American Elephants


Nevermind ISIS or Russia, Fixing Global Warming is Much More Urgent! by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, which is silly enough, but he wants to do it without ratification from Congress. One little problem:

Under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.

How interesting that someone who liked to proclaim himself a scholar of Constitutional Law, should, after swearing an oath on the Lincoln Bible to “the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” be so determined to get his own way that he is willing to defy the Constitution in case after case. It is more than ignoring his oath, it is a matter of character. This is a man who cannot be trusted because he does not keep his word.

The New York Times casually notes that President Obama ignored the legislative process in his domestic climate-change agenda as well.

In seeking to go around Congress to push his international climate change agenda, Mr. Obama is echoing his domestic climate strategy. In June, he bypassed Congress and used his executive authority to order a far-reaching regulation forcing American coal-fired power plants to curb their carbon emissions. That regulation, which would not be final until next year, already faces legal challenges, including a lawsuit filed on behalf of a dozen states.

Doesn’t matter who disagrees with him, he’s right and you are wrong. He is the President of the United States, and he cannot be opposed.

Does anyone believe that the president has spent even five minutes studying up on global warming or climate change? He’s probably talked to Al Gore, and Science Advisor John Holdren, and all his backers and bundlers who have gotten rich off of the taxpayer money he has poured into energy scams and failed renewable energy projects. But actually looking into the science? Not a chance. Global Warming is for the Left the best chance of establishing social justice in the world. They believe because the Left believes. It is a religion, a matter of faith. As James Delingpole says:

First, they are determined to misrepresent this as a party political issue – in which ignorant, ideologically motivated, Big-Oil-funded Republican “denialists” are willfully and perversely obstructing the perfectly sensible climate policies fully supported by all Democrats. This wasn’t true in 1997 when the Senate voted down the first attempt at a binding international climate treaty – Kyoto – by 95 to 0. It isn’t true today.

Second, it refers to “established climate science” as if – to quote Al Gore – the science on global warming were “settled.” This was a risible notion even at the height of the global warming scare back in 1992 during the Rio Earth Summit when for a period global mean temperatures were actually rising but when scientists couldn’t agree why. It is even less plausible now, given that as all half-way serious scientists – alarmists and realists, alike – now acknowledge there has been no global warming in over 17 years.

Climate change, or global warming, does not even show up on the list of concerns of the American people. I don’t know if “naming and shaming” will convince anyone. The American people aren’t all that impressed with the United Nations either.



“Economic Patriotism” Is Plain Old Nonsense. by The Elephant's Child

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Democrats are not happy with President Obama, and they are trying desperately to change the subject from things like ISIS, and Russia, and foreign policy in general, ObamaCare, immigration, the miserable economy, and jobs, and jobs and jobs.

Their natural inclination is to focus on those things which arouse people’s passions, so naturally they are freaking out about Burger King’s plans to merge with Tim Horton’s Canadian coffee and donut chain and move to Canada. “Economic Patriotism” they cry, and moral panic and sheer rage that an American business would consider relocating for the simple reason of paying taxes. Obviously it’s time for my favorite quote from Walter Wriston:

Capital will go where it is wanted and stay
where it is well treated. It will flee from manipulation
or onerous regulation of its value or use and no
government power can restrain it for long.

The business of business is to make a profit. Liberals always want to impose other rules on business. They are deeply suspicious of the whole idea of profits. They are outraged at CEO salaries. Proper people work in service jobs, like government, or for foundations, or righteous causes or universities. Liberals are really quite conflicted about business. They were outraged by the Citizens United decision. And even more so by Mitt Romney’s claim that corporations are just people. On the other hand, they get enthusiastic support from some businesses like Google, or Facebook, but that’s different.

The problem isn’t just that America has the highest corporate taxes in the world, but that America collects taxes on the income earned in other countries., though those other countries collect taxes as well. Because they distrust business in general, Liberals have little hesitation in finding new and better ways to tax business.

Total tax costs are 46.4% lower in Canada than in the U.S. Is it really a surprise that Burger Kind wants to move there? Burger King would still pay their full taxes on income earned in the U.S. but their taxes on income earned in Canada would be taxed at Canadian rates.

The number one issue among American voters is unsurprisingly — jobs. If you vigorously try to maximize the taxes that American businesses pay, they will hire fewer people. If you raise taxes on business, they raise the cost of the goods or services they sell, or reduce their expenses, by cutting the number of people they employ.



Sorry! Your Politician Does Not Care About You. by The Elephant's Child

The exit polling from the 2012 election showed clearly that people voted for Barack Obama because they believed that “He cares about people like me.” This was closely related to Hurricane Sandy, and I believe the picture of President Obama comforting Donna Vanzant who had just seen her marina totally destroyed, influenced a lot of people. Mr. Obama promised her prompt help from FEMA and that he would make it all better. But she never heard from FEMA, nor from the President, or anybody else.
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The picture, however, went viral.

I hate to bring you bad news, but politicians do not care about you. The better ones care about “the people” in general, but generous donors in particular. They care about the big businesses in their districts, influential people in their party and in the opposition, but we ordinary folk are, at best, merely a statistic. They care about those who are important for some reason, particularly those who have given campaign contributions or are clearly in a position to make a donation, or are important enough to influence others.

Maybe, if you are an activist who seems to have a large number of voters behind you. I know, I know. We’d all like to believe that those in whom we invest so much hope really mean it. You could design an embossed letterhead suggesting that you are an officer in an organization for (or against) your politician’s favorite issues, that might get some attention. Phone calls, at least allow you to talk to a human, however lowly. Visit his/her office in your district with your request or complaint, but sugar catches more flies than vinegar.

It’s nothing personal. They have their big donors and all the members of their delegation, the press (local and national) the members of the committees on which they serve, their opposition, and all the members of the House or the Senate as the case may be to worry about. They don’t know you from Adam, expecting attention is futile. The idea that “I voted for you” and now I expect, at the least, a response to my email, is also futile. Going to every town hall meeting held in your district might improve the situation slightly, but don’t bet on it. They shake a lot of hands, and remember few.

But, your opinions may be tabulated (or not). They need feedback, but there’s no guarantee they will pay attention. But if  you are well-informed and your call or email or letter is short and to the point, it may get through. Even volunteering in their campaign may not help. Your chances are better if your expectations are low, and your determination is very high.



Domestic Violent Extremists? Homeland Security Paranoia. by The Elephant's Child

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A leaked document from Homeland Security predicts the rise of “anti-Government violence. That was a headline that caused a brief flurry in the press (very brief). Notable in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis concern over an increase in violence, was the standoff at the Bundy ranch when the BLM attempted to seize Bundy’s cattle, but backed off when a ‘militia group’ showed up.

The seven page report, titled, “Domestic Violent Extremists Pose Increased Threat to Government Law Enforcement” dated, July 22, 2014, said, “After years of only sporadic violence from violent domestic extremists motivated by anti-government ideologies, I&A has seen a spike within the past year in violence committed by militia extremists and lone offenders who hold violent anti-government beliefs. These groups and individuals recognize government authority but facilitate or engage in acts of violence due to their perception that the United States Government is tyrannical and oppressive, coupled to their belief that the government needs to be violently resisted or overthrown.”

I have written recently about the impermeable “bubble” in which the Left resides. They require protection from the wrong information emanating from the Right, at all costs. As far as I can tell, this is caused by the fact that their policies are a result of their feelings about events on a case-by-case basis. They do not rely on foundational principles.

There was a point a while back when they worried because Republicans had think tanks to give them ideas, and they didn’t. So they got their money people to start one — the Center for American Progress — because they’re progressives now, not liberals, or leftists.  (I keep forgetting). But nothing much changes. The CAP comes up with ‘Issues’ with which to defeat the Right like ‘the War on Women’ and ‘free contraceptives,’ and the language and tactics to make a war on women seem real, but not the principles that make it an important issue.

In the hothouse of such a bubble, there exists a constant element of paranoia. If you know your argument is flimsy and has no principles behind it, you expect it to be shot down, or attempted to be shot down. With that nagging fear comes a fear of the Right in general. You never know what they might try next. When your history is invented, and you have no firm, unchanging, bedrock principles — when your opposition, who you are convinced are both radical and stupid, starts holding demonstrations and carrying signs and waving a  yellow flag with a rattlesnake on it, and talking about the revolution, you get all nervous.

They know who the protesters are. They send them out. They are union activists demanding a higher wage,  and people from the radical green groups trying to save us from the ravages of global warming, and the folks from La Raza demanding amnesty now. But these people are dangerous. Who ever heard of Republicans demonstrating. Singing. Carrying American flags. And their signs are about the Constitution, or demanding repeal of the law that gives everyone free health care. Violent extremists.

This is not new. If you want to get into a major battle with a lib, just say something about the evils of socialism and how similar Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia were. You might get away with calling Stalin and communism an aberration of the Left, but they will be absolutely certain that Hitler was a right-wing dictator, despite the fact that NAZI was an acronym for National Socialist Party.

They were certain that Kennedy was shot by a right-wing nut, that Timothy McVeigh was a member of a Right-Wing militia, that the Branch-Davidian standoff was a right-wing something or other. They have convinced themselves that the Dixiecrats were really racist Republicans, and some have actually gone so far as to believe that Lincoln was really a Democrat. The bubble has tough walls and is quite impermeable.

The Left is positive that any objection to the policies of the Obama administration is racism. There are beginning to be some cracks in that edifice. The media is noticing that their president is not really engaged by foreign policy, and would clearly rather spend his time on the golf course. His third-string advisers are not up to the job. John Kerry’s insistence that climate change is a more pressing concern than Hamas, Gaza, ISIS, the Kurds, Putin’s advances on Ukraine, China’s flexing of its muscles, Iraq’s centrifuges, is not evidence of a serious administration.

This all blends into the militarization of the police, the drive to ban guns. A California congressman has just introduced a bill to prevent the purchase, ownership or possession of enhanced body armor by civilians. (HR. 5344). “This bill will keep military body armor out of the wrong hands, Representative Honda said, “It would ensure than only law enforcement, firefighters and first responders wold be able to access enhanced body armor.” Now that’s paranoia.

 



Skip All The Extraneous Matters: Let’s Talk Basics! by The Elephant's Child

Can we get back to basics here for a moment? The president is deciding about what executive action he can take to solve our “broken immigration system.” Preferably while Congress is on vacation.

Our immigration system is “broken” for one specific reason. The president has not only refused to enforce our immigration laws, but specifically ordered the agencies involved not to enforce the laws.

There has been a huge influx of “unaccompanied children” (who are mostly not children according to reports) specifically because word has circulated in Central America that if kids, or kids and their parent, can get to the border they can get in and be cared for free. There are adults who are posing as children.

Border Patrol agents have been pulled away from the border to “process” the “children,” leaving the border wide open, and illegals from all over the world are crossing the border and disappearing into the population.

This flow of illegal immigrants cannot be halted nor controlled by amnesty, nor “processing,” nor by ignoring the problem. Planeloads are being shipped all over the country, even to Alaska, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. 30,340 have been released to foster homes around the country as of July 7. Some 30 thousand, or more will attend US public schools this fall. The Obama administration has made it clear that all public schools have an obligation to enroll students regardless of immigration status and without discrimination.

The only way the influx can be stopped is by shipping the illegal aliens back to their own countries, promptly, and making it clear there is no amnesty. When it is clear that the border is closed and illegals will be immediately exported, the massive influx will stop.



Industry Warns the EPA: The Climate Rule is Not Workable. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama tried to pressure “climate change deniers” in a recent interview. He said that most CEOs in the United States are paying attention to climate change, and they are more concerned with the administration’s climate policies than with debating the science. What they want is some certainty about the regulations so they can start planning. They have to make capital investments and have to look at investments for 20 and 30 years out. They have to know if we are putting a price on carbon? Are we serious about this?

“But none of them are engaging in some of the nonsense that you’re hearing out of the climate change [deniers},” Obama said.

The president drew a stark contrast between the questions CEOs are asking about his carbon pollution limits on existing power plants and the attacks from Republicans in Congress who say the standards will devastate the economy and businesses.

Companies like General Mills, Microsoft, IBM and Coca-Cola have joined efforts to mitigate climate change. Some oil companies like Shell have also joined others in supporting strong cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama said that CEOs always complain about regulation, but that his “policies have produced a record stock market, record corporate profits, 52 months of consecutive job growth, 10 million new jobs, the deficit being cut in half, an energy sector that’s booming, a clean-energy sector that’s booming, a reduction of carbon pollution greater than the Europeans or any other country.” He added:

I think you’d have to say that we’ve managed the economy pretty well and business has done OK.

This is so delusional, you just have to wonder. We are also told that he doesn’t talk to anybody outside of his closest advisers. Certainly he has no understanding that his job growth does not compensate for the new people who are entering the job market and those who have given up and are no longer looking. The situation is getting worse, not better.

Nobody is a “climate change denier.” Climate change is always going on and the planet warms and cools in cycles that are not yet well understood. What we do deny is that the slight increase in warming — less than 1° in a century —is anything to get excited about. The planet has been far warmer in the past, and the Medieval Warm Period which was much warmer, was the finest climate known to man. The Vikings settled in Greenland and built farms. Wine grapes grew in northern England, and the fine climate meant the fend of the Dark Ages and the flowering of the Renaissance.

Today there has been no warming for over 17 years, for the sun has gone quiet. The greens insist that warming will mean more hurricanes, more tornadoes, more forest fires, rising oceans, the list of things that are or will be caused by global warming climate change is  unbelievably long, and fairly amusing.

A dozen states filed suit on Friday to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enacting its “Clean Power Plan.” These are the new rules that would put many coal-fired plants out of business, and hundreds of people out of their jobs.  The EPA held hearings last week for the public about the plan. Four hearings, nationwide. In Pittsburgh thousands of coal workers turned out to register their objections to the Obama administrations intentions.

Leading industry groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Mining Association, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and more, have told the EPA that their new climate regulation is “not workable.”

“There is obviously going to be legal action in the future,”said Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. “We would like to see the rule altered and see the agency stop and listen to constituents and the consumers that will be most impacted. But assuming all things stay as they are, then we’ll see some action in the courts.”

The Clean Power Plan is a very bad regulation that has far more negative results that the EPA understands. If the climate is actually cooling, and last winter was a preview, then America will need more electric power, not less. Coal-fired power plants currently provide about 40 percent of our electricity needs, reliably and cheaply. Retrofitting those plants to meet EPA standards may mean that most will shut down because the possible retrofit is too expensive. Big jumps in the cost of power on top of big jumps in the cost of health care may be, to use a favorite theme of the left — unsustainable. Increases in the cost of energy means inflation as the cost of everything goes up dramatically. The Left does not understand incentives, and they really don’t understand, nor look for, unintended consequences. They still do not understand that wind and solar are simply unworkable and can never produce any significant part of our energy needs.



Obama: “We’ve Managed the Economy Pretty Well!” by The Elephant's Child

On his return trip from Kansas City, President Obama granted an interview with The Economist. They said:

The Economist: We see a lot of business people and they do complain about regulation.

Mr Obama: They always complain about regulation. That’s their job. Let’s look at the track record. Let’s look at the facts. Since I have come into office, there’s almost no economic metric by which you couldn’t say that the US economy is better and that corporate bottom lines are better. None.

So if, in fact, our policies have produced a record stock market, record corporate profits, 52 months of consecutive job growth, 10m new jobs, the deficit being cut by more than half, an energy sector that’s booming, a clean-energy sector that’s booming, a reduction of carbon pollution greater than the Europeans or any other country, a housing market that has bounced back, and an unemployment rate that is now lower than it was pre-Lehman—I think you’d have to say that we’ve managed the economy pretty well and business has done okay.

There are always going to be areas where business does not want to be regulated because regulations are inconvenient.

The Economist: But don’t you wish, when you look at things like Dodd-Frank or you look at health-care reform—both of which we supported in principle—that they could have been much simpler?

Mr Obama: Of course. This goes back to the old adage of Churchill—democracy is the worst form of government except for all the alternatives. (Laughter.) It’s messy.

And so could we have designed a far more elegant health-care law? Of course. Would I have greatly preferred a blank canvas in which to design financial regulations post-2008 and consolidated agencies and simplified oversight? Absolutely. But the truth of the matter is, is that we saved the financial system. It continues to be extraordinarily profitable. And essentially, what we did was to provide an additional cushion so that if and when people make bad decisions with large sums of money—which they inevitably do—the risks to the system are reduced.

And on health care, as messy as the whole process has been, here’s what I know—that we have millions of people [insured] who didn’t have insurance before, and health-care inflation is the lowest it’s been in 50 years, for four consecutive years, corresponding to when we passed the law.

So my belief is that if, in fact, we can see a reduction in some of the political temperature around Obamacare or around Dodd-Frank, then it’s an iterative process. We can go back at it and further refine it, learn lessons from things that aren’t working as well, make it simpler, make it better. That does require, though, an attitude on the part of Congress, as well as on the part of the business community, that says you don’t just get 100% of what you want.

Do read the whole thing. Does Obama believe what he says? Is this just something he says for public consumption? Obama, according to The Economist “was buoyed by the recent economic numbers and looking towards his legacy…” Funny, everybody else considered the numbers as a disappointing  failure to meet expectations. And Obama’s track record as disastrous.  So he heralds his role in saving the U.S. economy.

A new study by the Russel Sage Foundation finds that middle-class Americans are poorer today than they were in 1984.  92,001,000 people are no longer in the workforce, an increase of 11,472,000 since he took office.

The Obama administration has added $7 trillion to the National Debt, well, actually — $7,060,259,674,497.51 to be precise— but when the number gets that big I have trouble with all the commas.

In 2012, Obama was heavily criticized for delaying (and hiding) major regulation until after the presidential election. Now it seems he may again be delaying another $34 billion of new regulations until after the election. There are mostly regulatory costs imposed by the EPA. Why am I not surprised?

The most extensive is the EPA’s ground-level ozone standard. That one does not currently have a price tag, but when the rule was vetoed by the White House in 2011, it’s cost was put at $90 billion. Then you have the Department of Energy’s new conservation standards for incandescent lamps, projected to cost$863 million per  year and raise consumer prices by 40 to 70 percent. Most of these regulations are also major job killers, but the EPA says they don’t have to pay any attention to that.  That does not include the Clean Energy Plan regulations which is expected to cost thousands of jobs and raise the cost of electricity sharply.

Gosh. Back in 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama called President George W. Bush “unpatriotic” and his policies “irresponsible” for adding $4 trillion to the national debt with the costs of 9/11 and two wars. But that was then and this is now.




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