American Elephants


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

polar-bears

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.



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

Vladimir-Putin-007

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.



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.



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.

 



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.



The Origins of Liberalism: A New History by The Elephant's Child

The “narrative” of the Left, to use a newly favorite leftist word, contains a view of America as “an exceptionally guilty nation, the product of a poisonous mixture of territorial rapacity emboldened by racism, violence, and chauvinistic religious conviction, an exploiter of natural resources and despoiler of natural beauty and order such as the planet has never seen.” ( Thank you, Howard Zinn) So says Wilfrid M. McClay in a review of Fred Siegel’s new book: The Revolt Against the MassesThere is as well a second view “in which all of history is seen as a struggle toward the greater and greater liberation of the individual, and the greater and greater integration of all governance in larger and larger units, administered; by cadres of experts actuated by the public interest and by a highly developed sense of justice.”

It’s an important book, “a critique of liberalism by someone who came out of the left.” Siegel believes that liberalism has come to be the mortal enemy of the ordinary working people who are the backbone of America.

Siegel traces modern liberalism back, not to Woodrow Wilson’s progressivism, but to the aftermath of World War I, and the intelligentsia’s view of  the dreary middle class nature of American society.

Between January of 1920 and July of 1922 when the Twenties began to roar, the country endured an economic collapse nearly as steep as that between 1929 and 1933. But the plummet was followed by a rapid recovery under Harding, who was devoted to less government through lower taxes and less regulation. This might have seemed a vindication of the American way, particularly as compared with Europe’s ongoing woes. But the short, sharp downturn, resolved without government intervention, drew only passing intellectual attention. Literary elites soon returned to their central themes. …

[The radicals of 1922] many of them Harvard men, were driven by resentment. The so-called lost generation…was “extremely class-conscious.” They had “‘a vague belief in aristocracy and in the possibilities of producing real aristocrats through education.” They went to Europe “to free themselves from organized stupidity, to win their deserved place in the hierarchy of intellect.” They felt that their status in America’s business culture was grossly inadequate, given their obviously exceptional intelligence and extraordinary talent. Their simmering anger at what they saw as the mediocrity of democratic life led them to pioneer the now commonplace stance of blaming society for their personal failings. Animated by patrician spirit, they found the leveling egalitarianism of the United States an insult to their sense of self-importance.

Well, the radicals of 1922, the radicals of the sixties, not all that much difference. The Democrats of 2014 have a remarkably squalid bench. Hillary is supposed to be the first woman president, but her accomplishment list is scanty, her tenure as Secretary of State is measured in frequent-flyer miles, and a “reset” button. Her tenure as a senator in a safe Democrat seat has nothing to add to the resume. Her claim to qualifications is as Bill’s wife. If you remember, she started out the Clinton reign by wanting to be the co-president. The people were not impressed. Bill was a natural political animal. Hillary simply does not have his political instincts.

The alternate to Hillary is being drummed up as Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) the faux-Indian law professor from Harvard, who is unable to understand the simple direct meaning of the Hobby Lobby case. She issued her “11 commandments” for Progressives this week, which only show that her understanding of cause and effect, and how regulation works is remarkably thin.

Tom Sowell recently pointed out that: “The fundamental problem of the political Left seems to be that the real world does not fit their preconceptions. Therefore they see the real world as what is wrong, and what needs to be changed, since apparently their preconceptions cannot be wrong.”

As I said, the new word is “disproportionate” Sowell adds: “A never-ending source of grievances for the Left is the fact that some groups are ‘over-represented’ in desirable occupations, institutions, and income brackets, while other groups are ‘under-represented.’ From all the indignation and outrage about this expressed on the left, you might think that it was impossible that different groups are simply better at different things.”

Yet runners from Kenya continue to win a disproportionate share of marathons in the United States, and children whose parents or grandparents came from India have won most of the American spelling bees in the past 15 years. And has anyone failed to notice that the leading professional basketball players have for years been black, in a country where most of the population is white?

Most of the leading photographic lenses in the world have — for generations — been designed by people who were either Japanese or German. Most of the leading diamond-cutters in the world have been either India’s Jains or Jews from Israel or elsewhere. …

If the preconceptions of the Left were correct, central planning by educated elites who had vast amounts of statistical data at their fingertips and expertise readily available, and were backed by the power of government, should have been more successful than market economies where millions of individuals pursued their own individual interests willy-nilly.

And to return to where I began, with Wilfrid McClay: “The arrogance that looks upon the actual lives of ordinary people with pity and disdain is, at least potentially, the same arrogance that knows what would be better for those pathetic folks, and presumes itself fit to impose upon them a new way of life that is more fitting and fulfilling than their present condition, had they the wit to realize it.”



The Ever-Growing Lexicon of the Left: New Additions. by The Elephant's Child

dis•pro•por•tion•ate: adjective: having or showing a difference that is not fair, reasonable, or expected: too large or too small in relation to something.
being out of proportion.

#LiveTheWage: Congressional Democrats’ stunt to attempt to live on the minimum wage (briefly). The federal minimum wage of $7.25 would be $290 a week, subtract $176.48 average for housing and $35.06 for taxes leaves $77 remaining for the week to live on. Democrats ask if you could live on that amount?

Informed by polls and public reaction, Obama’s staff and advisors told him to knock off the “income inequality” theme. It wasn’t working. President Obama had hailed it as “the defining challenge of our times.” Yet internal polls proved the class warfare and soak the rich rhetoric was an election loser. Polls have also shown that “minimum wage” doesn’t even register among important issues. Well, not so fast. Income inequality and envy of the rich are perennial hot buttons for liberals, a bedrock issue.

Change the language. The proportion of national wealth that belongs to the 1% is certainly disproportionate. The wages of the average worker are clearly disproportionate to the wages of Industry CEOs. The killing of Hamas terrorists is disproportionate to the numbers of Israeli dead. Are wars supposed to be proportionate? “A difference that is not fair or not reasonable.” I see. Go for fairness.

See how difficult it is to live on just $77 a week? How can people survive on a minimum wage like that? $290 a week is over the poverty level. The minimum wage at $290 a week adds up to $14,500 a year which is over the poverty level of $11,490 a year. And how come Democrats don’t mention that the problems of low wage jobs have become a problem particularly because of ObamaCare, which forced employers to make their full-time workers part time at less than 30 hours. The big increase in new jobs has been in part-time jobs — the other half of the hours of those whose hours were cut.

Minimum wage laws were instituted by union pressure to protect their workers from being undercut by those who would work for less. Ideally, there should be no minimum wage, but only contracts between a willing employer and a willing employee. If I’d like to hire the neighbor’s kid to mow my lawn once a week for far under the local minimum wage of $9.25 I should be able to do so if he wants to mow my lawn. Minimum wage jobs offer new workers a chance to learn marketable skills. A person with marketable skills should be able to find a better job.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky shared her “minimum wage” menu for the week. Her twitter audience was unimpressed.  Pinkie “I honestly think @janschakowsky has no idea that 95% of Americans eat what’s on her menu all the time.” DLoesch “What does @janschakowsky eat normally? Geebus”

BtVHWDNCYAEX-ol



New England Is Unprepared for Looming Power Shortages! by The Elephant's Child

ice_beaver_island

This gorgeous landscape comes from the Great Lakes last winter. As the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan is passed on to all departments in the government, the Department of Energy, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense all have programs to promote the presidential  Climate Action Plan. But it is the EPA that is working hard to fulfill their Clean Power Plan. Another stupid attack on the American economy.

Just last week, the governors of the six New England states met in emergency session at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to discuss the potential full-scale power shortage that seems to be coming. They asked the premiers of five of Canada’s provinces to attend the meeting. If New England is going to get electricity from anywhere, it’s probably going to be from north of the border.

New England has been on a hell-bent drive to rid itself of any form of “dirty” non-renewable energy, and has been closing down coal-fired and oil-fired power plants for the last decade. In 2000, 18 percent of New England’s electricity came from coal and 22 percent from oil. Today it’s  3 percent coal and 1 percent oil. Natural gas has risen from 15 percent to a vulnerable 52 percent. But there is a major problem. New England doesn’t have the pipelines they would need to bring in natural gas.

Eastern Pennsylvania is only a short distance from Connecticut and Massachusetts, where fracking has put Pennsylvania into third place for overall energy production. A proposal from a Huston company to expand its existing pipeline from Stony Point, New York has met with angry resistance from New England greens. They are still fighting global warming and dirty fossil fuels.

Last winter when the real record low temperatures hit, there wasn’t enough gas to go around. Utilities that provide home heating have long-term contracts, and first call. Power plant operators frantically bid against each other for what was left. Prices went from $4 per mBTU to $79 per mBTU. In 2012, New England spent $5.2 gillion on electricity in the whole year. Last winter they spent $5.1 billion just in the first four months.

The CEO of the Independent Systems Operator of New England which runs the grid begged the region not to close down Vermont Yankee and Brayton Point, but the faith in Environmentalism runs deep. You can store up supplies of coal, but you can’t store natural gas, and wind turbines shut down in cold weather. They only got through last winter by regularly importing 1,400 megawatts from Indian Point, the two nuclear power plants on the Hudson in New York. But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and most of the state’s Democratic politician are trying to close down Indian Point as well.

In the next two years New England will be closing down 1/10th of its power capacity because — environmentalism. It’s a religious faith, which they falsely assume to be science. Cold kills a lot more people than heat ever does. The last of the four coal-fired plants at Salem Harbor is due to be shut down because it cannot meet the EPA’s new regulations.Brayton Point, the largest remaining coal plant will be closed for the same reason. A constant barrage of protests and legislative attacks has persuaded Mississippi-based Entergy to close the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Station, a reactor that supplies 75 percent of Vermont’s power and  four percent of the region’s power— free of “carbon pollution.”

Canadians are developing huge dams in James Bay and are eager to sell electricity to Americans. That means building transmission lines down from the north, but of course environmentalists are opposed to that too, and trying to block any line in every way they can come up with. We’re in for cold winters as far as we can see, which isn’t far as we cannot predict the future, nor can the computer programs of climate alarmists. As far as predictions go, the Farmer’s Almanac may have a  better record than the IPCC computers. We’ll see.

farmers2013




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