Elephant's Child

“A prominent Democratic polling firm has found that voters don’t view reducing income inequality as a top priority. Instead, they want economic growth.”
(emphasis added) WSJ columnist William Galston has the story:

Surveys of 3,000 Americans conducted between January and March of 2014 by the Global Strategy Group found that fully 78% thought that it was important for Congress to promote an agenda of economic growth that would benefit all Americans. Support for policies that help the middle class and bolster equal opportunity for everyone were also highly rated. Strategies to spread wealth more evenly and reduce income inequality received the least support. 53% believe that fostering economic growth is ‘extremely important,’ compared with only 30% who take that view about narrowing income inequality.” (emphasis added)

Well, well, well, well. But I thought that reducing income inequality was the bright shining goal of all Democrats. This is a leftist polling group! The results didn’t receive much attention when they were released in April, nor since. James Freeman suggests that  “the findings would have rudely interrupted the months-long media celebration of Thomas Piketty and his error-filled and widely unread book on income inequality. And the survey data suggest that the core message of President Obama and his political outfit Organizing for Action is off target. From increasing the minimum wage to forgiving federal student loans to mandating more pay for women, the Obama economic message is all about redistributing wealth, not creating it.”

Specifically, Mr. Galston notes that by “a remarkable margin of 64 percentage points (80% to 16%)” voters “opt for a candidate who focuses on more economic growth to one who emphasizes less income inequality.”

Trouble is, there is a deep secret on the Left. Democrats do not know how to create growth. The basic idea behind this version of the Democratic Party is that all good things are done by government, and only by government.  All the stuff that Obama has done to benefit his cronies — the wind farms, the solar arrays, the rejection of the Keystone pipeline extension, the rejection of private enterprise are meant to create growth, but to reward Obama’s bundlers and supporters first. Cast your mind back across the Obama administration’s efforts at progress. Any rapid economic growth there? Anywhere?

Have you not noticed that whenever the subject comes up, Obama starts talking about roads and bridges or infrastructure—apparently with no recognition of the fact that such governmental projects require layers and layers of permissions and plans and approvals and fundraising that would put any such project off for at least five years, probably more with the usual environmental lawsuits. Any jobs involved go only to union workers, but that is by design. Jobs for ordinary people seem not to be involved. Who listens to the people anyhow?

War on Women. ObamaCare. Minimum Wage. Renewable Energy. Building from the Middle Class Out. More Government Job Training. Economic Patriotism.

Their new focus on “economic patriotism” is exactly the problem. They cannot conceive of allowing American companies to escape any taxes by moving, and the only solution is to devise laws to prevent their doing so. I rest my case.



Treasury Will Pull Out All The Stops to Enforce Economic Patriotism! by The Elephant's Child

The Treasury Department could act as early as next week to stop companies from moving their headquarters out of the United States for tax purposes. “Economic Patriotism.” Where is these companies’ economic patriotism? Representative Sander Levin, ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax issues warned that “They’re preparing to act and they’ll act as soon they are ready.”

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Levin on Wednesday that he would not necessarily wait for Congress to go home before he would take unilateral action.  Wonder where he learned that trick?

With his brother Senator Carl Levin, (D-MI) Sander Levin has written legislation to” tighten the rules restricting so-called tax inversions, which are tax maneuvers in which U.S. businesses buy a company in a low-tax country to move their headquarters there.”

It’s the Burger King deal with Tim Horton’s Coffee Shops, and the move of their corporate headquarters to Canada, where total tax costs will be 46.4 percent lower, that has driven Democrats to start writing more confiscatory laws immediately. Burger King will continue to pay taxes on business done in the United States.

The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats have raised the alarm over possible consequences to the U.S. tax base.  Republicans  have been suggesting for some time that they should lower or eliminate the corporate tax, because the U.S. corporate tax is not only the highest in the industrial world, but the U.S. also taxes income earned abroad —which no other country does.

There is a long history going back to Martin Van Buren, of administrations that helped an economy to recover from a recession by cutting taxes. Cutting taxes allows companies more confidence in the future, and they are more apt to grow, expand, and hire — creating a better business climate— which in turn grows the economy.  Canada’s corporate tax was 43 percent in 2000, and is 26 percent today, and their economy is booming.

Democrats are fundamentally unable to grasp the idea that cutting taxes could  produce more income and make the economy grow. It simply does not compute. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew trained as a lawyer, but has simply moved through the corridors of government as a bureaucrat in one office or another. He got all huffy about the Burger King move, in a video at Bloomberg, mentioning all the advantages the U.S. provides —roads and bridges (you didn’t build that) and infrastructure!

So far as I can tell only 9 companies have actually done a tax inversion. A number have started to and backed out after being threatened.

Speaker John Boehner and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch have warned that any Treasury measure that would be effective would likely lie beyond Lew’s authority.



War Talk — Exposed! by The Elephant's Child

The internet is alive with War Talk.  Not, unfortunately, talk about aims and principles, but talk about the use of the word “War.” President Obama did not use the word “war” in his ISIS speech, except to say what the American effort against ISIS is not. “This is not a combat mission—we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq…I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

He did say that the Islamic State “is not ‘Islamist’ and “is certainly not a state.” John Kerry, who theoretically engages in affairs of state, said the war is not a war. “What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counterterrorism operation.”

Since Democrats don’t believe in principles, but react to events on a case-by-case basis — they spend a lot of effort in parsing language. Republicans and possibly most Americans react to the event of beheading a couple of American journalists on You Tube with the straightforward principle that ISIS obviously just declared war on us, and they will not get away with that.

Obama believes that he was elected to get us out of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe he was elected because a large percentage of the American electorate believed it would be a very good thing to have the first black president, especially one who was so cool. One thing we have learned in the intervening years is that Barack Obama is never, ever to blame, and he will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid being blamed.

The choices, from the very beginning, have all been bad. We sympathize, but that’s part of the deal. Harry Truman kept a sign on his desk saying “The buck stops here.” George W. Bush said ” I’m the decider”— he meant that as president, the messes arrived on his desk and he had to accept the difficulty and the blame if things go wrong. That’s why presidents have a lot of national security advisers, and regularly scheduled  briefings on the situation all over the world. Those two presidents had to make some very big decisions that are still questioned today. But they decided.

The fear of being blamed and the fear of being accused of going to war in Obama’s case has led to delay, and more delay. Mona Charen wrote:

Obama is particularly rigid in his adherence to leftist beliefs, but he is hardly an outlier in the Democratic Party. Democrats tend to believe that the natural state of the world is peace, and that if the U.S. is modest and unthreatening, it will be rewarded with happy allies and docile adversaries. Obama’s conviction that the U.S. should act only in support of allies in very limited circumstances, and seek accommodation with adversaries like Russia and Iran, is widely shared in the Democratic Party.

Even the appearance of ISIS couldn’t shake Obama’s belief that wars are “optional” and that, as he said in 2013, “This war, like all wars, must end.” As if the enemy doesn’t get a vote. Asked in January whether the specter of ISIS didn’t cast doubt on the wisdom of pulling every last U.S. soldier out of Iraq, Obama waved it off by calling them the “JV” team.

Obama’s six years of outreach to the Muslim community have yielded only the most chaos in the region since World War II. Mixed messages are the rule of the day. Joe Biden’s promise to go to the Gates of Hell to punish the beheaders doesn’t go comfortably with the President’s plan to reduce ISIS to a manageable problem, and everybody notices. Our allies and our enemies parse the words from this presidency, and they have pretty uniformly refrained from Obama’s broad coalition, on grounds that strong leadership is just not there.

After a day of riotous humor at the squirming avoidance of the word “war,” the administration will —very carefully — use the word.

You cannot help, however, finding it amusing at how frequently the Democrats bandy about the phrase “War on Women,” which seems to be about battling to get equal pay for women, which has been settled law since 1963. And of course they are up in arms about the Hobby Lobby decision which does not require businesses who have a conscientious objection to providing abortofacients for their employees to do so. Doesn’t prevent anyone from buying them over-the-counter. But if one employer escapes being forced to pay for something repugnant to their religion — it’s WAR?



Democrats Are Trying to Repeal the First Amendment! by The Elephant's Child

Democrats don’t like the give and take of normal political disagreement. They don’t want to argue and discuss and give a little to get what they want. They want to win, to be in charge completely, and to bring an end to the Republican party entirely, and just have us go away. No dissension, no arguments. Just begone.

And they especially want to repeal the First Amendment by allowing Congress to prohibit or restrict participation in political campaigns. Democrats like to claim that this is simply reversing the effect of the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases. but the bill sponsored by Senator Tom Udall goes much further than that. This is a remarkably bad bill, favored by Harry Reid and most Senate Democrats.

Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections, including through setting limits on—

(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office; and

(2) the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates. …

Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.

The states would be given similar powers to restrict participation in state elections.

Congress could thus set extremely low contribution and spending levels which would guarantee the re-election of incumbents. Could they set a high level for incumbents and a low level for challengers? Why not? Even the ACLU has come out in opposition. They pointed out some of the implications:

Congress could be allowed to restrict the publication of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s memoir “Hard Choices” were she to run for office.

Congress could criminalize a blog on the Huffington Post by the president of the League of Conservation Voters accusing Senator Marco Rubio of being a “climate change denier.”

A district attorney running for reelection could selectively prosecute political opponents using state campaign finance restrictions.

A state election agency, run by a corrupt patronage appointee, could use state law to limit speech by anti-corruption groups supporting reform.

In the absence of any real convictions, Democrats claim their real goal is “social justice.” but of course there is no such thing. There is just one kind of justice which is embodied in our laws and our courts. It has grown out of English Common Law, which in turn has grown out of decisions by judges and courts over the centuries.

Their real goal is winning. Being in charge. When they win elections, they can prosper from being part of the government and making laws the way they want to and directing the country — like offering everyone free health care, for example. That worked out well.

This is the general atmosphere in which Democrats are trying to gut the First Amendment to the Constitution. They just can’t handle all that freedom of political speech — especially when it comes from Republicans.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,067 other followers

%d bloggers like this: