American Elephants


The Eternal Battle Between Left and Right. by The Elephant's Child

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Trying to succinctly describe the differences between the American Left and the American Right is a long-running and fascinating  game for both parties. Liberals, as I often note, have told us specifically that they do not have principles—meaning they are not stuck with some old-fashioned, worn-out principles as a guide to how to behave. That is not intended as a compliment. They react, they say, to events, responding on a case by case basis. Much more noble.

Republicans do have principles which they believe are time-tested and proven to be effective and useful in human life. Things like equality of opportunity, free markets and free people, and small government. Those principles serve as a guide to actions, and research into how things work are a better guide to satisfactory policies.

Liberals react to things emotionally. For example, a UPI piece from Pew Research on the “Global Attitudes Project”poll says:

A new poll offers details on the way citizens of the world think about climate change, and U.S. participants are looking particularly ignorant to the risks of global warming. Only one in four Americans said climate change was a “major threat,” making the U.S. the least concerned nation. (emphasis added)

If we disagree with the “consensus” we must be ignorant. But nobody checks to see if there actually is a “consensus” among scientists. Emotional response.  No, there actually is no consensus.  And “consensus” isn’t science.

Here’s another from Investors, today: “For the Left, ‘Children’ Are the Battering Ram to Force Amnesty.”

Immigration: The White House and open-borders lobby have stepped up pressure for amnesty by painting the migrant tsunami as a flood of toddlers. But a Pew study, citing Border Patrol data, shows that more than half the entrants are teenage males.  (emphasis added)

Here’s another example from Investors, by Robert Samuelson: Although a man of the Left, he suggests “To Keep corporations Here, Why Not Cut Their Taxes?”

Corporate America’s latest public-relations disaster comes under the banner “tax inversion,” where a U.S. company shifts its legal headquarters to a country with a lower tax rate.

He goes on to show how Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and President Obama have charged the corporations as lacking in “economic patriotism.” Emotional response. Make a law against them. Keep them from doing so. Far better would be to reduce the corporate tax to something close to the normal corporate tax among industrialized nations. We do have the highest corporate tax in the world. Their first and only response is to prevent corporations from what is a valid business decision.

ObamaCare was a program built on emotion. Liberals thought that we should offer everyone free health care like European states did. Everyone would be so grateful to Liberals for that gift that they would forever vote Liberals into power. They looked at Britain’s way of controlling expense by limiting the costs of old folks in their final years, and loved it. No old geezer should be able to have a hugely expensive operation when they might have only months to live anyway. But they never looked into the way the program really worked in Britain, or Canada, or France or Germany. Their bright ideas don’t work. What were expected to be money savers aren’t. Tom Sowell stated the whole problem simply and clearly:

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.

They imposed ideas they thought would save money, or be especially popular, or would give them more control, but they didn’t check how those ideas work in the real world, they just rushed it through on pure emotion and are astounded at the complaints from doctors, patients, insurance companies, hospitals and suppliers. And it’s all falling apart.

Wind and solar energy are emotional responses to perceived evils of fossil fuels. Wind and solar energy are presumed to be free because they are “natural.” But a turbine only turns at the right speed to produce energy when the wind is at the right speed. But the wind is intermittent, and requires 24/7 backup from a conventional power source, which makes the energy produced expensive, and slight. And it kills way too many birds. Eagles may become endangered  if the kill rate continues. If subsidies are removed, wind is not worthwhile.

Solar is about the same problem. You only get energy with 24/7 backup, because clouds cause problems. Solar energy is too diffuse, unavailable at night, and in some locations simply fries birds in flight. If subsidies are removed, it’s not worthwhile. These things were known before the big investments in wind and solar, but emotional attachment to “free energy” trumped common sense.

Over and over you will find Liberals responding to or devising policy based on their feelings about the subject. They don’t do their homework, and they don’t think through the unintended consequences. They don’t seem to understand incentives.

Republicans don’t always get their policies right, and unintended consequences come back and bite them. Human beings are complicated and not only don’t agree on everything, but often don’t agree on much. There are lots of differing opinions in the big tent we hope to have, and creating successful policies to help Americans and their allies and enemies to do things that turn out well is not easy, and results are not always a success. But if we work with an open mind and an inclusive attitude, and an appreciation for human folly, we might not do too badly if we do our homework.



How to Talk About The Border Crisis — Even to a Liberal. by The Elephant's Child

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Everyone talks about “comprehensive immigration reform” but fails to explain just what they mean by the term. And to no one’s surprise, they don’t mean the same thing at all. Mark Krikorian, who heads the Center for Immigration Studies wrote today:

The president’s framing of the unprecedented surge of illegal aliens turning themselves into border officials in the expectation of being allowed to stay in the United States, as an “urgent humanitarian situation”, is only partially correct. The phase is designed to misdirect public attention away from the more damming truths of the surge; it is equally, if not more so, a crisis of enforcement, governing, and the president’s responsibility to carry out his oath of office. It is an ethical issue for the public as well as the president.

None of these considerations are captured or even suggested by the administration’s preferred phasing. Nor are they meant to do so.

At City Journal, Myron Magnet points out that there are really two immigration debates. Three billionaires writing in the New York Times want more immigrants with  advanced degrees and investment capital. Silicon Valley magnates want more H1-B visas for tech PhDs, though Magnet has noticed that some of these very magnates have conspired to fix the wages of their highly qualified engineers by forming illegal non-competitive hiring pacts, so who knows what the real demand for high tech skills is? According to other sources we have more STEM graduates than there are STEM jobs. Magnet says:

But this argument has nothing whatever to do with the massed children at our southern border, admitted through a foolish loophole unintentionally created by the Bush administration and exploited by the Obama regime as a way of changing the character of the American people, both by enlarging the underclass whom Democrats can claim it is their mission to rescue with ever more generous welfare programs, and by creating yet more Democratic voters, if these kids ever become citizens—or if they become anchor babies who can then legally bring in their parents and siblings under our existing, and harmful, family-unification immigration policy.

Victor Davis Hanson says that “The last thing a liberal proponent of immigration reform wants is liberal immigration reform. Remember that paradox, and the insanity at the border makes some sense.

In truth, no one in the open-borders coalition wants anything approaching comprehensive immigration reform. Advocates are embarrassed about the present mess at the border not because thousands of foreign nationals, many of them unescorted children and teens, from Latin America, without skills or education, are flocking illegally across the border after largely taking the amnesty cue from Barack Obama, but because they are doing so in such dramatic fashion that the influx has aroused the ire and worry of the American people and exposed illegal immigration to be a callous and illiberal enterprise, promoted by a coalition of self-interested political operatives, commercial concerns, and ethnic chauvinists. …

Such legislation would first have to make border security the top priority. And that would entail three unpalatable requisites.

The first step would be the completion of the fence. Fences do work. That is why, for example, former mayor of Los Angeles and open-borders advocate Antonio Villaraigosa (“We don’t need to build walls, we need to build bridges”) became the first mayor in Los Angeles history to insist on a six-foot-high security fence around his official mayoral residence in Windsor Square, or why the White House, the homes of Silicon Valley billionaires, and the vacation homes of the elite on Martha’s Vineyard all have security fences. How odd that we are lectured about the Neanderthal nature of secure borders by elites who are about the only ones in America who demand them around their own estates.

Then turn back all who crossed illegally, and let that be known. Until deterrence is established, more guards on the border. Then meritocratic legal immigration, ethnically blind and predicated on merit rather than on proximity to the southern border. If just 10 percent of the existing resident-alien pool had criminal records or no record of gainful employment that would mean 1 or 2 million would have to be deported.

And finally, a piece I have mentioned before” “How to Think About Immigration” by Kevin D. Williamson.

The influx of children across our southern border is troubling. First, because they are not all children—not by a sight—but images of children are useful for stirring emotions to muddy the policy waters. Second, because it is not all that unusual; As the Wall street Journal reports, between 23,000 and 47,000 minors illegally entered the United States and were apprehended in each of the past five years; in 2013, we ordered only 3s,525 deportations, suggesting that something on the order of nine in ten, or more, of minor illegal aliens—again, of the number apprehended—are allowed to stay. The number not apprehended is very large, the number of non-minors is very large, and that is how we find ourselves with not millions but tens of millions of illegal aliens resident in these United States.

None of these pieces are long. Read all four and you are well-equipped for an argument with anyone — even a liberal.



An EPA Power Grab for Your Property Rights! by The Elephant's Child

The headline read “EPA pulls back from plan to garnish paychecks.” That particular plan was announced quietly an a Friday right before the 4th of July, the way agencies do when they want no one to notice. But I spotted it and wrote about it on the 8th. This administration has so many agencies and departments overstepping the bounds that it’s hard to pick a worst, but the EPA is right at the top of the list, for sheer crookedness.

The Washington Times reported last Wednesday that:

The Environmental Protection Agency bowed to fierce criticism Wednesday and announced that it had hit the brakes on a fast-tracked plan to collect fines by garnishing paychecks of accused polluters.

I was so pleased that I got up and did a little dance around my computer. But then I read the following paragraph:

The agency, which has come under withering attacks from Republican lawmakers for attempting a “power grab,” said it still intended to pursue the new authority to garnish wages without a court order. But now it will follow a more typical and longer review process.           

Opponents of the wage-garnish rule applauded EPA’s decision. But the EPA vowed to press on with its plan to snatch fines directly out of Americans’ paychecks.   (emphasis added)

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee who had battled the proposed rule said, “It’s about time this abuse-prone agency listened to Congress and backtrack on a rule that was clearly an egregious power grab to garnish private citizen’s wages.” Doesn’t sound like they are listening.

This rule (published as close to secrecy as a federal agency can manage) was issued on July 2 in a notice in the Federal Register as a “direct final rule” that would automatically take effect on September 2 unless the EPA received adverse public comment by August 1.

The only improvement seems to be that since they received  comments, they have extended the comment period until September 2. They claim they are required to participate in Treasury’s debt-collection program — the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (one of Bill Clinton’s) to garnish wages.

What or who gives them the authority to levy fines of, in the case of Wyoming welder Andy Johnson for building a pond on his property, $75,000 a day. That’s up from the fine they imposed on the Sacketts for their supposed “wetland” on a standard residential lot overlooking Priest Lake in Idaho, which was $37,500 a day and they said the Sacketts could contest their action legally. The Supreme Court slapped down the EPA for that one, and made sure the Sacketts got their day in court.

It apparently was revealed in a remark by an EPA official back in 2012. He said:

I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff…the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean.  They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.

Ans so you make examples of people who are in this case not compliant with the law. Find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there.

And companies that are smart see that they don’t want to play that game and they decide at that point that it’s time to clean up.

And, that won’t happen unless you have somebody out there making examples of people. So you go out, you look at an industry, you find people violating the law, you go aggressively after them. And we do have some pretty effective enforcement tools. Compliance can get very high, very, very quickly.

That’s apparently what those enormous fines are supposed to be about— making the accused so terrified that they will comply immediately and sow terror in the heart of anyone else messing with air, water, soil or plants and animals in any way, though they’ve gone after people for picking up arrowheads as well.

The public lands do not, in my opinion, belong to — the government — but to the people, and we allow the government to manage it for us. Property rights are one of the most fundamental bastions of liberty. When a federal agency tramples all over American citizens’ property rights, it’s time to sit up and take notice.



Congratulations Australia! by The Elephant's Child

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Climate hysteria probably reached its peak in 2006-2009 in Australia. Labor  Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called man-made global warming “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time.” Even though average global temperatures hadn’t warmed since 1989, we were headed for an environmental catastrophe and only drastic changes to our way of life could avoid Armageddon. Dissent was treated with shock and derision.

Mr. Rudd set out to pass a cap-and-trade scheme in 2009, but the Aussies didn’t buy it. But then the rest of the world declined to sign up with expensive carbon reduction proposals at the Copenhagen summit, Mr. Rudd lost even more credibility. In 2010 Julia Gillard promised not to impose a carbon tax, but she still lost seats in parliament and  her coalition partners in the Greens persuaded her to push ahead with the unpopular levy of A$23 (U.S. $21.54) per ton of carbon. That further weakened Labor, and Tony Abbott won election last year on a platform of repeal of the tax. The Australian government’s own figures estimate the tax has added A$9.90 to the average household’s weekly power bill. (Think adding $40 to your monthly power bill here, and you see the objection.)

Cap-and-Trade Mr. Abbott argued, amounted to “a great big tax to create a big slush fund to provide politicized handouts, run by a giant bureaucracy.” He supported simpler, cheaper and more practical ways of creating a cleaner environment and most Australians realized that the cost of decarbonizing the economy outweighed any possible benefits. Australia’s Senate voted 39-32 last Thursday to repeal the carbon emissions price. Prime Minister Abbott told voters in a news conference after the vote:

Today the tax that you voted to get rid of is finally gone, a useless destructive tax which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment is finally gone.

Phillip Hutchings writes at Wattsupwiththat that:

Within minutes of the Australian parliament voting to scrap our carbon tax today, one of our major coal-fired electricity generators issued a profit warning announcement.

In this case, AGL Energy announced its pre-tax profits will fall by $186 million in 2014/15 solely due to the removal of the carbon tax. The majority of this is related to the very large, but inefficient Loy Yang brown coal station which supplies 30% of the power needs of the state of Victoria. It’s amongst the single biggest emitters of CO2 in Australia.

Yet it was due to get $242 million of “Government assistance” under the carbon tax arrangements this year. Most of which found its way to the bottom line.

 



He Didn’t Know! Can’t Be Blamed. Didn’t Know! by The Elephant's Child

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He didn’t know that these unaccompanied minors had all sorts of contagious diseases unseen in this country for years. He didn’t know that there were Mara Salvatrucha recruiters among the unaccompanied minors. He didn’t have time to go to the border to spare from his fundraising. He didn’t know there were Americans aboard that Air Malaysian plane that was shot down by Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, because he had fundraisers to attend. He didn’t know that the world turmoil hasn’t been this bad since the 1970′s. He was only a kid then, so he didn’t know.



Coming to America For Obama’s Free Pass! by The Elephant's Child

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The narrative about the chaos on the border continues to unravel. That tale about poor unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central American countries? Phony. They are coming because they believe that U.S. immigration laws are granting free passes or “permisos” to unaccompanied children and adult females traveling with children. That has been the word circulating in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. And once the ‘children’ are here they will be taken care of.

The Central American countries are dependent on remittances from American immigrants, and are not interested in stopping the surge of illegals.

When the Obama administration decided in 2012 to practice “prosecutorial discretion” in cases where individuals were brought into the U.S. illegally as minors. The violence in those countries is not new, and it has actually dipped. Some are sent by the human smugglers who have seen a weakness in the system, and used statements coming from the administration in order to increase the number of people coming over.

There is a lot of profit for coyotes in human smuggling, someone is paying the $7,000 fee, and as no one is checking the identity and status of the phone numbers which may be the only direction to the ‘relatives’ of the unaccompanied children—who are put on a bus to get to the address given. They may not actually go to ‘relatives.’ There is indication that Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) recruiters are being sent to recruit among the teen age young men.

Males between 15-17 years of age comprise 47 percent of all unaccompanied minors who are other than Mexican. Thirty percent are minors age 10-14. There has been an increase in the OTM minors who are pregnant or have physical or mental disabilities.

The same family members or sponsors are appearing several times to claim different children from the custody of U.S. authorities. The legal status of the family members or sponsors is not checked, nor is the address they offer as residence, or the accuracy of the relationship to the children.  U.S. authorities do not know whether or how U.S. gang members are involved in the smuggling of minors.

53,375 OTM unaccompanied minors are predicted for FY 2014, and 95,500 for FY 2015. Officials say it may take years to process these minors through deportation hearings and actual deportation. Not all who are being sent to housing facilities are being medically screened. The number actually being returned to their home countries is infinitesimal, less than 50 so far.

The intent on the part of the Democrats is open borders and amnesty. But very simply, the flow of illegals from Central and South America will not end until it is made clear that we do not have open borders, and that the way to come to America is to obey the rules, come as a legal immigrant, and be welcomed.

ADDENDUM: The number of illegal aliens who have successfully filed asylum claims has almost tripled from 2012 to 2012. And that is ten times the number from 2008 when President Obama was elected, clear evidence that his immigration officials are approving most of the asylum requests from the growing surge of illegals coming from Central America. I call them illegal aliens because that is the accurate terminology according to any dictionary. If you came to America with a tale of escaping violence, there’s not any more than usual, and they are well coached in the words that might get them amnesty.

Congress did call for a little more discretion after it was learned that the Tsarnaev brothers of Boston Marathon fame  successfully applied for amnesty in 2002. But “credible fear” of persecution by criminal gangs in their home countries in Central America works.  In 2008 there were 118,457 claims of credible fear, it grew slowly to 123,180 in 2011, and then leaped to 183,681 in 2012. Then it goes to the Border Patrol or ICE for provisional approval.  According to the Los Angeles Times only 1,669 claimants were rejected in 2013.  That’s down from 8,143 in 2008.



Now They Want to Make You Eat Your Vegetables if You Are On Food Stamps! by The Elephant's Child

I have often referred to Liberals as “the perpetually discontented.” They have no acceptance of the ordinary foibles of the human race, and they really, really don’t want anyone to disagree with them. Their reactions to those who do disagree, range from calling you a racist, to trying to get you fired, or arrested. I suspect the reason is that they are not sure enough of their own arguments to be confident of defeating you in a debate, thus they want to end any possible debate and just get rid of you.

They have told us in many leftist venues that they don’t have principles like the Republicans do, but react to events on a case-by-case basis. They think that’s a good thing. While Republicans are talking about principles and how they apply to the world as it is, Liberals are nitpicking and regulating and trying to pass laws to make Republicans more tolerable.

They don’t seem to have a very good opinion of the very people they claim they are trying to help. Those who are unemployed are viewed as mostly unemployable or they wouldn’t have lost their jobs. Those who are on food stamps are fat, lazy and don’t know how to properly spend their food stamps. More vegetables, more fruit, more whole grains!!

“The USDA  (Department of Agriculture) is suggesting major changes to grocery stores to “nudge” Americans to purchase healthier foods when they shop.

The agency commissioned an “expert panel” to make recommendations on how to guide the more than 47 million Americans on food stamps into spending their benefits on fruits and vegetables.

The group released an 80-page report this month presenting their ideas, which include talking shopping carts and a marketing strategy for grocery chains that would feature better store lighting for healthier items.

“Most Americans, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants, do not purchase enough whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and legumes, and purchase too many items with excess calories from fats and added sugars,” the report said.

The report estimated that the new carts might cost as much as $30,000 per store. And they would like to rearrange the stores, change how stores stock and display their items. Improve the lighting, create “healthy aisles”. There is no end to the poking and prodding they would like to do in the interest of making sure that people don’t buy junk food with their food stamps.

Why is it that liberals are so intent on forcing everyone to adhere to their ideas of what is correct? It’s that little tyrant that lurks in their very souls, trying desperately to get out.

At the turn of the 21st century, there were 138,049 pages in the Code of Federal Regulations. At the end of 2013, there were 175,906. The George W. Bush administration added 2,490 pages a year. During the first five years of the Obama administration they have added 3,504 pages a year. Granted, some regulations are longer than others. But there are costs to comply with regulations — and those costs can be a real drag on the economy. When the economy shrank to a minus 2.9 percent in the first quarter, it was blamed on the weather. More likely, it was ObamaCare. Health and Human Services added 1,296 pages of new regulations just before the Fourth of July holiday.

The Federal Reserve considers that there is little inflation, but they don’t shop for groceries. People are shocked to find that their ObamaCare premiums have gone up by 40%. The White House reveled in the June jobs numbers which seemed to be really up, but the increase was all in part-time jobs, accounting for all the people who were cut back to less than thirty hours. So now they all work two jobs. That is excess regulation, liberals controlling your lives, improving you—so they will like the improved you better. You know its not going to work.



The White House Wants $3.7 Billion, but Airfare to Guatemala Is Not Included. by The Elephant's Child

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On July 8, 2014, the White House submitted its emergency budget request to the House of Representatives (Constitutional “power of the purse”) to deal with the “humanitarian crisis” on our southern border.

The budget request totals $3.7 billion. Many representatives immediately called it a blank check. White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz responded in the press that Congress cannot have it both ways, criticizing the administration and withholding the funding to effectively handle the crisis.  Scroll down past the president’s letter to see what they want all the money for.

Uh huh. The combined airfare for 30,000 illegals back to Guatemala City would be around $20 million. So what’s all the extra for?  DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, when interviewed on “Meet the Press” was unable to come up with a straightforward statement in response to a persistent David Gregory about whether any of the unaccompanied alien children would ever be returned to where they came from.

Government documents are written in soothing politically correct language that will not get anyone excited, but anyone with a sharp pencil could go through the list and separate out a big chunk of the nonsense. The administration, as usual, says one thing, and means another. It looks like their objective is not deportation, but resettlement. From The Center For Immigration Studies (CIS).

Of the $3.7 billion being requested, fully $1.8 billion (about 49 percent of the total) is for resettlement costs to be appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — not just for the UACs, but for entire family units, including adult men and women. There is no reason to think that the accommodations will be temporary, insofar as the funds include authorization “for acquisition, construction, improvement, repair, operation, and maintenance of real property and facilities.”

Much of the so-called “enforcement” portion of the budget is not truly geared toward removal; rather, it is a recouping of costs for temporary detention and subsequent transporting of aliens (including adults) to facilitate their resettlement and relocation by HHS. (It is noteworthy that, according to a leaked Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Intelligence document, fully 47 percent of the arrivals are adults, who should be subjected to expedited removal, not to relocation and resettlement.)

As far I can tell, the Republicans are quite favorable towards legal immigration. Some high-tech companies want immigration reformed immediately so they can have more workers from India to bring down wage costs. We have some 92 million Americans of working age unable to find a job and who have given up looking. We have vastly more STEM graduates that there are available jobs. The Center for Immigration Studies has shown conclusively that immigrants have taken jobs that would otherwise have gone to American citizens.

Republicans would be happy to work on reforming immigration policy, but do not trust the president to enforce the law, to deport those who are here illegally, or to stop encouraging illegal immigrants and children to come here to take advantage of our generous welfare policies — and vote Democratic because of the free stuff. Our high-tech companies could offer training programs if they are dissatisfied with the technology graduates of our schools.

The U.S. government is generally expected to act in the interest of the people of the United States.” That astonishing statement is the subhead of a splendid article about immigration by Kevin Williamson titled “How to Think about Immigration.” Sensible and an excellent guide to establishing your own opinions, whether you are a hawk or a ‘squish.’ If you read my earlier post today about Janet Daley, the most important thing is assimilation. We want immigrants who want to be Americans, and we want them to become Americans, not those who make no effort to speak English, learn our history, or think of this as “their country,” as in ‘this is my country, land of the free’…



The Left Controls the Words We Use, Or Tries To. by The Elephant's Child

The administration has determined that in the current immigration crisis we should not use the word “illegal”, so demeaning, you know. We must be more compassionate.

Words, however, have meaning that is not determined by the Democratic party, but by the dictionary. In this case — Merriam Webster:

illegal, il•le•gal, adjective:  not allowed by law.
……………………………….not according to or authorized by law. …………………………………………
That’s pretty straightforward, and descriptive. The meaning is plain, solid fact. Do you see anything demeaning there?

alien, noun:  a person who was born in a different country and is not
……………….a citizen of the county in which he now lives.

……………….a foreign born resident who has not been naturalized ……………….and is still a subject or citizen of a foreign country.

The administration has said that we must not use these terms, although there are no others that accurately describe the situation.  We’re supposed to go for “unaccompanied children” though “minors” more accurately describes the situation, and the majority of the illegal alien “children” are between the ages of eleven and 18, and many are members of Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, a violent street gang already infesting many of our cities, whose members are mostly between age 11 and 21.

This is one of the great problems in our nation’s political battles. The Left spends a lot of time on words, slogans, bumper-stickers, and phrases. They believe if they can get the words right, they can control the narrative. Different words evoke differing emotions, and the right choice can compel people to do what you want.

The Right is so concerned with how a policy or program works and what it means and how it will play out. We worry about cost and incentives, the economics and probable effect—and seldom notice that they are manipulating us with clever use of words. Our minds are just off in a different direction, and we aren’t very good at slogans anyway. Propaganda works!



The Aussies Are Having Border Problems Too. by The Elephant's Child

We are not alone. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) is now picking on Australia for not inviting uninvited immigrants to stick around. After an assessment at sea, 41 Sri Lankans were rejected by the border patrol and handed over to the Sri Lankan authorities.

I always find it fascinating that our friends in Russia can take the most severe actions and nobody criticizes, but when one of the world’s freest nations dares to insist that their borders mean something and that  you need permission to enter, all hell breaks loose.

Australians welcome immigrants as we do. But there is a legal way to do it. You go to an embassy and tell them you want to immigrate. It may take some time, but you will be welcome when the time comes. We just don’t have room for all the people in the world who want to live in a free country. We cannot handle all the claim jumpers currently bidding for our compassion. The U.N. should butt out.



Redistribution Doesn’t Work, And American’s Know It. by The Elephant's Child

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Here’s a great Fourth of July weekend message for Americans:

The White House has all but abandoned a message
of income inequality it had focused on last year.
It turns out Americans are not moved by the topic
and prefer a message based on opportunity.

This is a very big deal indeed. Barack Obama has called income inequality a “fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life and what we stand for around the globe.” This is a burning issue for liberals. They depend on class envy, hatred for the rich, compassion for the poor, and the never-ending leftist effort to make everybody equal — except for the wise experts who will run everything, of course. And ordinary Americans just don’t care. They would rather have more jobs and more opportunity.

In 2013, income inequality was the top narrative for the White House, but they abruptly switched away from it. Democratis strategists and their pollsters concluded that they should focus less on the wealth gap and more on emphasizing that all Americans shoud have economic “opportunity” to get ahead or a “fair shot”. Oh yes, we remember Mr. Obama’s constant refrain about “an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” Another iteration of equality.

Last year White House political research showed that income inequality was a wonky term that did not always resonate with voters, but Obama insisted on speaking about it anyway.

That focus culminated in a December speech in a low-income neighborhood in Southeast Washington, where he referenced inequality 26 times and discussed academic findings on the gap between the wealthy and the poor.

“He wasn’t particularly interested in knowing whether that was a good economic message,” said one person familiar with the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private conversations. “He wanted to sound alarm and put voice behind that.”

But as 2014 loomed, White House strategists concluded that inequality was not registering with voters on its own.

It’s the phrase, you see. “Income inequality ” doesn’t have a ‘personal immediacy’ and there are other things that are much more immediate and tangible and more real to people. It’s a matter of getting the right phrase. What they want, of course, are more taxes on wealthier Americans in order to give more benefits to poorer Americans. It’s just a matter of figuring out what phrases will be most compelling. It is a matter of feelings — what will resonate with voters emotionally. They will test a variety of words and phrases to see what resonates.

What they will not do is investigate to what extent inequality matters. “Claims about the supposed harm done by rising income inequality are rarely substantiated, and a comprehensive read of the evidence as to inequality’s consequences offers little cause for alarm.”

Income inequality is a thing of graphs, charts and statistics. Politicans look at the statistics and are sure that it represents dire circumstances for the poor and nasty greed of the wealthy. They create remedies based on statistics that represent an average across the country,and try to legislate a correction. Fifty years ago Lyndon Johnson began a $20 trillion War on Poverty. Fifty years later, the overall percentage of impoverished people in the U.S. has declined only 2 percent. When the War on Poverty began, about 6 percent of children were born outside of marrige. Today it is 42 percent and a catastrophe. The incentives of welfare encourage recipients to stay on welfare forever, and that creates a pathology of crime, drugs, incarceration.

Income inequality has not gone away as a goal of the Left. It is merely seeking a new disguise. Just another shift in the permanent effort of the Left to make everybody equal — except for the ruling class of wise experts who will direct and control everything. A growing economy offers opportunity for all.



Words, Dictionaries, Democrats and Demagogues by The Elephant's Child

(Reposted from 2013)

Theoretically, we share a common vocabulary, and with a dictionary handy to look up the big words, we shouldn’t have too much trouble understanding each other. That’s a sentence that can be shot down in nothing flat. Conservatives and Liberals often do not speak the same language. Conservatives refer to their principles and try to say what they mean fairly effectively. Liberals don’t have principles, (they have told us so) and respond to events on a circumstantial basis. However, Liberals are far more careful with their choice of words — they have talking points.

I don’t know just how this works, I assume they have a word shop over at the Center for American Progress where cubicles of scribes pick ‘the word’ in response to the current event.

For example, a Colorado recall election just booted two Legislators out of office: John Morse, who was president of the senate, and Angela Giron, from a heavily Democratic district, both of whom were behind a gun control measure. They were heavily financed by Bloomberg’s Governors for Gun Control bunch. When they were recalled by a substantial vote, Democrats were shocked.

DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz quickly announced that it was “voter suppression.” Defeated senator Angela Giron went on CNN to whine extensively, all but bursting into tears, claiming over and over that it was “voter suppression.” This is not a coincidence. Democrats come up with good, powerful, words, which are issued as talking points.

This is why Democrats stopped being “liberals” and became “progressives” instead. The word “liberal” had become tainted with sleazy politics, and “progressive” was associated with “progress” as in the century-old administration of Woodrow Wilson.

This is why so many Democrat ideas are expressed in very effective bumper-stickers, and why Republicans have trouble explaining economic realities. The question is “minimum wage,” Democrats respond “living wage” while Republicans patiently explain that the minimum wage is meant for beginning workers, who usually get promoted in 6 months, and raising the minimum means more teens and beginners out of work. It’s really hard to compete with simple and emotional.

A particularly interesting word is demagoguery. Demagoguery is an appeal to people that plays on their emotions and prejudices rather than on their rational side.

Demagoguery is a manipulative approach — often associated with dictators and sleazy politicians — that appeals to the worst nature of people. Demagoguery isn’t based on reason, issues, and doing the right thing, it’s based on stirring up fear and hatred to control people. For example, a politician who stirs up a fear of immigrants to distract from other issues is using demagoguery. Demagoguery is one of the most negative aspects of politics, but it’s also one that’s all too common.

Every politician has a bit of the demagogue in them, it’s just a matter of degree. Adherents of each party are apt to refer to their opposite number as a demagogue, so the word is used freely and carelessly. Yet there is a clear definition, and there are clear examples of skillful demagoguery:

This is the most outstanding example of a pure appeal to the emotions and prejudices I have ever seen. It is not based on reason or the issues, or doing the right thing. It’s all feelings. If you look for meaning — there is no meaning there. “Change we can believe in” What is it you are changing? “We are the change we seek” What does that mean? “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Huh? “Yes we can.” Can what? This is ‘call and response’ borrowed from black preachers. “We are the hope of the future.” “That we cannot remake this world as it should be.”

Barack Obama said — nothing, nothing at all. There is not one specific in the entire speech, at best only a vague “our house cannot stand divided.” He said “A hymn that will heal the world,”and he has his audience in the palm of his hand, wildly cheering “Yes we Can” without the slightest idea of what it is that they Can. This is a masterful demonstration of how to arouse and manipulate an audience. It will go down in history as the perfect definition of demagoguery.

We, ladies and gentlemen, were had.




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