American Elephants

The Russia Flap, The Russia Flap. The Russia Flap by The Elephant's Child

One of the people to whom I always pay attention is Victor Davis Hanson. His views of the world today are formed and influenced by his deep knowledge of history, the patterns of thought that descend from the Greek Classics down to today’s world, and are well-seasoned by plain old common sense that comes from a background in farming and coping with the vicissitudes of weather and regulation.

His article “The Russian Farce” from National Review is a masterpiece in today’s strange world where every public or private word that can be nit-picked — will be, ominous meanings will be attached and debated, and the Democrats really need to take a couple of aspirin and lie down for a while and maybe they’ll feel better. Hysteria is not becoming.

In the same manner, Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev was often portrayed in the media as the urbane, suave, and reasonable conciliator, while President Ronald Reagan was depicted as the uncouth disrupter of what could have been improved Russian–American relations.

Senator Ted Kennedy reportedly reached out to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov in 1984 to gain his help in denying Reagan his reelection.

In sum, the American Left always felt that Russia was unduly demonized by the American Right and was a natural friend, if not potential ally, of the United States. That tradition no doubt influenced the decision of the incoming Obama administration to immediately reach out to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, despite its recent aggressions in Georgia and steady crackdown on internal dissent, and despite Russia’s estrangement from the prior Bush administration.

Do read the whole thing. It disposes of the silly Russia flap quite thoroughly, should embarrass a whole bunch of reporters, and points out the drive to deny reality.

You Can’t Say That! The Democratic Party Has A Hissy-Fit! by The Elephant's Child

Rudy Giuliani said:I do not believe — and I know this is a horrible thing to say — but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

The Washington Post said: “Let’s be clear: NO politician with any sort of national ambition — or any sort of ambition at all, really — would say what Giuliani reportedly said about Obama. Not one. Questioning patriotism is a line that simply is not crossed at that level of politics.

Senator Barack Obama speaking about George W. Bush:“We now have 9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back. That’s 30 thousand dollars for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible, it’s unpatriotic.” Today’s National Debt ($18,000,000,000,000+. $56.602+ for every man, woman and child. Irresponsible? Unpatriotic?)

Barack Obama said: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” October 30,2008 (Loves it, but wants to fundamentally transform it?)

“The Democratic party is no longer the party of John F. Kennedy, whose politics were identical to Ronald Reagan’s (militant anti-Communist, military hawk, in favor of a capital gains tax cut and a balanced budget)…The Democratic Party has moved steadily leftward since the 1972 presidential campaign of George McGovern until it is now a party of the Left, led by progressives who are convinced that their policies are way stations on the path to a “better world.”…

The Democrats made Obamacare their priority because they are social missionaries whose goal is to “fundamentally transform” the United States of America, as Obama warned five days before the 2008 election. Creating a massive new government program that would absorb one-sixth of the economy and make every American dependent on government for his health needs was the first item on the Democrats’ missionary agenda. They saw it as a milestone on the way to a brave new future. That is the way progressives think, and their opponents had better understand what that means. Progressives are not in politics to tinker with the existing system, although they understand that tinkering and fixing problems along the way will gain them votes. They are in politics to transform the way Americans live. …

The very grandeur of their ambition turns progressives into zealots, they dream of using the power of the state to make everyone equal and to take are of everyone’s needs. They are going to legislate—and dictate—social equality and social justice. How intoxicating is that idea? It explains why progressives  approach politics differently from conservatives. It doesn’t matter to progressives that the massive entitlement programs they created—Social Security and Medicare—are already bankrupt. They can take care of that by making wealthy people pay their “fair share.”Progressives believe that if they can appropriate enough money and accumulate enough power, they can make their glorious future work. Everything Democrats do and every campaign they conduct is about mobilizing their political resources to bring about this result. It is about social transformation—one program and one candidate at a time. No Republican in his right mind thinks like this.”
David Horowitz: Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left.

Obamacare has already become unaffordable. Not only does it not meet Obama’s boasting statements, it’s simply not going to work. You will have insurance that you cannot afford, that does not serve your health care needs, that you are forced to buy. The zealots on the Left want the good feelings of moving toward social equality and social justice far more than they care about anything actually working or improving anyone’s life. The future they are promoting has already failed elsewhere, but they can see only the promise, not the actuality. History is something to transcend, not evidence from which they are supposed to learn. Besides they weren’t the ones to do it. The future is an idea that has not yet been tried.

Progressives may have grand ideas about social equality and social justice, but they are sorely lacking in a most important attribute—self awareness.

ADDENDUM:  Democrat hissy-fits go like this. Giuliani’s comments were following in Obama’s own footsteps. The president has never hesitated to call someone who disagrees with him unpatriotic. 1) Immediate outrage. 2) Try to get other Republicans on the record about it, to make it part of the 2016 conversation and 3) Play the race card! “Whenever the president’s own behavior is indefensible, they can always find someone to call a racist.”

(Typo in 3rd Paragraph corrected)

Obama Fiddles While America Burns. by The Elephant's Child

U.S. economic growth is dangerously slow. The media is not about to talk about it, the president is campaigning and doesn’t want anyone to know, so he’s telling whoppers again; and he’d rather talk about how Romney is rich and doesn’t care, and makes gaffes.  We’re coming up on stall speed, and the president is still trying blame someone else, deny reality, and pretend that everything is turning out just fine.

Stephanie Cutter, Obama campaign spokesperson, says not to worry, the economy is going to create 12 million jobs all by itself over the next four years. Magic. Just lie, get voted back in, and maybe they can think of something — after the election — that moment in time where everything unpleasant is being hidden.

The second quarter Gross Domestic Product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — has been revised downward to 1.3 percent. $16 billion less than the estimate issued last month. The downward revision and a chillingly large drop in Durable goods orders is bad.  “There is growing risk that a 2013 tax shock could push the economy back into recession” and there is little that the Fed can do.

Four major business groups see gloomy times ahead for the job market and the economy, according to a string of separate surveys and polls released this week that cast fresh doubt on hopes that the economic recovery may have turned the corner. Top executives and small-business owners polled by the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Federation of Independent Business, and chief financial officers surveyed by Deloitte pointed to uncertainty posed by new regulations, shaky demand overseas and the “fiscal cliff” facing the federal government as prime reasons keeping companies from investing and hiring at a faster pace.

Clyde Wayne Crews, a Competitive Enterprise Institute vice president has made a working project of his “Tip of the Costberg”report which he regularly updates. In it, he compares the cost of regulations estimated by federal agencies to a much broader list of estimates from several federal and independent sources.Even then, he said, it doesn’t include hard-to-calculate costs associated with antitrust intervention, regulation of electricity networks, or the cost of constrained access to natural resources.

When Congress or a federal agency issues a new regulation, it’s in the guise of fixing something, making somebody stop doing something, or wouldn’t it be nice if they…In other words, they think in terms of what they want to force someone else to do. They don’t think much in terms of the consequences of their big idea.

Whatever-it-is probably requires a lot more paperwork. The government loves paperwork, but more paperwork requires more people to do the paperwork, they require salaries and benefits and parking places. If the regulation says you can’t use this ingredient in your product, then there is a long search for a different way to produce the product, which may require new machinery, or more electric power. The new costs of the new people and the new machinery may require cutting expenses elsewhere.

“While the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reports amounts of up to $88.6 billion in 2010 dollars,” says Crews, “the non-tax cost of government intervention in the economy, without performing a sweeping survey, appears to total up to $1.806 trillion annually, and in many categories perhaps even considerably more, is a defensible assessment of the annual impact on the economy.”

The Small Business Administration has estimated $1.7 trillion, which the White House rejected. For comparison, the total U.S. GDP is $15 trillion. Taking$1.7 trillion out of GDP to satisfy the bright ideas of a bunch of politicians who have never worked in the private sector and have no understanding of how you make a business turn a profit, seems absolutely insane.  But then you have to consider the Democrats who, at their convention, thought banning profit was a good idea.  Elizabeth Warren, Democrat candidate for the Senate in Massachusetts, actually said much the same thing in her speech to the convention.

It is hard to adequately explain the problem of overregulation.  The administration rejects the idea, and Obama on the campaign trail, sneers that Republicans just want to eliminate all the regulations on Wall Street so they can cause another financial crisis. There’s so much wrong with that idea that it is breathtaking. Compliance with ObamaCare is estimated at 80 million man hours per year.

Last week, 1.571 new pages of regulations were published in the 2012 Federal Register That is the equivalent of a new regulation every 2 hours and 13 minutes — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

According to a recent study,  the Pew Research Center said that only 15 percent of Democrats believe that recent economic news is mostly poor.

Headline in the Heritage Foundation blog this morning: “Obama and Congress Are Choosing to Cause a Recession.” “The very fact that we can see a  recession coming is shocking. ‘Economic forecasters almost never forecast recessions” explained Heritage’s J.D. Foster. “Those who do forecast recessions do with great frequency and belong to the doom-and-gloom school of economics.’ Yet we can see this one a  mile away;”

What makes this recession different, and predictable, is that the disruptive force is Washington policies and, even more, Washington behaviors—policies and behaviors for which the nation can thank the Congress and especially President Obama. The policy is Taxmageddon. The behavior is intentional, insistent inaction. The consequence is recession. The response should and will be outrage.

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