American Elephants


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



Why Are Democrats So ‘Outraged?’ Just Another Tactic! by The Elephant's Child

This one made me laugh.  We have always said that for liberals, it’s feelings that matter, not facts or principles. In fact they have said that they don’t have principles—that they react on a case by case basis. They respond to events.  And it is certainly an overdose of feelings that leads to the total excess of outrage. Not a day goes by without a new outrage.

The source of all the outrage is simple. When the unknown Illinois state senator spoke to the Democratic Convention in Boston in 2004, they were thrilled. He was so—elegant, tall and slim, with a dazzling smile and a warm baritone voice.  His story was so inspiring. His father herded goats in Kenya, and his grandfather was a humble cook for the British. It was better than Abe Lincoln and his log cabin and splitting rails. They were thrilled. When Obama was elected to the presidency of the United States, he promised to transform America, make it fulfill all their dreams, and they knew that the future would be better and better.

Well, it didn’t work. Things didn’t keep getting better. The Republicans kept criticizing, and fighting back against every little thing. Obama was stuck with the worst economy ever because of Bush’s recession, and Republicans tried to blame it all on him. It wasn’t Obama’s fault. Republicans just needed to shut up, to stop criticizing, to give Obama a chance. Obama promised better health insurance: if we liked our insurance we could keep our insurance, we could keep our doctor if we liked our doctor, and if would cost us way less. Then the IRS and the VA and trading terrorists for a deserter, and Russia invaded Crimea, and ISIS invaded Iraq. Just one thing after another, and rather than admit that their dreams of a new world were misplaced, they started scheming about how to silence Republicans. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizens United that affirmed the right of corporations to have a political voice, it seemed possible that there was no way to shut them up. They would keep right on spoiling everything.

If they can just get people fired up, angry, outraged— they can get Republicans banned, blocked, opposed, held up to ridicule, fired, and above all convince  the people that Those on the Right are evil,  beyond redemption and must be voted out of office. It’s just another leftist tactic.



The Story of Private Bowe Bergdahl In Five Amazing Versions. by The Elephant's Child

Bowe-Bergdahl-PoW

The Bowe Bergdahl  story is an interesting one. For the Obama administration it is an opportunity to prove how very much they care about our military, returning, at great price, one of our boys who has been a prisoner of war among the terrorist Taliban in Afghanistan. He has been a captive for five long years, and his family longs for his return. They are grateful that he has been rescued, and the entire town of Hailey, Idaho will turn out to welcome home their hero. Call this the political boasting story. Susan Rice was once again dispatched to the Sunday shows to tell the happy story.

The second story is that the White House and the president, embattled with the media proliferation of macabre stories about the mistreatment of veterans at our nation’s VA Hospitals. The bonuses and advancement of administrators were measured by wait times. The Obama administration set a goal in 2011 of 14 days as the longest a veteran should have to wait in order to see a doctor or nurse. A little bit of fudging led to more and there was an enormous scandal with 40 dead veterans, destroyed wait lists.  All over the headlines in every venue, and then information about the Indian Health Service started appearing, and it was clear a major distraction was needed. It was needed so fast that the minor law about giving Congress 30 days notice about releasing any detainee from Guantanamo couldn’t be observed. Five Taliban leaders, called extremely dangerous terrorists, were traded for Bowe Bergdahl. Obama summoned Bergdahl’s parents to the White House for a Rose Garden announcement of the good news that Bowe would be coming home.

Third story, told by the warriors  of Private Bergdahl’s former army unit: the guy sneaked out at night, deserted his unit, leaving behind his uniform and weapons. He had previously sent his stuff home. They searched for him for several months, enduring fire fights with Taliban, and 6 good men were killed in the effort to get Private Bergdahl back. His unit blames him for those deaths, considers him a deserter, and suspects he was working with the Taliban. Obama mysteriously promoted Private Bergdahl to Sergeant First Class, and successfully changed the headlines in the media from the VA scandal to the return of a prisoner of war.

Fourth story: Those with some knowledge of the military are appalled. Trading five high-risk Taliban prisoners for a captive who may have been working with the Taliban endangers Americans everywhere. If kidnapping an American will get five prisoners out of Guantanamo, no one is safe in Afghanistan or anywhere in the Middle East. America becomes a patsy that can be played. The Taliban leaders who have been released will return as soon as possible to the battlefield and to killing Americans. No one familiar with the Middle East believes that they will be detained for long in Qatar.

Fifth story: Obama’s naive belief in diplomacy as the solution to any foreign policy problem—  is a problem. The exchange does not make Obama seem strong and in command of the situation, but unusually weak, and willing to do anything to get rid of bad publicity. Our allies cannot count on the United States, and see Obama’s disinterest in foreign policy and contempt for the idea of projecting power, or speaking firmly and following through is obvious. He believes he was elected to get us out of Bush’s Wars, believes they were a disaster, and does not see any accomplishment to be maintained. Joe Biden was sent to get a status of forces agreement in Iraq, but could not manage it, so we left anyway. Now he has notified the Taliban of when we will leave, and will not attempt to preserve what was won at such cost.

That’s my take, you can take your pick, offer other choices, or tell me I’m way off. We’ll see how it develops. Honor and ethics don’t seem to have a role in the story.



Is it Our Actions That Are To Blame, Or Our Perceptions? by The Elephant's Child

The folks at Reason offer up an explanation for our political problems, in one simple, devastating graph.  Read it and weep! (click to enlarge)

click-through-for-original

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Harry Reid Is Opposed to Climate Change, Just Monumentally Confused About the Cause! by The Elephant's Child

HarryReid 3

Harry Reid needs help. He gets a little more loony every day. He announced yesterday that Charles and David Koch are “one of the main causes of climate change.”

“While the Koch brothers admit to not being experts on the matter, these billionaire oil tycoons are certainly experts at contributing to climate change. That’s what they do very well. They are one of the main causes of this. Not a cause, one of the main causes” Reid said.

He called them “multizillionaires” and claimed they are the richest men in the world.   (They’re not by any measure) Far left liberal billionaire Tom Steyer challenged the brothers to a public debate on climate change. Steyer’s successful hedge fund Farallon Capital Management made a lot of money investing in coal mines in Asia and Australia, but he opposes the Keystone XL pipeline and has promised $100 million, $50 million of his own and $50 million raised from others, to the Democrats if they promote the cause of Climate Change and environmentalism.

It is interesting to consider just why Democrats are so interested in demonizing the very philanthropic Koch brothers. The Kochs are Libertarians and donate to causes that endorse low taxes, light regulation and free markets. Hardly a radical agenda. They also donate heavily to cancer research, and the hospitals that are so engaged. They also create a lot of jobs, 60,000 in the U.S. and 100,000 worldwide.

Steyer is a member of the shadowy dark money club— the Democracy Alliance— dues are around $30,000, and they support Democratic causes and Democrat politicians.Their attention has reportedly turned from support for Democrat causes to simply winning elections. Not a lot of room here to attack the Koch brothers, nor anything to attack them for except that they disagree. But that is cause to be attacked these days. You are not allowed to disagree with Democrats.



Chuck Schumer Wants to Rewrite the First Amendment! by The Elephant's Child

Liberals regularly refer to the Tea Party as “extremists”— all that talking about the Constitution as if it were important, and not a dusty old document that needs updating. We need a “living” Constitution — and Chuckie Schumer is working on it. Senator Schumer, like all good Democrats is enraged about the Citizens United decision. He wants to rewrite the First Amendment! And he has announced a proposal to amend the Constitution.

“The Supreme Court is trying to take this country back to the days of the robber barons, allowing dark money to flood our elections,” Mr. Schumer said. The Senate will vote this year on the amendment to “once and for all allow Congress to make laws to regulate our system, without the risk of them being eviscerated by a conservative Supreme Court.” He even rolled out retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens to pronounce his unhappiness with freedom’s bedrock document.

According to the text of the proposed revision to James Madison’s 1791 handiwork, sponsored by New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, the states and federal government would have the power to regulate the “raising and spending of money” through a wide range of means “to advance the fundamental principle of political equality for all.”

The real guarantee would be political advantage for all incumbents, since it’s the sitting lawmakers who really benefit from any law limiting contributions to candidates or on their behalf. While Beltway boys like Messrs. Schumer and Udall have the name recognition to raise money in small increments, challengers often need the financial boost from a few individuals to get their message heard.

Citizens United according to Scotusblog:

Holding: Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections. While corporations or unions may not give money directly to campaigns, they may seek to persuade the voting public through other means, including ads, especially where these ads were not broadcast.

It has been understood, for decades, that corporations are ‘persons” under the Constitution. And nothing the Supreme Court said Thursday undermined that notion. If anything, the decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission conferred new dignity on corporate “persons,” treating them —under the First Amendment free-speech clause — as the equal of human beings.

At least in politics, the Court majority indicated, corporations have a voice, and they have worthy political ideas.

A Constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate and ratification by 38 states, so it has little chance of passing any time soon. There are many checks against self-interested legislatures for which we can thank the Founders. The interesting story according to the Journal is how far the American left is willing to go to cripple their political opponents. “They’re even  willing to write a giant loophole into America’s founding charter so Congress can limit political speech. The Tea Party’s concerns about eroding liberty turn out to be more accurate than even its most devoted partisans imagined.”

Somewhere in recent memory, Democrats changed from a party that, at least part of the time, worked with Republicans for the good of the country. Now winning is everything. I’m not, I think, completely naive. Politicians have always wanted to win, but something has dramatically shifted.

Vote fraud has grown exponentially, and is encouraged and arranged. The drive to win is more vicious than ever. Perhaps it’s the rise of the Democracy Alliance, the shadowy group of multimillionaire and billionaire “partners” whose admitted goal is winning elections. This is not a coincidence. You can read up on them at Activist Cash, The Washington Free Beacon, or Discover the Networks. The Capital Research Center has tracked them from the beginning. This is what you call “dark money.” The Democracy Alliance initially concentrated on promoting policies that it wanted, but more recently has shifted focus to simply winning elections, which tracks closely with the change in the Democratic Party.



Obama Wants to Change the Subject — To Climate Change. by The Elephant's Child

The U.S Government has released its National Climate Assessment, 840 pages summarizing a wide variety of normal climate occurrences which are causing everything awful. Droughts, floods, severe weather, heat waves, hurricanes tornadoes, more snow, lakes frozen over, less snow— it is all due to climate change.

“The report is an alarmist document designed to scare people and build political support for unpopular policies such as carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, and EPA regulatory mandates.”

Climate is a statistic of worldwide temperatures. Weather is what Mother Nature does outside. Floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes and snow are weather.

Obama has a steadily declining approval rating, a sick economy, a disastrous foreign policy, and investigations digging into the multitude of administration scandals, and new ones pop up every day. No wonder he wants to change the subject.

Here’s Marlo Lewis from CEI, on Fox News: “Alarmists offer untrue, unrelenting doom and gloom.”

Anthony Watts from wattsupwiththat.com: “Houston, we have a dumbass problem’

Marc Morano at Climate Depot: “Global Temperature Update: No global warming at all for 17 years 9 months.”

Climate Scientists from Cato Institute: “The Missing Science from the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change”

Climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer: “Climate Change Mass hysteria Grips the U.S.” Also see: “Top Ten Good Skeptical Arguments.”

From Juliet Eilperin, the Washington Post: “For Obama, a renewed focus on climate.”



The Cover Oregon Debacle is Beyond Covering Up! by The Elephant's Child

Cover Oregon finally gave up today, and pulled the plug. They still have not enrolled a single person in ObamaCare. Three hundred million down the drain. The state has spent another $7 million signing up 69,000 people manually, using paper applications.

Democrat Governor John Kitzhaber promised to lead the nation on ObamaCare. Didn’t work out that way. An internal audit ordered by the governor concluded that Cover Oregon’s architects were doomed by multi-agency bureaucratic confusion with no quality control or accountability for results. Investigators at the KATU news station found evidence suggesting that Cover Oregon officials created a fake website to create the illusion of progress for the feds who made grants to Oregon for ObamaCare that added up to $303 million.

An advisory panel voted for the state to revert to the federal exchange, but White House officials said they were already planning to annex the exchange. The goal now is rescuing the career of Senator Jeff Merkley. Oregon is very liberal, but the ObamaCare debacle is going to affect anyone in an official position. It’s just not something that enhances a resume. Likely Republican challenger Monica Wehby is a pediatric neurosurgeon, and an impressive candidate.



Another Stunning Example of Political Opportunism. by The Elephant's Child

 

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The U.S. State Department has cleared the Keystone XL Pipeline twice, so far, but now they are going to have to pass it again, after an extension of the public comment period which will, coincidentally, last until after the election. Part of the pipeline’s planned path has been changed to suit protesters. It is not a coincidence that the news of the ‘decision’ was released on the convergence of Good Friday and Passover. News that they’d rather cover up is always released late on a Friday. The cover story is that a further delay in the five-year saga of the Keystone couldn’t be avoided because of ‘unresolved legal issues’ over land seizures in Nebraska. Of course.

Let’s see what is involved:

TransCanada has provided a detailed job breakdown for the pipeline. They say it will create 13,000 union construction jobs, 7,000 jobs for Americans in manufacturing. It is estimated that there are up to 250,000 jobs over the life of the pipeline. That boom in employment would have spin-off jobs in the local economies that support each segment of the pipeline.

The Canadians are mightily annoyed. The United States imports eight to nine million barrels of oil every day. A stable, secure supply of oil from Canada makes better sense. Obama has orated about “our dependence on”foreign oil” often enough when it suits what he wants his audience to think.

Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America said “Once again, the administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country. It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”

Pushing the Keystone XL through would send an important message to Vladimir Putin that America is willing to develop our energy. And allowing the export of liquified natural gas would put a thorn in the side of Putin’s ability to blackmail Europe because of their need for natural gas. But we don’t actually want to annoy Mr. Putin, do we?

On the other side you have:

Leftist billionaire Tom Steyer has promised to spend $50 million of his own money and raise another $50 million for the Democrats in this election if they support the cause of global warming. He really “hates” the Keystone XL pipeline. Steyer has made much of his money at Farallon Capital by investing in fossil fuel producers.

Steyer now claims that stopping Keystone will somehow prevent Canada’s oil sands from being developed. That’s hogwash. The oil is now being carried by rail. In 2008, there were less than 10,000 carloads of crude oil moved by rail. Last year it was more than 400,000 carloads. Rail transportation is far less safe than a pipeline, and the network of pipelines across the country is already extensive, and safe.

Steyer will profit from any delay of the Keystone because he is, or was until recently, a major investor in Kinder Morgan which is building a competitor to the Keystone pipeline. He is, today, a bitter opponent of fossil fuels, especially coal. Banning coal-fired power plants will boost the value of his solar projects. He owes his fortune in large part to the fact that he has been one of the world’s largest financiers of coal projects in Australia and Asia.  He has led recent campaigns with climate nut Bill McKibben to encourage university endowments to divest coal equities. John Hinderaker at Powerline has assembled a remarkable list of Steyer interests. The Hypocrisy is breathtaking.

The most notable takeaway is that, for Barack Obama political money for the upcoming election trumps jobs for unemployed American construction workers, unemployed American manufacturing workers, and for the taxpayer money going to import all that “foreign oil. Everything, for Barack Obama, is about politics. All that talk about jobs, jobs, jobs is just talk.



When Democrat Policies Fail, They Switch to Race-Baiting. by The Elephant's Child

It’s not just the EEOC. Obama’s new credit watchdog agency The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is criminalizing debt collections by arguing they have a “disparate impact” on black Americans.

CFPB chief Robert Cordray says he’s coming up with new rules to crack down on creditors and third-party debt collectors who “hound” black borrowers more frequently than white ones.  “We will not tolerate companies harassing consumers in the debt collection market,” Cordray warned. He promised black church leaders that he would seek “economic justice” for blacks who have fallen into debt and come under the thumb of bill collectors and other “financial predators..”

The agency solicited more than 30,000 complaints that allegedly prove that creditors are abusing debtors. But they just took borrowers’ word that they don’t owe what they owe. A recent federal study shows more than 96% of such complaints are “frivolous.”

The Federal Trade Commission’s 2013 study found that only 3.2% of consumer debt is legitimately disputed. In the meantime, the agency is helping deadbeats to get out of paying their debts by posting samples of letter they can send to creditors to tell them to bug off.

Redistributing wealth by letting debtors and deadbeats off the hook for their debts is not helpful for the economy, for blacks, or for the national polity.

The biracial Barack Obama presented himself in 2008 as the presidential candidate who would show us the way to national unity. No more red America and no blue America. He was going to fix it. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but like everything else, he didn’t mean it. Now Democratic control of the Senate is threatened, and it’s time to revert to the tried and true tactic of race-baiting.  Only politicians act as if the whole world is centered on race, class and sex. Class envy and racial demagoguery.

When Democrat policies fall, Democrats fall back on race as the issue. They have such a miserable history with race, but it does get annoying when they try to claim that Republicans —Republicans! are segregationists. Excuse me. Despite Democratic myth-making, Lincoln was a Republican. The slave holders in the South were Democrats, the KKK was a Democratic organization. The Dixiecrats were Democrats. Bull Connor was a Democrat. The Republicans were abolitionists. The Republican Party was founded as a party of abolition, and has remained so.



About that “War on Women” by The Elephant's Child

Jason L. Riley reports in the Wall Street Journal:

At a fundraiser in Miami on Thursday, President Obama described his political opponents as “no less patriotic” than Democrats. “They love their families just as much. Many of them do wonderful things in their communities,” he added. Then he went on to describe Republicans as selfish ideologues who are indifferent to the needs of women and the less fortunate.

“[T]heir basic vision is that we don’t have an obligation, at least through our government, to help; everybody has got to just look out for themselves or the community that you’ve built in your church or synagogue or your block or your family,” said Mr. Obama of the Republican world view as he understands it. “We don’t have to worry about that kid on the other side of town. We don’t have to worry about that woman who is cleaning our house—which is why every initiative we put forward they say no to.”

He cited polls showing public support for preschool education, but he did not cite the multitude of studies that show that it does not confer any lasting benefit for the kids.

He bragged about polls showing that the public liked minimum wage increases, but forgot to mention that such increases are job destroyers and increase unemployment. You can’t just order a business to pay people more without figuring out where the money is going to come from — vastly increased prices, or getting rid of some employees.

He said polls showed that the public supports immigration reform, but didn’t mention what kind of reform the public supports. Since he refuses to support the immigration laws that are on the books, the reform the public supports may refer to first enforcing the laws.

He warned the donors to whom he was speaking (yes, he’s still campaigning, and never mind the mess in the Ukraine) that the midterm elections may not go well for Democrats. And he added:

The challenge is, is that our politics in Washington have become so toxic that people just lose faith and finally they just say, ‘You know what, I’m not interested, I’m not going to bother, I’m not going to vote.

As usual. It is not his fault that everything is going badly — that ObamaCare is a mess, that his weak posture on foreign policy has encouraged Putin’s adventurism, the debt is soaring, and there still are not any jobs. It’s those rascally Republicans refusing to do what he wants them to. At least he didn’t call us racist this time.



Fifty States of ObamaCare Failure by The Elephant's Child

Harry Reid’s pathetic attempt to claim that everyone is lying about the failure of ObamaCare brands him irrevocably as a fool, a liar, and a failure as a Majority Leader.

These few people represent multitudes. It is poor quality health insurance. You can’t travel. It’s too expensive now and the cost is going up dramatically next year.

ObamaCare is on life-support; the patient is comatose and brain dead. The family just won’t admit it.




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