American Elephants


There’s a Reason Why Obama Has No Strategy by The Elephant's Child

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This new poll from the Pew Research Center is interesting. I guess you could sum it up by saying that Republicans are bigger worriers than Democrats — or possibly that Democrats are clueless about what is going on in the world. I wonder where Obama would rank on this survey?

We have a broad array of strategies, which the Pentagon produces, ready for any exigency. This is not a time when we should be cutting our military to the bone. I think every person on the right, seeing that long column of ISIS thugs with their flags and guns, wondered where the A-10s were. Designed for just such an occasion, they are old and retired by Obama. I suspect the reason for cutting the military so drastically is more about punishing Republicans who do care about the services and military preparedness, than about a serious look at our real needs.

Republicans, I believe, are far more accepting of human nature and its flaws, and recognize ever-present evil when it breaks out once again. They know we will make mistakes, but accept that in the effort, and will try to do better next time.

Democrats have no real understanding of human nature at all, and assume that it can be fixed by wise people in government with the right mixture of regulations and laws. They used to believe in a Utopian future, but at present they don’t get much beyond the battle to be in control. Once they are running everything, it will take some time to get everybody in line, but once that is accomplished they can work on the glorious future, which they haven’t figured out yet.

There is no limit to the effort, money, legal challenges, fraud and lies they will expend in the effort to win — to be in control. See the feverish attempts to destroy potential Republican candidates like Rick Perry and Scott Walker with bizarre lawsuits that might tie them up in court, and provide useful material for future opposition commercials. Leave no stone unturned.

There is a lot of information (and speculation) in this survey. I’d like to see more on the differences between the parties, which is greater than I have ever known it to be.  The Left has shifted far to the left. Leftists claim that Republicans have shifted to the right, but they are trying to demonize Tea Party members as raving, drooling extremists instead of your next-door neighbors who have, as a result of — oh, the stimulus, the growth of government, ObamaCare and a couple hundred other extra-legal  moves by the Obama administration become interested in and concerned about politics for the first time in their lives.



“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.



The Feds Are Going to Track “Hate Speech” on Twitter! by The Elephant's Child

Just when the news is full of the depredations of the newly-named Islamic State, we learn that our government is creating a database to track “hate speech” on Twitter. The feds will spend nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and “hate speech” on Twitter.

Watch what you are tweeting, folks. The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” (of course it would be “memes,” not words or ideas)  and what it considers “false and misleading ideas” with a major focus on political activity online. Sorry, free speech is out. Old fashioned nonsense! What we need is control. No unpleasant words allowed. And don’t go ‘denying’ Global Warming!

The university has so far received $919,917 for the project.

“The project stands to benefit both the research community and the public significantly,” the grant states. “Our data will be made available via [application programming interfaces] APIs and include information on meme propagation networks, statistical data, and relevant user and content features.”

“The open-source platform we develop will be made publicly available and will be extensible to ever more research areas as a greater preponderance of human activities are replicated online,” it continues. “Additionally, we will create a web service open to the public for monitoring trends, bursts, and suspicious memes.”

They are calling it “Truthy” a name from Stephen Colbert. It will attempt to catalog how information is spread (and how to shut it down?). They claim to be completely non-partisan, but suggest that some tweets are engineered by “the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns” according to the website.

“Truthy” claims to be non-partisan. However, the project’s lead investigator Filippo Menczer proclaims his support for numerous progressive advocacy groups, including President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, Moveon.org, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, and True Majority.

Filippo Menczer is a professor of informatics  and computer science at Indiana University. You can tell that the project is completely non-partisan because it would never even occur to any Republican or Conservative to attempt to trace “hate speech” on Twitter. Republicans don’t even believe there is such a thing as “hate speech”, which presumes to read the mind and intent of the speaker, something quite impossible.

Republicans believe in free speech which is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech,” and that even includes political speech, which would suggest that this effort is out of line. The response to nasty speech, which can be distinguished from “hate speech” is Shame.

The government-funded researchers hope the public will use their tool to squeal on other tweeters. They want to know why some “memes” go viral and others don’t. I don’t think it takes $1 million to answer that one.

I find it absolutely astonishing the extent to which Democrats are frightened by those who disagree with them, and struggle to find ways to silence them. But I have a pretty good idea of just why they do it.



Cease-Fires Don’t Work When One Side Won’t Cease! by The Elephant's Child

From Friday’s Wall Street Journal :

JERUSALEM—White House and State Department officials who were leading U.S. efforts to rein in Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval.

Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel. But Israeli and U.S. officials say that the adroit bureaucratic maneuvering made it plain how little influence the White House and State Department have with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu —and that both sides know it.

Funny. This is the customary way that Israel secured supplies of ammunition through a military to military purchase that required no approval from White House officials.

If people in Pennsylvania were shooting rockets at the White House many times a day leaving everyone to run for shelter immediately, would the administration be so eagerly pressing for a “cease-fire” that everyone knew those crazies in Pennsylvania would not observe? And if they were digging attack tunnels designed to come up in the Rose Garden, or down by Michelle’s veggie garden?

The U.S. government classifies Hamas as “a terrorist organization.” Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry just don’t seem to understand terrorism. “No victor-no vanquished.” let’s have another cease-fire. Hamas’ charter clearly says they intend to destroy Israel and all its people. Israel has the backing of Egypt, and Jordan and even the West Bank for attempting to stop the rocket attacks. Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry just don’t seem to get it. But I repeat myself.

There are cease-fires, and Hamas breaks them. They fire rockets from their storehouses in UN schools, and the administration is shocked by the pretend numbers of casualties claimed by Hamas, and assumes them to be real.  President Obama   doesn’t like disagreement, and has proved to be somewhat vindictive.

Prime Minister Netanyahu explained the situation with Hamas quite clearly, in language easily understandable:

The difference between us is simple.
We develop defensive systems in order
to protect our civilians, and they
use their civilians to protect their missiles.



The Left is Very Skilled at Language Tricks. by The Elephant's Child

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Anthony Watts pointed out that the warmists are increasingly using emotionalism as a motivator for their concern about “global warming.” Language games are an important part of the leftist tool kit. First example is the change from “global warming” to “climate change”— somewhat necessary since it hasn’t warmed in over 17 years, but the climate is always changing, as you probably noticed last winter when the Great Lakes froze over. Anthony quotes Sean Long from the Media Research Center — headline:

Network Coverage of ‘Extreme Weather’ Up Nearly 1,000 Percent

Ten years ago ABC, CBS and NBC barely used the phrase, now they go to extremes despite scientific disagreement.

A “bizarre cold snap” is hitting the U.S. and the media have already begun to draw comparisons to the polar vortex. It is only a matter of time before the networks resume panic over “extreme weather.” …

The networks have worked tirelessly to promote the idea that extreme weather events were more common than they actually have been. What used to just be called weather, is now extreme. On May 6, 2014, NBC White House Correspondent Peter Alexander told “Nightly News” viewers to “just think of all the extreme weather headlines in the last months. Floods, tornadoes, record cold and record droughts.”

ABC correspondent Dan Harris announced on Feb. 22, 2014, “Good Morning America” that “much of America [is] dealing with extreme weather right now. A really nasty mix of twisters, high winds and flooding rains.”   (Whole story here.)

Climatologist Dr. John Christie has looked back as far as the 1850s and found there to be no trend in hurricanes. There has not been a single major hurricane (over category three) to hit the United States in seven years. Hurricane Sandy was a minimal hurricane.

The drought in California is not “the worst drought on record” but consistent with previous California droughts. Watch for the emotional words. They are used on purpose. Remember “polar vortex?” There are fewer tornadoes. Floods are not increasing. Dr. John Holdren, Obama’s science advisor, introduced the phrase “Global Climate Disruption” in a presentation at the Kennedy School of Government in 2007, although at that point it hadn’t warmed since 1997:

“Global warming is a misnomer,” said John P. Holdren, speaking at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Kennedy School on November 6. “It implies something gradual, uniform, and benign. What we’re experiencing is none of these.”

Holdren also urged the United States to spearhead this effort, going from being a “laggard in climate policy to being a leader.” Once that happens, he said, the rest of the world will follow suit.

Surely you didn’t think that it was accidental that the entire “endangered species” bit has been portrayed only with particularly attractive species — baby harp seals, polar bears and the ever so cute cubs. We’re suckers for that stuff.

Haven’t you noticed that the influx from Central America are “innocent children,” despite all evidence to the contrary? And now the left is describing them as “our children.

Another of today’s headlines on Watts Up With That:
“Told ya so —Washington Post links Ebola to Climate Change”



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.



Misrepresentation, Lies, and Propaganda. Can’t Anybody Tell the Truth? by The Elephant's Child

The Labor Department reported on Friday that the economy had gained 209,000 jobs in July. That doesn’t keep up with the birthrate. Economists had predicted a gain of 230,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 6.1%, so 6.2% was a disappointing jobs number. Not good. Average hourly earnings increased by a yearly  gain of a precise 0.2¢, but wage growth has been stagnant for most of the, um, economic recovery. It’s a weak economy, stumbling along in near-stall speed. President Obama proved once again in his weekly address that he remains remarkably clueless.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: This morning we learned that our economy created over 200,000 new jobs in July. That’s on top of about 300,000 new jobs in June. So we are now in a six-month streak with at least 200,000 new jobs each month. That’s the first time that has happened since 1997. Over the past year, we’ve added more jobs than any year since 2006. All told, our businesses have created 9.9 million new jobs over the past 53 units. That’s the longest streak of private sector job creation in our history.

As we saw on Wednesday, the economy grew at a strong pace in the spring. Companies are investing, consumers are spending and American manufacturing, energy, technology, autos all are booming. And thanks to the decisions that we’ve made and the resilience of the American people, we’ve recovered faster and come farther from the recession than almost any other advanced country on earth. So the good news is the economy clearly is getting stronger, things are getting better, engines are revving a little bit louder.

Well, no it isn’t, things aren’t getting better, and the engines are stalled. Democrats have become the party of economic control. If things aren’t going well, it’ because we need more rules. If something is not working Obama will fix it with his pen and his phone. Nobody knows what comes next. We’re told ObamaCare premiums are about to skyrocket—precisely how much? Who knows? The IRS is crooked. The EPA may descend on you for disobeying an order you never heard of. They just descended on a woman in South Carolina and confiscated her elderly Range Rover — she has no idea why. The president and the press lie to us. I think everyone has the feeling that government departments may be told to misrepresent their numbers, but I don’t know that to be the case, I’ve just lost several degrees of trust.

The press continues to describe the influx of illegal alien young people, OTM (other than Mexican), mothers with small children, Muslims, Chinese, Mara-Salvatucha gang members, as little children who are fleeing violence and poverty in their country. No, they are not. The kids have been questioned and they are not fleeing violence, they are coming in response to Obama’s offer of amnesty. 80%, according to Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)  are young men 16 and 17 years of age. Now we learn that planeloads of them have been sent to Hawaii and Alaska. The airline tickets back home to Central America would be cheaper.

ADDENDUM:From the Hill: “The Real unemployment rate is at least 18 percent.”

Employers can, intentionally or unintentionally, abuse the H-1B visa program, which permit businesses to employ foreign workers when qualified Americans are unavailable. Americans may be overlooked, because they demand higher wages, or are not networked with immigrants that are already employed in technical and managerial positions.

The economy has created only about 6 million new jobs during the Bush-Obama years, whereas the comparable figure during the Reagan-Clinton period was about 40 million. A recent study by the Center for Immigration Studies indicates that virtually all the new jobs created since 2000 went to immigrants, whereas none were created for native-born Americans.




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