American Elephants


Meanwhile, Back at The Russian Yearning For Empire: by The Elephant's Child

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From Bill Gertz at the Free Beacon:

Moscow violated a key strategic nuclear arms accord by developing a ground-launched cruise missile banned under the 1987 agreement, according to the State Department.

“The United States has determined that the Russian federation is in violation of its obligations under the [Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces] Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles,” the annual arms compliance report made public Tuesday states.

The INF treaty breach, which had been kept secret by the Obama administration since 2010, is a setback for President Barack Obama’s arm-control-focused national security policies. (emphasis added)

Obama finally got around to acknowledging that Mr. Putin’s Russia  has violated the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by President Reagan and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev. He sent Vladimir an angry letter. As reported by the New York Times it was written with presidential outrage, and Obama “expressed his desire for a high-level dialogue with Moscow with the aim of preserving the 1987 treaty and discussing steps the Kremlin might take to come back into compliance.”

Uh huh. I’m sure Russia is just itching to get back into compliance. Vladimir Putin also dropped by Cuba to renew the old relationship. Mr Putin wants to rebuild the old Soviet empire. He has said so. He has also said that the collapse of the Soviet empire was the greatest catastrophe in the world. Why do we always assume that when people tell us their aims, they are lying and we know better?

The Castros remain paranoid, and power-hungry as ever. They run a good business  making the island available to criminal states like Iran and North Korea. A spokesman for the Russian Black Sea Fleet announced in August of 2013 that the Russian guided missile warship Moskva, the flagship, would visit Cuba and other ports in Central and South America. In February the Russian Defense Minister announced that Russia had engaged in talks to establish military bases in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. Does Putin really want to do the Cold War all over again?

The Obama administration clings to sanctions as the way to conflict resolution. The fundamental flaw in that way of thinking is that Putin cannot retreat, for retreating poses a real threat to his own power position at hone. After the invasion of Crimea, he has been talking up the return to empire and Russian greatness. Putin believes the West to be weak and irresolute.

The U.S. and the EU made good on their threats of dramatic sanctions on Russia. They targeted the energy, arms and finance sectors. The EU only blocked future arms business with Russia, not past deals. Obama said mildly “the issue is how do we prevent bloodshed in eastern Ukraine?” At Zero Hedge, Tyler Durden quoted the Financial Times:

One person close to Mr Putin said the Yukos ruling was insignificant in light of the bigger geopolitical stand-off over Ukraine.  “There is a war coming in Europe,” he said. “Do you really think this matters?”

At the American Interest, Andrew A. Michta points our that the West is treating the fighting in eastern Ukraine as a specific crisis, rather than what it is:  part of Putin’s larger strategy.

None of the actions taken by the United States and Europe thus far would cost Putin more than he is willing to pay. Worse, the West’s foot-dragging and disunity only confirm Putin in his judgment that he remains in control, while also deepening his disdain for the West. Even if the West were to get its wish and Putin were to agree today to a ceasefire and negotiations, he would retain both de facto control of eastern Ukraine and the option to recommence hostilities at will. He would, in effect, get the West to do part of his work for him.

What Putin wants is fairly clear. What he will actually do about it is not. The adventurism in Cuba and South America is probably intended to distract us with events in our backyard, and the alliances make Russia seem more important? They’re a little short on friendly alliances.



For All The Guys Out There: by The Elephant's Child

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Did You Believe We’re Going In The Wrong Direction? You’re Right. by The Elephant's Child

From the New York Times via Paul Caron, the taxprof:

Median household net worth has fallen 36% since 2003. The typical household is now worth a third less.

Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.

The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution — the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower. But during the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially.

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Funny, President Obama keeps telling us how much the economy has recovered, and all the new jobs.



700 Civilians Killed In Just Two Days in Syria, but The News Is All About Gaza. by The Elephant's Child

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The outrage over Israel’s attempt to end Hamas’ rocket attacks on their civilians has brought demonstrations in Europe and even here. Hamas goes to great lengths to see that any news is slanted to favor Hamas, for to them any opportunity to discredit Israel or even cause them discomfort  is a triumph over a hated enemy. In other words, you cannot believe Hamas’ counts of civilian deaths or deaths of children. Victor Davis Hanson sums it up:

Hamas sees the death of its civilians as an advantage; Israel sees the death of its civilians as a disaster. Defensive missiles explode to save civilians in Israel; in Gaza, civilians are placed at risk of death to protect offensive missiles.

Hamas wins by losing lots of its people; Israel loses by losing a few of its own. Hamas digs tunnels in premodern fashion; Israel uses postmodern high technology to detect them. Hamas’s missiles usually prove ineffective; Israel’s bombs and missiles almost always hit their targets. Quiet Israeli officers lead from the front; loud Hamas leaders flee to the rear. Incompetency wins sympathy; expertise, disdain. …

Democracy and free markets bring Westerners liberty, human rights, and prosperity — but many Westerners scorn these things in Israel, siding with those who deny human rights, ruin their economy, and practice a brutal prejudice against women, gays, and non-Muslims. In Gaza, a gay reporter, a female reporter with bare arms, a reporter with a small crucifix around his neck, the rare journalist who, surrounded by screaming Hamas supporters, dares to broadcast the truth from Gaza — all these in private would admit to being in fear while they are in Gaza in a way they are not when in Israel.

More Muslims were killed in two days in Syria than in the entire Hamas/Gaza War. More than 700 people were killed in Syria over last Thursday and Friday in some of the bloodiest days in that conflict to date. Assad is taking advantage of a media environment in which most everything else is ignored to concentrate on Gaza. That’s what civilian casualties look like in a real war. In Gaza, residents are warned when the IDF is going to demolish a tunnel, they get leaflets telling them what parts of Gaza are perfectly safe. The IDF is not only not interested in killing civilians, they try desperately to avoid it, for they are only interested in destroying tunnels and missile bases. Hamas sends civilians to the sites that are going to be attacked to act as human shields, and if they are killed, Israel can be blamed.

According to Twitter and Google, an NBC journalist reported they had personally witnessed an Israeli drone attack and fire on a he main hospital in Gaza. The report was shortly completely scrubbed. Israelis say they have confirmed that the Gazan hospital was hit by rockets fired in Gaza by Hamas, not by Israel or an Israeli drone. I understand that Gaza has only the one major hospital, the one where Hamas  has it’s leadership’s bunker buried underneath the hospital. One hundred rockets fired from Gaza have fallen within Gaza.

Israel was celebrated by the left when it was represented by socialist kibbutzim, with happy workers tilling the fields. When it fought a war against the Arabs of the Middle East and won, they quit being celebrated. I have a hunch, which may be wrong, that the left is deeply influenced by words like “refugee camps,” “poverty,” “blockade,” ” border fence,”  and conversely odd ideas about the Jews controlling governments or industries.  Oddly, this time around, Israel is supported by Egypt and Jordan, and even the Fatah Palestinian faction that runs the West Bank want Hamas to become weaker.

The picture above is of a pleasant Syrian neighborhood.



Sixty-Four Percent of Hispanics Want the Kids Deported. by The Elephant's Child

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Remember how this all started? Breitbart broke the story of something like 50 thousand unaccompanied children escaping the violence at home arrived illegally at our borders. It was a way to pressure the GOP into caving in on amnesty. Stories of Border Patrol agents changing diapers, mothers with toddlers, always emphasis on the “children.”  We must have compassion for the little children. Well, as the news spread, it became clear that the media, as usual, were either lying to us or ill-informed themselves. Take your pick. 47% of the illegals were young men of  age 11-18. A significant number were recruiters for Mara-Salvatrucha, the violent street gang of young men also, coincidentally, age 11-18.

The amnesty idea caved in among the public pretty rapidly. A new poll from Economist/YouGov makes it pretty clear that the plan has backfired badly.  Only 11% of the people want what Obama, the Democrats and the media want, which is amnesty for everyone. 77 percent of Americans want the kids sent back home. A full 43 percent want them deported immediately, regardless of what’s happening in their home countries. Another 35 percent want them sent back unless their home country is unsafe.

Further information from questioning the kids has demonstrated that they are NOT escaping violence at home, but are here because of Obama’s promises of amnesty. They were told in their home countries that if they got here they could get in and be cared for. Many were sent with an address or phone number of relatives in the U.S. Many were sent with smugglers. Neither the Border Patrol nor ICE are checking the people to whom the kids have been delivered, not the citizenship, address, nor their relation. The same people have turned up to accept several different children. They are told to turn up for a deportation hearing, but statistically only 20 percent ever do. The rest disappear in the population.

It turns out that Hispanics aren’t all that different from the rest of Americans. Only 22 percent want to give the children amnesty, and a full 64 percent want the children deported. Of that 64 percent, 28 percent want them deported immediately, 36 percent want them deported unless their home country is considered unsafe. But I thought all the Hispanics were demonstrating, demanding amnesty for all. Mostly, they’re right in line with the rest of the country.

The media apparently decided to ignore the problem in favor of concentrating on Israel and Hamas. But 81 percent of the American people believe the jump in illegal immigration is a very serious problem. 57 percent believe that the increasing numbers of illegals is due to the belief that the American government will grant the children amnesty. Only 29 percent believe it was due to increased violence in Central America.

Obama seems remarkably uninterested in the problem, which is interfering with his fundraising and golf. He seems indignant that Republicans are not going along with his ideas about amnesty and determined to pay them back for not letting him have his way. Stubborn petulance would seem to describe it. He is the President of the United States and he expects deference and cooperation, because — he is the most important man in the free world.  That doesn’t seem to comport with the idea that America should just be one nation among many, does it.



Obama Creates New Job-Training Plan, Then Floods Job Market With Illegals. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama has announced “The First Significant Legislative Reform of Our Job-Training System in a Number of Years: The ‘Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act,” which he signed into law last week. I remain skeptical. Our experience with green jobs, crumbling roads and bridges, or something like 45 or 50 federal job-training programs that were duplicative or useless didn’t work out well.

The president tasked Vice President Biden with a review of our country’s job-training programs to make sure that they have one mission; training our workers with the skills employers need, and matching them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.

About the time that Obama was boasting about all the green jobs his various green energy programs were going to create, I was getting some additional insulation for my attic. Obama had a lot of programs going to train people to better insulate houses. A little perusal of the phone book demonstrated that there were lots of small companies already selling insulation services, and hurting in a down economy because they didn’t have enough work.

It turned out that there weren’t all that many “green jobs”anyway, and when the government tried to list them, the list contained garbage truck drivers, bus drivers, accountants, all sorts of occupations that seemed a real stretch to call “green. Turned out the wind turbines and solar arrays were installed by factory representatives that did a one-time install and that job was over. All that remained was maintenance. And most of the green energy companies went bankrupt in short order anyway.

What has continued to bother me is the clear attitude of the administration that things like job training should be the province of the government. What do a bunch of bureaucrats who have never worked in the private sector know about job training? But there is this certainty that a program or a policy requires a governmental expert to devise the program and be in charge of the program. I have seen no evidence that most of the people in government are experts.

I labor under the conviction that there is very little that is done by the government that is well done or efficient or well designed, or even necessary. The government’s number one job is national defense, and no administration has ever done such a bumbling job of it.  Now they are slashing the military to the size it was before World War II!

We lost a lot of good men who tried to do battle with inadequate and obsolete equipment and waiting for trained replacements, quite specifically because our government was unready and unprepared for war. In 1933 the Army of the United States numbered 137,000 men, 16th in size in the world. The French army was 5 million. In 1940, Hitler invaded France. U.S.  conscription was reinstituted and by Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, the army had grown to 1,640,000. With our entry into WWII, the army expanded to 8,300,000— not very well trained and poorly equipped, but the Arsenal of Democracy was just tuning up.

“The bill I’m about to sign,” [Obama] said, “will give communities more certainty to invest in job-training programs for the long run.” He added that the bill will help bring those training programs into the 21st century by “building on what we know works based on evidence, and based on tracking what actually delivers” for those who enroll in the programs — more partnerships with employers, tools to measure performance, and flexibilities for states and cities to innovate and run their training programs in ways best suited for their particular demographics and particular industries.

The problem is the conviction that government must do it all, that government is full of wise experts who will direct the ordinary folk:

Before the signing, the Vice President presented the President with the “roadmap” he asked for in the State of the Union — on “how to keep and maintain the highest-skilled workforce in the world.” The report highlights successful job-training programs, details executive actions by the federal government, and aims to help more Americans in getting and moving up in high-demand jobs and careers.

Most colleges and universities do a poor job of preparing students for employment. Most community colleges try to have good occupational programs, and there are lots of vocational schools around. Are they all ineffective? Can the federal government do better? I doubt it.

It’s my experience that a growing economy produces jobs, and when the free market is set free, it starts growing. Business today is hampered by a swamp of regulation. Every time Obama wants to expand, they are swamped with new rules, red tape, new expenses, and new costs for doing business.

Today comes news that Obama is planning “something dramatic,” “very significant” executive action on immigration by summer’s end. US Rep. Luis Gutierrez expects” 3 or 4 maybe even 5 million covered by executive order. Some are expecting granting the ability to apply for work permits. This would be a typical Obama move, with one hand starting a new “jobs program,” with the other — making illegal aliens eligible for jobs. That’s the kind of thing he has been doing for 5 years.

The specter of thousands of unaccompanied children, mainly from Central America, crossing the Texas border has increased a sense of urgency among the American people for reforming the immigration system despite inaction by a “broken Congress,” Dan Pfeiffer, the president’s deputy communications director told the Christian Science Monitor. That gives the president “broad permission” to take action, said Pfeiffer, adding that Obama is consulting with Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson to be sure his planned action will on “solid legal footing” and have maximum impact.

 



Hamas Plan to Destroy Israel, and Kill All Israelis by The Elephant's Child

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“While Gaza is ‘Mired in Poverty,’ Hamas has built at least 36 tunnels at $1 million each.” That was the headline in the Washington Post.

While the Gaza Strip remains mired in poverty — the 2011 per capita income was $1,165 — Hamas is thought to have sunk more than $1 million into the excavation and maintenance of every tunnel. “Much to the misfortune of the people of Gaza, Hamas has invested far more resources in ‘underground Gaza’ than in ‘upper Gaza,’” wrote al-Monitor’s Shlomi Eldar. “The ‘change and reform’ that Hamas offered its voters was invested in its tunnels at the expense of the people of Gaza.”

The tunnel network, and the IDF has so far discovered 36 though there are undoubtedly more,  was intended not just for kidnapping, but for a grand assault on the coming Jewish New Year Holiday, Rosh Hashanah. The plan entailed a surprise attack in which 200 Hamas fighters would be dispatched through dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel , to seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians.

Excavation of the concrete-lined tunnels which are elaborate, with arteries, veins and offshoots in intricate and elaborate arrangement has meant the seizure of  tons of Hamas supplies and weapons, as well as plans for attacks. The tunnels  were apparently constructed with the work of Palestinian children, (to get into small spaces?) at least 160 Palestinian children are known to have died in tunnel construction.

Egypt’s army said that they have destroyed 13 more tunnels running between the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip. Hamas uses the Gaza tunnels to smuggle arms, food and money into the Palestinian enclave. Hamas talks often of “the blockade” but all that is blockaded are arms, weapons and tunnel-making supplies. Food, medicine and ordinary goods are checked for the presence of weapons and sent freely into Gaza. Hamas is an affiliate of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, and they have made many attacks on Egypt.

Con Coughlin reports in the Telegraph that Hamas terrorists are attempting to negotiate a new arms deal with North Korea for missiles and communications equipment that will allow them to continue their offensive against Israel.

Israel left Gaza entirely in 2005. Settlers were forced to move. The Gaza territory could have been a thriving seaside resort, they have long beautiful Mediterranean beaches. Israel left a vast array of greenhouses that could have been a source of jobs for Palestinians, food, and income. Instead they destroyed the greenhouses.

Evelyn Gordon noted at the Commentary website that this sentence from a Haaretz news report “that Palestinians have been taught to measure their national self-worth by the amount of pain, or even mere disruption, they can inflict on Jews,” explains why Israel and Hamas go to war every few years.

Here is a translation of the main points of “The Covenant of The Hamas.” It’s important to understand who they are.

European newspapers are full of stories about all the protests against Israel going on across Europe. But one notices that the articles never mention who is protesting, the simply call them protesters. Accompanying pictures make it pretty clear that they are Moslem immigrants, unassimilated.

Now just to escalate the situation a little further — “Freedom Flotilla II” is set to sail for Gaza from Turkey. Same deal at 2010’s ‘Mavi Marmara’ scheduled to take off with Turkish military protection. The ostensible excuse is to bring “humanitarian aid to the Hamas-controlled coastal sector. It’s being organized by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) the same organization that was behind the previous flotilla that sought to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010. “

” Israeli Navy Commandos boarded the ship, were attacked, and killed nine of the attackers.  So far there has been only  a declaration of intent.” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has long been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Israel’s blockade of shipments to Gaza is only to prevent military weapons and  tunnel construction material from reaching Gaza. Humanitarian aid gets through just fine.

Hamas hides rockets in schools, hospitals, and in private homes. When the IDF is sure where the missiles are coming from, they call the residents and warn them, send leaflets, and do everything possible to avoid injury to civilian Palestinians. Hamas demands that civilians stay in targeted locations as human shields for their weapons.



Pay No Attention to World Crisis, Let’s Attack American Business by The Elephant's Child

Well, the world is aflame, nothing is going well, and President Obama in his weekly address takes on American international corporations who have moved their headquarters overseas. And he proves once again that he does not understand business or the free market at all.

Hi, everybody. Our businesses have now added nearly 10 million new jobs over the past 52 months. The unemployment rate is at its lowest point since September 2008 – the fastest one-year drop in nearly 30 years.  401(k)s are growing, fewer homes are underwater, and for the first time in more than a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that the world’s number one place to invest isn’t China; it’s the United States of America – and our lead is growing.

None of this is an accident.  It’s thanks to the resilience and resolve of the American people that our country has recovered faster and come farther than almost any other advanced nation on Earth.

But all those jobs that ave been added— are mostly part-time jobs, because the incentives in ObamaCare made it advisable for businesses to cut their low wage workers back to less than 30 hours a week. They now need to fill the other half of those jobs with more part-time workers. Nobody profits from that. We still have something like 92 million working-age people who have given up looking for work. Obama, in attempting to demonize American international corporations as “un-American” and “not patriotic,” and as “renouncing their citizenship”, demonstrates nothing so much as that he has no understanding of business and how businesses operate nor of the free market.

The slowest recovery from any downturn in history is not due to the resilience and resolve of the American people. Our country has not recovered. Business does not exist to be patriotic, or because everyone loves going to work, but it exists to make a profit. Profit is not a bad word as some lefties think, but a return on investment. If a business cannot turn a profit, they won’t be in business for long. President Obama has been warned over and over that we have the highest corporate taxes in the world, and he needs to lower them to avoid what is happening right now. Obama loves to talk about “fair share,” but no one is obligated to pay more taxes than they have to. I can promise you that Mr. Obama’s accountant takes every possible deduction to which the president is entitled, as do the crony capitalists he hits up for campaign donations.  You have noticed that when he takes a trip to the West Coast for a round of fundraisers and golf, he usually sticks in a speech at some college so the trip is not a campaign expense— but an expense for the taxpayers.

“But when some companies cherrypick their taxes, it damages the country’s finances. It adds to the deficit. It makes it harder to invest in the things that will keep America strong, and it sticks you with the tab for what they stash offshore. Right now, a loophole in our tax laws makes this totally legal —and I think that’s totally wrong. You don’t get to pick which rules you play be, or which tax rate you pay, and neither should these companies.” Oh please.  Mr. I can’t possibly cut anything out of the budget, nor cut back on my vastly overblown expenses. We have to pretend that if a company legally lowers the taxes they have to pay, since it is legal, it is unpatriotic?  That kind of pandering should be beneath you.

I am really sick of this “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” rhetoric. Is there some way we could make it a requirement that anyone running for the office of president has to have taken at least 3 courses in economics?”

If you want an economy that functions and grows, you have to make it reasonably easy for business to grow and hire and create opportunity. Growth and opportunity are not created by government, but by the free market.



The World’s Aflame Here As Well, But the Natural Kind. by The Elephant's Child

It’s a sunny day with blue skies in the Puget Sound area, and the temperature is a balmy 80°, so naturally our power was out for 4½ hours. No idea why. Cuts back on the blogging.

Big fire on the other side of the mountains. called the Carleton Complex. Started on July 14 from lightning strikes. Currently about 250,000 acres, and 300 homes destroyed. There are 3 other fires in the state, for a total of 287,015 acres. Oregon has 15 fires for a total of 603,393 acres, one big one near Burns. All of the western states have fires burning. The annual average for the past ten years is 45,587 wildfires, for a total burned of 3,948,973 acres.  Thank God wood is a renewable resource.

Warmer weather expected tomorrow, with the weather on the other side of the mountains into the 100°s, which makes fires worse and conditions for fighting them worse. When you grow up, as I did in the foothills of the Rockies, you pay attention to the forest fire statistics. If you are interested you go to the National Interagency Fire Center, or if you want to see pictures, go here.



EPA Administrator Admits to Senate That CO2 Regulations are Not About Pollution Control by The Elephant's Child

On Wednesday EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, and slipped in this priceless quote regarding the EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide regulations — the Clean Power Plan.

“And the great thing about this proposal is it really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control. It’s about increased efficiency at our plants…It’s about investments in renewables and clean energy. It’s about investments in people’s ability to lower their electricity bills by getting good, clean, efficient appliances, homes, rental units.”

Ms. McCarthy’s Endangerment Finding  was all about the awful effects of “carbon pollution,” whatever that is, on the planet. Now we learn that it not about pollution control? Oooops!

It hasn’t been all that long since Administrator McCarthy admitted that they could not produce the science on which they depend for their outrageous power grabs. Oh.

And back in 2012, EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendanz confirmed that the reason EPA fines are so huge and so unreasonable is simply to make an example of people with truly aggressive fines so you scare everyone into compliance and get people in that industry to clean up quickly.

The problem is that these disputes are often settled in the courts, where judges may know little, if anything, about climate science, and the idea of being exposed as a climate ignoramus is pretty scary.

Ms. McCarthy is an accomplished liar, but this one may come back to bite her.



The Painful Truth About Wal-Mart! by The Elephant's Child

The Left has a remarkably long list of things they hate, but Wal-Mart is right up there close to the top. I’ve never been sure quite why. They are “Big Box Retailers”, they go into small towns and drive out all those mom-and-pop stores out of business, and destroy good paying jobs. They drive down wages when they invade a town. Wal-Mart wages are humiliating and force employees to use food stamps, Medicaid and other forms of welfare. And you’ve probably seen the photos of the “Wall-Mart people,” poorly dressed people, fat people — just not our kind.

Researchers at Stanford and University of Michigan business schools looked into the facts about Wal-Mart.  When they crunched the numbers they found that wages are much higher at the big Box stores, and are much higher than at the mom-and-pop stores.Worker pay rises “markedly,” says Investors, “as the size of the company or the size of the store increases.”

Worker pay, in fact, rises “markedly” as the size of the company or the size of the store increases. Those with some college education, the researchers found, make 36% more at a Wal-Mart-size megastore than one employing fewer than 10 workers. Those with just a high school education do 26% better.

A paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research also found that workers who move from a corner store to a megastore do better financially. Someone with a high school education will typically get a pay boost of 19% by making the switch.

What’s more, big box retailers offer far more opportunities for advancement than do small ones, with pay supervisors and managers especially advancing.

For those who think Wal-Mart pays “humiliating” wages, the average hourly pay for a cashier is $8.48, which is 17% higher than the minimum wage, and is just pennies less than what the average barista makes at Starbucks, the researchers found. Assistant managers at Wal-Mart make about $10,000 more a year, on average, than those at Starbucks.

A number of years ago, the big complaint was that Wal-Mart was helping their workers to get food stamps, which proved just how awful Wal-Mart was. This was during the Bush administration, and Wal-Mart was quite involved with the “welfare to work” program. To make it easier for new workers to manage the transition from welfare to a job, companies participating in the program were required by the government to help the new workers to get food stamps. Sometimes you just can’t please the Left, no matter what you do.

Some cities have tried to prevent Wal-Mart from going into areas where they might serve less affluent communities, under the illusion that Wal-Mart would take advantage of the poor and unemployed, thus depriving them of good jobs and the opportunity to save on merchandise.

Wal-Mart has enormous buying power, and buying in large quantity means cheaper prices. There are more jobs, higher pay and lower prices for customers. We shouldn’t be surprised that liberal elites hate Wal-Mart.



Why Yes, We Knew — We Just Didn’t Do Anything About It! by The Elephant's Child

Weren’t we told by the administration that they were blindsided by the rapid advance by ISIS last month when Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city fell to this new jihadi army that seemed to come out of nowhere? They not only captured Mosul, but five divisions of the Iraqi army fell and we heard of mass executions, beheadings, crucifixions, and terrified residents fled before the onslaught as the long column headed towards Baghdad.

The administration, according to the record was not surprised at all. Congressional testimony as far back as November made it cleat that the United States had been closely tracking the black-clad jihadis, a ruthless al Qaeda spinoff. Intelligence officials had been closely tracking the group since 2012.

According to McClatchy, Obama administration officials were quite aware of the group’s intention to send men and material back into Iraq and turn loose waves of suicide bombers, which they knew that Iraqi security forces could not handle. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk told a House committee in February that the campaign had the stated objective of carving out a Caliphate in the western regions of Iraq and Syria.

So — if the Obama administration had all that advance warning why are they still trying to figure out what steps, if any, they should take to stop their advance? With all the pictures of the long ISIS column strung out on the road to Baghdad, it looked like a pretty vulnerable target, but I’ve probably read too many thrillers.

They’ve seized all sorts of Iraqi military equipment, drained banks of their assets, seized oil and natural gas fields, military outposts. Nearly every day we hear about another town that has fallen or another outrage they have committed.

What started as a crisis in Syria has become a regional disaster with serious global implications,” Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Wednesday.

Yet Defense Department officials say they might not complete work on proposed options for U.S. actions until the middle of August, a lifetime in a region where every day brings word of another town or village falling to the Islamic State. Some lawmakers and experts say the delay borders on diplomatic malpractice.

Chairman Royce said Iraqi officials and diplomats at our embassy began urging drone strikes as early as August last year against Islamic State bases near the Syrian border.

This was a very clear case in which the U.S. knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser on the Middle East.

“This miscalculation essentially has helped realize the worst nightmare for this administration, an administration that prided itself on its counterterrorism strategy,” said Nasr. “It is now presiding over the resurgence of a nightmare of extremism and terrorism.”

The article from the Merced Sun Star is long and, frankly, depressing. Dithering, indecision, Obama believes one of his greatest accomplishments is ending the war in Iraq, he can’t undo that. Drawing red lines in Syria, misunderstanding the Middle East. Obama came to office believing that the key to the problems of the Middle East was Israeli intransigence. If he could broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, then the problems of the Middle East would end. That’s why Kerry has been over there wearing out his welcome, pushing absurd agreements. Obama seems to have learned about the Middle East from his friend Rashid Khalidi, the firebrand Palestinian professor.

Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller has a column in Britain’s Telegraph today, suggesting that “Barack Obama has already checked out of his job,” in which he suggests that Obama is “no longer even worried about keeping up appearances, he doesn’t care enough to fake it.”

The United States has apparently not yet delivered the helicopter gunships and F-16 jet fighters that Iraq has already purchased. The administration has also dragged its feet on Baghdad’s request for U.S. military advisers, though 300 were dispatched after Mosul fell. Obama doesn’t seem to get along with Maliki. George W. Bush had weekly video conferences with him.

Gaza’s charter says they will eliminate Israel and take over the land. That’s fairly clear and straightforward. The Islamic State says they have established a new Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and then…? Putin is still busily working to take over the Ukraine, al Qaeda is threatening a cyber attack on the United States. We have thousands of children, (mostly between the ages of 14 and 17) who are being recruited by MS-17.  Obama says he wants to send them back home, but he is settling them in all over the country, and schools will be expected to take the kids. The border is wide open because Border Patrol people have been called away to deal with the ‘unaccompanied children’, and security officials are worried. More businesses are moving their corporate offices overseas to escape taxes, and Obama can’t think of anything to do but punish them. Cutting taxes is not in his vocabulary.

What’s the old saying? Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.




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