American Elephants


Only 39% Believe That President Obama’s Policies Have “Saved Us From the Brink” by The Elephant's Child

Pat Caddell was a long-time Democrat pollster and political consultant.  He worked for Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, Gary Hart, Joe Biden and Jerry Brown.  His analysis on polls and campaign issues has often put him at odds with the current leadership of the Democrat Party; and as he has become more conservative and criticizes Democrats, they like him less.

Democrats don’t like disagreement in the ranks.  But Caddell is quite free with his criticism of Republicans as well.  The odd thing is that Republicans don’t mind.  He is a frequent guest on Fox News, and as he knows his way around politics intimately — he’s very interesting.



Big Government Intrudes in Your Life, Part III. by The Elephant's Child
April 4, 2010, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Law | Tags: , ,

There were the shower heads, the low-flush toilets, and upcoming before we know it, will be the mandate to use only CFL (twisty) light bulbs.  The latter is ostensibly to save energy, but the only reason to save energy is because of the government’s refusal to drill for oil or natural gas, and its war on coal all in the name of stopping a non-existent global warming and keeping CO2, a natural plant fertilizer, out of the atmosphere which is actually short of CO2.

Liberals are control freaks.  They want to remove all annoyances from life — not things that annoy us, like government over-regulation, but things that annoy them.   Mayor Bloomberg of New York and now Governor Schwarzenegger of California have banned trans-fats.  The only problem is that there is no evidence whatsoever that trans-fats are harmful to anyone.

It’s time to shape up the American population.  Attacks on fast food of any kind will continue.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains a little section requiring restaurants to disclose calorie counts on their menu boards.  Envision Pelosi and Steny Hoyer and Waxman and the others all sitting around a table in a backroom trying to decide just what to do about American obesity.  Obviously they don’t often patronize fast food restaurants and have never seen the menu boards behind the counter.

Seems so simple.  Just add nutritional information for each item on the menu.  Picking a can at random from my pantry shelf, you have: Calories, Calories from fat. Total fat, Saturated fat, Trans fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Total carbohydrates, Fiber, Sugars, and Protein, and then there are vitamins A and C, Calcium and Iron.  On the back of my can, it takes up a space of about 1″ x 2″, and includes teeny tiny type.  On a behind-the-counter menu board  it all has to be easy to read from a distance.  Details, details!

Can you spell l-i-t-i-g-a-t-i-o-n ?  Does publishing caloric information constitute advertising?  So you run up against the truth in advertising rules.  Suppliers change frequently, does that mean doing the whole thing over? Can you take the supplier’s word for the information, or do you have to have each item tested yourself?  When all these extra costs are added, can you still churn out innovative menu items?  If you cannot raise the price of the food, where do you put the extra costs?

Democrats have no grasp of consequences. Actions always have consequences, and the consequences have consequences.  Would anyone read the calories on the menu board?  If they read them would that change their behavior?  And what business is it of the government anyway.   This is a huge bomb of mass economic destruction on an economy in the throes of a semi-permanent depression.

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air talked the federal menu mandate over with a vice president of Davanni’s pizza chain in the Twin Cities.  More lost jobs, reduced choices for customers, money that might have funded more jobs wasted, because political elites fail to understand that Americans are perfectly capable of seeking out such information for themselves.



An Elaborate Scheme to Counter the Tea Party Movement. by The Elephant's Child

Tea Parties, as I understand it, grew out of unsatisfying Town Hall meetings, and representatives who wouldn’t listen.  People who had never demonstrated before, nor carried a sign joined with others who were similarly disturbed at excessive spending, and irresponsible congressmen.

Demonstrations began popping up all over the country, interest spread all over the internet. The Obama administration claimed to be unaware of the hundreds of thousands of people marching on the mall, and cleaning up after themselves like the nice responsible people they were.

Leftists have sneered and criticized, and recently anti-tea party groups have popped up in opposition. Joseph Abrams of Fox News has conducted a detailed investigation of the independent grassroots groups which have turned out to be part of “a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions and trickling slowly into political slush funds for Democrat activists.”

The biggest benefactor is AFSCME the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which donated $10 million to two front groups. Other unions are SEIU, Change to Win, Communications Workers of America, NEA, Teamsters, United Food & Commercial Workers and others.

Here’s how it works: What appears like a local groundswell is in fact the creation of two men — Craig Varoga and George Rakis, Democratic Party strategists who have set up a number of so-called 527 groups, the non-profit election organizations that hammer on contentious issues (think Swift Boats, for example).

Varoga and Rakis keep a central mailing address in Washington, pulling in soft money contributions from unions and other well-padded sources to engage in what amounts to a legal laundering system. The money — tens of millions of dollars — gets circulated around to different states by the 527s, which pay for TV ads, Internet campaigns and lobbyist salaries, all while keeping the hands of the unions clean — for the most part.

“One of the groups created a web site,” says Daniel Foster, “TheTeaParty Is Over.org, dedicated to stopping tea partiers; attempts to, in its words “undermine…the legitimacy of the federal government in favor of a radical rightwing form of state’s rights,” and “Prevent their dangerous ideas from gaining a legislative foothold.”

Goodness, can’t have people out there with such radical ideas as cutting back on spending, or balancing the  budget, or banning earmarks. That’s downright dangerous!  What will those crazy radicals think of next?



Americans Do Not Trust the Major TV News Operations — Except for FOX News! by The Elephant's Child

Public Policy Polling is a Democrat polling outfit.  That makes its newest survey looking at perceptions of ABC News,  CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News especially interesting.  The survey found Fox as the only one that more people say they trust than distrust.  49% say they trust Fox to 37% who do not.

CNN does next best at a 39/41 spread, followed by NBC at 35/44, CBS at 32/46, and ABC at 31/46.  Ouch!

There is a lot of political polarization in which outlets people trust.  74% of Republicans trust Fox News, but no more than 23% trust any of the other four sources.  For Democrats the numbers are a complete opposite — a majority trust all of NBC, CNN, ABC, and CBS while only 30% have faith in Fox News.

This indicates something about the post-partisan president who was going to bring us all together.  Perhaps the White House vilification of Fox News demonstrated to the public that Fox wasn’t a Progressive patsy.  Pandering and sycophantic coverage doesn’t sit well with the public.

This conforms with non-partisan studies that have found Fox to be the most centrist of the news outlets.  Public Policy Polling  is not happy with the results of their survey:

These numbers suggest quite a shift in what Americans want from their news. A generation ago Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in the country because of his neutrality. Now people trust Fox the most precisely because of its lack of neutrality. It says a lot about where journalism is headed.

And that snarky comment says a lot about Democrat perceptions.



Completely Unprepared to Consider Using Common Sense. by The Elephant's Child

Mark Steyn is always brilliant, sometimes he’s just more brilliant than usual. Today he pointed out the specific arrangements we have put in place to make sure that terrorist attacks were unlikely, because an alert citizenry was on the case.  And yet, there was evidence that Major Nidal Hasan deserved attention:

You didn’t have to be “alert” to spot Maj. Nidal Hasan. He’d spent most of the last half-decade walking around with a big neon sign on his head saying “JIHADIST. STAND WELL BACK.” But we (that is to say, almost all of us — and certainly almost anyone who matters in national security and the broader political culture) are now reflexively conditioned to ignore the flashing neon sign. Like those apocryphal Victorian ladies discreetly draping the lasciviously curved legs of their pianos, if a glimpse of hard unpleasant reality peeps through we simply veil it in another layer of fluffy illusions.

“The truth is we’re not prepared to draw a line even after he’s gone ahead and committed mass murder,” Steyn said.  “What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy,” said Gen. George Casey, the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff, “but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a tragedy here.”

“Diversity” is more important than 14 dead, dozens wounded?  That is undoubtedly not what he meant, but “diversity” is the ultimate meaningless politically correct notion.

If you have an African-American who immigrated 5 years ago from Ethiopia, and an African-American whose family has lived in America for 150 years, the important thing to them is the color of their skin?  The latter person may have far more in common with someone whose origins were in Mexico, but who was also raised as an army brat. Mothers of toddlers care a lot more about playmates of the same age than their ethnicity.

The differences within ordinary people are far larger than ethnicity.  Political, disinterested, scholarly, cannot read, abused as a child, handicapped, twin, mountain climber, pianist. hunter, animal trainer,potter, vegetarian, homeless, chemist. artist — but only their ethnicity matters?  Please.

The notion that what is important about a person is their race or ethnicity may result in checking off the right little boxes on a census questionnaire but has little to do with the lives of real people. Are those diversity numbers so important?  When it comes to lawsuits, or publicity or promotions the checked-off boxes may matter.  When counting boxes becomes more important than real people,  political correctness does more damage than it is worth.

And shame on you, General Casey.



There Are Some Really Sneaky Provisions in the House Health Care Bill. by The Elephant's Child

Planning a baby?  Looking forward to bringing your first child home from the hospital?  The 1,018 -page health care bill introduced by House Democrats has all sorts of bad policy ideas, and many of them are not even about health care.  One very annoying provision calls for a home visitation program that would bring state workers into the homes of young families to improve “the well-being, health, and development of children.” How intrusive can you get!

Section 440 of the House bill —Home Visitation Programs for Families with Young Children and Families Expecting Children — would provide grants to states to establish home visitation programs to educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills.  The “well-trained and competent staff” will:

…provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains..modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices; [and] skills to interact with their child…

Did I mention that Progressives are Control Freaks? Aside from the very, very questionable role of the federal government, the specifics of the bill are troublesome.  The home visitation policy says that the state will “prioritize serving communities that are in high need of such services, especially communities with a high proportion of low-income families or a high incidence of child maltreatment.  It is described as “voluntary” but that may be just until the time the parent-trainer arrives.

The federal government doesn’t know diddly-squat about parenting success, but the home visitation would further increase the federal role in preschool education and child indoctrination.

That takes care of the babies.  At the other end of life, the Congressional dimwits have written a provision (House bill, p. 425-430) that compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (or more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care.

Sessions cover things like whether to receive antibiotics and “the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration.” You can imagine the abuses that this provision invites.  In Oregon, a man with terminal cancer was refused drugs that could have given him additional life as too expensive, but he was offered assisted suicide if he wanted it.

If you are diagnosed with cancer, you have a better chance of surviving it in America than in any other part of the world. The World Health Organization ranked the U.S. as number 1 out of 191 countries for providing timely treatment, a choice of doctors and for being responsive to patients needs. Pity the Progressives want to change all that in the name of getting control of your health care and you.



Leftists Indulge in Wishful Thinking. We Get to Pay For It! by The Elephant's Child

Remember all the fuss about stem cells? Candidate Obama was going to restore science to its rightful place in the wake of the dreadful Bush administration which was apparently completely unfamiliar with science or the scientific method. Embryonic stem cells, freed from the religious fundamentalism of the Bushies, would cure diseases, allow the lame to walk and provide scientific honors for those who engaged in federally funded embryonic stem cell research, as well as endless riches for those who developed the wondrous new treatments. President Obama quickly lifted the ban that limited federally funded research to existing lines of cells. (Please note, there was no ban on research).

Dr. Bernadine Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health, was once an embryonic stem cell enthusiast. She now calls such research “obsolete.” Medical-research insiders know that embryonic stem cell technology is proving to be a dead end. Senator Arlen Specter, (D-PA) said the research “has the most remarkable potential of any scientific discovery ever made with respect to human health.” That statement gives an idea of the enthusiasm. Remarkable potential indeed. Real results were another thing.

First of all, there is the rejection problem. Your body naturally fights off foreign cells, even ones that might help. So cell recipients must permanently use imunosuppresive drugs, which are dangerous themselves. Then there is the unpleasant tendency of ES cells to become cancerous or to form teratomas — tumors that can grow larger than a football and contain hair or teeth.

The problem of rejection may someday be solved, but University of Wisconsin scientist James Thomson, who created the first human ES-cell line, says that treatments and cures could be decades away.

Adult stem cells do not have the problem of rejection, for they come from the patient’s own body.  They have treated scores of illnesses including many cancers, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, immunodeficiency disorders, neural degenerative diseases, anemia and other blood disorders.  They have been used in over 2,000 clinical trials.  No uncomfortable moral questions, just cautious, responsible science.

Although it was long thought that only embryonic cells could become pluripotent, researchers in 2006,  led by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Japan’s Kyoto University, were able to reprogram human skin cells to behave like embryonic stem cells.

Several states now fund embryonic stem cell research.  Dead broke California  created a $3 billion research effort with their Proposition 7, and other states such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut also fund the research, which may be a dead end.  Federal funds are flowing.

We’re investing a remarkable amount of money in things that are supported by enthusiasm rather than science.  Liberals have always been utopians,  attached to a romantic view of  policy: ending climate change, stopping the seas from rising, powering the world with the wind and the sun, curing disease and injury with embryonic stem cells.  It’s not going to happen.   But they always want the rest of us to support their flights of fancy with our taxpayer dollars.

And if their romantic policies don’t work?  They cannot  fail, it’s just that they did not appropriate enough money.



Politicizing Everything May Seem Like a Good Idea In the Short Run. In the Long Run, it is a Disgrace. by The Elephant's Child
July 17, 2009, 1:11 am
Filed under: Law, National Security, Politics, Terrorism | Tags: ,

toon071709

The political assault on the CIA which has been created by the administration and the Democrats in the House of Representatives is disgraceful.  Not long ago the CIA was in the news with Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, accusing the CIA of lying to Congress about the interrogation of al Qaeda detainees.  The CIA promptly pointed out the authorization by Congress, and the dates on which Ms. Pelosi was briefed.

Then came news of a “secret program” which promptly appeared in the pages of the New York Times which seemed to be intended to kill or capture the top leaders of al Qaeda.  You know, the gentlemen now being targeted by Predator drones in Afghanistan.  Now “assassination” has been banned by order since the Ford administration.  This “secret program” was apparently initiated by a presidential order from George Bush in September, 2001, just after 9/11.  The order was to find a way to kill or capture the leaders of al Qaeda.  Which seemed to be what everybody in the United States wanted (except Code Pink of course) in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The assumption was that Democrats were trying to provide cover for Ms. Pelosi’s embarrassment.  Accusing the nation’s top intelligence agency of lying and not briefing Congress is a pretty serious accusation.

CIA Director Leon Panetta instantly leaped into the fray, and “closed down the program”, which had never done anything much but have meetings to try to figure out how to find the leaders of al Qaeda.  It had essentially been shelved several years previously.  But Mr. Panetta wanted to show Congress that he would brook no shilly-shallying, and reported to the House Intelligence Committee, and the Senate Intelligence Committee the same day.  Not a peep has been heard from the Senate, but the House wants everyone to know that the CIA is the problem, not Ms. Pelosi.

Then came the  insinuation that, um, Dick Cheney had told the CIA not to tell Congress.  Attorney General Eric Holder made appropriate noises about an investigation, and possible prosecution, with no legal cause, which clearly had nothing to do with President Obama’s sinking approval ratings or being lectured for 2 hours by Vladimir Putin about the “real” cold war, or the clear failure of the stimulus bill to reduce unemployment which was over 20 percent in Oregon, Michigan and California.

And of course, if “assassination” is forbidden by law, it doesn’t make the slightest difference whether it is done by a sharpshooter in Afghanistan or a Predator ordered up by Obama.  But that can be overridden by a presidential order anyway.

In the meantime, Admiral Dennis Blair, our chief intelligence officer, stepped forward to announce that there was no legal obligation to brief Congress on a program that never came to fruition.

So all the excitement is about a program that never got off the ground, and was shelved ages ago, the secrets of which have already shown up in the New York Times.  But the politics are fascinating, if you can just figure them out.

It’s demoralizing to the CIA, and damaging to our relations with our allies’ intelligence agencies. The name-calling, the threats of prosecution, the constant effort to distract attention by blaming Bush are a disgrace.  President Obama spent his entire campaign complaining that our military was not chasing down Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan; and denigrating the valliant efforts of our military, where they were changing the face of the Middle East by winning a difficult war and bringing the first free elections and tremors of democracy to Iraq.  The politicization of our intelligence community is a danger to our country.

__________________
Michael Ramirez’ splendid cartoons are available at IBD Editorials.



Don’t Tell Me You Thought Waxman-Markey Is About Reducing Our Dependence on Foreign Oil! by The Elephant's Child
July 10, 2009, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Environment | Tags: , ,

Representative Steve King  (R. Iowa) is absolutely correct about Waxman-Markey.   Do you recognize just how preposterous is the idea that we can set the earth’s thermostat 100 years from now 2 degrees cooler?  In the last century, it only warmed one degree, and now it’s cooled again.

“Just two weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey climate bill,” Al Gore said….”President Obama has pushed for the passage of the bill in the Senate and attended a G8 summit this week where he agreed to attempt to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than 2 degrees C.”

Gore praised the Congressional climate bill, claiming that “it will dramatically increase the prospects for success” in combating the “crisis” of man-made global warming.

“But it is the awareness itself that will drive the change and one of the ways it will drive the change is through global governance and global agreements.” Oh.

Former French President Jacques Chriac said in November, 2000 that the UN’s Kyoto Protocol represented “The first component of an authentic global governance.”

Former EU Environment Minister Margot Wallstrom said: “Kyoto is about the economy, about leveling the playing field for big businesses worldwide.” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper once dismissed the UN’s Kyoto Protocol as a “socialist scheme.”

“A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources,” said Emma Brindal, a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth.

They keep telling us what they have in mind.  We really should pay attention.



The Secrets of The Waxman-Markey Climate Bill. No Wonder They Didn’t Want Anybody to Actually Read It. by The Elephant's Child
July 2, 2009, 10:17 pm
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment | Tags: , ,

Here is the Must Read Article for the weekend, and for the foreseeable future.  Stephen Spruiell and Kevin Williamson have rounded up 50 reasons why the Waxman-Markey climate bill is part government power-grab, part enviro-fantasy, and should be stopped.   You have no idea of the horrors to be found within its many pages, but of course your representatives have no idea either, because nobody read it before they voted to pass it.

Read it, print it out and pass it around.  Take it to a Tea Party.  Inflict it on your relatives.  Discuss it with your friends.  Challenge the Democrats you know.  You can have all sorts of fun with this.



Everything You Need to Know About President Obama’s Cap-and-Trade Plans. by The Elephant's Child

If you are wondering about “cap-and-trade” or “carbon taxes” or “carbon sequestration” or “global warming” or “climate change,” here is all you need to know. [from Steven Milloy's new book Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them].

There is no scientific evidence indicating that carbon dioxide, much less man-made carbon dioxide emissions, control or even measurably impact global climate.

Global Warming hysteria is based on hypothetical computer models that have never been validated against real world experience.  The fact that many scientists accept the hypotheses does not make them true.  For that matter, many scientists actively dispute those same hypotheses.

When you are confronted with hysteria about climate change, you might remember these four factual sentences.



Education Is Really Important, Except When It Isn’t. by The Elephant's Child
May 5, 2009, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: ,

Washington D.C. public schools are some of the worst in the country, and the most expensive.  About 1,700 kids currently receive $7,500 vouchers to attend private schools under Congress’ Opportunity Scholarship Program.  99 percent of the children are black or Hispanic.  Scholarships are awarded on the basis of a lottery, and are a huge hit with parents.

The Department of Education’s just released annual evaluation of the D.C. program shows that voucher recipients are reading a half-grade higher than their peers who didn’t get a scholarship.  The program’s earliest recipients are 19 months ahead of their public school peers.

The Obamas have chosen a private school for their daughters, as have 44 percent of Senators and 36 percent of Representatives according to the Heritage Foundation. (Whether these are Congressmen who have children of school age, or all Congressmen is unclear).

New Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was recently asked “how important was the school district in your decision about where to live.” Mr. Duncan responded: “She goes to Arlington [Virginia] public schools.  That was why we chose where we live, it was the determining factor…I didn’t want to try to save the country’s children and our educational system and jeopardize my own children’s education.”

President Obama and his Education Secretary have promised to support “what works.” But of course they have decided to end the D.C. voucher program and send the poor kids back to the schools where they would never send their own children.

Addendum:

President Obama has apparently said that he will request funding to keep the D.C. voucher program’s current recipients in private school through high school graduation.  No new participants. This will be meaningless unless he also promises to veto any appropriations bill that kills the program outright. Congress will not follow his wishes unless he indicates that this is a priority for him. Over 1,000 parents turned out to protest, indicating that it is a priority for them, which is why Obama is possibly backing down.




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