American Elephants


This is Real Life, Not a Movie! by The Elephant's Child
May 30, 2009, 4:06 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Law, Military, National Security, Politics | Tags: ,

The Obama administration is repeating the national security mistakes of the Clinton Administration.  Andy McCarthy, who prosecuted the first World Trade Center bombing and knows what he is talking about, writes at National Review Online:

On Thursday, Josh Meyer of the Los Angeles Times broke the story that the FBI is edging the CIA out of the business of fighting international terrorism.  Under the bureau”s “global justice initiative, Meyer reported that “FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases.  They will expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option.”  Who needs a War on Terror, or even an “overseas contingency operation,” when all the world”s a crime scene?

If you’re thinking, “Hey, we’ve seen this movie before,” you”re right.  Slowly but surely, it’s September 10 again, a retreat into Clinton-era counterterrorism, when radical Islam prosecuted a war while we tried to prosecute radical Islam in court, playing cops-and-robbers while jihadists played for keeps.

Do read the whole article.  Dick Cheney was right.  The Obama administration is weak on national security, and our enemies have noticed.

The administration’s problem is an inability to recognize the difference between a criminal matter and a military matter.  They are not the same.  Obama is not much interested in foreign affairs, and it shows.  As Andy McCarthy says, “Yes, we’ve seen this movie before.  And we know how it ends.”



Sarah Palin Was Right. by The Elephant's Child
May 30, 2009, 4:06 am
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Global Warming

Sarah Palin told us back last July that we were not doing right.  We were asking the Saudis to ramp up their production of crude oil to help get the price of gas down.  Governor Palin pointed out that we had enough oil and gas in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea to supply America for a decade.  Alaska has the resources, she told us, and we don’t need to beg for them from Saudi Arabia.

The Chukchi Sea, northwest of Alaska’s landmass, was thought at the time to hold about 30 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Now Science magazine reports that the U.S. Geological Survey has found that the Chukchi Sea holds more resources than anyone believed.  There is estimated to be 1.6 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered gas — 30 percent of the world’s supply— and 83 billion barrels of undiscovered oil, 4 percent of the globe’s known resources, in those icy waters.

So much for the Peak Oil crowd.  And frankly, so much for the cap-and-trade schemes brewing in congress.  The earth has always been warming and cooling, and humanity adapts.  It has been warmer in the past, and cooler in the past.

Cap-and-trade will have no effect on global climate whatsoever.  It will raise the cost of living for each family somewhere from $3,000 to $4,000 a year while rewarding rent seekers in the Climate Action Partnership like Al Gore,  assorted power companies and environmental organizations who expect to profit hugely by trading carbon emission permits.

Global warming alarmism exists only in the computer programs of the UN’s IPCC, not in observed science, nor in geological history, as the preceding videos of Ian Plimer attest.  There is, however,  a lot of money to go to favored Democrat supporters and donors.

Will President Obama have the courage to call a halt to the cap-and-trade insanity? Doubtful.  As he extols wind and solar energy which cannot work, and claims that we need to escape our “dependence on foreign oil” will he seize upon a real solution or keep chasing environmental fantasies?  Or is all the cap-and-trade, the “clean alternate energy,” and the non-existent “green jobs” not about the environment at all, but really about more power for the government over the economy?

President Obama was just at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, extolling their $100 million solar power array, which allows them to sell $1 million worth of power to the grid.  There is definitely something wrong with that math.

A recent study by Exxon Mobil calculates that even as efforts to develop alternate fuels go ahead, oil will remain the dominant energy source through at least 2030, probably even more.

If we do not go after our own oil, the Russians will.  They have developed nuclear fueled drilling platforms especially for Arctic waters, and they clearly have ambitions of dominating the world’s energy business, and few qualms about closing in on others claims.

Congress needs to stop caving in to the radical environmental crowd.  The Greens have been wrong about global warming, wrong about green jobs, wrong about the Arctic melting, wrong about wind, solar and tidal power, wrong about nuclear power, wrong about hydropower, wrong about oil and natural gas, and wrong about the polar bears as well.

With a record like that, it really isn’t worth paying attention to them.



The Missing Science of Climate Change, Explained. by The Elephant's Child
May 29, 2009, 9:00 pm
Filed under: Energy, Environment, History

Australian Professor Ian Plimer has recently published — to rave reviews — a book on the basic science of climate change, titled Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science. Dr. Plimer is Australia’s most famous geologist, and an expert on our always changing climate and its influences on the earth.

The interview is fascinating, and Dr. Plimer is a warm, funny expert who is delightful to spend a few minutes with. I suspect that interviewer Brian Carlton expected to interview one of those ‘crazy global warming deniers,’ and had his eyes and mind opened a bit. Do watch, you will be glad you did.



Alert! Alert! New Information in the Grocery Bag Wars! by The Elephant's Child
May 28, 2009, 4:02 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Environment, Law | Tags: , ,

We previously thoroughly explained the grocery bag wars here.  The whole supposed reason behind the banning of plastic bags was phony.  Shoppers in many locations are urged to buy cloth bags, and in some cities like Seattle are charged 20¢ for each plastic or paper bag.   Since the studies upon which environmentalists rested their silly demands were misrepresented, it took a really uninformed government or the most dedicated of nannies to pass such regulations.

Now we have a new study.  “The main risk is food poisoning“, Dr. Richard Summerbell, research director at Toronto -based Sporometrics and the former chief of medical mycology for the Ontario Ministry of Health said in evaluating the study results.  Other risks include allergic reactions, triggering of asthma attacks, skin infections such as bacterial boils, and ear infections.

The study found that 64 percent of reusable cloth bags were contaminated, and close to 30 percent had bacterial counts higher than what is considered  safe for drinking water.  40 percent of the bags had yeast or mold, and some had an unacceptable presence of coliforms, faecal intestinal bacteria, when there should have been none at all.

The dark, moist, warm interior of a folded, used reusable bag is an ideal incubator for bacteria when it has been infected with a small amount of water and trace food contamination.

The potential for cross-contamination is high when bags are used for successive trips to the grocery.  Check-out staff may transfer microbes if the contaminates get on their hands.  Leaking meat wrappings, water from moist produce, cracked eggs or leaking dairy containers are the fuel for elevated bacterial counts.

Do not use cloth grocery bags for toting gym clothes or diapers or anything but groceries to prevent  any possible exposure to MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant infectious bacterium.  In cases of food poisoning, researchers will have to test reusable bags as well as food products for the source of contaminates.

In the meantime, another little chore is added after you put the groceries away.  Bleach and launder the cloth bags carefully after each use.

Liberals and environmentalists are uninterested in consequences.  They keep sticking us with regulations that don’t work, are dangerous to our health, destructive, and/or useless  in their continued efforts to remake the world in the image of the fantasy in their minds.



Healthcare: Government is the PROBLEM, not the Solution. by American Elephant
May 28, 2009, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Politics, Socialism

Great new ad from Patients United Now featuring a Canadian woman warning Americans against socialized health care, one of the few groups I have seen fighting socialized medicine with television ads. The ad is currently playing in 8 states. Help them out if you can.



Time To Get Out The Pitchforks, Folks! Stupid Democrat Tricks. by The Elephant's Child
May 27, 2009, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care, Taxes

Well.  President Obama is beginning to discover how expensive his health care plans are.  In spite of promises of less costly health care, his administration’s Ezekiel Emmanuel (brother of Rahm) and Peter Orzag (budget chief), are now talking about a 10 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) to — guess what — help pay for health care!  Once again the words of his mouth do not match his actions.

For the uninitiated, a VAT is a tax on every economic transaction at every stage, from raw goods to consumer.  Europe has one, and it is one of the reasons for European decline in standard of living, decline in freedom, economic activity and happiness.

Democrats want more money, now that they’ve spent so much. In Congress, they are pushing a Cap-and-Trade tax (Waxman/Markey), and talking about some kind of internet tax.

Christina Romer, President Obama’s chief economic adviser, has written one of the most careful studies of the economic effects of raising taxes. Going back to 1947, she found that raising taxes by 1 percent resulted in a 2 to 3 percent drop in Gross Domestic Product.

Consequences!  They don’t care about consequences, they want nationalized health care so they can run our lives, because they know best.  They want to save the planet from nonexistent global warming.  Does it occur to no one that they should just stop spending?  Will they never, never learn?



128 Days Later: It Can Always Get Worse by American Elephant
May 27, 2009, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Humor, Politics, YouTube | Tags: ,

Hilarious new parody from the libertarian ReasonTV, the same outfit that brought us, “Real Men of Genius” starring American Elephants‘ very own Joe Depot photoshop. The new video spoofs the hit zombie-flick, 28 Days Later. (No, you don’t have to have seen the original to enjoy the spoof). Be sure to watch through to the end:

Hilarious. Still, I have to disagree that Biden would be worse. Obama is far worse. Yes, Biden is an idiot, but I don’t think he would dare push America as far left, as fast, as Obama is, nor do I think he would be given the complete uncritical pass that has been given to Obama.

(h/t Ed Morrissey)



If We Adopt Obamacare, Where Will the Canadians Go For Their Health Care? Part II. by The Elephant's Child
May 27, 2009, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Health Care, Socialism

Democrats are determined to pass a health care bill.  The U.S. already spends $2.2 trillion a year on health care, and stuck something like $150 billion more in the stimulus package to turn towards greater government control over health care.  President Obama is quite sure that by giving the government control over health care that we will save vast amounts of money.

One of the hobbyhorses that I haul out of the barn most frequently, is the idea that the Left is interested in their good intentions — their goals— and uninterested in consequences.  The Right cares about consequences, and wants to know how things will work, how expensive it will be, if there are unintended consequences, and if what is proposed is a workable solution.  The Left cares about the next election and making headlines.  The Right tries to explain the consequences, often to people who pay attention only to headlines.

The current push, on the surface,  is to ensure that everyone has health insurance.  In the fine print, it is intended to move everyone into nationalized health care.  Promoted as free health care because the “government pays for it.” Which sounds enticing until you realize that the government has no money of it own.  Government printing presses are churning out money, but we have to pay for every cent.

First of all, there is no one in America who cannot get medical care.  Emergency rooms are required by law to treat everyone.  We are told that there are 45.7 million people without health insurance, but this is a highly inaccurate figure. (A nice way to say it’s a lie) Keith Hennessey, who was the senior economic adviser to President George W. Bush has a dandy clarification of these numbers on his blog.  There are probably closer to only 10 million who are truly uninsured.

Democrats believe that they will save health care money by having everyone insured (insuring 50 million more people would cost another $2.5 to 3 trillion). They will save by getting everyone’s medical records computerized and available online (studies suggest that the technology is not there yet, and savings are mostly illusory).

They plan to control costs.  Doctors are paid too much, hospitals are too expensive, surgery should be cheaper, drugs are too expensive.  They will squeeze.  (Consequence time.  If doctors cannot get paid for all the years of training and hard work, the best and the brightest will do something else. Hospitals will get dirtier, staff will be more poorly paid, expensive machines will be forgone.  Drug companies will innovate less, expensive drugs will not be marketed and those who needed them will go without).  Over 65?  If it’s expensive, forget it.  Old folks are going to die soon anyway.

These are the good intentions.  They will save money and give you wonderful health care.  But do you suppose that members of the government have any intention of participating in this themselves?  Not on your life.  They are very fond of their own health insurance.

America has the best health care in the world.  No exceptions.  Better outcomes, better survival rates.  70% of the insured rate their health insurance as good or excellent.  So it’s really important that we change it all so the federal government is in charge?  Are the American people that stupid? Government is much of the reason for the high cost of health care.  There are problems, but there are also solutions.

A family health insurance plan in New York costs more then $12,000 a year.  A family health insurance plan in Wisconsin costs around $3,000.  What is the difference?  In many states, regulations force people to buy coverage for certain conditions or treatments.  In 11 states, it must cover acupuncture.  In 46 states, it must cover chiropractic service.  Many states demand that no one be refused insurance, and that everyone pays the same price — makes it easy for people to take advantage, waiting until they are really ill before getting insurance.  Regulators feel that if competition is allowed, insurers will grab the healthiest and refuse those with lont-term conditions like heart disease or cancer.  But there could be “Health Status Insurance” that is saved up to pay for the cost of higher insurance in the case of health shocks.  Well before it was required by law, insurance companies started offering “guaranteed renewable” policies.  There has never been an industry, a business or a product that competition has not improved.

Making insurance available nationally, across state lines, tort reform, making insurance policies portable, there are all sorts of  workable ideas for actually reducing costs.  I have written about health care frequently because I have read about nationalized health care in Britain and Canada, and I pray that we do not go down that path.  Here is one of my earliest posts.  And here is Daniel Hannan MEP (Member of the European Parliament) emphasizing why we should not choose to follow England’s example. For others, simply enter “health care” in the search function in the sidebar.  Part I is to be found here.

A free society, if it is to remain free, requires citizens who take the risk of standing up to be counted on the issues of the day. (Walter Wriston)



Chicken Little in Full Cry, Oh My! Oh My! by The Elephant's Child
May 27, 2009, 2:30 am
Filed under: Environment, Politics, Science/Technology

Chicken Little

How did we get here?  Seems like life was going along comfortably and then suddenly, the sky was falling.  The rain forests were dying, the seas were rising, the globe was heating, there was the ozone layer and acid rain, pollution everywhere, the water was bad, the air was bad, species were endangered, the bald eagle — our national symbol, for heaven’s sake — was endangered, and whatever was happening was clearly all our fault.  Chicken Little in full cry.

Rachel Carson, well-meaning but deluded, wrote a book denouncing DDT.  One thing led to another and the newly created EPA banned DDT, as did the World Health Organization.  After 25 years and 50 million preventable deaths from malaria, in 2006 the WHO  lifted the ban.  But now, the UN has reversed itself and plans to cut back use of DDT by 30 percent by 2015 and a complete phase-out by 2020.  This is politics, not science, and certainly not caring for the children of the poorest people in Africa.  Spraying huts with DDT is the most effective protection against malaria.  Environmentalists just don’t like pesticides in any form.

Well, the seas aren’t rising, or rising so slowly you’d never notice.  There has been a 91 percent decrease in lead in air quality, a 76 percent decrease in carbon monoxide, 68 percent decrease in sulfur dioxide, and the air is really quite clean.  Scientists have discovered that the rain forest re-grows, even in drought.  The substitute for the asthma inhalers that they forced on asthmatics don’t work well.  The bald eagles and the polar bears are just fine. We had a pair of bald eagles sitting on a tree in our front yard last year.

What is it that convinces this generation of people that they are so important that they, and they alone are causing the decline and death of the planet.  If the earth has warmed by one degree, one degree from what?  What is the “right” temperature, and how do we know that is right?  It has been far warmer in the past, and far colder too.  It’s 54° here right now.  It was far colder this winter, and it will probably get up into the 80°s this summer.  What is the right temperature?

Congress is depending on the UN’s IPCC projections of future climate.  The weatherman doesn’t do very well past 7 days in the future.  What makes the IPCC think they can tell us how much warmer it will be in 50 years?  It is their computer climate models, which they program with what they know about today’s climate, add some guesses for what they don’t know, and—poof — out comes the future climate.  Simple.

Except those things they know, like the U.S. temperature record which is the oldest and most reliable of any world temperature record, turns out to not be reliable at all, but falsely warmer because some doofus put the thermometers right next to air conditioner vents or trash burners.  The Arctic is not melting, and they just discovered that ocean currents don’t work the way they thought they did. The IPCC was all set to make the Medieval Warm Period vanish from history, because Michael Mann’s computer climate model didn’t include it.  Unfortunately, real people living in medieval times wrote about the climate and it’s flowering in the finest climate known to man, and artists painted the climate they saw.  The obsession with climate models and the confidence that whatever a computer says is correct, is baffling.  GIGO.

Besides, I understand that the climate models were derived from financial forecasting economic models, and you know how well that worked out.



Tomb of The Unknown Soldier by The Elephant's Child
May 25, 2009, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Freedom, History, Military | Tags: , ,

Tomb

seal

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns and why?
21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?
21 seconds for the same reason as answer number one.

3. Why are his gloves wet?
His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and if not, why not?
He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb.  After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5.  How often are the guards changed?
Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, and 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?
A person who applies for guard duty at the tomb must be between 5′ 10″ and 6′ 2″ tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30″.

Other requirements of the Guard: they must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform (by fighting) or the tomb in any way.  After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb.  There are only 400 presently worn.

The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet.  There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt.  There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform.  Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

During the first six months of duty a guard may not talk to anyone, nor watch TV. Off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.  A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred.  Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis (the boxer) and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, (the most decorated soldier of WWII) of Hollywood fame.  Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.

ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD, AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington D.C., our U.S. Senate and House took 2 days off in anticipation of the storm.  On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend their assignment.   They respectfully declined the offer, “No way, Sir!”  Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment; it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person.

The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

One tomb is empty: the Vietnam Tomb.  It was later discovered who was in the tomb.  The family had the remains removed and buried with military honors. Congress decided to leave the tomb empty.  Fox News carried the full live service at the tombs.  The other channels passed it by.  All who have served understand the bond.  Freedom is never free.

R. Harper



Have Conservatives Infiltrated ABC? by American Elephant
May 24, 2009, 3:40 am
Filed under: Humor, Liberalism, Media Bias, Politics, Television | Tags: ,

Something is going on at ABC. (No, not the news division, they’re still hopelessly biased.) First there was this:

Telegenic newcomers promising Hope™, Change™, and a cure for everything that ails humanity are really reptilian monsters here to enslave the human race. They have a logo, graphic blue pamphlets emblazoned with empty platitudes, they even demand positive media coverage. Surely the network that still dutifully refuses to rebroadcast or even sell The Path to 9/11 (at the direction of Bill Clinton) wouldn’t knowingly produce such a perfect allegory for the Obama administration? Surely it’s a mistake?

But now there’s another new ABC show headed our way. From the creators of Beavis and  Butthead, and King of the Hill, comes a new animated comedy, mocking….*gasp*….liberalism!

I can think of at least 10 liberal special interest groups that will be outraged, OUTRAGED I SAY, with The Goode Family (not to be confused with one of my all-time favorite shows, Good Neighbors).

What on Earth is going on at ABC?  Have they forgotten, at their peril, that liberals are utterly incapable of laughing at themselves? Have they been bought up by Rupert Murdoch? Infiltrated by conservatives? Or have ad revenues dropped so drastically that they were forced to recognize that conservatives also have TV’s and buy things?

In the unlikely event that  the shows escape drastic re-writes and somehow make it to air in anything resembling present form, I predict loud, smelly protests, angry boycotts and Twitter campaigns! or maybe just the outright nationalization of the television industry.

Perhaps all of the above.

Whatever transpires, it’s sure to be entertaining!

(h/t Big Hollywood)



Vice President Cheney Gave a Splendid Speech at AEI on Thursday. Here It Is. by The Elephant's Child
May 23, 2009, 12:23 am
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Middle East, National Security | Tags: , ,

With an uncooperative Congress refusing to appropriate funds to close Guantanamo, President Obama didn’t really want to make a national security speech. But he was being criticized by both Democrats and Republicans who believe that bringing the “worst of the worst” detainees from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay to the United States for trial and imprisonment is a bad idea. Obama really doesn’t like criticism.

And then there is Dick Cheney — Mr. Gravitas himself.  Democrats have for years  attempted to portray him as Darth Vader, but it simply doesn’t work.  Vice President Cheney is above all a patriot, and concerned for the welfare of his country.  He has served in government in many administrations with great distinction.  He is no longer in office, he has nothing to gain from speaking publicly, no favor to seek, no elections to win or lose.  He is a private citizen with vast experience who wished the present administration success in the current troubled world.  He does not criticize President Obama, but merely explains why, in the Bush administration, they made the policy decisions that they did.  It was a splendid speech and deeply illuminating, the actions that they took carefully explained.

Well.  The usual suspects (who probably didn’t either hear or read the speech) were immediately out there foaming at the mouth, calling Mr. Cheney all the usual names.

President Obama’s speech was surprisingly defensive, and deeply dishonest.  But one wonders why Obama feels it necessary to constantly denounce his predecessor, who was extremely gracious to him, helping him to meet all the living presidents in private and ask their advice, making the transition easy and comfortable.  I guess Obama is just another far-left sufferer from BDS.  But the campaign is over.  Bush has returned to private life, and Bush is not responsible for the financial problems.  It’s time for Obama to take responsibility for his own actions, and deal with the problems that he finds on his plate, without whining, as all past presidents have had to do.

The necessity for closing Guantanamo is a mystery.  So the French don’t like it — so what? If Gitmo, a state-of-the-art facility, is reduced to rubble and all detainees incarcerated in our maximum security prison, the French still won’t commit any more troops to Afghanistan, take any more of our prisoners, or commit any more funds.  They don’t care about Guantanamo at all; it’s only the usual European demagoguery.

Attorney General Holder was in Europe recently trying to get European governments to accept some of our detainees.  He was addressing a group of journalists, professors and others, and someone in the audience asked “Why can’t you just put the innocent ones in a hotel?” As if there were innocents there.

This demonstrates the problem. Those who have some foggy idea that the Iraq War was “unnecessary”, that our policies “created” terrorists, and why did we have to mess with Saddam anyway, are so far from grasping the basic nature of the problem that it is perhaps impossible to explain.  Obama is beginning to grasp the nature of the detainees and to understand that there are some that, although vicious and dangerous, have not officially committed a crime.  They are military prisoners, detained because in an ongoing war they cannot be returned to the battlefield to kill Americans.  Of those already released, one in seven has returned to fighting with al Qaeda.

A lot of thought and study went into the construction of the facility at Gitmo. A lot of propaganda effort by those opposed to the war went into an attempt to make it appear as something evil.  So re-brand it.  Change the name.  If we can continue the war by calling it an “overseas contingency operation”, then call the detention center  the Caribbean Detainee Resort, The Reeducation College for Contingency Guests.  Suggestions are welcome.  No prizes.

Here is Vice President Cheney, plain-spoken, honest and full of gravitas:




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